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review 2017-09-09 21:48
Grave Ransom (Alex Craft, #5)
Grave Ransom - Kalayna Price

This series is one of those outliers that I continue to really like even though I can easily point out several ... I don't want to call them flaws, so let's just call them weaknesses.  But I love the characters and the setting, so even when things don't work, or the author makes decisions I don't necessarily like, I still enjoy the story.

 

Grave Ransom is about zombies, as luck would have it (Halloween Bingo square!), and I generally feel petty meh about zombies, but for Alex and her friends, I could deal with zombies.  It also helped that these sentient zombies, not the BRAINS! eating type (although there were plenty of those at the end).  One particularly wrenching scene in the middle of the book where one vicim comes to terms with his situation added a bit of depth to what otherwise might have been a simple paranormal killing spree.

 

But I have to say I didn't much care for the ending; Price is playing tin soldiers with Alex's love life, and the plot itself didn't feel quite tied up enough to satisfy me; I'd have liked to have known how the 'bad guys' met; I was left with questions after their dastardly plot was revealed and they didn't all get answered.

 

In spite of that, I had a great time reading the book; these are always fun and never a chore to pick up; I hope the author continues to bring Alex and her friends to the page for some time to come.

 

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review 2016-06-29 02:24
Grave Witch by Kalayna Price
Grave Witch - Kalayna Price

Series: Alex Craft #1

 

I don’t remember what brought this book to my attention.  It was probably something to do with one of the later books in the series. I know better than to expect too much from a book marketed as urban fantasy, but the library had a copy, so I figured it was worth a shot. I’d call this more of a modern day fantasy world rather than an urban fantasy, however, because we’re most definitely not in our world.  Magic users and fae went public about seventy years ago and it’s a modern-day mishmash of magical charms, cars, and cell phones.

 

I almost quit because it took a good hundred pages to get interesting. Several of the tropes bordered on cliché territory (the absolutely broke investigator, the girlfriends who would throw the MC at any man who showed interest [and who don’t apologize when said man tries to harm her], the sort of triangle, the hostile police, etc). And at several points the characters basically acted in the way most convenient for the plot without a lot of conviction.

 

But…the world felt like it was a more original take on the genre with how the MC’s magical powers, the ghosts, and the fae stuff were presented, so it gets an extra half star.  I’m undecided as to whether to give the next one a shot.

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review 2016-03-22 00:18
Grave Visions (Alex Craft, #4)
Grave Visions - Kalayna Price

After an insanely long delay, the fourth Alex Craft was released last month and as I've had it on pre-order for 3 years I wanted to finally read it, but was more than a little worried it would be a flop because 3 years is a long time to stall on a story.

 

But I needn't have worried.  It wasn't the best book in the series, but it was a good solid story about Alex, a grave witch who can raise shades (pure memories - not ghosts).  She's got a whole mess of problems that culminate in this book and a sort of ongoing love triangle (it isn't, but it's complicated).

 

This is definitely a series you want to start at the beginning with, because constant references are made in all the books to previous stories and character development (especially amongst her best friends).

 

I knocked off 1/2 star because the mystery in this book was bleedingly obvious from the first; the author was just too heavy-handed with her clues.  But the mystery isn't why I read these - I like the friendships, and I like Death (the character, not the process).  The fae... eh.

 

There's apparently a book 5 planned for next year and I'll definitely read it.  But I don't think I'm gonna pre-order...

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text 2016-03-04 00:54
Book Haul for week of March 4th
The Canterville Ghost - Oscar Wilde,Inga Moore
Toujours Provence - Peter Mayle
Encore Provence: New Adventures in the South of France - Peter Mayle
Banvard's Folly: Tales Of Reknowned Obscurity, Famous Anonymity And Rotten Luck - Paul Collins
The Curse of the Kings - Victoria Holt
The Circular Staircase - Mary Roberts Rinehart
An Autobiography - Agatha Christie
Midnight Marked - Chloe Neill
Grave Visions - Kalayna Price
And Then There Were Nuns - Kylie Logan

When MT and I were on our mini-break and I was doing damage in a small UBS in Bright, the owner and I were chatting and she told me she got quite a bit of her stock from a man here in Melbourne, in a neighborhood just 20 minutes from me.  He's only open on the weekends and doesn't advertise - which perversely, made me want to visit his shop.  So I went last Sunday and I figured, while I was at it, it would only make sense to stop at any nearby UBSs too, right?  For comparison's sake...

 

4 UBSs later... (and 4 parcels in the post)

 

What can I say?  I came, I saw, I bought.  I'm going to blame mom: she always let me buy whatever books I wanted as a child, you know, to encourage a love of reading. But we lived an hour away from the closest bookshops and the internet didn't exist so she could be magnanimous, little knowing she was creating a bibliophile with a total lack of impulse control.  Love you mom!

 

I'm not going to do this in two posts, so here are the rest of the books that didn't fit above:  (All the images link to their respective BookLikes pages.)

 

Black Sheep - Georgette Heyer  The Quiet Gentleman - Georgette Heyer  The Convenient Marriage - Georgette Heyer  Excellent women - Barbara Pym  An Unsuitable Attachment - Barbara Pym  The Scarlet Pimpernel - Baroness Orczy  

 

That last one that looks vaguely Masonic is actually the Folio Society edition of The Scarlet Pimpernel.

 

I'm a little red-faced over the sheer number of them, so I'm not going to mention them all individually.  I've always wanted a copy of The Canterville Ghost because I loved the TV adaptation as a child.  The Peter Mayle books are follow-ups to A Year in Provence which I liked in that way you like a Food Network show.  Banvard's Folly: Tales Of Reknowned Obscurity, Famous Anonymity And Rotten Luck is the book Paul Collins talked about writing in Sixpence House and the UBS owner said it was really good.

 

The Holt and Rinehart books are throwbacks to Mom's bookcase and ever since I heard about Agatha Christie going surfing, I wanted to read her autobiography.

 

Since I've enjoyed Angela Thirkell, I decided to up my game and give Pym a try and the Heyers I took a chance on: I love some of her stuff and others were just... not worth mentioning.  Hopefully I picked some winners.

 

So...

Total new books this week:  16

Total books read this week:  3

Total physical books on TBR: 217

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review 2016-03-02 22:24
Grave Visions (Alex Craft #4) by Kalayna Price
Grave Visions - Emily Durante,Kalayna Price

Alex Craft is one of two grave witches in Nekros.  Since discovering that she is Fae, Alex has been trying to balance dealing with the drama that comes with it, her overly complicated love life and her business.  When a new drug called glitter hits the seat, Alex is tasked by the Queen, who believes that someone is trying to end her rule to find out the guilty party.  This is made even more difficult because Alex, who is not tied to a court is fading.  As a fae, Alex needs a tie to faerie to survive in the modern world and her unwillingness to pledge herself to any court makes this a big problem. Somehow, Alex has to convince the Queen to give her unaligned status, avoid the marriage that her father set into motion for her and find the person responsible for distributing a very dangerous drug.

Grave Memory, book 3 in this series was published in 2012, and I actually read it in 2013.  That's a long time between books.  While I read our previous review, I have to admit that because this series has so many moving parts, it took me a bit to catch up and get back into Price's world.  It was helpful that in many ways along the way, Price did recaps reminding us of who these characters were to Alex Craft and some of their history.

The story begins when Alex sees a man ride by on a unicorn. Yeah, I would stop and stare if I saw that as well.  It seems that a new drug called Glitter has hit the streets and people are dying because their life essence brings to life their worst nightmares.  Drugs are bad Mmkay.  I could have used a little bit more nuance with this part of the storyline.  There are various reasons people turn to drugs yet none of this was explored.  Essentially, Price puts drug use down to simple youth experimentation and then couples it with the most negative consequences.  The direction this took reminded me very much of those old eighties after school specials. Yes, I know I am dating myself so shut up about it.

Price spent a lot of time on Craft's romantic life.  At present, Alex's boyfriend is Death and this poses a problem because they're not really allowed to be a couple and so consequently he is in and out of her life.  Death cannot be there to talk through Alex's problems or even be a steady shoulder to lean on. In fact, Alex doesn't even know Death's real name or even how long he has been a reaper. Alex has known Death since she was a child and begged him not to take her mother's soul but she doesn't really know him and this bothers her more than she cares to admit. Then there's Fallon, who is sworn to the Queen and therefore cannot be trusted. This doesn't mean that the attraction toward Fallon has dimmed, it just means that Alex has acknowledged that there's no future between them no matter how many times Fallon tries to show his love for her. It's Fallon who jumps into muddy pond to save her life and Fallon who stands between Alex and the Queen whenever he senses that she is danger of losing her head to the monarch. The problem is that if the Queen orders Fallon to kill Alex, he must obey that order.  It seems that there are really no good options when it comes to romance for Alex.

Alex is one of the few disabled protagonists in this genre.  Alex is night blind and is losing her sight because of continued use of her magic to raise shades to solve murders.  Every time Alex uses her powers she is unable to see and at one point actually has to be guided around my Fallon.  My issue with this is that Alex often turns into a super crip.  She supposedly is trying to use her powers less because of a fear of going blind but throughout Grave Visions, Alex constantly uses her powers. Sure, there are reasons for Alex to rely on her power but my issue is that she never tries any other alternatives. Does this sound like someone worried about going blind to you?

 

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Source: www.fangsforthefantasy.com/2016/02/grave-visions-alex-craft-4-by-kalayna.html
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