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Search tags: Dark-Fantasy
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review 2020-06-04 12:24
The Magic Cottage
The Magic Cottage - James Herbert

by James Herbert

 

James Herbert can always be relied on to present an interesting story and this is one of his best. A couple looking for a house of their own are drawn to a remote cottage called Gramarye ("magic'' in old English) in the New Forest. It's a little over their price range but in need of serious repairs, leaving room for a little negotiation. Midge, the wife, is adamant that she must have this cottage and suddenly the money to make the difference appears in a rational way. She is an illustrator of children's books and the husband, Mike, is a session musician. Jobs arise in their usual haphazard fashion. The one unusual aspect of the transaction is that the previous owner had some odd criteria for whom the cottage could be sold to detailed in her will.

 

Mike is a city boy, but Midge grew up in the country so she adapts to the lifestyle change fastest. Mike takes a little longer to warm to remote life, especially when unexplainable things start to happen.

 

Things get a little weird from the start and progress as the story goes on. To explain further would require too many spoilers, but I can say that someone else wants the cottage for their own purposes. Discovering the nature of those purposes is an important part of the plot.

 

My favorite character was a little squirrel named Rumbo. I have no objection to most of the human characters, but this little guy was a heart stealer. All I'll say about the ending is that there was plenty of action and drama, though the magic aspect deviated into the sensational. It made for a very entertaining read all the way through.

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review 2020-05-12 22:23
Review ~ Awesome!
Hunting Fiends for the Ill-Equipped - Annette Marie

Book source ~ Kindle Unlimited

 

Robin Page is a demon contractor, but she and her demon, Zylas, have an unusual deal. He protects her and she makes him baked goods. Necessity threw them together, but now they work in tandem to find a way to send Zylas home to his world. Every step they advance though they are knocked back by those who seek power any way they can get it. The closer they get to the answers they need the more dangerous it becomes for them. They need allies and they need them fast. It’s a good thing Robin belongs to the Crow & Hammer guild. Because she and Zylas are going to need her guild mates and their skills before this thing is done.

 

I love this series and it only gets better with each book. Robin and Zylas are a great team and as their relationship deepens it’s been fun watching Robin squirm regarding her attraction to a demon. Mmmm...taboo love is the best kind to watch when it forms.

 

Like the books in its sister series (Guild Codex: Spellbound), this fast-paced action-filled adventure is full of great dialogue, humor, magic, mystery, danger, and awesome characters. And a hot demon. Because Zylas is nommy. Mmmm mmmm mmmmmm.

 

Source: imavoraciousreader.blogspot.com/2020/05/hunting-fiends-for-ill-equipped.html
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review 2020-05-12 13:35
Mort
Mort - Terry Pratchett

by Terry Pratchett

 

This was a re-read for me, although a lot of years passed in between. The figure of Death is undeniably one of Pratchett's best characters and the character develops a lot in this story, but it's actually about Mort, who becomes Death's apprentice.

 

Mort is arguably another of Pratchett's better characters. He's a bit of a screw up and apprenticing to the supernatural isn't what he had in mind when he went to a jobs fair, but he rises to the task and manages to do what is asked of him, until he has to sit by and let a young princess die.

 

I enjoyed this much more on the first reading, but it was still enjoyable and I had forgotten enough to make it almost new to me. I may be a little Pratchetted out because I wasn't enjoying the humour nearly as much this time, but it was certainly there.

 

It's a good light comedy read and I will be reading the following two books in the Death series (Soul Music, Reaper Man) soon, which I haven't read before.

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review 2020-05-02 14:34
Horns
Horns - Joe Hill

by Joe Hill

 

This is certainly an original concept and I found the progression of the story very interesting, although some of the twisted thoughts of the bad guy in the story started getting under my skin in the latter part. The writing is mostly good, but the author frequently does one thing that absolutely drives me buggy; writing in partial sentences after a comma. It's something I found more and more distracting as the story went on.

 

Examples:

 

"The sardine tin made a sharp metal cracking sound as he popped it open and the tom flitted back into the corn, was gone."

 

"They weren't farmers, weren't even inclined to garden."

 

Yeah, that drives me crazy.

 

Despite that, there was never any question that I would finish the story. I had to see what happened in the end! It was just too fascinating to see what would happen to Ig next as he went through his bizarre series of changes and discoveries of his new effect on people.

 

I thought the real killer was revealed a little early in the story, but as I neared the end I realized that a few surprises had been saved back and we had to know so that the full twisted mentality of the killer could be developed to full effect. Hill writes creepy very effectively indeed!

 

The end was just a little too surreal for me and sometimes I was confused from one reality to the other with frequent changes. Overall I think most of the loose ends were tied up, but I thought Hill/Ig was a little callous about hurting snakes!

 

I wish I could have loved it as much as several of my friends did, but the half sentences came too frequently for me to want to read this author again.

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review 2020-05-02 14:12
Hell's Gate
Hell's Gate - 'Jane Aitken (Translator)',Laurent Gaudé,Emily Boyce

by Laurent Gaudé

 

This story is translated from French and set in Naples, which could be an interesting combination, only the translation seems a little dry. Part of this is because some chapters are written in present tense, which I assume is true to the original. It might work better in French, but I had a very hard time getting into the plot.

 

Sometimes it would start to get interesting, then I would lose track of what was supposed to be happening. Eventually it became clear that a child had been killed and his mother wanted the father to track down the killer and murder him in revenge, but killing a man in cold blood is not as easy as it sounds.

 

In the process of trying to satisfy his wife's need for revenge, Matteo, the father, meets some interesting characters and finds himself examining some of life's deeper questions. An invitation from an unusual priest to visit the underworld leads Matteo on an adventure he didn't bargain for.

 

Although it took a while to get into this story, it certainly had some interesting aspects. Depictions of the underworld are always of interest and the characters were a strong point. The ending comes full circle and everything fits into place eventually, but it's the sort of story you would have to read twice to get the full benefit of what's going on.

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