Tuesday, September 2, 2014

What I Read: August 2014

Trying something new . . . at the beginning of each month I'll post a list of books I finished the preceding month, with a few thoughts on each. (They're in the order in which I finished them.)

Judgment in Death by J.D. Robb (In Death #11): I love this series of sci-fi mysteries starring one of my favorite fictional couples. This was a strong entry in the series; I read it while traveling (so mostly on planes) and it was perfect for that - interesting enough to keep my attention without requiring too much brainpower.

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black: I haven't read Holly's earlier faerie books yet - I'll get there! - but goodness, I loved this one. It has interesting magic systems, diverse characters, a well-drawn setting, great friendship and sibling stuff in addition to romance, and two elements that almost always win my undying love: gender-flipped tropes and the ability to make me both laugh (repeatedly) and cry (at the end, in a good way).

The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson: I've mostly got dystopian fatigue at this point, but this one caught my attention with its non-U.S. setting, fascinating political and religious systems, and interesting take on technology. The writing was lovely, and I really enjoyed this even though I had a little trouble connecting with most of the characters.

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins (Anna/Lola/Isla #3): I love love loved this one SO much. Even more than the first two! Somehow! I think my favorite thing about Steph's romances is how they're so joyful without ever seeming saccharine or fake - plenty of bad stuff and complicated stuff and just real life stuff happens, and that makes the happy endings even more satisfying.

Paper Towns by John Green: I enjoy John's writing, but this one took a while for me to get into - the characters and plot didn't really hook me until about halfway through. I was much more into it by the end, though.

Pagan Spring by G.M. Malliet (Max Tudor #3): I continue to love Max Tudor and the village setting and supporting characters, but the actual mystery in this book didn't grab me QUITE as much as the ones in the other books in the series. But it was still a great cozy, comforting read. (Except for the very end, which made me VERY CONCERNED ABOUT MAX'S PERSONAL LIFE and very eager for the next book!)

Salvage by Alexandra Duncan: Ava is a teen girl living in a traditional, patriarchal society on a deep space merchant ship who breaks the rules, flees from her community, and winds up back on an earth that is both wildly different from our own and completely recognizable. The multiple societies Duncan creates (both in space and on earth) are completely fascinating, especially in regards to gender roles and the interplay of science and religion, and she made me deeply care about her characters.

To Marry an English Lord: Or How Anglomania Really Got Started by Gail MacColl and Carol McD. Wallace: This was full of fascinating information, but the format made it a very slow read for me. The whole book is presented in little snippets, with headings every few paragraph and lots of insets, etc., and I found it impossible to really get any momentum.

(Disclaimers: I know Holly, Alaya, Steph, and John, and chat with Alexandra on Twitter occasionally. I freelance for Steph and Alexandra's agent, who sent me an ARC of Salvage. I got Holly's ARC at LeakyCon; the rest of the books I either purchased or got from the library.)

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