Best New Indie Small Press Sci-Fi Summer Reading Recommendations

By Editor Erin Poche

Not to overwhelm your TBR shelves, but we have the best new Indie Sci-Fi and Fantasy titles for our summer reading recommendations.

There is no escapism like diving headfirst into a great unputdownable book. The stranger, the better we say, and the superb talent seems to be catching like a summer wildfire in the small press world. And while there are plenty of popular books by mainstream publishers, we’ve got an inside track to the best Indie books. With stellar topics of bleeding worlds, empire witches, and psychotic demons—we’ve highlighted some great novels to add to your summertime plans.

There are countless hidden gems by independent publishers waiting to be read. If you’re unclear on the term, an indie book is one published outside the “Big 5.” And while it’s tough to break into the inner circle of these demigod publishing houses (Hachette, Harper Collins, Penguin, MacMillan, Random House, and Simon & Schuster), more and more authors are choosing their independence. These talented authors deserve recognition, so we’ve put together a list to help you push these amazing books to the front of your pile.

Sci-fi and fantasy genres seem to be finding ground in mainstream audiences, probably since many of them have been made into movies and HBO specials. These portals to unknown universes and fantasy wonderlands allow us to forget our problems and world dilemmas as we sink into the couch or hammock and unwind for a few hours.

So here are some fab books to devour over the mid-summer holiday—seven Indie books you don’t want to miss. These action-packed stories will keep your eyes glued to the words long after bedtime.

Summer Reading Recommendations

Spiritchild by Danielle Lauren book cover


Danielle Lauren

This debut high fantasy novel by Danielle Lauren is creating big waves on the Indie scene. Inspired by Lord of the Rings and Magician, the story pits a young woman against a malignant blight threatening to end the world. Only she has the power to heal and connect to the spirit realm, but unknown darkness prowls the lands while a broken god plays puppet with the human race.

A Thin Witchline Between Love & Hate by T.L. Brown book cover

A Thin Witchline Between Love & Hate

T.L. Brown.

This paranormal women’s fiction story takes readers deep into mature subject matter. A broken yet powerful witch uncovers love and demons and sleuths her way through relationships as she finds herself at the center of an old prophecy.

It’s a captivating read with dynamic, beautifully crafted characters and enough twists and turns to keep you pondering until the bitter end. Several of Brown’s Door to Door characters make an appearance, but this is a new standalone series.

Dark Fate: A Shifter's Fury by Karley Stafford book cover

Dark Fate: A Shifters Fury

Karley Stafford

Release date August 24, 2022

This debut novel by Stafford is a fast-paced, well-written action story. It’s a paranormal romance with witches, werewolves, and otherworldly beings. The dark urban fantasy tracks a pack of weres through high stake adventures. It has a strong female lead character that you can’t help but root for.

The Cosmic Principle by Abby R. Laughlin book cover

The Cosmic Principle (The Nexus Series #1)

Abby R. Laughlin

This sci-fi adventure takes place over a hundred years ago, as a galactic cataclysm decimates a faraway galaxy and leaves only one planet left. The planet needs help, people are suffering, and now the king is dead. This engaging mystery is another debut novel with a strong female lead on a mission to save her world.

Storm of Chaos and Shadows by C.L. Briar book cover

Storm of Chaos and Shadows

C.L. Briar

This fantasy romance takes place in the fae realm. When a bewitched storm annihilates her family, forcing her to care for her siblings, Elara must fight her need for revenge against the unknown foe, seeking to destroy their world. She soon meets a charismatic general who recruits her to spy for him.

YA Summer Reading Recommendations

There is also some great YA Sci-fi that should not be dismissed. Check out these can’t-miss fantasies sure draw to you in deep.

The 716 by S.J. Pratt book cover

The 716

S.J. Pratt

This book had us with the title and then glued the book in our hands with the plot. It’s a science-fiction saga that takes an intriguing take on the world around by flipping gender equality to a whole new level. Olivia is the destined world’s future leader with her pink Identifeye light. At the same time, Andy is fated to be a househusband as his blue Identifeye light prevents him from securing his dreams. Sound familiar? Andy decides to challenge the female hierarchy, and things get interesting. In this world, men are second-class citizens, and binary gender norms are more than acceptable. Debut novelist Pratt explores social norms in this coming-of-age sci-fi adventure filled with romance and heroes.

The Wandering Tree by MJ Carstarphen book cover

The Wandering Tree (Creatures of Dreams #1)

M.J. Carstarphen

In a long-forgotten world resides an ancient tree with human-like properties. Throughout the years, it observed the world until it was brought to life one day. The tree learns the world is a dark place. This descriptive fantasy drama is full of stunning descriptions and mythical characters. It’s been compared to The Lord of the Rings and The Alchemist. Though dark at times, this read is also endearing and lighthearted, perfect for older teens and adults.

For more summer reading fun, check out our summer reading program!

Best New Indie Small Press Sci-Fi Summer Reading Recommendations

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