July Reads

I use Google Docs to track my reading (an idea shamelessly nicked from Jennie at the beginning of this year) and the link is sort of hidden away on my 2008 Books page. 

However, I’ve never really gotten around to posting my reads for the month.  I think part of me feels that if I don’t do a “proper” post explaining what a book is about and exactly how I felt about it, I shouldn’t really post about it.  Which is slightly stupid, seeing that I like seeing other people’s monthly reads list! 

So here’s what I read in July – I read twelve books in total (LOL, I can’t count – I said it was eleven on Nath’s blog), with the standouts being Naomi Novik’s “Victory of Eagles”, Tanya Huff’s “The Heart of Valor”, Sherwood Smith’s “King’s Shield”, and Suzanne Brockmann’s “Into the Fire”.  Seven fantasy books (two children’s and one YA in there), three romances, one mystery, and one SF, which sounds about normal for me!

Books and comments below (pretty much copied and pasted from my Google Docs spreadsheet): 

“Duchess by Night” by Eloisa James  (historical romance):  I was really enjoying it up to the last third, when the conflict that was introduced just felt ever-so-slightly forced to me.  A good read, nonetheless.    B

“Fearless Fourteen” by Janet Evanovich (mystery): Ms Evanovich once said that the Stephanie-Morelli-Ranger triangle would never go anywhere (err… paraphrasing horribly here).  I disagree – Stephanie and Morelli feel so comfortable now and they’re just right together.  I think it’s time for her to stop lusting over Ranger, because that bit is now feeling slightly unrealistic.  Better than the last book, IMO (though still not as funny as the earlier ones!).    B-

“Shadows Return” by Lynn Flewelling (fantasy):  An unexpected fourth book set in her Nightrunners world.  I remember loving this series way back when – did it stand up to the test of time?  Okay, Seregil-Alex’s relationship felt a bit umm… 2D in the beginning (maybe because I’ve been reading Josh Lanyon’s books, and he writes m/m really well), but as the book progressed, I became caught up in the plot.  The next book (out in 2009, I think) will definitely be on my to-buy list.    B

“Phantom of the Night” by Anne Stuart (contemporary romance):  I read this for my TBR Day challenge.    C+

“Victory of Eagles” by Naomi Novik (historical fantasy):  Fifth in the Temeraire series.  Loved.  I really enjoy Ms Novik’s wonderfully thought-out world.    B+

“The Heart of Valor” by Tanya Huff (military SF):  A surprisingly enjoyable read, err… surprising to me because although I love Ms Huff’s urban fantasy, I’ve never been that into her SF books.  Until now.  A definite rec if you like military SF.  Although I can’t really remember the previous books in the series, I think it reads reasonably well as a standalone.  Now I’m tempted to get the next… but it’s in hardcover. Sigh.    B+

“The Summoning” by Kelley Armstrong (YA urban fantasy): Ms Armstrong’s YA debut and first in a trilogy. Umm… scarier (i.e. more horror-ish) than I thought it would be, and the plot didn’t feel that original to me – I’m almost sure I’ve read similar setups by other authors.  And I hate open-ended stories.  Having said that, I do like her writing and I finished this in one sitting.    B

“The Fox” by Sherwood Smith (fantasy): Second in her Inda series.  While I got somewhat lost with the huge cast of characters and the number of plotlines (seeing that it’s been two years since I read the first book), it was engrossing enough for me to go out and buy the third book immediately…     B

”King’s Shield” by Sherwood Smith (fantasy): … which I enjoyed more, probably because I remembered who was who in this one!  Am looking forward to the fourth (and final, I think) book now.    B+

“Oakleaf Bearers” by John Flanagan (children’s fantasy): Fourth in his Ranger’s Apprentice series, which I am officially addicted too.  It’s not great writing (I think it’s the occasionally ominprescient viewpoints which throw me off), but it’s very good story-telling.    B

“House of Many Ways” by Diana Wynne Jones (children’s fantasy): A sort-of sequel to "Howl’s Moving Castle", which I loved.  This, not so much (mainly because Howl and co don’t take centrestage – i.e. it’s not you, it’s me), but still filled with DWJ trademark style and humour.    B-

“Into the Fire” by Suzanne Brockmann (romantic suspense): I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this so much, because I’m a Jules fangirl and he only makes a very minor appearance in this book.  But I did and stayed up (very) late to finish it.  A word of warning however, I’ve been following the series from the start and so knew everyone who turned up, but newcomers to the series may find the large cast of characters and their backstories slightly confusing.    B+

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6 thoughts on “July Reads

  1. Yay!! I’ve been looking forward to this post LOL 🙂

    Regarding Stephanie-Joe-Ranger love triangle, seriously… how long does Ms Evanovich plan to milk it? We’ve all known from the beginning that Stephanie and Joe are a match. If Stephanie ever chooses Ranger, I’m giving away all my Plum books.

    I definitively have to sit down and read Victory of Eagles. I’ve skimmed through it and read parts of Temeraire and Lawrence. I just don’t find them as funny as the first one where Temeraire was so young. It’s great to see Temeraire learn that his actions have consequences and not all good on Lawrence, but I can’t help but feel like there’s a distance between the dragon and his captain. Ah well…

    I guess I enjoyed The Summoning more than you did. Perhaps because I have read less YA than you? Ms Armstrong’s voice is what sets this book apart imo. Also, it’s a trilogy… can’t help it but have an open ending, no?

    Haven’t read any other books on your list, but now I’m glad, I have some fantasy and SF authors to look out for 😀

    by the way, I found the Vicky Bliss books at the library 🙂 going to tackle them soon 🙂

  2. I quit reading Evanovich because of the triangle. I liked that Ranger was mysterious but she took that away from him. I prefer Stephanie with Morelli but that’s me. I stopped at book #6 in series but my question that: it should be easy to pick up any of them and read them, right Li?

  3. I am in the process of reading Victory of Eagles.
    I realized that Ms. Novik’s books require your full attention.
    If you start skipping around, you miss all the actions while understanding the plot, which ruins the book for me.
    So, I’m reading Victory of Eagles really slowly, at least for me.
    I completely agree with Nath that I liked when Temeraire was younger, preferably in His Majesty’s Dragon. That is my favorite book of the Temeraire series.
    Also, I finished Blood Noir by Laurell K. Hamillton and Dead or Worse, the Sookie Stackhouse series.
    I didn’t like the beginning of Blood Noir but got caught up in the plot later. Dead or Worse didn’t have much romance but I liked the new characters.
    Well, I am looking soooo forward to Cry Wolf.
    Anyone up to giving me spoilers?
    *^^*

  4. Nath – I probably wouldn’t have done this post if it wasn’t for yours!

    Re “The Summoning” – Yes, it’s the first of a trilogy, but it sort of felt unfinished to me! I guess I’ve a bit of a thing against open endings. I’m still looking forward to the next one though.

    I hope you enjoy the VB books – but what about Amelia Peabody? 😉

    Marg – I hope you get VoE and TS soon!
    Will look forward to reading what you think of them.

    Keishon – Yep, definitely. They’re pretty much standalone. If you stopped at #6 and skip ahead to #14 though, you may be surprised at how far Stephanie and Morelli’s relationship has progressed – heck, they’re living together now!

    Alisa – Yes, I agree that you’ve to read the Temeraire books slowly!

    Cry Wolf spoilers? Hmm… not really a spoiler, but we get to find out a lot more about Bran’s background (which is probably only relevant if you’ve read the Mercy series!).

  5. LOL, glad I could inspire you 🙂

    I’ll start by giving a chance to the VB books first and then, the Amelia Peabody perhaps.

    Anyway, I can’t wait for the next book in the Darkest Power trilogy 🙂

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