July Reads

July Reads

I’m keeping track of every book I read this year, month by month.

Just in case anyone does fancy reading something I’ve mentioned, I’m giving details of the books (no more of a spoiler than you’d read on the blurb) and a rating. My rating system is 1 – 5:

  • 1 Awful, the writer should be banished to a far away land
  • 2 Poor, I didn’t die of boredom but it was a struggle to reach the end
  • 3 Average, fine but I’ll have forgotten about it in a year
  • 4 Good, I enjoyed this
  • 5 Excellent, hot damn this is a great book and the writer should be knighted


July’s Books

Title(s): The Kill Order  – by James Dashner [This is book 4 of The Maze Runner set and a prequel]

Category: Fiction: Dystopian, Teen/Young Adult

About: Mark and his friends are surviving in a basic settlement after sun flares ruin much of the planet. A ship arrives and infects people with a deadly disease that will become known as the Flare.

My Rating: 2 Poor

This is a prequel to the Maze Runner books (set 13 years before), but designed to be read after the other three. Again, I’d hoped for more than the book/author was willing to give. Instead it felt like another chase to the end of something big only for it to be completely anti-climactic.

I did wonder whether Dashner planned to shoehorn in another book and after a quick Google found that The Fever Code will be out next month (Sept 2016). I’ll probably read this just to say I’ve read the set (although who’s betting that he’ll release a 6th somewhere down the line?) but I’m not holding out hope that it will be any good.

Read this if you like: The Hunger Games (series), Divergent (series)


Title(s): I’m Not Scared – by Niccolo Ammaniti

Category: Fiction: Crime (kinda), Narrative

About: I’m Not Scared follows 9 year old Michele’s discovery of a boy hidden in a hole.

My Rating: 5, Excellent

I picked this up in Amsterdam and rattled through it. This is a really great book, the perspective is that of a child, but the plot is complex enough to keep you interested and the way Ammaniti sets the scene of an unbearably hot summer in a tiny Italian village is superb.

I highly recommend this

Read this if you like: Steal You Away, by the same author. Everything Ravaged Everything Burned by Wells Tower.


Title(s): End of Watch – by Stephen King Trials  [Book 3 of  The Mercedes Killer series]

Category: Fiction: Crime. Thriller/Mystery

About: Retired Detective Bill Hodges is back for a third instalment and called to a suicide with links to the Mercedes Massacre. Brady Hartsfield is finding new ways to torture the det-ret and his cohorts.

My Rating: 4, Very Good

Most King books tick along nicely for me and this was no exception. I found the premise a little far fetched but then no more so than other stuff he’s written. The characters are likeable and different enough from each other to be interesting, so you do care what happens to them. I was always a fan of King’s horror and less so his crime novels, but I am warming to them now.

Read this if you like: Mr Mercedes, Stephen King. Finders Keepers, Stephen King. The Passage Trilogy, Justin Cronin.


Title(s): The Handmaid’s Tale – by Margaret Atwood

Category: Fiction: Dystopian

About: Offred, who lives in the Republic of Gilead, is forced to breed. If she refuses, she’ll be hanged or sent out to die of radiation sickness.

My Rating: 4 Very good

I’d been meaning to read this for a while, so when I spotted it at a market for £1 then I thought I’d best snap it up! I did enjoy this but I think I’d read so much hype about it that maybe I was expecting something more.  It’s beautifully written, particularly with just the female, first-person narrative, which can be tricky. I just found the timeline a little hard to swallow, it all seemed a bit quick from ‘normal’ life (although there were clues to where things were headed) to this new life where everyone has accepted the way things are, else be subject to certain death!

The end was clever and left me wanting – which is a good thing; sometimes author’s can explain too much. Certainly this is one of the ‘must reads’ of contemporary fiction.

Read this if you like: A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee Williams. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell.


Until next time. See you in September for August’s reads.

You can catch up on June Reads here.


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