After the 8 ARCs that I got approved for in June, we’re down to just 4 for July—which is great as I’ve only finished 5 of the ones from last month. So hopefully I’ll have some time to catch up on them, and maybe sprinkle in another few from my TBR that I’ve been waiting to read.
July is a bit of a busy month for me non-blog-wise. Miss the first week to a wedding (COVID permitting), then I’ve a backpacking trip scheduled mid-month, and some other wilderness day trips here and there (smoke and fire and weather permitting). So I might not be around too much. While I’ll try to schedule up a few reviews, just keep in mind that the month may be a bit light compared to the year thus far.
Additionally, I’m not sure what’s coming music-wise for July, so I’ll probably skip that entire section this time around. But maybe I’ll throw in a TBR one or something to cap it off.
And you lot… July plans? Vacation, work, camping, weddings? I hear COVID is up in a lot of places, including Montana (although you wouldn’t know it from the way people are acting here).
• Upgrade – by Blake Crouch (7/12)
“You are the next step in human evolution.”
At first, Logan Ramsay isn’t sure if anything’s different. He just feels a little . . . sharper. Better able to concentrate. Better at multitasking. Reading a bit faster, memorizing better, needing less sleep.
But before long, he can’t deny it: Something’s happening to his brain. To his body. He’s starting to see the world, and those around him—even those he loves most—in whole new ways.
The truth is, Logan’s genome has been hacked. And there’s a reason he’s been targeted for this upgrade. A reason that goes back decades to the darkest part of his past, and a horrific family legacy.
Worse still, what’s happening to him is just the first step in a much larger plan, one that will inflict the same changes on humanity at large—at a terrifying cost.
Because of his new abilities, Logan’s the one person in the world capable of stopping what’s been set in motion. But to have a chance at winning this war, he’ll have to become something other than himself. Maybe even something other than human.
And even as he’s fighting, he can’t help wondering: what if humanity’s only hope for a future really does lie in engineering our own evolution?
Intimate in scale yet epic in scope, Upgrade is an intricately plotted, lightning-fast tale that charts one man’s thrilling transformation, even as it asks us to ponder the limits of our humanity—and our boundless potential.
• Ymir – by Rich Larson (7/12)
Yorick never wanted to see his homeworld again. He left Ymir two decades ago, with half his face blown off and no love lost for the place. But when his employer’s mines are threatened by a vicious alien machine, Yorick is shipped back home to hunt it.
All he wants is to do his job and get out. Instead, Yorick is pulled into a revolution brewing beneath Ymir’s frozen surface, led by the very last person he wanted to see again — the brother who sent him off in pieces twenty years ago.
• A Prayer for the Crown-Shy – by Becky Chambers (7/12)
Monk & Robot #2
After touring the rural areas of Panga, Sibling Dex (a Tea Monk of some renown) and Mosscap (a robot sent on a quest to determine what humanity really needs) turn their attention to the villages and cities of the little moon they call home.
They hope to find the answers they seek, while making new friends, learning new concepts, and experiencing the entropic nature of the universe.
Becky Chambers’s new series continues to ask: in a world where people have what they want, does having more even matter?
• The Half Life of Valery K – by Natasha Pulley (7/26)
In 1963, in a Siberian gulag, former nuclear specialist Valery Kolkhanov has mastered what it takes to survive: the right connections to the guards for access to food and cigarettes, the right pair of warm boots to avoid frostbite, and the right attitude toward the small pleasures of life so he won’t go insane. But on one ordinary day, all that changes: Valery’s university mentor steps in and sweeps Valery from the frozen prison camp to a mysterious unnamed town that houses a set of nuclear reactors and is surrounded by a forest so damaged it looks like the trees have rusted from within.
In City 40, Valery is Dr. Kolkhanov once more, and he’s expected to serve out his prison term studying the effect of radiation on local animals. But as Valery begins his work, he is struck by the questions his research raises: why is there so much radiation in this area? What, exactly, is being hidden from the thousands who live in the town? And if he keeps looking for answers, will he live to serve out his sentence?
Based on real events in a surreal Soviet city, and told with bestselling author Natasha Pulley’s inimitable style, The Rust Country is a sweeping new adventure for readers of Stuart Turton and Sarah Gailey.
• The Law – by Jim Butcher (7/05)
Dresden Files #17.5
Set in the months following the apocalyptic events of Battle Ground, the seventeenth novel in the worldwide bestselling Dresden Files, this powerful new novella by Jim Butcher finds wizard and Winter Knight Harry Dresden mourning incalculable losses.
The Law, though, in no way recounts the quiet period of reflection that Harry needs, no matter how much he deserves such. Taking on what at first seems to be a much smaller case than any he’s worked in years, the world’s only consulting wizard soon finds himself facing enemies far more powerful than the “invincibly stupid” pimp his client is meeting in court. And not the Unseelie Court or any of the other supernatural governing bodies Harry is used to dealing with, but a “real life” court of law in magic-wrecked Chicago.
The pimp, it turns out, is a minion of an old enemy and erstwhile ally of Harry’s and is thus under potent magical protection. Through a series of literally explosive events, Harry must depend on the cooperation and help of friends, enemies, queens, demigods, and even apparently everyday denizens of Chicago, such as one lawyer who may be more than he seems, and another who is definitely more than he seems.
Used to taking worldly and supernatural laws into his own hands, in this novella Harry’s potent abilities may not prove to be enough to right a simple wrong. Instead, he must depend on his canniness, his wits, and his friends if he wants to see justice done.
The Law is the latest entry in Jim Butcher’s Hugo-nominated Dresden Files, which have been thrilling readers for over twenty years. The series of novels and other novellas describe a secret world behind our own, one that threatens reality at every turn, but which at every turn finds a staunch defender: Harry Dresden.
• The Last Storm – by Tim Lebbon (7/05)
Struck by famine and drought, large swathes of North America are now known as the Desert. Set against this mythic and vast backdrop, The Last Storm is a timely story of a family of Rainmakers whose rare and arcane gift has become a curse.
Jesse stopped rainmaking the moment his abilities became deadly, bringing down not just rain but scorpions, strange snakes and spiders. He thought he could help a land suffering from climate catastrophe, but he was wrong. When his daughter Ash inherited the tainted gift carried down the family bloodline, Jesse did his best to stop her. His attempt went tragically wrong, and ever since then he has believed himself responsible for his daughter’s death.
But now his wife Karina––who never gave up looking for their daughter—brings news that Ash is still alive. And she’s rainmaking again. Terrified of what she might bring down upon the desperate communities of the Desert, the estranged couple set out across the desolate landscape to find her. But Jesse and Karina are not the only ones looking for Ash. As the storms she conjures become more violent and deadly, some follow her seeking hope. And one is hungry for revenge.
Just the one book at the moment, though I’m sure to add another shortly. I’m leaning towards the Half Life of Valery K, but haven’t decided yet. Loved the Pariah; Martyr’s good so far, but I’m not that far in. Many thanks to the wonderful people over at Orbit for sending over a physical ARC.
If you’re a longtime follower you’ll know that I used to do a TBR update ever month, but I scrapped it because I was feeling the stress of fulfilling some quota I’d set and reading’s supposed to be fun. So (at present) I’m not thinking of reviving this. These are just a few books that are already out (and have been for a little) that I’m excited to try. Please do let me know if you’ve read any of these and how you might’ve liked them (other than RoW—I know it’s good and I know I need to read it now) (seriously, I know). Thank you!
Bought some new games recently that I’ll recap here, as my new job (and also old job—yes, I quit, mostly because I hated it with a passion) (no, not that one. I mean I quit the new one that I just got last month. Still have the older one) has been sapping all my energy.
Okay so, question. I have 100 pounds of aluminum cans. 100+, I guess. Picked them out of the trash over the month or so I had this job. I really want to gather them all and take a photo, because I’m never going to have that many at once ever again. But they’re already bagged, and I’m not sure I want to unbag them just to have to rebag them again. What do you think—picture or no picture?
Not a whole lot of gaming recently. As I’ve mentioned, I just haven’t had the energy. But I picked up a few new games that I need to try out, so I’ll just list some off.
I’ve actually played Firewatch before—right up til they updated some bug fixes and it crashed my computer. But now I have it on console, so I’m hopeful to continue. I’ve heard a bit about it since, so I’m tempering my anticipation, but I’m still hoping for a decent story with good indie graphics.
I actually have been waiting for this one for a while, but ummm kinda forgot—until Caitlin over at Realms of My Mind reminded me to check it out. Best part about forgetting I guess is that I was able to get it on sale!
In addition to these, Wanderlost is coming! I backed the Kickstarter last year and I’m super excited for this one—hopefully it drops soon!