July saw a smaller number of books read from the norm at only 10 volumes, but there was a lot of door-stoppers taking up the space including 3 by George R.R. Martin. After I finished those tomes though I was inclined towards short reads.
61. A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin - Still my favorite in the series so far. So many big events happen and man, the Red Wedding. Unforgettable.
62. A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin - We follow the strongest in the series with the weakest. So many problems incur with pacing, POVs, and changes in style from previous books. A must to keep up with the series, but a skim at best the next time I attempt a re-read.
63. The Griff by Christopher Moore and Ian Corson - A graphic novel from humor novelist extraordinaire Moore and Hollywood scribe Corson. It was a nice break after all the giant reads of late, but not what I was hoping for. The story is based off a screenplay that the pair wrote years ago that never sold and it shows. Think of it as the movie Independence Day with dragon-like aliens. In a lot of ways it reminded me of Falling Skies. The story had some nice jokes here and there, but not as many as most would expect from a Moore related project. Overall it is a pass unless you are a die-hard Moore fan or love explosions.
64. Naked City edited by Ellen Datlow - Datlow's latest anthology focuses on Urban Fantasy with a big line up including Jim Butcher, Naomi Novik, Caitlain R. Kiernan, Lavie Tidhar, and Jeffrey Ford. This was a very mixed collection, but the pluses definitely outweigh the minuses. The Tidhar and Kiernan were definitely standouts. The Butcher was another Dresden short, which I'd have to describe as cute. Harry attempts to solve the mystery of the Cubs curse and made me smile quite a bit. Recommended.
65. A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin - The most highly anticipated book of the last 4 years has come. The Jon chapters along make this a must read, with some amazing scenes coming nearly every chapter. Cersei's sections also get a lot of resolution and it will be interesting to see what she turns into now. Martin is mostly back on track, especially if he can start tying-off all the threads he has created. There is still a lot of bloat and some POVs could have been dropped, but big reveals abound, especially many unexpected turns. It is not without its problems, but still highly recommended.
66. Awakenings by Edward Lazellari - The start to a new Urban Fantasy series and a debut. At first this was a confusing read since most of the characters have amnesia, but once the back story is peeled back it all starts to payoff. I was reminded of Zelazny's Amber books quite a bit. UF fans should definitely sit-up and take notice. Recommended.
67. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline- This is Cline's debut, but he is already well known as he is the writer of the movie Fanboys. RPO is by far one of the most enjoyable books I've read this year. From start to finish I was enthralled with a treasure hunt of the future filled with video game Easter Eggs, pop culture references of the 70s and 80's, along with a a healthy does of Role Playing love. Seriously funny and even heart-warming. This is a can't miss book if you grew up in the 70's and 80's and played any kind of game. The eventual movie will rock. Highly recommended. Review to come.
68. Doctor Who Classics: Omnibus 1 - This covers the first Doctor Who comics published in the 70's and 80's with adaptations of "City of the Damned," "Spider God," "Time Slip," and a dozen others. I've only seen a few of the episodes these stories were based on so it was a great collection for those not steeped too well in the older Whos, but I'm sure the fans of old would love it as well. Recommended.
69. Girl Genius Volume 10: Agatha H and the Guardian Muse by Phil and Kaja Foglio - The latest collection is just as great as all of the rest. If you aren't reading the ultimate Steampunk comic series you are missing out and I pity you. Highly recommended.
70. Heart of Iron by Ekaterina Sedia - Although, not strictly marketed as a Steampunk novel many assumed given the cover it would veer that way. But don't expect something akin to The Alchemy of Stone. Sedia's latest tackles Decembrist Russia as they clash with China with a focus on feminism. A mix of the historical, espionage, and a dash of superheroes promises a lot, but ultimately doesn't have as much punch as expected. The story meanders for the first 100 pages before setting out on some semblance of action and never really lives up to its potential. If you haven't read Sedia before try her earlier work such as the aforementioned The Alchemy of Stone or the wonder that is The House of Discarded Dreams.
71. Ghost Story by Jim Butcher - I've already shared my thoughts on the latest Dresden here.
This month the stand-outs are Ready Player One and A Dance With Dragons. A few disappointments happened as well, but it has been such a good year it was probably time.
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