Reading has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. I was the child who hid books under my duvet so I could read after I had been sent to bed. I didn’t mind the slow bus commute to Manchester because I knew it would allow me a good hour of pure reading time. I read classic books for pleasure, as well as for studying purposes. Yet, after I had finished my degree in 2011, having read a good few books that I wouldn’t have read out of choice and hadn’t enjoyed during my studies, I was looking forward to reading books purely for pleasure again.
Unfortunately my book choices were evidently poor because the first few books I read were not enjoyable at all. I was devastated that I wasn’t enjoying my previously favourite past-time. I wondered if it wasn’t the books but maybe I’d lost my passion for reading whilst scrutinising books for analysis purposes and reading theories and studies that pointed out the flaws and misunderstandings with various literary greats (and not-so-greats). To test the theory, I read books that I’d read and enjoyed before and was relieved to find that my love for reading was still there, as long as I liked the books in question. To that end, I’ve spent the last couple of years re-reading old favourites, reluctant to try anything new in case I didn’t enjoy it. I have precious little time to read so I don’t want to reach the end of a book and find it didn’t live up to my expectations.
Since starting this site, I realised that I would need to step into the foray of reading new books again, if only to give me more to write about. However, there are so many books to choose from, it’s difficult to determine what to start with. Thanks to my Twitter Feed, I have been encouraged to venture back into the unknown and try out a couple of new books.
First of all, I had a direct message conversation with Rob Sinclair (www.robsinclairauthor.com) who suggested I might want to try his debut novel, Dance with the Enemy, a thriller novel about a troubled secret agent called Carl Logan. After he had given me words of support about my first blog post, I felt that I owed it to Rob to read his book in return. I’ll be honest, thrillers have never really been my preferred genre but I absolutely loved Dance with the Enemy. It was fast paced, with lots of twists and turns and I would never have guessed the ending, yet all the clues were there as I consider it in hindsight. I can guarantee that I will be one of the first to download the sequel, Rise with the Enemy, when it is released shortly.
The next Twitter conversation that I had was with Matt Johnson (www.mattjohnsonauthor.com), who had very kindly been the first to comment on my site, which I will be eternally grateful for! Of course, again, I felt compelled to read Matt’s book, Wicked Game, another thriller, about a former SAS officer who finds himself a target of a terrorist cell years after he has left the forces. Again, I was gripped to the fast-moving storyline to the point where I just couldn’t put it down. I loved the main protagonist, Robert Finlay, but I particularly loved his feisty wife, Jenny. Again, I’ll be looking out for the sequel and hope that Jenny will continue to be Finlay’s tower of strength.
As I mentioned previously, thrillers aren’t my genre of choice, yet here I am waxing lyrical about two thrillers! Perhaps this is a sign that maybe my tastes are more eclectic than I had thought but more importantly, that ruling a book out because of the genre it has been categorised under can rule out books that I may have enjoyed wholeheartedly, like I did with Dance with the Enemy and Wicked Game.
I’m a sucker for a love story and both these books contain love/lust as an underlining factor, Dance with the Enemy to a lesser extent, although Logan does embark on an emotional relationship of sorts. Finlay’s main priority, in Wicked Game, is the safety of his wife and child and I loved that these two protagonists are swayed in their decision-making, despite all their training to the contrary, by emotional factors, such as love, lust, fear and revenge.
So, two wonderful books down, many more to go, and with that in mind, I’m going to start a new page on my website where I will put the new books that I have read in case there are others out there who can’t decide what to read and would like a helping hand. A hint to other authors out there, if you fancy giving me a nudge in the right direction about what I should read next, please do tweet, direct message, leave a message on the website or on my Facebook page.
Word to the wise however, messages such as “I’ll eat my own liver if you don’t read my book” or “If you read my book, I won’t sell my grandchildren” will not encourage me to read any book. I’ve had a number of messages with these types of comments and, rightly or wrongly, it puts me right off reading the book being suggested. I realise that it’s a selling tactic and I’m sure it would work with some people but it just doesn’t encourage me whatsoever. It was really lovely to have a few words with Rob Sinclair and Matt Johnson and their approach was mutually beneficial: they got a sale (and future sales too) and I had a truly enjoyable reading experience, not to mention some valuable feedback about my own site. If you want me to give your book a try, let me know. Hopefully it will end up on my Recent Reads page! In the meantime, anyone who wants a good book to read, I can wholeheartedly recommend Dance with the Enemy by Rob Sinclair and Wicked Game by Matt Johnson.
Jason Hazeley (Author), Joel Morris (Author) 50 days in the top 100 (36) Buy new:
LucasFilm Ltd (Author) Release Date: 18 Dec. 2015 Buy new: