Fantasy Faction

Fantasy Faction => Fantasy Book & Author Discussion => Topic started by: ScarletBea on August 02, 2020, 09:17:06 AM

Title: What did you read in July 2020?
Post by: ScarletBea on August 02, 2020, 09:17:06 AM
Here it is: The what did you read this past month thread.

Come share your list and what you thought of the books you read last month. We're not looking for full out reviews, just a brief couple of sentences that sum up your impressions.

This is also not a contest for who read the most books, I know some of us struggle to find time to read one book a month, and others manage a dozen. That doesn't matter, so don't feel reluctant to post if you have read less books (or way more books) than others. This is all for sharing, and if you read anything, come let us know what it was and what you thought of it
Title: Re: What did you read in July 2020?
Post by: cupiscent on August 02, 2020, 12:52:10 PM
After DNFing yet another YA fantasy in Bright Smoke, Cold Fire (a spin-off from Romeo and Juliet in a post-apocalyptic fantasy world rife with necromancy) I was about to put together a rant on how YA fantasies have such amazing ideas and such formulaic, shallow deliveries, and then...

Wintersong by S Jae-Jones. What a book! Lush and creepy and intense and crystalline. It's a redo of Labyrinth, but returned to its Germanic goblin-king roots, absolutely steeped in music and wrapped around the rose - thorns and all - of a young woman's artistic coming-of-age and refusal to fit into the boxes society demands she choose between. I really enjoyed it.

I also read The Martian by Andy Weir which was just as much fun in the voice and telling as the hype said. A smidgen too hard-sci-fi for me, but that voice and the tight plotting whizzed me past it.

Worldcon has delayed me finishing KA Doore's The Unconquered City which is a great culmination of her trilogy, doing epic stuff with great characters in a world I'm going to be so sad to leave behind. The desert just feels so real and lived-in, the characters so very of their environment. I'm looking forward to what Doore does next.
Title: Re: What did you read in July 2020?
Post by: ScarletBea on August 02, 2020, 01:50:41 PM
I read 3 books this month:

Emperor of thorns, book 3 of Mark Lawrence's Broken Empire trilogy
A re-read from 2014, I think I liked it even more now, with some knowledge of what was coming.

Turning darkness into light, Marie Brennan
Lady Trent's granddaughter is every bit as great as she was, and I really enjoyed this book! Written as a series of diary entries, newspaper articles and letters, it never felt forced and the plot rushed through.
I wish there were 20 of these books ;D

Foundryside, book 1 of Robert Jackson Bennet's new Founders trilogy
I enjoyed this book and will definitely read the rest of the series, but for me it was a bit too much worldbuilding, too many explanations, when less would still allow the plot to work. Great characters
Title: Re: What did you read in July 2020?
Post by: Bender on August 03, 2020, 01:24:27 AM
High Planes Drifter (Merkabah Rider #1) - Edward Erdelac
Jewish gunslinger hunting supernatural evil. Lots of explicit violence purely for shock value. Not really invested in either story not protagonist. Meh.

Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle, #1) - Jay Kristoff
Godsgrave (The Nevernight Chronicle, #2)

Book 1 was a darker and more adult version of red Sister. Taut and gripping. Very good.
Book 2 was a rehash of Book 1 in different setting without furthering the plot. Meh.

A King's Bargain (Legend of Tal #1) - JDL Rosell
Picked up from SPFBO. Decent read, though characters and plot need to be refined more.

Dart - Dale Renton
An enjoyable sci-fi light read. Story, characters are all well above average. Liked it.

Peace Talks (The Dresden Files, #16) - Jum Butcher
A placeholder for next book. Just so so.

Lord of Light - Roger Zelanzy
Brilliant sci-fi book. Very novel, refreshing and really entertaining. Highly recommended.

Title: Re: What did you read in July 2020?
Post by: eclipse on August 03, 2020, 02:35:54 PM
Dirty Magic by Jaye Well 2/5

Urban fantasy, a cop gets in over her head about illegal magic

Hero Forged by Josh Erikon 5/5

Urban fantasy, where a  con man has an evil god stuck in his head and teams up with a succubus while on the run from various factions

Hot Lead, Cold Iron by Ari Marmell 4/5

Urban Fantasy, A Fae as a Private eye set in the 1920's Chicago

Widow's Welcome by D.K Fields 1/5

Mystery fantasy, Detective Cora needs to find the murderer in an election year , very slow paced lost interest 

The Angel of Crow by Katherine Addison 4/5

fantasy novel of alternate 18180's London based on sherlock holmes stories

Relics by Tim Lebbon 2/5

Urban Fantasy,  Angela's lover Vince  goes missing in lLondon and gets sucked in the underbelly of crime while trying to find him. lost interest

Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey 2/5

A Private eye investigates a murder at a magic school. Lost Interest after a promising start.

First Watch by Dale Lucas 2/5

Buddy Cop story....Lost Interest  :P

The Empire's Ghost by Isabelle Steiger 3/5

Okay Epic fantasy nothing new to see here but done well .

@cupiscent guess which Fantasy sub- genre I read the most?

Title: Re: What did you read in July 2020?
Post by: ScarletBea on August 03, 2020, 03:05:58 PM
@eclipse , now I know what happens when you don't post here: you read LOADS :o ;D
Title: Re: What did you read in July 2020?
Post by: cupiscent on August 04, 2020, 04:11:37 AM
@cupiscent guess which Fantasy sub- genre I read the most?

It's still unclear, perhaps we need more data.  ;)

I really enjoyed Magic for Liars! Though I did feel it was very driven by the main character, so I can see how if she didn't click for you, it would have been a harder sell.
Title: Re: What did you read in July 2020?
Post by: Elfy on August 06, 2020, 05:56:42 AM
I haven't participated in this for a few months. I also haven't been reading as much as I used to. I put it down to the whole pandemic thing affecting me more than I like to admit.

Anyway I did get through a couple of books in July.

Snow White Learns Witchcraft by Theodora Goss. Theodora Goss is closing in on Cat Valente for one of the authors that enchants me the most. I really enjoy her Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club books (reading one at present), but it's her short fiction that intrigues me the most. I first encountered her in a short story collection with the piece that actually birthed the Athena Club, and was imho far and away the standout submission in the collection (that was The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination btw). Then I read The Other Thea in The Starlit Wood and have kind of been hooked ever since. That tale is also contained in Snow White Learns Witchcraft along with a whole other bunch of poems and stories that neatly subvert fairytales of all kinds. Fun read, she does seem to have a bit of an obsession with bears and cats, though.

The Southern Book Club's Guide to Vampire Slaying by Grady Hendrix. Grady's another author I found in an odd way. He used to write for and he did reviews of what is possibly one of the worst shows ever screened on TV in Under the Dome, but the show was unintentionally hilarious because it was so bad, Grady's reviews were also hilarious, but he meant them to be. My wife and I only watched the show so we could ready Grady's take on it. After that he wrote a book called Horrorstor about a haunted IKEA, followed it up with the brilliant homage to 80's teen horror films in My Best Friend's Exorcism, then wrote We Sold Our Souls about a metal band hero who sold his soul for success and was also opening hell on Earth, I liked it but didn't love it. The Southern Book Club's Guide to Vampire Slaying is his best work yet. It's funny and scary, but there's more than a few messages in it. One of them is that the monsters often aren't imaginary creatures. There's also a lot about people having the courage to improve their lives and those of the community around them if they speak up. Probably my book of the year to this point.
Title: Re: What did you read in July 2020?
Post by: ericlewis on August 06, 2020, 07:04:36 PM
Wow, you guys are reading animals- I only finished one book last month, though I also wrote a short story that I haven’t been able to sell so far. King of Assassins is RJ Barker’s finale in his Wounded Kingdom trilogy. It wraps up the story of Girton, the master assassin who does little actual assassinating but unravels plots against his old friend and now king Rufra as they make a bid for the high kingship in a darkly byzantine capital surrounded by enemies. It’s only with this third volume that the world finally feels familiar, though the reader is thrown into a setting where court intrigue and black magic are turned up to 11 compared to the previous two books. Girton has to conceal his sorcerer’s powers or risk execution while searching out a conspiracy to keep Rufra and his reformist ideas out of power. Old friends become enemies and enemies become…well, not friends, but less enemies as bigger ones emerge. Whatever you might think the climax is, it’s much bigger that that, and there are like three of them. These books are very character-driven, and are really mysteries in a fantasy setting, so they may be an acquired taste for some readers. But if you like slow burn whodunits that suddenly explode at the end, this trilogy might be for you. 4.5/5

This book’s been out for a couple years, so I apologize if this is all old hat by now. I have a full review here: (
Title: Re: What did you read in July 2020?
Post by: CameronJohnston on August 06, 2020, 08:15:59 PM
Peace Talks by Jim Butcher - 3.5 stars from me. It's good to be back with Harry but it feels like half a book.

War of Gods by Dyrk Ashton - 5 stars from me. Phew, now that's what I call epic. More gods and supernatural beings than you can shake a dictionary at.
Title: Re: What did you read in July 2020?
Post by: ScarletBea on August 06, 2020, 08:49:59 PM
@ericlewis , no worries, I also only read that trilogy 2 months ago, it was great, right? :D

And again, don't worry if you only read a book - as I mention on the initial post, some are like machines (or read short books ;) ), others take their time.
I now reading a Malazan, so I know that August will be a one-book month hehe
Title: Re: What did you read in July 2020?
Post by: cupiscent on August 07, 2020, 04:04:26 AM
I haven't got to RJ Barker's work yet, though it's something I'm looking forward to on my mountainous TBR pile, so @ericlewis is doing better than me on that front :D
Title: Re: What did you read in July 2020?
Post by: isos81 on August 10, 2020, 07:06:08 AM
4 books in July:
Loved the Paternus series. The finale was epic and well handled. Thanks @Bender for the recommendation :)

Title: Re: What did you read in July 2020?
Post by: DrNefario on August 10, 2020, 01:43:27 PM
Six for me this month, two multitasked non-fiction books, and four regular books.

The Cost of Survival (System Apocalypse #3) - Tao Wong - My go-to quick reads. This a litRPG set in the real world. This is the end of the first arc. I've already read the next one, but it will have to wait for next month. And I might get one more in before I let my Prime subscription lapse and lose access to the Kindle Owners' Lending Library.

The Book of Forgotten Authors - Christopher Fowler - A non-fiction books I've been dipping into for ages. This is a collection of short pieces about authors who used to be big but are now (mostly) hard to find. Quite entertaining. Potentially bad for the TBR.

King's Dragon (Crown of Stars #1) - Kate Elliott - A long-standing TBR book that I was finally inspired to read by a book club. I really enjoyed it. It feels more historically-inspired than the other works by Elliott I have read. I will definitely continue with the series.

Elephants Can Remember (Poirot #35ish) - Agatha Christie - Another weak late Christie, but blessedly short.

Paternus: Rise of Gods (Paternus #1) - Dyrk Ashton - It seems to have been a bit of a Paternus month in the forum, by chance. I read this one because it's a Prime Reading loan and I'm letting my membership lapse. It's an urban fantasy featuring gods/mythical beings in a Neil Gaiman kind of way, and is quite good fun.

The Big Show - Pierre Clostermann - WWII Free French fighter pilot memoir. Another Prime Reading loan.