July Reading Log

July saw me chewing through seven books, which is more than average. One was a non fiction, 2 were books I had been waiting for, and two were even out of my comfort zone! That being said, only two were books I really, really liked.

 

Silver Shadows – Richelle Mead

Silver Shadows is the fifth book in the Bloodlines series, a spinoff of the wildly successful Vampire Academy series. Personally, I like Bloodlines far better than I like the VA series. Sydney, the main character, is far more intelligent and quick thinking than Rose, who was the lead for the VA series.

In this book, Sydney has been sent to re-education by the Alchemists, who discovered she’s in love with Adrian, a Moroi vampire. After spending who knows how long in solitary confinement, in the dark, Sydney figures her best chance of getting ahold of Adrian in dreams is to pretend to go along with the Alchemist’s “re-education” tactics. When the book isn’t being told from Sydney’s perspective, we’re getting Adrian’s, and his views from the outside as he struggles to free Sydney and figure out his own life.

I enjoy Richelle Mead’s books, and I find that as she writes more, her books become better. This one is no exception, although to be honest, I could have done with a little less of Adrian’s. He’s interesting, but watching him fall back into a destructive pattern was disheartening. I know he’s required, otherwise the book would have only been Sydney in re-education, and that would have gotten old.

The ending of the book was fantastic, the last 4 or 5 chapters were great. I didn’t expect the plot to take the turn it did, but it was a logical turn. The way it was described made it awesome. And the cliffhanger was more or less exactly what I expected it to be.

 

The Immortal Crown – Richelle Mead

This is the second book in the Age of X series. I had high hopes for the series, but now that I’m 2 books in, I’m not so sure. I don’t think this series is for me, but I’m invested, so I’ll keep reading to finish it.

In the future, the United States has become the Republic of North America, or RUNA, and religion is outlawed, except for those who apply for tightly controlled licenses. Justin March spends his time evaluating religion licenses, and searching for evidence of paranormal activities. He’s accompanied by his bodyguard Mae, a Praetorian, or RUNA super solider. Both Justin and Mae have experienced paranormal events, and so they’re the ones being trusted to investigate.

While I found this book to be okay, that was all I found: just ok. There’s another character, Tessa, who’s from another country. She’s trying to investigate The Stream, the RUNA’s equivalent to Internet, TV, and telephone. It’s an interesting plotline, but it gets dumped halfway through and not picked up again. The other plotlines seem kind of stilted, and while I liked them well enough, I’m just not taken by them like I could be.

The Inconvenient Corpse – Jackie King

I like mysteries, but not cozy mysteries. This turned out to be a cozy mystery, but I didn’t know that until I was halfway through, and had gone to Goodreads to figure out what was up with the book. It involves a woman, Grace, who ends up at a bed and breakfast, where there’s a corpse in her bed.

Then her husband runs off with his mistress, and takes all the money from the bank account and closes her credit cards. So Grace is stuck without money or a place to stay, so she takes a job as an innkeeper at the bed and breakfast she’s staying at. There, she tries to solve the mystery of the body in her room.

Like I said, I’m not a cozy mystery person. The police guy assigned to investigate thinks Grace is super hot right off the bat, and the two batty old ladies who stay at the b&b all the time are almost instantly her bffs. At some point I think she even calls them her best friends. She’s known them a week. It’s just a little too much to accept. And, when you couple it with everyone looking guilty, it’s just too much for me.

Fish & Ghosts – Rhys Ford

I’m not exactly sure how I found this one, other than browsing someone’s Goodreads bookshelf. It involves Wolf, who’s the head of Hellsingers Paranormal Investigations, and Tristan, who runs a ghostly inn. He can see ghosts, and had taken over the job his deceased uncle did: checking in those who have passed on, so they may stay 3 days and then move on to wherever ghosts go when they pass on.

I really liked this one, it not only details the time at Hoxne Grange, and the ghosts, but the budding romance between Wold and Tristan. I loved Wolf and the two that help him out, Matt and Gidget. In fact, it’s their fight that starts off the major paranormal activity bit, involving a female serial killer. It’s a fascinating part of the book, tying all the characters together, and giving some of Wolf’s back story. The relationship that build between Wolf and Tristan is fun, although I’m less interested in the “instant attraction” they have, that’s so common these days.

The Maze Runner – James Dashner

I read this book as part of a challenge, and I actually put up a post about it, so rather than copy and paste the review, you can just go to that post and read it.

 

Caterpillar – Ashlyn Forge

I actually beta read this, and it’s more of a novelette than a novel, or even a short story. It involves two alien races that have a symbiotic bond that over time has largely been extinguished. Lyndel, the king of what the humans called Levelers, find himself largely at the mercy and kindness of Aton, a Summoner, after an assassination attempt.

It’s a complicated story, and one of the first I’ve read in a long time where I really disliked the main character. Lyndel is a jerk. He has no redeeming qualities. And that’s a nice, refreshing read.

The story is fascinating, and while it’s not something I’d want to read a whole novel of (I’d murder Lyndel myself), it was a nice quick, interesting read.

 

2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love – Rachel Aaron

The title is extremely long, but the book itself is a quick enough read. I always feel like I don’t write fast enough. I can spend a day writing, and come up with 1500 words. I’ll never get anywhere if I keep going like that, as I don’t write every day. This book came up as a suggestion for having read Write. Publish. Repeat. so I checked it out.

The idea behind improving your wordcount is pretty simple, Aaron shows a triangle, with the sides of: knowledge, time, and enthusiasm, and discusses how to take advantage of all three. Her idea, is that if you can be at the maximum for each, you will improve your word output. She goes into detail on what she does to make sure she’s at the max for each, and as a bonus, shows how she wrote a novel of 73,000 words, in 12 days using her formula.

The rest of the book is a more basic “how to” book. Part 1 covered the increased writing, and part 2 is listed as: Tips for efficient plotting, characters, structure, and editing. This was less of what I was looking for. I’ve read plenty of books on those things, even books devoted to 1 of those things. So that part of the book was less interesting to me. It was kind of a shame though, the first 30% of the book is the 2k to 10k part, so that meant the bulk of the book was stuff I was way less interested in.