This month I managed to read 17 novels – it should be jumping in numbers now that judging has begun! Below I’ll list the novels read for my part in judging the fantasy novel category in the Aurealis Awards which I’m not able to discuss, then below shall carry on as normal for books I’ve read for enjoyment or review.
Novels read for Aurealis Judging
- Aftermath of Armageddon (#2 FirstWorld Saga) by Christopher Jackson-Ash
- Blood Work (Night Call, #1) by L.J. Hayward
- The Shadow’s Heart (The Risen Sun #3) by K.J. Taylor
- Demon Child (Celestial Battle #2) by Kylie Chan
And now, onto the novels read in August!
The Falcon Throne (#1 The Tarnished Crown) by Karen Miller is a book read for review (posted here) that has everything. Lordly politics, hatred and mistrust for the closest members of family, witches scheming, and dozens of people plotting for their own success keep the pages in this book turning, unable to be put down. This is in the style of Joe Abercrombie and Steven Erikson, so if you’re after that style of fantasy – grab this now.
Solaris Rising 3 anthology edited by Ian Whates was another review book (review posted here) that I picked up because Laura Lam has a piece in it, and she’s one of my favourite authors. Sean Williams and a few others were a bonus! This was a pretty decent anthology. The anthology starts off with one of the most readable introductions I’ve seen in big anthologies – generally I skim over them, but this, Whates takes the time to explain how he first came across each other and how they caught his attention, which I found quite interesting.
The F- It List by Julie Halpern was a book read for fun after getting a few review books done a dusted. I noticed that both Sam and River had it marked on goodreads as five stars each, and as our tastes often align I wasn’t surprised when I loved the book. This is another young adult book that perfectly captures how teenagers talk to each other and interact. It caught the depth of feeling you have when you feel lost or like you’ve lost control of your own life. Five stars to this book!
H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald is a very special book. Written by my friend, Helen, it shows her life when she was first learning to cope with the sudden death of her father. A falconist, she finds herself coping through taking on the most ferocious birds of prey – the goshawk, who she names Mabel. Though this we also learn of the life of a man, T. H. White, best known for his Arthurian novels, ‘The Once and Future King’ and important to Helen from a young age for his book ‘The Goshawk’. Through beautiful writing Helen shows us a lot in general, about everything – that’s the only way to sum it up.
Swimming to Tokyo by Brenda St. John Brown was another review book, (review which can be read here), which was damn good, but somehow not good enough for me. I think I was expecting to love this much more (probably because my expectations were so high; I was so desperate for another excellent novel that captures Tokyo), and I was hoping for a book that has that unexplainable zing to it. I need to put that aside, because overall, this is a great novel.
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel was another review book that I’d been trying to get my hands on for months after my friend Zarina flailed about it. I managed to get an ARC (my review is here) and wow. I was not disappointed. I loved this book! Easily one of the best I’ve read in the past few years. I loved how it did dystopian in an arty, intelligent Lit way – not that there’s anything wrong with other dystopians at all (as you can see from my reading pile, I read a lot of them! – but just because it took the same tropes and did them in a different style, and did it damn well.
The Selection by Kiera Cass was a fun quick read. That’s all there really is to say about this, really! Apparently the author is another member of the ‘behaving badly’ gang, so I won’t really say much more about her work.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is one of those classics I never read until now – we did other books in school, though friends in another English class studied this (I think while we did One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest). My partner however is taking another English Lit class in college, and he has to read this for it so I thought I’d jump in… and honestly, I was disappointed. Tropes and plot aside, the writing itself was pretty dull.
The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab and with that, I’ve managed to read all her books (yes, including her new Middle Grade books), so yay for that :D I love Schwab’s work, and this was just as excellent as her others. A very beautiful book that I heartily recommend to Juliet Marillier fans in particular.
Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas is a book I picked up because ‘Dangerous Girls’ by the same author was so damn good. And then this was so, so bad! What a disappointment :\
Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding was read for my monthly challenge, this time ‘modernisation of a classic’ – I meant to read this in year 12 for my ‘compare two texts’ study (but then instead went with ‘My Brilliant Career’ compared with ‘Looking for Alibrandi’. I have to say, I was surprised by how much I loved this, seeing as I’ve always snobbily avoided chick lit (which is unfair of me, anything can be well written!) I loved the characters in this, and it was really quite fun!
Seer of Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier – oh how I wish I’d read these books in order! You don’t need to, but I really should. This was an excellent book, just like her others, and I can’t wait to read the one remaining book in this series that I haven’t yet had time to. Ah well. One day soon, I hope. The characters in this one were oh so stunning, and I wish there was a follow up of the same characters, two or three years later.
The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells was a gift from the lovely Tehani and the best boss I have – out of five, that’s saying a lot! – when she read it and loved it so much she started nudging others into reading it asap. It was EXCELLENT and I can’t wait to read the rest of the series. I love how the characters had serious thought put into them, and how there’s a range of sexual orientations yet no big deal is made of it – this is just natural and accepted and it’s such a relief.
From my previous post, I hoped to read 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, and now have to admit I’m just too behind in reviewing/judging and such, so I’ve had to put it on pause for now. Also from my previous post, I still have Two Hundred and Twenty-One Baker Streets, edited by David Thomas Moore for review, and so I really need to get onto that early September.
September’s monthly challenge is crime/mystery, so I think I’ll be reading Bad Debts by Peter Temple, an Australian crime series about a guy called Jack Irish, recently portrayed by Guy Pearce.