Buy Your Friends Books For Christmas (And My Other Top Books of 2013)

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Been quiet on my blog lately, will address that in a later post. For now…

Are you looking for Christmas gifts? Well then, support some great writers, why don’t you?

This week I’m making a big push to support authors I both love personally and professionally. These are all books that came out in 2013, by people I know to be really great people, and that I can honestly say I really enjoyed and would recommend as reading as well.

These will also round out my “Top books of 2013” list, which I feel obliged to make. Books that I’d consider the best in 2013 that are not here are: A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson, and Killing Jesus by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard. 

1. Divinity and the Python by Bonnie Randall – This book’s a mix of thriller and romance. The main character is being stalked, some crazy supernatural creepy things are going on around a new business she’s about to open, all while she meets a man she shouldn’t in theory be compatible with, but she finds that there’s more to him than meets the eye. (Adult content warning!) 

What I liked about this book: the characters and pacing. I got the shivers from this one for real. I’m not a big horror fan and I don’t think it falls too far into the horror genre as much as thriller, but this was the hardest book for me to put down outside of Suzanne Collins’s Catching Fire that I read this year.

2. Channel Zilch by Doug Sharp – Hard Sci-fi mixed with comedy. I’m even going to go so far as to compare Doug to another Doug, the great Douglas Adams. While this book doesn’t go all out zany all the time like Hitchhikers, there are a lot of laugh out loud elements in this caper to steal a space ship and produce a reality show. (Adult content warning!)


What I liked about the book: The aforementioned light-hearted comedy mixed with a very serious plot. This book tries to pull off so many different genres, different elements of writing and different moods that it’s staggering—and it succeeds on every front. The creativity is jawdropping.

3. Sutherland’s Rules by Dario Ciriello – A buddy drug running thriller. This is akin to the movies Blow or Trainspotting but very much not on the dark side. Two friends revisit their crazy youths for one last hurrah as they dodge the authorities and try to navigate Afghanistan to smuggle hashish.  (Adult content warning!)

What I liked about the book: Very fun and compelling characters, and a good quick ride. Not my usual book topic or genre of choice, but I was completely entertained by it. When reading out of one’s normal comfort zone, you can’t ask for more than that.

4. Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson – YA Superhero/Dystopia. A superhero dystopia? That’s right. You probably have already heard of this book, but it was phenomenal on all levels.

What I liked about it: The characters, the twist. And you don’t even know the twist I’m talking about. Read it and I’ll talk to you about it.

5. When the Hero Comes Home 2 edited by Gabrielle Harbowy and Ed Greenwood. This is a fantasy anthology of short stories surrounding a theme. It’s got the weight of Mercedes Lackey’s name to support it but much more importantly contains stories by both my friends Juliette Wade and Robert Neilson. You don’t need to read When the Hero Comes Home 1 to understand this, it’s all original short stories.


What I liked about it: One, that it’s an anthology. I think we don’t get enough good anthologies in general these days, and am very glad Dragon Moon Press continues to put out great ones. I’m going to speak to Bob and Juliette’s stories specifically because they’re the most important to me – so creative. Bob is the master of the twist and Juliette’s take on the theme is so original it’s wonderful. These two deserve to be household names.

 6. Understanding Eschatology: Why It Matters by Rob Dalyrmple – Christian Theology non-fiction. This book delves into the end times and gives an interesting take on what Revelation was really trying to say to both us and its original intended audience.


What I liked about it: This book single-handedly changed my mind about everything I’d been taught growing up about The Revelation of John. But more, it delves into other elements of the Bible in terms of the end times, from Daniel to what Christ said in the Gospels. It’s a must read for people who are into intellectual theology.

These books are in no particular order. And of course I gotta plug at the end of this the Irony of Survival, an anthology by Zharmae Press in which I have a short story published:

Happy shopping!




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