Book Recommendations

Since I became an author, people want to know what I'm reading. Sadly, it's not nearly as much fantasy as it used to be. These days, I'm reading non-fiction, history, behavioral economics, and other research material. So... yeah, not what people are looking for me to suggest. That being said, over the last few years I have dug into some pretty awesome "off the beaten path" books, and they're worth sharing. All links are affiliate ones to the US Amazon store. Sorry! Too lazy to dig up ones for every marketplace...

Keep going to the bottom to find my favorite title from the last decade. I hope this is enough quality stuff to keep you busy until December (you know, when you'll clear the calendar for Weight of the Crown):

Michael J Sullivan's Theft of Swords - Not available in KU, and priced higher than some of my recs, but this is a nice long book. MJS has been around awhile, and this is a deep, well-written world. I'd been hearing about MJS for years, but to be honest I'd never opened one of his books until he handed it to me. Based on his own suggestion, this is the best entry point to the world of Riyria. It features two lovable rogues, and is really well done. I churned through about 200 pages on the night I got it, and another 200 pages while traveling the next morning. Personal note, MJS and his wife are among the most generous people in the business - they're worth supporting.

Kel Kade's Free the Darkness - Available in KU. Book 4 comes out in a few days and it's going to be a huge hit - believe me! This book is in the "indestructible hero" genre, which isn't normally my thing, but I thought Kel did an excellent job with Rezkin. He's a complete badass, and it's setup in a fun way where you learn about the world along with him. If you like total badasses chopping their way through an intriguing mystery and a healthy dose of seedy underbelly, then this is for you!

Bryce O'Connor's Child of the Daystar - Available in KU. Up to Book 4 in the series, and they are long ones. Speaking of badasses chopping their way through a world, Bryce went with a lizard-man badass, and upped the seedy underbelly quotient. Again, not necessarily my preferred sub-genre, but Bryce pulled it off by giving us a believable premise. If you like Kel Kade's book, then you will very likely enjoy this one.

Jonathan Renshaw's Dawn of Wonder - Available in KU. Only one book out, and no date set yet for Book 2, but he is working on it. I believe this is - literally - the most popular self-published fantasy book of all time. I cannot wait until Book 2 comes out and is the best-selling eBook in the world (at least for a few days). No joke, that's what I'm predicting, and it will send a trill of joy through my black, self-publishing heart. In Dawn of Wonder, you've got a bit of wilderness adventure coupled with orphan goes to special school. I'll be honest and say I preferred the wilderness bit, but it's all well done, aside from one unnecessary romantic interest. Jonathan is also the most thorough researcher of any fantasy author I'm aware of, so this book is steeped in realistic battle and training. If you want to see REAL research, look up his blog.

Will Wight's Unsouled - Available in KU. 5 books out in the series. Mechanically, Will is an excellent writer and I really admire his skill in drawing you into his story. Like I've said before, this isn't something I thought I would enjoy as much as I did. There's a term for this, which I do not know, but it's kind of Dragonball Z-ish where you've got this hero who progresses further and further in power and meets more and more powerful bad guys. Unlike anime, which honestly I don't really enjoy, there's a real story in Unsouled and real connection to the character Lindon. It's exceptionally well done.

Phil Tucker's Path of Flames - Available in KU. 5 books in this completed series. Phil's writing is closer to my own than most current fantasy authors, and we have a ton of cross-over fans. His world is a bit more imaginative than mine though, and there are multiple, interesting characters to follow in this one. Phil's recently gone on to do some really highly touted LitRPG, but if you're new to him and a fan of my books, I recommend starting here.

Alec Hutson's Crimson Queen - Available in KU. There's only one book out in the series right now, but the second is completed - Alec is just waiting on a new cover and then it will go live. He's the only debut epic fantasy author in 2016 to have a bigger release than me! No hard feelings though, because this is an excellent title and deserves the recognition it's gotten. I found his world building more intriguing than nearly any other book I've read in recent years. I can't wait until Book 2 comes out (just kidding, I won't wait. Time to shake loose a pre-publication copy). Crimson Queen fans will find the what well worth it when Book 2 arrives - any day now!

David Estes' Fatemarked - Available in KU. 5 books in this completed series, and they are all miles long. This success of this series has been a slow burn, and as of this writing, Fatemarked is in the Top 100 of all eBooks on Amazon! It didn't start out that high, and I think it's a testament to the quality of the story that it's climbed this long after release. There are multiple perspectives in Fatemarked, but I found all of them equally interesting. David does an excellent job of balancing the stories, and keeping you turning pages.

Michael McClung's The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble's Braid - Available in KU. 4 books in the series, which I think is completed but now that I am writing this, I'm not 100% sure. This book won the SPFBO competition back in 2015, and it deserved the win. It follows one character on what is essentially the worst week of her life. Michael does an amazing job keeping the stakes high without wearing the reader out. You really feel for Amra and hurt as bad as she does when things go wrong. I wanted her to succeed more than any of the other characters mentioned in the previous recommendations!

Nicholas Eames' Kings of the Wyld - Not available in KU. Two books out. The second one, Bloody Rose, dropped last week. Simply put, this is my favorite fantasy book from the last decade. Boom! What else do you need? It's a delightful mashup of 80's hair band tropes with fantasy monster slaying. It's funny, suspenseful, heartfelt, and so much more. Honestly, I cannot recommend this one highly enough, and I will fight anyone who says they didn't enjoy it.

Whew! That's a lot of great reading, and I hope you find something you enjoy. Let me know if you'd like further recommendations, or want to know about what kind of boring stuff I'm researching ;)

Happy reading!