Finally getting this post up. I think I've been working on it in bits and pieces for a week now--no exaggeration, lots of distractions.
June currently holds rank as my most productive reading month so far at 11 books. It was a good month in quality, too. I caught up on Nalini Singh's Psy-Changeling series in time for the release of the much anticipated ninth book in the series, Kiss of Snow, which was SO good, by the way. Another star mention goes to The Grefriar by Clay and Susan Griffith, which is a steampunk fantasy novel that was such a pleasant surprise.
The break down of the genres I read:
Graphic novel .......... 3
General fiction ......... 1
Romance ................ 5
Steampunk ............. 1
Urban Fantasy.......... 1
I'm listing the books below in the order in which I read them. I've been pretty good about writing up small reviews on goodreads lately, so for some of my comments below, I simply cut and pasted from there to here.
I read this book for the Women of Fantasy 2011 Book Club. It is an urban fantasy novel first published in 1986. The ten second plot summary: The unassuming human girl gets pulled into the dark world of the fae with an important role in the impending war between the dark and light Seelie Courts. She's also an aspiring rock musician, the subplot of which was woven very well into the main plot. If you like urban fantasy set in the dark world of the fae, rock music, or the 80s, this book would be right up your alley.
I read this steampunk fantasy novel after reading a positive review for it by Leslie that you can read HERE. I ended up loving this book way more than I expected and I cannot wait for the sequel that comes out later this year. REVIEW TO COME!
3. Burnout by Rebecca Donner, ill. Inaki Miranda 
This is a young adult contemporary graphic novel about a teenage girl who is being raised by her single mom in the pacific northwest and they move in with the mom's boyfriend and his teenage son. It delves into coming of age issues, the tragedies of dysfunctional families and eco-terrorism, but unfortunately just skims the surface of all of these challenging topics without any lessons to be learned by the reader. It's quite a tragic story, actually.
I picked up this book while browsing the young adult graphic novel section at my library, expecting something profound based on the numerous literary awards it has received, but found the unexpected abruptness of the ending unsatisfying and quite frankly a bit depressing for a children's book. The artwork is simplistic but dramatic and portrays the melancholy tone of the story very well.
This book is about a young boy named Harvey whose father dies suddenly from a heart attack, how he perceives and tries to understand his father's death, what happens at a funeral and how all of this makes him feel. The story certainly captures the foreignness and uncertainties that a child likely experiences upon the death of a parent or loved one, but the ending is so abrupt and open ended that I think many children are likely to feel as puzzled as I over how Harvey really felt and what was going to happen to him next. This is not necessarily a bad thing, however, as it sets the stage for discussion between a parent or guardian and child if they read the book together, but I do think most children reading this book alone would be lost by the ending.
5. Bonds of Justice by Nalini Singh  GRADE: B+
6. Play of Passion by Nalini Singh  GRADE: A-
7. Kiss of Snow by Nalini Singh  GRADE: A
[books not pictured]
Clearly, I love this series. If you haven't read this one yet, it's not too late to start. The series has an excellent, sophisticated series story arc set in the future with a complex society made up of humans, changelings and psy, the latter of whom have varying degrees of psychic abilities and rely on feedback between their race in an abstract psychic network. The tension between the races has building up since before the first book and now at book nine, the races are at the cusp of war and everything the author has developed in her world building is coming together seamlessly. Not to mention the fact that each book is also a realistic and satisfying romance, too.
Not my favorite book by this author--that would be Garden Spells, but still an interesting and enjoyable story nonetheless, told in the author's signature style of incorporating magical realism in stories full of family, friendship, tradition and values and a touch of romance.
Josh Neufeld is an artist and writer who wrote this non fiction graphic novel, documenting the horrific effects of Hurricane Katrina on six different New Orleanians who survived the storm. The novel follows events in these people's lives from hours prior to the storm through the difficult aftermath. The stories are frightening and startling in their revelations to what people actually experienced--not just the catastrophic destruction of property, but also the disturbing truths of how the survivors suffered while waiting for assistance and most importantly, how they forged on with their lives.
10. Burning Up by Knight, Singh, Kantra, Brook 
This is a paranormal romance anthology by authors Nalini Singh, Angela Knight, Virginia Kantra and Meljean Brook. The quality of the stories in this anthology varied to two extremes for me. Nalini Singh's novella was very good, and Meljean Brook's was excellent. The other two weren't anywhere near as fully developed character or plot-wise and the romances felt quite contrived.
"Whisper of Sin" by Nalini Singh 4.5/5 stars
Psy-Changelng series, Book #1.5
"Blood and Roses" by Angela Knight 2.5/5 stars
"Shifting Sea" by Virginia Kantra 3/5 stars
Children of the Sea series, Book #3.5
"Here There Be Monsters" by Meljean Brook 5/5 stars
Iron Seas novels, prequel
My absolute favorite novella in this anthology. Impeccable, fascinating world building in Brook's new steampunk Iron Seas series. Clever plot, diverse characters and a believable and memorable romance that the characters had to fight for. Now I'm looking forward more than ever to read the first full length novel in this series, The Iron Duke--already out in paper book and ebook formats.
Average Grade for Burning Up as a whole: 3.75 out of 5 stars
This is the seventh book in the paranormal romance Midnight Breeds series by Lara Adrian. It had been a while since I read a book in this series, but decided to catch up since I had this and book eight on my shelf and knowing I was going to have the opportunity to meet Lara at the RWA lit signing and purchase a signed copy of the ninth book in the series, Deeper Than Midnight, which was coincidentally released that very day.
Shades of Midnight takes place in the cold, snowy wilderness of a remote town in Alaska when the warrior Kade is sent there from the Order's home base in Boston to investigate several brutal murders that suggest something inhuman is on the loose. Alexandra Maguire is a bush pilot in this remote area and is the one who discovers the bodies of a an entire family brutally attacked by something very 'other' and disturbingly very similar to an attack she witnessed as a young child many years ago that she has always tried to forget. Alex is at first very suspicious of Kade, but as she begins to trust him, a bond grows between them and they fall in love despite their efforts not to! This book is an exciting, action-packed installment to the series and propels the overall series arc into a new direction that will keep you on the edge of your seat in suspense for the next book.
Here's hoping the books I pick up in July are just as great! : )
What are you reading right now?