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review 2017-02-17 17:43
Uuuuummmm...excuse me, but where do I sign up for book #2?
Warlock in Training - T.J. Nichols

Because I want it...like yesterday...now would be good but yesterday would have been even better because then I could reading it now.

 

I admit this book probably isn't for everyone but when I saw the blurb I was curious and fairly certain it would work for me...well, that was an understatement. I loved it. It's magic and wizards, warlocks, mages, demons and Oh hell yeah! There's a dragon or two just for good measure. 

 

Let's start with Angus, he's definitely the center of the story. He's a warlock in training and in his world any warlock worth his salt has a demon and Angus manages to get the demon to end all demons because his demon's a mage.

 

Have I confused you yet? Well let me clarify things a little. Angus is human and he lives on the humanside and he's training to be a warlock, not that he wants to be but daddy thinks he should or at least he does until he doesn't but we're not going to go there right now.

 

For the purposes of this story a warlock is someone who is trained in the use of magic and draws their magic from his demon who he calls forth from the other side of the void, which is essentially the demonside of this world. Now a wizard is someone who uses magic but it's magic that they gather and they don't use a demon. Which is nice considering that no one asked the demon if he wanted to do this they just use them until they've used up their power and a mage is a demon who can use magic, so basically a combination of a wizard and a warlock in that they're trained but they draw their power from their surroundings more like a wizard and that's all the world building we're going to cover for now. 

 

So we have Angus a warlock in training who just happens to call forth Saka who is a mage and not in training and powerful. Now I'm going to talk about why I want the next book so freakin' bad.

 

First off while there is a romance in this book it's definitely a secondary part of the story and let's just say it's unusual...there's even a bit of a romantic triangle...potentially and bonus points boys and girls there's a orgy that's right a full on demon ritual orgy and it does involve both boy and girl bits, however, I really didn't find the details to be excessively graphic or offensive and lastly there's also a definite cliffhanger to the ending, so if any of this is an issue for you, than this might not be the book for you. 

 

T. J. Nichols is a new to me author who basically blew me out of the water with this book. I loved the world building and the character development, especially with Angus. He showed a lot of growth from start to finish and given everything he went through I probably would have tanked things if it had been any different.  

 

Saka was more than a little interesting and I'm really not sure how to explain him because...hello? demon here and a really interesting one not to mention pretty hot if we take Angus's word on things and did I mention he's got a tail...I'mma just sayin'.

 

Saka is a mage and a powerful one even by his people's standards. He's also a teacher, he wants to restore the magical balance to both humanside and demonside but what he also wants is to do it in a way that is beneficial to both races and without war between the two sides, however, time's running out for everyone because the humanside of this world is getting colder and demonside is getting hotter, so while a long term fix is the ultimate objective neither world can ignore the need for stop gap measures as well.

 

My only little niggle with this book was that the pacing occasionally felt a little slow but at the same time there's not anything in this story that I'm willing to give up...so little niggle from my perspective.

 

At the end of it all if fantasy, with some awesome world building, a side of romance and a strong plot is your thing you need to check this one out. Do I wish I had the next book...of course, if it's anywhere near as good as this one it's going to be one hella' good read. Am I sorry I read this one only to be left sitting on the edge of a cliff...nope, not even a little bit...the view from here is very promising.

 

********************

An ARC of 'Warlock in Training' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2017-01-29 05:29
Dante's Inferno Redux
Constantine: The Hellblazer Vol. 1: Going Down (John Constantine, Hellblazer) - Riley Rossmo,Ming Doyle

A new Constantine series that feels like old Constantine. Nice. Yeah, it's got the tone and the feel of the older series. By that I mean the cringy, it's the "that's not right" feeling I get when I read old Constantine. They haven't cleaned up this version and made him PC for a "kinder" generation. I didn't like the artwork so much. It's a little squiggly for my tastes. Okay, yes I'll keep reading. It's Constantine.

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text 2017-01-22 20:36
Reading progress update: I've read 50 out of 251 pages.
Fairly Certain (Love of Fairs) - Deborah Ann Davis

Already off to a pretty funny start to the book. Petir I am already falling in love with!!!! And Rianne is a very intriguing heroine. And I love when its a guy that goes into the past instead of a woman. Plus Petir is considered a nerd, and I love a guy with some nerdiest in him.

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review 2016-12-13 11:22
Heirs of Grace by Tim Pratt
Heirs of Grace - Tim Pratt,Leslie Hull

Samsung Kindle freebie of the month (more about that below).

 

This is not high literature, but on a snowy morning at home with a cold, and wrapped up in a blanket and the cats, it was just the right kind of Christmas candy and I enjoyed it. It might be a case of "Right book at the right moment", but I think if you're a contemporary UF fan, this is well worth a shot, particularly as it's a) a standalone and b) there's a pretty good chance you can get it free until the end of the December 2016 (I wrote "the month" there, but that's no use if you're reading this a year from now.)

 

The opening line is a pretty good insta-taste of the writing:

 

My new life was off to a bumpy start even before Trey got eaten by the mirror.

 

The bones of the plot is nothing we haven't seen before: Young woman discovers she is the inheritor of a massive amount of power, and has to figure out by herself how to deal with it. 

 

What's great:

  • Bekah is 24?25? non-white (she's not actually sure what she is, as she's adopted, and it is partly cleared up in the book.), not entirely heterosexual, non-virginal, non-neurotic and definitely no damsel in distress. She is brave and kind, and in charge of her own life, and enjoying it. She's also not perfect, her innate kindness and self-reliance puts her in danger a few times, but she generally gets herself out of it again, or at least gives it a shot. And yet, despite being a thoroughly modern miss with agency and self-esteem, she actually asks for help from people who can help her, when possible, and accepts help when it's offered if it makes sense to do so.
  • Sure she's been given a big dose of magical inheritance, but not on a plate. For most of the book, the main problem is she knows about it but she can't find it (it's literally been put in a physical form and then lost). And when she does find it, she can't figure out how to access it. And when she does finally get there, she gets to decide if it's what she really wants or not, taking it on isn't the only option.
  • It's a standalone. As much as I liked this little world and the fact that it's obviously not the end of the world for the characters, it feels like this story is told and wrapped up, and it's nice to just have a standalone book now and then.
  • The ending is quite unexpected. Mostly in a good way (The epilogues could have been tightened up a bit though.). There's a great deal of kindness and gentleness in this book, which is funny considering it's also got monsters getting their innards made outards by double-barrelled shotguns, etc. It just doesn't lead at all where you think it's going to.
  • There's a lot of really witty banter, and occasionally fabulously funny dialogue, but actually very little snark. I love snark, heck, I am more or less made of snark IRL, but non-stop all the snark you can read is a little much. It was kind of fun to see this style of writing done without it.

 

What's not:

  • The love interest is a bit of a sap. A terribly charming, cute and sweet sap, but he's basically Bekah's puppy. In part that's a plot point and there is a reason, but only in part,
  • There are a couple of places where she's just a little too persuasive. And they're both huge plot points. As in, she talks her way out of situations, or talks other characters into things, that just don't quite seem plausible. 
  • There are the usual problems of male authors writing inside a female POV character's heads. That said, they are remarkably, refreshingly few, which is great but makes them a little more jarring than usual when they do happen.
  • That ending really is a bit too pat. Despite being in character for Bekah, and the fact I actually liked it a great deal, in the end everyone gets off a little light.
  • There's a lot of really witty banter. Even snarkless, and as much as I enjoyed it, there's maybe a little TOO much. There's a few places where it's a bit much and one where I thought to myself "Really? You're making jokes already? Five minutes ago you had your neck broken and then you got stabbed. It's ok to be serious and contemplative now and then." Right before the characters made a joke at each other about how they were already making jokes at each other. Maybe reading this all in one sitting isn't ideal. It was originally released as a 6 part Kindle serial, and while it works well as a novel, the parts are self-contained, not cliffhangery, and just about the right size for a helping.

 

About that Samsung freebie thing:

I've written about this before, but a reminder now and then doesn't hurt.

 

Every month Amazon and Samsung give a choice of four books for free. To see the offers, you have to install the Samsung for Kindle app from the Galaxy/Samsung store - it's otherwise identical to the normal Kindle app, other than offering you free books every month. I have that app on my phone, even though I mostly read the books on my tablet or PC, once you've chosen the book it's yours and in your library just like any other purchase, and you can sync it to your other devices as normal, so all you need is one Samsung device that has access to the Galaxy app store, and you're good to go, even if that device isn't one you'd read a book on.

 

So far, I've been pretty impressed with the ones I've read - this one was pretty good, one of them (600 Hours of Edward) turned out to be one of my favourite books this year. This month the selection was this book, what looked like a PNR, a suspense thriller looking thing, and something else I forgot - there's usually a bit of a range of genre, most months I find something worth grabbing.

(spoiler show)
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review 2016-11-09 21:37
Interim Errantry
Interim Errantry: Three Tales of the Young Wizards - Diane Duane

It's hard to write a compelling story in a shorter format. Diane Duane is one of those authors who struggles with a limited word count, and this is most evident when working through this collection.

 

Not On My Patch: This is the shortest work in the collection. It's frankly too short and pages that should have been spent building up to the end, is wasted on Nita getting ready to go Trick or Treating. When the fight starts at the end, there is no real sense of urgency or any investment in the outcome. 1 star

 

How Lovely Are Thy Branches: The second longest work in this collection fairs much better. There's still not enough time spent building up to the ending, but it's better than the previous story. 2 1/2 stars

 

Lifeboats: This is the longest work in the collection and where Duane really shines. It has all the elements I enjoy in the Young Wizards series, a conflict with a not so obvious solution and characters that really care, the ending was well worth the journey. 4 stars

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