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

fantasy and science fiction book reviews

It’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 2019 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.


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17 comments

  1. Did a LOT of re-reading in August. In fact, 85% of the books I read or listened to in August were re-reads. I tend to re-read favorites when I need an attitude boost or if I’m in a rut reading wise. I haven’t been able to find much of what I’d like to read in new books lately and have been burned multiple times recently so I’ve been re-reading a bunch. However, I did read one fabulous new-to-me book which was:

    Sapphire Flames by Ilona Andrews – the latest in the Hidden Legacy series, the one with the crazy smarmy book covers that I dislike because they are romances but mostly they are action-filled fantasy stories with a romance subtext. For those that care about this kind of thing, no sex scenes but one necking scene.

  2. I read some incredible books last month, first and foremost Alix Harrow’s ‘The Ten Thousand Doors of January,’ which everyone here seems to agree will be up for the year’s best. I also attended WorldCon and got my hands on an ARC of the first book of Mark Lawrence’s next series, called “The Girl and the Stars,” which takes place on the same planet as Red/Grey/Holy Sister, but centuries later. I also read Jonathan French’s fantastic “The True Bastards,” his follow-up to his SPFBO-winning debut “The Grey Bastards” and it’s an improvement in every aspect. Last but not least, was Steve McKinnon’s “Wrath of Storms,” book two of his self-published series ‘The Raincatcher’s Ballad,’ an action-steampunk series that combines Greek mythology with airships battles, telepaths, reanimated lab monsters, god possession, and absolute madness. It’s an incredibly fun read.

  3. Here are links to my reviews of the books mentioned above:

    10,000 Doors of January:
    https://www.fantasybookreview.co.uk/Alix-E-Harrow/The-10000-Doors-of-January.html

    The Girl and the Stars:
    https://www.fantasybookreview.co.uk/Mark-Lawrence/The-Girl-And-The-Stars.html

    The True Bastards:
    https://www.fantasybookreview.co.uk/Jonathan-French/The-True-Bastards.html

    Wrath of Storms:
    https://www.fantasybookreview.co.uk/Steven-McKinnon/Wrath-Of-Storms.html

    In an incredible year of releases, August may have taken the cake so far.

  4. John Smith /

    I enjoyed Cornelia Funke’s “Inkheart” trilogy on CDs, all 46 discs of it.

    But even better than that I enjoyed the 4 discs of “The Book Without Words” by Avi. It’s a tale of medieval magic and (basically) necromancy.

  5. Von Berry /

    I read L. E. Modesitt’s Imager book last month. I enjoyed it and look forward to read the next book in the series.

  6. Lady Morar /

    I enjoyed Kate Quinn’s WWI and WWII spy story The Alice Network so much that I had to read her other historical The Huntress as well. Such an interesting plot to experience with lifelike woman characters.

  7. Noneofyourbusiness /

    I enjoyed reading about “Monkeyman & O’Brien” in the Dark Horse Presents comic collection. Nice to see a non-evil talking gorilla scientist.

  8. Michael Voss /

    Hard to decide on one. August saw one really good novel, NEVER DIE by Rob J Hayes, and two excellent novellas, Victor Gischler’s “The Murder Blossom: An Ink Mage Sidequest”, and Lois McMaster Bujold’s 7th Penric and Desdemona tale, “The Orphans of Raspay”.

    NEVER DIE explores a twist on the old Japanese spirit monster the Shinigami, as a ragged young boy claims the spirit who raised up their dictator emperor has charged him with raising several heroes from the dead to conquer the evil leader. Problem is, they aren’t always dead before he gets to them…and the twist at the end is just right.

    The novellas are both parts of long-running series by Gischler and Bujold. (WARRIOR PRIME, the start of a second Ink Mage trilogy, would have been my July choice in this space – maybe it was and I forgot I posted it, lol!)

  9. I read and completed a few books in August (some of them were ARCs):

    “The Ten Thousand Doors of January” by Alix E. Harrow

    “Darkdawn” by Jay Kristoff

    “Holy Sister” by Mark Lawrence

    “The Dragon Republic” by R.F. Kuang

    “This is How You Lose the Time War” by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

    I enjoyed these stories, but I found “This is How You Lose the Time War” to be the most intriguing, and I couldn’t stop reading “Darkdawn” until I got to the end! August was a good reading month for me.

  10. The Distinguished Professor /

    Returning to the Poldark series with the first book, “Ross Poldark”. I wonder how the BBC series will manage this final season. They can’t fit in everything left from the novels. Perhaps there will be a sequel series about the next generation? There should be.

  11. Katharine Ott /

    As usual, I read a lot of different genres in August – I liked the dark “Night Film” by Marisha Pessl, the time-traveling “The Phantom Tree” by Nicola Cornick, was surprised to like a coming-of-age book by Maeve Binchy, “Circle of Friends,” “The Clockwork Angel” by Cassandra Clare (I’d read more in that series if there weren’t so many other books waiting for me), and really enjoyed “Bloody Jack” by L A Meyer, a fun pirate story. And I got some good ideas from other posters this month! On to September reading!

  12. My favorite book last month was Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe by Heather Webber. It’s magical realism set in a small southern town. It’s the first book that I haven’t been able to put down I. Quite a while.

  13. Kevin S. /

    Before They Are Hanged (First Law, #2) by Joe Abercrombie

    Last Argument of Kings (First Law, #3) by Joe Abercrombie

    Abhorsen by Garth Nix

  14. My twins started 2nd grade in August in different classrooms and trying to keep that sorted out took a lot of my energy!

    I read Stephanie Burgis’s latest book, The Princess Who Flew with Dragons, about the younger Princess Sofia who’s always prickly and angry. She gets sent to a neighboring kingdom for a big meeting of royalty and ends up antagonizing her hosts, but making friends with a group of goblins! Then the ice giants show up.

    I had a hankering for some Martha Wells so reread The Death of the Necromancer for the umpteenth time. The main character, Nicholas Valiarde, is a mild-mannered art importer by day and a criminal mastermind most of the time. His long game is to frame a nobleman (who’s done quite a bit of crime himself) to take revenge for the nobleman’s causing the death of Nicholas’s foster father. This is all derailed when one of this daring robberies finds something else was stolen, and then things get worse. Great characters, including a more human Holmes and a smarter Watson.

    I’m not sure why I randomly searched for new Sharon Shinn books, but she has 3 released in August in the Uncommon Echoes series. I’d heard her read an excerpt from the first several years ago when she was still working on it. Alternative fantasy setting, medievalish technology. Some nobles have ‘echoes’, basically homunculus/golems who are their exact duplicates and copy all movements and mannerisms but are usually non-speaking and don’t initiate action. A few people do have more control and can loosen the bonds so that the echoes do not have to fully copy the original. For many years, fewer echoes had been born, but the numbers have been going up in this generation. That’s thought to be a sign of coming war or other dangers.

    The books were Audible originals, at first. I never listen to audiobooks, so I hoped that they would be released as ebooks. Yay!

    The first book, Echo in Onyx, has the viewpoint character, Brianna, who becomes a ladies’ maid for Marguerite. Marguerite is being sent to the capital to try to catch the eye of the heir along with a bunch of other young noblewomen. Marguerite has 3 echoes and can ‘release’ them–they can move independently.

  15. Little late to the game(Ok maybe a lot late), but I really enjoyed Neverwhere by Neil Gaimain and Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pritchett. I also reread The Symphony of ages Trilogy by Elizabeth Haydon.

  16. Adam Weller, 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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