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review 2017-10-08 17:40
A Gritty Streetwise Story of Young Love and Life's Lies
A Few Streets More to Kensington - Alex ... A Few Streets More to Kensington - Alex Sheremet

Mature teens and new adult readers will relish a more contemporary backdrop to the traditional coming-of-age story in A Few Streets More to Kensington, which is set in New York City in the 1990s and focuses on the evolving life of Artem, whose newfound position as an artist opens up a wealth of memories on how he got to this uncertain point in his life.

 

Alex Sheremet's descriptions are poignant and pointed as we view the world through Artem's first-person thoughts and observations, which often wind past, present and future into their threads, adding an overlay of powerful imagery to cement impressions.

 

Artem's journeys between memories of the past and attempts to navigate the streets of New York to understand his world bring readers along for a stroll through memory lane and the rough face of present-day New York.

 

But there's more going on here than a walk through social situations and dangerous streets: an attention to introspective detail and dark, brooding encounters between prejudice, purpose, and people brings A Few Streets More to Kensington to life in an unusual manner powered by reflections that are thought-provoking and reveal Artem's evolutionary process.

 

By now, it should be evident that A Few Streets More to Kensington is as much a work of literature as fiction. Readers should anticipate crass language and conflicts, gritty street life, young love and life's lies, and Artem's urge to escape, change, grow, and even explore paths that are obviously dark and dangerous routes.

 

As Artem searches for elusive purpose to life, a better world, and connections, he discovers and forms a new life. In returning full circle to school, Artem finds his past, present and future coalesce as he organizes not just his room, but his mind.

 

Literature readers who relish coming-of-age sagas will find A Few Streets More to Kensington more than a cut above the typical new adult story, with entire worlds embedded into a tale of evolution and transformation that is as much about graduating as a person as it is about life's inevitable progression.

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review 2017-09-27 19:00
Money Back Guarantee by Hunter Shea
Money Back Guarantee - Hunter Shea

From what I understand, this is the last of the Mail Order Massacres novella series. That's a damn shame! The first dealt with sea monkeys, the second with X-Ray glasses, and this one- a nuclear submarine ordered from the back of a comic book. You shouldn't worry though because if you're not happy with your submarine, there's a money back guarantee!

 

So what happens when Rosemary orders said nuclear sub and her son tries to take it into his best friend's pool? As you can imagine, it doesn't go very well because the sub is actually made out of cardboard. Rosemary tries to get her money back and that's when everything goes south. Is her son okay? Will she be refunded her $5.00? You'll have to read this ripping novella to find out!

 

Money Back Guarantee was a fast paced story that can easily be knocked off in one sitting. Was it fun? Hell, yeah! Was it engaging? Oh yes! Was it totally believable? Probably not, but if you're looking at these kinds of books, believability is probably not your first priority. If what you ARE looking for is fun, then this is the novella for you!

 

I'm going with highly recommended on this one, because it's just so entertaining!

 

You can pre-order your copy here: Money Back Guarantee

 

*Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the e-ARC in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

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review 2017-08-10 23:29
Touch of Frost (Mythos Academy #1) by Jennifer Estep
Mythos Academy Bundle: First Frost, Touch of Frost, Kiss of Frost & Dark Frost - Kensington Books

When Gwen’s mother died she was claimed by the Mythos Academy. An Academy that teaches young, magically gifted warriors to be ready to fight Chaos as has been their solemn duty for centuries

 

But Gwen, with her powers of psychometry and no magical history or culture felt very out of place among the affluent, strong and powerful valkyries and spartans of the Mythos Academy

 

And never did this rift loom so large than when one of their class is killed and her war torn peers seem to not even care. It’s left to her to investigate and find the actual truth


I can’t even begin to review this book without addressing the great big elephant in the room and the problem is it underpins a lot of the whole book.

 

A core concept of this book is that the magical kids in this school are have magical gifts based on the mythological, legendary warriors of the past. This works for the valkyries with their super strength. And the Amazons with their super speed. But then we have the Romans, Celts and Spartans… these are actual people? Also I question why your legendary super-warriors for men are actual historical people. While your magical warrior women are mythological? I don’t think it’s intentional and there’s no actual sense that there’s a magical divide between men and women: but I think it kind of sends a weird message that awesome warrior women are… well… fictional… while awesome warrior men are historical.

 

But then there’s Gwen. Gwen’s magical gift is psychometry - she can touch things and get sensation and images off it. Her mother and grandmother also had psychic gifts like this. And they are called Gypsies.

 

Argh, no. First of all that word is not neutral, it’s a slur used to denigrate, demean, insult and perpetuate no small number of myths against the Romani people. And Romani are not legendary, mythological or even historical people - they’re an ethnic group, a highly discriminated against ethnicity that faces incredible amounts of persecution as well as really damaging stereotypes. One of which is this pervasive fortune teller/woo-woo depiction - this is damaging



But to top this off, I honestly think the author may not know this. And by “this” I mean that Romani actually exist. There is no suggestion, not one tiny suggestion, that Gwen, her mother or grandmother are Romani. There’s no suggestion that them calling themselves “Gypsy” applies to anything BUT their woo-woo. There’s even a line:

 

“I didn’t know exactly what made us Gypsies. We didn’t act like any Gypsies I’d ever read about. We didn’t live in wagons or wander from town to town or cheat people out of their money.”

 

I… no… just no. Really, appropriating a slur and then trotting out of all of these insults and stereotypes while completely ignoring actual Romani people is beyond not ok.

 

Getting past this is difficult, but when you do there is a somewhat intriguing story and world here. Though I would like more development of this world. We have the concept of the pantheon and the big bad god spreading chaos which isn’t exactly original. Which is why I would have quite liked to have examined what all these gods - or what all the individual powers were and meant.

 

There were some excellent moments of examining the idea of these very spoilt, privileged kids who, at the same time, were so innured to loss and conflict, which in turn expanded on the idea of why they are being so very spoiled; indulgent parents who are very aware their kids may not reach adulthood.

 

 

Read More

 

 

Source: www.fangsforthefantasy.com/2017/08/touch-of-frost-mythos-academy-1-by.html
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review 2017-07-28 20:10
Bone White by Ronald Malfi
Bone White - Ronald Malfi

In the cold town of Dread's Hand, Alaska, Paul Gallo arrives in search of his missing twin brother. He will never be the same again.

 

“You didn’t arrive in Dread’s Hand, he realized, but rather Dread’s Hand came at you piecemeal, a bit of itself at a time, like someone reluctant to make your acquaintance..."

 

I'm not going to rehash the plot, as the synopsis and several other reviews already do that. I can only tell you how it made me feel. Uneasy. Jumpy. Disconcerted. All these things and more.

 

Ronald Malfi's writing keeps getting better and better. It seemed to me that in this book, the writing disappeared altogether, and the story was directly injected into my brain. Isn't that the best writing of all?

 

Bone White is that feeling you get when you glimpse something out of the corner of your eye, but when you turn there's nothing there. Combine that feeling with the cold isolation and cold people of a small closely-knit, Alaskan town. One that's hiding a secret. Don't expect long drawn out explanations here. Instead, expect crosses, headless bodies and dark shadows.

 

This is the second book I've read this month which will undoubtedly make my best books of the year list. You should read it, so that you can add it to yours.

 

Highly recommended!

 

*Thanks so much to NetGalley and to Kensington for the e-ARC of this phenomenal book, in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

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