Sci-fi & Fantasy reading list–July 2014

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July was a mixed reading month for me, some great and not-so-great. For the first time in a couple of years, I stopped reading a book in the middle and don't plan on finishing it. It was also the 3rd book in a series with sequels yet-to-be-read, so that made it even worse. On the other hand, I also discovered a new series at the end of the month that I really liked, leaving me with a few books to look forward to in August already.

July 2014 is also the month that Amazon announced and launched the kindle unlimited service, described by some as a "Netflix for ebooks." If you haven't read my post, “Review : Is Kindle Unlimited Worth It?” check out the analysis of how the cost of my wife's and my reading list for April through June would have been different with Kindle Unlimited.

As a caveat on my reviews, enjoying the story is my highest order value, above complicated, nuanced storytelling or even the mechanics of writing.  If I am entertained and pulled into the story, I can easily overlook a few grammatical errors. I do welcome different comments and would love to get to know other sff readers, so if you read one of these and have a different perspective, please share it!

Best regards, Jeff

You may also want to look at my June 2014 Sci-fi & Fantasy reading list.

Dead Things

Stephen Blackmoore

Dead Things is the first in an urban fantasy series about Eric Carter, a necromantic magic-user and trouble shooter who gets lured back to his origins of Los Angeles and drawn into a complicated plot involving old friends and enemies. Great start to a new series and I'll be starting book #2 immediately.

Scrapyard Ship

Mark Wayne McGinnis

The book opens with a space battle and then shifts to our hero, Navy Seal Jason Reynolds, who is under house arrest in the family homestead, which also happens to be a scrapyard and coincidentally the hiding place for an advanced spaceship. In spite of how that sounds, I liked the characters and enjoyed the book.

Scrapyard Ship

Mark Wayne McGinnis

To be honest, I took a break after reading #1 and only came back to read #2 a couple of weeks later. Once I started it, it was a good read, but I'd like to see Mark spend less pages throwing in new technology and more pages on character development - I ike Molly, Nan and Dira but they're all pretty shallow still.

Blades of Magic (Crown Service #1)

Terah Edun

This was the first book I read in July and I liked it well enough to give Edun's previous series a try. Sara is a magical sword duelist (Battle Mage) with a chip on her shoulder with respect to defending her family's honor. Her father was accused of desertion, but she soon learns there is more going on that she has been told and takes action to find out the truth.

Honor Crowned (The Spare Heir #3)

Michael G. Southwick

Good news and bad news on this one. I loved the Spare Heir series and would pretty much give this book a 4 rating right up until the ending, which seemed like it was written be completely different writer just to finish the series. Sad, because the story had great potential.

Rookie Privateer (Privateer Tales #1)

Jamie McFarlane

Great example of the type of books that Amazon self-publishing has enabled for new authors. I can tell Jamie is a newish author, but really enjoyed the story and look forward reading future books and seeing him develop further as an author!

Fool Me Once (Privateer Tales #1)

Jamie McFarlane

Immediately bought the second book in the series and enjoyed it too. My only pause was that I wanted to continue the story of Liam, but this book was the story of a very minor character introduced near the end of book one. Once I got past that, it was all good and I now how future book bring the characters from both books back.

Claimed (Flash Gold #4)

Lindsey Buroker

I love these characters, the setting (frontier gold rush), and the writing style. My only caveat is that each of the books in this series is very short - this one is only 100 pages or so. Feedback to Lindsey - this is considered a cardinal sin by my wife, she'd never buy the book!

Disenchanged & Co.

Lynn Viehl

Frontier steampunk, so what's not to like? I like the main characters - especially Kit, who's real power seems to be denial. Takes place in a USA-alternate, Toriana, where the British stamped on the revolution. I will say that the "magic system" is not my favorite, just because it is a little too Deus Ex Machina, but without the machine.

The Clockwork Wolf (Disenchanted & Co. #2)

Lynn Viehl

Pretty much continues on from the previous book - a good read. I especially like the elements of the plot dealing with the differences in Kit's and Lucien's experience (intentially vague to avoid spoilers, fyi).

The Telastrian Song (Society of the Sword #3)

Duncan M. Hamilton

Enjoyed this whole series and this third book does an okay job of wrapping things up, but to me, didn't quite measure up to the previous two books. One of my main complaints is simply that characters I really like didn't have major parts in this one. Still, I can strongly recommend the series.

Sworn To Raise (Courtlight #1)

Terah Edun

Ciardis has grown up in poverty, a cleaner in a small vale on the outskirts of the empire. But beneath her empire's seemingly idyllic surface lies a hidden secret. When opportunity comes her way, she grabs it and sets off to become a Court Companion.

Sworn To Transfer (Courtlight #2)

Terah Edun

Book continues from Sworn to Raise. Ciardis gets a new mentor and mission to the Ameles forest to help find and stop a new threat.

Sworn To Conflict (Courtlight #3)

Terah Edun

I just couldn't finish this one. Ciardis' reaction to revalations was just too shallow and unrealistic to me and I stopped reading. Without giving in spoilers, if I found out someone had lied that deeply and long to me, I would have a much bigger, more emotional and lasting reaction to it. And I sure wouldn't follow their lead anywhere.

You may also want to look at my June 2014 Sci-fi & Fantasy reading list.