Do you keep track of the amount of books you’ve read each month? I try not to get wrapped up in the number, but I’ll admit to feeling disappointed when I don’t hit at least four. There are so many great books out in the world, and it’s distressing to know I’ll never have time to read a modest fraction. I do my best to read as many as possible, and I find that setting a specific goal helps challenge me. Since I tend to read a lot of large fantasy novels, I like to intersperse shorter stories, graphic novels, or middle-grade books. This month was heavy on those genres.
Since my month was busy with the end of school year and trying to market my new business, I didn’t make a Planning Ahead post. Luckily, that meant I didn’t disappoint myself when I naturally didn’t follow it.
- City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab
- Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire
- Content Rules by Ann Handley
- Publishing 101 by Jane Friedman
- Kill the Farm Boy by Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne
- The 1-Page Marketing Plan by Allan Dib
- A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan E. Rosenfeld
- Coda Vol. 1 by Simon Spurrier
While City of Ghosts is my first middle-grade story by Schwab, I have always enjoyed her style. Never flowery or pretentious, she makes you feel a part of the scene. There was plenty of tension and action, and she does a great job at fleshing out (pun intended) her two main characters. Be wary of giving this to a younger experienced reader, as there are some moments that could be considered spooky.
Any chance I get, I read fantasy books with my six-year-old. He’s more into poop jokes, but he still loves action and adventure. We’ve only read one of the previous ten installments of Geronimo’s fantasy adventures, but we had no trouble diving into this one (the eleventh in the series). These books are long, and sometimes you can feel it slugging along to the end. So many different things happen, so many different characters and challenges that it often feels nothing is fleshed out. Still, they are beautifully illustrated, silly, and fun. I’d definitely read the earlier books in the series (even on my own).
McGuire’s writing has a very poetic feel about it. In a longer book, I’m not sure I’d care for it, but it works at this level. It’s dark and captures some very deep and disturbing themes. But while her style of writing works for this novella form, I am left wanting more: more characterization, more of the world, more of the before.
I was laughing out loud for the first few chapters of Kill the Farm Boy. I loved the play on words and the twists of the typical fantasy tropes. However, it became repetitive. It was the same sexual inneundo, slapstick humor, and poop jokes over and over again. And it was too much. Every paragraph was a joke, and the story itself felt lost. There was a lot of exposition, and it became rather dull to read. I like what it tried to do, and there were several lines I loved, but it doesn’t make me want to continue with the series.
The art of Coda is beautiful if a bit hard to follow. The story in the first half is also a bit muddled. We are learning about the world through his letters to his wife, and I don’t quite get what the Spurrier was trying to accomplish with that method. The second half was clearer and had a great setup for the next volume. I only wish it happened earlier.
And I read lots of books relating to business, which ones again, one day, I’ll review on my editing blog.
The Mere Wife by Maria Dahvana Headley, a play off of Beowulf, just didn’t suit my tastes this month. Nothing inherently wrong with it, just wasn’t what I wanted to read.
- The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
- Middlegame by Seanan McGuire
- A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
- The Crooked House by C.L. Clark
- All Systems Red by Martha Wells
- A Brightness Long Ago by Guy Gavriel Kay
- The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
As always, I’d love to hear what you are reading!