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review 2017-09-10 16:02
Review: The Disappearing Client (Spirelli Paranormal Investigations #1) by Kate Baray (2015)
Spirelli Paranormal Investigations: Episode 1 - Kate Baray

I always read more than a book at a time. Lately I find that I am not satisfied alternating between two long (longish?) books, so I’ll try reading shorter works along side longer works instead. This week I picked The Disappearing Client, the first episode of Spirelli Paranormal Investigations, an urban paranormal series, by Kate Baray first published in 2015.

 

The story opens with Jack Spirelli, a junk shop owner, and he just soft launched his investigating agency. He is human but connected to the magic-using community and the Inter-Pack Policing Cooperative that give him gigs. He floated the idea of hiring an assistant investigator and along came Marin, a human slash dragon applying for the job. After she was hired, off they go for their first job together. Their supposed body guarding job was changed to search and rescue when their client was no where to be found. What happened to her and could they find her in time.

 

Paranormal investigators of course reminds me of the Harry Dresden series. The use of “episode” format fits because this is short and like police procedurals in TV the main story is self-contained. The character stories, I hope, might continue on with the series as I am interested in revisiting the characters again.

 

 

Quick rating: I loved it.

 

Source: promdigeek.blog/2017/09/10/review-the-disappearing-client-spirelli-paranormal-investigations-1-by-kate-baray-2015
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review 2017-09-07 17:23
Review: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch (2016)
Dark Matter: A Novel - Blake Crouch

I was introduced with the concept of the multiverse and the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics by way of the television series Sliders (1995-2000). In the series, we met four travelers traversing the seemingly unlimited worlds of the multiverse and trying to get back home. I found the concept intriguing and when a story touches upon parallel worlds I grab it and watch or read it (as evidenced by my last book review). But, this review is not for Sliders (I will post reviews of its episodes when I start my rewatch.), this is a review for Dark Matter, a 2016 science fiction-thriller book, by Blake Crouch, which, like Sliders, features the multiverse.

 

The book revolves around Jason Dessen, a college physics professor, a husband and a father. He was abducted one night and then woke up and found out that he is now a famous scientist, just like he always dreamed, but he is not married to his wife and his son was never been born. Realizing that this is not his world, he will find a way to get home to his wife and son by passing through world after world.

 

The definitely liked how the pace of the story. Though this is a science fiction book, you need not know the complexity of quantum mechanics and neurology to follow the plot, although I appreciated the well placed info dumps. There is also a romantic aspect to it by way of Jason’s love to his wife Daniela, this love fuels Jason’s desire to get home. I found the scenes on their romance a bit off. Just a bit.

 

I might get spoil something (but not the book’s ending) on this next section.

 

The many-worlds interpretation implies that all possible alternate histories are real, each realized in their own world in their corner of the multiverse.

It’s terrifying when you consider that every thought we have, every choice we could possibly make, branches off into a new world.

In this book, the alternate world branched off fifteen years ago when Jason faced a decision: to continue the relationship and build a family with Daniela or to continue his work as a scientist and make a breakthrough. I always play the “What if” game, what if I did this, what if that happened. In the end of the game I always tell myself, at least somewhere in the multiverse a version of me will get what he wanted. In life there is no do-overs – there are no time machines, yet — but it is harmless to dream once in a while.

 

I liked how the main conflict of the book was written. I was surprised because I haven’t seen the branching of worlds affecting the main character on other multiverse stories.

 

Quick rating: I very much loved it.

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review 2017-08-15 14:52
Review: A Darker Shade of Magic (2015) by V.E. Schwab
A Darker Shade of Magic: A Novel - V.E. Schwab

I have a fascination on the many worlds concepts both in theoretical physics and in fictional worlds. With the goal of reading recently released paperback books (I just usually buy used books released years ago), I picked up A Darker Shade of Magic. I wanted to know how the concept of parallel worlds used in a fantasy setting. Previously, I just read fantasy stories that only have two worlds, the mundane and the magical. Now I get to read four worlds in one.

A Darker Shade of Magic is the first of a trilogy written by V.E. Schwab. This is my first book from her. This book was first released in 2015.

This is the story of Kell, one of the few remaining Antari. They are magicians that can traverse in between worlds. There are four worlds with one thing in common, all have a city that is named London. These Londons are designated by color, Gray, Red, White, and Black. Kell is from Red London. Here he grew up with the royal family but not a part of it. He consider Prince Rhy his brother. Officially, Kell is the ambassador to the White and Gray London. (Traveling to the Black London is forbidden.) Unofficially, he is a smuggler for items only found in other Londons. One day he came across with a dangerous artifact that in the wrong hand can be used to destroy the walls separating the London. He cross paths with Lila the pickpocket from Gray London and together they set things the right way.

Kell is the best written character. Other characters, including the antagonists, not as much. I liked how the differences of the Londons were written. I, as the reader, can easy tell which London is which. The plot lines are tied in the end. I can end reading now or pick up the next books.

I recommend this book for those who like to mix and match their genres. I haven’t read the blurbs of the next books but I will pick them up but not anytime soon.

 

Next in Shades of Magic series:

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review 2017-06-08 03:20
Orphan Island - A Review

When the bell rings it signals “the changing”.  One child arrives at the island and the eldest leaves.  It’s always been the way …

 
“Nine on on island, orphans all,
any more ...
the sky might fall"
 
ORPHAN ISLAND by Laurel Snyder
 
The children on the island do not know why they are there or why they must leave when their time comes.  That’s just the way things have always been.  The green boat arrives with a young child and the eldest must leave, always a boy for a boy and a girl for a girl.  Then the next eldest moves up to take care of the new arrival, teaching them the ways of the island and how to be as self sufficient as possible until it is their time to leave. 
 
The island is an idyllic place to live; nothing there would ever hurt you – even the wind would not let you fall off a cliff, the snakes do not bite, the bees do not sting and the fishing net is always full.  Really, the only thing to remember is not to take the last of anything.  If you pick the last fruit then no more will grow.  It’s the way of things on the island, the rule to follow – like the changing. 
 
But what would happen if one of the children decided not to leave?  Would the sky really fall?  Jinny didn’t think so and she knew that she was not ready to leave the island for the unknown fate the green boat represented, not even if it meant being reunited with Deen, who left the year before.
 
This was an enchanting and captivating story that had me turning the pages until I got to the end.  I don’t have too many one-day reads these days and this was such a lovely book to read on a quiet, overcast afternoon (and I have to confess to a bit of cover love as well).  Ms. Snyder captures the voices of various children on the island with perfection, ranging in age from (I’m guessing) three to just pre-pubescent, that in itself is admirable.  I had fun trying to figure out some of the terms the children has come up to name common objects.  Just what are “poms” and “sweet snaps” exactly?  I did manage to figure out “ersters” and “ink fish”!  She also gave me a totally believable community of children living in isolation on their own mysterious island.
 
This is a YA novel and possibly because of my jaded and decidedly not YA mindset I kept looking for a lesson in the pages of this book.  I am sure there is a wise lesson in there somewhere, I just couldn’t put my finger on it because I was so busy enjoying the story … I think I didn’t want to look too deeply.
 
When I came to the end the story felt somehow finished and not at the same time.  It wasn’t a cliffhanger but there was so much more I wanted to know.  What happened to Jinny in particular and on the island in general?  Who was Abby?  What’s the deal with the green boat?  I am hoping there will be a sequel – or better yet, a prequel, but if not – a little mystery in life is a good thing.
 
Loved this one so definitely 5 stars.
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR (from her website)
 
Laurel Snyder is the author of six novels for children, “Orphan Island,” “Bigger than a Bread Box,” “Penny Dreadful,” “Any Which Wall,” “Up and Down the Scratchy Mountains OR The Search for a Suitable Princess,” and “Seven Stories Up.” She has also written many picture books, including “Charlie and Mouse,” “The Forever Garden,” “Swan, the Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova,” “Inside the Slidy Diner,” Good night, laila tov,” “Nosh, Schlep, Schluff,” “The Longest Night,” “Camp Wonderful Wild,” and “Baxter, the Pig Who Wanted to Be Kosher.”
 
In addition to her books for children, Laurel has written two books of poems, “Daphne & Jim: a choose-your-own-adventure biography in verse” (Burnside Review Press, 2005) and “The Myth of the Simple Machines” (No Tell Books, 2007). She also edited an anthology of nonfiction, “Half/Life: Jew-ish tales from Interfaith Homes” (Soft Skull Press, 2006) A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a former Michener-Engle Fellow, Laurel has published work in the Utne Reader, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Revealer, Salon, The Iowa Review, American Letters and Commentary, and elsewhere.
 
She is an occasional commentator for NPR’s All Things Considered, and she teaches in the MFAC program at Hamline University, but most of all, she is a mom.
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review 2017-06-07 22:05
Emma in the Night - A Review

One night, after an argument about a cheap necklace, two sisters disappear – three years later one returned.

 
EMMA IN THE NIGHT by Wendy Walker
 
Cassandra and Emma never had things easy growing up with a mother who displayed classic signs of narcissism.  One day they were loved and the next could be frightening in the neglect they suffered.  They soon learned how to keep their mother happy but in turn she learned how to play them against each other.  Then both girls disappeared on the same night.  Emma’s car and shoes were found on the sand by the ocean, but no signs of Cass could be found and nothing was missing from her room.  Could the girls have disappeared together or were they the victims of two random, but coincidental abductions?
 
The FBI psychologist assigned to the original case suspected something else was at play but trying to convince others almost caused her to lose her job.  When Cass returned demanding action to find her sister, Dr Winter saw her second chance to set things right.
 
This was a twisty-turny tale of a severely dysfunctional family.  It was obvious from the time that Cass returned that things were not as they seemed.  As I read more and more of the story I developed plausible outcomes … and then changed my mind again and again.  Despite my multiple guesses I still got the ending wrong but that’s a sign of a good psychological thriller, right?
 
While I enjoyed this book there were times I felt it could have moved along at a slightly quicker pace; the story is told from multiple points of view so some of it was repetitive.  When I got to the end I couldn’t get past the feeling of “well that could have all been prevented with one phone call”
 
Emma in the Night releases on August 29th, 2017 and while I certainly would not hesitate to recommend this book to friends, I cannot quite rate it among the top books I’ve read in this genre.
 
I’d like to thank the publisher, St. Martin’s Press via Netgalley for my copy of the book, sent in exchange for an honest review. *
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR (from her website)
 
Wendy Walker is a former family law attorney in Fairfield County, Connecticut who began writing while at home raising her three sons. She published two novels with St. Martin’s Press and edited multiple compilations for the Chicken Soup for the Soul series before writing her debut psychological thriller, All is Not Forgotten. Her second thriller, Emma In The Night, will be released August 8, 2017.
 
Wendy earned her J. D., magna cum laude, at the Georgetown University Law Center where she was awarded  the American Jurisprudence award for her performance in Contracts and Advanced Criminal Procedure.  She received her undergraduate degree, magna cum laude, from Brown University and attended The London School of Economics and Political Science as part of her undergraduate studies.
 
Prior to her legal career, Wendy was a financial analyst at Goldman, Sachs & Co., in the mergers and acquisitions group. She has also volunteered at the ACLU, Connecticut Legal Services and Figure Skating in Harlem where she served on the Board of Directors for over twelve years.
 
Wendy is currently writing her third thriller while managing a busy household.
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