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I finished 10 books in June, which is a pretty stunning number for me. Here’s some of the highlights

Pass: Anything by Simone St. James

I don’t often read multiple books by the same author in a single month that aren’t part of a series, but I did with Simone St. James. Her 1920s era ghost stories are delightfully creepy, catching the shadowed edges of a decade coated in glitz and glamour. I listened to An Inquest into Love and Death, and The Haunting of Maddy Clare. I enjoyed both imensely, though I will say I’m not fond of the way she writes her romantic subplots. Still, the romance was such a small part of the overall story, and I enjoyed the mystery/creepy/ghosty part of it so much that I was willing to overlook it.

All of her books are set in 1920s England, involve a ghost and a mystery, and are stand alone books that all take place in the same universe. While you can read them in any order without fear of confusion, there may be brief, off-handed references to events or characters from other books.

Fail: Harmony Black by Craig Schaefer

I should preface this to say, it’s not that I didn’t enjoy this book. It’s just that I didn’t really love it, and after due consideration, I’ve decided not to continue with the series.

It was actually very difficult to come up with a book for this category this time around, but I think that of the ten, I have to say it would be Harmony Black. I’ve been looking for a new urban fantasy series to follow, but this one just didn’t do it for me. I can’t even put my finger on what the problem was–there was witty repartee, a decent plot, the characters were interesting and diverse…But there was something in the opening that failed to grab me and hold on, and from that point on, the entire book was lost.

Promise: Skullduggery Pleasant and The Maze of Bones

I know, I know. I’m cheating by picking two books here, but I just couldn’t decide between them!

Skullduggery is a middle grade series by Derek Landy. Also middle grade, The 39 Clues series (of which The Maze of Bones is vol. 1) was written by Rick Riordan–prior to his Percy Jackson fame.

Both are fantastic, funny series about 11-14 year old kids finding their strength and battling the odds. Skullduggery is a magic-based fantasy series, while 39 Clues is more of an international high-stakes mystery. Readers will see a lot of the first seeds of the Percy Jackson characters in Dan and Amy, the main characters.

Skullduggery, on the other hand, is often compared to Harry Potter. I suppose it’s because of the magical element, but don’t go into expecting a heartwarming school story and comfortable chats with a Dumbledore-esque character at the end of each book. Rather…imagine Harry as a girl, running around getting into trouble with Sirius (who happens to be a skeletal PI with a penchant for throwing fireballs).

The next books in both series have already been added to my holds on Overdrive.