Some Reading Suggestions for the Socially-Isolated

I am actually on vacation this week, not just socially-isolated. But I am doing everything to protect myself and others: staying home, washing my hands, wearing gloves when shopping, staying home, staying home, and staying home. 

Did I say I’m staying home? No coffee shop? No church? No movies? No getting together with friends?

By the time my vacation is over, I may be working from home. The company I work for may trying it set up. That would mean more social isolation. And in the meantime, my trip to St. Louis to visit friends is postponed and I am home all week.

But I am getting a lot of reading done. I just finished Pierce Brown’s Dark Age, the fifth book in his Red Rising science fiction saga. But Mr. Brown gets a ton of promotion from his publishing company and he has a huge social network following.

So I want to recommend some books by local authors who may not be as well known as Pierce Brown. I have met all of these people in person, and some of them are even friends. 

So let’s show them some support by buying and reading their books:

Mystery

Murder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction by Amy Metz

When Tess Tremaine starts a new life in the colorful town of Goose Pimple Junction, curiosity leads her to look into a seventy-five-year-old murder. Suddenly she’s learning the foreign language of southern speak, resisting her attraction to local celebrity Jackson Wright, and dealing with more mayhem than she can handle. 

A bank robbery, murder, and family tragedy from the 1930s are pieces of the mystery that Tess attempts to solve. As she gets close to the truth, she encounters danger, mystery, a lot of southern charm, and a new temptation for which she’s not sure she’s ready. 

Homecoming to Murder by Carol Preflatish

Military veteran Nathan Perry moves back to his hometown of Mystic, Massachusetts when he is hired as their new police detective. Reacquainting himself with a few old friends, he finds that his high school sweetheart, Dana Tyler, is now the lead reporter for the local newspaper.

Before his new job is made permanent, he must find who is breaking into homes on Mano Island, an affluent community in Mystic, including the murderer of one of the homeowners. 

With a killer loose on the streets, the Mayor Robert Newcomb and Police Chief Paul Cabot expect Nathan to solve the murder fast. He doesn’t like politics, but soon discovers he may have to play the game to earn his job permanently.

The Hunter by Kurt Robinson

John Watkins is a normal man living a normal life. He goes to his factory job every day and loves his beautiful wife, who is pregnant with their first child. One of John’s many hobbies is hunting, and he and his best friend go on opening day every year. This year an unusual snowstorm hits and it is freezing outside. However, John decides to go anyway even though his friend cancels on him. At a new hunting location, John sees something shocking that he shouldn’t and discovers a heartbreaking secret. In the midst of the heavy snowfall and followed closely by his pursuers, John must use his weapon and survival skills in order to make it out of the snow-covered Kentucky wilderness and get back home to his wife. He quickly becomes the hunted.

Fantasy

Cosmic Egg Rapture by Robb Hoff

Alpha and Omega: Your transfiguration awaits you, my love. Heed the mantra, and live exalted forever. Reject it and die a mortal death. Haunting relics lure a non-fiction writer into this destiny proclaimed by his tantalizing seductress. He must either claim his revealed identity to start his new life with his soulmate or else perish in the wake of devastating temptation. Through twists and thrills that test the boundaries of reality, Robb Hoff’s launch of the Eggsquisite Corpse series is an odyssey across a surreal landscape that careens between the earthly and divine.

Love, Lies and Hocus Pocus: Beginnings by Lydia Sherrer

Saving the world is such a bother when it makes you late for tea.

Wizard Lily Singer is kept busy managing library archives, studying magic, and trying to keep her witch friend Sebastian from dragging her into trouble. Unfortunately, he loves adventure even more than she loves being left alone.

She doesn’t want to investigate a malignant spell in a haunted house, but Sebastian is promising rare books as the reward. She also doesn’t want to hurt her family, but is tired of being lied to about her past. And she definitely doesn’t want to get stuck in a dangerously unstable time loop, but Sebastian is in trouble–again…

Strangling her friend, as satisfying as it would be, won’t fix her problems. If she wants answers, and to not miss tea, she had best find the right spell for the job–before everything goes to hell, and takes them all with it.

The Wrath of Lords by Kyle Alexander Romines

When heroes fail, send a monster.

When a dispute with a band of bloodthirsty mercenaries turns deadly, the townspeople want Warden Esben Berengar held accountable. The local lord offers to overlook Berengar’s crimes in exchange for help finding his niece, abducted by a monster.

But nothing’s ever that easy, and Berengar soon finds himself cursed by a witch. He has three days to lift the curse and face the monsters–human and otherwise–that stand in his way to save the girl.

Berengar’s no hero, but he’ll have to do. Darker times are coming, and the land of Fál needs a warden more than ever. 

Step into a dangerous new world of fantasy and magic, where the greatest monsters are the ones that lurk inside us.

Storm God by Lena Wood

The secrets of The Armor of God have forever changed the Magdeline Five.

Years pass. They part ways. Now Elijah has vanished in a remote mountain kingdom. Storm-chaser Rob with Reece, Mei, and Marcus embark on a dangerous search for the truth. In an unstable climate – atmospheric and political – the four friends must attempt what military operatives have failed to do: find Elijah.

He who controls the weather controls the world.

Hand of God by Tony Acree

It was 6 p.m. when the Devil walked into my office and had a seat. Bounty hunter Victor McCain always wondered how his brother, Mikey, went from down-n-out loser to one of Louisville’s richest men. Now he knew: his brother sold his soul to the Devil. And in twenty-four hours, Mikey would die and spend eternity in Hell unless Victor agreed to hunt down a thief, a woman as deadly as she is beautiful. On a journey of murder and betrayal, Victor must now put his own soul at risk to save his only brother, battle a dark underground organization with the goal of nothing less than global war between Christians and Muslims, and fight creatures from man’s darkest nightmares. Then there’s the Hand of God, God’s own bounty hunter. In the end, will he be friend or enemy? Only Heaven knows.

Science Fiction

Chanda’s Awakening by Dave Creek

Chanda Kasmira devotes years of her life and career to saving the inhabitants of the planet Splendor from the planet’s coming destruction.

Her latest effort fails. Life on Splendor faces more danger than ever before.

Disheartened, Chanda places herself into a “long sleep,” intending to awaken decades later to a brighter future for Splendor and its people.

She doesn’t. 

Instead, an even more difficult path lies ahead after Chanda’s Awakening.

Gears of Golgotha by Rebekah McAuliffe

The year is 3141. Rising out of the ashes of World War Three, Planet Earth has been united into the global nation of New Pangaea.

But the people are divided into Mages, those who practice magic, and Chemists, those who rely on science. Society revolves around the Gears, large machines designed to protect and power the Earth.

Rebekah McAuliffe has had a love of writing for as long as she can remember. She loves to drink coffee and write about characters in unique situations.

Subject A36 by Teri Polen

If genetic engineering could guarantee you and your family perfect health and unparalleled beauty, would you pay top dollar for it? Would you kill for it?

Residents of the Colony would. And do.

Only the Insurgents can stop them.

Seventeen-year-old Asher Solomon is a premier operative with the Insurgents. He and his team have rescued countless hostages, saving them from painful deaths in Colony labs as desirable genetic traits are stripped from their bodies.

He’s also suffered more losses than anyone should have to.

Then Asher gets intel that might give his people the upper hand. The Colony is searching for Subject A36. If the Insurgents determine the subject’s identity first, they might be able to turn the tide of the war.

Asher and his team embark on their riskiest mission ever, and the stakes have never been higher. But even if he survives the physical dangers, the devastating secrets he uncovers might destroy him.

Horror

Housekeeper by Geoffrey Mandragora

Jenny Taylor’s past, present and future violently collide at four a.m. on a cold November morning. Her abusive ex-husband has found her and vows to make her new life a living hell—starting with a brutal assault in the alley behind her workplace. Two mysterious figures appear and drive him away but they, too, have not found Jenny by chance.Marquessa King and her mentor, Christopher Stefanov, just discovered a terrifying truth about Jenny. 

A teenaged girl’s brutally tortured corpse is dumped beside the highway. 

She is one of many.

An an old enemy begs Christopher to find his granddaughter’s killer and Jenny can no longer be protected from the truth. She must choose whether she will help Christopher and Marq pursue the sadistic killer, or try to outrun her violent ex. She needs the protection Christopher offers, but pursuing the serial killer holds especially high stakes for Jenny. She not only risks death, but a fate far darker….

Becoming Nosferatu.

Jenny finds herself wedged between battle lines drawn by creatures who feed on the blood of the living and a creature who feeds on the terror of little girls. She is thrust into a world of murderers and forces more evil than she ever imagined…which she is almost certain not to survive.

Camelot’s Misplaced Son by Pat Paxton

Phil Murphy’s just an ordinary guy. A single dad living a boring life when a host of strange things start to happen. Weird things. Wild things.

As a long-buried mystery begins to unravel, Phil discovers a hidden truth that changes everything he knew about his parents’ identity, our country’s history, and himself. He delves deeper, and the phenomenon takes him all the way to the JFK White House and a fateful plane crash on July 16th, 1999.

Photo by Kam Pratt from Pexels

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