Tuesday, July 31, 2012

What I've been reading: July 2012

It felt like I was reading up a storm this month, and somehow, it doesn't feel quite as momentous as last month.  Granted, there are a couple in the list with pretty significant page-counts, so maybe that's why?  Who can say.  In any case, here we go.

The Apprentice, by Tess Gerritsen.  I'm a huge fan of TNT's Rizzoli & Isles series, which is based on the books by Tess Gerritsen, so I decided to go back and read the series from the beginning.  Some of it is quite different, and some of it is spot on between the books and television adaptation, which is true of most adaptations, in my experience.  The first in the series, The Surgeon, introduced Boston homicide detective Jane Rizzoli, and The Apprentice, which is the second, is where readers meet medical examiner Dr. Maura Isles.  I read The Surgeon a number of years ago, and Gerritsen is quite good at giving readers enough framework at the beginning of a novel so as not to make us feel left behind if we've missed a book, so I got right into the case and the story.  The Surgeon, Rizzoli's arch-nemesis serial-killer in the first book, appears to be back.  Only this time he has, you guessed it, an apprentice, which changes the signature of the killings and means that Rizzoli is now out to catch a diabolical duo.  A serious page-turner.  400 pages.

Flirt, by Laurell K. Hamilton.  Another book from the middle of a series, and yes, over the years I have read the seventeen books in the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series prior to this title, which is actually a novella.  And, as a novella, the situation is meant to be brief, which is clear from the outset.  Yet Hamilton, who typically writes novels of 350+ pages, seemed unable to let go of longer, more convoluted plotlines and so this felt rushed, without much detail and somehow still too many story elements crammed in.  I loved earlier books in the series, and critics and fans alike adore the series through the first fourteen or so titles about Anita and her man-harem of vampires and wereanimals, as she raises the dead as a professional necromancer in addition to solving matters of vamp- and/or were-politics at the side of one or more love-interests.  If you're looking for a series to fill in time outside of Sookie Stackhouse's adventures, this would certainly be one to try.  171 pages.

Hot Blooded, by Lisa Jackson.   I'll be honest--I read this one on my Kindle while waiting for the library's reordered copy of this New Orleans series opener to come in.  The link for this will take you to Overdrive, which allows library users to check out ebook titles for a number of different devices.  Dr. Sam, popular late-night radio talk-show host in sultry New Orleans, gets home from a botched make-up holiday with her ex fiance in a foul mood.  A boating accident has left her with a sprained ankle, she's lost her keys and wallet, and some creepy hate-mail from a stalker is waiting when she arrives home.  As she attempts to settle back into her routine, the stalking becomes ugly, the city is beset by a series of murders, and a sexy new neighbor makes a play for Dr. Sam.  Then things really start to heat up.  A super-speedy read, with just a few hiccups.  464 pages.

A Discovery of Witches, by Deborah Harkness.  As you know by now, this is a re-read for me, but the timing on this is two-fold.  One, my book club is reading this over the summer for our September meeting.  Two, the sequel, Shadow of Night, just came out this month and I wanted to brush up before I delved into the new book.  You can read my original review from last summer here.  Bonus, the audiobook is phenomenal, read by the extremely talented Jennifer Ikeda.  579 pages.

The Passage, by Justin Cronin.  What's with all the vampires this month?  I'm not quite sure how that happened, either.  First in a trilogy, the secon book The Twelve is due out later this year (on order, just not in our catalog yet), The Passage introduces us to a huge host of characters, multitudes of plotlines, and spans over 100 years.  No small undertaking.  Cronin's strengths lie in the details and the quiet moments--some of his imagery is extremely poignant and sticks with the reader.  However, it's a giant book at 800 pages, and contains a LOT of story.  Imagine vampirism as a virus, which infects millions of Americans.  States secede and set up giant walls.  The outside world cuts off the North American continent.  What would human civilization look like after 100 years in a camp of survivors abandoned by the Army?  Cronin is overflowing with ideas, and I can't wait to see what the next installment brings.  800 pages.

Seating Arrangements, by Maggie Shipstead.  Shifting gears, from vampires to social satire.  A clan of well-to-do New Englanders gather for the nuptials of Daphne Van Meter and her husband-to-be, a handsome young businessman.  But the bride's sister, recently single, becomes the target of the best man's need for conquest.  And rather than being helpful as the wedding planned by Mrs. Van Meter with precision starts to fall to pieces, the family patriarch is busily pursuing one of the bridesmaids.  Mayhem ensues, in this extremely well-written and hilarious novel.  Really enjoyed this one.  320 pages.

July totals:

2,734 pages
6 titles

2012 totals:
18563/50000 pages = 37%
44/100 titles = 44%

It's going to be a fight to the finish this year to see if I can finish both of these challenges!  Any other challengers have some recommendations to share?

See you all back here on Thursday when I start sharing what new titles from your favorite authors you'll get to look forward to reading in September!

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