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review 2018-03-18 09:48
"Shadow Hunt - Disrupted Magic #3" by Melissa F Olson
Shadow Hunt - Melissa F. Olson

I thinK "Shadow Hunt" is the best Scarlett Bernard book so far.


We've come a long way from "Dead Spots", the first Scarlett Bernard book. Scarlett has grown into someone who acts rather than reacts, she has figured out what to do with her rather peculiar negative superpower of nullifying magic, she's built some firm friendships and has a strong network.


In "Shadow Hunt" she needs all of these things when her circumstances change dramatically and an old enemy returns to take revenge. This is a book with Scarlett right at the centre. What happens to everyone else depends on the action she takes.


The way the story built on the events of "Blood Gamble" gave a sense of continuity to the series that strengthens it, Bringing Molly and Jesse back to centre stage but evolving their relationship with Scarlett also gave the series a more solid feel.


"Shadow Hunt" also acts as a bridge to bring together the Old World in LA, the focus of the five previous Scarlett Bernard books, and the Old World in Boulder, the focus of the three Boundary Magic books. The plot brings the two set of characters, some of whom have already collaborated and all of whom are known to each, together seamlessly in a way that moves the book forward and opens up game-changing opportunities for future books in the series.


The writing in "Shadow Hunt" is excellent:  a tense pace, new plot twists, a focus of characters I care about, some genuinely scary villains, vivid action scenes, including a full-scale battle.  This was Melissa Olson at her best and it was a pleasure throughout.


My pleasure was enhanced by Amy McFadden's narration. She's one of my favourite narrators and she did a great job here. Click on the SoundCloud link below to hear a sample of her work.


[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/399010092" params="color=#ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&show_teaser=true&visual=true" width="100%" height="300" iframe="true" /]

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review 2018-03-09 13:03
Chase in Shadow - Amy Lane,Sean Crisden

I finished this two days ago and I am still surprised at how I am left with such a positive overall impression considering how much I loathed Chase and his actions throughout most of it.

Based on what is already in the blurb, it’s hardly spoilerish to mention that Chase spends most of this book cheating on his girlfriend. And for some reason the mere fact that there was cheating didn’t bother me as much as it generally does. No idea how Amy Lane managed that?!

What does bother me in general, and in Chase’s case in particular, is the idea of a closeted gay man stringing an unsuspecting girlfriend along for years. And we don’t even get any justification from her being a bitch or a bad person in any way. On the contrary, Chase constantly goes on about how she is the sweetest, kindest person ever who deserves so much better. And yet, even though he himself is miserable, even though Tommy loves him and wants to be with him and even though Mercy deserves better, it does not occur to him even once that there is a very simply solution to making things better for everyone.

Apparently Chases many hangups and his inability to break up with his girlfriend are all rooted in various issues locked inside his brain and dating all the way back to his childhood. This is all really well done but as much as I believe that childhood trauma can affect a person throughout the rest of their lives, I still did not buy it as an explanation let alone an excuse for how Chase treated the people who love him.

So why is it that I still think Chase is a nice guy and I still loved this book? One of life’s mysteries, I guess. And Sean Crisden, of course. Let’s not forget him – totally awesome job on the narration.

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review 2018-03-05 13:32
Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death by James Runcie
Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death - James Runcie

Grantchester #1


This collection of short story mysteries featuring Sidney Chambers was enjoyable although not anything special. Each of the mysteries was fairly basic due to its length, and I think that overall I'd prefer the TV series. I did quite like the reversal of roles where Amanda (a friend of Sidney's) keeps paying for things when they go out for lunch once she learns just how little Sidney makes. The fact that he lets her and doesn't get hung up about it is nice too.


Here's an amusing excerpt from one of their conversations:

So the family have money and Eddie’s a decent enough sort but he’s awfully dull. I don’t think I could last more than ten minutes with him before running off with the nearest blacksmith.’
‘Do they have blacksmiths in Bath?’
‘I imagine so.’
‘And did you tell your father this?’
‘I did, as a matter of fact, and do you know, he was quite cross with me? “After all I’ve done for you,” he said, before going on and on for so long that I had to stop listening. The gist was that he didn’t want me to be a disappointment like my brother.’

"Do you know, he was quite cross with me?" Snicker.


I tried to do little commentaries on each story as I went along, but I'm not entirely sure it was a success.


Honourable Men

Someone is murdered on stage during an amateur theatrical production in which Sidney is taking part, so he naturally helps to investigate.


Previous updates:

The Lost Holbein (83 %)

A Matter of Time (70 %)

First, Do No Harm (54 %)

A Question of Trust (36 %)

The Shadow of Death (21 %)

9 %


My copy seems to have acquired an alternate cover:

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text 2018-03-04 22:30
Reading progress update: I've read 83%.
Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death - James Runcie

The Lost Holbein


This story of a lost Holbein that was replaced with a fake takes a very weird turn.

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text 2018-03-04 21:42
Reading progress update: I've read 70%.
Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death - James Runcie

A Matter of Time


A girl is murdered at a jazz show that Sidney attends and he gets pulled into the investigation. The story was alright.

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