#SummerReading -My favorite reads from June, July 2015

books-on-shelf-stock-photo Although I spend a majority of my time (outside of regular ‘living’) writing, one goal I set for myself in 2015 was to read at least fifty books by other authors.  I even set myself up to be challenged and held accountable for signing up on Goodreads to do just that.  I am happy to say that I am well on my way to making that goal a reality.

A lot of writers are avid readers.  How else would we get an opportunity to get out of our own little worlds?  Reading other authors’ work is relaxing, but also gives me insight into the ideas, process and complexities of how they create their stories and characters.

Here are a few of the books and stories from June and July of 2015, that in one way or another caught my attention:

1. Confederate Chipmunks & Carny Cooter (The Cobblepotts Book 1)by Bill Jacks 

I am not going to say that the story Mr. Jacks wrote isn’t without some language that could easily burn the retinas from nearly every reader, but his statement on Amazon about his own book is an insight in itself:

Do you crave unoffending fiction? 
A wholesome snack that’s low in friction? 
If so, inside you’ll find the words 
A greasy feast of tasteless turds 
But those for crass and bawdy wit 
Will savor every bite of s#@!

And there you have it.  Possum Holler, Mississippi, may have met its match in taking on Patty and Otis Cobblepott; two of the most degenerate folks south of the Mason Dixon.  Jacks teases the reader with a bawdy tale of two misfit rednecks that would offend the devil himself.  What attracted me wasn’t the swill, but the swell.  The story is short but packed with the kind of material that resembles getting uncontrollable giggles in the middle of a funeral; inappropriate at best.  However, there is one part about a “pet” that had me literally crying with hysterics.  Read at your own risk, but if you need a laugh and are able to admit to yourself that you too can entertain a darker, sordid side -please enjoy.  I will be posting an interview with Bill very, very soon.

2. Breath of the Titans: The False Titanbringer: Complete Trilogy by Riley Westbrook and Sara L. Westbrook

The trilogy contains three stories that put an interesting twist on the fantasy genre.  Lovonian, a half elf, half dragon boy comes of age at a time when Titans are bent on enslaving and/or slaughtering those in Elvendome.  In an interesting take on what the traditional idea of dragons in mythological stories may be, the Westbrooks have put together an intriguing adventure.

3. Proportionate Response by Dave Buschi 

If you have never read one of Buschi’s books and you enjoy thrilling adventures, I highly recommend you pick up a copy this story.  The main characters are ‘Marks’ and ‘Lip’, two specialists in what many would consider the ‘black ops’ world who have become freelancers.  Don’t read Buschi’s blurb about the book and think you have anything in the story figured out.  By combining international espionage to human trafficking to secret organizations bent on destroying America and the two protagonists thenselves, Buschi has created a take that weaves details with military precision into the high stakes world of anything goes.  Marks and Lip are the type of guys you want on your side when the crap hits the fan.

4.  The Library: Where Life Checks Out by Carmen DeSousa

With help from Viola Estrella, DeSousa puts together a book that has very little to do with a library at all.  In fact, it is a bit of a ghost story, romance tale and mystery.  Within this edition is the short story, “The Depot”, so you won’t feel like you’ve missed key information when you are introduced to detective Mark Waters.  Although there are events within a library, this book is focused on how the characters solve the mysteries surrounding them – a beautiful woman found beaten to death next to a railroad depot that goes unsolved, the haunting of that depot turned restaurant in a small town, stunning revelations and a bit of matters of the heart.  I admit, it was not at all what I expected, but held my attention like a game of Clue.

5.  JET by Russell Blake 

I admit, I read JET (Ops Files) for free before jumping back – yes, back – to Blake’s tale of a 28-year old former Mossad operative.  Although Ops Files is a “prequel”, it only felt right to read them back-to-back to understand the main character.  Imagine Jack Reacher, Lizbeth Salander and Jason Borne thrown in with Ziva David from the t.v. show NCIS…well, that’s Jet.  Heck, she’s as close to Angelina Jolie’s movie portrayal of SALT as any of the other fictional characters I’ve mentioned.  Jet just wants to leave the nightmares of her service for country behind, but fate has a way of throwing a huge monkeywrench into her plans.  This was a thrill ride that features a heroine that is unflinchingly unconventional and never holds back.  As a fan of strong female characters, I found myself easily drawn into the stories, so much so that I read both over again.

On that note, I had better get back to reading my next project, The Wasteland Chronicles (Omnibus Edition) by Kyle West so I can start my ‘real’ job of journalism and finish my second book.  Here’s to the readers and writers who are making summer reading enjoyable!


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