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Welcome to the New Year. Here’s what you should be reading!


Date: 12/26/2014

I read obsessively. If I don’t get at least an hour of reading in a day, I feel like I’ve wasted the day. I read 2-3 books a week, typically (depending on length). When Kindle Unlimited came out, I realized that I could finally reach the stars in my dreams: reading voraciously without worrying about going broke doing so.

So, I decided to craft a short-list of books (mostly science-fiction) that may have passed under your radar. Many of these are under Kindle Unlimited (which I have marked for your convenience), so you can easily get into them without investing anything besides your time.

(Kindle Unlimited) To Honor You Call Us (Man of War Series):

A great sci-fi series that keeps you on your toes. This military sci-fi series with well-crafted space combat creates a level of suspense that makes it very difficult to stop reading. The characters feel real, yet are strong-willed and great problem solvers. The only complaint I really had with the books out as of the publication of this is the fact that things never really go too far south for the protagonists; they always succeed. It seems that the characters could stand to have a bit of humility. Still, it’s nice to take a break from the constant “whoops” moments in many books out now.

(Kindle Unlimited) Hollow Space – Venture:

If you’re a fan of adventure, shady deals, smuggling, and strange characters, this is your book. The first in a series, this tale brings you to a world where all the technological advancements crafted by humanity in it’s struggle to survive become almost entirely useless. There’s even a dragon! IN SPACE! My only issue would be the relatively slow pace in the beginning for a book of it’s style, but it isn’t bad. Also, you obviously shouldn’t look too hard at the science (because, as I noted, there is a dragon).

The Sandman Slim series:

Note: This is less science fiction, and more fantasy, but it’s present-day setting and exposition into magic are far beyond what most authors are putting out. I started this series a couple years ago, and have been waiting with bated breath for each new release. If you want a dark read with a different take on magic, the undead, and God, you can’t beat Kadrey’s works here. The main character is a great example of the broken hero, and everything he does just plain works. Plus, it’s hilarious. If I were to complain about this series, it’s that we have to wait for another book.

(Kindle Unlimited) Scrapyard Ship series:

I just recently started this one, but I haven’t been able to put the books down. Incredibly suspenseful, with great technological and military achievements, any military sci-fi fan should check this out. While things move quickly, and the new technology keeps coming, the protagonist’s enemies manage to push back hard, ensuring that the conflict seems real, and that lives continually hang in the balance. The only complaint? Some things just work out way too easily in the beginning, and it feels like stuff was cut out to reduce the read time.

(Kindle Unlimited) Hard Luck Hank series:

Hilariously absurd. Genetically modified mutants. A main character who’s hard to kill, yet isn’t all-powerful (and is a self-proclaimed numbskull, both literally and figuratively). If you’re looking for some epic situations with a lot of levity, this is your next read (especially if you liked the Sandman Slim series). Don’t forget to pick up the supplemental books, too! Complaints? The most recent one (and, perhaps, the last) is a bit of a departure, and tends to take a darker path.

(Kindle Unlimted) Mindguard:

An interesting take on expanding the powers of the mind, this book presents more than just knowing what others are thinking, making you speculate on the ethics of the world the characters live in. The story is actually much darker than you might realize, and the conflicts between characters are exceptionally well crafted. Complaints are few, but some character’s motivations are a little hollow, in my opinion.

(Kindle Unlimited) Post/Sub/In/Trans Human series:

If you know me, you know I love the science of artificial intelligence. This book series takes the progression of humanity to a new level, with political and ethical ramifications reminiscent of Ghost in the Shell (but original in its own right). The ethics are especially well crafted in the universe, and the technology is otherworldly, but seemingly plausible. My only complaint? I hate time travel, in most situations, and this book has one of those situations (for a great book that has time travel, read The End of Eternity by Isaac Asimov). Once you get past it, though, you’ll find it’s an amazing read.

(Kindle Unlimited) B-Spine:

Bioengineering is a technology that rarely gets explored well in science fiction. B-Spine proves that yes, you can have your genetically modified cake, and eat it, too. It’s a dark tale of a world where animals are engineered to become one with our technology; even our elevators are powered by beasts that are biologically and technologically engineered. Combine that with a great detective story, tactical combat, and some well-crafted characters, you’ve got an awesome read that everybody who’s into alternative future-tech and dystopian literature should check out. Were I to complain about this book, I would say that you’ve really got to pay attention to the time stamps in the chapters, as it can be easy to get lost.

Turing Evolved:

This book is, by far, my favorite read of the year. I’ve re-read it multiple times, and am dying for another book in the same vein from the author (who published independently originally, but got picked up by a publisher – rightly so, because this is brilliant). Another AI-themed book, it’ll leave you craving more and more as you progress. The ending, while somewhat predictable, depending on how much you read AI-themed material, is very, VERY well done. I can’t complain, aside from the fact that I would do just about anything to get a follow-up book.