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Search tags: Reviewed-for-Netgalley
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review 2018-11-19 10:40
Everyday Enchantments
Everyday Enchantments - Maria DeBlassie

by Maria DeBlassie

 

Non-fiction

 

This is a book of snippets of thoughts about some of the things many of us contemplate, but don't think to write down. Things like the wonders of synchronicity and observations of everyday life. Many of these are related from the author's point of view but written in second person so that the book tells me there are roadrunners where I live and that I like chamomile tea (not!)

 

The further I read, the more I felt I was looking at the author's perspectives rather than my own and experiencing her thoughts from looking over her shoulder. What is striking about these short thought-spills is the consistent positivity expressed and how one might find joy or strength from ordinary things.

 

While I didn't always feel the perspectives applied to me, the second person format worked to draw me into the author's mind and see her life from an optimist's view. The idea here is to turn around and apply these positive thoughts to your own life details.

 

I could see this being of benefit to those who tend to get down about things generally. I'm rather an optimist myself so although I couldn't identify with the details, I could appreciate the author's attitude.

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review 2018-11-17 11:48
Dissolution
Dissolution - C.J. Sansom

by C. J. Sansom

 

Book 1 of the Matthew Shardlake Tudor Mystery series.

 

This is the beginning of an ongoing series of Historical Mysteries that take place in the Tudor period of England. The books are all self-contained stand alone novels and the character who takes us through the progressing snippets of history is a high-level lawyer called Matthew Shardlake. In this first novel, it is 1537 and Lord Thomas Cromwell is the vicar general and supports the Reformation, as does Shardlake.

 

The country is divided between those who are faithful to the Catholic Church and those loyal to Henry VIII and his newly established Church of England. A murder leads Cromwell to bring in Shardlake to investigate.

 

Shardlake is a hunchback, which I thought was a brilliant way to bring diversity into a historical setting where not a lot of diversity existed. He is intelligent and thorough in his investigations and that can get him into some difficult situations when he uncovers uncomfortable evidence of such things as sexual misconduct, embezzlement, and treason.

 

Like much Historical Fiction, a lot of detail is included and it can take a while to get from one place to another. I wouldn't call it 'slow' because it keeps interest and seeing events from Shardlake's point of view works well with his detailed observations. It is basically a Mystery story, but within a historical context. The historical details look to be well-researched and accurate.

 

There's also a certain amount of dramatic action, especially at the end. I thought it was extremely well done and I enjoyed reading the historical notes after the end, as I always do when a Historical Fiction novel includes them.

 

Most importantly, the end really is the end. The first chapter of the next story in the series is included, but each story is complete and you don't have to buy another book to see what happened. If you enjoy a good historical mystery this is a good place to start as it develops Shardlake as a character and gives the reader some insight into how his deformity affects him as well as his thinking processes and how he came to be in his position, but after that the books could be read in any order.

 

A very intelligently written series.

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review 2018-11-15 10:38
The Dreamers
The Dreamers - Karen Thompson Walker

by Karen Thompson Walker

 

I've been caught out once again by a book written in present tense. Why, oh why is this a thing?

 

The story is about a strange virus that makes people fall asleep and not wake up, but remain dreaming. It was an interesting premise, but because present tense is so difficult to read I couldn't really get into the story.

 

Some interesting ideas in there, but it's just not for me.

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review 2018-11-13 10:45
We Sold Our Souls
We Sold Our Souls - Grady Hendrix

by Grady Hendrix

 

Kris Pulaski was a rock star who almost made it, but now she lives paycheck to paycheck at a boring (if she's lucky) job as a cheap hotel desk clerk. All she has is memories of what almost was and the band member who ripped everybody off and went on to stardom, then obscurity, until she sees a billboard advertising his return tour.

 

This was a wild ride that earns its Horror category well and truly. Heavy on rock and roll, mainly Heavy Metal, but also you'll encounter conspiracy theories, supernatural stuff, cults, social commentary and a whole list of triggers with claustrophobia topping the list and some notable gore. If you've got a trigger, just assume it's in here somewhere.

 

I should mention that the characters were all distinctive and well developed, especially Kris, and the plot had unpredictable twists and all sorts of surprises.

 

Some parts of this were difficult for me to read, but I had to know what would happen so I persevered. The end was worth it. For the Horror fan, this is a work of art. For those who don't like Horror or tend to be squeamish, best steer clear. I can see this story developing its own cult following. Black Iron Mountain has touched the souls of all who read it.

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review 2018-11-07 14:07
Foundryside
Foundryside - Robert Jackson Bennett

by Robert Jackson Bennett

 

This one is a Fantasy story about a professional thief by the name of Sancia. It takes place in an imaginary world with lots of magic with an original approach. Sancia has been hired to steal an item she knows little about from a safe. This takes her sneaking into a compound through sewage, ensorcelled blade on guard.

 

Many items have magic in this world, referred to as scriving, a sigil-based spell method which in this world is defined as magical writing. The item she is after has a few surprises which will lead much of the progression of events. It is well-written, if perhaps a little cliché as thieves in Fantasy worlds tend to be. The world building is quite workable though and I found it an enjoyable read.

 

I was thrown off a little by the voice of a certain magical item because it sounded too modern day and pulled me out of the fantasy world a little. Also, a few occasional phrases pulled me out like "Praise God" in a world where religion hasn't been an element in the story up to then. Otherwise the characters were as you would expect for the genre.

 

I found myself deeply engaged with the story and have to give it a high rating for that, but this expertly constructed alternative world is both stressful and depressing and makes me think I may pass on the sequels. It also had a blatant 'buy the next book' ending and I'm finding myself less and less enamoured of those. Why must everything be a series?

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