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Book Recommendations October 2023


science fiction fantasy mystery Book Recommendations October 2023

As I start to share all these science fiction, fantasy, mystery and romance book recommendations in blog post form, I have to admit it’s great to revisit some old book recommendations about some of my favourite books. These book recommendations are important to read because before writers become writers, they are readers. Therefore, please enjoy these fantasy and science fiction book recommendations from October 2023.


Slow Horses By Mick Herron

You definitely have a problem when you know you've been reading tons over the last week but then you realise you have no books to recommend on the Monday. I had a book from a Kickstarter that isn't available yet. I had a great number of short stories in collections but I haven't finished any of the collections yet. And I started to read some other collections. So for this week's book recommendation I'm going back in time to recommend "Slow Horses" by Mick Herron because I read this book a while ago. It follows the story of a team of screw up MI5 Intelligence officers who get involved in a major international conspiracy.


This mystery thriller book is certainly an interesting book from a writer's perspective, because it is masterfully done for reasons I won't mention.


Yet whilst none of the characters are very likeable, Herron manages to make all of them good enough or just barely likeable that you want to keep reading to see what happens to them. And if any of them get redemption or the other things they're looking for. I rather like the River character because I think he is a good, nice character that just made an honest mistake in the first chapter of the book. Granted he whines at times but he does enough other cool things to make you keep reading. The plot itself is interesting with its twists and turns and the viewpoints are brilliantly done. I did enjoy the book enough to make me recommend it and I know a lot of mystery thriller readers will enjoy it. Yet this book isn't really to my reader tastes. I prefer more likeable characters with a tone that's a bit lighter. Overall, if you're looking for an interesting, masterful, stellar mystery book to devour this week definitely check out, Slow Horses by Mick Herron.


The Dark City by Chris Wraight

The only slightly annoying thing I find as a fiction reader that occasionally picks up massive 500+ page paperback books, is that it takes a while to read them. Especially when you have this thing called a "real life" that prevents you from reading for hours a day. Anyway, whilst I'm reading a science fiction book by David Drake, I did manage to finish an audiobook this week from Chris Wright called "The Dark City". Now this is the final book in a good science fiction trilogy based in the Warhammer 40,000 universe and whilst I had massive problems with the ending. I still want to recommend it because it is a good book. It continues the story set up in the other two books about a group of heroes investigating an alien plot to interfere with the Golden Throne and kill the Emperor of Mankind. A conspiracy that reaches into the highest possible levels of Imperial power and threatens to doom humanity forever. However, with their leader Inquisitor Crowl missing, Terra descending into chaos and enemies around every corner, the heroes have their work cut out for sure. Personally, there are three main reasons why I like this book enough to recommend it. Firstly, the author does a great job with these characters because they aren't exactly likeable. Yet they all have their own reasons for doing things, redeeming qualities and they're good enough that you want to keep reading follow them along. And the relationships are interesting too between the characters. Secondly, the plotting is great too. It's a clever adventure with twists, turns and plenty of tension to help you keep turning the page until the ending. You do want to keep reading to find out what happened, where is Crowl and most importantly what are the heroes doing to do about the conspiracy in the end. Finally, I like it because it's an Inquisition book. It's pure science fiction spy fiction with impossible odds, fascinating characters and a lot of authority that makes it different from any other type of book in the fictional universe. However, I know I never mention my dislikes about a book but this is an exception. I deserve it after listening for 10 hours.


The ending makes the trilogy pointless. I won't spoil it for you but the book is set up in a specific way so a certain character that the entire book is about becomes the Inquisitor. That is how the book reads. Yet that doesn't happen and what happens to all the characters, everyone who knows about the Golden Throne and the conspiracy is stupid and depressing. And there isn't a happy ending. That's my opinion on the ending from a story perspective. Although, because this is a Warhammer 40,000 book, the ending is perfect because this knowledge is meant to be something no one knows and if the trilogy ended differently then it would have conflicted with decades of lore and other new books set around the same time. I still think it's worth a read. So if you want a fun, interesting science fiction book to enjoy this week, then you might as well check out the series Vaults Of Terra by Chris Wraight.


Ephreal Stern: The Heretic Saint by David Annandale

The problems an author faces are endless, and it was flat out annoying when you have so many books you're reading for various reasons open and you haven't finished anything for a book recommendation. I would recommend a very dated Stephen King book because it was okay but it is extremely dated and I wouldn't want anyone to mistake me endorsing what was in that book from the 1980s. And I'm reading another few books at the same time for various reasons. Therefore, I've decided to recommend a good audiobook I'm listening to whilst commuting to university and that is "Ephreal Stern: The Heretic Saint" by David Annandale. The story follows the journey of a Living Saint that has been deemed a heretic by everyone and everything she loves because she can use magic. Despite this and cut off from her God, she travels the galaxy trying to save the Imperium that hates her and she learns of a dire threat that could annihilate her God once and for all. Personally, you can never really go wrong with Nuns in space and that's why I really like the Sisters of Battle and their associated stories. They're fun and it is always interesting to see how writers blend science fiction and religious dogma in Warhammer 40,000. So this sci-fi story was always going to be interesting to me. However, it is really interesting to see one of these Living Saints (or Sister Superiors that's more accurate) being hated and despised by everyone. This isn't normal in the setting so that increases the conflict. It's also a good book because the other characters are good, real and interesting. As well as the plot is good at keeping you engaged throughout all of it. Finally, for Warhammer 40,000 readers, I think this book is well-worth a read because it shows you a moment of history in the Warhammer universe that is precious. What did the people trapped in Imperium Nigilus think about the state of the Imperium when Cadia fell? So if you're looking for a good science fiction book to enjoy this book, why not pick up "Ephreal Stern: The Heretic Saint".


Rick The Robber Baron By Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Whilst the vast majority of these book recommendations are novels and novellas, I really like to recommend short stories on occasion because there are some great short story writers about that deserve to be recognised. So this week I am very happy to recommend "Rick The Robber Baron" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. The story follows the journey of Kita Ogude who wakes up tied to a post in her simulation room, she knows marauders have tried to take her ship—again. But this time something feels off, and familiar. She thinks she knows this marauder. And her desire to regain her ship becomes secondary to something she has wanted for a very long time: revenge. Personally, I really like the short story because it is a great little story of revenge, seduction and claiming what is yours. Since in classic Rusch-style, Rick is not a normal robber and he never ever steals what you would imagine him to steal. He always steals something more personal, more precious and more important than anything else you might imagine. Therefore, it was great and very rewarding to see the main character get their revenge. And it is just a fun quick short story that was perfectly entertaining to me, and it reminds me why Rusch is a master of short fiction. So if you want a brilliant science fiction short story to enjoy this week, look no further than "Rick The Robber Baron" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch.


Case Cold By Dean Wesley Smith

I know I only recommended this book back in August and I never ever normally repeat recommendations. Yet my health over the past week, my schedule and some personal things have made reading impossible for me so I don't have a book to recommend. I am fine now but the last week was impossible to make time for reading. Also, Dean Wesley Smith is recovering from shoulder surgery and after all the amazing things he has done to help me over the years, I want to promote his most recent Cold Poker Gang book again as a thank you.

*** After a long busy day, I am more than happy to finally get round to this week's brilliant book recommendation that would certainly be perfect for me to read after a day like today. It is pure escapism and a lot of fun so I am very happy recommend to "Case Card" by Dean Wesley Smith. This is a brilliant mystery book to recommend today because this is a cold case from the 1970s following two great detectives as they try to solve the 50 year old poisonings of some young people that discovered a speakeasy in Las Vegas. There are a lot of reasons why I really did enjoy this mystery book. The first reason was certainly because of the series, the Cold Poker Gang mysteries are always a lot of twisted fun and they're written by a master writer. Secondly, I really like the book because the characters are real, in love and the interactions they have with their best friend make the story come alive. And it is the characters, what they do and how human they are that makes you want to follow along with them.

Thirdly, the plot and the history and the overall story is really entertaining. I have no idea how much of the historical aspects are true, I honestly don't care because of how great and riveting the story is. And the ending is perfect as it reveals who was behind the murders, it is a lot of fun. So if you want a mystery book that will hook you from the first page and keep you reading constantly and late into the night. Then do not miss out this enthralling mystery book "Case Card" by Dean Wesley Smith.

I hope you enjoyed these book recommendations and if you want to see some of my own fantasy, science fiction, mystery and romance books. Then please click the hyperlink on the genre you want to explore. You won’t regret exploring these great books.

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