Sometimes you have really kick-ass reading months, like June, then you have those average reading months, which is essentially what my July turned out to be. Between moody reading slumps, some personal battles, and just being sick from all of this grotesque heat, I did not read nearly as much as I would have liked. Nevertheless, I’m not going to let it discourage me because life happens and that’s perfectly okay. 😊
In the end, I finished eight books and DNF’d one, for a total of nine reads. While most of the books that I read were pretty average overall, there were a couple that blew my mind to the point that they may even make my Best Books of 2018 list!
As per usual, I have everything broke up by genre, and have included title, author, subgenre, brief synopsis, and my rating. If the book was a DNF for reasons not pertaining to offensive content, then I won’t have a rating for it. I’ve also included any relative links to reviews that I have written.
Skim by Jillian Tamaki & Mariko Tamaki
Skim is a young adult graphic novel that is #OwnVoices Japanese-Canadian about a young girl named Kimberly “Skim” Keiko Cameron and her struggles with depression after a student at her school commits suicide promptly after breaking up with his girlfriend, Katie Matthews. This was a very powerful graphic novel about some difficult subject matter that I recommend for people who like stories about people and the struggles of life. You can read my full review for it here. 3/5.
Sword Art Online #1: Aincard by Reki Kawahara, Abec (Illustrator), & Bee-Pee (Illustrator)
Sword Art Online is a seinen, science-fiction series taking place in the year 2022. Video gamers are super excited as Sword Art Online—a VRMMORPG, or Virtual Reality Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game—finally debuts. It’s the first game that allows its players to take full advantage of ultimate gaming technology called NerveGear. This technology lets players completely immerse themselves into a realistic gaming experience. When the game officially goes live, all of that excitement mutates into fast-mounting terror as they discover that the game has no “Log-Out” feature. Their bodies are held captive by the technology. Players have only two options: beat all one-hundred floors of the game in order to be released or play until you die. However, if you die in the game then you will die in real life.
I loved this volume. It was excellently written and is one of the best light novels that I have read, in terms of writing style and execution. I will be doing a review for this when I return to full-time blogging in a week or so. 4.5/5.
Strange Weather in Tokyo: A Novel by Hiromi Kawakami
Strange Weather in Tokyo is an #OwnVoices Japanese Contemporary fiction novel about a 38-year-old office worker, Tsukiko, who lives alone. One evening she runs into her former high school Japanese professor, whom she’s only ever referred to as Sensei. He’s thirty years her senior, retired, and seemingly a widower. As they begin to spend time together, they develop a small acknowledgement of one another that gradually turns into an uncertain intimacy, and finally emotional love. Strange Weather in Tokyo is a marvellous piece of literature that is the epitome Japanese prose. Read my full review here. 4.5/5.
Invisible Planets: An Anthology of Contemporary Chinese SF in Translation edited & translated by Ken Liu
Invisible Planets is a collection of #OwnVoices Chinese science-fiction that was translated by the brilliant epic fantasy author of The Dandelion Dynasty, Ken Liu. This is an excellent collection for anyone who is a fan of intricate, brilliantly innovative, and complex hard science-fiction. The exhibition of Chinese culture, lore, and political climates with wondrously imaginative storytelling totally blew my mind! Invisible Planets is a collection that has some of the finest writing that I have read from the adult sci-fi genre, and I highly recommend it all sci-fi readers! 4.25/5.
Science-Fiction & Fantasy:
Bloodstar (Star Corpsman #1) by Ian Douglas
Bloodstar is a military science-fiction book, a first in a series, that revolves around a dude named Navy Corpsman Elliot Carlyle. He joined the military so that he could help people, but now him and Bravo Company’s Black Wizards of the interstellar Fleet Marine Force are on their way to a hellish, volatile rock planet called Bloodworld that is colonised by a fanatical group called the Salvationists, who wants an inhospitable place to atone for humankind’s sins. When the Qesh—a strange alien race that’s been detected but unknown for six decades—finally make their violent first contact, the Salvationists desire for penance may prove deadly. Now it’s up to Brave Company to confront this force of powerful, impenetrable foes in an effort to save countless number of lives.
I was really enjoying this book, but due to a bitching reading slump, I chose to DNF before I could have any negative associations to it as I plan on returning to it one day. I want to make sure that I get the full pleasant experience that I suspect I shall get from reading the whole thing. DNF, no rating.
Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant
Into the Drowning Deep is a marine science-fiction book about the Mariana Trench, where seven years ago, an expedition aboard the ship, Atargatis, set-off on a trip to film a “mockumentary.” The focus of the mockumentary was on mythological marine creatures. However, a mysterious tragedy befell the ship and the whole crew was lost at sea. Now, during the present time, a new crew has been assembled for the sole purpose of uncovering what precisely occurred aboard the Atargatis all those years ago. For one woman, Victoria Stewart, the mission is about much more—it’s about learning the fate of her sister lost at sea, and to finally bring peace to her grieving heart.
I would put this novel in my list of most disappointing books of the year. You can read my ranty review for it here, but as it stands, this book is about as average as you can fucking get. 2.75/5.
Or Else My Lady Keeps the Key by Kage Baker
Or Else My Lady Keeps the Key is a high-fantasy novel about a dude named John James who, after participating in the war and a spot of piracy, returns to his home of Jamaica where he plans on starting up a bricklaying business. But before he can do that, he is committed to fulfilling a promise to his dying comrade to deliver a letter to his mistress. Upon delivering said letter, Mr James get pulled into a plot for hunting treasure.
There were so many things to love about this novel, but the shortcomings were simply too strong for it to be a well-rounded blast. A full review for this will be up in a couple of weeks. 2.75/5.
Bonfire by Krysten Ritter
Bonfire is a suspense crime thriller is about a woman named Abby Williams, who left her small-town home of Barrens, Indiana many years ago in effort to run away from all of the terrible memories and the haunting tragedy that loomed over it. Now, working as an environmental lawyer, Abby is forced to return to Barrens in order to help solve a mystery surrounding the town’s biggest corporation, and the main financial supporter of nearly all of the town’s governmentally ran businesses. With her return, she must face all of the people—including the girls who bullied her and the father who abused her—that she tried running from, as well as the things that she worked so damn hard to forget. Yet, the more that she dives into the town’s history and personal connections, she closer she gets to a much darker and sinister plot, one that will threaten to destroy her.
Ritter’s debut novel is a strong read that shows her potential for the work. She just needs a bit more polishing and practise, as well as a better editor. You can read my full review here. 3/5.
To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
To Kill a Kingdom is a young adult high fantasy novel about a siren named Lira who is a deadly force to be reckoned with, however, when she makes the mistake of killing one of her own, she must pay for the consequences. The Sea Queen strips Lira of her siren abilities, transforming her into a human, and gives her one week to bring the Queen the heart of one of the most ruthless princes on land, or else face being what Lira loathes most until her demise.
Okay… I have a full, detailed review for this book releasing in a couple of weeks, so all I will say is that I have finally found a book that may be worth all of the hype it’s been garnering. I know, it’s me saying this. All in all, highly recommended. 4.5/5.
Okay, that does it for all of my July reads! Please let me know if you have read any of the listed books, or if any of them sound interesting to you at all. As I mentioned earlier, July may have been relatively average for me, but I am not bummed out at all. Nonetheless, I do hope that August is much more productive.