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[personal profile] kribu
On the off chance that LJ actually lets me post this, here's the latest part of my overview of books read this year. I'm amazed that I've managed to keep up with it! It's been seven months now!

Anyway, July 2011 - eight books read. Yes, I know; it's not nearly as many as in the previous months, but I did spend a week travelling, and it's just been a busy time in general. I hardly remember the books I read earlier in the month.


July 4-5: Jeanne DuPrau - The Prophet of Yonwood (third book in the Books of Ember series)

Comments: Hmm. It's a tricky one. I gather a lot of people dislike that book in the series ... it's quite a bit different from the first two, in that it's a prequel taking place quite a while (a few hundred years?) before, a lot more in something like "our time", although there are details indicating the action takes place in our future. Anyway, while it was an all-new cast and a very different story, I think I actually enjoyed it more than the second book. There's still the obvious preachiness regarding Issues, and what's right and what's wrong, but the message was good (everyone should learn to think for themselves) and as I've said before, these are children's books, very much so.

There's also a fourth book; I'm looking forward to reading that (not even knowing if it's a return to the original storyline or not).

July 6-7: Hazel Holt - The Cruellest Month

Comments: Holt's series isn't the most awesome ever, but really, one could do a lot worse for nice cosy murder mysteries set in in small English communities. I suspect these will be my go-to books whenever I feel a desire for a book of this sort and am out of other options - not amazing in any way, but solid and dependable for providing a couple of evenings' enjoyment.

July 8-12: Joe Craig - Jimmy Coates: Killer (first book in the Jimmy Coates series)

Comments: Action/adventure a bit along the lines of Alex Rider, except set in a modern dystopian England ruled by a tyrant. Interesting premise (I shouldn't give away too much of it - slowly discovering what was up with Jimmy was one of the things that kept me reading), and the execution wasn't bad, but it didn't quite click with me. I think it's the characters - as usual, they often make or break a book for me, and if I don't (grow to) care for at least some of them by the end of the book, it's not really all that satisfying.

July 12-14: John G. Hartness - Hard Day's Knight (first book in the Black Knight Chronicles)*

Comments: This month's indie/self-published book on my reading list, a comical action/adventure with modern-day vampires in .. er, it was too long ago, but some US town. Definitely one of the better self-published books that I've read, and one that I think could really be rather good if it ever saw a professional editor - but with the caveat that it's a book that relies very much on humour and thus won't be to everyone's tastes, if they don't care for the tone or warm to the narrator. It worked for me, so I was happy.

Alas, it did start to fall apart around the ending, and I felt the last bits, including the resolution, were really much weaker than the rest of it, but even so, I wouldn't mind reading more from this author and those characters.

July 14-17: Alan Bradley - The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (first book in the Flavia de Luce series)

Comments: A well-written mystery with a very young amateur detective, an intriguing plot, nice setting ... but ultimately, it didn't really work for me. Once again, as I've said so often before, it comes down to whether I like the characters or not - for books like this, the main character - and I just really didn't like Flavia. At all. If I had to spend any time around her at all, I don't think I could resist the temptation to punch her in the face, repeatedly (and I don't usually beat up little girls, honest). I sort of kept hoping that maybe she'd die or something, but no. Sniffle.

July 18-27: Chloe Neill - Some Girls Bite, Friday Night Bites (first and second books in the Chicagoland Vampires series)

Comments: Knowing that [personal profile] dreamy_dragon73 and [personal profile] juno_magic loved these books, and that [personal profile] dickgloucester hated the first book, I couldn't help but approach Some Girls Bite with a certain prejudice. It's certainly not my usual genre (not that I'm quite sure what the genre is here - a mix between paranormal romance and urban fantasy?).

I should say that I think - out of all the books I've read lately, and this includes the self-published ones - this (and this goes for the second book, too) was in major need of editing. Really. I don't know if anyone but the author had read it at all - if someone did, they must have been drunk, or something. The writing's really not very good at all from a technical / style point of view, there were things that made me growl (seriously, pls do not have four or five people chuckle on one page! and please stop referring to every single male, including people almost 400 years old and looking 30-ish, as "boy" all. the. fucking. time!), and in general ... yeah, editor needed, muchly.

That said, and although I didn't really like the main character or any of the "boys" (and also, one big reason why I stay away from romances in general - there were three "boys" in this book, all different, that were supposed to be drop-dead gorgeous and awesome and guh and what not, and the physical descriptions of all of them were off-putting for me), it did keep me reading. And there was a plot! A plot beyond "ooh, hot boy! ooh, another hot boy! oh look, this boy is really hot!", even, and mercifully no sex either, and by the end of the book, I actually found myself interested enough in what was going on, so I took advantage of the long hours spent on the plane to and from London and read the second one, too. Which had the added bonus of disliking the boys a little less, and becoming even more interested in the plot.

I think I might well read more of this, with the full knowledge that writing-wise, this series really isn't all that great. But it is entertaining, I suppose.

July 25-30: Catherine Fisher - Sapphique (sequel to Incarceron)

Comments: Well. It's really no easier to say anything decisive about this as it was after reading Incarceron. I can say that I liked/enjoyed Sapphique more than the first book, possibly because the world (and what a weird, imaginative world it is) was already familiar to me, but also because there was a lot more Jared in this. And I liked Jared, a lot, in the first book, and especially in this one (and I ship Jared/Claudia like whoa).

It's an interesting book, not the least because it actually leaves a lot of questions unanswered, and not everything is neatly wrapped up. Not what really happened (because seriously, I don't really know), not what's going to happen, not about the relationships... Also, I have to say I liked how the romantic relationships were done in this book - how they were not, in any way, central. Jared/Claudia, whatever the undertones of that were (and oh, there were so many delicious undertones there), was probably as romantic as things got, really, while being very, very, very platonic. Claudia's relationship with her father was fascinating in its wistful twistedness.

It's a pity, really, that there won't be another book, but on the other hand ... I have a really hard time deciding how I feel about these books. On the one hand, they've got such an original, intriguing premise. On the other hand ... argh, they're so frustrating, on so many levels! (Oh, and the head-hopping, from one paragraph to another ... ouch.)


For August, I have a pretty good idea what half my reading list will consist of, as it's just one month now until the release of Skulduggery Pleasant: Death Bringer, which means that I can finally end my self-imposed restriction on not re-reading the books (again) before now, and can immerse myself in the wonderful world of the first five SP books once again. Apart from that ... I seem to have 100+ unread books on my Kindle now, so I'd better find something worth reading among them all!

(Note: nope. LJ is being a pain. So I'm posting it here just so that I won't lose it! Will need to remember to copy it to LJ once I can, again...)

Date: 2011-07-31 05:21 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] juno_magic
I'm glad you didn't end up hating "Some Girls Bite"! I would have felt so bad. And I really feel sorry for the author that they didn't have a better editor. The story could have been improved so much with proper editing. *sigh*

Date: 2011-07-31 05:25 pm (UTC)
ayerf: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ayerf
I do love your book review things. Think I'll have to give Incarceron and Sapphique a try... once I work my way through my unread books and at least some of my unread e-books. They seem to breed, I swear!

Looking forward to Death Bringer too, although I'm pretty sure not quite as much as you.

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