July was a month to catch up on my reading as I have been dreadfully slack in my reading. I’m almost at the mid-point with 49 books completed so far. I’m working my way to 104.
The bulk of my month was spent enjoying Kelley Armstrong’s Otherworld series. I’d read Bitten and Stolen last month and I was moving right along. Dime Store Magic and Industrial Magic were the next two and they featured the narration of Paige, a witch with a nose for trouble. I love Paige. She’s such a fun character and Savannah, her sort-of daughter is fabulous. Once those were read, I moved onto Haunted which was told by Savannah’s dead mother. Love it. Eve is one sassy dead witch and I loved her. I hope to see more of her stories coming up. Broken brought us back to Elena, the only female werewolf and the narrator of the first two novels. This story was great because it featured Jack The Ripper. How can you not love a present day novel that has Jack The Ripper coming through a tear in time? No Humans Involved was the last book in the series, so far anyway, and was told by Jaime, a necromancer. Jaime is yet another kick-ass heroine. I think that’s a large part of what I love about Kelley Armstrong’s books. Her female characters are all unique, some are feminine and some are so not, but they’re all strong without being cliche. I’ve enjoyed reading this new-to-me author.
Once I wrapped up that series, I picked up Undead & Uneasy by Mary Janice Davidson. I’ve said it before, that all of these books are so similar that it’s a little mind-numbing, but I can’t help but love them anyway. Betsy is such a spastic vampire- it was entertaining to see her try to figure some things out on her own in this book.
Like Mary Janice Davidson, Janet Evanovich isn’t someone who would consider an intelligent writer. I don’t meant that to say that she herself is dumb, but you don’t read her books looking to gain some insight into the ways of the world. You read them for sheer enjoyment and the laugh out loud moments that they have. Her newest, Lean Mean Thirteen was no different. I keep thinking as the series goes on that something has to change with Stephanie Plum’s love life, but you know? I don’t know if I really will get sick of it. This book had me laughing just as hard as some of the earlier ones. I’m not tired of it yet. Is it really going to be another year before 14 comes out?
I read a ridiculous amount of paranormal books. It never used to be this way, really, but now it seems to be primarily what I pick up. Dates From Hell was no exception. When it says “from hell,” it means it. This was a good collection of four stories. I already knew two of the authors- Kelley Armstrong being one of them- and the two that I didn’t know, didn’t let me down. A rarity in an anthology- not to be disappointed in any of the stories- and it made the reading go by quickly and happily.
Last, but not least, was The Harlequin by Laurell K. Hamilton. I was a bit leery of this book. I’ve read all of Hamilton’s prior books and the progression has not pleased me. Her first books were just amazing. Great storytelling, great plots and amazing characters and character development. Then her main character, Anita, had sex. And had more sex. And then more sex with more partners. And more and more and more to the point where the books were 90% sex and 10% plot. I like to read a hot sex scene as much as the next person, but she almost lost me completely with the shapeshifting during sex and sex with a leopard thing somewhere in I think it was book twelve? Either way, I grimaced and trudged onward because with the first amazing half of the series, she hooked me. This book was a return- or a start of a return- back to her really great stuff. There was still a lot of sex. A lot of gratuitous sex. The plot, however, was great. There was a real story and there was some real character development again. It makes me excited for the next book- will there be even more great storytelling coming back? I’d be so thrilled.
Sadly, my A-Z List is suffering. The book I’m reading now is off of that list and I might have to devote August and September to getting the list finished. And probably October, actually. There’s so many books left unread. (The bolded ones on the list are the ones that I’ve completed.)