Books I Read This July

The Magicians and Mrs Quent by Galen Beckett
Mr Darcy Takes a Wife by Linda Berdoll
Wit’s End by Karen Joy Fowler
Kushiel’s Justice by Jacqueline Carey
The Soloist by Steve Lopez
Gentlemen & Players by Joanne Harris
A Romance on Three Legs by Katie Hafner
Band Geek Love by Josie Bloss
Second Honeymoon by Joanna Trollope
Runemarks by Joanne Harris
The Lollipop Shoes by Joanne Harris
Ink & Steel by Elizabeth Bear
This Lullaby by Sarah Desser
Small Favor by Jim Butcher
Body and Soul by Frank Conroy
Charlie Bone and the Hidden King by Jenny Nimmo
Charlie Bone and the Castle of Mirrors by Jenny Nimmo
Birds for Dummies by Gina Spadafori & Dr. Brian L. Speer
Guide to the Quaker Parrot by Mattie Sue Athan

Quick notes:

Mr Darcy Takes a Wife by Linda Berdoll: Epic fail. Got halfway through. Tries too hard to be Regency-style, tries to pull in too many new characters in a very un-Austen manner. I could take the basic subject matter; I couldn’t take the execution. Gah. I’m including it even though I didn’t finish it because I need to note it down somewhere.

Gentlemen & Players by Joanne Harris: Wow. I so didn’t see the twist coming. I should have. This reads like Robertson Davies meets Patricia Highsmith.

The Lollipop Shoes by Joanne Harris: A well-handled not-really-a-sequel that addresses further wanderings of certain characters from Chocolat, but whose protagonist is someone new. I read it in one afternoon.

Runemarks by Joanne Harris: Yes, I went on a bit of a Joanne Harris rampage this month. This was an interesting take on what comes after Ragnarok. She got most of the Norse deities bang-on, albeit reduced to one or two traits.

Ink & Steel by Elizabeth Bear: Brilliant Elizabethan/faerie parallel story with really sharp characters and a story that draws one in and really makes one care about the characters and events. And yet, it is completely different from Brennan’s Midnight Never Come. Let’s see, what did I say about it earlier…

Last night I finished reading Ink & Steel, the first part of The Stratford Man duology by Elizabeth Bear. I’ve already geeked out on her journal about how excellent it was. I direct you to her website to read the available excerpted material and get yourself hooked. No, you don’t have to read Blood & Iron and Whiskey & Water to read Ink & Steel and Hell & Earth; they’re all part of the same universe but not in a serial fashion (beyond the loose duology of the first pair, and the definite duology of the second pair). Very, very worth reading. Bear continually astonishes me with her versatility and her ability to handle any genre at which she tries her hand. The heart of her success is most likely related to the fact that she writes a good story, about real characters with flaws and irrationalities as well as strengths, and makes it happen in a setting that has enough detail to create an entire atmosphere without going overboard. Also Elizabethan England, vile playwrights, and Faerie pretty much covers all the stuff I squee about, so when tied together, huzzah!

All I can add to that is: Eight days till Hell & Earth! Let the stalking of the bookstores looking for early copies begin! [SQUEE! I just checked stock and there are already two copies in at Chapters! I know where the boy and I are going after dropping HRH off at work tomorrow…]

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