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review 2017-09-01 05:35
[Book Review] The Brightest Fell
The Brightest Fell - Seanan McGuire

Previously reviewed:

 

Most of Toby's stories drop you into the action and feed you necessary bits of exposition as they barrel along.

This book takes the time to introduce you to the world setting, and in that marks a note of gravity and weight that has been absent at the start of the stories, but has always lain lurking.  In that, the novel starts off feeling like we've reached a new step, gone past some point of no return in both Toby's life and in Faerie itself.  Fitting, since ina the author's own words, Toby is starting to pay off debts created five or six books ago.

We know something is coming, hints have been dropped and there's the looming matter of Toby's debts to the Luideag.  Matters which were both brought starkly to light in Once Broken Faith when Luideag mentions it would take too long to replace Toby, and then later when she saves Tybalt's life.  But much of that is for a yet later story.

Meanwhile this is Seanan McGuire's writing, so we'll get that wry humor that infuses all of her stories.  It's not all blood and desperate magic.  I mean, the first chapter features the Luideag singing karaoke at Toby's Bachelorette party.  But a bleakness grips the narrative as Toby tackles a deeply personal challenge, one that puts her loved ones in peril, forces her to work with the man who's been her nightmare, and shines a glaring spotlight on the chasm between Toby and Amandine.

A rich, personal, and compelling continuation of the story.  Highly recommend.

Advance Reader Copy courtesy of Daw (Penguin RandomHouse) in exchange for an honest review; changes may exist between galley and the final edition.

Source: libromancersapprentice.blogspot.com/2017/09/book-review-brightest-fell.html
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review 2017-08-28 21:16
I'll just be over here in my box, with a few of my friends...
Controlled Burn - Erin McLellan

This was another awesome buddy read with my besties...Josy, Christelle and Simone and made even better when the lovely Dani joined us...sadly this didn't turn out to be an awesome story for any of us...but, hey that's just us. A lot of people who read this book...well, they loved it and I'm not here to say they're wrong because this is yet another case of differing opinions and while I just couldn't get into this story I'm also not here to say it's bad...just that it didn't work for me.

 

Unfortunately there was a big chunk of this book that we all found didn't work. So if you've read Simone or Christelle's reviews I'll apologize now if things occasionally feel repetitious and also add that I will do my best to be somewhat original at least, ok?

 

Let's start with what I liked as my friend Christelle said the start was fairly good. We were drawn in fast and got to meet the MCs both Joel and Paulie fairly quickly and I liked that we were there when they met. Joel's roommate, Travis was one of my favorite characters and I have to admit if he got his own book I'd be seriously tempted. Even more than Travis though I liked Paulie.

 

Paulie was what many would term effeminate in the world of men but more than this Paulie was incredibly brave and strong. His life was for sh*t and still he found the good in the world and he continued to put himself out there and be positive, he just kept trying...now don't get me wrong he wasn't 'Mr. Perky Pants' but given the life he had trust me...he was pretty damned awesome...not perfect. There was actually a point at which I was a little frustrated with how he'd behaved but all things considered it was one moment that even he recognized as a moment of 'a$$hattery' and owned up to it and that quite possibly made me love him a tiny bit more.

 

I was also pretty taken with Paulie's aunt...she was wonderful and the mom that Paulie should have had, Paulie's sister while she had a raft of her own issues I wanted to hug her and feed her milk and cookies. She adored Paulie and that alone got her brownie points in my world.

 

The other thing that worked fairly well for me was the ending and by that I mean the last 20 - 25% of the story. It was definitely the best part of the book, mostly because after the first part and by this I mean maybe 5% my tickity boo was was on hiatus. 

 

Ok, so the first 5% got us off to a reasonably good start and the last 20 - 25% was also fairly good...mmmmm....that leaves us with 70 - 75% of 'what the hell?' and this mostly revolved around Joel which that wasn't the problem...because Joel was one of the MCs. The main MC, if you will.  

 

Take 2 on this part of my review because...whoa!!! Way to ramble Karen. It was epic...no actually I thought it was tedious so I scrapped it and I'm going to attempt to share what the issue was with this book for me using a lot less verbiage.

 

Hopefully in fewer words I'll try and explain why for me it was a matter of 'less is more'. For a big chunk of this book we were in Joel's head as the entire story is told from his perspective and if I'm going to be in someone's brain for that long I need them to make progress to move forward and while Joel may have been doing that externally. Internally  it felt like he was wallowing in the past and I finally hit the wall on how many feelz I had to give. Trust me when I say I am truly not a cold hearted biotch. I can empathize and sympathize with the best of them. I can give you a list of books that have reduced me to tears practically from cover to cover...hell, I can give you a list of television commercials that repeatedly reduce me to tears...30 seconds that's all it takes.

 

With Joel unfortunately I felt him wallowing in his grief and guilt and going nowhere for too long and even when it seemed like he'd started to move on, it didn't feel like it. It wasn't about him loving Diago, that never bothered me although I did question how much his love was reciprocated but at this point that's water under the bridge and that Joel would always have a place in his heart for his first love...well anything else would have been just wrong. 

 

My other problem became...the sex. Sorry, it was at times over the top and some of the descriptives well I have to admit I might have held out a little longer than the rest of my buddy read gang, along with my eye rolls there was a face-palm or two going on. I understand that Joel and Paulie are college age and libido's are in good working order but I have to admit a few of their encounters could have been off page or fade to black and I would have been fine with it and probably appreciated what happened on page a bit more. So really, it was once again a case of less is more and I fully acknowledge that this is entirely a personal preference issue as well.

 

Once again ladies thanks for sharing the adventure...but at the end of it all...I found myself frustrated by what should have been an 'I loved it' story for me written by a new author who in spite of all my ramblings here I do sincerely believe has the ability to write a story that will either reduce me to tears or have me over the moon with joy...or who knows maybe both. I look forward to finding out.

 

********************

An ARC of 'Controlled Burn' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2017-07-22 03:45
[Book Review] Curse Words, Volume 1
Curse Words Vol 1: The Devil's Devil - Charles Soule,Ryan Browne

A dark wizard has come to our realm to destroy our world for his master... and decides to become a hero (or something) instead.  Clearly nothing can go wrong with this plan.  Clearly.

Yeah... things go wrong.  In a splashy, chaotic, rock music video sort of way.  All in the company of talking rat/koala/being that's a bit more charismatic and moral than Wizord.  Probably for the best.

Entertaining and unhinged.


Advanced Reader Copy copy courtesy of Image Comics; differences may exist between uncorrected galley text and the final edition.

Source: libromancersapprentice.blogspot.com/2017/07/book-review-curse-words-volume-1.html
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review 2017-07-20 21:51
[Book Review] Meddling Kids
Meddling Kids: A Novel - Edgar Cantero

Scooby-Doo meets H.P. Lovecraft.  With an absolutely fantastic cover.

If you want to read someone singing praises of this story it's not hard to find (NPR: In 'Meddling Kids,' The Scooby Gang Grows Up — Hard, USA Today: 'Scooby-Doo' fans will dig Cantero's 'Meddling Kids').

My reactions are a bit muddled, and probably more in line with the Kirkus review.

Is the book fun?  Undoubtedly.  Familiar enough to evoke Scooby-Doo, but different enough to skirt violation of intellectual property.  Even better, Cantero has injected some actual diversity and complexity to the characters.  In true Scooby-Doo fashion, even as they encounter horrors from the gates beyond, the story holds fast as an adventure rather than a horror or thriller.

My copy was a pre-publication galley, so I'm not sure how much has changed in the final publication, but as I still lack access to the final piece, I have to go forward with the above caveat.  Cantero has chosen to drop in and out of narrative voice and style, with parts of the book written as a script instead of as a novel.  Other parts the narrative includes run on sentences masquerading as paragraphs that make my eyes cross.  I truly hope those parts received excessive editorial attention.

The whole story has a fun, tongue-in-cheek aspect in regards to action movies, particularly those it appears to be a script for.  It definitely gives some fun moments.

My biggest response to this  novel is "how can I turn this into a Call of C'thulhu scenario?"  This would be loads of fun to play as a game, and only require minimal juggling to make it work (the biggest issue is probably how to balance attention to players with Peter's ghost, and possibly to consider Nate "mythos hardened" against certain things).

So, overall, the book was fun, but when I sit back it lacks something.  Elements of fun, but I felt I was promised something with more substance and creeping horror.

I still absolutely adore the cover though.

Advanced Reader Copy courtesy of Doubleday; differences may exist between uncorrected galley text and the final edition.

Source: libromancersapprentice.blogspot.com/2017/07/book-review-meddling-kids.html
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review 2017-06-27 04:08
[Book Review] Wired
Wired - Julie Garwood

FBI Agent Liam Scott knows there's a security leak, and he's sure it's from inside the agency.  Enter the gorgeous and too smart to be believed Allison Trent, a brilliant programmer who takes refuge from her manipulative family in code.  Scott learns enough about Trent to know that she is in a class of her own when it comes to coding and hacking skills, and believes that they need someone from the outside to find the leak.  Trent is a little less enthusiastic, she knows she can do it, but regardless of intent she's done quite a bit of illegal hacking that could get her into serious trouble.  Even if that hacking has resulted in the return of millions of dollars and the apprehension of scammers by the FBI and other agencies.  But there's more to the crimes she faces down than just lines of code, and things start hitting close to home, while Scott and Trent struggle with keeping things if not professional, at least casual between them.


I can definitely see where Garwood has a dedicated audience, but I felt the story lacked in suspense, romance, and comprehension of technology.  The idea of a perfect firewall (or firewall equivalent) that you never have to update is a great one... but here's the thing, computer systems and  programs aren't static.  So her program kind of has some glaring flaws.  The hacking was all a little Swordfish-esq to me as well, but that could just be me nitpicking.  As for the suspense, it was pretty obvious what the threat(s) were, even with some minor red herrings.  The romance goes from "no strings" and lots of dramatic anguish (and hurt feelings)... to an immediate "I love you, lets get married" without any addressing or resolution of the significant hurt and issues between them.  The sex happened to hit a few of the cliches I find annoying, such as going from never having ever experienced an orgasm to a earth-shattering one like magic.

Advance Reader Copy courtesy of Penguin RandomHouse in exchange for an honest review; changes may exist between galley and the final edition.

Source: libromancersapprentice.blogspot.com/2017/06/book-review-wired.html
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