July Book Reviews

‘Tis the season (is a thing no one should ever say).

I’ve been reading a lot this month. Maybe it’s because I finished A PLACE WITHOUT SHADOWS and needed to refill my creative gas tank. I’m not sure. Whatever the reason, it was a great month for reading.

Let me tell you about the books I read in July in the order I read them.

Joyland by Stephen King

JoylandPlatform: Paperback (Local Library)

Pure Stephen King. It had a bit of HEARTS IN ATLANTIS, a bit of THE SHINING, and a bit of THE GREEN MILE.

A broken-hearted young man works at a amusement park that may be haunted. But, as with all things King, it is a bit more complicated than that.

This one hit me right in the feelings. Highly recommended.

Hyperlink from Hell by Lindy Moone

Platform: Digital (Amazon)hyperlink

If you like wacky fun, thought-provoking characters, and pop-culture references galore, this book is for you. I’d been hearing about this one for a while, and I figured it was time to check it out. And, boy, am I glad I did.

Crazy zany fiction a la GOOD OMENS or the works of Christopher Moore. It takes a skilled hand to pull off this kind of thing. I’m happy to report that Moone did more than pull it off; she nailed a specific tone that’s unlike anything else I’ve read.

Honestly, she had me at the first Buffy the Vampire Slayer reference.

A Sword into Darkness by Thomas A. Mays

swordPlatform: Digital (Amazon)

Hard science fiction with big characters and big action.

Thomas Mays hits it out of the park with an epic story of how an incredibly smart group of humans deal with the impending threat and promise of first contact. This book rings with so much authenticity that it almost makes wonder if Mays is building a working starship in his garage.

You aren’t, are you, Tom? If you are, sign me up for the inaugural flight.

Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh

Platform: Paperback (Local Library)hyperbole

Crude drawings, ultra-silly stories, and humor that is so relatable you might wonder if Allie Brosh was secretly present at some of your family gatherings.

I could say more, but instead I’ll just point you to this example of her work.

It’s very, very weird in a very, very good way.

Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull

P© Disney • Pixarlatform: Hardcover (Local Library)

One of the founders of Pixar wrote this book about how to build an organization that fosters creativity. Management book suck (in general), but if you are a manager of people or a person who is managed or just someone trying to up your creative game, this book is well worth a read. It falls into management-speak every once in a while, but there are some truly wonderful nuggets of information in here.

TVA Baby by Terry Bisson

Platform: Digital (Oyster)tva

Terry Bisson’s short story collection BEARS DISCOVER FIRE played a huge role in making me want to be a writer. There is something off-beat, quirking, and heartfelt in his work.

TVA BABY is his most recent short story collection, and he’s still got the magic. The title story and ‘Pirates of the Somali Coast’ were two standouts that highlight both his masterful prose and his bizarre and irreverent outlook on life.

Wayward & The Last Town by Blake Crouch

Platform: Digital (Amazon) & Audio (Audible)

Can’t say too much about these without spoiling PINES, the first book in the series.

What I can say is–wait, I can’t say that. But–no, can’t say that either.

thelasttownAnyway, these are the second and third books in Crouch’s ‘small town with a secret’ series WAYWARD PINES. They are mighty good. Check them out.

EDYL – Island of Immortality by Mark Capell

edylPlatform: Digital (Amazon)

In the dystopian future of EDYL, the government wields a pretty big stick, but it also offers a mighty hefty carrot. If you work hard enough, you just might earn a chance at immortality.

This was exactly my type of story. Mysterious happenings. Protagonists facing long odds against powerful forces. Diverse and fun set of characters. And silky smooth writing that flowed and carried me right into the story. 

Read this book.

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