The other week, Gini Dietrich?published a blog post sharing her summer reading list. Since Gini normally pinches my ideas (she does!!), I thought it’d be nice to turn the tables and steal one of her ideas instead. 🙂
While I’m a big reader of business books – especially ones that make you think versus those that just repeat the same stuff you could find anywhere – I also love to take time out and really dig into some good fiction / non-fiction, non-business books.
It’s been said that to really develop your business brain, you need to read fiction and understand how its flow and narrative can help improve your business strategy.
So, with that in mind, here are three books I’ve read recently that should really be on your bookshelf, complete with my Amazon reviews to give you an idea of what to expect.
Try Not to Burn by Michael Matula
I gave this book a 5-star rating on Amazon, and quoted it as, “Quentin Tarantino Meets Clive Barker in Hell City”.
Here’s the review.
There are very few books that keep me turning the page the way “Try Not to Burn” did. From the very first scene-setting of violent death to the cliffhanger ending, this is a book that truly delivers in spades.
The reason? Simple – characters you invest in, hugely descriptive set-pieces that place you right in the thick of the action, and a plot that builds nicely into something much bigger than the original premise.
In the Gral, Matula has created adversaries to rival the best of Clive Barker’s “Hellbound” demons, and they’re just the beginning of the troubles facing our three main characters. And it’s the steady growth and unveiling of these three characters, and the strengths and flaws they bring to the table, that adds extra weight to an already excellent novel.
If you like your horror/fantasy tinged with sci-fi and a sliver of a bigger mythology at play, “Try Not to Burn” will NOT disappoint. Highly recommended, and please get to publishing the next book, Mr. Matula!
All I can add to that is, buy this book today. Seriously.
An Eagle’s Heart by Scott Butcher
Another 5-star rating on Amazon, this book couldn’t be more different from Try Not to Burn. A children’s book for everyone still a child at heart (or who simply loves great storytelling).
Here’s the review.
When I was a child growing up in Scotland, one of my favourite books was Watership Down. I loved the way Richard Adams shared animals (rabbits) in their natural habitats, while still offering a tale through eyes that we (humans) could enjoy. It also educated me in the hierarchy of nature.
In the book An Eagle’s Heart, Scott Butcher has perhaps written the closest thing to Watership Down while still standing on its own. The tale of two small birds that show strength and loyalty beyond their size, An Eagle’s Heart is a book that is truly for all ages (though some scenes may be a little distressing to younger children).
The way Butcher builds the characters, teases the story out until you realize you’re at the end before you know it (always the sign of a great tale), and how he weaves between the animal story and the human story running alongside makes this a new classic in the vein of the 1972 book from Adams.
On a blog post announcing the book, one commenter mentioned it reminded him of Watership Down, and this seemed an apt comparison for this review.
If you like books that educate in the ways of nature, while telling a gripping story that rewards loyalty, bravery and – above anything else – standing up to help others who need it, then An Eagle’s Heart will probably become one of your new favourite books.
An instant classic – congratulations all round.?
You can buy An Eagle’s Heart in multiple formats (for your preferred eReader) here.
Starting Over / Standing Up by Jaclyn Aurore
First, a disclaimer – Jaclyn Aurore is my wife. Having said that, these two books surprised me. One, because I never knew Jaclyn could write so well (my bad!), and two, because they’re essentially Young Adult Fiction / chick-lit books. Not my genre at all! But I am so glad I read them.
The first two books in The Starsville Saga, not only do they have strong, believable characters, but I caught myself with goosebumps, a tear in my eye and lump in my throat many times.
My review of the first book.
While I don’t normally read YA, I am a fan of books that deliver characters as much as plot and this book didn’t disappoint.
While I’ve (rightly or wrongly) usually perceived YA as “kids’ books”, I’ve recently delved deeper into the genre, thanks to the likes of The Hunger Games and the Percy Jackson series. This book is a great addition.
It tells the dark history of a troubled girl named Maxine, who has essentially disappeared inside herself from her abusive upbringing. But this isn’t a straightforward girl-with-troubled-past-sees-light type of scenario; there are lots of tests for Maxine to go through, both physical and emotional.
How she gets through them, and how she relates to the people that help her do so, is where this book’s strength comes in, and leaves you on a cliffhanger just when you thought everything was going to end happily ever after.
Whether you normally read this kind of genre or not, if you enjoy books that grab you and truly make you want to keep reading until you’re done, you’ll enjoy both of these books.
And there you go – three (okay, four) books that I can’t recommend highly enough if you need some summer reading. I hope you check them out, buy, etc., and if you do, I’d love to hear what you thought of them.
Support independent authors like Michael Matula, Scott Butcher and Jaclyn Aurore – visit their websites below and find out more about them and their other books.
image: Doug Wheller