This post is a continuation from last month’s. Here are the rest of the (fiction) books I read in the first half of this year:
Shadow of the Wolf by Tim Hall
This is a Robin Hood retelling, and I thought it was a werewolf book, but it turns out it isn’t! Lol. I still really enjoyed it, though! It’s rather dark and sad, but it’s an interesting spin on Robin Hood that I haven’t seen anywhere else. Don’t want to be too spoilerish, but let’s just say that it reminds me of Daredevil a bit . . . okay, that’s probably a semi-big spoiler. ^_^;; Anyway, it was rather heart-breaking because Robin and Marian go through such awful, awful stuff! They grew up together and now they’re separated, trying to get back to each other, but the absolute worst keeps happening to them. My goodness, if you like it when authors torture their characters to the max, read this book! ;P I would read the sequel (Winter’s Teeth) but I can’t find it; it’s not on Amazon. Goodreads says it came out in 2016, but I don’t think it did!
Curse of the Night Wolf by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell
This is a middle-grade book that takes place in London in the 1800s(?). The main character, Barnaby Grimes, is a “tick-tock lad” who runs errands and delivers messages for people all across the city, basically doing parkour across rooftops to avoid the busy streets so he can get to his destinations as quickly as possible. It’s pretty exciting and, yes, it is a werewolf book. Since I’m a grown adult, I was able to solve the mystery, but the primary audience is kids, so maybe the whodunit would be a riddle to them. It’s quite an atmospheric book and I’d recommend it.
The Taskmaster by Katherine Vick
This is the fourth and final Plot Bandits book, and it came out last month! It’s just as hilarious as the first three! If you love Terry Pratchett books, you’ll probably love these ones too! Vick is brilliant at physical comedy, and you would not believe the amount of ways she can think of to have fun with a beheaded—yet still very much alive—character. (There’s no gore; it’s silly like Monty Python.) It’s good, clean fun and also has a great underlying social-justice type of message. Hooray for a finished series!!
Skin Deep by Kendra Merritt
This is another Beauty and the Beast retelling, and I think it’s my favorite one now! I loved it, love the world-building and the characters’ spunkiness and especially love the disability rep! I’m always looking for more books with good d.r. This one is, of course, a romance, but it’s more than that. The two main characters are both badly wounded/traumatized, in different ways, and they are together in the castle but not in the same way Disney’s Belle was (an actual prisoner). This “Belle” is a magic-user and she’s trying to break the Beast’s curse, so the plot revolves around that struggle as well as their relationship, and there’s a nice twist at the end I didn’t guess—though I figured out early on who cast the curse. Merritt has written a whole series of fairy-tale retellings that take place in the same fantasy world this one does. I definitely will read more of them!
Heir of the Line by Eric James Stone
I absolutely loved the first maybe two-thirds of this book—great characters, great world-building, great disability rep. But the rest of it was a real letdown. The ending was too rushed, and there was no foreshadowing of a certain terrible thing (well, there kind of was, but not really; can’t explain without spoilers) and I think this long book should have been split into two so the ending didn’t have to be so rushed. Also, I hate it when authors write such wonderful, noble, loveable characters and then unalive them, and this case was especially bad because it seems it was just to make some kind of point (theme) that I don’t think was even necessary to make! The plot turned a very different way than I expected, and usually that’s okay, but not in this case. Narrative promises seem to have been broken. I’m bummed because I’m trying to find more awesome indie books to recommend to people, and I don’t think I would recommend this one now that I’ve finished it. Unless you don’t mind having your heart ripped out.
Skate the Seeker by Jeff Ayers
This is the sequel to Skate the Thief and it comes out September 12th! Book 1 takes place in the bustling port city of Caribol and revolves around young thief Skate’s ethical dilemma, plus wizardry and an awesome & unique magical creature named Rattle <3 and a crime syndicate and a man trapped in a crystal ball. Book 2 is a quest story: Skate and friends go on a long, dangerous journey (pursued by deadly, creepy enemies) to bring back her lost mentor. It expands Skate’s world greatly, and it’s really cool to learn about her country and the one bordering it to the south. There’s a map too—yay for fantasy maps! :D Can’t wait for this book to come out so everyone else can enjoy it too! (P.S. I didn’t think it was possible, but Rattle gets even MORE adorable in book 2!!)
Nabari No Ou manga vols. 1–14 by Yukhi Kamatani
This is a ninja story, but it’s not really a ninja story. I mean, it is but it’s so much more. There’s a lot of sad stuff that happens, though, so don’t read these books if you can’t handle blood and death and suffering characters. I watched the anime a while ago, then recently was reminded of the manga and thought I should read it, and it wasn’t too long and the library had it, so, yeah! The ending is different than the anime’s—I think I like the anime’s a little better, though the manga has more detail about the characters and their world that I was glad to learn about.
The Star-Crossed Pelican by Laura Ruth Loomis
This is the sequel to Loomis’s The Cosmic Turkey and it is JUST as hilarious and fun!!! If you like Douglas Adams’ books, try these! (Well, Pelican doesn’t come out till December . . . heh. So read Turkey while you wait.) Our poor loveable protagonist, Janet, can’t seem to get technology to cooperate, finding herself in various mishaps that land her with the choice (in book 1) of either going to jail or captaining a dilapidated starship. When she boards the turkey-shaped ship, she meets her misfit crew and realizes this is going to be one wild journey! They’re sent to Pluto to rescue an Earth scientist . . . and Pluto is NOT a nice place to be. I mean, the worst thing of all: chocolate is illegal!!! *gasps in horror* LOL! Can you tell I’m a chocoholic?? If you are too, have chocolate on hand to eat while you’re reading! These books are short and sweet and SO much fun!
MindWar by Andrew Klavan
I LOVE Andrew Klavan’s books!! I’ve read two of his nonfiction titles, and Werewolf Cop (a gritty, hard-boiled noir), and wanted to read more of his fiction. Well, I found MindWar through an Amazon email (“Since you bought X, you might like this”) and I usually ignore those, but something about this book enticed me to buy it! After it came in the mail, I sped through it; it was such a riveting, fast-paced read! I just had to order the two sequels, and I’m glad they arrived quickly! I’m currently speeding through book 2, Hostage Run. Oh, this is a YA cyber-thriller series, and I sure do recommend it!
Well, that’s all the books I’ve read this year so far (as of the time I typed this). I’ll do a year-end reading check in November and December!
Happy summer, and happy reading!
P.S. – This summer has been quite busy and FUN for me so far, with—on top of my usual workload—selling Thinklings’ books at two different local comic cons! I also took a vacation to visit my brother in beautiful Maine . . . Acadia National Park and various other places that I will try to post about soon! (Just got back and catching up on work stuff!)
P.P.S. – If you enjoy these book recommendations, why not sign up for Thinklings’ newsletter? I’m the one who writes it, and Deborah and I have similar (and very excellent ;) taste in books! Most of the recommendations come from her and me.
Sarah Awa lives in Ohio with two hairy guys and writes books about werewolves.