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review 2018-12-17 04:28
The Philosopher's Flight
The Philosopher's Flight - Tom Miller

Ok, I admit, I look for opportunities to relive the excitement of reading that first Harry Potter book, and I was already a grownup when I read it. This title seems deliberately designed to evoke that image, so yes, I wanted to love it before I read the first page. And, I did love it, for the most part. The premise is terrific, especially since, unlike Potter's world, even I could master Sigilry if I just put enough effort into it. Yay, I can fly, finally! Miller gives us an alternative history, one where magic (empirical philosophy) is used to fight wars, and to get us places in a hurry. I enjoyed most of the characters, but because there was so much groundwork to cover, I didn't feel like they were developed thoroughly enough. Many were described in broad strokes and Miller left you to fill in their stereotypical traits. I remember when Harry Potter came out and some people disparaged it, saying that Rowling just described English boarding school in clever terms for people who knew nothing about it; I felt a little like that reading this book, as Miller tries to parallel US history and current events, rather than create an entirely new world. I will say that I am wary these days when a "women can do anything" idea is taken to such an extreme that it seems incredible (note the genre, fantasy), and even heavy-handed. Trying not to end the year on a cynical note, but all of this reverse engineering of reality seems a bit like pandering to me. There are some very clever concepts here, so I wouldn't count this series out. I'll be interested to see what's planned for the next installment.

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review 2018-12-16 21:55
It's been a long time since I read this one...
Highway Man - Eden Winters,Darcy Stark

and when I saw it on audible I just couldn't resist the opportunity to enjoy it on audio.

 

Every since the accident that claimed his life...Killian Desmond has lived his life in the shadows letting the world believe that the accident that claimed  him brother and bandmates also claimed him. But when the opportunity to earn a night's pay filling in with a tribute band presents itself Killian discovers that not everyone in the band is easily fooled and Tex sees past the shadows to the man who's hiding.

 

At less than 2 hours 'Highway Man' packs an emotional punch that will leave the reader reaching for some tissues and a little red around the eyes. It's been at least 6 years since I read the e-book but despite the years between then and now, the one thing I had no problem remembering was how much I enjoyed this story so there I was 'Highway Man' by Eden Winters and narrated by Darcy Stark...no thought needed on this one...I  clicked the buy button and it was a done deal.

 

'Highway Man' is a story of love and loss, of starting over, forgiving yourself, healing and second chances and it's 1 hour and 43 minutes of pure emotion. This is the 5th book that I'm enjoyed by this narrator and I know I have at least 2 more to go because he's also the narrator for Ms. Winters 'Diversion' series and I definitely looking forward to enjoying that series on audio...I've already got the first to books ready to go and as soon as the rest are available me and my grabby hands will be all over them.

 

If you're not familiar with this author or this narrator 'Highway Man' is a very enjoyable way to fix that little oversight...this one's definitely recommended.

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review 2018-12-16 20:41
Christmas is a time for family and traditions...
Tutus and Tinsel - Rhys Ford

But before we start down that road...I just want to say if you haven't read the first two books in Rhys Ford's 'Half Moon Bay' series than I strongly recommend reading them before starting this story. 

 

'Tutus and Tinsel' is a holiday slice of life with Deacon, Lang and their now daughter, Zig. I really enjoyed 'Fish Stick Fridays', the first book in this series where we got to see Deacon and Lang meet and watch their relationship turn into a partnership and while we got more Deacon and Lang in 'Hanging the Stars' this was actually Lang's brother West and Angel's story. 

 

While Zig (Deacon's niece) may be the star of this one...everyone gets a to shine a bit as we get a peek at Lang and Deacon in their new roles as fathers raising Zig and doing their best to help her find her place in the world and to create the type of holiday that neither Deacon or Zig has ever experienced in their lives because Christmas is a time for family and traditions something that's been in short supply for both of them during their lives. 

 

When Zig gets a school assignment that requires her to write about Christmas's and their traditions from her past the result is that Zig and her dads decide that they need to figure out a few traditions of their own.

 

Having read the first books in this series made this story such a perfect holiday story for this story and these characters. I loved seeming Deacon and Lang together and so happy and to have created such a wonderful family with Zig and extending it to include Angel, West (Lang's brother) and Roman (Angel's younger brother). 

 

As Deacon, Lang and Zig work through a list of holiday traditions that they might want to make a part of their lives, I found myself reflecting on my own family's traditions things like the gift of Christmas Eve pajamas that I started with my son on his first Christmas to the cookies that my mom made every year and before that to the the white plastic reindeer that my grandmother gave me when I was little more than a baby and that still has a place of honor on my Christmas tree to this day...these are all traditions and at the heart of it our traditions are just another way of making memories that we  can store in our minds and our hearts long after the holiday has gone. 

 

'Tutus and Tinsel' is a really sweet reminder that holidays like life can be as good or as bad as we make them. Zoe and Deacon didn't get the Currier and Ives Christmas but with the love and help of Lang, someone whom they loved and who loved them back what they could have was a holiday that gave them the happy times that would become happy memories.

 

Definitely recommended to warm your heart, make you smile and maybe leave you remembering those you love and the traditions that help shape your holiday. 

 

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

A copy of 'Tutus and Tinsel' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2018-12-16 15:37
Review: "Christmas Angel" (The Christmas Angel, #1) by Eli Easton
Christmas Angel - Eli Easton

 

~ 4 stars ~

 

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review 2018-12-16 12:37
Review: Legendary
Legendary - Stephanie Garber

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

I had also pre ordered a hard cover copy after finishing the first book last year. I had to reread Caraval before starting this one to refamiliarise myself with the world and the storyline. I think I actually liked Caraval more after a reread.

 

However, I was very disappointed in this lacklustre sequel.  It took me forever to get through and was frankly, boring.

 

Spoilers for the first book.

 

The sequel takes place just after the first book finishes, the night Caraval ends. The sequel is told from Donatella’s POV. After her sister Scarlett spent the first book trying desperately to save her sister, I was curious to know more about Tella’s character. While Scarlett was quite sensible and almost timid during Caraval Tella seemed to be the more lively sister. Scarlett’s character grew tremendously throughout her story.

 

I didn’t like Tella at all during her book. I found her vapid and irritating. She’s headstrong and acts without thinking, she lies, she manipulates and finds herself in trouble a lot. She’s supposed to be stronger sister, yet I found she whined and pined far more than Scarlett ever did. She makes stupid decisions and doesn’t seem to know how to deal with the consequences of her actions.

 

We find out a little more in this book about the disappearance of the girls’ mother – Tella knows a few things Scarlett never did. She’s kept the secret and makes a bargain with a mysterious stranger to help her find some answers. In the sequel, the stranger wants to collect his payment – Caraval Master Legend’s true name.

 

As it’s the Empress’s 75th birthday, there is a special Caraval game to celebrate, so Tella figures this is the opportunity to get what she needs. The only clue she has to her mother is a special deck of cards – a Deck of Destiny.

 

The story revolves around something to do with Fates who are trapped in the cards and a fiendish plot to release them and wreak havoc. Tella tells a lie to get into an exclusive party and her lie causes her to become involved in a very dangerous plot with a scary evil Prince, with a deadly and dark secret.

 

The writing is beautiful and lyrical just like the first book, the descriptions are vivid and so clear and there were some truly amazing passages. There were moments when Tella’s inner strength shines through but then she’ll go and do something stupid and make her irritating all over again. The romance in this one revolves around Dante (we met him briefly in Caraval) and he seems like the male version of Tella.

 

They flirt, they kiss, Dante appears throughout the book helping Tella out. He can be hot one minute – seem like there’s something more to him than a handsome flirt – then he acts like a total jerk. He has secrets of his own. (Of course) Tella spends a great deal of the book pining over him. She can’t decide how she feels about him and it gets very tiresome.

 

The other problem I had with this story was while the mystery with Tella’s mother and the Fates story was interesting enough, it takes place during a Caraval game. There’s more mysteries to solve, but it felt no different from the first book. It had all been done before and without the magic. It felt boring and long winded.

 

It did have its moments, some of it was pretty good, but there was just too much I found irritating. And it took a long time to get through as well.

 

Though despite the fact that I didn’t like this one much, I will be reading the finale to find out how it all ends.

 

Thank you to Netgalley and Hodder & Stoughton for approving my request to view the title.  

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