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review 2016-11-11 17:42
Dinosaurs Before Dark (Magic Tree House, No. 1) - 'Mary Pope Osborne', 'Sal Murdocca'

Grade level Equivalent: 2.6

Dinosaurs Before Dark by Mary Pope Osborne in the Magic tree house series, is a great introduction to chapter books for young readers. The adventure Jack encounters with his kid sister, Annie, takes the students imagination on a fun filled quest that promises to keep any students interest. After Jack and Annie discover a tree house with a magical library, they choose a dinosaur book that takes them back to prehistoric times. Will they survive the dinosaurs? How will they get back? This is a great book to use in reading centers or read aloud.

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review 2016-07-11 07:15
Dark Magic (Adam Wright)
Dark Magic (Harbinger P.I.) (Volume 3) - Adam J Wright

3.75 stars rounded up

Not much progress from the Midnight Cabal plot -- and I really, truly, wasn't sure with the development over Alec-Felicity relationship ...

BUT, there was still enough action involving dark magic ritual/monsters that kept me entertained.

Plus Alec was able to get answers regarding the case which Amy Cantrell hired him for in book #2 about the Church massacre in which her mother became one of the victims.

Looking forward to book #4.

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review 2016-07-09 00:33
Review of "Dark Heart of Magic" (Black Blade #2) by Jennifer Estep
Dark Heart of Magic - Jennifer Estep

Huh.  Read this on my kindle and posted several quotes and updates to goodreads for later inclusion in this review -- none of which show there.  Oh well, one less thing to use goodreads for.  May as well disconnect it from my Paperwhite.

 

That aside, a good book that could have been better if more monsters and  magicks. and less family (think "mafia") plotting.  Somewhat as expected (middle book of series) because there's more backstory on people, developing relationships and eventually even the discovery of exactly what big bad villain is plotting.  Way more people are let in on her "secret" including by her personally -- which was weird because she and others have been spending so much time (and so many chapters) hiding it.  

 

And early on a really weird mention of Devon's supposedly deceased Daddy being in Lawrence's sword as if the first book had already revealed that.  Could be my old lady memory, but all I remember first book saying about his Daddy was that he was dead.  No mention of being reincarnated as/into Lawrence's sword.  That's one status update I wish goodreads hadn't destroyed because I quoted the exact passage *shrugs* -- if I can ever track it down in quotes or updates I'll update this review to add it.  Just the one mention but could prove pivotal to the series grand finale.

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text 2016-06-26 22:47
Soon to read ...
The Slow Regard of Silent Things - Patrick Rothfuss
Falling Kingdoms - Morgan Rhodes,Michelle Rowen
Crown of Renewal - Elizabeth Moon
Closer to the Heart - Mercedes Lackey
Dark Heart of Magic - Jennifer Estep
Cinder - Marissa Meyer

These are coming soon from my public library ebook hold/waitlist.  Itching to read.

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review 2016-05-31 00:00
Swords & Dark Magic: The New Sword and Sorcery
Swords & Dark Magic: The New Sword and Sorcery - Tanith Lee,Garth Nix,Robert Silverberg,Bill Willingham,C.J. Cherryh,Caitlín R. Kiernan,Gene Wolfe,Glen Cook,Greg Keyes,Michael Moorcock,Tim Lebbon,Jonathan Strahan,Steven Erikson,Michael Shea,Lou Anders,Scott Lynch,K.J. Parker,Joe Abercrombie,James Enge Please note: this review will be updated as I read more stories from the anthology.

So as I mentioned this is an anthology of short fantasy (presumably sword and sorcery, but you really have to stretch the definition) stories. While we are here let us give a tribute to the grandfather of the genre who is still the unsurpassed badass:
Conan
The collection consists of the following:

Goats of Glory by Steven Erikson.
Five surviving soldiers came to a quiet backwater village to have a restful sleep. It turns out, something is not quite right in there and poor guys got every fun imaginable - including desperate fights for their lives - except for rest and relaxation.

This does not have anything to do with Malazan. I finished his magnum opus and it left me relatively cold. It turns out when Erikson is severely limited by the length of the story he writes (these are not called short stories for nothing) he can be great. No people whining non-stop about the miseries of life for 900+ pages, no endless wanderings in a handy desert, but good action. It is still typical Erikson which means I could predict even the last line of the tale had I thought about it, but it is still worth 4 stars.

Tides Elba: A Tale of the Black Company by Glen Cook.
The tale takes part between the first and the second books of the main series. A whole lot of familiar faces are back, including Captain, Lieutenant, Elmo, Silent, Otto, Hagop, Goblin, and One-Eye. It turns out the last two had an apprentice called Third! Poor guy. Croaker often mentioned that the Company is not nice, but he rarely shows really nasty parts. This one is one of such rare moments.

This was the reason I got my hands on this anthology. People familiar with my reviews know I love the series. The only catch is you need to be already familiar with the characters to fully enjoy the story. One-Eye winning in cards alone worth the whole book. Add to this great dialog and Croaker narration and you have 4 stars - if you have read at least the first book of the main series.

Red Pearls: An Elric Story by Michael Moorcock.
Elric travels to the other side of the world (make it whatever you want from this description) in search of something. The other side turned out to be quite strange. There are some people/creatures to kill and some souls to drink with the fabled Stormbringer.

This one was a mild disappointment. On one hand, it was too weird even for an Elrik story. On the other hand, it is too ordinary for an Elrik story. Sounds confusing, but this is exactly my impression. Oh, and the final resolution was way too simplistic. 3 stars on the weak side of 3.

The Fool Jobs by Joe Abercrombie.
A band of ragtag northern barbarians led by a guy named Craw who appears in Heroes (the best book of the series, in my opinion) is about to commit a heist. What could possibly go wrong? Let me give you a hint: everything.

This could have been excellent, but it does have a big problem: the story itself cannot decide whether it is humorous, or grimdark. It started kind of funny, but quickly developed into a good old massacre. As a result it does not quite succeed in either. 3.5 stars rounded up to 4 just because Craw is my favorite character of the favorite book of the series.

So the final rating for now is 4 stars which I will update later with review of more stories.
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