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review 2017-07-13 23:30
Spoonbenders: Or, con men and psychics versus the mob
Spoonbenders: A novel - Daryl Gregory

For such a hefty book I have surprisingly little to say about it! I've been a huge fan of Gregory's work since I read Raising Stoney Mayhall several years ago, and he has yet to disappoint. I particularly enjoy how he mixes genres. This book reads like a modern lit family drama...except with psychics. The plot is a series of seemingly disconnected threads that all come together in the end to form one masterfully woven scene. The real core of the book, however, centers on the five central characters, which works well since Gregory is a master of creating rich and complex characters. These are people with flaws and layers, and as I got to know them I didn't always like them but I did sympathize with them. I particularly enjoyed the "rules" Gregory set up for how the psychic powers worked in his world.


All in all Spoonbenders was more literary and less creepy than his other books, which will probably have broader appeal (but a little less for me since I love the creepy factor). This book has plenty of familial drama to keep it grounded despite being filled with grifters, mobsters, and psychics. If you've avoided Gregory in the past because demons, zombies, and other horror tropes are not to your taste this is the perfect entry point to get a taste of his excellent writing.

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review 2017-03-29 23:16
A Conjuring of Light - Darker Shade of Magic #3
A Conjuring of Light - V E Schwab

This is going to be a shorter review than I usually write because I'm basically just going to tell you to read this. Now. If you were putting off starting this trilogy because you were waiting for them all to come out, or you were waiting to dive into this volume until you got confirmation that the ending was worth it, this is your green light.


Schwab's characters continue to take center stage. My favorites are all here, and several side characters also get a chance to shine. I can't really tell you more in this arena because it would spoil the surprise. The story picks up right where the second book left off, and my heart was pounding from page one. And it just gets more intense from there. The pacing and plot were fast and twisty enough this book was difficult to put down. With dark magic literally pounding down their doors for a large segment of the story there is a siege element that adds some claustrophobia to the story, but not in a bad way. This gets offset with some time out at sea and plenty of action. The stakes have risen, and as a result so has the death toll. However, each loss felt earned within the story, which made them matter and hurt rather than grate (and I might have cried). When I reached the end I felt satisfied, but also bittersweet. Saying more than that would cheat you of the journey. I envy you the experience of reading this book for the first time.

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review 2016-12-01 03:23
Martians Abroad: Or a pretty standard boarding school mystery, with some space flavoring
Martians Abroad: A novel - Carrie Vaughn

I really love Carrie Vaughn, and sci-fi, so when I heard her first big project post-Kitty was a classic sci-fi I was beyond excited! And there's lots to like about this book. Vaughn's geeky roots are showing, and it is a delight for someone like me who is also a huge space nerd. She clearly devoted a lot of thought and research to the science and details in this book. What it would be like to live on Mars. What interplanetary travel might be like. What Earth would be like for someone who grew up in a place like Mars or a space station. It was a really fun thought experiment, and this was the part of the book I enjoyed the most.


Unfortunately there was a down side for this book for me, and it was in the story itself. The plot is barely present. Very little happens in this book to move the action forward. Most of this book feels like a thought experiment that had a story wedged into it, and it moves slowly as a result. While Polly was a fairly developed character most of the supporting cast, including her brother, are barely sketched in. In order for me to love this book wholeheartedly it would probably need to be about twice as long to add in more character and plotting, and move twice as fast by adding more plot movement and action.


Here's the thing, I love the way Vaughn wrote about space, but I didn't love this story. In an ideal world I find myself hoping she writes an epic space trilogy. I know she's got the chops, and that would be something I'd love to read. For now I'll just wait and see what she writes next, and hope it flows better for me than this one did.



Martians Abroad comes out January 17th 2017.

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review 2016-10-10 22:58
Hungry Bird
Hungry Bird - Jeremy Tankard

Love the art - really great stuff! That is one hungry, grumpy, jerk bird.

(Got to meet this author/illustrator at the MPIBA trade show Fall 2016.)

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review 2016-10-10 22:57
Ada Twist, Scientist
Ada Twist, Scientist - Andrea Beaty,David Roberts

Visually exciting art with plenty of things for kids to look at over many readings. Really nice message about curiosity and embracing young scientific minds.

(Got to meet this author at the MPIBA trade show Fall 2016.)

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