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review 2018-04-10 11:10
Bigfootloose and Finn Fancy Free (Familia Arcana, #2)
Bigfootloose and Finn Fancy Free - Randy Henderson

I've got reviewers block.  I just finished this book, and had a lot of fun with it, but can't come up with a thing to say about it.  I loved that Sasquatch were major characters and I liked the vernacular the author gave them; somehow, it worked really well and I wasn't stuck with Harry and the Henderson's in my head while I read this.  I like Dawn, Finn's romantic interest, but the whole romance thing got on my nerves.  There's supportive and then there's after-school-special.  I liked that this book wasn't dependent on what it obviously going to be a series-arc-evil-nemesis; this was a self-contained plot (although the book does give massive spoilers for book 1).  

 

Mostly, it's well-written and entertaining.

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review 2018-04-01 07:56
Lake Silence (The World of the Others, #1)
Lake Silence - Anne Bishop

I wasn't even going to read this one.  I was sure I didn't want to leave Lakeside and the characters in that courtyard.  But this was one of those rare times when advance press got me to reconsider. I don't even remember what I read, but it was enough to make me think that maybe Lake Silence would be worth a read. 

 

Squee!  It was!  Much to the detriment of my sleep.  I started it yesterday afternoon and, true to previous experience, I almost didn't put it down again - I finally lost the battle at 1am, but was up again at 7am, book open, real-life rudely put on hold, until it was finished.

 

Turns out it's not Lakeside I'm attached to; it's the Others.  I'm enamoured with their morality, to put it bluntly.  Honesty and good faith keep you alive.  Shady dealings and selfishness get you killed.  Every. single. time.  No second chances.  In a world that's constantly pissing me off because people do bad things and get away with it, or dodge the consequences, if not immediately, than eventually (Pete Rose trying to get his lifetime ban lifted; Australia's cricket vice-captain caught cheating and already publicly stating he hopes to play again), I find this world of the Others refreshing.  Unfortunately, even in a work of fantasy, humans can't stop being selfish and exploitative, in spite of clear cut rules, and consequences that are meted out consistently and immediately, and brutally.

 

The setting for Lake Silence is completely different, with an entirely new cast of characters, although there are a few cameos.  This is a small town that's always been owned by the terre indigene, where the human residents fool themselves into believing the Others keep themselves to themselves.  Vicki is a new resident, trying to make a go of an old abandoned resort she got as part of her divorce settlement, not realising the true purpose of the resort and her role as caretaker.

 

As in previous books, I just got sucked in; the characters, the setting, all of it.  The only discordant note, and the reason it's not the full 5 stars, were the villains; they were the most 2 dimensional characters in the story - so much so they were caricatures, and that made it hard to take them as seriously as the story deserved.   Vicki is also an emotionally broken character, and that's starting to make Bishop's MCs feel formulaic.  While Meg's fragility was logical, given her background, Vicki's felt gratuitous; I don't think the story would have suffered at all, or worked less well, if she's been a relatively well-adjusted, independent woman getting on with her life after a divorce.

 

Doesn't matter in the end; I loved the book and lost sleep over it, and I'll gladly snap up the next one without reservations.

 

This was my final read for Kill Your Darlings, and I used it for the card Crime Scene: Planet Camazotz, as it is a book that takes place in a different world.

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review 2018-03-15 09:46
Burn Bright (Alpha & Omega, #5)
Burn Bright - Patricia Briggs

I love this series; I love it even more than the Mercy Thompson series.  I think it's because I find Charles far more interesting than Adam.  

 

Burn Bright ticked all the right boxes for me too; its entire setting was in Aspen Creek, which was a nice change from the previous books, where they were always somewhere new, with a new cast of supporting characters each time.  In Burn Bright, we get more information about the Marrok's pack, and a smidgen more insight into Bran (some of it I'm not sure I like knowing - tiny bit of ick).  I also enjoyed the small mysteries to solve along the way that aded up to the big plot point - I felt like it kept the pace fast without feeling ridiculous.  

 

Each of the books in this series and the Mercy Thompson series all work together, each one contributing to one of many over-arching plots she's got developing in this universe.  It makes it impossible to be able to recommend reading this series out of order, or honestly, without reading the Mercy Thompson series as well.  The latter isn't strictly necessary, but it'll definitely enhance the reading experience.

 


This book works for the Kill Your Darling games COD card:  Killing Curse.  Witches, magic and curses are all significant parts of the book and the series.

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review 2018-01-02 06:00
The Peach Keeper
The Peach Keeper - Sarah Addison Allen

I've thoroughly enjoyed all the Sarah Addison Allen books I've read, but I stayed away from this one for a long time because, frankly, I don't like peaches*.    

 

As reasons go to not read a book, it's a pretty stupid one, so when I saw the title at a library sale for $1 I did the mature thing and bought it.  

 

I LOVED this book!  It was SO good.  It had shades of Practical Magic in it, and a cameo by Claire Waverly from Garden Spells and a small but very important murder mystery.  The only thing it needed to make it perfect was Claire's apple tree.

 

The Peach Keeper felt like Allen crossed from Magical Realism into straight magic; there aren't a lot of logical reasons (or any) for why the strange events in Walls of Water were happening.  The character development felt a lot richer too; limiting the plot to only 4 people, and really focusing on the 2 female protagonists made it feel like a much tighter story.  The romantic tension was intense (although the sex scenes were almost non-existent).

 

Is this Pride and Prejudice good?  No, of course not (nothing is that good), but it is Practical Magic (the movie, not the book) good.  If you liked that movie, or you enjoy good stories about the power of friendship, I think you'll enjoy this.

 

* It's a tactile thing; peach fuzz = fingernails on a chalkboard.

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review 2017-12-04 09:41
Hogfather
Hogfather (Discworld, #20) - Terry Pratchett

I was supposed to be doing this as a buddy read with everyone, but I've not been keeping my end up at all.  The cold I thought I'd beaten down made a comeback at the end of last week, so I kept falling asleep every time I tried to get stuck into Hogfather.  Which sounds like a terrible condemnation of the book, but is really is NOT.  The book was excellent.  I'd prove it's excellence with quotes, except all my reading buddies beat me to all the quotes I liked the best. 

 

There's mischief afoot in the Discworld, and the Hogfather is missing.  Death decides to step in and play the Hogfather's role, visiting houses, filling stockings and doing his best to ensure that belief in the Hogfather never falters, while his grand-daughter Susan and a host of others do their best to thwart the mischief so Hogfather can come back.

 

This is a brilliant story - practically flawless.  My only two complaints are that:

 

1. Teatime is a little too evil; it adds an edge to the story that I freely admit is necessary; without it the whole thing would be a little less brilliant.  Nevertheless, His story line was the fly in my lemonade; I'd be reading along having a rollicking good time and then he'd show up being manically evil, and it felt like someone let the air out of my balloons. 

 

2.  The book kept referring to both dollars and pence.  Either this was done on purpose, because it's the discworld and can use any form of currency Pratchett would like, or else it's an editing error that wasn't caught during a transition from UK to international editions.  If it's the former, well, that's totally fine.  But I don't know, so I kept wondering if it was the latter and I kept getting tripped up by the discrepancy.

 

In the grand scheme of things, these are inconsequential - this is, hands down, the best discworld book I've read so far.  But Teatime's rain on my holiday parade does keep me from going the whole 5 stars.

 

If you like silly fun with a side of very deep philosophy, read this book.

 

There's one quote I don't think anyone has beaten me to yet:

 

Humans need fantasy to be human.  To be the place where the falling angel meets the rising ape.

 

That might very well be my favourite quote of the book. 

 

 

 

 

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