Top Five Reads of the Summer

Yesterday was the first day of fall, and I cannot be more ready for it. Summer was uncharacteristically hot in the Pacific Northwest, and I’m more than happy to welcome the rain and cold temperatures. In the spirit of saying goodbye to summer, aside from burning yummy fall scented candles from Bath and Body Works, I’m going to share my favorite books that I read this summer.

1. Woodcutter’s Grim Series by Karen Wiesner. This was a strange read for summer, because it’s creepy, bringing memories of Halloween. Many times through this collection of interwoven short stories I felt the hair at the back of my neck stand on end. It’s wonderfully written, each story having enough substance to stand on it’s own, but when woven together they create a complex web of horror. It’s a story and concept that made me pause, and wish I had written it first. The setting and characters are really awesome. I’d recommend this for Halloween/Fall type reading lists, but if you’re in the mood for Halloween in July–pick this up.
(Read my original review at http://btsemag.com in the August issue).

2. Where the Rain is Made by Keta Diablo I haven’t read a lot of Western genre books, and period books aren’t something I generally go toward either, but the opportunity came up for me to review this for BTS EMag, and I’m really glad I got to. It’s a beautiful love story that blends romance, science fiction, historical fiction seamlessly. It’s a whirlwind story and features the love between a Cheyenne dog soldier and a captive woman. Now the premise sounds like it could go really wrong, really fast, but it doesn’t. There’s time travel, epic battles, danger, action, and above all a love story that spans the ages.
(Read my original review at http://btsemag.com in the August issue)

3. Pierced by J.C. Mells I originally received this as a R&R copy through a group on Goodreads. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting, but after I read the first page I was hooked. Pierce is a character in all aspects of the word. A strong female of color, she has a narration style that’s completely unique. This book has a lot of things going for it, and a lot of things going on. Pierced is a book that I devoured, and instantly wanted more. It kept me guessing, up to the last page. Paranormal in nature with the inclusion of vampires and werewolves, but blended so naturally into the surrounding world that it was just another character quirk rather than a definition. Though I want everyone to read this, not everyone will be able to handle it.

4. Obscurra Burning by Suzanne van Rooyen The book is well written, well paced and the characters are ones that I keep thinking about and coming back to. I like the science in this story, and the fact that it’s a very different take on an apocalyptic story. Kyle, whether you love him or hate him, will stick with you for a while. The ending of this book is something that I would not change. I like the way it ends, and the sentiment in the ambiguity. I like that Kyle Wolfe is more of an anti-hero or a dark hero, but I tend to fall for characters who have baggage. Obscura Burning is a book that I would recommend to people, even if they’re a bit turned off by the ‘young-adult’ label. It’s mature and fast paced, dealing with some heavy issues. I like that the main character is conflicted with his own personal issues, along with having to deal with the societal labels that go along with them.

5. Attack on Titan by Hajime Isayama I don’t tend to review manga online because of how long it takes for volumes to be released in the states, but I cannot not put this on my list. Attack on Titan is a beautifully violent, twisted story of survival. The characters are solid, the art is really nice. It’s got a sketchy quality that I like in manga. I haven’t seen this concept before and as horrible as the story line is there are bright rays of light, (though they disappear later but that’s for another day). There are six volumes currently out in the states, and you can read it online.

Have you read any of these books? Let’s talk about them. If you’ve read anything this summer that still sticks out in your mind, I’d love to hear about it.

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