Because I’m having trouble blogging very often here, I decided to steal an idea from a librarian friend of mine and do a monthly round-up of the books I’ve read. The theme this month (and for the summer, really) was new books and old favorites. I reread most of Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ backlist in July and August.
Redshirts by John Scalzi
If you’re a Star Trek fan you know about the Redshirts. They’re the unnamed crew members who go on away missions and never come back. So, what happens when the Redshirts realize that there’s a pattern? That’s the premise of the book. I’m about 175 pages into the 638 on my Nook copy and I’m loving this. Scalzi does a great job of moving things along and clearly had a lot of fun with the concept. The characters are pretty well-drawn, although they’re clearly based on the stock sci-fi Crew on a Ship stereotypes. I clearly visualize Shatner as the ship’s captain and Dwight Schultz as the hapless (and incredibly lucky) Lieutenant Kerensky. Highly recommended for Star Trek fans or anyone with a basic understanding of the Redshirt archetype. Bonus for fans of listening to books: Wil Wheaton reads the audiobook. I don’t normally do audio, but I’m seriously considering an exception here.
Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power by Rachel Maddow
I’ve been reading this since August. It’s really interesting and well-written, but it makes me so furious that I have to take breaks from it to read something less serious. Don’t let the subject matter deter you though. Rachel can write and makes a convincing argument for rethinking American foreign policy.
Finished in September
Crazy People: The Crazy for You Stories by Jennifer Crusie
This collection of short stories, which Crusie produced as part of her MFA in Creative Writing, became the genesis for her novel Crazy for You. I enjoyed seeing how the characters evolved. I also found her commentary about each story to be a fascinating look into the novel writing process. It almost made me want to try writing fiction (or at least character studies). Almost. It also made me go back and reread…
Crazy for You by Jennifer Crusie
This has never been my favorite Crusie, mostly because Stalker Bill is downright creepy. Reading Crazy People gave me better insight into the story, so I appreciate it more now. But Stalker Bill is still really creepy and seeing things from his point of view is very disturbing. Still, I’m glad I gave it another look. It also led me to reread…
Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie (this is the last of the Crusie rereads. I promise)
I’ve always liked this novel. It’s a great twist on fairy tales. I want friends like these. I also want Harry’s story because that kid is incredible.
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
It’s been awhile since I’d read this and I’d forgotten just how wonderful it is. Rosie is one of my favorite characters ever and I love how Gruen switches between Jacob in the present and Jacob in the past. It’s a masterful piece of storytelling that makes me want to read more about circus history.
Shelter and Seconds Away by Harlan Coben
These are the first two novels in Coben’s new young adult series starring Mickey Bolitar, who was introduced in Coben’s latest Myron Bolitar novel, Live Wire. Mickey is Myron’s fifteen year old nephew. After witnessing his father’s death and sending his mom to rehab, Mickey forced to live with Myron, who was estranged from Mickey’s family, and switch high schools. Book one sets the stage for the series and the action starts immediately when Mickey’s new girlfriend Ashley goes missing. Seconds Away picks up immediately after the end of Shelter and offers more twists and turns than a mountain road. I started Shelter on a Saturday afternoon, finished it, and immediately started reading Seconds Away. I can’t wait for book three. I love the complexity of the conspiracy plot, the pace, the snarky dialog, and Mickey’s two friends, Ema and Spoon. I particularly love Spoon. He’s so cluelessly geeky that he’s adorable (which makes him adorkable I guess).
Murder with Peacocks by Donna Andrews
This is the first book in the Meg Langslow series. The characters are quirky and it was a pretty easy read. I got a little frustrated with the love story part because it was so clear to me from the beginning how it was going to resolve. The mystery wasn’t super complex either. I’ll probably work my way slowly through these, but I won’t re-read them.
Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen
Interesting premise and pretty well done. This was a nice light and fluffy read, although I prefer the Maisie Dobbs series. It has more heft.
And One Last Thing … by Molly Harper
This book took me completely by surprise. I enjoyed it much more than I expected to. The characters were wonderfully three dimensional. I really wished that the book was longer so that I could find out what happened next. Harper now writes paranormal romance series and I’ve bought a couple of those titles, although I haven’t read them yet. If they’re half as good as this one, it will have been money well-spent.
Chomp by Carl Hiaasen
Another YA winner by Carl Hiaasen. There were parts of this that made me laugh out loud. His characters are completely ridiculous, but that doesn’t stop them from seeming true to life. The Everglades become a character all by themselves in this book. I’d read this one again.
Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews
My friend Charlotte recommended this series to me when she discovered that I was a Harry Dresden fan. Boy, am I glad I took her advice! Kate is a great character, the universe is well-developed, and the action was paced really well. I stayed up way to late to finish this, then immediately downloaded the rest of the books in the series.
Blood Lite III: Aftertaste edited by Kevin J. Anderson
I needed a Harry Dresden fix and that one story was worth the price of the book. It’s going to be a long wait for Cold Day (release date November 27 — I pre-ordered the electronic and dead tree editions today). The other stories were gravy. There wasn’t a stinker in the book, although it was a little heavy on the zombies for my taste.
That’s it for September. Wonder what I’ll be reading next month.