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review 2017-11-23 20:20
A great debut novel for those looking for a bit of magic and hope.
Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance - Ruth Emmie Lang

Thanks to NetGalley and to St. Martin’s Press for providing me an ARC copy of this book that I freely chose to review.

This book is a joy. Readers need to be prepared to suspend disbelief more than usual, perhaps, but from the very beginning, you realise you are in for a ride where everything will be extraordinary. Weylyn, the protagonist, is born in circumstances that his doctor never forgets, and he grows up to be more than a bit special.

I will not repeat the description of the book, which summarises quite well the main aspects of the novel. Weylyn’s story is told, mostly, from the point of view of the characters he meets along the way, and who, somehow, are changed by his presence in their lives. The story is set in the present, with interludes where a boy who literally falls on Weylyn (who lives like a hermit in the forest, with a wolf as his only company) keeps pestering him to tell him his story, and then goes back to the past, and the story is told, always in the first person, by a number of characters. As all readers know, narrators have a way of revealing a lot about themselves when they tell somebody else’s story, and this is true here. None of the narrators are unreliable, but they tell us more of their own stories through their memories of Weylyn than they do about Weylyn himself. We get to know him by the effect he has on those around him (children, adults, some of the characters —those he is closest to— her revisits over the years) and he remains a bit of a cipher, perhaps because he does not know himself or can explain himself fully either. We hear from him towards the end of the book, also in the first person, but he is not a character who defines himself by his “powers” (if that is what they are), and he never gives his talents a name, although he allows people to think whatever they like (He even tries to hide his prowess behind a pig, Merlin, insisting that the horned pig is the one who controls the weather). Despite all these points of view, the book is easy to read as each point of view is clearly delineated and their stories and narrative styles are distinct and appropriate to the characters. The writing flows well and there is enough description to spur readers’ imagination without going overboard.

In a world where children and parents have difficulty communicating, where fitting in and appearances are more important than true generosity, where politicians are self-serving and corrupt, where people stay in relationships because they don’t know how to end them, and where the interest of big corporations always trumps the needs of the common man, Weylyn is like the energy and light he manages to harvest, a ray of hope and a breath of fresh air.

Weylyn is a great character, but so are most of the other characters in the book. Some are more memorable than others, but they are all likeable and changed for the better by their interaction with Weylyn.

Although there are magical and fantastic elements in the novel, in my opinion, it fits into the category of magic realism (as the world the characters live in is our world and that is precisely why people are touched and surprised by his skills, his “specialness”). It would also fall under literary fiction, although it is a much easier read than many books classed under that label (and I feel this is a book not exclusively for adults either. There is minimal violence, clean romance, and many young characters, all distinct and likeable in their own ways).

A story for readers who love great characters and like to let their imaginations fly, not always feeling the need to remain anchored to reality. This is one of those books that we feel sorry to reach the end of and are thankful because we know their memory will remain with us. A great debut novel.

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review 2017-11-22 15:22
good book and characters
Up In The Heir - Ruth Cardello

Hailey was in a taxi on her way to a new place to live and job owth her seven year old niece Skye. hailey’s brother ryan and her sister in law had been in a fatal car crash a year ago. Hailey was given full custody of Skye as Ryan had left Hailey to raise Skye on the event of his death. Hailey was still desperately trying to reach Skye. Hailey had lost her job because she had used all her vacation and sick days to be with Skye. Hailey had been in a panic when she seen her current job advertised in the newspaper. Hailer was now the personal assistant to an elderly lady who lived in a mansion by the ocean. Lodging was included as well as a good paycheck and more important medical insurance. It was hardly a dream job but it did pay good and gave Hailey security. The woman shared the same last name as the man who wasn’t there for her when she needed him so bad back in college after her father had died.But they broke up mainly due to immaturity and poor communication.  Hailey had felt college wasn’t for her any more and quit and then left Spencer as all he really seemed to care about was work and that was all he had time for also. Spencer had needed odd jobs to get enough money for used equipment for his garage computer lab. Now Spencer was a millionaire and owned  his own company. Delinda was Hailey’s employer but little did Hailey know she was Spencer’s grandmother and planned on using Hailey to get Spencer back in the family fold. When hailey lost Spencer she did however learn she didn’t need Spencer to survive and that made her stronger. Hailey had left college and went home to her brother Ryan. raising a traumatized Skye didn’t come with instructions. Skye had refused to go to school after her parents death and when forced to she reacted with such deep despair experts were brought in . Skye had completely shut down- refusing to speak . No one expected it to last but it had. With a recommendation from the school and her therapist Skye was to be homeschooled by a certified teacher. Months later Skye was still withdrawn. She refused to see her old friends or to speak. Skey’s teacher - Mrs Tilbury said Skye was working above grade level  as long as all assignments were done in writing. All Skye seemed to enjoy was reading and only the books from Skye’s old house.    Skye had been a free spirited boisterous child but not anymore. Spencer is miserable as well as lonely After finding out he had been lied to all his life by his family about  who his real biological father was.  Spencer had cut himself off from his family.  Spencer works hard in the daylight hours and drinks and runs with fast women at night. Delinda asks hailey to pick up a package for her downtown and Hailey runs into Spencer. Hailey had been Spencer's one true love and Hailey had never really gotten over Spencer. Zthr chemistry and feelings are still there for both Spencer and Hailey.

I enjoyed this book. I liked the plot as well as the pace a lot. I liked how Spencer grew in this book. This was a quick, enjoyable second romance.book. There was a lot of family drama. I liked the different POVs shown also. I loved the relationship that formed between Skye and Delinda. I advise you to read the first book in this series as it will pull everything together for you. I loved how close Ryan and Hailey had been. I also felt this was well written. I liked Spencer and Hailey together and I liked that Spencer stopped being such a jerk. I liked the characters and the ins and outs and I recommend.

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review 2017-11-15 23:39
Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Lang
Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance - Ruth Emmie Lang

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

This was such a magical story. I don't read a whole lot of magical realism but it seems that I love them when I do read them. I am not sure that this book would work for every reader since there are a whole lot of strange occurrences but it worked well for me and I am so happy that I decided to pick it up.

This book tells the story of Weylyn Grey. We don't learn his story from Weylyn. Instead, we learn about him in different points in time from others that are close to him. We see Weylyn as others see him and learn all of the incredible things that play a part in his life. Each section of the book shares a very vivid snapshot of this wonderful character.

Weylyn lives a life unlike anyone else. He is different in a lot of ways. He has a certain innocence throughout the book and it is hard not to fall in love with him. I also really liked the characters in the story that shared Weylyn's story. These characters grew and changed over the course of the book and seemed to be positively changed through their association with Weylyn.

There is a bit of magic on nearly every page of this charming story. This was a strange book in a lot of ways but it was strange in the best way possible. There are so many strange things associated with Weylyn and his life that I never knew what to expect. I quickly learned not to even try to guess what Weylyn would do next and just sat back and enjoyed the journey. 

I would highly recommend this book to fans of magical realism. I found this book to be a wonderful story filled with magic. I am very impressed by Ruth Emmie Lang's debut novel and can't wait to read more of her work in the future.

I received an advance reader copy of this book from St. Martin's Press via NetGalley. 

Initial Thoughts
I really enjoyed this book filled with things you wouldn't expect. This probably won't be a book for everyone but it worked well for me.

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review 2017-11-12 18:12
The Lying Game
The Lying Game: A Novel - Helen Ruth Elizabeth Ware

This is the first book I've read by Ware despite having had my eye on her previous books. I now regret not having picked them up sooner. I was immediately drawn into the story of four tight knit teenagers who met at a coastal boarding school called Salten. They developed the lying game where they would concoct elaborate lies to tell people who were not part of their small circle and award each other points. The game had rules, one of which was, never lie to each other.

The girls are eventually kicked out of their boarding school and all go their separate ways until years down the road when their shared secret comes back to haunt them. A single text reunites them.  

"I need you." 

The book jumps back and forth between Isa's perspective and their past. The story slowly unravels to reveal how they met, their shared secrets, and what became of each of them. I didn't give this book a full five stars only because the final reveal didn't blow me away as much as I had anticipated. I enjoyed the ride and discovering the mystery, I just wanted a bit more thrill and suspense. I am, of course, looking forward to reading more from Ware.



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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-11-05 03:09
Book Review: A Room Full of Bones
A Room Full of Bones: A Ruth Galloway Mystery - Elly Griffiths

Book: A Room Full of Bones


Author: Elly Griffiths


Genre: Fiction/Mystery


Summary: When Ruth Galloway arrives to supervise the opening of a coffin containing the bones of a medieval bishop, she finds the museum's curator lying dead on the floor. Soon after, the museum wealthy owner is also found dead, in his stables. These two deaths could be from natural causes, but once again Ruth and DCI Harry Nelson cross paths during the investigation. When threatening letters come to light, events take an even more sinister turn. But as Ruth's friends become involved, where will her loyalties lie? As her convictions are tested, Ruth and Nelson must discover how Aboriginal skulls, drug smuggling, and the mystery of "The Dreaming" hold the answers to these deaths, as well as the keys to their own survival. -Mariner Books, 2012.


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