Thursday, July 31, 2014

July - This Month in Reading

July flew by in record time, and really got away from me. :-/

The positives: I read 2 more books for the Harlem Renaissance Challenge, so I completed the challenge at the level for which I signed up - hooray! I also wrapped up the library books so I don't have to step foot inside the library until who-knows-when (not that that's a positive, but anything that keeps me reading books off my physical TBR pile is a good thing these days). At the end of June I wrote that I would read 7 books, and I did, plus 2 more for good measure, so at least I kept to my goal.

The negatives: I was supposed to work on the Language Freak Summer Challenge in July, and although I did work on it a little, I didn't work on it as much as I wanted to, nor did I actually finish any of the books I have set aside for this challenge. :( There were also a couple review requests I just wasn't able to find time for, which is embarrassing.

August is already shaping up to be a busy month, between work and some other commitments that are not super conducive to reading. So for August, here are my goals:

  • Finish my 2 review books
  • Finish the 2 books I'm currently working on for the Language Freak Summer Challenge

That's it!

If I somehow manage to complete all this with plenty of time to spare, I will work on the Language Freak Summer Challenge by reading an additional book, since that challenge ends August 31. If nothing else, I already have several books on hand I can use for this challenge next summer :)

How has your reading been this summer?

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Competition - Marcia Clark

Yet another entertaining thriller, this one with a very topical crime/mystery. A character from the last book that I liked a lot didn't appear in this one, and I hope this character will appear again. Otherwise, the latest book in the Rachel Knight series is an enjoyable summer mystery read that kept me guessing and turning pages as fast as I could.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Isis, Vampires and Ghosts - Oh My! - Janis Hill

Another winning fantasy/paranormal book from Hague Publishing, who were behind Lights Over Emerald Creek. This was another book I know I would have loved had I read it when I was younger. I have always admired ancient Egyptian culture, so obviously the reference to Isis in the title is catnip for me, as well as the ghosts (always a big fan as well), and the vampires (became a big fan in the Anne Rice heyday; not so much a fan of the more recent sparkly kind). The narrator was highly relatable and entertaining, and the story overall reminded me of the few Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes I've seen (I really have to make a point to see more). Another fast-paced, exciting and entertaining story for all fans of paranormal/fantasy books.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Killer Ambition - Marcia Clark

Another page turner! The story kept me guessing, and I really enjoyed the behind the scenes look at the politics of what goes on in a high-profile courtroom trial, particularly with jury selection. Very interesting stuff. Can't wait to start the next book!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Guilt by Degrees - Marcia Clark

Another page-turner! I enjoyed this fast-paced book and I'm looking forward to the continuing adventures of Rachel Knight - especially considering how this book ended. Perfect summer reading.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Nick the Saint - Anthony Szpak

Found this book on NetGalley and couldn't resist the description. The story is a very creative reimagining of the Santa Claus legend. The plot moves along at a breakneck clip and has a lot of inventive elements that I really enjoyed. Apparently there is a sequel in the works, and I sincerely hope that it will be published soon, as I'm dying to find out the further adventures of these characters. Recommended.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Not Without Laughter - Langston Hughes

I have been a fan of Langston Hughes' poetry for years, but hadn't read his prose until now. Wow! I am blown away. I loved this book, which was Hughes' first novel. This is a classic that I can't believe isn't better known (or maybe it is, and I run in the wrong circles, ha ha). When I got to the last page I immediately wished for more, and I was sad the book had ended.

It's sad that so many of the themes Hughes is apparently addressing are still with us today. There is both sadness and happiness in equal measures in this book, which made it feel very balanced even when unpleasant or sad events occur. I will definitely be prioritizing more Hughes novels as soon as I get my crazy TBR pile under better control. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

My Soul's High Song - Countee Cullen

One of the reasons I love book blog challenges is that I am often forced (that sounds so negative, but I can't think of a better word) to look around for books that will fulfill the challenge criteria, and in so doing, I often discover wonderful authors who are new to me. Countee Cullen is one of these authors; someone I can't believe I haven't read before now, but that I am glad I discovered.

The real title of this book is My Soul's High Song: The Collected Writings of Countee Cullen, Voice of the Harlem Renaissance. Obviously, I chose this book after researching potential authors for the Harlem Renaissance Challenge, mainly because I wasn't familiar with Cullen at all, and wanted to see what I had been missing. Turns out I was missing quite a bit! This huge book is full of wonderful poetry, an amazing translation of The Medea, Cullen's novel One Way to Heaven, and a comprehensive introduction by Professor Gerald Early. It was a fantastic introduction to a gifted writer, and I will definitely seek out more. Highly recommended.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Guilt by Association - Marcia Clark

This was a fast-paced mystery that kept me guessing and turning pages. If you're hitting the beach this summer, the D.A. Rachel Knight series would be the perfect summer read. I'm dying to dig in to the next book!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Blueprint for Theocracy - James C. Sanford

This was a deeply disturbing and scary book. I appreciated the in depth background and research that went into this detailed analysis. The book really sheds light on some of the political happenings going on these days. A well done examination that should be required reading.