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review 2018-08-26 23:27
Justice Calling (The Twenty-Sided Sorceress #1) by Annie Bellet
Justice Calling (The Twenty-Sided Sorceress Book 1) - Annie Bellet
Jade Crow has been on the run for quite some time but she's finally found peace in Wylde, Idaho. The supernatural community is attracted to Wylde because of the ley lines and the town is actually home to a plethora of magical creatures, though shifters seem to make up the majority of the population. Jade has built a fine life for herself, including friends and her own business.  Everything comes to a halt however when a Justice ( the shifters version of judge, jury and executioner) arrives in town, certain that Jade has committed some terrible crime. 
 
Because the Justice is able to read the truth of someone's answers, Jade is quickly let off the hook. Trouble however still finds Jade when a resident is found frozen in their animal form. Jade must now decide whether to help the sexy Russian Justice who just happens to turn into the biggest tiger ever and her friends, or flee before her abusive ex boyfriend shows up and makes a snack of her to gain her power. 
 
Justice Calling shouldn't really be called a book because at best it's a novella. It gives us a peak at the world and the rather large cast of characters, without really giving us a chance to know any of them in depth. Even Jade Crow, who is the protagonist is pretty much a mystery. All we learn about Jade is that she is a sorcerer, is on the run from an abusive ex and is a total geek. It really feels like Bellet was going through a check list when she was creating these characters.  There are LGBT characters, and Crow it seems is a protagonist of colour. Part of the reason why it felt like a check list is because there's no real characterisation to flesh them out, let alone cultural references that situate them properly. Bellet seemed more concerned with geek bonafides because she filled the book with gaming, movie and pop culture references that would have the geeks grinning with glee, even though they didn't really serve well in terms of character development. 
 
There's really not much tension in Justice Calling and I am going to crack this up to the fact that it's a novella masquerading as a book.  There are no twists and turns to speak of. Even the antagonist is so basic that it's hard to give him that label.  There's a budding romance between Jade and Justice but it's so paint by numbers that it's not even remotely interesting and there's no real reason to invest in this relationship.  We don't know much about Justice but I really didn't like the way he accused Jade of not having a life because she was thinking about leaving. It's clear that we are meant to see Jade as an abused woman and having a safe space from a known abuser is not cowardice or even selfishness as I feel that Justice implied but a matter of life and death. 
 
 
 
 
Source: www.fangsforthefantasy.com/2018/07/justice-calling-twenty-sided-sorceress.html
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review 2018-08-07 20:27
Strike 1
The Cuckoo's Calling - Robert Galbraith

This is the first of the Cormoran Strike  novels written by JK Rowling under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. The story revolves around a beautiful troubled model Lula Landry who one cold snowy winters night falls from the balcony of her penthouse London flat. Was it suicide or was she pushed? Her brother John Bristow is convinced she was murdered and employs the services of Private Investigator Cormoran Strike to uncover the perpetrator.In Cormoran Strike we have a wonderful fictional detective, even his offices with a steel spiral staircase and unfashionable London location has a touch of Philip Marlowe, Chandler's finest creation. Strike is a man who is deeply scared both mentally and physically by his experiences in war torn Afghanistan. His right leg below the knee is missing the result of an improvised explosive device (IED) when he also saved the life of one of his comrades. The pain from his missing limb is a constant reminder of the hell of Helmand province. His childhood was no less traumatic, living in squats with his drug addicted mother Leda and rarely seeing his rock star father Jonny Rokeby

 

Strike has acquired a new secretary Robin and it soon becomes clear that this highly intelligent woman is a golden asset in the disorganized lifestyle that our PI leads. Although Robin is engaged to the controlling Mathew there is certainly an attraction between this ambitious lady and her older damaged employer. Strike is aware of this danger but he cannot help himself admiring the beauty and intelligence displayed before him..."but having normal sight and an unimpaired libido, he was also reminded every day she bent over the computer monitor that she was a very sexy girl."..

 

A good crime author will always attempt to shield the identity of the killer until the final chapters and Robert Galbraith is a master of illusion and deception. The reader is taken on a descriptive journey through the beating heart of London where..."its colourful windows displayed a multitudinous mess of life's unnecessities"....and on that journey an eclectic  mix of characters is on show including the extravagant camp designer Guy Some...."nearly a foot shorter than Strike and had perhaps a hundredth of his body hair. The front of the designers tight black T-shirt was decorated with hundreds of tiny silver studs which formed an apparently three-dimensional image of Elvis's face"...and Lula's birth mother Marlene Higson..."she was wearing a pink Lycra vest top under a zip-up grey hoodie, and leggings that ended inches above her grey-white ankles. There were grubby flip-flops on her feet and many gold rings on her fingers; her yellow hair, with its inches of greying brown  root, was pulled back into a dirty towelling scrunchie".....

 

I must confess that I have managed to read the 3 books in the series out of order but that has certainly not ruined my enjoyment. The writing is of the highest quality and it has been a great adventure discovering the complicated background of Cormoran Strike and his beautiful assistant Robin. The dynamics of this relationship is something that Galbraith explores in more detail in the later books and it all adds to the excitement of this highly accomplished beautifully written novel.

 

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review 2018-05-28 17:27
Steamy read, second in series, still waiting for more story
Calling Caralisa - Virginia Nelson

Another quick read in the series. This is Caralisa, Bentley, and Jackson, and how they came together. I enjoyed the different dynamics with this trio. Caralisa had low self-esteem, but Bentley and Jackson were wonderful in how they made her see otherwise. I still hope for more of the world story, so I look forward to more in this series.

I received a copy of this story through Candid Book Review, and this is my unsolicited review.

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review 2018-05-01 17:08
Good Characters and story
Dark Moon Wolf (Calling the Moon Book 1) - Sarah E. Stevens

Julie is a single mother who works as a librarian with a four month old baby- Carson- had turned into a wolf puppy on the full moon. Julia is totally confused and decides to go look for Carson’s father- Mac. Julie never told Mac she was pregnant. Julie tries to get in touch with Mac but can’t so she decides to go to his hometown with Carson. Julie finds Carson’s grandparents  who belong to the pack. But Mac had been murdered and he isn’t the only one from his pack who has been murdered. Lily is the pack leader of Mac’s pack and Julie shows prejudice toward Lily. . But now someone is after Carson. Julie does found out she has recessive wolf genes which means if she was bitten she could turn into a werewolf or die. The genes make Julie a Dark Wolf. Max had been murdered in Las Vegas. With the help of a friend Sheila who julie finds out is a witch. and Eliza who was a werewolf and a few other werewolves and they start hunting for the murderers.  

I really enjoyed this paranormal book. I do wish it had been longer. But I liked the plot and pace. It had my attention from the first page until the last page. This can be emotional and choke you up at times. I felt this was well written. I loved it had a lot of twists and turns. There were: wolves, witches, suspense, murder, mystery, betrayal, wolf pup power play, politics, experiments, action, loss, family, a Dark Wolf, and a lot more. I loved how the author  showed us a lot of different kinds of wolves. I also really liked how Julie didn’t have any special powers but she did find ways to contribute and help to try to find the murderers. I liked the characters and the ins and outs of this book and I recommend..

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review 2018-02-28 18:59
J.K. Rowling Does "Mystery"
The Cuckoo's Calling - Robert Galbraith

 

... and really, is there anything she can't write?

 

This may not be the most ingenious of plots (supermodel with "issues" falls to her death from the balcony of her high rise apartment; after the police have declared her death a probable suicide and closed the case, her brother shows up at the office of a down-and-out P.I. with a somewhat checkered past and pleads with him to reinvestigate; P.I. has a new temp secretary who gradually and reluctantly becomes his sidekick), but as always, it's all in the execution, and here, Rowling delivers on all fronts; from tone of voice to attitudes to every other aspect that's indispensable to creating well-rounded characters ... and what a cast of characters she's come up with, too.  She has an impeccable ear for dialogue, for the snazzy, street-wise language that few mysteries can do without, especially those published today -- all the more those set, like this one, in the demi-monde of fashion, film, rock (music, meth / cocaine, and whisky-on-the), modeling, moguls, and money both old and new -- and for endowing her characters with entirely credible human emotions.  All of her characters, that is, regardless how important they are to the story.  Even today, there are few mystery writers who manage that sort of feat.

 

And honestly, can you possibly think of a greater name for a protagonist, a run-down P.I. at that, than Cormoran Strike?

 

Count me in for book 2 of the series soon -- I wonder what took me so long to get to it in the first place.

 

Oh, and never mind that she published this under a male pen name (nice try, Joanne) ... the cat was out of the bag within weeks, if not days IIRC, and I am SO counting this book towards the "R" square of the Women Writers Bingo / Challenge.

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