June 2012 reads

>> Sunday, July 01, 2012

June was an excellent month, with loads of really, really good reads, and only a couple of flops.

1 - Beguiling the Beauty, by Sherry Thomas: A-
review coming soon

The hero, a powerful duke, has long been obsessed with the heroine's legendary beauty, but has the wrong idea of her character. This leads him to unwittingly humiliate her when he refers to her obliquely (but clearly to anyone who knows her) and unflatteringly in public. Which, in turn, leads to the heroine plotting revenge, the old "I'll make him fall in love with me and break his heart". Bits of these sound trite, but it's all in how it is done. The way Thomas writes this story makes it absolutely gorgeous.

2 - Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline: A-
review here

In a post-apocalyptic future, people spend most of their lives plugged into a virtual world called OASIS. The hero is one of a large number who participate in the treasure hunt organised by OASIS' creator before his death: the winner will inherit the company. If you were alive in the 80s and are the slightest bit geeky, you must read this. Brilliant stuff, extremely cool.

3 - Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card: A-
review coming soon

This month's choice for my book club. I have issues with supporting an author known for having really offensive views on homosexuality, but figured if I just borrowed it from someone else, rather than buy my own copy or get it from the library, he wouldn't get any money out of me, and my conscience would be relatively calm. I almost wanted it to be bad, but it was really good. The tale of a young boy taken into a military academy and intensively trained to become their last hope, a commander that can defeat an alien army, was a page turner and dealt with some fascinating issues. This is one I'd recommend even to people who don't do sci-fi.

4 - Falling for Anthony (from the Hot Spot anthology), by Meljean Brook: B
original review here

Much as I've adored Meljean Brook's Guardians series, I haven't reread them. But now that the final one is coming out next year, I'm going to do a reread of the whole series, and it all starts here. It was a good story, which works really well as a prequel to the rest of the books. There are some issues, mainly where the characterisation is not as great as I've got used to with Brook (see her really fascinating posts here and here), but on the whole, a very enjoyable story.

5 - Snow Blind, by PJ Tracy: B
review coming soon

Someone is killing cops and putting them in snowmen. Detectives Magozzi and Rolseth investigate, aided by the Monkeewrench gang and their super skills with computers. It was a good entry in the series, if not the best. I especially liked a new character that was introduced, an inexperienced female sheriff on her first day on the job. I liked how she came into her own.

6 - Rivers of London (aka Midnight Riot in the US), by Ben Aaronovitch: B
review here

A really entertaining and fresh-feeling mix of police procedural and urban fantasy. Our hero, about to get his first assignment in the London Metropolitan Police, realises he can see ghosts, which opens new career opportunities. He's a fantastic character, and I loved the witty humour of his narration. Unfortunately, the police procedural elements aren't as satisfying, but it was a promising start to the series.

7 - Now You See Me, by SJ Bolton: B
review coming soon

Another novice in the London Police here, only the case Lacey is drawn into is nothing like Peter's. Someone is emulating Jack the Ripper's crimes, and making sure Lacey is involved in the investigation. I quite liked this. It was twisty, developments were unexpected, and the investigation was really interesting. It was, however, a bit too graphic for my taste. More than it needed to be for the story to work, in my opinion, which made it feel a bit exploitative.

8 - The Xenophobe's Guide to the Finns, by Tarja Moles: B
review coming soon

A "guide to understanding the Finns", read as there is a very small chance I might have to spend a bit of time there. Very funnily written, and surprisingly, I found a number of things in common between Finns, as portrayed here, and Uruguayans!

9 - Possession in Death, by JD Robb: C+
review here

Short story in the The Other Side anthology. It's a good, well-developed mystery, but I really didn't like the paranormal element, and the way it makes this story not fit in well with the rest of the series.

10 - Have Me, by Jo Leigh: C-
review coming soon

Second in a series with the preposterous premise of a group of women creating trading cards with men with whom things didn't work out, but who they liked enough that they want to "pass them on" to their friends. The heroine is too busy running her wealthy family's foundation for a proper relationship, so the sexy former cop hero, who is only up for a one-night thing, seems perfect. But of course, they want more. Very meh. The beginning, which was basically loads of sex scenes between people I didn't know at all, almost had me putting it down. Got a little bit better, but not much, and the ending was way too abrupt.

11 - Overseas, by Beatriz Williams: DNF
review coming soon

A young financial analyst attracts the interest of a client, a man who is rich, charming and handsome and treats her like a goddess. But there's something more there, as suggested by the chapters interspersed throughout, where the two are in the trenches during WWI. I read about a third of it, and it took me AGES to get even that far. I just found it soppy and mushy, instead of Romantic, and very Twilighty.

12 - Phantom Evil, by Heather Graham: DNF
review here

It sounded really good, with team of paranormal investigators looking into a suspicious death in a house that's known for having been the scene of some gruesome murders many years earlier. Unfortunately, I just couldn't read it, mainly due to poor writing and wooden characterisation.

13 - Dark Matter, by Michelle Paver: still reading

I've only just started it, and I'm enjoying it. It's a ghost story set in the 1930s. So far so good, the hero has embarked on an expedition to the Arctic, with the intention of overwintering in a really isolated spot. There have been some tantalising hints of something not quite right there. Looking forward to the rest of it!


nath 1 July 2012 at 13:29  

Indeed pretty good month Rosario! It sure started with a bang :)

I know Ames enjoyed the Sherry Thomas, but I'm a bit wary. I've only read His at Nights from her and I don't know, wasn't that impressed.

Oh re-reading the Guardian series is not a bad idea. My ultimate favorite remains Demon Angel :) That one, I've re-read so many times! :)¸

The Ben Aaronovitch book sounds really good! I'll have to check it out :)

All in all, good month :) Just too bad there were a few duds towards the end. I've heard a lot of mix reviews about Overseas. I guess it's the kind of books you either love or don't.

Marg 1 July 2012 at 22:24  

I am interested to see the DNF for Overseas because I have seen such good things about it and have it sitting on my shelf at the moment!

Rosario 2 July 2012 at 06:37  

Nath: I haven't read His At Night yet, but the ones I read were really good. If you want to give her another try, I think Beguiling The Beauty would be a good one.

I'm actually quite surprised I haven't reread any of Meljean's, but I guess they're not easy reads, and that's the kind of books I tend to reread.

Rosario 2 July 2012 at 06:38  

Marg: I'll be posting my review tomorrow, but I don't know if that'll help much. I think it's one you should try, you might like it a lot better than I did.

Nathalie T,  2 July 2012 at 13:26  

I also tried to read Overseas but it was a DNF for me also. It didn't surprise me since I'm not a big fan of books with time travel in them. Sometimes it works, this time it didn't. I've read Sherry Thomas before and I'm going to buy her newest book soon.

Rosario 4 July 2012 at 06:26  

Nathalie: For me, it wasn't so much the time travel that was the big problem, but that I didn't like the dynamics of the relationship. The review has been posted now, if you'd like to see. Hope you like the Sherry Thomas!

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