July 2012 reads

>> Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Pretty good month, just the one stinker, and plenty of great reads.

1 - Riveted, by Meljean Brook: A-
review coming in September, when the book comes out

Yay for ARCs! This is set in Brook's Iron Seas universe, although none of the characters we already know show up. Not that I minded, as I adored the story of Annika, a young woman who's left her hidden village in Iceland to find her sister, and David, a man searching for his mother's mysterious birthplace. I don't want to say too much, just that 1) Annika and David are characters unlike any I've seen Brook write before, but just as good, and 2) There are some amazing, really cinematic scenes that left me with my mouth hanging open. Fantastic.

2 - Demon Angel, by Meljean Brook: A-
original review here

Lots of Meljean Brook this month: this continues the reread of her Guardians series that I started last month. It was an interesting experience to reread this for the first time, knowing so much more about what's coming and seeing some of the foreshadowing I obviously couldn't catch the first time around. I had a look at my original review and yep, that's exactly how I felt now, too. Fantastic, fantastic book.

3 - Paradise (in Wild Thing anthology), by Meljean Brook: B+
original review here

Continuing with my reread. Lucas is the leader of a vampire community, which is being threatened by demons. Selah, a Guardian, is sent to help out. It's a lovely short story. The plot is simple and straightforward, which leaves space to develop the characters and their relationship properly. I'd forgot how much this one is about duty and the way the characters are affected by this. It was really well done.

4 - Can't Buy Me Love, by Molly O'Keefe: B+
review coming soon

A manipulative old man does the only thing that could ensure his estranged children will come rushing to his deathbed: he hires a woman to play the part of his gold-digging fiancee. I really enjoyed this, it felt fresh and different. Both Luc and Tara are much more than what they seem on the surface, but at the same time, I liked that what was on the surface also reflected part of who they were. Very well done.

5 - The Scent of Rain and Lightning, by Nancy Pickard: B
review here

Jody Linder's parents were killed by Billy Crosby 23 years earlier, but now Billy's conviction has been overturned, thanks to his son's efforts, and he's coming back. A really interesting mystery with a great sense of place and good characters. It did come off the rails a little bit at the end, but I enjoyed it.

6 - In For a Penny, by Rose Lerner: B
review coming soon

When Nev's father dies, he inherits an earldom and an estate driven to ruin by his irresponsable father. He'll have to marry for money, and Nev suddenly remembers the nice young lady he met a few days earlier, whose Cit father is rumoured to have provided her with a massive dowry. A lot to like here. I enjoyed Lerner's take on the marriage of convenience, and how Nev and Penny had to work at their relationship. I also liked how Lerner incorporated the social circumstances of the time: the difficult economic situation, the politics, the social unrest. The only con was a villain who was a bit over-the-top, but even he had some subtlety in his motivations.

7 - The ABC Murders, by Agatha Christie: B
review coming soon

A serial killer is on the loose, killing people alphabetically (Asher in Andover, Barnard in Bexhill, etc.), and sending Poirot taunting letters telling him exactly what he's going to do. It was an interesting one, even though I guess I remembered the solution from when I first read it years and years ago. It would have been more enjoyable if I hadn't, but it was still good fun. Great plotting, and as always, I loved the setting all the more because Christie was just writing a contemporary novel, so the glimpses of a bygone era all feel really natural and matter-of-fact.

8 - How To Tell a Lie, by Delphine Dryden: B-
review coming soon

An economics and a psychology professors meet online in a role-playing game, while conducting their respective research, and initiate a flirtation that soon turns into something else. I really liked a lot of the romance, it was very sweet, in a lovely, geeky way. However, the ending was much too abrupt and unsatisfying, and I never really got what on earth Allison's reluctance to get involved was about. It didn't make much sense.

9 - Chaos in Death (from The Unquiet anthology), by JD Robb: B-
review coming soon

Eve investigates some grisly murders, committed by what surveillance cameras show is a grotesquely deformed, evil man. As the previous short story, while I liked the plot and investigation, I'm very disturbed by how clearly paranormal this is, and how this awareness of Eve's is not carried over to the main books.

10 - Fifty Shades of Grey, by EL James: DNF
review coming soon

Ugh. Nothing I read about this made me think it'd be my cup of tea, so I wasn't going to read it. And then my book club picked it for July. I hoped against hope I'd enjoy it a bit, since a few of my friends had said it was a very compulsive read, but I absolutely hated it. It took me 3 weeks to read to about 55%, since after every 10 pages or so I had to put it down, because that stupid, stupid Ana enraged me. It did generate a fantastic discussion at book club, though, which I guess is something!

11 - The Garden of Evening Mists, by Tan Twan Eng: still reading

The last couple of years I've read a few books off the Man Booker longlist and, except for the winners (which were both meh reads for me), I've loved them all. This was the only one my library had right there. I haven't read that much, but it seems to be about a Chinese Malaysian woman who was sent to a POW camp by the Japanese during the war, and who afterwards develops some sort of relationship with a Japanese gardener, who she asks to build a memorial garden for her sister. So far, so good.

12 - A Night To Surrender, by Tessa Dare: still reading

Susannah's made her village into a refuge for women from outside society, Bram is tasked with organising a militia in the village, and is incensed to find almost no men, and those who are there, "reduced" to womanly pursuits, like the smithy who makes lockets instead of horseshoes. I'm having trouble getting into it, mainly because I resent Bram so much. Is it so bad that one place in the whole world is for women and not men? Also, instalust. Ugh. Will persevere, though, since the second book in this same series was so good.


Vinagrinhos 1 August 2012 at 15:45  

I read and enjoyed the Rose Lerner book a couple of years ago.

The Nancy Pickard is on my TBR pile...and you just made me add the Molly O'Keefe to my WL ;-)

Rosario 3 August 2012 at 06:44  

Have you read the other one? It sounds really different as well.

And if you read the O'Keefe, especially, I'd love to hear what you think!

Vinagrinhos 3 August 2012 at 13:01  

I haven't read the other one but it's my WL.

I'll let you know when I read it then.

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