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review 2018-07-16 02:19
Book 2 in the Re-Read
Fever Season - Barbara Hambly

I am re-reading this series this summer.  Fever Season is the second volume of the January Mysteries.    In New Orleans, many people have fled the city because of the epidemic.  January hasn’t, though he might wish he had. 

 

                Hambly’s series succeeds because she mixes history in with a smidge of gothic and compelling characters that confronted racial issues, not only in adjusting to how the Americans have changed New Orleans, but also with an institution that denies Ben his ability to practice medicine and forces him to earn money with his skills as musicians.

 

                In this book as well, we are introduced to Rose, a mixed-race woman, who struggles to be a science teacher to those mixed-race girls who are destined to be concubines to the rich white men who control New Orleans society, much the same way Ben’s youngest sister is, as was his mother.

 

                Livia, Ben’s mother, is perhaps one of the greatest things about this series.  She was a field hand until she, and her two children, were sold and her new master freed her.  She became his concubine, and this former master paid for Ben’s education and is the father of Dominque.  Livia’s determination to ensure her family’s survival has alienated her eldest daughter, who has established herself in the free black community as a voodoo priestess.  But Livia is a fascinating character because she knows and works the structure that is forced on her.  She is far more aware of what is at stake than Ben is in many cases, and she appears unfeeling, uncaring, and driven only by money.  But one wonders.

 

                To review the plot of the novel would be to offer a major spoiler, but the plot does involve Ben trying to discover what has happened to a missing young escaped slave as well as who is trying to destroy his reputation.   The fictional plot is interwoven with real history and New Orleans lore in a realistic and compelling way.

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review 2018-07-15 11:00
Darkling (Port Lewis Witches #1) by Brooklyn Ray

Port Lewis, a coastal town perched on the Washington cliffs, is surrounded by dense woods, and is home to quaint coffee shops, a movie theater, a few bars, two churches, the local college, and witches, of course.

Ryder is a witch with two secrets—one about his blood and the other about his heart. Keeping the secrets hasn’t been a problem, until a tarot reading with his best friend, Liam Montgomery, who happens to be one of his secrets, starts a chain of events that can’t be undone.

Dark magic runs through Ryder’s veins. The cards have prophesized a magical catastrophe that could shake the foundation of Ryder’s life, and a vicious partnership with the one person he doesn’t want to risk.

Magic and secrets both come at a cost, and Ryder must figure out what he’s willing to pay to become who he truly is.

 

~

 

REVIEW

 

Book – Darkling
Series – Port Lewis Witches, 1
Author – Brooklyn Ray
Star rating - ★★★★★
No. of Pages – 101
Cover – Stunning!
POV – 3rd person, one character
Would I read it again – Yes!
Genre – LGBT, Contemporary, Witches, Trans (FTM)
Content Warning – blood-letting, death, necromancy, minor drug-use


** COPY RECEIVED THROUGH NETGALLEY **



I loved this! It fitted perfectly into my demon-kick reading mode of the last month and, after reading the blurb, I just knew I was going to love it. And I did.

The story is set up with a witch circle which means that the series could contain stories about all or just some of the characters: Ryder (the POV MC), Liam, Christy, Tyler, and Donovan. There are also the side characters of Ryder's family: his sister Jordan, who is a hoot, as well as his dad Gerard, and his mother Ellen. Then there are the two matriarchs of the opposing Wolfe (dark magic) and Lewellyn (white magic) clans, Thalia and Margo. Each character has a role to play, their own detailed background that isn't over done or abandoned into nothingness, and a place within the plot. There was a great mix of straight and gay relationships, as well as gender identities: trans and non-binary.

I loved Ryder. As an MC to take over the POV of an entire book, that was really important and a huge boost. He's a trans-MC, FTM, and 21, who has had top surgery but not bottom. He's got all these secrets that he keeps bottled up – his half-blood genes, his FTM transition, and his feelings for his best friend, Liam. All while trying to control magic that is unpredictable and deadly. I loved that we were made part of his internal struggles, that we knew the secrets as and when it was important to the plot, but we could still feel the shock and surprise of everyone else in his circle when they found out. Yet we still got to feel the anticipation and apprehension running through Ryder as he tried to keep his secrets.

Liam was just amazing! I loved his strong, steady support. He's the polar opposite of Ryder, a Water witch while Ryder is fire, but he never let that come between them. His firm friendship and growing acceptance of all that Ryder revealed himself to be was beautiful to watch. He didn't know any of Ryder's secrets, but he worked them out on his own, often by accident and before Ryder had prepared for it, but he never judged. He showed justifiable anger that his best friend had kept such huge secrets to himself and never felt comfortable sharing them, but he didn't criticize or judge Ryder for those secrets or what they could mean.

I really enjoyed the occult elements of the book. They were somewhat familiar, but also originally tweaked in a way that made it something I could follow without feeling too out of my depth. And there was still enough originality to keep me eager to learn more. Just as I've had a tarot reading, it doesn't mean I understand how to read a deck, so having it explained in a way that was both natural and familiar to the characters while being a subtle dummies-guide for me, was awesome.

There was some amazing world building done here, in such a natural, subtle way that I really applaud the author for it. Sometimes there's that awful choice between info dumps or holding onto information until it's relevant, but the author had this take place in the contemporary real world, that is already what we live in, so offering familiarity – again – along with the sort of hidden aspect of witches. Concepts that we're familiar with from novels and movies, but done in a new way.

Just as the characterisation and world building were expertly done, so was the chemistry between Liam and Ryder. I loved every minute of their relationship. From Liam discovering and teasing away Ryder's secrets, to watching Ryder navigate this half world he lived in while trying not to hurt Liam in the process of exploring his birth-given gifts.

Overall, I loved it. It made me smile and cry and feel happy all at once. It reminded me of The Secret Circle books, in a good way, and is going to make a great addition to my favourites shelf.

Can I get Donovan's book next, please? Pretty please?

~

And can I just say a huge THANK YOU to the author? I can't say how many times I've picked up a book to read or review and not been aware that it was a series until I already had it in my hands. The wait and expense of buying the previous books before I could delve in was torture, but I didn't have to do that here. The book is, both on the cover, on Netgalley and GR, explicitly labelled as a series book. THANK YOU. There's nothing I hate more than having a book I can't wait to read in my hands and being forced to wait until I've caught up with the series so far.

~

Favourite Quote

““I could hurt you,” Ryder said.
“I'd let you.””

““If you don't...” Liam choked on the rest of what he wanted to say and skipped it. “You better haunt me, assh-le. You understand that, Ry? You come back and you haunt me.”

Source: www.goodreads.com/book/show/36572967-darkling
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review 2018-07-15 02:50
The Diviners
The Diviners - Libba Bray

I think it's time for a real review because that old one was just embarrassing (especially given that I just re-read this book).

I finally got around to reading this again like I've been meaning to do for some time now but lots of things happened and here we are several years later. I have the other books in a series which I'm also just getting around to now but anyways, moving on.

I don't know how young I was when I read this but like I get why I got scared reading it at night ya know. Maybe it's just because I've grown and not as easily scared anymore but thankfully it didn't scare me this time around.

I know that a lot of people had problems with Evie and they didn't like her. I was not one of those people. I mean yes, I get why people disliked her but it didn't bother me. I thought it gave her personality, made her seem real. I think I even have a few friends who are like her, maybe that was why she didn't bother me as much. There was a lot of 20s slang present in the book as well but it didn't make it any harder to understand or take away from the story, it's pretty easy to figure out what they're talking about.

I loved the diverse cast of characters that were present and the backstory on each of them. I think it really made them seem more realistic and also made you feel for them in a way. For example, what Blind Bill did to Isaiah, it was a terrible thing that he did but at the same time, when you learn more about him, you kind of understand where he was coming from and why he did it, it doesn't make it excusable, but you understand.

I love how everyone is connected to each other and watching those connections unfold. It honestly made me excited because I knew how the characters were connected but they didn't and it just kept you flipping the pages.

There's a hint of a love triangle present in the story, but it doesn't take away from the story or overshadow the plot ya know, it's mostly in the background. I hate love triangles just as much as the next person but it didn't bother me. And honestly, I could see Evie ending up with either Sam or Jericho like I support both of them. I'm leaning towards Jericho just a L I T T L E bit more, but I can see her ending up with either and I'd fully support the end product either way.

The romance was not the point, however.

I think the supernatural stuff was written really well, the murders were gruesome and maybe it makes me a sociopath but I honestly loved reading those bits. It was so great watching the mystery unfold as Evie and the rest of them put everything together.

And I think my favourite part of the book was the way that it showed how people can get carried away and fanatic with what they believe and how this blurs the line between good and bad. How anything is excusable if you believe that you're doing it in the name of God. I don't know, but I thought it was probably the most interesting aspect of the book, seeing the level of devotion that people had to the Brethren and how far they were willing to go in order to see through what they believed to be the word of God.

TL;DR please read this it's an amazing book and well worth your money.

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photo 2018-07-08 11:00
Forward the Hunt by Lotus Oakes

Netgalley TBR

 

For as long as he can remember, Haruki has wanted to be part of the Great Hunt, the annual coming of age ceremony where the youth of Salfea are let loose to kill a dragon and bring it home as proof of adulthood. The larger and higher-ranked the dragon, the greater the reward. Held back for years by family obligation, Haruki has only ever been able to watch from afar until the opportunity finally comes to him. Desperate to prove himself, he's certain he'll do whatever it takes to have a successful hunt. 

But on the first night of his Hunt, Haruki finds an injured dragon so highly-ranked that killing him could rocket Haruki all the way to the throne... if he can resist the dragon and his ways.

Source: www.goodreads.com/book/show/38843974-forward-the-hunt
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review 2018-07-01 11:00
Smoke Signals by Meredith Katz

Mike St. George figured that working customer support during the Black Friday sale at SmokeSignals, a game distribution company, would just feature the usual sort of problem customers. He wasn't expecting an aristocratic, self-centered dragon to demand the company send someone to his house to install games in exchange for gold. And he definitely wasn't expecting that to somehow put him in charge of working with and protecting the digital side of the dragon's hoard of games. 

But with a possible promotion in his future, Mike's ready to take on anything. And while the blue-blooded Zali'thurg might be egotistical and prideful, Mike's wrangled worse customers on a regular basis. At least this one's cute, albeit in an 'apex predator' sort of way.

 

~

 

REVIEW

 

Book – Smoke Signals
Author – Meredith Katz
Star rating - ★★★★★
No. of Pages – 83
Cover – Cute!
POV – 3rd person, one character
Would I read it again – Yes!
Genre – LGBT, Contemporary, Paranormal/Supernatural, Dragons


** COPY RECEIVED THROUGH NETGALLEY **



This was all kinds of adorable!
I loved Michael and Zali'thurg, together and apart. They were really well written and well explored characters, with great chemistry that built slowly but was so cute to watch.
The writing was perfectly on point to suit my tastes, with the right amount of description, showing/telling, and attention to detail that I never felt out of place. The world building was great, making it clear from the start that this was a contemporary world that just happened to have real dragons in it.
The game Zali'thurg made for Michael was the most adorable thing I've ever seen.
I loved how open and honest Michael was, even with someone he was intimidated by, and how he was happy in his skin, happy to be himself unashamedly. His knitting was a really nice addition, especially when it came to the slippers, and I loved that he owned that side of him, even in the face of Zali'thurg's attention.
There were some small editing issues, but nothing that impacted my reading or the flow of the story.

Overall, it was an excellently written story about geeks, romance and dragons. And, really, what more can you ask for?

~

Favourite Quote

“It just figured that the exceedingly rich asshole of a customer he had to deal with face to face not only could literally eat him alive, but could also transform at will into the heartthrob of the century. That hardly seemed fair.”

Source: www.goodreads.com/book/show/38880586-smoke-signals
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