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review 2018-06-15 18:14
Book Review: The Devil in the White City
The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America - Erik Larson

Book: The Devil in the White City


Author: Erik Larson


Genre: Non-Fiction/Historical/True Crime


Summary: Bringing Chicago circa 1893 to vivid life, Erik Larson's spellbinding bestseller intertwines the true tale of two men - the brilliant architect behind the legendary 1893 World's Fair, striving to secure America's place in the world; and the cunning serial killer who used the fair to lure his victims to their death. Combining meticulous research with nail-biting storytelling, Erik Larson has crafted a narrative with all the wonder of newly discovered history and the thrills of the best fiction. - Vintage Books, 2003.


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review 2018-06-15 16:41
The Devil's Revolver (The Devil's Revolver, #1) by V.S. McGrath
The Devil's Revolver (The Devil's Revolver Series, #1) - V.S. McGrath

Family history has caught up with Hattie: her father’s past and connection to a terrifying demonic revolver has lead to a lot of bad attention. Attention that robs Hattie of everything and leaves her desperate to find her sister; in a trek across the magical Wild West with a range of forces arrayed against her. She’s backed by a group of allies - but how many of them can she trust and what is their real agendas?

Well, this is different. Well developed magical steampunk western. Ok, bizarre quirk? I hate westerns but I love paranormal westerns and steampunk westerns. Especially if you throw in some really excellent world building


And this world building is excellent. The way magic is incorporated into the actual world and businesses. Like the Pinkertons are a magical detective agency, the use of Zoom tunnels not just as magical transport, but the way they’ve been controlled and used basically in the same manner as railroad companies. We have magical rich and poor areas but we also have a world where magic is very much integrated into daily life with common ranchers using magic to protect their livestock, competitions regularly checking if people are carrying magic and a general assumption of magic as a common factor in everyone’s world without turning it into an odd fantasy elves-and-wizards-story. There is a suggestion of greater than normal technology as well - a definite steampunk edge but we don’t explore that much because magic and technology don’t mix much and these characters are all magical but it does promise a lot for future books.


But it’s also interesting how the magical setting actually works with the prejudices of the era (which continue to this day) and how it’s considered how magic would change history - or not. Like there’s an exploration of massacred Native Americans and they talk about how magic doesn’t generally work on metal (except very limited special circumstances): and no matter how magically powerful Native tribes were, because magic cannot stop bullets and modern weaponry is just deadly. This is something we see reinforced a lot which does a great job of emphasising why the Diablo is so special: magic is impressive but if men are pointing guns at you? Or gatling guns are being brought out?



Or there’s how Ling, a main character who is Asian not only faces lots of prejudice for being Chinese but this is also linked to his magic - magic doesn’t free him from prejudice but is in turn seen to be a reason to suspect him: his magic becomes suspect because he’s Asian. Similarly there’s a scene where we find that one of the reasons racists hate magic and are encouraging anti-magic sentiment is because magic isn’t racist. They are outraged and furious that magic can give Black people power, that it makes Black people equal or more than them (since Black sorcerers also seem to have equal status in the world). They examine a lot of the rage and prejudice and evil Ling faces as well. It’s interesting to see magic not just erasing prejudice in the world; nor being ignored as a factor in the world building that would affect magic.


Our protagonist is Hettie and she’s pretty awesome. Her overpowering motivation is to save her sister. She doesn’t have any super powers but manages to inherit the Diablo revolver through the plot. She’s a pretty quintessential ordinary-woman-thrust-into-extraordinary-circumstances and having to stand up. But she does this while being neither an utterly useless burden in need of carrying nor by being super-woman who effortlessly masters skills she shouldn’t have. She relies on her team, but also contributes to it. She makes mistakes and she makes bad decisions, but they’re bad decisions that are understandable given the circumstances, emotion and lack of options. It’s also interesting that she is described as unattractive or vaguely “plain” even before the book  starts and during the book gains a substantial facial scar. This appears not to be a classic case of she-doesn’t-know-she’s-beautiful Urban Fantasy thing but a character who just isn’t classically beautiful and is in denial. Romance also doesn’t appear to be a major element of her story despite some do-si-so between her and Walker.



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Source: www.fangsforthefantasy.com/2018/05/the-devils-revolver-devils-revolver-1.html
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review 2018-06-15 00:12
A Devil Of A Time - Gretchen Jeannette


I did enjoy A Devil Of A Time by Gretchen Jeannette and how she vividly brings to life the colonial era and makes the characters, with their trials and tribulations seem very real and believable. 
Andrew and Clarice Wade were newlyweds when he volunteered to go to Spanish territory to secure gun powder as requested by his friend, the Governor of Virginia to aid in the Revolutionary War. Andrew is unfamiliar with the wild unsettled territory through which they must travel and has been assigned to go with a company of soldiers including famed Niall McLane, who has fought in the Indian Wars, protecting rural settlements from attack. Andrew and Niall's group ends up getting ambushed by a band of Shawnee warriors and if not for Niall's bravery, would have died.

Fast forward a few years, and Andrew is back home with his wife Clarice and their son William, but still battles himself in his mind, badgering himself daily over his cowardice and the resulting injury he had sustained at the hands of the Indians, self-medicates with alcohol most of the time. He creates a vicious cycle of self-pity, drinking, disappointing his wife and shirking responsibility. He runs into his old friend and protector Niall, who lately has developed a notorious reputation for losing his temper, revenge and extreme violence once provoked. Granted, much of that is due to extreme trauma and living for years a lifestyle of kill- or- be- killed. Andrew offers Niall a job as an overseer of his tobacco plantation, hoping super-efficient Niall will be the answer to his prayers, saving the plantation from ruin and placating his wife. 

Upon Niall taking the position, he hires Roger, a disadvantaged youth who has for all of his young years been mistreated and maligned for a wine-stain birthmark covering half his face. The story is full of action, romance, suspense, a serial killer on the lose and a sheriff bent on seeing Niall hang. If you enjoy historical romance or suspense, you would enjoy A Devil Of A Time. I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review-- thank you.

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review 2018-06-12 23:02
Book Review of The Truth about Eggs by Delphine Richards
The Truth About Eggs - Delphine Richards

The Truth about Eggs by Delphine Richards is a novel featuring ‘The Welsh Detective’ DCI Tegwyn Prydderch in his latest outing investigating the mystery and horror surrounding characters and events in the small Welsh village of Llanefa.
Llanefa's Devil Tree is a hoax thought up by locals trying to boost tourism in the area. During the month of August, it was said that the Devil Tree released evil spirits into the community unless it was visited and paid homage to.
Nobody tells the tourists that this is a scam to bring income to the area and it remains Llanefa's Best Kept Secret!
Some people have no interest in tourism or hoaxes.
Manon, Anna and Natalie are keeping their own secrets.
Why does Manon keep the baby hidden from everyone?
Anna's secret wish is to break into the film industry. When she is brutally raped, she knows she won't be believed, so her only alternative is a bleak one.
Why is Natalie's secret so shameful that she cannot even share it with her best friend?
On an August Bank Holiday, DCI Tegwyn Prydderch is hoping for a quiet few days while he is 'on call' in the area. His wishes are shattered when things begin to go wrong and he has to deal with the fallout.
Will the Devil Tree myth become reality?


Review 4*


This is a wonderfully thrilling read. I loved it!


Llanefa is a small Welsh village that is struggling to survive. The local's make up a legend around an old oak tree, which they call the Devil Tree, to encourage tourists to visit. But when terrible events unfold, is the legend coming to life?


There are several characters in this story that have their say. There is Manon, a young woman hiding a baby; Anna, a young woman haunted by a brutal sexual assault, and Natalie, another young woman with an eating disorder. There are a couple of other characters that are introduced too. Then there's DCI Tegwyn Prydderch, a Welsh police detective who finds himself trying to piece together what happened.


This story is a chilling, suspenseful tale which kept me guessing and had me sitting on the edge of my seat throughout. Each chapter follows a specific character, though some chapters follow the character of Natalie the most. When I first started reading I wasn't sure how all these separate story lines actually fitted together. However, as the story progressed, it became a little clearer towards the end; there is one common denominator that ties them all together. Nevertheless, the author successfully wove several red herrings into the tale that kept me guessing for ages. I feel I need to mention that there is a scene that I found to be incredibly disturbing. This scene is of Anna's brutal sexual assault. It is graphic in content, but I didn't feel that it was used in a gratuitous way. It depicts the horror of such an attack and it leaves a bitter taste of disgust in ones mouth when reading it. It felt incredibly realistic and it still sends shivers down my spine when I think of it, even days after reading the book. Therefore, reader beware. The other characters' stories are also not easy reading, and I'm sure Manon is in need of some psychological help.


I reached the end of the book feeling emotionally wrung out. Although the story concludes satisfactorily, it hints at a possible continuation of the series and I'm looking forward to it. The Devil Tree is stirring! *Dun Dun Duun* (cue evil music).


Delphine Richards is a new author to me and I've not read her other works before. I love her fast paced writing style, which kept me turning the pages, and the flow is wonderful. I would definitely consider reading more of her books in the future.


Due to explicit scenes of sexual assault, as well as violence, I do not recommend this book to younger readers. Or those who have a nervous disposition, or have been in an abusive relationship, as this story may cause flashbacks. I do, however, highly recommend this book if you love horror, psychological thrillers, thrillers, detective or mystery genres. - Lynn Worton

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text 2018-06-12 06:39
Reading progress update: I've read 60%.
When The Devil Wants In - Cate Ashwood,J.H. Knight

I did not see that coming. But seriously, authors? Was that really necessary?!

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