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 August 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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10 comments

  1. Sandyg265 /

    The most interesting book I read last month was King Kong. It was a novelization of the original movie. I didn’t even know it existed until I found a copy in an antique store while I was on vacation.

  2. I loved Paul Kearney's The Wolf In The Attic: http://www.rebellionstore.com/products/the_wolf_in_the_attic Kearney is a wonderful storyteller. His stories grab me and move me as much as G. G. Kay's. I didn't know what to expect from his first person, present tense narration, but he does a great job in letting Anna tell her story in his latest book.
  3. The best books I read last month were:
    Heirs of Grace by Tim Pratt – this is a cross between a ghost story and a fantasy. Really good characterization and very creepy and fun.

    Spirelli Paranormal Investigations by Kate Baray – this is a set of three short novelettes/short stories in one book of different ‘cases’ of a paranormal investigator and his dragon assistant.

    The Burning Page by Genevieve Cogman – a good finish to a fun series.

  4. John Smith /

    I enjoyed “The World’s Greatest Detective” by Caroline Carlson, a light mystery marketed to the YA demographic.

  5. Of the few new things that I read, the one I most remember was “Old Man”, a short story by Daniel Keys Moran. It was a part of a perk from the ThinkBlue kickstarter.

    A son has his dying father undergo an experimental anti-aging treatment because there’s a chance that the treatment will cure the illness. The story explores some of the consequences.

  6. Paul Connelly /

    The Gates of Tagmeth by P. C. Hodgell was tops. Not surprisingly, since it’s the eighth book in a series that has been consistently excellent since heroine Jame walked out of the haunted lands alone at the beginning of God Stalk back in 1982, before she earned the title Jamethiel Priests-bane. What is happening thematically is that with each book, Jame becomes more and more enmeshed in a web of relationships with, and responsibilities to, other people. Not just her own people, the Kencyrath, high-power refugees in their current world, but also the indigenous people.

    There is an extended argument going on between Jame and her older (!) twin brother Torisen Black-lord with the traditions of their people concerning personal honor and the role of leaders. Most of the viewpoint stays with Jame, although you also get to see things through the eyes of Tori and the twins’ half-brother Kindrie. All three have had traumatic upbringings in a family that would have kept Freud occupied for years of study. But they are the apparently fated leaders of their people’s (and the world’s) attempts to resist the spreading doom of the still mysterious Perimal Darkling (a world? a creature? a state of matter?). In this book Jame is trying to reclaim the abandoned redoubt of Tagmeth and protect the people she has brought to occupy it again. As with much of the rest of the world of Rathillien, there is more than meets the eye in the ruined settlement. In previous boos Jame has had to outlive a time storm, survive a mass assassination campaign against the women of her family, and serve as the ceremonial husband of the indigenous Earth Mother goddess…all after starting off as a thief. The events in this book are not quite as bizarre, but that may because the sheer number of people depending on Jame has expanded so greatly–and there are points where it’s obvious she feels hemmed in

    The whole series retains a bit of a late 1970s/early 1980s sensibility here and there, which may not always sit well with younger readers. Quite a few grim events happen, including awful deaths of adults, children and innocent animals, characters relive moments of past abuse, and there are incestuous undertones to some of the thoughts and dreams that Jame and her brother have about each other. But it’s not really grimdark, because there is something pretty jaunty in the telling of the story, and humor pops up not often but not extremely rarely either. The closest thing in tone I can think of the Malazan Book of the Fallen, but the stories told in Erikson’s series and these books are very different.

    My runner-up book is The Witch Who Came in From the Cold, which Liz Bourke already reviewed in detail with her usual incisiveness. I didn’t like it quite as much as she did, but it’s pretty cool–with 5 authors (Lindsay Smith, Max Gladstone, Cassandra Rose Clark, Ian Tregillis and Michael Swanwick–how’s that for a line-up!) and a mix of 1970s Cold War spying and sorcerers whose alliances and antagonisms don’t mesh with their sides in the spying game. Since I don’t read e-books I’m hoping the next “season” comes out in print soon (it’s released like a TV serial in e-book format first).

  7. Kevin S. /

    Best scifi-fantasy: The Space Between the Stars by Anne Corlett. This book is far from great but I liked the plot.

    Best non-scifi-fantasy: Winter Sky by Chris Stewart and Dragon Teeth by Michael Crichton.

  8. There will be a DELAY on this giveaway, because I will be out of town next week, and won’t be doing the giveaways until Sunday, September 24.

  9. I have two. The first one is a re-read, The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson (getting ready for Oathbringer) and Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor.

  10. Melita, 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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