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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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text 2017-11-23 15:15
16 Tasks of the Festive Season - Task 5 (Second Time) - Advent
Magic Triumphs - Ilona Andrews
Burn Bright - Patricia Briggs

I am actually looking forward to my birthday in January. I plan on visiting a former boss in Florida and doing a huge spa day. I really want to wash 2017 off me and hope that 2018 brings better days. Last year with my birthday on inauguration day I just tried to keep a low profile. 

 

I'm also excited for some new books though! 2018 looks to bring updates to some of my favorite series as well as new books that sound so good!

 

Magic Triumphs by Ilona Andrews (May 2018)

Burn Bright by Patricia Briggs (March 2018)

The Outsider by Stephen King (2018)

Untitled Hill of Hill by Joe Hill (June 2018)

Sisters Like Us by Susan Mallery (January 2018)

Head On by John Scalzi (2018)

Lies Sleeping (7th Peter Grant) by Ben Aaronovitch 

 

Tasks for Advent: Post a pic of your advent calendar. (Festive cat, dog, hamster or other suitable pet background expressly encouraged.

–OR– “Advent” means “he is coming.” Tell us: What in the immediate or near future are you most looking forward to? (This can be a book release, or a tech gadget, or an event … whatever you next expect to make you really happy.)

 

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review 2017-11-21 16:52
not sure how I feel about this one!
The Night Realm - Annette Marie
Independent reviewer for Archaeolibrarian, I was gifted my copy of this book. I'm going to struggle with this review, because I'm not really sure I liked it. I KNOW I did not DISLIKE it, I just don't know if I did, if that makes any sense! Clio is exile on Earth, her brother Bastian visits and asked Clio to use her skill, her very UNIQUE skill to get them ahead in a possible war with their neighbours who plan to invade. Clio is a nymph who can see magic. She can replicate anything she sees, so a trip to the Underworld to see what spells they have for sale, should be a piece of cake, right? Lyre is the daemon tasked with her consultancy. Lyre is incubi, but he can see right through Clio without ever using his magic. But Lyre does not want to make the magic of war, he doesn't want to kill anyone. But Clio's life is in danger, however, his attitude changes, and no one is safe from his wrath. Like I said, gonna struggle! Its well written, from both Clio and Lyre's point of view, in the third person, past tense. I saw no spelling mistakes or possible editing errors. And I DID finish it, because it was touch and go for a while! Very detailed descriptions of the visual aspect of the magic here, got a bit too much is some places, though. It is a little violent in places, nothing too graphic, just needed mentioning. And although Lyre is incubi, it is, strangely, almost clean. But that's not for want of trying!
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review 2017-11-18 10:25
Depression & Other Magic Tricks by Sabrina Benaim

 

I read this book in one sitting, even when I hadn't planned on reading much at all. I was just going to read a poem or two to see how I felt about the book. I was sucked right in. The poems are touching, heartbreaking, and hard to read at times, because I relate to them so much. The poem about explaining depression to your mother really resonated with me.

The writing style is different if you do not read a lot of poetry. I could feel the emotion and pain behind the words, even for the poems I could not personally understand.

Beautifully written.

*Got from Netgally in return for a review*

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review 2017-11-15 04:58
The Rules of Magic: A Novel - Alice Hoffman

OMG, I totally loved this book. This was the long-awaited prequel to her bestseller Practical Magic, which I had read 20 years ago. Set in the Sixties, it follows the lives of Owens sisters, Franny and Jet, and their brother Vincent. Through the decade they each experience love, heartache and loss due to a family curse. The characters were so vividly written, I did not want to put the book down for a minute!! I have a feeling that a re-read of Practical Magic will be in order for me soon!! Highly recommended!!

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