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Stack Of Books

Stack Of Books (Photo credit: indi.ca)

 

It’s the last weekend of summer, supposedly, though you can’t tell by the 90 degree heat here.  And I’m an English major with a list-making fetish.  I love to read and Lord knows, I always have an opinion, so here’s what I read last month and what I thought about it (if I remembered to jot that down and I’ve already told you what a challenge my memory poses).

The Best

Transitions of the Heart:  Stories of Love, Struggle and Acceptance by Mothers of Transgender and Gender Variant Children edited by Rachel Pepper

One of the best books I’ve read this year.  The moms and grandmas who wrote these personal essays are single, married, divorced, adoptive, and lesbian.  They come from all social classes, religious backgrounds, and geographic areas.  Their stories are raw, painful, honest, and hopeful.  Even if you think you’ll never deal with a transgender or gender variant child, this book shows how mothers love and accept children who defy their own and society’s expectations.  A friend of mine wrote one of the essays, under a pseudonym, and lent me the book.   I think the world of her.  Highly recommend.

The Good

Dead Iron:  The Age of Steam by Devon Monk

Book one in a new series, it’s more Wild West steam punk than the usual Victorian England steam punk.  Maybe Wild West steam punk paranormal fantasy?  There are the usual strange contraptions along with werewolf-ish characters and lots of fae creatures.  Fun, but not sure where the author’s going.

Hexed (Anthology of paranormal short stories)

I read Jeanne Stein’s Anna Strong vampire series, and this had a short story featuring Anna which was enough to hold me over until the next novel comes out.

It’s Classified by Nicolle Wallace

Much better than I thought it would be.  The author was one of President George W. Bush’s press people and also worked on the McCain-Palin campaign in 2008.  This is the second book of a series; I didn’t read the first and managed to follow along just fine with this one.  Basically, what happens when the newly elected Vice President turns out to be nuts?  (Yeah, I think there may be some lingering bitterness between the author and her last employers.)

Sacrificial Magic and Chasing Magic by Stacia Kane

Books four and five of the Downside Ghost series.  Very dark urban fantasy, with Church witches, ghosts, and lots of drug use.  The heroine is beginning to drag on me with her self-loathing and utter lack of self-worth.  Action-packed.

Unbroken by Rachel Caine

More urban-ish fantasy.  I think this is the last book of this series, which was a spin-off of the Weather Warden series.  I love Rachel Caine’s books.  She builds absolutely believable worlds, with fallible yet likeable characters and tons of action.  Sad to see it end.

Life From Scratch by Melissa Ford

A kindle freebie.  Woman gets divorced, takes her settlement, quits her job, and tries to find herself.  She ends up writing a blog about learning to cook (like Julie and Julia).  There are some hard truths confronted in this book about taking responsibility for our communication and choices.  I was pleasantly surprised to find myself thinking about this one long after I finished.  The ending’s lame, though.

Easy Homemade:  Homemade Pantry Staples for the Busy Modern Family by Mandi Ehman

I read Mandi Ehman’s blogs, so I knew what to expect from this cookbook.  It’s well written, easy to follow, and useful.  Unfortunately, I hate kindle cookbooks because it’s so hard to find that one recipe you’re looking for.  Stab, stab, stab the button instead of flip through the pages.  I’ve made a couple of the recipes and been pleased.

Kindling the Moon by Jenn Bennett

The first book in the Arcadia Bell series.  Well written paranormal fantasy with magicians and demons.  I enjoyed the book, but the ending was a letdown.

Don’t Pay Full Price For It

Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews

Book, what?, maybe four or five of a series.  Urban fantasy.  It was entertaining, but the series may be running out of steam.

A Witch in Time and Where There’s A Witch by Madeline Alt

Meh.  Books four and five (or so) of a series.  It’s a cozy mystery series with crime-solving witches set in Indiana.  Got them from the library, glad I didn’t pay money.

Silver-Tongued Devil by Jaye Wells

#4 in the Sabina Kane series.  More paranormal/urban fantasy with vampires and mages taking center stage.  Silly relationship problems in the middle of the action.  It felt like a novella stretched too thin into a novel.

Captured by Moonlight by Nancy Gideon

Third (and possibly final) book of the Moonlight series.  I should’ve stopped at two.  This one is werewolf/shapeshifter criminals plus cops.

Infernal Affairs by Jes Battis

Book four of a five book series.  This one dragged compared to the first three, but I think he’s setting up the big finale.  Urban fantasy set in Canada with magic, vampires, and weird otherworldly creatures.

Two Weeks Notice by Rachel Caine

This is the second book of her Revivalist series which is essentially about zombies.  The world is modern day America and the characters are not as deep as previous books.  I think she’s making a metaphor about government and corporations turning citizens into zombies (or just letting them die), but it’s not as good as her other series.

Shadow Bound by Rachel Vincent

Book two in the Unbound series.  Therapy masquerading as urban fantasy.  Something really awful must’ve happened to the author and this book is part of how she’s processing it.  Didn’t work for me.

2012 Family Guide to Groceries Under $250 A Month by Melissa Burnell

Another kindle freebie.  Nothing new here if you’ve been exposed to the ideas of limiting or eliminating convenience foods and meal planning to save money.  If these are new concepts, then this is a good introduction.

 

I didn’t read anything that was truly bad this month, which is always a relief.  Read any good books lately?  How about some really bad books?  Share in the comments!

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