Saturday, September 10, 2011

August 2011 Reads, Quotes & Minis

Well, summer is officially over! I can't believe it. My August reading was a bit of a challenge, not because the books I read were not good, but because I had to struggle to squeeze them into my schedule during the month due to unexpected circumstances. Interestingly enough, although I didn't review many books during the month, there are a couple there that I predict will be included in my top ten list of favorite books read and reviewed at the end of the year.

This month I've decided to feature quotes from some of the books that I'll be reviewing in the near future. I've been collecting quotes lately, and I'll let you know the reason for that later... but for now, here are my reads for August and some of those quotes:

Totals Books Read: 12
Contemporary: 2 (Romance: 1 Erotic Romance: 1)
Historical Romance: 6
Paranormal Romance: 1
LGBT: 2 (Speculative Fiction: 1  Young Adult: 1)
Fantasy: 1
  • Speaking Out: LGBTQ Youth Stand Up edited by Steve Berman (Upcoming Review): This is an anthology written about and for LGBTQ young adults that is not to be missed. Here's a quote from the Introduction by Steve Berman, he says it best:
"I'm daydreaming as I type this -- the look on a fifteen-year-old Steve's face as future (or is that present? damn, time travel plays havoc with adjectives and tenses) me hands him an anthology of stories, all showcasing the self-esteem every LGBT kid needs. No, deserves. I'd probably be all mumbly-mouth, telling teenage Steve to read this story first...no, that story. Well, I'd recommend he avoid the intro or else the entire space-time continuum might collapse around New Jersey (a risk in any era, let me tell you). That fifteen-year-old me would be able to face high school, then college, then his twenties without much of the fear of being alone, being different, being gay. He would know that the voice he used to entertain himself with odd stories could be heard by many who understood the daily trials (harassment by bullies, hiding from parents and straight friends).

Voices are meant to be heard."
  • Wilde Stories 2011: The Year's Best Gay Speculative Fiction edited by Steve Berman (Upcoming Review): This is another anthology except that this one is all about that wonderful speculative fiction sub-genre that I love! There are some excellent stories in this anthology by authors whose works are new-to-me and that I'll be looking for in the future and others whose works I've read. A quote for you from Oneirica by Hal Duncan (Artefact II):
"I raise my own hand now, feel the weight of wood in it. I do not have to look to know that I'm holding  a mace or sceptre of sorts. I have been carrying it all along, the thyrsus of Dionysus and the club of Heracles, the staff of Prospero and the spear of Longinus, Odin's Gungnir and Sun Go-Ku's Rúyì-Jĩngũ-Bàng. It is the most modern magician's wand and the most ancient spearthrower. I squeeze it in my grasp and it shrinks to a twirlable size, sits comfortably between my fingers, a pen. There is no need for any statement of authority more grand than this, I think, not in this day and age. What was comfortable in one era as a humble reed with a wedge-shaped end, will be comfortable here and now as simple ballpoint. It is the most important of all these objects of power, I think -- though I am prejudiced, I suspect -- the original of all tools for shaping order and chaos."
  • Snowflakes and Stetsons: Western Christmas Wishes by Jillian Hart, Carol Finch, Cheryl St. John (Upcoming Review): This is a holiday anthology of the western historical romance kind... yeap! It's lovely and cozy and warm and just what I needed to read toward the end of this last month.  I know I'll be re-reading it during the holidays too... here's a quote from The Magical Gift at Christmas by Cheryl St. John:
She looked into his eyes.
"I will come back for you."
"I know."
"No one can find you here."
"We'll be fine, Jonah."

He wanted to kiss her. His gaze dropped to her lips, now chapped from the cold and wind, and he wanted to press his mouth against hers and feel her sweet warmth.

She knew what he was thinking, because her eyelids fluttered and even more color than what the cold created rose in her cheeks. "You may kiss me."

She never stopped surprising him.
This is the much anticipated sequel to A Companion to Wolves, a fascinating fantasy book that I read at the beginning of just this year. I'm a fan of Elizabeth Bear's writing, although I've never read anything else by Sarah Monette. I can tell you that this book is obviously the middle of what is shaping out to be a fantasy trilogy with Norse culture as its base, a fascinating study of the bond between man and animal, as well as relationships between the men, plus the social structures that they've built between themselves and those of other beings. It's a fascinating world full of nuances with plenty of room for exploration.
  • Unlocked by Courtney Milan: B-
This novella by Courtney Milan was a mixed bag for me. There were so many things to like... how well Courtney Milan developed both the characters and the situation between them in such short format is one of them. The fact that Evan had the courage to rectify a wrong in front of society was another. The way Lady Elaine Warren led her life and became nothing for a period of ten whole years, and the fact that she only came back to "life" because Evan saved her in front of society was not. There was something lacking in Elaine's character, she allowed herself to be broken by the ridicule of one man and one woman. Was there really no one else to see her for who she really was during those ten years?

There are a few other inconsistencies (the rope scene) and some of the dialogue that pulled me out of the story. I did like the unexpected way in which Evan and Diana worked out their differences, and that Milan developed a friendship between Evan and Elaine before their romance came to a conclusion. This made sense as she at least needed that space of time to reconcile her feelings for Evan. This novella is a rather inexpensive ebook and I would say worth reading.  
  • Temptation Island by Lorie O'Clare: B-
  • It's Always Been You by Victorial Dahl (Upcoming Review)
I read two books by Victoria Dahl in the space of a week, a historical romance and a contemporary. I'll tell you right now that I enjoyed the contemporary much more than the historical... this was a good romance, but not one that will stay with me. I will let you know more about it later. 
That's it for my August reads. Although I have yet to review three of my top reads for the month of August, from the books read and reviewed my top recommendations are The Many Sins of Lord Cameron by Jennifer Ashley, One Good Reason by Sarah Mayberry and Leah and The Bounty Hunter by Elaine Levine. I can tell you that September is already shaping out to be a good reading month for me. How about you? Any great reads in August?

10 comments:

  1. Hi Hils,

    I've started reading Speaking Out and am enjoying it thus far, but haven't picked up Wilde Stories 2011 yet.

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  2. Hi Indi, I'm glad you're enjoying Speaking Out. I'll look forward to your review. Wilde Stories is definitely worth picking up. :)

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  3. Hilcia! (But usually I think of you as JS still...)
    The sequel to A Companion to Wolves is here, wow. Can't wait to read that one, but probably only next year, as I have a schedule because of the challenge. I'm quite eager to see where the authors went with the story!
    Hug!!!

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  4. You had a great month considering all that was going on in your life. I'm glad that you took the time to read, as I hope it helped take your mind off everything else for a time.

    I think I'm going to read Snowflakes and Stetsons this holiday season. It sounds heartwarming. Looking forward to your review.

    So sad summer is over... today is the first day of school for my girls. Can't wait to hear how it went!

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  5. 12 for the month sounds good to me. :)

    Which reminds me, I still need to do my August reads post. A few good reads and a few not so great but overall a good month.

    Hope September is a good month for you. :)

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  6. Sonia, I thought of you when I read The Tempering of Men. :) I can't believe you're waiting until next year! I couldn't wait to read it, but then I'm impatient. The good news is that it's a trilogy. Hugs, JS. *g*

    Christine, I was able to read some short stories (note the anthologies and short books) during the month. That worked out of me and as always reading helped.
    Snowflakes and Stetsons is a wonderful holiday read... I hope you enjoy it too. I can't believe the summer is over!

    Leslie, yes... the month was better than I thought. LOL... my post went up late and hmm... it's still up. Work is messing up my posting schedule! I look forward to your post.

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  7. Hils - great reading month for August! When initially reading your post I thought it was the month of the anthology :)

    I have The Tempering of Men on my TBR list, but I was to re-read various scenes in A Companion to Wolves just to work out where everyone is at :)

    ...although I've never read anything else by Sarah Monette

    You haven't? *sly grin* Well then. Can I introduce you to one of my all-time favourite m/m fantasy series - Doctrine of Labyrinths? (By Sarah Monette :) The first book is Melusine (http://orannia.blogspot.com/2009/03/melusine-sarah-monette.html). I am a huge fan :)

    And apologies for being AWOL for a bit. Hopefully regular visiting hours have returned :)

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  8. Orannia, LOLOL! It was the month of the anthology for me. *g*

    I absolutely understand why you'd want to re-read pieces of A Companion to Wolves first. I didn't need to do so only because I read the book recently. I hope you enjoy The Tempering of Men. :)

    Thanks for the recommendations for Sarah Monette. I have Melusine in my TBR already, I just need to get to it. :)

    No apologies necessary! It's just great to "see" you again. :)

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  9. Okay, been meaning to comment on this post. LOL, I was going to say that it was still early and no, summer was not over yet... but by this time, you're pretty right LOL.

    12 books is not bad considering the month you had!! :)

    Awww, sorry to hear that the contemporary by Dahl was better than the historical. Guess that means I'm staying away from it.

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  10. Nath, summer is definitely over by where we are... I read more than I thought, although like I said, there are some short reads in there and the short stories in the anthologies came in handy too. :)

    Hmm... yes the Dahl contemp was much better in my opinion. I still have to write at least a mini for the historical. *g*

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