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review 2018-03-15 16:11
Spellbinding – The Dragon’s Playlist by Laura Bickle @Laura_Bickle
The Dragon's Playlist - Laura Bickle

OMG, what an amazing cover for The Dragon’s Playlist by Laura Bickle. If this is any indication of the story inside, I can hardly wait to get started. How about you?

 

Cover:  Danielle Fine

 

The Dragon's Playlist

Amazon Goodreads

 

MY REVIEW

 

I have heard some rumors about Laura Bickle’s writing and now I know, IT’S TRUE! She can spin a heart pounding tale of love and loss, and fantasy and fiction, that blend together in a spellbinding read that you will not be able to put down.

 

Diamond came home to see her ailing father. It is terrible to see a parent weak, ill, a parody of their former self. He had been hurt in a mine cave in.

 

Oh man, she’s got a porcelain unicorn collection. Me too. She talks of her love for trees and the forest. I love them too. I also had a treehouse, and, like hers, it was really just a couple of boards nailed to a couple of branches. BUT, I never had a fiery something coming my way. Hmmm…is it a shadow…is that fire?

 

Money issues force her to take a break from college and she is not happy about it. She is resentful, even though she knows it’s the only way to help her parents. Her ex-boyfriend, Jason, seems to be a permanent fixture at her parents home. She thought it was odd, until she found out why Jason and her dad had such a close relationship.

 

Another mining story with the same theme, attitudes, danger, treehuggers…and the miners who need the jobs. I have read several books, recently, about coal mining and it pisses me off every time it comes up. We shouldn’t be underground, like rats, mining for an obsolete product. Well…let me collect myself…These type of stories get my emotions roiling and I am filled with anger, disgust, sadness, and a feeling of ambivalence.

 

I couldn’t help but laugh at the mention of noodling, and if you haven’t heard of it you are in for a laugh or two. It’s a southern thing. They were supposed to be looking for Buzzard Bill, but the kids are easily bored.

 

Whoa…Not what I was expecting and I love it. Reminds me of Mothman…a bit.

 

The characters have some decisions to make, some attitudes to adjust and some romantic feelings to sort out. Their futures are not easy to discern and their problems read like a true story as they struggle day by day. Sometimes we don’t get all the dreams of our youth, but, like Diamond, there can still be love, happiness and a feeling of contentment.

 

At seventy percent, I am feeling so sad. I went from childlike wonder to anger and disappointment, sorrow and hope. So much heartache. Can there possibly be any happiness left?

 

I cannot stop reading…I must know…OMG! Fabulous, fiery, fantastic, flaming, flawless fantasy!

 

I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of The Dragon’s Playlist by Laura Bickle.

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos  5 Stars

 

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Source: www.fundinmental.com/spellbinding-the-dragons-playlist-by-laura-bickle-laura_bickle/www.fundinmental.com/spellbinding-the-dragons-playlist-by-laura-bickle-laura_bickle
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review 2016-06-02 00:00
Embers
Embers - Laura Bickle I liked the Lantern thing, but I did not like how uninterested Anya is in her magical abilities. She's basically like "Oh yeah, I do this thing... but I dunno how or why." Zero fucks given. Also, the romantic interest being in a coma for most of the book was laaame.
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review 2016-05-18 03:37
Laura Bickle (Dark Alchemy)
Dark Alchemy - Laura Bickle

I am not really sure I understand what's going on especially the alchemy part of it *lol*. But one thing for sure, CREEPY town is CREEPY!! There was a claustrophobic sense to the town, and I had the shivers when it was dealing with the freaky corpses *urgh*. I swear, the whole calcification part of the corpses CREPT ME OUT!! The Hanged Man myth was good and unique; not sure I ever encountered that before.

This one feels good enough as stand-alone. I mean, I saw that the series continued, but much as I liked Petra and her coyote, this felt more like supernatural horror rather than urban fantasy. So I'm not picking up the next book because it is not exactly what I am expecting.

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review 2016-03-08 17:45
Fantasy Medley 3
A Fantasy Medley 3 - Kevin Hearne,Yanni Kuznia,Laura Bickle,Aliette de Bodard,Jacqueline Carey

This slim volume contains 4 short stories. I was only familiar with one author (Kevin Hearne) who happens to be the only male author of the four. His story, Goddess at the Crossroads is a fun little junket back in time with Atticus O’Sullivan telling a story of his adventures with William Shakespeare and relating to MacBeth. Very fun and lighthearted.

 

The other three stories are all very entertaining as well, with Jacqueline Carey’s offering, One Hundred Ablutions, beinb the best of the four for me. I’m looking forward to reading more of her work and I know she’s coming up in my Science Fiction & Fantasy Reading Project. Of the four stories, this one to my mind examines the weightiest issues, the relationship between conqueror and conquered.

 

At some point, I would like to read Laura Bickles’ full length works, but I found myself confused by Aliette de Bodard’s magical Paris, and unsure if I want to know more.

With 3 out of 4 stories at 4 stars and one at 3 stars, I am going with a 4 star rating for the whole volume. Books of short stories are difficult to rate!

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review 2016-01-03 00:00
A Fantasy Medley 3
A Fantasy Medley 3 - Kevin Hearne,Yanni Kuznia,Laura Bickle,Aliette de Bodard,Jacqueline Carey Aight, even though I only gave it 3.5 stars in total, I immensely enjoyed reading Rogues last year. I always thought I wasn't into short stories, yet not only Rogues but also this Fantasy Medley proved otherwise.

This short story collection contains four stories by four different writers. The fact that it's called a medley made me think it were four similar stories, but none of that was true. Each story is quite different from the others, which was something I really enjoyed. I'm going to rate each story separately:

"Goddess at the Crossroads" by Kevin Hearne (3 stars)

A story based around the protagonist of the Iron Druid Chronicles: a male druid called Atticus. It starts off with him sitting by a campfire with his apprentice. He's telling her a story of how, in 1604, he disguised himself as the French Marquis de Crèvecoeur so he could get near to Shakespeare. After he succeeded in this, he and Shakespeare went on a witch hunt together in the middle of the night and here we are told of how Shakespeare used this experience for writing about Hecate and the three other witches in his 'MacBeth'.

I have to shamefully admit that I'm quite ignorant when it comes to Shakespeare. I have a few books of him on my shelves but never came to reading them. So when someone mentions Shakespeare, I can only think of the movie Shakespeare in Love or conjure up an image of Leonardo DiCaprio in his early years. But I'm digressing...My point was that I've only heard of MacBeth, but don't know what it actually entails, which I guess kinda sucks when it comes to fully appreciating this story.

However, I liked it anyways. Sentences like: " "You don't read Hamlet and think, "This man could not avoid stepping in shit every day of his life." " are priceless to me.

It didn't really strike my definition of Fantasy, but there was paranormal stuff, gory stuff, humour and druid powers. Healing charms? Awesome! Makes me interested in reading the Iron Druid Chronicles for sure.

"Ashes" by Laura Bickle (3 stars)

A very different story involving Anya, an arson investigator for the Detroit Fire Department who also happens to be a powerful spirit medium who can literally devour spirits! She has a salamander familiar named Sparky, who can track down spirits and is invisible to the regular human eye.

When Detroit is celebrating yet another year of banishing the evil Nain Rouge (Wikipedia: "In 2010, a community-based movement began a tradition of a costumed community parade in the Midtown/Cass Corridor neighborhood. Called the Marche du Nain Rouge. At the conclusion of the parade, an effigy of the imp was destroyed, thus banishing the evil spirit from the city for another year. Each year, parade participants and spectators are encouraged to wear costumes so that when the Nain Rouge next returns, he will not recognize the persons who once again ousted him from the city limits and thus will not be able to seek personal vengeance."), Anya spots a gnome running through the streets while setting things on fire with his glowing hands. It soon turns out she's pursuing the ACTUAL Nain Rouge, who's now a destructive fire elemental.
Along the pursuit, she meets up with Charon, a paranormal something guy who's job is to bring bad spirits and demons to Hell.

While I enjoyed this story in general, there were some aspects that threw me off a little. Like a few revelations that were made which were quite a big of a deal, but a bit out of proportion for a short story. While I'm sure the fans of the Anya Kalinczyk-series, where this story is set in, will appreciate these facts, new readers like me are just bound to be a tat bit baffled by it. It's like showing someone who's never heard of  Star Wars the few seconds where Darth Vader tells Luke he's his father. It's seemingly a very important piece of information, but all you can do is shrug then, right?

Reasons I did enjoy this story is that it's fast-paced and fun and reminded me of this at one point:

april
Damn, I never noticed she was this busty before

(Anya is nothing like April O'Neil, but badass chick running through a sewer mkay.)

The ending was pretty cool as well and a giant invisible pet salamander just screams awesomeness.

"The Death of Aiguillon" by Aliette de Bodard (4 stars)

This story takes place sixty years prior to the start of the Dominion of the Fallen-series. The first book came out in August 2015 and I'm very curious about it after reading 'The Death of Aiguillon'.

It's a dystopian story set in a Paris which is suffering from a big war, a magical war between the Houses spread out over the city. Houses are like factions, living in mansions, each mansion occupied with a rich, magical 'family'. Huyen, a kitchen maid at the House of Aiguillon has been able to escape while soldiers murdered pretty much the rest of her House...except for a Fallen called Mandias, a bit of a dark angel you might say.

Houseless people now live a grim life, having to live in camps and kill and scavenge things just to survive.

It's not easy to describe what this story is about without giving too much away. All I can say is that this is some fantastic world building with such a grim atmosphere, you can't help but being dragged into it.

"One Hundred Ablutions" by Jacqueline Carey (4 stars)

This is the only story which isn't part of a series and also the only story which is set in a different world than the one we live in. It tells the tale of Dala, a young woman chosen by her people’s overlords, the Shaladan, to be an exalted slave among slaves.

This was a very interesting and enjoyable story. At first, I assumed all the characters were human, but it turned out they are part of completely different races. The author lets you discover these things bit by bit, which is great for building up the plot.

I loved the world setting. It reads a bit like it's taking place in some Arabic country, with a desert close by and the Shaladan all having Arabic names. The characters were well defined, especially for a short story, and everything just adds up in the end. There are no cliffhangers, open endings or whatnot; just a finished story.
That doesn't mean there isn't a possibility of delving deeper into this world. I know I, for one, would love to read more about it!

One of the races is the Jagan, which reminded me a lot of the Khajiit from the Elder Scrolls video game series. That certainly adds another factor of coolness to the story.

the-elder-scrolls-v-the-elder-scrolls-v-skyrim201108-14-11001-1313411627




All in all, I don't know why this book has such low ratings on Goodreads. I certainly liked it and if you're into Fantasy or just paranormal stories, I would definitely recommend reading it when you get the chance. It might even get you to love short stories as much as I do! I'm giving it 3.5 stars in total.

Edit: I do have to say I think the cover is a bit shite, but that might just be me.

An ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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