Here are three novels I recommend for your summer reading pile:

Sons of Cain

By Val Bianco

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I didn’t realize that I’ve always longed for a Catholic Tom Clancy, but here you have it: a book Catholic men will probably just love.

Though I found parts of it preachy (and I’ve told the author that, mind you), I found the story and plot to be good, entertaining, and suspenseful. I had a hard time putting it down and I appreciated the faith woven throughout it.

Personally, I’m excited to see what Val Bianco comes out with next, because he keeps me on my toes on Twitter and his sense of humor is refreshing and down-to-earth.


By Alyson Hagy

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I don’t often get books through the Amazon Vine program, but I was having a weak moment and there’s a horse on the cover of this one.

Wow, talk about stepping outside my comfort zone and inserting a novel that’s unlike what I usually read!

It’s written poetically and beautifully, though I could have done without some of the edgier sides of it. It’s not really a story about a horse (are they ever?), but rather an examination of change. Maybe it’s even a coming-of-age novel; I’m not sure.

Overall, I enjoyed it, though the styling was different than what I’m used to.


By Neil Gaiman

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I read this because Julie and Scott were reading it for A Good Story is Hard to Find podcast (you can listen to them discuss it here).

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this book, and it definitely made me want to read more of Neil Gaiman’s work. In their conversation about it, Julie and Scott mentioned that this is the sort of book kids love and that adults find creepy. That, in fact, probably explains why I can’t handle horror or certain kinds of suspense novels the way I used to.

It is creepy, true. This book treats evil and shows, ultimately, that there is hope. Even if you’re a kid. Even if the odds look like they’re against you. Even if you think there’s a big chance you’ll fail.

The Catholic truths underlying this book are great, though I doubt it was written with that in mind. Gaiman said, in the introduction to the copy I read, that he wrote it for his two daughters, to show them that there is always hope and that you can be scared and still brave.

Isn’t that something we ALL need to hear? I think yes. Because I needed it.

Highly recommended and a book I’ll be adding to my own library.