Searing Summer Reads: The Third Third

This Hubble Space Telescope image shows Sirius A, the brightest star in our nighttime sky, along with its faint, tiny stellar companion, Sirius B.

Sirius rising before or with the sun, so the ancients believed, caused the ‘dog days’ of summer.  The term ‘dog days’ only obliquely refers to our four-legged furry friends; and more directly points to the Dog Star (aka Sirius), the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major.  I cannot confirm or deny Sirius’ proximity to our sun, thanks to the record-breaking heat and humidity scorching the Heart of America and hazing the eastern horizon in the pre-dawn night.

Appropriately, Monday, the 1st of August, 2011, marks another Ozone Red Alert Day in the Kansas City metro area.  My new central air conditioning system barely cycles while the sun shines.

I received word from my hubby that the leather chaise lounger we purchased a week ago at Nebraska Furniture Mart arrived undamaged.  The delivery guys wrangled it upstairs to my new library, where I hope to spend many cool evenings reading the final third of my hot summer reads.  Almost immediately upon the heels of the phone call about the furniture delivery, my husband sent me a text message to let me know the roofers had finally arrive (again on the hottest day of the month so far) and stripped the old shingles off in less than an hour.  By the time I return home, I may have a new roof.  Ironically, a representative from our insurance company stopped by (before the roofers but after the furniture delivery guys had left) to take photos of the property.  Terry tried to explain to him that the roof was about to be redone (how prophetic his words became), followed immediately by the driveway (complete rip out and re-do on it as well).  I just hope the interior designer we scheduled an appointment with for this evening can envision and inspire our remodel despite the normal chaos.  And it will be after the sun sets tonight before I can relax and enjoy my new lounger in my new library with one of the following sizzling summer reads:

The SciFi and Fantasy Book Club at GoodReads started Red Mars for the August science fiction selection.   From the book blurb:  “Brilliantly imagined, breathtaking in scope and ingenuity, Red Mars is an epic scientific saga, chronicling the next step in human evolution and creating a world in its entirety. Red Mars shows us a future, with both glory and tarnish, that awes with complexity and inspires with vision.”

My most anticipated reads beckon from my favorite book club, the Beyond Reality group (also at GoodReads).   Our illustrious leader, Stefan, noted in his Welcome to August 2011 post our serendipitous C.J. Cherryh group reads for both science fiction and fantasy.  I started Foreigner this morning and plan to read The Fortress in the Eye of Time soon after.   I am most excited about reading all of the Honor Harrington novels (see my previous posts campaigning for David Weber’s series to overcome Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files).

My other two book clubs, Fantasy Book Club and FBC Series, continue to serve up excellent reads and discussions.  I jumped the gun on the August read for FBCS by finishing Mistress of the Empire on Saturday.  But I renewed the Black Prism, checked out earlier in July from the KC Public Library.  As soon as I finish The Snow Queen, I’ll start reading the latest from Brent Weeks.

Most of these books sport astounding cover art by two of my favorite cover artists:  Don Maitz and Michael Whelan.  My permanent collection of the Empire Trilogy and Magician (Apprentice and Master) includes the editions with cover art painted by Don.  Of those five covers, my favorite is probably this one:

My hardcover of The Snow Queen does not have a dust jacket with the famous Michael Whelan cover art, but I needed some MW eye candy:

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention cover artist David Mattingly, painter extradonaire of both the Honorverse and Darwath.   Of all the Honor covers, this is probably my favorite:

Of necessity, I kept my August summer reading to a bare minimum.  I will sacrifice about a week of reading time at the end of the month to drive to Atlanta and attend the 25th iteration of Dragon*Con.  And if I though it was hot in Kansas, I can’t wait to melt away in Hotlanta with fans and friends of fantasy.

Summer Reads – Second Third

I met all my reading goals for the first month of summer.   I loaded up the first of the month with the authors I knew would delivery excellent stories, leaving the unknown frontier of my book club selections for the middle and end of June.   I devoted the last week of the month to reading the first in a relatively new fantasy series by Kevin J. Anderson that I’ve been surprised and engrossed in for days.   The third book in his Terra Incognita series releases in a couple of weeks, so I’m all fired up to read the second book as soon as possible.

For July, my GoodReads book clubs are hit and miss:

Over at Fantasy Book Club Series, we’re continuing in the Empire Triology with Servant of the Empire.  I’m looking forward to reading what Mara plots next for the Game of Counsel on Kelewan.

The Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Club selected The Snow Queen for our July scifi reading pleasure.  I’ve had this book on my shelves for years and finally have no excuse not to read it.

Neither selection at Beyond Reality for July appeals to me, but we are accepting nominations for our next series read and will probably have the poll up for voting by the time this blog post publishes.

The Fantasy Book Club decided to read the ever-popular Wizard of Earthsea in July.  Since I’ve read this classic by Le Guinn several times already, including recently when the Syfy channel aired a mini-series based on the trilogy, I’m going to skip another re-read this time around.

For Fantasy Literature, I need to read and review Sorcery Rising and listen to Dragongirl.

I’ll round out July by continuing in the Fionavar Tapestry with The Wandering Fire.  And, if I can acquire a copy of the second novel in Terra Incognita, I’ll continue exploring and searching for the lost continent of Terravitae in The Map of All Things.

Friday Morning Update:  I actually finished The Edge of the World a couple of days ago (but with the holiday weekend I won’t get a review written for a few days). As filler to round out the last couple of days of June, I started reading one of Barnes & Noblesfree Friday‘ Nook Books from a couple of weeks ago entitled Stupid History.  Aptly titled and I should whip through it in record time, leaving my intelligence intact (I hope).  The best surprise I got this morning, though, was the companion progressive rock CD released by Rosswell Six called Beyond the Horizaon.  I listened to the first four tracks on the drive in to work today and I felt transported back to the glory days of the 70s and rock bands I grew up with (and savored) like Kansas, Rush and Styx.  Click on the CD cover icon to listen to excerpts of the songs:

First Third of My Summer Reads – June 2011

Just a few of my favorite things . . . thanks to participating in GoodReads groups and as a guest reviewer for

SciFi and Fantasy Book Club’s currently-reading book montage

SciFi and Fantasy Book Club 5029 members
Welcome to the SciFi and Fantasy Book Club!

Interim SciFi Czar: Ala
Fantasy Czar: Cindy

Books we’re currently reading

Start date: June 1, 2011
Start date: June 1, 2011

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Share book reviews and ratings with SciFi and Fantasy Book Club, and even join a book club on Goodreads.

Beyond Reality’s to-read book montage

Beyond Reality 747 members

Welcome to the Beyond Reality SF&F discussion group on GoodReads. In Beyond Reality, each of our me…

Books we plan to read

Start date: June 1, 2011 *
Start date: June 1, 2011

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Share book reviews and ratings with Beyond Reality, and even join a book club on Goodreads.

Fantasy Book Club’s currently-reading book montage

Fantasy Book Club 2950 members

For lovers of Fantasy, monthly book discussions
May read: The Name of the Wind by…

Books we’re currently reading

by Scott WesterfeldStart date: June 1, 2011

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Share book reviews and ratings with Fantasy Book Club, and even join a book club on Goodreads.

Fantasy Book Club Series’s currently-reading book montage

Fantasy Book Club Series 300 members

Can’t resist the lure of an epic saga full of fantastic creatures, scintillating sorcery, heroic…

Books we’re currently reading

Start date: May 15, 2011 *
Start date: June 1, 2011

View this group on Goodreads »

Share book reviews and ratings with Fantasy Book Club Series, and even join a book club on Goodreads.

* I am not reading these selections. 

Anything else I tackle this month can be found on my current-month book shelf at GoodReads.