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review 2017-07-17 01:10
The Edge of Awakening (The Soul Tamer Series #1) by Alanna J. Faison
The Edge of Awakening - Alanna J Faison
Jasmine died. She died in utterly terrible, awful conditions.
 
But for Jasmine death is not the end - she has a destiny and a mission to train for as she and her allies prepare for the battles ahead
 
But how much was her family hurt by this destiny?
 
 
 
This book is a spin off series of the Rayne Whitmore Series, following Rayne’s dead sister, Jasmine. Jasmine is destined to become a Soul Tamer, joining a team of other new Soul Tamers, trained by Micah and other mentor Soul Tamers into their powers, skills and missions.
 
This adds a whole lot of interesting world building to this already excellently rich world. I think it’s an excellent idea to use a new protagonist to do this as Rayne couldn’t exactly stretch to cover this without severely distracting her own story and generally slowing things down
 
Instead using a new character and a new world we have an excellent chance to build into more world building, using the first book in a series to have the usual introduction to a series without derailing an already ongoing plot line.
 
And this world building is extremely good and interesting - the general use of ghosts and demons, the different powers and abilities and how they work and interact. I really like the little nuances like how simply being the most powerful doesn’t make you the most effective.
 
But more than the general world building is the personal stories of her fellow Soul Tamers - albeit some of the needing more development. All of them are young and all of them have had tragic pasts - but their pasts point to a lot of terrible injustices in the world, from starvation and poverty to hate crimes that starkly covers a lot of this diverse cast.
 
A lot of this book covers their training and I do like some of the interractions - probably Cas and Rayne the most because they do strike sparks - there’s respect and competitiveness and they’re probably not a great fan of each other but it’s not full on girl hate we see quite often in urban fantasy and young adult.
 
Her closest companion is probably Jayce, but Jayce is the LGBTQ representation in this book and it’s not really done well (another character may be a lesbian or bisexual but she also may be asexual, it’s not clarified yet). At one point he calls someone out for assuming bisexuals are just looking to have sex with anyone all the time - which is great. If that pretty much wasn’t the sum total of Jayce’s character. He exists to hit on guys, and that’s basically his characterisation even when said guys are not interested in him.
 

Her mentors and fellow Soul Tamers come from many different races - Micah is biracial and from segregation America, Dorian is Middle Eastern, Kenji Japanese and Atara, one of her peers is described as having brown skin
 
We also have minor passing characters not part of Jasmine’s group who are also racially diverse
 
Jasmine herself is Black.
 
This is an extremely racially diverse book and we do not have racial stereotypes or tropes clinging to them and that diversity extends from both minor characters to the protagonist herself
 
There’s also some brief looks at class as Jasmine is very aware of her family’s great wealth that she became so used to and stands out starkly against her fellows who faced hunger and debt.
 
I do think that Jasmine’s mentor etc were both not very forgiving and kind of dismissive about what she went through. How she died, how she became their chosen one, the implication that they were behind her “earlier” death. There seemed to be little acknowledgement that she was only 14 or how her death deeply affected her sister and led her to take some very severe risks. Yes, everyone has had a tragic past - but hey that kind of makes me question the way they treated everyone, rather than think Jasmine needs to suck it up and move on. While there’s a lot of bonding there’s also a real sense of judgement at times where they’re quite harsh, make no allowances expect a lot of her and even a little gaslighting. Like they seem to use the team to guilt her for feeling, for hurting, for feeling angry. It had an edge of manipulation that made me considerably suspicious of the powers that be here and I’m not sure I was meant to regard them with this level of suspicion - because part of me is kind of expecting them to get a severe call out or be revealed as a villain. But I think I’m getting the utter wrong end of the stick there.
 
 
 
 
 
Source: www.fangsforthefantasy.com/2017/06/the-edge-of-awakening-soul-tamer-series.html
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review 2017-06-02 00:25
Fantastic Sizzler
The Awakening Society Box Set - J.M. Madden

The Awakening Society Box Set by J.M. Madden is proof this author can write anything and make it an entertaining read.  I would say this book is borderline erotica so it may not be for everyone.  Tonya and Harrison's story is about sex.  To start.  And there is plenty of sex in the book, but as Ms Madden has their story unfold, it's a pleasure to read.  There is plenty of drama and a bit of humor to balance this story.  The characters are fantastic and always my favorite part of a J.M. Madden book.  I enjoyed The Awakening Society and can't wait for my next J.M. Madden book.  The Awakening Society is part one of the story, The Awakening Society Box Set is the whole story, not a cliff-hanger.  

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review 2017-05-12 23:12
The Awakening, and selected stories (Chopin)
The Awakening and Selected Stories - Kate Chopin

I read this in the edition that's free from Kindle, which unfortunately omitted the scholarly introduction advertised on the cover, probably for copyright reasons. Though I would have read it afterwards, it would have been nice to have a single essay to situate the importance of "The Awakening" instead of my inevitable after the fact googling.

 

The fact that I was unaware of this novel suggests either that my degrees in literature were deficient in American and feminist works (possible) or, more likely, that Chopin's work has been "found" and celebrated as proto-feminist since I ceased my active studies. That said, I found it both well-written and enjoyable in a sad sort of way. I did feel the unhappy ending - I should hope I am not spoiling anyone by mentioning that a nineteenth century story about an adulterous woman doesn't have a happy ending - was in some way imposed upon the novel by an author who saw no hope of its critical survival with any other outcome. Adulterous women pretty much had to be doomed in the 19th century, just like their gay and lesbian brothers and sisters a few decades later. Even so, the samples of contemporary critical reaction I found are rife with phrases like "not a healthy book" and "sad and mad and bad." It's really the only false step in an otherwise very well-depicted psychological journey: from an adolescent crush on a performer to a loveless marriage, to an attraction that "awakens" her romantically/sensually during a Louisiana beach summer, to a sexual liaison (the contemporary critics, used to decoding 19th century language, found this unambiguous, and so did I) with a substitute love object, and finally to a feeling of despair in the face of indubitable responsibility to her children after her romantic lover returns and pushes her away. But this last, the despair, was the least convincing and least fleshed-out aspect of the progression.

 

The little group of short stories added in with the novel are fairly insubstantial but interesting in their depiction of race and gender issues in that place (Louisiana) and time (the Civil War and just after). There's one story that was clearly picked just because it depicts - not in nearly so much detail of course - a woman making the opposite choice to Edna's in The Awakening, namely deciding to preserve her marriage rather than give in to a romantic attraction to another man. Another one that sticks in the mind is a rather nasty tale of a marriage between an aristocrat and a woman of unknown origin; he throws her out when her baby's skin tone appears to demonstrate that she is part Black, which he cannot under any circumstances accept. The last sentence of the story (it's a revelation about him and his own parentage) is quite a telling twist.

 

Reading fiction about "the woman question" in other centuries never fails to put me in a grateful frame of mind for the freedom of action and thought I enjoy.

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review 2017-04-30 19:02
Great Story and Characters
Divine Awakening (The Divinities) (Volume 4) - Lia Davis

Desiree was a Divinity witch.but couldn’t find him so she went to the demon Lex for help.Desiree had tried to find her son and save him Lex is a divinity guardian.  Desiree, Lex, Zach and Lydia were walking stealthily around the corridors of Khan’s castle. Teddy and Bear were Hectates Hellhounds.  Then Lex states” They’re here”. Lex had a home in the underworld but didn’t spend much time there. At least not since Khan took over. Lex had a sense of dark magic from his dark demon side and his connection to Hecate who was the Goddess of witchcraft. Khan had hidden Teddy Bear from everyone. The hounds couldn’t survive being apart much longer as they were Siamese twins and their magic and souls were were linked. Lex found Teddy in a room a few feet away. Then he heard the heartbeat of the hellhounds. The hounds were Lex’s family- what little he had left. Desiree needed to get her son Matthew out once the hounds were free. Lex was warned the castle is about to blow in about two minutes or less. But then Desiree said Matthew had been there but was now gone. Then Lex teleported them back to his place. Lex didn’t want a mate but he found one in Desiree but he was holding back Lex had been betrayed by his mate three hundred years ago. . Desiree and Lex had both been deeply hurt by others and had decided to close their hearts to anyone.  Lex then talked to Hecate telepathically and she said she was handling it. But Lex had to find Khan and get the Dark Sinew from him. But when she closes the portals he would have to find a different way to get back to Earthside. No one but the Gods could cross from one realm to the other once the portals were locked. But Hecate told him to find another way out. Desiree said the portals were all closed. Now Desiree was was stuck in Hell with a death demon without the earth her divinity craved. Then Desiree decided she would find her own way out and called to the  lost souls  but then they all attacked her . Then a hell hound stood before her and shifted into Mathew. Desiree called to her son “ Matty” who said no one calls me that who are you and Desiree told him she was his mother. He knew he wouldn’t remember her but she had to try. Mathew then said “ my mother is dead”. Desiree said Somoan had lied to them both. Then Matty said “ it has begun” and runs off into the forest. Then Desiree told Lex their best bet at finding Khan had just run away.  Desiree wonders if deep down Matthew realizes she is really his mother. The Dark Sinew is now fully charged and can make the dark divine obey. Desiree is fighting her feelings for Lex, Desiree also realizes her son is way more powerful than she had thought. Because of Samoan’s lies Desiree had betrayed her people . Lex and Desiree had to figure out how to stop the war. The was is between the divinities and the demons. Mathew is being used for dark purposes. Mathew actually takes part in ending the war between the demons and the divinities.

I enjoyed this last book of the series immensely. It had a great plot. It was pretty much non stop action from the first page until the last. I never had a problem keeping my attention on this story. This is a fast paced short story. But I will say you should read the series in order or you will be lost. There are also exciting twists in this story. I loved Lex and Desiree together and rooted them on. I also loved that Mathew ended up helping to end the war. I loved the characters of this story and I highly recommend

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text 2017-03-27 16:58
Reading progress update: I've read 5%.
The Awakening (Graveyard Queen) by Amanda Stevens (No (2017-03-28) - Amanda Stevens (No

"Holy ghostly shutters ! That was one opening scene.

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