I didn’t take August off from reading like I did blogging, but with everything I had going on, I didn’t get through quite as many books as I usually do. The ones I did read, though, were mostly really good. Here’s what I read last month:
Shadow of Night, by Deborah Harkness
(originally read August 2012)
This book definitely wasn’t as good as the first. There were some parts I really enjoyed, but others that were more of a slog to get through, and not a lot really happens. There was too much indulgence in the historical setting, I thought, and not enough plot development. Still, I’m eager to see how it all ends.
The Book of Life, by Deborah Harkness
This was a thrilling conclusion, and a big step up from the second book. I will say that it felt a bit scattered; the whole series is kind of all over the place, and this book more so than either of the others… but despite its being a muddled mess at times, it kept me engaged. After having taken over a week to re-read Shadow of Night, I flew through this one in three days. The whole series is definitely worth reading if you like worlds that are hidden just beneath the surface of our own.
The Eye of God, by James Rollins
(originally read June 2013)
4 stars (changed from 5 stars)
This book – one which plays with ideas of past, present, and future – is a fitting one to take the series in a new direction after the significant events of Bloodline… but re-reading it, I felt like it didn’t quite reach that 5-star mark. Maybe because the ending, which was what pushed me over the edge last time, didn’t have the same impact the second time through. Either way, it’s still a great book.
(read my full review here: The Eye of God)
Peter Pan Must Die, by John Verdon
John Verdon’s novels are always so compelling, despite their slow and methodical pace. These types of detective stories aren’t always appealing to me, but there’s just something about Dave Gurney that keeps me coming back. I like reading about his relationships as much as the mysteries, and this book is no exception. That said, this was probably my favorite Gurney case since Think of a Number.
The Sixth Extinction, by James Rollins
This was a pretty standard Sigma Force novel. Entertaining as always, though I was hoping for a little more with it being the 10th anniversary and all. Instead we get a mix of old characters and new (including a fun cameo), but no real stand-outs. The story was an intriguing one, though… what can we do to survive our own self-destruction… and do we even deserve to?
Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, by Jeanette Winterson
I’d heard great things about this semi-autobiographical novel, but unfortunately I just couldn’t get into it. Maybe at some point down the line I’ll return to it, or just read the actual memoir, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? This is a pretty short book, and I thought about just powering through, but that didn’t strike me as the best way to appreciate it.
The Martian, by Andy Weir
I enjoyed this just as much as everyone said I would. I was a little nervous, because space is terrifying to me… but just like I can read a horror novel even though I hate horror movies, the book really didn’t freak me out too much. It filled me with just the right amount of anxiety and adrenaline throughout this desperate story. The science can get a bit dry, but the humor makes up for it.
Skin of the Wolf, by Sam Cabot
In a lot of ways, this was a stronger book than the first in the series, Blood of the Lamb. This one follows some of the characters and expands on the universe created in that book, but I was surprised by how different it felt. Whereas the first book was a thought-provoking religious thriller, this felt much more like a crime thriller. So fans of the first book may not enjoy the second, while those who didn’t care for the first might like this one a lot more.
Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn
I enjoyed it more than I thought I would, and more than the first Gillian Flynn book I read, but that’s where the positives end. From the rave reviews, it seems most people love this book for the shock value; partly because of the hype and partly because I’m no stranger to twisty thrillers, I just didn’t get that same reaction. And the ending was less than satisfying. It was a good book, just not the amazing one that other readers experienced.
What was your favorite book last month?