July Recap 2016

2016 07-11 South Boston SunsetLet’s start my July recap off with a beautiful photo, to the right of Castle Island in Boston. This was a busy month with lots of family, a lot of busy weekends and a lot to do at work. Thankfully (mostly because of Pokémon Go) I’ve had time to just wander around the city and relax.

If you’re not playing, you probably should be. It’s made me go out when I’ve felt like being lazy and I ended up walking six or seven miles! Not to mention it’s made my morning walks a bit more interactive😀 There are only two downsides: 1) I’ve spent a lot of time doing it that I would generally be reading; and 2) when you go out for an hour walk and then don’t come home for four or five hours, um yeah. Thankfully my morning walks are very structured so it hasn’t made me late for work or anything like that. Continue reading

Book 447: The Enchantress (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel #6) – Michael Scott

Scott, Michael - The EnchantressAs with The Warlock, I wish I had as much enthusiasm and glowing things to say about this book as I did the first time I read it. I picked up this copy way back in 2013 and it’s sat on my shelf since then. I’m glad I’ve re-read them so I can clear up the shelf space now. (I didn’t even technically read it this time as I checked out digital copies from the library to take to China to save space :-D)

It is still a great read and an amazing conclusion to the series, but it’s just not as full of impact or as powerful as I remember it being. This is because of the big reveals in The Warlock that I wrote about at the end and how that reveal is then discussed and explained (and even sort of thrown away) in this book. For me, it’s the reveal I talk about in the next paragraph that made the re-read so hard. It’s one of those things, similar to an unreliable narrator, that is just a major turn off for me when it comes to a book.

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Book 441: The Madwoman Upstairs – Catherine Lowell

Lowell, Catherine - The Madwoman UpstairsBack-to-back Brontë fan-fictions you say? Hell yes, I say! I honestly didn’t plan it this way, but both books were burning holes on my TBR pile and I wanted to read them before I headed out to China.

I really do need to up my game though, I had no idea this (or Jane Steele) were coming out this year. Unlike Jane Steele, this one doesn’t seem to be making as big of a splash. It could be because it’s a debut novel, or it could be because it’s by a smaller publisher, but I couldn’t tell you for sure what it is.

I know I stumbled across The Madwoman Upstairs after I finally got around to reading an article from The Daily Beast titled Life Lessons From the Brontë Sisters (article link). So of course I reached out to the publisher and they kindly sent a review copy*, which once I started reading I blazed through.

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Book 440: Jane Steele – Lyndsay Faye

Faye, Lyndsay - Jane SteeleThis was incredibly entertaining and fascinatingly fun to read, but it wasn’t at all what I expected. I think perhaps I’ve read too many Austen fan-fiction novels that fit into one of two molds: modern retelling or prequel/sequel. There are the occasional paranormal/sci-fi mash-ups but mostly they fit within those first two molds. This novel was completely different.

I knew it would be different because the Brontë’s are such different writers, but I wasn’t aware how different it would be in terms of fan-fiction. I’ve only read a few Brontë fan-fiction works, 50% or more of which made me want better stories or better writing. When I reached out to the publisher, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, for a review copy I didn’t quite know what I was getting into, but I’m definitely glad I requested it!*

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Book 436: Dragons in the Waters (O’Keefe Family #2) – Madeleine L’Engle

L'Engle, Madeleine - Dragons in the Water (O'Keefe Family #2)I am slowly making my way through the final books in the Kairos portion of L’Engle’s oeuvre. This is the sixth book in chronological story order and the fourth book published in the Murray-O’Keefe books (AKA Kairos). It takes place about six months after the action of The Arm of the Starfish and a few years (I think) before A House Like a Lotus which my response should be published later this week.

I’m glad I’ve expanded my L’Engle reading if only to fully finish the Murray-O’Keefe story line, which the more I dig into the less I think I have actually read because all of her works are intertwined, but I think I will be giving her a rest after I finish this Super-Series. With only A House Like a Lotus and An Acceptable Time left to go I think that would be both a reasonable and acceptable dive into L’Engle’s works.

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Book 421: The Magicians (The Magicians #1) – Lev Grossman

Grossman, Lev - The Magicians (The Magicians #1)This book very strongly reminded me of the opening lines of MTV’s Real World: “what happens when people stop being polite…and start getting real.” This book is Harry Potter and the Chronicles of Narnia without the young adult editing. It is the harsh realities of being a late-teens/early twenties magician.The sex, death, drugs, cursing and general frivolity of that time of life are all over this book.

I of course planned to read this book but never got around to it, but then all of a sudden SyFy is making a series (IMDB link) and I had to move it forward! Thankfully I was able to get a copy from the library after a couple of weeks, now I just need the next two to come in on my Kindle and I’ll be all set to go!

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Book 408: The Well of Lost Plots (Thursday Next #3) – Jasper Fforde

Fforde, Jasper - The Well of Lost Plots (Thursday Next #3)I think this series is just going to get better and better! Although book three took a lot longer to read that the first two, it was because of my own travels, being sick and once again sinking into the sandbox world of Minecraft, this time on PS4. Either way, it’s my first book of 2016 and what a great way to transition to a new year.

This book picks up right after Lost in a Good Book and takes place almost exclusively in the Book World! I loved learning even more about Jurisfiction, the Council of Genres, Text Grand Central and the internal politics of them all. I cannot wait to see where the series goes over the next few books. I think I’m going to finish out those I have left on my shelf, Something Rotten and First Among Sequels and then take a break from Thursday Next, but I will finish the series, it’s too good not to! I already want to check out Fforde’s other series, Nursery Crime, a companion Book World series which he sets up in this novel (see the last quote under additional quotes)!

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