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text 2018-07-14 18:25
The Immortal Circus by A.R. Kahler #1.99 or KU!
The Immortal Circus: Act One - A.R. Kahler

Murdered contortionists aren’t exactly what Vivienne signed up for when she ran away to join the circus. But like most things under the big top, nothing is what it seems. With a past she can't quite remember, Vivienne finds that running away forever might not be as appealing as it once sounded—because forever means something quite different at the Cirque des Immortels.

 

Aided by her friends Kingston—a feisty stage magician whose magic is quickly stealing her heart—and his sarcastic assistant Melody, Vivienne finds herself racing against the clock to discover the culprit behind a series of deaths that should be impossible. However, the answer she seeks might reveal more about her own bloody past—and future—than she bargains for.

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text 2018-06-03 23:57
Fantasy Flights June Meeting - Urban Fantasy
Shadowshaper - Daniel José Older
Owl and the Japanese Circus - Kristi Charish
Zero Sum Game (Russell's Attic) (Volume 1) - SL Huang
Drink, Slay, Love - Sarah Beth Durst
Broken Monsters - Lauren Beukes

The librarian usually sends out links for each months topic. This month, her links include an article titled something like "what is urban fantasy" that only says it's a marketing category and a list of "where to start" that has more male authors than female authors. I, just, I don't know, ya'll. If I were introducing someone to UF, I'd probably talk about the use of noir tropes in contemporary fantasy settings, broken vs unbroken masquerades, and Carrie Vaughn's theory, "these books are symptomatic of an anxiety about women and power." But, sure, here's a dude saying it's meaningless marketing and a list of mostly dudes to read.

 

The other big UF reader in the group is going to be out of town for this one, so I'm trying to psych myself up to deal with a room full of guys all talking about Harry Fucking Dresden. 

 

I'm also bounding myself by recommending in-progress series or stand alone books. A few months back, one of the members asked for recommendations for completed UF series that weren't PNR, and I want to avoid repeats. Okay, he didn't say PNR, he asked for books that weren't all about vampire sex. So at least one person may have some non-Dresden. . . take a deep breathe, Saturdays, you don't want to start another fight in book club.

 

Whatever. I love this genre. 

 

Shadowshaper - Daniel José Older. So far this series has 2 novels and 3 novellas and is dynamite. The protagonist is an artist who discovers her legacy includes channeling spirits into physical forms. She makes her graffiti come alive. Yeah, that's right, I talk all that shit and then start off with a book by a man.

 

Owl and the Japanese Circus - Kristi Charish. Action packed with an unlikable heroine, this series follows an antiquities thief and her vampire hunting cat through endless poor decisions and explosions. I adore that she isn't good with weapons and doesn't have powerful magic abilities. I just recently finished the 4th installment, and the heroine is consistently a train wreck.

 

Zero Sum Game (Russell's Attic) (Volume 1) - SL Huang. Fast paced, plenty of violence, and her magic power is being really good at math. Do I need to go on? 

 

Drink, Slay, Love - Sarah Beth Durst. A teenage vampire gets stabbed by a unicorn and finds herself able to go out in daylight. Her family decides to enroll her in high school so she can lure teens back to the rest of the bloodsuckers. This is a lighthearted, almost rom-com book that is exactly as much fun as my first sentence indicates.

 

Broken Monsters - Lauren Beukes. The protagonists are all human in this not-quite police procedural where strange murders point toward incomprehensible motives.

 

 And I think I'll stop there. I really want to add about 10 more books. We'll see where the night leads.

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review 2018-05-11 00:00
The Night Circus
The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern I just loved this book, it was delightful. It had me enraptured right from the beginning. Even when things aren't happening, connections are being weaved, everything is interconnected. Even though many of the characters could perform feats of wondrous magic, many of them longed for the magic of the connections that are forged in everyday life. This was echoed in the sentiment that maintaining the connections required to keep the circus and its magic in existence was tiring and difficult to maintain over the long term. I think it is also echoed in the person ultimately chosen to run the circus. A beautiful sumptuous book.
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review 2018-03-29 15:20
Classic Koontz
Twilight Eyes - Dean Koontz

This was pretty weird and kept me guessing for a long time. Was the protagonist really able to sense shape shifting goblins or was he psychotic and killing people because of a hallucination?

 

It is set mostly in a carnival and the author seems to have done some research into carny slang and lifestyle, but occasionally slips up and has things like elephants that you would only see in a circus. The side show seems a little elaborate for a carnival too but I just suspended my disbelief and read further.

 

I'm glad I did. There are some high action moments and toward the end the tensions get high. I can see why this is one of Koontz's most popular stories. There are plenty of surprises in the twists and turns of plot and I honestly couldn't predict exactly how it would end or whether any of the leading characters would make it through.

 

Definitely recommended.

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review 2018-03-25 23:51
THE LIFE SHE WAS GIVEN by Ellen Marie Wiseman
The Life She Was Given - Ellen Marie Wiseman

THE LIFE SHE WAS GIVEN

Ellen Marie Wiseman
Library Binding, 527 pages, Large print
Published September 1st 2017 by Center Point Pub (first published July 25th 2017)
ISBN:  1683245032 (ISBN13: 9781683245032) 
also available in paperback, Audible audio, Kindle, ebook,
and in German on Kindle (Die Bittere Gabe, A Sin B072DTNYMD)

 

Some of the reviews were negative and I wasn't sure I would finish this book. As it turns out, I really like Wiseman's writing. There is the circus animal abuse in the book that was graphic;  but in remembering when Lilly's part of the story was to take place (1930's/1940s), this type of abuse is not addressed in the same way it is today. Lilly's character is different, her parents and the general population did look upon her as someone who needs to be caged or treated like a freak in the circus. The author does well in showing Lilly's progressing into accepting herself and her new circus family, and thus starts Lilly's understanding that all people and animals deserve respect.

Alternating chapters with Lilly is Julia. She had the choice to run from the same parents who raised Lilly. Julia's life is not so great on her own, but then she inherits the family property. The author does develop this character decently away from the angry daughter who ran away from home.

A lot happens in the book. It is a tough read with the animal abuse issue in the book, and the neglect and abuse that Lilly as a child, and her circus family endures as freaks. Seeing that people may be different on the outside, but more alike on the inside, is written well here. Understanding that people still hold the older views and how keeping all this private affects our lives is brought to light in the book.

Diversity, coming of age, forgiveness are all part of the plot. The ending could have been written a little tightened up, and maybe a not so perfect, happy ending. I believe, after reading <u>The Life She Was Given</u>, I will read more of Ellen Marie Wiseman.

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