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text 2017-09-22 14:40
Halloween Bingo Tracker - Week 3
The Undoing (Call Of Crows) - Shelly Laurenston
Dime Store Magic - Kelley Armstrong
Killer Party (A Tourist Trap Mystery) - Lynn Cahoon

 Our base is hosting its first ever comic convention tomorrow, and the family and I are going to revel in our fandoms. Son is dressing as Spider-Man, daughter is going as Batgirl, I'm going as Wonder Woman and hubby is thinking of using the Vulcan ear set Grimlock put in my Fandom box to go as Spock.


Speaking of my Fandom box, after a very long (but productive) day on Wednesday, I went to the post office to pick up my box. Thank you Grimlock again for everything in the box - the family went crazy for it. We definitely needed a pick-me-up. I'll post pictures later.


This voluntary PTO board position is a serious full time job without the pay and benefits. I'm hoping to get into a groove soon so that my reading doesn't suffer, but this week I only managed to read one book. So this weekend it is time to buckle down and knock out two books and work on the third. I am still waiting on the library for another book, but I moved up in the queue and now am up next to get the book. I lucked out and the bingo calls were for squares I didn't have or one that I already read for. No bingos yet, but close to a couple.


Squares Called

9/1/17 Free Space (N3)

           Read and Reviewed: The Unleashing (Call of Crows #1)

9/1/17 Ghost (I4)

           Read and Reviewed: Dying for the Past

9/3/17 Cozy Mystery (I2)

            Read and Reviewed: Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic

9/5/17 In a Dark, Dark Woods (B3)

           Currently Reading: The Undoing (Call of Crows #2)

9/7/17 Genre: Horror - Not on my card

9/9/17 Locked Room Mystery (O2)

           Waiting for library hold to come in - I am number one in the queue

9/11/17 Murder Most Foul (G2)

             Read and Reviewed: Brighton Belle

9/13/17 Witches (N4)

              Read and Ranted: Dime Store Magic by Kelly Armstrong         

9/15/17 Werewolves (O1)

              Read and Reviewed: Switching Hour

9/17/17 Modern Masters of Horror - Not on my Card 

9/19/17 Terrifying Women

             Currently Reading: Killer Party

9/21/17 Diverse Voices

             Read and Reviewed: Monstress, Volume 1: Awakening









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review 2017-09-22 13:40
Review: Dime Store Magic by Kelly Armstrong
Dime Store Magic - Kelley Armstrong


Yeah, I am giving this book zero stars. I couldn't find more ineptitude in both writing and the story/characters if I tried. This is my first and last book from Kelly Armstrong.


Paige is the MC and she is an utterly crapastic moron. She is only the leader of the North American Coven because she inherited the title from her mom. She was also given custody of one of the Coven's Elders' niece after the kid's mom dies. Kid's mom was once a member of the Coven, then left to pursue stronger/dark magic, then returned to the Coven when she got knocked up. Kid's dad is a sorcerer and heir to the Nast Cabal; daddy dearest would love to own...I mean develop a loving bond with his half-dark magic witch/half sorcerer daughter, if only he can find her now that is crazy ex is dead. Kid is Savannah, a thirteen year old on the cusp of her witch abilities and puberty (which is important - her first menses is the supposedly highlight event of the book).


There is A LOT of info-dumping about what Cabals are, the differences between witches and sorcerers, the history of persecution witches faced, and lots of world building aspects that are just thrown in when Paige decides to monologue. Paige is clueless about so much of the supernatural world and really doesn't even have a handle on the witches' part of that world, so why would I as a reader want to be lectured by her? I don't.


Anyway, Paige is 23 and suffers from long-term TSTL, with the added bonus of being impulsive and a "loner". She is the typical New Adult heroine just with witch ability....and not that much of a witch's ability. She is a really crappy witch - and has the balls to snark at Wiccans. Savannah was an obnoxious brat and pretty clueless, something she has in common with Paige. Luckily, the two are constantly rescued by Lucas Cortez, heir to the Cortez Cabal and sorcerer. Paige was the nastiest bitch to him for so long in the book, I wondered about Lucas' sanity in helping the two moron witches every time they got into trouble of their own making. But a heroine needs a romantic interest, and Paige ultimately stops being a bitch to Lucas and jumps his bones in the most shoe-horned sex scene in the book.


The Nast Cabal are the villains and are just as inept as the good guys, so its all a wash. At certain points I was actively rooting for the Nasts to win, just to prove to everyone how much Paige sucks. Unfortunately, these were card board villains taken out by a thirteen year old who was on her period.


But it wasn't just the Cabal or Paige and Savannah that were inept; the entire Coven was a laughingstock. I wanted to read about bad-ass witches, not 93 year olds with dementia (yep, one of the witches mentioned at the one Coven meeting was described exactly like this) or 23 year old entitled brats like Paige. The fact that the Elders worked with the Nast Cabal to protect themselves and undermined their supposed leader was just one example of how much witches are weak in Armstrong's supernatural world. I already DNF'd one book for this square for the same reason - weak witches stumbling around and making piss poor decisions due to their hysterical panics. It doesn't help that in this world, witches are all women (and only have daughters) and weak while sorcerers are all men (and only have male children). It is such bullshit. This is just bad writing. Another point in the bad writing column is that the book is 50 chapters long and so choppy that at the end of one chapter tried to raise the suspense just for the next chapter to dissipate the suspense in the first sentence.


What a waste of time, but I was out of luck with this square.

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text 2017-09-18 14:07
Another bad witch book
Dime Store Magic - Kelley Armstrong

I am gritting my teeth and hoping to get through this book as quickly as possible. The only other book I want to read that would fit in the Witches square is The Witches by Stacy Schiff, but I don't have the time to dedicated to such a long book.


"Strong female characters" my ass. My review will definitely veer off into rant territory.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-09-07 23:52
Missing - Kelley Armstrong

Trigger warnings: Domestic abuse, allusions to rape


I thought this was a decent book, but it took a while to get started. We have our female protagonist, Winter Crane...yeah, she's called Winter. Sorry. It's that kind of book. I guess the author thought they had to be really unique or something, even though every other character has a perfectly normal name.


Anyway, she lives in a place called Reeve's End which she describes as a shithole that everyone wants to escape from and move out. Really, I wasn't convinced that the place was as bad as she thought it was. It felt like a bit of a dump. It was just filled with really shitty characters.


She lives in a trailer, knows how to hunt and forage, can shoot a bow and arrows because she knows her way around the bush...Well, this character seems pretty decent, doesn't she? Let's say how this goes.


Winter finds a body in the woods. It belongs to a guy her age, called Lennon. He's still alive and it turns out he was attacked by someone. She rescues him, and at this point I can already feel a romance taking place, but actually that's not all that happens at all.


She gives him medical treatment at her cabin and that's when someone starts STALKING her and leaving disemboweled animal corpses on her door (before suddenly removing them the next day) and doing creepy laughter whenever she tries to come out. This becomes a recurring theme, really.


It turns out that teenagers have started to go missing in Reeve's End. Lennon disappears soon after, but his brother Jude comes looking for him and bumps into Winter. Now THIS is where it starts turning into a love relationship - because Jude has a very dominant personality, keeps a lot of secrets, very smart, very clever, makes jokes...I mean hell, I would go for this guy myself. I was quite drawn to him. No wonder Winter wants to get with him later.


The plot gets a little weird at this point because Jude has this complicated backstory with his family, and then that stalker is apparently murdering teenagers and nobody knows who it is. We meet a few more characters and most of them are shitheads. There's several people where you think, "Oh, I bet HE'S the stalker!" but then it isn't, and then there's someone else, and so on and so forth...


You can kinda guess how it goes, really. It gets pretty intense towards the end. However, I have quite a few issues with the book in general.


Shortly after Jude turns up, Winter goes home and her dad beats her up. Yep, domestic abuse. No mention of it before. Now bam, it comes out of almost nowhere. Jude saves her from any further violence (because I guess he was following her home?...) and gets her dad to lay off her.


Fast forward to a few more chapters later, Winter is going home and almost gets raped by these three drunk guys. Jude turns up (because I guess he was following her home?...again?!) and beats up the three guys with loads of karate moves and military training shit that he's learnt.


Y'know, Winter was doing fine on her own before now? Now she's got abuse and rape threats and shit? And she needs Jude to help her twice in a row? I'm just glad this wasn't a recurring theme.


I'm also not very impressed with the actual murderer, the villain in the book. He acted like some cliche serial killer right out of Saw or something. Creepy laughter, stalking teenage girls, leaving notes for their boyfriend to find...I mean, come on, do you REALLY expect us to buy that? The author was just trying too hard here.


There are themes like suicide, family break-up and of course the domestic abuse. I mean all of those are real issues which sound a LOT more realistic than this farce of a serial killer.


And yeah, it's a running joke about the "Hey, Jude" song. I predicted quite a few characters who turned out to be villains, but it wasn't completely cliche. Sometimes I wondered why the characters were acting so stupid, or why Winter hadn't cottoned onto the fact that the creepy guy who talked to her and knew about her missing sister just MIGHT be the stalker. I mean seriously.


If you're going to make your protagonist smart and clever, which is great, how about keeping that consistent? They can't be really resourceful one second and then get a case of the dumbs the next. 


There were a few twists, I guess. I was convinced that one particular girl was dead, in short because Winter wouldn't shut up about her. Turned out I was wrong, and a different girl was dead instead. So I guess it kept me guessing.


Jude also felt a little TOO perfect. He had flaws, yes, but the more he talked about himself, the more Winter gets attracted to him. (And me, too, by implication.)


I enjoyed the book, and it gets really good during the end. I just feel it could have used a bit of improvement.



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text 2017-09-04 19:33
Every so often a writer falls on their face
Haunted - Kelley Armstrong

Which is exactly what happened here. Eve Levine is a ghost. A ghost of a black witch with half-demon heritage. A ghost who in life said to hell with rules, I'm going to do what I want and take what I want and accomplish what I want by any means necessary. Kristof is the ghost of a sorcerer that had a very similar attitude. At least before he died. 


Now they're both dead, hanging together in the ghost world, pretty much sliding into the suburban middle class stereotype. Eve's only adventures is trying to find a way to interact with her living daughter. Kristof is a middle age lawyer with a belly. Bleh. Enter the Fates.


Eve made them a promise in a previous book and now they want her to track down this demi-demon who's causing havoc in the living world. Great! Time to brush off those ol' badass skills and kick some booty, right? Wrong! Kristof doesn't push to be allowed to help Eve even though their daughter is involved. And Eve follows the rules that are set for her. She may find creative ways to use those rules, but she never breaks them. What the hell happened to the people who others feared while living? Now they are impotent ghost laughingstocks.


To add insult to injury, then ending of the book sucks. Eve ends up getting exactly what she didn't want and the Fates give her a "Persephone solution" as a consolation prize. Despite the fact that she fulfilled her promise three times over. Talk about a cop-out.


Not one of Armstrong's better books.


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