Second, in honor of kicking off the summer season, I'm offering Move for free through Wednesday. You can get it in any ebook format through Smashwords at http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/286425 and entering Coupon Code HH37X. So go get yourself a free summer read now, and feel free to pick up any of my other titles featured on this website.
And third, summer is indeed a great season for reading. Whether it's by the poolside, on the beach, at the lake, at the summer getaway place, or just on your lunch hour, there's something about having a great book on hand to take your mind away. I know it's usually a season for ligher, fun reading, but for some reason, I find myself gravitating toward fantasy during the winter and sci-fi during the summer. (I read mysteries and some non-fiction all the time.) I'm not sure why this is. I've done a few other blogs on my favorite reads and I'd like to expand on that today by giving you a list of my favorite sci-fi and fantasy reads, since I'm currently making the transition from fantasy to sci-fi. Each title contains a link to it on Amazon, but, of course, you can find them at a number of other online or retail outlets. And without further ado, may I suggest:
Guardian of Time (The Shardwell Series): By Amanda Gerry and C. Hall. By I thought about making a completely separate list for independent authors, but decided against it. They work just as hard at their craft (perhaps harder, since indies don't have agents to do promotion for them) and deserve the same respect as mainstream novels. This book is an amazing fantasy title that I was asked to do a review for, and I was so enthralled that I flew through it in a few days - no small feat, given my busy schedule and the fact that I was working on a sci-fi novella of my own at the time! It's about a young woman that runs away from her royal home to escape an arranged marriage, only to find that the arrangement was different - and much more complicated - than she imagined. This is actually a young adult novel, but I think even adult readers would enjoy it because it has a little bit of everything for you: intrigue, mystery, romance, betrayal and, best of all, a surprise ending. In fact, there's one other book in this series that I plan to add to my reading list once I get another gift card, and work through a bit more of my TBR list this summer!
Age of the Sigil, The Complete First Season and Age of the Sigil, The Complete Second Season. By: Melvin Ryley and Rich Dalglish. Another great young adult/fantasy novel about four teens that find they have been chosen to bear special powers that, once unlocked, will save their world that is under attack of ruin by a ruthless leader that's channeling magic to his will with disasterous results. One thing that intrigued me about these two novels are that they're written as "episodes" in a fashion similar to a reality TV series. I was skeptical about how this would work in a novel setting, but it actually kept a great pace and had action moving at an even clip without those dreaded "drag scenes" that you sometimes find in novels where attempts at character development occur. The four bearers of the sigils show a remarkable strength of character and growth through their trials, but it isn't rushed or contrived - in fact, their development is completely realistic and, I believe, reflective of how life's trials shape us all. A good read that goes by almost too fast, and leaves you wishing for more.
Mars Trilogy: Red Mars, Green Mars, and Blue Mars. By Kim Stanley Robinson. I eyed this trilogy about the terraforming and settlement of Mars for years before I finally settled down and read it last summer. Wow! It was amazing! You can tell that Robinson did a tremendous amount of research and really immersed himself in the development of this series. What impressed me the most was the great balance of science and humanity. It's well balanced and you can see how the development of Mars as a habitable world changes humanity - not only the people that immigrate there, but the people on Earth as well. You see a tremendous development not only of Mars as a planet, but in the people and characters as well. Green Mars was my favorite book of the series (which is rare for the second book to be the strongest in a trilogy, but it was in this case). This is definitely a work that sucks you in and captivates you. My only gripe was that I felt Blue Mars somewhat rushed to a conclusion, but in retrospect I wonder if that's true or if it was my own perspective of wanting more and for the tale to continue. An amazing trilogy. In fact, this trilogy made me a fan of Robinson's work and his most recent release, 2312, is next on my TBR list.
Mars, Return to Mars, and Saturn, By Ben Bova. In case you didn't know, I love sci-fi works that revolve around interstellar development - something that will no doubt be confirmed when my own sci-fi novel is released in November. And actually, I was hard pressed to find a favorite book by Ben Bova because he's written novels on Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Saturn and I love them all. I picked his novels about Mars and Saturn because they're the ones that stand out in my mind the most. But really, you can't go wrong with any of Bova's works. He's an outstanding sci-fi writer. I'm excited to see he has another release due out in July titled New Earth, and it looks quite interesting. It's on my Amazon wish list, and will definitely make it to my ereader apps in a few short months!
The Left Behind Series. By Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. I didn't include links to this because this series has 12 books and frankly, you'd do better to go to Amazon or Barnes & Noble and do a search for the series. Rick and I embarked on reading this series a few years ago, and although it's not strictly sci-fi or fantasy, it definitely has an "otherworldly element" to it. This series is based on the Book of Revelation in the Bible, but as a warning: don't expect fluff and stuff. It does get gritty - and a bit graphic in some places, so there are some parts that aren't for the faint of heart, but I fully believe that if you're a fan of sci-fi or fantasy then you'll have no problem with it (I didn't flinch, but others I know that aren't accustomed to sci-fi and fantasy that were shocked by some parts). If you're a Christian then I do recommend that you read this series, as it can help you to understand this mysterious last book of The Bible better. And one more thing: read the books, don't watch the series. The TV movies do differ from the books, and in fact they cut off with the third one, which was made before the third book was written and actually isn't anything like the novel at all.
So there you have it: A few sci-fi and fantasy suggestions to take your mind away this summer. I hope you'll check some of these titles out, and please - if you read a book and enjoy it, leave a review. Authors really like reviews because it lets us know how well our work is connecting to readers and helps us to write better in the future.
If you'd like to know more about books I've read and enjoyed, please feel free to visit my Goodreads profile, and send me a friend request if you're a member of that great online community!
That's all today. Have a safe weekend.