I managed to get through almost all of the books on my Summer Reading List (
with the exception of 1 which I foolishly returned to the library by mistake and now there's a waiting list a mile long - updated now that I've finished all the books on the list)! Plus many more. So here's a list of what worked for me and what didn't, for books read July to mid-September.
Kindred, Octavia E. Butler. You don't see too many black science fiction authors - and not too many would be successful tying science fiction in with slavery - but Butler is not like others. Her mind seems to work on a whole other level. And like the zombies in Warm Bodies, I would love to eat her brain to get insight into how she thinks. Creepy, I know!
A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1), George R.R. Martin. This is an epic fantasy - i.e. a BIG 500+ pages (hardcover). It's not easy to read and keep everything straight as there is so much going on BUT it held my attention throughout. And of course, I wanted to immediately delve into the 2nd book.
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (Millenium #3), Stieg Larsson. The final book in the trilogy and my favorite. It's another huge 500+ page book, but one that I couldn't put down until it was finished.
Don't Breathe a Word, Jennifer McMahon. Loved and hated the ending - how is that possible?!
Shiver and Linger (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #1 & 2), Maggie Stiefvater. I tend to like sappy love stories - and one between a werewolf and a human - sure, I'll bite - ha (I have a corny sense of humor).
Poison Study, Maria Snyder. Lovely, well written and interesting from beginning to end.
A Discovery of Witches, Deborah Harkness. I was thoroughly captivated by the story, the characters & the plot and all the details about alchemy - I thought wow - this is one well researched book. But a LOT of this 500+ page book could have been edited out. I'm also not really a fan of books in a series that end in a sort of to be continued manner - I like each book in a series to stand on it's own.
A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire, #2), George R.R. Martin. Almost as good as the first book in the series (A Game of Thrones), but it did feel like a lot of the book was just setting up the scene for things that happened towards the end. After reading 2 books in this series, I might continue on to read the rest one day, but it doesn't leave me wanting to rush out and get the 3rd book (not like the Sword of Truth series where I read all 11 books).
Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1), Cassandra Clare. I had trouble remembering this was not supposed to be "modern day" and that it was set in London - just didn't ring true and the reminders along the way seemed out of place and obvious. Plus, after reading The Mortal Instruments series (also written by her), this book just seemed like more of the same.
Corsets & Clockwork: 13 Steampunk Romances, Trisha Telep. I love short stories, and this was the perfect introduction of the "steampunk" genre for me.
Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart (Love by Numbers #3), Sarah MacLean. It's been a while since I've read a romance novel, and this was the perfect book to remind me of why I should read them more often. It was well written, interesting and made me smile - although I wish a few of the characters introduced would have been expounded upon a little more - like the 2 mothers. I haven't read the 1st 2 books in the series and didn't feel lost at all.
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, Ransom Riggs.
I devoured this book quickly, because it was quite a unique and riveting story (and the accompanying vintage photographs * genius touch *). I did wish the author would have explained a bit more of the back-story - the characters were so "peculiar" that I wanted to know a bit more about them and their history; plus I felt the main character could have been a bit more ... developed.
Mixed Blood, Roger Smith. Every character in this book is a bad guy, and it made for a thrilling book.
The Door to December, Dean Koontz. Suspenseful, intriguing and loads of action as only Koontz can manage, but it was a little flat for me compared to some of his other (better) novels.
The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore, Benjamin Hale. The character of Bruno Littlemore (the chimp) is so expertly developed that I was with him every step of the way - no matter how grossed out I got, or no matter how incredulous some of things seemed. Because of the way Hale writes, I was hooked from beginning to the near 600 page end. But the book was a little wordy in quite a few sections - still, I filed this away as a book I want to read again.
The Girl Who Played With Fire (Millenium #2), Stieg Larsson. Loved this, although not as much as the 1st or 3rd in the series, only because there seemed to be too extraneous details in some places - unnecessarily so, which made a long book even longer.
The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes, Marcus Sakey. Well written and suspenseful with lots of plot twists. The only thing I didn't like was the screenplay-type scenes.
The Weird Sisters, Eleanor Brown. This was such a sweet story - not in the way of everything being A-okay kind of sweet, but in a way that most of us can relate to - i.e. shit happens but lucky for us, it can work out in the end - and not necessarily in the way we expect. But the way the story was told - by one sister, then the other, and continuing back and forth - took some getting used to.
Wished I Hadn't Wasted My Time
Of Love and Evil (The Songs of the Seraphim, #2), Anne Rice. Liked the first book in the series, but this 2nd book doesn't inspire me to read any more that may come after this. The plot is weak, and although the subject matter should be deep - Christianity, angels, travel through time etc - it's not really handled in depth, leaving it a tad boring.
Orientation: And Other Stories, Daniel Orozco. There were some stories I liked, and some that I didn't, but overall, while this book is an okay read - I wouldn't recommend it to anyone - it's very forgettable, and I just couldn't get an emotional connection to any of the characters or stories.
The Day of the Triffids, John Wyndham. I like the premise of the book, but it was terribly written. I can't imagine anyone awaking to a World where almost everyone has gone blind, and yet being as apathetic as the main character. And the entire book just seems to adopt this nonchalant attitude.
The Map of Time, Félix J. Palma. The plot described on the jacket cover doesn't start until about 2/3rd of the way in - and honestly, if the book had ended right before this particular plot started, then it would have been better. But the author went on with this convoluted story, and ruined what could have been a good book.
The Tiger's Wife, Tea Obreht. It took me a while to get into this book, but about half way through I was captured by the stories of the grandfather's past. If that had been all the book was about, it would have been pretty good. But, like Map of Time, there was too much going on - too many story lines that the author tried to tie together in the end, but didn't do successfully.
The Empty Family, Colm Tóibín. I nicknamed this book "The Boring Family Stories." Most of the short stories seemed pointless and empty ... but maybe that was the point.