July was generally a good month of reading for me! I ended up rating most of the six books I read this month four stars, and the only exception was Too Like The Lightning, a case of fabulously ambitious ideas that weren’t executed as well as I hoped. I continued my Reading the Hugos challenge, to read all of this year’s nominees for Best Novel and really enjoyed All The Birds in the Sky, but my favourite books of the month are all YA titles.
Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee + Review
The Refrigerator Monologues by Catherynne M. Valente + Review
Too Like The Lightning by Ada Palmer + Review
All The Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders + Review
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee + Review
Now I Rise by Kiersten White + Review
Book of the Month: Now I Rise by Kiersten White. I enjoyed the first novel in her The Conqueror’s Saga, Now I Rise took it up to a new level. I loved the fact that this is a book about consequences and the fallout from choices made, and that no one is left unscathed.
Runner-Up: A tie between Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee and The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee. I loved both of these books and would recommend them to just about anyone. Tash Hearts Tolstoy is a rare YA contemporary where I really connected with the characters and enjoyed the storyline. I also LOVED that it features an asexual protagonist who isn’t forced to change and who has friends who support her. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is just so damn charming. I was swept away by its adventure and a delightful central trio of characters.
Least Favourite: Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer. This may partially have been a case of my expectations being too high, but I didn’t think it clearly delivered on its ambitious ideas. There are some interesting thoughts and concepts here, but I didn’t connect with the characters and found the plot slow-moving.
Reading the Hugos Challenge Update: 6/8 Month three of my challenge to read all of the Hugo nominees for Best Novel and besides Cixin Liu’s Deaths End (which I gave up on after suffering through the second book in his trilogy), I have just one more book to go! I’ll be re-reading N.K. Jemisin’s Obelisk Gate in the first week of August shortly before the awards are announced on August 11th.
Seen on Stage: July was a busy month for me! Kelly Bedard, the editor of My Entertainment World, asked if I was interested in joining their staff and covering the Toronto Fringe Festival. I saw a total of 16 shows, 11 of which I reviewed for My Theatre Toronto. You can read my write-up of the experience, my reviews of the 5 shows I saw on my own, and check out my reviews for My Entertainment World in this wrap-up post on the Festival. My favourite shows of the lot were definitely the rightfully hyped The Seat Next to the King, Grey, and Recall. The Seat Next to the King I found incredibly moving. It was a case of a great script being elevated by some simple but inventive direction and a pair of actors who had immediate and strong on stage chemistry. Grey was a poignant exploration into a crime that challenged the audience’s preconceptions by slowly peeling back the layers to reveal contributing factors to a murder (including parental neglect, disability, and bullying). Finally, Recall was a sci-fi dystopia about children with latent sociopathic tendencies being targeted before they commit a crime. Recall was anchored by strong performances by the whole cast and a quickfire script.
Coming up in August: I’ll be on vacation in New York City for the first week of August, so the blog will be quiet during that time, but when I return I’ll be reviewing the last in my Hugos challenge, N.K. Jemisin’s Obelisk Gate. I’m also hoping to finish off a few series, including V.E. Schwab’s Our Dark Duet, and the final book in Ann Leckie’s Imperial Radch trilogy.
What was your favourite read in July? What books are you planning to read in August?