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Reading recap: June

June was a great reading month for me, mostly because I was on holiday, so I had time to read. Also, because it was cold and raining, and I had nothing else I’d rather have been doing. I ended up finishing five books and the sixth was almost done by the end of the month, so I’ll count it for this month too. Three of the books were from my reading list, three were new ones.

First up was a book outside my list and the most extraordinary book I’ve read in a while. The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins is a story of children abducted from their parents by a strange, heartless, and strict man. He wants to bring them up to make them unique and perfect in their skills, be it languages or killing, by basically torturing them. They grow up to be psychopaths with little or no connection to the real world. But then their teacher – Father – goes missing and the group has to enter the normal world to get him back. Little by little, elements of fantasy are added to the narrative until in the end it becomes divorced from the real world completely. The main character, Carolyn, is twisted yet sympathetic. No matter the bizarre or sick stunts she pulls, I ended up rooting for her. The gory details made me cringe quite a few times, but they weren’t dwelled on. The world was truly unique and the story read like a suspense novel to its bizarre and satisfying end.

Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins

Next up was the latest from one of my all-time favourite paranormal romance writers, Nalini Singh. Silver Silence is the book sixteen in her brilliant Psy-Changeling series that also begins a new story-cycle and is therefore book one of the Psy-Changeling Trinity series. It shifts the setting from California to Russia and from leopard and wolf changelings to bears. Only a superficial change, in the end, because despite the new characters and settings, the people are equally great, fun, and loveable, and there are enough appearances from the story stables to keep it feeling familiar. As always, love doesn’t come easy for the emotionless psy heroine, but the affable bear changeling manages to win her out in the end. My only complaint is that the end was slightly abrupt and felt like it should’ve had something more.

Silver Silence by Nalini Singh

Release by Patrick Ness was an addition to my list too. It was a relatively short novel about a very bad day of the protagonist, Adam. From morning to night things get progressively worse for him with a dreaded going-away party of his ex-boyfriend to look forward to at its end. These include being harassed by his boss to fighting with his Christian fundamentalist parents who cannot accept that their son is gay. The story would’ve been great as it was, but along it ran a supernatural story of a goddess trapped in a body of a dead girl going about the town. Since it was Adam who accidentally made it happen, I would’ve wished the two stories met better or with more meaning throughout the narrative, but as it was, when they do come together in the end, a release takes place for all parties.

Release by Patrick Ness

Lover’s Knot by Karen Chance is a novella set on the Dorina Basarab storyline of her urban fantasy world. I read it chapter by chapter as she published it on her website, which wasn’t necessarily the best way of doing it, but I enjoyed the story nonetheless. Set in two timelines, 15th century Venice and modern time, it took a while for the story to make sense, but when it did, the usual mayhem ensued that happens in all Karen Chance’s books. A fun story. Its since been published as a free e-book too, so I might read it again.

Lover's Knot by Karen Chance

Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth was outside my list too. I hadn’t really thought to read it, the premise didn’t interest me in the least, but I picked it up from the local library and gave it a try. It wasn’t really worth it. It was basically fantasy set in a sci-fi world, i.e. world where space travel is possible, but the story didn’t use it in a worth-while manner. I never really got into the two main characters that I think were supposed to be some sort of Romeo and Juliet pair. Their emotions never felt anything other than stamped on, be it love or hate. I certainly didn't feel them, though the latter came through better and worked as a believable character motivation, but the inevitable love story wasn’t believable. Pain played a great role, but even that failed to make an impact. Switching between first and third person narratives wasn't a good choice either. The world never became anything than a prop. I read it to the end though, mainly to see what would happen, and the ending was good enough. But I don’t have a compelling need to continue with the series.

Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

The last book of the month was the one I’d anticipated the most. Assassin’s Fate by Robin Hobb ended her longstanding series of trilogies featuring Fitz and Fool, and I both wanted to devour it and dreaded the ending. I still remember the disappointment I felt at the end of the previous trilogy, the worst ending ever. The book was long and featured many storylines, finding Bee and releasing her from captivity, Bee’s journey told from her point of view, Fool’s quest for revenge, and the liveships’ yearn to become real dragons. And through it all, Fitz’s and Fool’s friendship. As far as endings go, this book delivered the perfect one: a closure with a hope for the future. It was sad, as it should be, but I loved it. And I remain hopeful that there will be more books to come with Bee in the lead.

Assassin's Fate by Robin Hobb

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There’s a site-wide sale on Smashwords till the end of July and I’ve a few books there, both free and discounted. Take a look.

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