2014 – July

This month I’ve managed to read …I’m not sure how many novels, as it seems limiting to say only that. I usually only count novels I’ve read in these things, but as this month was again taken up with Hugo reading, I thought I’d include it also. Some are hard to mark as a novel read, as we were only provided previews for some of the novels in this Hugo packet.

Best Novel

  • Ancillary Justice – Ann Leckie
  • Neptune’s Brood – Charles Stross

Related Work

  • Wonderbook
  • Queers Dig Time Lords edited by Sigrid Ellis & Michael Damian Thomas
  • Speculative Fiction 2012 edited by Justin Landon

Semi-Prozine

  • Strange Horizons
  • Interzone
  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies
  • Apex Magazine
  • Lightspeed Magazine

Fanzine

  • A Dribble of Ink
  • The Book Smugglers
  • Pornokitsch
  • Journey Planet

Fan Writer

  • Nexus by Ramez Naam
  • Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone

Because it was fun last time, here are the graphic novels I managed to find time to read:

Sex Criminals, Volume 1: One Weird Trick  (Sex Criminals #1-5) Manga Classics: Pride & Prejudice Softcover

And then I had my July Reading Challenge – how did I do?

Books the very lovely and awesome Sam has sent me that I haven’t yet read:

  • Guy in Real Life – Steve Brezenoff
  • Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians (Alcatraz, #1) – Brandon Sanderson
  • The Near Witch – Victoria Schwab

And from my book-buddy-Beth:

  • The Last Werewolf – Glen Duncan

For my monthly reading challenge:

  • The Time Machine – H. G. Wells
  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep – Philip K. Dick

And now, onto the novels read in July!

Valour and Vanity (Glamourist Histories, #4)

Valour and Vanity (Glamourist Histories, #4) by Mary Robinette Kowal is one of the books I’ve been dying to read as soon as it came out, but it somehow took me two and a bit months to find the time. I loved it! THough in a way it feels like not much happened in this part of the series, possibly because our heroes met nothing but hardship so they didn’t manage to achieve what they set out to do, in a way. It was lovely to see how they only became stronger together in their relationship throughout, and what they managed to achieve in the end anyway.

Landline

Landline by Rainbow Rowell is another book I’ve been dying to read, and luckily fate allowed me to read it as soon as it was available, though I wasn’t lucky enough to ever get my hands on an ARC, no matter how hard I tried! I loved this much more than Eleanor & Park and Fangirl, but possibly not as much as Attachments (though it’s a close call). Both are beyond amazing.

Guy in Real Life

Guy in Real Life by Steve Brezenoff is a book my friend Sam has adored, and she promptly flung a beautiful hardcover edition to me. I’ve read and enjoyed it finally – Sam and I decided that July would be the month we get through all books we’ve been gifted lately! From here I have Brandon Sanderon’s first in the Alcatraz series, as well as Victoria Schwab’s The Near Witch to get through – all such awesome books! I should get straight to it.

I Am Juliet

I am Juliet by Jackie French is her latest book out – yes, I’m still on a Jackie French binge. I just met her, in fact! She did a book signing, then a book talk, then I was lucky enough to go to a writing course run by her. She’s the reason I’m such a voracious reader now, and she perfectly shows how any book is readable, no matter what age group it’s aimed at, when it’s written so fantastically well.

The Golden Boys

Golden Boys by Sonya Hartnett was a startling book, really. Utterly normal in every way, perfectly capturing how children interact with each other, and how they view the adults in their lies. The swearing and insults in this weren’t over-abundant, but perfectly called for and descriptive. This was a bit of a hard book to read (well, it’s engaging and hard to put down, but due to the subject matter…) you get a slowly building sense of unease as the book shows you what it’s about. It’s not immediately obvious, and when it is, it’s handled in such a matter of fact way. Brilliant writing.

Second Chances (Everyday Angel, #2)

Second Chances (Everyday Angel #2) by Victora Schwab is another middle grade read, but I’m so determined to read everything Victoria writes that this series has managed to catch my attention. And like Jackie French’s books, even though I’m well above the reading level it’s aimed at, it’s still nice to read. The characters are engaging and the plots are simple but cute, and honestly provide important suggestions for how to deal with issues in your life that kids need to know about, but adults could also stand a reminder about also. This particular book was about bullies and losing friendships, which I hear about at work with co-workers, so you’re never too old!

Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians (Alcatraz, #1)

Alcatraz Verses the Evil Libarians (Alcatraz #1) by Brandon Sanderson is a book I’ve been meaning to read since I fell in love with Sanderon’s books, and then the lovely Sam gifted me a copy when I took too long to read it! And now that I have, I’m kicking myself that I took so long! No one should let the fact this is middle grade delay why you would read it – the voice Alcatraz has is witty as he speaks directly to the reader, and the joy in this book – how zany and odd it all is – makes it such a joy to read. Honestly, if you haven’t read it yet but you’re a Sanderson fan – GO AND READ IT!

The Time Machine

The Time Machine by H. G. Wells was read as one of my month theme challenges – steampunk/cyberpunk, which it’s listed as but I never really got a sense of. I’d list it as straight science fiction but welcome discussion if anyone wants to point out what I’ve missed.

I really enjoyed this – it was certainly different to what I was expecting, even though I didn’t really go into it expecting anything – just not that! The little people, for instance, and such emotion from the main character. I suppose I was expecting some mild-mannered old British chap to go travelling through a vast expanse of time and the strange things he sees, but doesn’t overly interact with?

YOu can see why this is a classic, and I shall be looking into adaptions in the near future.

Dangerous Girls

Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas was read in an afternoon – I just couldn’t put it down, even when I really should have. Currently recovering from minor surgery which has made it hard to stare at screens or concentrate on anything other than podcasts in a dark room… but this book demanded to be finished, so I decided the headache was entirely worth it!

Just like ‘We Were Liars’ by E. Lockhart, this book leaves you wondering until it punches you in the stomach with the conclusion. The characters and plot are compelling throughout, and it jumps around from varying degrees in the past to the present which keeps you right on the edge of your seat. Fantastic!

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick was another I read for my theme challenge – steampunk/cyberpunk, and again didn’t really get that vibe from it. I loved this even more than The Time Machine – again, knowing surprisingly little about this novel going into it and having not even watched Blade Runner (I know, what have I done with my life), it really caught me by surprise how electronic sheep tied into this world. Utterly fantastic, I loved it!

The Last Werewolf (The Last Werewolf, #1)

The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan is a book I’ve been meaning to read for so long that by the time I came to it, it fell a little flat -not that I was expecting anything of it, but I’m sure you know the feeling. This is a book that if I re-read it in a year or so, it will dazzle me.

Missing You, Love Sara

Missing You, Love Sara by Jackie French is apparently a book I read while in primary school, but I didn’t remember bits when re-reading it again now. Written in the style of a younger sister whose older sister has disappeared, baffling friends, family and the police, this is a heartfelt tale that will never go old as it sadly occurs in any generation, with just as much trauma for those left behind whether this happened in the 40s, 80s, or happens 20 years from now.

~

Where to from here? Well I finally get to read ‘H is for Hawk’ by Helen Macdonald, a lovely friend of mine. Her book is doing SO WELL and I couldn’t be more ecstatic :D I’m currently 15% of the way through, and while it would be rude to say I’m enjoying it (as it’s about her grief at losing her father), I am loving her way with words; it’s a beautiful book.

Other books on my ‘to read’ list are California Bones by Greg Van Eekhout which I’ve started but had to leave to the side slightly as I struggled to get through Hugo reading; Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel which I have for review, Solaris Rising 3 edited by Ian Whates which I have for review, and Two Hundred and Twenty-One Baker Streets, edited by David Thomas Moore which I have for review. Better get cracking!

Oh, and I really should finish reading Victoria Schwab’s ‘The Near Witch‘, the one book I didn’t quite get to for my July reading challenge. But then if I read that, I’ll have no Schwab left to enjoy!

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