July Reading Log

So, I managed 11 books this month, which I hadn’t anticipated. I had a lot of downtimethis month, and got into a new series. I also had a pile of books from the library that I needed to get through, so I did.

The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
With the Hulu mini series coming out, I needed to re-read this book. I love it, and have loved it since high school.

After seeing it come to life in the Hulu series, I actually was a little disappointed in the re-read. I never really understood the book is almost a stream of consciousness retelling. I find I don’t enjoy those as much.

The story though? Still fantastic, and still haunting. The idea that the world could turn to that scares me. Given the events of the last year, it seems almost prophetic, and that scares me even more.

The rich world of Gilead is great, even if the details are sparse where I wanted more. Stream of consciousness or not, it’s still an excellent book.

Empire of Storms – Sarah J Maas
The last book currently out of the Throne of Glass series, and I think it’s one of the best yet. I was glad I was able to read the short stories about Aelin as her time as Celaena. If I hadn’t, I would have felt that a lot of the book was too convenient. As it stood, there’s a few things that seemed to be pretty convenient.

A lot happens to put most of the necessary characters in the same place, at the same time, but it’s an exciting read, and it resolves a lot of the loose ends of the previous books. With the exception of Chaol, the other characters get into places that make sense.

I’m chomping at the bit for book 6, which I didn’t realize doesn’t come out until September.

A Court of Thorns and Roses – Sarah J. Maas
I really liked the Throne of Glass series, so I thought I would like this one. Turned out to not be the case.

Feyre kills a wolf, knowing it’s entirely possible that wolf is a Faerie in disguise. She ends up being dragged to the Faerie realm as punishment, and will be forced to live out her life there. Once there, she finds it’s not as bad as mortals claim, and starts to enjoy living there. Then all hell break loose.

I don’t know why, but I just couldn’t easily get into this Beauty and the Beast retelling. The setting is beautiful, the “curse” on the “beast” is awesome, the story is totally reasonable, but it just didn’t gel for me.

Flawed – Ceceilia Ahern
I read the entire book in one sitting, from about 1am to 6am. I enjoyed it quite a bit, and it reminded me of Uninvited, by Sophie Jordan, but Flawed didn’t suck. This is what Uninvited should have been.

The book premise is pretty simple: you live according to an established set of moral rules. Breaking those rules isn’t illegal, like murdering someone is, but results in you being branded flawed. Those who are flawed are bound by a strict set of rules (curfews, where they can sit, what they can eat, etc), and are avoided by most of society. Celestine is terrified of being branded Flawed, and all her life has been careful to do everything right. Until she doesn’t.

She’s on the public transit with her sister, and her boyfriend (whose father is a judge in the Flawed court), and sees an old man, a Flawed man, coughing violently. She tries to help him, and that lands her in court.

At that point, she’s offered 2 choices: do what she’s told to do, and she’ll get off, or tell the truth. You can guess what she chooses.

The story isn’t bad. I don’t think enough happens in it to make it worthwhile, although what does happen is interesting. Celestine has to deal with school after the incident, deal with a nasty woman keeper, and gets taken advantage of by a former teacher. No, not like that, just the teacher uses her for her own agenda.

Blood Rose Rebellion – Rosalyn Eves
This can be summed up by my Goodreads review:>What a perfectly average, unforgettable book.

It really is. Anna Arden has the ability to break people’s spells. She has no magic, just the ability to break spells. First she ruins her sister’s debut by breaking her spell, AND by kissing a boy. This is essentially Victorian England, and so kissing a boy means you have to marry him.

She’s shipped off to Hungary with her grandmother, where she meets two poor cousins, a gypsy boy, and other people. She tries to fit in, gets told she’s special, and has to be involved in the titular Blood Rose Rebellion.

It’s a perfectly average book that’s just not very interesting. Anna is a whiny brat. She doesn’t know what she can do, and doesn’t want to know. She’s not sure she wants to be part of a rebellion, but then she does. Then people near her get hurt, and she’s not sure again. She waffles a lot.

Love and Decay: Revolution, Volume One -Rachel Higginson
This is a re-read. I had read Volumes 1 and 2 (the first 8 episodes) in 2016, but then I spent a year waiting on episode 9 to come out. Once it came out, I bought it and forgot about it.

I tried to start it, but I’d forgotten enough that I had to re-read the first 8 episodes before I could get back into it. It’s slow going.

I still like the episodes, but I think all my opinions from the first time I read this series holds true: Page is impulsive, a little immature, and has an odd relationship with Miller, the son of Matthias Shaw. Miller has issues, that’s the nicest way to put it. Reagan is the voice of reason now, not the voice of impulse, and all in all, I don’t know what to think of everyone now that they’re 10 years older.

FU: Fixer Uppers – Devon McCormack
I found this on in Kindle Unlimited, and dove in. It’s cute, and an easy read.

Mikey ends up pissing off his brother’s roommate, Scott. Eventually they patch things up, have a fun few days in bed, and then Mikey goes back to California. He gets drug back out to Atlanta when his sister buys a house that’s a wreck. To help his sister, he spends the next couple months fixing it up, with Scott to help him (fixing the house and in bed).

This is not a groundbreaking romance novel, although I liked the pairing of the engineer and freelance artist, and the idea of them fixing up the house is one I haven’t seen done to death. Mikey’s a little weird to me though. He’s a well paid engineer, and in his late 20s to early 30s. Why is he going by Mikey? Wouldn’t you go by Mike, or Michael, or something else by then? I mean, I have family that still call me Stephie at 37, but I never introduce myself as that.

Terms of Enlistment – Marko Kloos
I had this as an audiobook for a long time, and finally decided to listen to it. I ended up hooked on the entire series. It’s like the book and movie versions of Starship Troopers had a baby, and that baby grew up, met and married a space opera, you’d start getting near what the book is like.

It’s 2108, and Andrew Greyson is a welfare rat: one of the people growing up in a public residence cluster (read welfare) in Boston. He’s tired of the soy food rations and the fact his life isn’t going anywhere, so he enlists in the military. At this point, they do everything they can to discourage people from joining up. Andrew does anyway.

He does okay at basic, ends up in the Territorial Army (homeworld defense), and does his time. He gets badly wounded, get a lucky break, and is able to transfer to the Navy and a spacegoing vessel, provided he takes a really boring position.

He gets lucky again and ends up serving on a ship with his boot camp girlfriend. He’s less lucky when his ship, and the planet it’s going to, end up in a first contact situation.

The book is fun, and the descriptions are good. Andrew doesn’t seem like a stupid kid: he likes to read, he does well in Basic, but he still ends up in the Territorial Army. It’s not a truly shit position, like most people think, but he seems like he’d be capable of doing so much more.

Then, through a lucky situation, and a favor, he gets to go to the Navy. There he excels at everything: his Navy training, his neural network engineer training, all of it. Hell, even his getting transferred to the Navy requires the use of his brain. After he gets on his ship, and they have a first contact situation, he thinks quickly. He’s not an idiot, so why throw him in the TA instead of the Navy? I know the answer: the author needs the people he meets in the TA for later books. Still, it feels force.

Aside from that, it’s a fun book. There’s a lot of description and tech, but it’s explained easily, without giving you a headache, or bogging you down. Andrew and the other characters have plenty of interactions, and they all seem like individuals. At least, the ones you get much page time with. It was fun enough I went right into the next book as soon as I finished the first.

Lines of Departure – Marko Kloos
I don’t think Andrew can catch a break in the books. Five years later, he’s re-enlisting in the Navy. His ship gets destroyed (yet again), he’s fighting aliens, and he’s having a rough time of it. Eventually he ends up on another ship, bound for a random colony that’s on an ice moon. What seems kind of like a babysitting mission turns deadly, because it wouldn’t be exciting otherwise.

Kloos has definitely found his stride in this book, and there’s a lot more action in the book. Older characters make appearances, and we get to learn more about them. We learn more about the aliens, dubbed Lankies. We see more of the world Andrew lives in, and how it’s falling apart. The book ends, in a way, on a cliffhanger of sorts, with everyone wondering what’s going to come next.

Angles of Attack – Marko Kloos
It seems that one major event is the entirely of this book. It’s not bad, but the entire thing seems to be getting everyone from book 2 back to Earth to fight the Lankies. The next 2 books (next month’s reviews) also support the “book is related to one big event.”

It’s not bad, as Kloos packs a lot into the book leading up to and from the big event. There’s a stealth ship, a Russian space route, battles on a space station, chasing Lanky seed pods, and other fun things. It’s a fun ride from start to finish.

Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation – Bill Nye
I love Bill Nye. I didn’t watch Bill Nye The Science guy growing up, but as an adult I really like him. If you listen to the audiobook of this, he narrates it, and that’s fun in itself.

I’m largely a science based person. I’d like to think there’s an afterlife when we die, but I accept that it’s likely when we die, we’re worm food and that’s it. And since Creationism is in the media a lot lately (Thank you, Ken Hamm), this book seemed timely.

It took me a while to finish, because it just overloaded my brain. There’s a LOT of information in the book, and sometimes I just had to have a break. Nye’s good with it all, and it’s laid out well. He explains why altruism is an evolutionary trait, and how it’s not “survival of the fittest” but “survival of the good enough” and many other things. It was enlightening and entertaining at the same time.