Thoughtful Thursday: What’s the best book you read last month?

FanLit Readers' Favorites!It’s the first Thursday of the month. You know what that means. Time to report!

What is the best book you read in July 2014 and why did you love it? It doesn’t have to be a newly published book, or even SFF. We just want to share some great reading material. Feel free to post a full review of the book here, or a link to the review on your blog, or just write a few sentences about why you thought it was awesome.

(And don’t forget that we always have plenty more reading recommendations on our Fanlit Faves page and our 5-Star SFF page. And we’ve also got a constantly updating list of new and forthcoming releases.)

One commenter from the U.S. or Canada will win these two new August releases from our friends at Tor: The Ultra Thin Man by Patrick Swenson and Echopraxia by Peter Watts (details below).

And, as always, we’ve got a couple more giveaways still current. Find those here!

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsPublication Date: August 12, 2014. In the twenty-second century, a future in which mortaline wire controls the weather on the settled planets and entire refugee camps drowse in drug-induced slumber, no one—alive or dead, human or alien—is quite what they seem. When terrorists manage to crash Coral, the moon, into its home planet of Ribon, forcing evacuation, it’s up to Dave Crowell and Alan Brindos, contract detectives for the Network Intelligence Organization, to solve a case of interplanetary consequences. Crowell’ and Brindos’s investigation plunges them neck-deep into a conspiracy much more dangerous than anything they could have imagined. The two detectives soon find themselves separated, chasing opposite leads: Brindos has to hunt down the massive Helkunn alien Terl Plenko, shadow leader of the terrorist Movement of Worlds. Crowell, meanwhile, runs into something far more sinister—an elaborate frame job that puts our heroes on the hook for treason. In this novel from Patrick Swenson, Crowell and Brindos are forced to fight through the intrigue to discover the depths of an interstellar conspiracy. And to answer the all-important question: Who, and what, is the Ultra Thin Man?
fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsPublication Date: August 26, 2014. Prepare for a different kind of singularity in Peter Watts’ Echopraxia, the follow-up to the Hugo-nominated novel Blindsight. It’s the eve of the twenty-second century: a world where the dearly departed send postcards back from Heaven and evangelicals make scientific breakthroughs by speaking in tongues; where genetically engineered vampires solve problems intractable to baseline humans and soldiers come with zombie switches that shut off self-awareness during combat. And it’s all under surveillance by an alien presence that refuses to show itself.Daniel Bruks is a living fossil: a field biologist in a world where biology has turned computational, a cat’s-paw used by terrorists to kill thousands. Taking refuge in the Oregon desert, he’s turned his back on a humanity that shatters into strange new subspecies with every heartbeat. But he awakens one night to find himself at the center of a storm that will turn all of history inside-out. Now he’s trapped on a ship bound for the center of the solar system. To his left is a grief-stricken soldier, obsessed by whispered messages from a dead son. To his right is a pilot who hasn’t yet found the man she’s sworn to kill on sight. A vampire and its entourage of zombie bodyguards lurk in the shadows behind. And dead ahead, a handful of rapture-stricken monks takes them all to a meeting with something they will only call “The Angels of the Asteroids.” Their pilgrimage brings Dan Bruks, the fossil man, face-to-face with the biggest evolutionary breakpoint since the origin of thought itself.

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  1. Bobby Berry /

    I read Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover. Great book about how to handle money.

  2. I think my favorite of last month was Kelley Armstrong’s Omens. I still need to write a review, or Kat will smite me!

  3. The best books I read last month were both re-reads for me: FOOL’s ERRAND by Robin Hobb and THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS by C.S. Lewis.

  4. Trey Palmer /

    Seal of the Worm, Causal Angel or Afterparty?

    All of them are very good. But on strength of the ideas, characterization and world building, I’ll have to go with Afterparty.

    The characters really made this for me. Lyda, Ollie and Sasha were a delight. And Sasha has the neurological parliament down cold. Then there is the Vincent and Vinnie. Oddly enough, I liked those two as character studies.

    The plot was neat, and not a world ender, but one that was human, had a nice twist and well worth it.

    The world building has some nice touches. From the bunk apps, to the Millionaires to the smoke smugglers, it was grand. The use of real smart drugs and what it might do to people felt very real to me.

  5. The Ghost in the Electric Blue Suit by Graham Joyce — it wasn’t even close. Great book. And, like Kelly, I’d better write a review pretty soon or Kat will brain me with a rolling pin.

  6. April V. /

    July had a lot of four star reads for me but I won’t bore you with those. Had two five star reads:

    Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor – if you liked Connie Willis’ To Say Nothing of the Dog you will probably like this. It has a similar theme though it is more action oriented. I’m reading the sequel now.

    DragonKin by Maria E. Schneider (Yes, she’s the one who posts here often)- this is the sequel to her Dragons of Wendal and I adore dragons, add in a good plot and a light romance as well as a many-hundreds year old redwood as a character and I’m sold. It isn’t out yet but I think it publishes in the next few days. Full disclosure – I read an early copy as a beta reader. Full, full disclosure – I’d have read it based on the plot and DRAGONS even if I hadn’t been asked to be a beta reader.

    • Aw. Thanks. Very much. And yes, it is out (except at B&N, which has some sort of glitch going on–up/down/up/down.)

      As for me, the best read of the month also had dragons–it was Nice Dragons Finish last by Rachel Aaron, her first self-pub effort. WONDERFUL story. Loved it!

  7. When I think about it, most of the books I read last month were really good. The best is probably Heart’s Blood by Juliet Marillier. A wonderful Beauty and the Beast retelling, but it was different enough to keep me interested. It’s the first book I read from the author and I’m definitely going to look for more.
    Honorable mentions: The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner, Goose Girl by Shannon Hale and Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (although it’s not sff).

  8. RedEyedGhost /

    It’s a tie between Cibola Burn by James SA Corey and The Volunteer by Peadar Ó Guilín.

  9. The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell, followed very, very,very closely byhe Widow’s House (4.5), by Daniel Abraham, and Fool’s Assassin by Robin Hobb

  10. Last month I dusted off some old classics. I read through the whole Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis. Of the series my favorite has always been The Silver Chair, and nothing has changed in that regard. ;-)

  11. Sandyg265 /

    I read Cupcakes, Trinkets, And Other Deadly Magic by Meghan Ciana Doidge

  12. Sarah /

    Gail Z Martin’s Deadly Curiosities. And since I’m a little OCD about reading in order, I downloaded all the short stories leading up to the novel. Good Urban Fantasy. And one of the best things about it was no love triangle. No love interest at all actually. I liked that each of the characters had their own strengths and weaknesses and that none of them were stupid about not asking for help when they needed it. Hoping for more in the series. And more short stories as well as I felt this type of setup works very well in that style.

  13. Teresa Palmer /

    Émile Zola’s novel Au Bonheur des Dames after watching The Paradise on NetFlix. I liked the descriptions of how the department store and it’s inner workings developed and how different it was from our current retail world.

  14. Bobby Berry, if you live in the USA, you win a book of your choice from our stacks.
    Please contact me (Marion) with your choice and a US address. Happy reading!

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