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

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsIt’s the first Thursday of the month. You know what that means, ’cause we do this on the first Thursday of every month! Time to report!

What is the best book you read in July 2017 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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KELLY LASITER, with us since July 2008, is a mild-mannered academic administrative assistant by day, but at night she rules over a private empire of tottering bookshelves. Kelly is most fond of fantasy set in a historical setting (a la Jo Graham) or in a setting that echoes a real historical period (a la George RR Martin and Jacqueline Carey). She also enjoys urban fantasy and its close cousin, paranormal romance, though she believes these subgenres’ recent burst in popularity has resulted in an excess of dreck. She is a sucker for pretty prose (she majored in English, after all) and mythological themes.

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29 comments

  1. April /

    The two best books (you know I can never just choose one!) I read in July were:
    Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews – this book tricks you into thinking it is a fantasy when in fact it is a scifi. Good stuff though, I love the characters.
    Slouch Witch by Helen Harper – a fantasy with a magic school but isn’t anything like Harry Potter – it is more like magic college.

  2. Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older.

  3. E.J. Jones /

    I spent most of July blowing through The Sandman series. Plenty of gems to be found there, but I think my favorite is Volume 4, Season of Mists. I also read a wonderful YA book called Please Ignore Vera Dietz. It’s kind of a ghost story and kind of a tragedy and kind of a comedy and kind of a coming-of-age novel. Also, one of its narrators is a Japanese-style pagoda that just wants all the other characters to get off its lawn.

    • April /

      Ha, your last sentence! This sounds like something I might enjoy.

      • E.J. Jones /

        It’s really funny and poignant and doesn’t get nearly as much press as it deserves. You should check it out!

  4. Pierce Brown’s Red Rising.

  5. They murdered his wife, tried to kill him, but he came back for vengeance. He’ll rise through their ranks, if only he didn’t have to cull those who become his friends.

  6. I have two. Either it’s Gentleman’s guide to vice and virtue or The Way of Kings. The first one is a cute historical novel with gay romance and great characters, though it’s a bit lacking on the plot. The second one is an epic fantasy. The plot and the world building is amazing and I love Kaladin. The problem with the book is the lack of sexual diversity.

  7. Paula Morehouse /

    Turn Coat (Dresden Files #11) by Jim Butcher. Butcher’s worldbuilding and characterization continue to amaze me.

  8. Michael B Denzinger /

    Paternus, Age of Swords, and boy on the bridge we’re all great.

  9. Without question, I adored Ada Palmer’s TOO LIKE THE LIGHTNING. The fantastic world building was impressive (future Earth in pseudo-utopia), and I loved how there was only ever enough information to keep you flipping pages to find out more. I am waiting with bated breath for book 3 to come in December :)

    • I recently read Ada Palmer’s first book in the series and found the complexity and novelty of the story admirable. This is definitely on my tbr list for the upcoming months. Definitely before book three is released.

  10. I’ve been in a SF mood for quite some time. This past month I finished Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke, Dune by Frank Herbert and Time Out of Joint by Philip K. Dick. As the first two novels are very well-known by hardcore fans of the genra and noobies like myself alike, I was thinking of recommending Time Out of Joint, as it is one of the earlier works of the author. It creeped me out, to be honest. Don’t be fooled by the exaggerated description of mundane activities. The best approach to reading this is to know nothing of the plot, in my opinion. Good luck with your books, everyone!

  11. Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty and Version Control by Dexter Palmer.

  12. John Smith /

    I like the graphic novel “Memetic” by by James Tynion IV. It’s about a city overtaken by a meme of a smiling sloth…. With the ending, I felt as if there should at least be a book 2 of it, but I don’t think there will be.

  13. Paul Connelly /

    A Tyranny of Queens, the second half of the duology by Foz Meadows. It did keep threatening to break into YA at points, but managed to hang onto the more adult story line.

    I also really like Amatka, as mentioned elsewhere. Very creepy and original.

    The Call by Peadar O’Guilin was also creepy (and more outright gruesome), but more overtly YA, with the usual superficially motivated teen romance. But mostly enjoyable.

    All Systems Red (Martha Wells), about a cyborg security drone who has subverted the programming meant to keep her in line, was short, a bit retro, and pretty fun.

  14. Kevin S. /

    Gwendy’s Button Box by Stephen King

    Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew J. Sullivan

    The Black Company by Glen Cook

  15. Harbors of the Sun by Martha Wells, the final Raksura novel. Great worldbuilding and characters.

  16. Margo /

    Definitely All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries #1) by Martha Wells. It has an AI awakening, exploration of a new planet, a mystery to be solved … It’s a novella so it goes quickly, and leaves you eagerly awaiting the next installment. Murderous is my new favorite POV!

    • Margo /

      I meant Murderbot is my new favorite POV! Curse you, autocorrect!

  17. Sethia /

    I have been read the shadowhunter series by Cassandra Clare, with my teenage daughter. Not bad but deffently geared to a teenage audience.

  18. That would be Brian Staveley‘s Skullsworn. I loved it.

  19. Sandyg265 /

    A Fistful of Sky by Nina Kiriki Hoffman

  20. Really hard to choose this month. I read a few fabulous novels. City of Miracles by Robert Bennett Jackson, The Legion of Flame by Anthony Ryan, The Boy on the Bridge by M.R. Carey, as well as Age of Swords by Michael Sullivan. Each were superb for different reasons. I love everything by Michael Sullivan for the well thought out, but fun stories. Mina and Suri and the lovable, blunt, amusing, and profound statements about the world. Anthony Ryan for the incredibly well built world and magic system with some political intrigue. Robert Bennett Jackson for the INCREDIBLY complex yet readable political fantasy, with realistic and connectable characters. As well as M.R. Carey for yet another great spin on the zombie sub-genre. Ultimately I think I’d go with Robert Bennett Jackson’s City of Miracles. It’s the third and final book in a series that was originally intended to be a stand-alone, and he finished the story absolutely perfectly.

    In addition, I’m currently reading Spellslinger by one of my favorite overlooked authors, Sebastien De Castell, and it is wonderful. Might be my choice for next month, although I do have quite a few contenders on my docket.

  21. mary henaghen /

    I’m currently still working through Lisa Gardner’s DD Warren series, and finished Fear Nothing. I seriously did NOT see the ending coming, A very satisfying read.

  22. Rowan /

    Definitely Robin Hobb’s Assassin’s Fate. I had been putting it off for
    a while because I didn’t want to be done with the series… Wow, this book made me cry. More than any other I’ve read, I think. I read all of her other books over the course of 2016, and loved them all. To see an end to the storyline of two of of my all-time favorite characters was so heartwrenching and bittersweet… Such a good book.

    • therealfoxydub /

      I felt the same way, and I put off reading the concluding book in the series, because I would finish it and close the story.
      FitzChivalry is one of the best protagonists because he isn’t perfect, he’s flawed. While her worldbuilding is immersing, the strength of Ms. Hobb’s characters is what resonates with me.

  23. Anela Basista, 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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