Books: April-July 2013

Did not get much read these past few months. :/

29) Community Service by Vaughn R. Demont – Separate post here. Liked it, but likely only out of lingering love for Coyote’s Creed and one Spencer Crain.

30) First you Fall by Scott Sherman – This book was disappointing. I really appreciated how certain elements of this book were treated without the usual angst. Kevin was a wonderful character. The book remained light hearted and fun throughout whilst still treating heavy subject matters respectfully and it came off as realistic, too. Yet, the mystery plot was so-so and veered into the “really?” towards the end (losing that wonderful sense of reality alongside it) Things came together in a very convenient way and people were way to willing to spill the beans. Also: I figured out who killed Allen halfway through and I was hoping- hoping I wasn’t right. I was right. And I did not like the portrayal of the shy woman or the fat woman. It was a little bit offensive. And what on earth did Tony do to deserve forgiveness? I really wanted Kevin to say no, sorry you had your chance and make a fresh start. The fairly open end does not suggest that happening :/ I think I need to avoid romantic suspense? This is clearly not a genre that works for me.

31) Drowntide by Sydney J. Van Scyoc – Appreciated that it was a compact, single volume fantasy. Excellent word building. But did not work for me overall. As an aside: I miss the hand painted covers for fantasy books. The cover of drowntide is gorgeous and actually related to the book!

32) Not Dead Yet by Peter James – Loaned to me by a friend for easy holiday/airport reading and it certainly did the job as exactly that. The writing was technically good, but I found it far too plain- it’s very much we’re told what’s happening, and what characters are feeling or thinking, and as such I didn’t connect to the characters or their relationships. However the book is intricately plotted and I enjoyed immensely trying to figure it all out, as James skillfully plays between viewpoints, that seem unrelated at first, but of course were not. An engrossing read as purely an interesting mystery. But I don’t think I’ll check out any more of this author, as I do not enjoy his writing style.

33) The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino – Galileo as a TV series was just a typical detective Jdrama- nothing special, but entertaining enough. So when I watched the movie that followed I was taken by surprise by how different it was. How much better. It was powerful and moving. The book is a little different from the movie, and maybe even better. The crime, or rather its cover up because uniquely that is the center of this mystery, is very elaborate and you do wonder- would someone really go that far for a love that isn’t even returned? But it is that that probably makes this book so devastating. Really, the book starts of a bit confusing but once it gets going and everything starts unravelling it’s hard to stop reading. The last few chapters were just so incredible, and the ending tragic. I also enjoyed book Yukawa- he was a little more human, still quirky but not quite so eccentric or strange. It was so sad seeing him struggle with knowing what his friend did. I really want to get hold of more of the Yukawa books, although unfortunately it seems only one other has been translated (Maybe there is only one?)

34) The Death of the Necromancer by Martha Wells – Once again a Martha Wells book that I struggle with at the beginning, but eventually end up loving completely. Like what I’ve read of Wells so far, this book is mature and although written in a light hearted manner with a dry sense of humour throughout, it is none the less sad in many ways. The characters are all broken and often twisted, the relationships between them uncertain and not always happy- they argue, feel betrayed, feel hurt. The book is a dark, moving adventure, with incredibly detailed world building (I am amazed at how well Nicolas knew the streets of the city and even its sewers as this meant the author must know this. Imagine building a world right down to its lower levels. Incredible.) and some brilliant characters. Also: this book is set 300 or so years later than element of fire and I did appreciate the subtle call backs to that book- although I am not sure I picked up on them all, I did think it was marvellous the reveal of just who nicolas ancestors were. (Though it was terribly sad to see him and his family still paying the price for what an ancestor they never knew did)  I am not usually fan of these sorta Victorian London settings, but I really enjoyed this one. Also, gotta appreciate how Wells has released her back list as very affordable and very well formatted ebooks.

35) Scorpion by Aleksandr Voinov – The world building in this one is no where near as intricate as Martha Wells above, and at times I felt the world building was actually a little flat. The author also pushed at the line of having the erotica take over the plot- there were just so many sex scenes and with so many different people that it kinda distracted from the plot. Even the world did come across as a little over sexualised at points, which didn’t help the flatness. But although a little sparse, the world building was consistent, and I did very tense throughout wondering how things would unfold because although I could not quite grasp the world and its dynamics, I liked the characters and the relationships between them and this was what kept me reading/invested in the book. The book was unpredictable and there were many unexpected twists: the author surprised me with the identities of certain characters, and how the relationships in this book them unfolded. Kendras had an incredible strength and his dedication, and therefore his fears, about his officer were heart wrenching. I appreciated how the author handled their relationship (I really let out of a sigh of relief at the end when it came to them), and more importantly I appreciated that how the relationship between Kendras and Steel played out- anything else would have been icky and unbelievable. (Though Steel was such a strange character- he was presented as the main, but was never really developed so what happened to him did not have as much impact as it could, and should have) Also- how beautiful is the cover to this book? I admit I was drawn in by that cover because yes, that is a deciding factor for me when browsing  books.

36) The Taker by Alma Katsu – No. This looked to be something I would enjoy but I just could not get into it. I did not like Lanny and did not understand, nor particularly care about, her obsession with Jonathan. This  book was such a long, hard slog to get through. In fact, I actually started it last year and then abandoned it when I left for Malaysia and only picked it up again recently to finish, as I did after all buy it, but man, I am so glad to be done with it. (lets not talk about how its a trilogy. one is enough!)