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review 2018-06-27 16:11
Blood Magick by Nora Roberts
Blood Magick - Nora Roberts

They were never meant to be together, she one of the three, he the spawn of evil, carrying his mark, yet Branna and Fin still fell in love. Oath, blood and the curse of a dying witch might've kept them apart for more than ten years, but now, as the final battle approaches and the future is uncertain, they must take what moment they can to experience what has been denied them.


And then this happened. After two books of hyping the "epic, star-crossed lovers" tale of the eldest of the three recent descendants of Sorcha, the Dark Witch and the man carrying the blood (and mark) of Cabhan, the evil sorcerer that killed Sorcha and her man, bringing about the creation of the three and prompting Sorcha's curse, this is what we got.
Blah, blah, blah, boohoo to me, I-love-you-but-cannot-be-with-you-no-matter-what-but-have-to-be-with-you-no-matter-what, wringing of hands, cooking, cleaning, blah, blah, blah, let's-make-some-more-witches, let's-make-demon-poison, blah, blah, blah, the end.

This is this third book in a nutshell. Boring.

Where was the drama? Where was the angst of this star-crossed, doomed, cursed love? I have no idea. This book sure didn't deliver.
Even the characters and their interactions were boring. There was no sign of friends and family from the previous two books. They were just there for form's sake, to warrant another book, if you will.
There sure wasn't enough material for an entire book in this story, so it had to be filled with ballast and redundant scenes (cooking, cleaning, making of soaps, taking strolls in the woods...)

Even the final confrontation with the big bad wasn't that satisfying. It read like overkill, too large-scale, too much everything; it actually turned into almost a parody (and it would've, if this series had any more books to come).

Come to think of it, the entire arc of the trilogy didn't have enough story meat to fill three books. It could've easily been condensed into a single one (like Three Fates for example). It would've packed more of a punch, instead of spreading itself thin.

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review 2018-01-18 14:52
Occulture
Occulture: The Unseen Forces That Drive Culture Forward - Carl Abrahamsson,Gary Valentine Lachman

by Carl Abrahamsson

 

Non-fiction

 

One of the first things I noticed with this book is that the chapter headings have notes below the titles that say each of them was first given at a lecture or printed as an article someplace, so it soon became clear that this is a collection of several years' writings collected by the author into book form for presentation to a new audience. The subject matter is sufficiently different in each to create a nicely balanced volume on occult influence in society and particularly in art.

 

This is not a book for learning to do magic(k), but is more about modern cultural influences and symbols that enter mainstream consciousness through various mediums of artistic expression. In the Forword written by Gary Lachman, he explains the term 'occulture', occult + culture, coined by Genesis-P-Orridge, a cult figure in certain circles of modern day magicians, then goes on to point out connections between art and the occult and the significance of interpreting one through the other.

 

The lectures and articles cover a fascinating variety of loosely related topics. They include commentaries on alternative lifestyles and the rise of occult culture through significant periods like the 1960s and 1980s and the British and German groups and personalities who shaped much of modern occult culture.

 

The reader gets the benefit of a perspective by someone who 'was there' and understands the significance of a variety of cultural influences that still affect the culture today. He speaks of Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth as well as about Aleister Crowley and Anton LaVey and what he feels were the relevant contributions by controversial groups and personalities.

 

The perspective is very much about the intellectual side of the occult. No new age or airy-fairy crystal hugging comes into it. As occult history goes, this is an excellent reflection of the later twentieth century developments that built on the legacy of earlier magical Orders and traditions and the effects of an expanding cultural awareness that would shake the foundations of pre-twentieth century European occult study.

 

The significance of art and creativity is emphasised as is the freedom of social mores from the staid, limiting celibacy of groups like the early Golden Dawn and the cautions required by Medieval magicians to avoid any sniff of scandal that might lead to charges of heresy.

 

The history of Nazi involvement in the occult is detailed in one of the lectures and makes for interesting reading from a historical perspective as well. That lecture somehow moves from this to beatniks in California, which gives the reader an idea of the broad scope of some of the topics discussed.

 

This book would be of interest to anyone interested in occult history or in cultural development and the influence of art. It fills in the recent gaps in documented history for those of us who are too young to have been there for the changes in the 1980s and before as these periods are often not addressed in earlier books on the subject.

 

It also goes into everything from philosophy to conspiracy theories in recent decades and even Pokemon Go! I found all of the articles interesting for different reasons. A real treasure for anyone with interest in magick or the occult.

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review 2018-01-14 23:24
Queer Magick (Queer Magick #1) by L.C. Davis
Queer Magick - L.C. Davis

After years of being imprisoned, used and abused by his father, Holden is finally settling down in Stillwater, a small New England town. He's been on the run for a long time, trying to cover his tracks by changing his name and moving from one place to another as far away from his home state as possible. 

A happy protective bubble of Stillwater seems like heaven. It has a few quirks, of course, but which town does not? Everyone knows everybody and people are mostly friendly. That is until Holden meets Daniel, a local vet (who is a veteran). An injured cat and the severity of the injury make Holden a catnapper when he refuses to surrender the poor kitty for euthanization and flees the clinic. 

Daniel knows what Holden is and confronts him shortly after catnapping. From that moment on the town secrets and the mysterious creatures start coming out of the woodwork full force. Every time you turn the page, there is a surprise. Every time you think you finally know who/what the person is, you are proven wrong. Things, people, situations turn and twist; there is humor, there are pockets of darkness and despair; there is an amazing diversity of characters (not going into details on the characters' subject, cause - spoilers! ;))

I could not get enough of the book and really wanted to give it five stars, but here is this:

- it ends smack in the middle of things. I can't even call it a cliffhanger, more like the author roughly separated the manuscript in two without much thought. 

- the story lost its momentum around 80%. Instead of fast paced it became stagnant with characters sitting around in one spot for weeks, waiting for the next full moon, reflecting, eating pizza and even (finally) having sex, since there is literally nothing else to do. But it looks like things are going to pick up with a vengeance in book two :D

Otherwise, an excellent read and pure pleasure :) Highly recommended

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review 2017-12-23 13:53
Sigil Witchery
Sigil Witchery: A Witch's Guide to Crafting Magick Symbols - Laura Tempest Zakroff

by Laura Tempest Zakroff

 

Non-fiction

 

This is a book about sigil magic, something that has roots in a spectrum of ancient cultural esoterica but became popular with the rise of chaos magick in the 1970s. The book starts with a general explanation and some history of some of the systems where sigil magick began. It then continues with a full chapter on pictorial art from cave paintings to symbols used by secret societies, hitting a few little known facts but missing out obvious things like Runes, which is later explained.

 

I have mixed feelings about this book. As a book about art and how to apply drawing techniques for interesting looks for sigils, it excels. On magic... not so much. I have no doubt that the author's spells would work for her, but the explanations of how sigil magic works falls short and in some instances contradicts safety information I've read from more experienced and trusted authors on the subject.

 

I noted that an early reference to the method used in chaos magic(k) gave me the impression that it had been taken from a couple of variations that might have come from Internet forums and thought the author could benefit from reading the book by Austin Spare where that particular method originated, then later she talks about having read that very book and suggests it's difficult to follow.

 

She also never mentions anything about charging the sigils, which is an important step in the process. For people new to sigil magic, I'd suggest people start at the known authors; Spare, Carroll, Hawkins and possibly Hine.

 

I think this book would be a good resource for someone who already has a working knowledge of sigil magic and is looking to expand on the artistic possibilities. Her information on art materials was excellent and it's clear she knows her stuff on that. This would be a good supplement for visual appeal and some alternative approaches, plus some I've read about elsewhere like motion sigils get more attention here than in the earliest sources.

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review 2017-10-17 10:00
Release Day Review: Revelation (de La Vega Cats # 2) Lauren Dane

 

 

Previously published; newly refreshed by author

 

Fall in love with the de La Vega cat shifters in this classic paranormal romance from New York Times bestselling author Lauren Dane, a spinoff of the fan-favorite Cascadia Wolves series

 

The very magick that brought them together now makes them targets…

 

Kendra Kellog may have found her sister, but she’s still miles away from bringing down the evil mages targeting her family. Max de La Vega is exactly what she doesn’t need at this moment in time—strong, smart and the very definition of alpha.

 

The next in line to run his jaguar jamboree, Max is used to getting what he wants. Right now, he wants Kendra. More than that, he realizes she needs him—and he’ll do whatever it takes to guarantee her safety.

 

With evil forces out to siphon her magick, Kendra can’t afford to keep pushing Max away. And for once, Max’s cat and his man are in total agreement: Kendra is his to protect.

 

 

 

Revelation is an exciting blend of paranormal, action, suspense and steam!

 

Max and Kendra set flame to the pages with lots of chemistry and a relationship that reaches out and grabs readers and refuses to let go. Their romance is pretty hot and steamy but has lots of problems from external sources and past sources that adds suspense and heart melting emotions to the story that readers can’t help but get caught up in. All the characters are charismatic which really adds to the electrifying chemistry of the story and ensures that the readers wants to get well acquainted with each and every one. Kendra especially has reader’s full attention because she is an intense blend of warrior that is strong and bold but has a vulnerability about her that arrests the heart with Max being the uber hot alpha male that makes lingerie melt.

 

The intriguing action and suspense adds thrills to the fast paced story that keeps readers on the edge of their seats with anticipation and a few surprises. The story focuses on Kendra and Max’s relationship with bad guys that annoy the heck out of everyone and a betrayal that characters or readers alike never saw coming. 

 

The author’s world building keeps readers wanting to revisit her world with lots of engaging  and complex characters, intriguing takes on shifters and magick with a bit of a well-known character flaw (bigotry) spicing up the storyline. I really enjoy reading books by N.J. Walters because there is never a dull moment with her vivid characters, enthralling plots and brilliant worlds and I always want to know what happens next. Revelation and the de La Vega Cats are no exception, I was captivated from the first page to the last and I can’t wait to read Beneath the Skin.

 

 

 

Revelation is the second book in the de La Vega Cats series

 

From the author’s website: The de La Vega Cats series is being re-released with new covers, blurbs and light edits. They will remain the same stories as the original versions

 

Re-release of Beneath the Skin (de La Vega #3) November 20, 2017!

 

The de La Vega Cat series takes place in the same world as

Cascadia Wolves & Bound by Magick

 

Revelation is available in print or ebook at:

Amazon   CarinaPress   iBooks   B&N   Kobo   GPlay

 

Lauren Dane can be found at:

Website   Goodreads   Facebook   Twitter

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