Thoughtful Thursday: What’s the best book you read last month?

It’s the first Thursday of the month. You know what that means. Time to report!

What is the best book you read in June 2014 and why did you love it? It doesn’t have to be a newly published book, or even SFF. We just want to share some great reading material. Feel free to post a full review of the book here, or a link to the review on your blog, or just write a few sentences about why you thought it was awesome.

(And don’t forget that we always have plenty more reading recommendations on our Fanlit Faves page and our 5-Star SFF page. And we’ve also got a constantly updating list of new and forthcoming releases.)

As always, one commenter will choose a book from our stacks.

We’ve got a couple of giveaways still current. Find those here!


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STEVEN HARBIN is an educator who is currently a counselor at an alternative school. He was formerly a world history and literature teacher. He lives with several cats and dogs, two children, a loyal saint of a spouse, and a large number of books scattered all about his house. He discovered science fiction and fantasy in the 1960′s when his school librarian suggested he read the works of Robert Heinlein, Andre Norton, and J.R.R. Tolkien.

View all posts by Steven Harbin

24 comments

  1. Trey Palmer /

    The Sea Watch by Adrian Tchaikovsky

    I liked it because it was a fantasy that went and explored things all the way through about a race of undersea dwelling humans. From the issues around not having fire, to the differences in food.

    It was also a fun book that put me in mind of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea at times. And that is a good thing.

  2. SKIN GAME by Jim Butcher.
    Runner up: THE OVERSIGHT by Charlie Fletcher. Review coming soon.

    • Jesslyn H /

      I loved this entry in the series. Even though it seems that good never wins is the overall theme of the books, this was a great look into how GOOD worldbuilding adds to a story.

    • A few weeks ago Amazon had the first 6 or 7 books of the Dresden Files series on sale for $1.99 apiece, so they are now waiting on my Kindle.

  3. April /

    Had a few five star books in June:

    Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovich – the fourth in an excellent, London-Based urban fantasy with wit.

    Young World by Chris Weitz – a very interesting start to a new post apocalyptic YA series (everyone dies when they reach 18 or so, no adults) set in New York. This one doesn’t come out until the end of July though so you’ll have to wait for it.

    Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George – lovely middle-grade with a castle as a (mostly silent) character.

    Hold the Dark by Frank Tuttle – the third in his fabulous fantasy noir detective series.

  4. The best SFF book I read last month was Kurt Vonnegut’s Galapagos. I enjoyed the first-person narration, in which it is evident the narrator knows the outcoming toward which the story is moving. Tying this to Galapogos/Darwin/evolution, prompts me to consider the difference between blind-chance evolution and a telos-driven evolution. We’re so sure that we, how we are now, are the end result of evolution, but Vonnegut is never so sure about how great humanity is.

    The best book in general I read last month was Frank Schaeffer’s Why I Am an Atheist Who Believes in God. Schaeffer sketches his life of (non)faith as centered around love, beauty, and peace. As with all things religious or political, YMMV.

  5. Jesslyn H /

    My best books from last month ended in a tie between something new and a re-read with a sequel coming soon.

    They are
    Red Rising by Pierce Brown
    Under the Empyrean Sky (The Heartland Trilogy #1) by Chuck Wendig

    Both, IMO, were shivers down the back good and looking back, surprisingly similar tropes, although I don’t use that term in a negative sense. Both are dystopian, the main character is a boy in late teens, same youth in hardship conditions, etc. Both had enough plot twists and surprises big and small to make them stand out from a few (very) disappointing dystopian tales that I’ve read this year.

    I highly recommend either one, although if I’d known that the book after Red Rising wouldn’t be released until next year, I might have waiting.

  6. Jesslyn H /

    This is not a book that I read in June but the topic had me reminiscing. I went to go see what FanLit thought about A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge and I was shocked (shocked, I say!) and appalled that no one here has read/reviewed it!

    Go. Read. It. Now!
    That is all……

  7. The best book I read last month was definitely The Ocean At The End Of the Lane, by Neil Gaiman.
    I wrote about it on my Fantasy Writer’s Blog (beware, there’s probably spoilers (I hope the link works)), but long story short, it was very entertaining, being a story for adults narrated by a child, and I also loved the sense of wonder that the magic created. Man, I enjoyed it hugely.

    What’s stacks? :3
    Anywhoo, I’m not in the US so I suppose it wouldn’t apply to me.

    I’ve already seen so many interesting books in these comments. My Amazon wishlist can’t take much more O_O

    • Marion Deeds /

      “Stacks” is a term that refers to library; as in, “It’s in the stacks.” Our stacks are virtual; it’s a page with the books we have available for sale or for lucky winners!

      I’m looking forward to visiting your blog and reading your review of OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE.

      • I seee! Thanks for that! That seems like fun. I forget to enter giveaways. And perhaps maybe possiblyyyyy sometimes I’m just too lazy to. c:

        Oh before you do, I must warn you about the spoilers – my reviews analyse what the fantasy professionals do and suggest how it might help the writing of other fantasy writers so… yeah. Spoilers =]

        • I just finished reading your review. I didn’t mind the spoilers because I have already read the book. I like how you were able to be specific about what you liked and what didn’t work as well for you. I enjoyed it, thanks.

  8. CTGT /

    My best read from June is more of a supernatural coming of age story than sci/fi fantasy Boy’s Life by Robert McCammon. I really enjoy this type of story that explores the imagination of children and their sense of wonder when looking at the world.
    Just a notch below my all time favorite, Something Wicked This Way Comes.

    Runner up would be Lavinia by Ursula K. Le Guin which fleshes out the life of a minor character from The Aeneid.

    • Marion Deeds /

      I really loved Boy’s Life!

      • CTGT /

        I’m a little late to the McCammon party but I have picked up quite a few titles recently. Now just need to find the time.

  9. Melanie Goldmund /

    I read lots of good books in June, and after much deliberation, I think the best one was The Bees, by Laline Paull. I will never look at a bee or hear its buzz in the same way again.

    Close behind were Without a Summer, by Mary Robinette Kowal, and The Inexplicables by Cherie Priest.

    Best re-read was Cavalcade, by Alison Sinclair, and Kingdom of Cages, by Sarah Zettel.

  10. Sandyg265 /

    The best book I read last month was Shaman Rises by C.E. Murphy. I enjoyed it because it’s a series I’ve enjoyed reading for a number of years. But it was also bittersweet because this is supposed to be the last book in the series.

  11. Barbara Elness /

    In June I really enjoyed A Study in Ashes by Emma Jane Holloway and Precinct 13 by Tate Holloway.

  12. Liat vd /

    Unfortunately, I didn’t read half the books that I wanted to read during June, but I hope that is going to change next month. My favorite read was Lexicon by Max Barry. I loved the world building and the unfolding of the plot with the two colliding story lines.

  13. I know it’s not in the same vain as this site , but my favorite is A Reverence for Wood by Eric Sloane. It’s a short little book about woodworking (my other hobby besides reading SF/F).

    June was very busy for me, so I didn’t have much time to read. The only other book I read was Zein: The Prophecy by Graham Wood. I got it through Goodreads.com and I thought it was junk.

  14. RedEyedGhost /

    My favorite book in June was The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North. As you can probably tell from the title this is a book about a repeating life in the vein of Replay, All You Need Is Kill, Groundhog Day, etc. The difference with this one is that Harry relives his entire life each time (going just a little crazy the second time around). The introduction is fantastic, and the book completely live up to it:

    I am writing this for you.
    My enemy.
    My friend.
    You know, already, you must know.
    You have lost.

  15. Kayla /

    My favorite book I read last month was Dreams of a Vast Blue Cavern by Selah Tay-Song. I found the story to be really creative and also well written. There’s interesting world-building (much of the book takes place in caves!), a well thought out magic system (every time you use it, you lose a bit of time from the end of your life), and all the characters were multidimensional. It’s told in multiple POVs, and I actually never wanted to skip ahead to another character.

  16. Kayla, if you live in the USA, you win a book of your choice from our stacks.
    Please contact me (Marion) with your choice and a US address. Happy reading!

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