So, that was July. I seem to have spent most of the last month wishing I was holed up in a little cabin somewhere in the Arctic Circle with some good books and a bottomless mug of hot chocolate. I hate summer. I suppose there is an upside of it being too hot to sleep – at least I’ve had more time to read. More time reading has somehow led to fewer books read, so the heat must really slow me down.
The books themselves have been a real mixed bag, from Arthurian reincarnation to alien domination of Earth, a robot uprising to kidnap and trafficking in the Golden State, and a vengeful animal spirit to out of control driverless cars.
Onto next month, and the first book I’ve chosen is Adrian Tchaikovsy’s Shards of Earth, a big space opera and the first of his Final Architects trilogy. I’m a relative latecomer to Tchaikovsky’s works, but I’m working my way through and they’re rarely anything other than excellent. Shards of Earth goes beyond even that and left me with an urgent craving for the next instalment in the trilogy.
With Murder Most Fowl, Donna Andrews is up to the 29th (!!!) book in her Meg Langslow cosy mystery series. If you find yourself in need of a change of pace, this series is fantastic. Yes, there are murders, but not the blood-and-guts type. Meg’s type of investigation is done very good-naturedly and with gentle humour and tends to involve a sizeable number of her madcap family, neighbours, and various animals. I’ve been reading this series since it started with Murder with Peacocks, and I fall more in love with each additional novel.
Finally, I’ve chosen another of ‘my’ authors, Laurell K. Hamilton. She’s known for her Anita Blake and Merry Gentry series, both of which are polar opposites of the Meg Langslow books. They’re graphic, bloody, supernatural, unflinching, and have a lot of sex. A hell of a lot of sex, with lots of different people, often at the same time. If that’s going to bother you, then Hamilton is probably not the author for you, but you’ll be missing out – she really does write the most incredible characters and relationships. A Terrible Fall of Angels is the first book in a new series, and her first male protagonist, so we’re stepping into the unknown. I won’t lie; I would have preferred another visit with Anita or Merry, but I trust her enough to know that everything will be okay and that I’ll soon be adding Zaniel Havelock to my list of must-read series.
Reading update for the month (as of July 25th): 22 eBooks
Best read of the month: The Passengers, by John Marrs
Worst read of the month: Daughters of Dusk, by Emma Shelford
Shards of Earth [The Final Architects #1]
The Arthur C. Clarke award-winning author of Children of Time brings us an extraordinary space opera about humanity on the brink of extinction, and how one man’s discovery will save or destroy us all.
The war is over. Its heroes forgotten. Until one chance discovery …
Idris has neither aged nor slept since they remade him in the war. And one of humanity’s heroes now scrapes by on a freelance salvage vessel, to avoid the attention of greater powers.
After earth was destroyed, mankind created a fighting elite to save their species, enhanced humans such as Idris. In the silence of space, they could communicate, mind-to-mind, with the enemy. Then their alien aggressors, the Architects, simply disappeared—and Idris and his kind became obsolete.
Now, fifty years later, Idris and his crew have discovered something strange abandoned in space. It’s clearly the work of the Architects—but are they returning? And if so, why? Hunted by gangsters, cults and governments, Idris and his crew race across the galaxy hunting for answers. For they now possess something of incalculable value, that many would kill to obtain.
Released 3rd August 2021
Murder Most Fowl [Meg Langslow #29]
A Shakespearean twist on the long-running Meg Langslow mystery series in the latest instalment from award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of The Falcon Always Wings Twice.
Meg Langslow’s in for a busy summer. Her husband is directing a production of Macbeth, and most of the cast and crew are occupying spare bedrooms in their house. She also has to keep an eye on Camp Birnam, where a group of medieval reenactors are commemorating the real-life Macbeth by setting up what they fondly believe is an authentic medieval Scottish military camp.
And then there’s Damien Goodwin, a filmmaker who has been hanging around, trying to document the production. When Goodwin hosts a showing of some of the footage he’s taken, he manages to embarrass or offend just about everyone. The next morning Meg isn’t exactly surprised to find that someone has murdered him.
But who? Some people’s motives were obvious from the footage: the couple whose affair was revealed . . . the bombastic leader of the reenactors, who could be facing years in prison if the evidence from the video helps convict him of sheep stealing . . . the actress who’s desperately trying to downplay a health issue that could cost her the role of her life. Other motives are only hinted at–did the filmmaker have other footage that would reveal why one of the actors is behaving so furtively?
Unfortunately, whoever murdered Goodwin also destroyed all the electronic devices on which his video was stored. So, Caerphilly’s chief of police–and Meg–must rediscover the same secrets the filmmaker did if they want to catch a killer.
Released 3rd August 2021
A Terrible Fall of Angels [Zaniel Havelock #1]
Laurell K. Hamilton
Angels walk among us, but so do other unearthly beings in this brand new series by #1 New York Times Bestselling author Laurell K. Hamilton.
Meet Detective Zaniel Havelock, a man with the special ability to communicate directly with angels. A former trained Angel speaker, he devoted his life to serving both the celestial beings and his fellow humans with his gift, but a terrible betrayal compelled him to leave that life behind. Now he’s a cop who is still working on the side of angels. But where there are angels, there are also demons. There’s no question that there’s evil at work when he’s called in to examine the murder scene of a college student—but is it just the evil that one human being can do to another, or is it something more? When demonic possession is a possibility, even angelic protection can only go so far. The race is on to stop a killer before he finds his next victim, as Zaniel is forced to confront his own very personal demons, and the past he never truly left behind.
The first in a new series from the author of the Anita Blake and Merry Gentry series.
Released 17th August 2021