Game of Thrones. If you follow me on social media, then you know I’m crazy about this show, and it all started with Rick getting the first few episodes on Netflix. I believe it’s the most brilliant show on TV, it makes you think, and it hooks you in. Once, we watched an entire season (10 episodes) in 3 days, and the only reason it took us that long is because we had to work. It’s addictive! But as a disclaimer, it is violent and has a perverse joy in pushing boundaries and killing off characters – sometimes in grisly manner.
Breaking Bad. If Game of Thrones is the most brilliant show on television, then Breaking Bad is a close second. Not only is it humorous to find a chemistry teacher bumbling into the drug business with a former student, but it also raises excellent moral issues on how far one would go to secure the ones they love, when faced with life and death. There is a plot to this show, and it’s executed brilliantly. And if you like this world, then you’ll also enjoy Better Call Saul, the prequel to this show currently running (and set to resume in April). It focuses on a different part of the story, but it’s just as interesting and creative.
House of Cards. If you like political thrillers, then you’ll love this show. It takes you inside the dirty underworld of D.C. politics, complete with shady deals, questionable morals, and how that affects people from the top to the bottom. Frank Underwood is your stereotypical politician on the road to the top no matter what the price, and it’s intriguing to see how far he will go to get from Gaffney, SC, to The White House.
Stranger Things. If you like paranormal but you’re sick of zombies, werewolves, and glittery vampires, then check out this show. It’s about three kids who search for a friend who disappears on his way home one night. It’s a throwback 80’s show, but it’s excellent in handling not only the paranormal mystery, but the effect it has on the kids families, friends, and the community around them.
That’s it for the TV. I know, it’s a short list, but you know me – I like books better, so let’s move on to that. I’ve included buy links in the title, if you’re interested in picking some of these up for your next read.
ON YOUR KINDLE - SCIFI
Mercury Ice – The Seventh Coordinate by Michael Moore and Sara Crawford. This story is the brilliant tale of finding life in a small corner of the planet Mercury that can support life. Moore has a gift for making readers feel the story with his readers, from the amazement of the initial discovery to the excitement and intrigue of first contact between these two humanoid settlements. The sequel is due out on March 7, and I’m looking forward to it.
The Exodus Trilogy by Andreas Christensen. Mars is destroyed by impact with a rogue planet. On the surface, it looks like a near miss, until scientists discover that the debris from this cosmic event will collide with Earth and render it uninhabitable in the near future. The government, desperate to save humanity, secretly launches a ship of carefully selected humans to populate a planet in a distant star system to save the race and start over. The trilogy is an amazing tale of survival, courage, and what happens when ordinary people are left to their own devices to preserve the species.
The Mars Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson. Robinson’s tale of the terraforming and colonization of Mars in Red Mars, Green Mars, and Blue Mars is a fascinating adventure into science and human nature. You get the best of seeing man’s first adventures into interstellar development and in seeing how it impacts people, from the scientific colonists to the people left behind to deal with the struggles of a crumbling ecology on Earth. While I felt that the ending to the trilogy was a bit forced and rushed, the story as a whole is captivating and thrilling. It’s definitely a must-read for scifi fans.
ON YOUR KINDLE – MYSTERY/SUSPENSE
Here Comes the Night by Linda McDonald. This is a fast paced tale where one crime segues into countless others on a Friday evening that seems to stretch on forever. A late afternoon murder leads from abduction to theft to a joyride that connects several journeys into a whirlwind tale of mystery, intrigue, love, murder, money, and retribution. If you like mystery stories that take place in a short time frame, then you’ll be hooked by this book.
Mortom by Erik Therme. If Craig was surprised that his cousin committed suicide, then he was more surprised to inherit the estate. At first, it looks like he didn’t get much – an old house and a lot of debt. Then Craig discovers a clue in the house that leads him on a journey to find his cousin’s true final wish. This intriguing story takes readers on a journey not only through a complex puzzle between cousins, but into the devastating effects of family secrets, and how it impacts life in a small town. Mortom is an intriguing mystery that you won’t be able to put down.
Kill All Cats, by Rick Bylina. Ron Black had an ordinary life, until he found that his elderly neighbor, along with her 38 cats, were murdered. He’s more surprised to find that he’s the prime suspect, even though he was at work as a night security guard when the murder happened. Despite the alibi, he becomes suspect because he was stricken with food poisoning at the time that the alleged murder happened. Odd comments and an alarming clue found in his cockatiel’s play place lead Rick to suspect that he’s been framed by his neighbors, but why? This mystery has it all: an excellent plot, an intriguing mystery, great characters, the right amount of suspense and humor, and best of all, a bird!
ON YOUR KINDLE – INSPIRATIONAL/SELF HELP
Psycho-Cybernetics: Updated and Expanded by Maxwell Maltz. I’ve had several people tell me that while The Secret has good, inspiring information, they feel it’s too “new agey” to mesh with their Christian beliefs. I will agree that while The Secret is inspiring and motivating, I’m not completely on board with everything in it because I have seen blatant discrepancies between some of the more new age stuff and reality. Psycho-Cybernetics solves this problem by showing the true impact of a healthy self-image and positive thinking with applied with your faith. Maltz was a plastic surgeon, and was surprised by how cosmetic work had a tremendous impact on some patients, and none on others. His discoveries on how self-image shaped their healing led to more research on how the inside affects the outside. Although written in 1960, this book has been updated and still contains surprising and encouraging insights for improving your life by applying faith to develop a healthy self image and a positive mindset.
Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived by Rob Bell. This is another one that will make you think about how everything is connected. Like The Secret, I’m not on board with everything in this book, but it makes more excellent points than points of disagreement, and it presents relevant things to ponder about what living by faith means. If your faith is strong and you’re mind is open, it can broaden your horizons on how significant our life on Earth truly is.
ON YOUR KINDLE – WRITING GUIDES/REFERENCES
Smashwords Style Guide by Mark Coker. If you selfpublish, then this book is a requirement. There’s a lot more to publishing an ebook than downloading the file – there are formatting and cover requirements that are critical to get a good, polished product from your laptop to the ereader. This is my “go to” guide for every book I publish. Best of all, this guide is free so there’s no excuse. Click that link and get it!
How to Write a Short Story that Works by Michael Allen. I’ve read a lot of writing and reference guides, and this is, without a doubt, both the most honest and helpful I’ve ever read. Allen tells you point blank what goes into creating a great short story, and how to reach readers in a short, powerful tale. In fact, I believe this book contains advice that I haven’t seen in others. It’s well worth getting if you write short fiction, and will help your craft tales that grab your readers and live on in the mind long after the story ends.
So that’s my suggestion list to keep you entertained for a while. I hope you like these suggestions and find something that captivates you.
That’s all today. Take care. Have a Happy Friday tomorrow and a wonderful weekend.