reading list as of june 30th

i just made the mistake of looking at my hold queue at the library. there are waaaay too many books on it. and somehow, the majority of them are fantasy or paranormal books. i think there may be something wrong with me.

i grew up on mystery novels. nancy drew was a favorite of mine, and then by middle school i’d graduated to j.a. jance and lillian jackson braun, culminating in a love of raymond chandler and james ellroy (who i still count as one of my favorite authors). but the last truly awesome mystery/thriller i read was tana french’s the likeness (yes, faithful place was great, but the likeness was better) and i haven’t found a great mystery in quite some time. i did read a few this month, but they just didn’t…satisfy. i think a trip to seattle’s mystery bookshop may be in order. yes, we have a mystery bookshop, and i’m quite certain they’ll have several fabulous suggestions. in the mean time, some of what i read this month:

chasing fire nora roberts – rowan’s a smoke jumper and a member of the zulies, an elite team based in missoula sent out all over the west to help with forest fires. gulliver’s spent a few years as a hot shot (the ground crew) and this is his first year as a zulie. when someone starts playing nasty tricks on the squad, rowan and gull put on their detective caps and try to figure out who’s after them…and why. while this was easily one of the best robert’s books i’ve read in some time, there was one issue, and it’s a pretty big one: within the first few chapters, you know who the culprit is. it doesn’t detract a whole lot from the overall story, though, which is good. the characters, the chemistry and comraderie, even the quality of writing is better than it’s been in her last few books.

lush life richard price – “not tonight, my man.” such a great line, but unfortunately for ike, it gets him killed. and poor matty clark, the detective who caught the case, has to solve the murder AND keep the boy’s father from harming himself. what looks like a crime novel on the outside is really a whole ‘nother animal. i liked it, but i didn’t. the short, choppy sentences (similar to what james ellroy uses in the cold six thousand) started to get on my nerves, and sometimes it was difficult to follow the dialogue. he paints an interesting picture of a tiny corner of new york city, though; for some reason, i kept imagining everything happening in the shadow of a viaduct.

started early, took my dog kate atkinson – i’d hoped that with such a fun title, it would be a good read. alas, it was only sort of interesting. jackson brodie, PI, is out to find information for hope mcmaster, adopted at age 2, about her birth parents. tracy waterhouse, recently retired from the police force, buys a kid off a known prostitute and starts running around england, and somehow tilly spires, drama queen from bygone days, is mixed up in all of this. the three stories are interwoven impeccably, and atkinson’s love of words and language are on full display. there are so many great things to love about this book. i just, well, didn’t love it.

cast in shadow/cast in courtlight michelle sagara – kaylin, a member of the order of hawks, is sent back to the fief of nightshade, a place she escaped 7 years ago. along for the ride are a dragon lord and a man, severn, who once was a friend and who she’s now determined to kill. investigating a series of murders that started when she was a child and that have suddenly begun again, she has to learn to trust severn again in order to save the fief…and herself. the second book has kaylin summoned to the high halls of the barrani, an immortal race that populates the city of elantra. she’s supposed to heal a barrani lord, and when she does, everything changes. what i loved about these books, especially the second one, is the dynamic between kaylin and severn. at first it’s so…grim. antagonistic. there’s this person that knows her so well, closer than family, and she hates him and wants him dead. by book two, she’s accepted his presence in her life again, but she doesn’t quite know what to do with it…yet that comfort of having someone who knows her inside and out draws her closer to him. the whole series follows kaylin’s evolution; when she left the fiefs, she was in possession of a power that no one, not even the imperial mages, could understand. and in order to survive, she’ll need to learn to harness that power. i borrowed these from a friend, and i actually like them enough that i’m going to buy the remaining four (book 7 is out this fall).

*images via farrar, straus, and giroux and luna publishing

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