I feel like I finally hit my stride -- and more than likely my peak -- this month when it comes to reading and the books I chose. I had several good ones that kept me up all hours, which hasn't happened for a while and is always fun.
School starts in less than 3 weeks for me, and I am not even half-way where I wanted to be for the year, so sadly, I am not too likely to hit my goal. 'Tis OK, I feel like I have a good excuse. :)
Here's what I read in July.
"Fallen in Love" (Fallen 3.5) by Lauren Kate
This is one of those in-between-the-series books that doesn't exactly further the plot but gives more back story on several of the characters. It follows 4 different couples. It was meh.
"The Merchant's Daughter" by Melanie Dickerson
Annabel is the Merchant's Daughter. When her father dies and his business tanks, his family is forced to work to pay off debts. Annabel then becomes the new Lord of the Village's servant. He is scarred inside and out and strikes fear in the hearts of the villagers. He is jaded against women because of the way he has been treated in the past. It is Annabel's desire to join an abbey and become a nun, but little by little she is intrigued by and attracted to the master of the house.
It's a great story! Sure, it's predictable, and a bit trite that the master keeps saving her over and over again...but it's sweet and pretty well written. I have an ARC of this that Goodreads was kind enough to gift me; if anyone would like to borrow it, just ask.
"Prayers for Sale" by Sandra Dallas
This is the third Sandra Dallas book I've read and really enjoyed. She has a wonderful way of incorporating stories within stories. You can tell that she does her research when prepping for a story on a certain time period--the language, anachronisms, idioms, etc, seem very particular to the time.
This one's about an 85 year old woman, Hennie, who befriends a young teen bride, Nit, in their home town of Middle Swan, Colorado, a mining town, during the 1930's. Both of them have had their losses, and through their friendship, they are able to heal from some of their hurts. Throughout the story, Hennie relays story after story of tragedies and successes from her life and the town itself. It is very entertaining.
"How to Train your Dragon" by Cressida Cowell
I didn't really like it...but I'm giving it 2 stars because I know my kids would enjoy it. (Edit, Cameron just read it and really enjoyed it, especially the potty talk) I had heard it was nothing like the movie (which is one of my very very favorites!!) but still...
Technically, all the main points are the same: Hiccup, son of the leader of the village, is scrawny and puny trying to prove himself able to care for dragons. Rescues Toothless (in this case a teeny tiny garden variety dragon) and together all the dragons go up against the Big Evil Sea Dragon, yadda yadda yadda. It just doesn't have the humor, character, and personality that the movie had.
It did have really cute drawings, which I liked.
"Backseat Saints" by Joshilyn Jackson
This was a truly captivating read. I hated putting it down when I had to. Really, from the first page, I was just sucked in. Joshilyn Jackson has a really great way with words for lack of a better description, edgy, raw, just this side of harsh.
This is a story about an abused woman trying to decide if she's either going to stay with, leave, or kill her husband. It's right there in the first line of the book, and her journey over the next 320 pages largely follows the advice of a gypsy she meets in the airport. It's got twists and turns and surprises. I really loved it. (I understand that it is not necessarily a sequel, but there is a book before and after this that has some of the same characters. I will probably look them up.)
(caution, harsh language at times and there are a few graphic abuse and sex scenes)
"Shadow of Night" (All Souls Trilogy #2) by Deborah Harkness
Diana (the witch) and her husband Matthew (the vampire) go back in time in search of the original and complete manuscript of Ashmole 782 and a witch who can teach Diana more about her witchiness.
The good: lots of fun history and characters--over half of them real life people.
The bad: over 90 characters. Seriously.
The good: excellent writing, quite a developed setting and attempt at plot.
The bad: waaaaaay too much going on and yet at the same time, not really anything going on. The last 100 pages were good, but the rest seemed to follow the sad trend of Book Two just Not Really Going Anywhere.
The good: the fun, supernatural stuff
The bad: for a story about a witch and vampire, there was surprisingly little magic and vampiness. Maybe 1% of the book, which in my opinion, is just a waste of good characters and their potential.
All in all, a very disappointing follow-up to A Discovery of Witches, which I loved so much. I was ready to give this a mere 2 stars until the last 100 pages when finally, something happened for crying-out-loud.
Big ol' yawner, otherwise.
"Timepiece" (Hourlgass #2) by Myra McEntire
Second book in the trilogy, (and I think, better) told from the POV of Kaleb. He and the other X-men/gifted types are searching for the InfinityGlass (something to do with time travel?) while the big bad meanies (Poe, Jack, Dr. Teague) use the teens' skills to their own nefarious advantage, including taking and changing everyone's memories. Hard to explain. Fun to read.
I think what I liked best about this book was the fact that it was narrated by a 17 year old guy. I haven't read a 1st person male POV in ages, and it was a refreshing change. The first few chapters were a bit confusing, just trying to remember who was who and how everyone was involved (hazard when a trilogy of books come with a year between each one) but reading it all in one day helped. And of course, mark of a good book for me if I enjoy it so much to finish it all in 12 hours.
Rumor has it Hourglass is being made into a movie. I think it would be a good one and make certain aspects of the story a lot less confusing.
"Sister" by Rosamund Lupton
Yes, 5 stars.
It was 2:30 in the morning as I finished this book because I could not stand to wait one more day to find out the resolution. I'd say that earns its star-rating--the first 5 star I've read in a really long time. This is the kind of book that lingers with you after you put it down, from page one, really.
It is written sort of in the form of narration of a letter from one sister to another. Bea's sister Tess is found dead, supposedly a suicide. Bea can not and will not believe Tess killed herself, and basically goes on her own mission to find out the truth. Involved is a secret pregnancy, a medical trial, a police investigation, psychosis, and so much more. I can't say much else for risk of giving away important plots lines.
Just know that the writing is excellent, very captivating. Note: there are a few F-bombs and some mature language and scenes.
So, to sum up, four 4-star rating and one 5! That hasn't happened in a really long time. . . I think I'm pretty stingy with my 4s and 5s!
It was a really enjoyable book-reading month.
What have you been reading?