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review 2020-12-10 06:24
The Bright and Breaking Sea (Captain Kit Brightling, #1
The Bright and Breaking Sea - Chloe Neill

I'm wavering between 3.5 and 4 stars.  This first in a new series reads like it could almost be a middle grade story, except for one romantic scene which I know my niece, at least, would wrinkle her nose at.  It's still a great story, just rather more bright and optimistic than is usually offered to us jaded adults.  It also lacks the snark Neill is generally known for, but then again, her Devil's Isle series wasn't snarky either.  

 

Chloe Neill walks a fine line between imagining a world where women are common in historically male roles, and acknowledging the gender bias that exists in this one.  I'm not convinced she pulled it off; I'd have rather she stick to one truth or the other, but it wasn't problematic and didn't affect my enjoyment of the book.

 

Mostly, it's a new concept, and a new series, so I'd imagine there some growing pains and adjustments ahead, but it was a nice escape and I'm interested in seeing where future books take me and the characters.

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review 2020-07-04 00:02
The Bright Lands by John Fram
The Bright Lands - John Fram

'The Bright Lands' hit me in some unexpected places. This is a supernatural horror novel, but the foundation of it is a rural, working-class town with not much else going for it except "the good ol' days" and the success of its football team. The novel is set in Texas, but I saw parallels with my own town in Vermont.

 

The plot involves Joel, a successful financial wizard, getting a strange text from his younger brother Dylan that leads him to flying back home for the first time since he was publicly outed and humiliated at the end of high school. He's flown his family to him in New York rather than return to that place.

 

The night he returns to town his brother, the star of the football team, vanishes. Joel's ex-girlfriend is on the police force and, while working out their differences, they investigate the disappearance and uncover a lot more than they expected.

 

I can't go further into this without revealing too much, but on top of the supernatural dread, there were some real gems of small-town, homophobic existence. I want to say so much more, and I CAN'T, urghh. The most outlandish parts of this book are so real. As a gay man I often can only look on  bemused and sad at the knots a community will twist into, even in this day and age, around an obvious truth. 'The Bright Lands' is about many things, but its mostly about the cankers that form around secrets and the cost paid to maintain them.

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review 2020-05-30 04:00
Bullet Points about Burning Bright by Nick Petrie: There's No Sophomore Slump in the Second Peter Ash Adventure
Burning Bright - Nick Petrie

He climbed down to the dry riverbed, hurting all over but more or less functional. His forehead felt warm and wet. He put his hand up, felt the slickness of blood, and wiped it away, reminding himself that head wounds always bleed like crazy.

 

He knew too much about damage to human bodies.

 

This post is overdue (as was reading this in the first place), and I can't seem to find time to do it right. So, I won't. Here's a quick and dirty way to get it taken care of. I wish I had it in me to do a better job, but I don't. Here's the blurb taken from Petrie's site:

 

 

War veteran Peter Ash sought peace and quiet among the towering redwoods of northern California, but the trip isn’t quite the balm he’d hoped for. The dense forest and close fog cause his claustrophobia to buzz and spark, and then he stumbles upon a grizzly, long thought to have vanished from this part of the country. In a fight of man against bear, Peter doesn’t favor his odds, so he makes a strategic retreat up a nearby sapling.

 

There, he finds something strange: a climbing rope, affixed to a distant branch above. It leads to another, and another, up through the giant tree canopy, and ending at a hanging platform. On the platform is a woman on the run. From below them come the sounds of men and gunshots.

 

Just days ago, investigative journalist June Cassidy escaped a kidnapping by the men who are still on her trail. She suspects they’re after something belonging to her mother, a prominent software designer who recently died in an accident. June needs time to figure out what’s going on, and help from someone with Peter’s particular set of skills.

 

Only one step ahead of their pursuers, Peter and June must race to unravel this peculiar mystery. What they find leads them to an eccentric recluse, a shadowy pseudo-military organization, and an extraordinary tool that may change the modern world forever.

 

 

 

If I had the time to do this properly, here are the things I'd be talking about.

bullet At multiple points both Peter and June note that Peter's having fun when it's dangerous, when things are violent, when the bullets are flying. As a reader, this is great—you don't see Reacher, Charlie Fox, Evan Smoak, etc. enjoying things quite like this. But I'm a little worried about what it says about him as a person.

bullet We get some good backstory on Peter—before he enlisted.

bullet On a related note, Peter has a family! A well-adjusted, not violent, family.

bullet Lewis is back from the first book—he's essentially Hawk and Pike with flair. His growing family ties are a real strength of character.

bullet June is tough, capable, smart. She's complex in a way that most characters in this role usually aren't, and really ought to be.

bullet The villains in this novel are great. Their motives are complex, they don't approach things the way you think they're going to (up to the last couple of chapters).

bullet While trying not to give too much away, I appreciate that Ash doesn't have a scorched-earth approach to his opponents in either book.

bullet Best of all, in the middle of the technothriller stuff, the action hero stuff, and all the rest, there's a real attempt to portray what a vet with PTSD goes through. How it molds everything he does, but doesn't define him.

bullet The biggest compliment I can give is this: it kept me awake when I should have been. Since I got my new CPAP last summer, I haven't been able to read more than 2-5 pages with it on before I'm out like a light. So imagine how shocked I was when I realized that I'd barreled through over 50 pages one night! That's a feat.

 

This is a great thrill-ride, I'm not going to wait another year and a half before I get to the next one (it's sitting on my shelf as we speak). I strongly recommend the Peter Ash books.

 


 

2020 Library Love Challenge

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2020/05/29/bullet-points-about-burning-bright-by-nick-petrie-theres-no-sophomore-slump-in-the-second-peter-ash-adventure
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review 2020-05-28 02:47
Bright Blaze of Magic by Jennifer Estep
Bright Blaze of Magic (Black Blade) - Jennifer Estep

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I am so glad that I finally read this book! I was lucky enough to receive an early copy of this book near its release date but it fell through the cracks somehow. As more time passed, I realized that I would need to refresh my memory of the first two books in the trilogy before I could review the book properly so I put off reading it. I decided to push this book to the top of my list recently and it was a very good decision. I thoroughly enjoyed my re-read of the first two books in the trilogy and was eager to experience this book for the first time. I really had a good time with this one.

This is a trilogy that really needs to be read in order. Things have been building to the events in this book for the entire trilogy and I was excited to see how things would work out. Victor Draconi has been working towards a plan to eliminate the other Families and take control of everything himself. Lila and the other Sinclairs are aware of his plan and they are working to do whatever they can to stop him.

This story was exciting and there were a few scenes that were incredibly action-packed. There were a few scenes where I was really worried about how things would work out for this group of characters that I have grown to care for and some scenes that broke my heart. I loved the way that the monsters and magical abilities were such a vital part of the story. It was great to see Lila really become a trusted member of the Sinclair Family as they came together with the other Families to fight a common threat.

Brittany Pressley did a fantastic job with the narration once again. I looked forward to putting my headphones on and escaping into Lila's world for a few hours. I really felt like she brought this story to life. She did a fantastic job with all of the character voices and brought a lot of emotion into her reading. I believe that her narration added to my enjoyment of this story.

I would recommend this book to others. I thought that this was a wonderful trilogy set in a very interesting world. I had a great time going on this adventure with Lila, Devon, Felix, Oscar, and the rest of the characters. I cannot wait to read more of Jennifer Estep's work.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Kensington Books via NetGalley and purchased a copy of the audiobook.

Initial Thoughts
I am so glad that I finally read this book! This was a battle that has been brewing for the entire series and I was excited to see the Sinclairs take on the Draconis. There was a lot of excitement and action in this book and some pretty intense scenes. I thought that the characters were at their best in this installment and there were some pretty emotional scenes. I listened to the audiobook and I thought that the narrator did a fabulous job bringing this story to life.

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text 2020-04-09 14:15
Reading progress update: I've read 480 out of 480 pages.
Bright We Burn (And I Darken) - Kiersten White

Loved this book, what a great ending to the series :) Full review to come 

 

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