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review 2017-09-18 19:50
A Court of Wings and Ruin / Sarah J. Maas
A Court of Wings and Ruin - Sarah J. Maas

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin's manoeuvrings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit – and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords – and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

 

When I sit down to read these tomes by Sarah Maas, I always wonder as I begin if I will find this volume as engaging as the last one. So far, so good. Once I started Wings and Ruin I couldn’t stop until I was done. I reluctantly went to bed (late) on Saturday night and picked the book right back up again on Sunday morning. Why do I like this series, when writers like Christine Feehan and J.L. Ward leave me annoyed? Because there’s some PLOT here. The first two books got us set up for the big war scenes that we experience in W&R.

Yes, there is romance and there’s some sex, but there are plenty of friendships too, all kinds of relationships really. Indeed, because Feyre & Rhys are an established couple, Maas can concentrate on the other relationships. Enemies, frenemies, relatives, chosen families, unknown quantities, close friends, useful acquaintances….they’re all in here. Many of them had a place in the earlier books and now we see them in a new light. Will Feyre’s sisters fight with her or against her? Will they accept their transition to the Fae world or will they cling to their past humanity?

Feyre makes mistakes, admits it, and works on fixing them. What I like the most is the circle of chosen family that Rhysand has assembled for himself and how Feyre is finding her way into their hearts as well and vice versa. Yes, its all a bit melodramatic and unrealistic, but I got swept along with the story and didn’t notice too much until I thought back on it after finishing. Not sure if it would actually be possible for Morrigan to keep her sexual preference a secret for over 500 years—especially not since in the High Fae world, it seems like anything goes, so why would she bother?

So, it has its idiosyncrasies and silliness, but I still found it to be an enjoyable read. Although this one actually felt final, I see there are future volumes planned. At this point, I’ll be willing to give the next one a try.

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text 2017-09-18 18:04
Reading progress update: I've read 303 out of 566 pages.
Proven Guilty - Jim Butcher

Though I walk through the valley of trauma, I will fear no concussion.

 

Poor old Harry gets beaten on a lot.  I guess its all part of being the noir detective version of a magician.

 

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review 2017-09-11 19:55
Witches of Lychford / Paul Cornell
Witches of Lychford - Paul Cornell

The villagers in the sleepy hamlet of Lychford are divided. A supermarket wants to build a major branch on their border. Some welcome the employment opportunities, while some object to the modernization of the local environment.

Judith Mawson (local crank) knows the truth -- that Lychford lies on the boundary between two worlds, and that the destruction of the border will open wide the gateways to malevolent beings beyond imagination.

But if she is to have her voice heard, she's going to need the assistance of some unlikely allies...

 

Read to fill the “Witches” square for 2107 Halloween Bingo.

Paul Cornell writes looming, disastrous & supernatural really, really well (see also London Falling which shares this spooky ambiance). This is a short novel—I was trying to read it while simultaneously cooking supper on Saturday evening, and I was resenting every time I had to set it down to go check on the pots on the stove!

For something so short, there is a remarkable amount of complexity. I seem to be reading a lot of fiction set in small towns recently—but they really do make the perfect setting for these tales that require people to know one another well in order for the plot line to make such good sense. The coming of a big mega-store to a city would be completely unremarkable, but it causes roiling tensions in the little village of Lychford! And few of the denizens of Lychford can see that there are malevolent supernatural intentions behind the behemoth super store.

Three unlikely women are brought together to combat the supernatural: the local cranky old lady, the new female pastor, and the owner of the pagan/occult store. The latter two have a history that they must overcome—they were besties years ago, but had a falling out that neither of them truly understood and they must sort through the misunderstandings to see if they can cooperate in the current situation.

I must say that Cornell writes women very well. I felt like I could relate to all three exceptionally well. They all are facing a loss in their lives, challenges to whichever faith they espoused, difficulties in reaching out to others. Throw into the mix some dark Fae, a favourite additive for me and give it all an only-somewhat resolved ending, and this was just what I like in my fantasy novels!

I only hope that I have what it takes to become Judith as I approach her stage in life.

 

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review 2017-09-05 17:18
Faefever / Karen Marie Moning
Faefever - Karen Marie Moning

"He calls me his Queen of the Night. I’d die for him. I’d kill for him, too." When MacKayla Lane receives a torn page from her dead sister’s journal, she is stunned by Alina’s desperate words. And now MacKayla knows that her sister’s killer is close. But evil is closer. And suddenly the sidhe-seer is on the hunt: For answers. For revenge. And for an ancient book of dark magic so evil, it corrupts anyone who touches it.

Mac’s quest for the Sinsar Dubh takes her into the mean, shape-shifting streets of Dublin, with a suspicious cop on her tail. Forced into a dangerous triangle of alliance with V’lane, an insatiable Fae prince of lethally erotic tastes, and Jericho Barrons, a man of primal desires and untold secrets, Mac is soon locked in a battle for her body, mind, and soul.

As All Hallows’ Eve approaches and the city descends into chaos, as a shocking truth about the Dark Book is uncovered, not even Mac can prevent a deadly race of immortals from shattering the walls between worlds—with devastating consequences.…

 

***2017 Summer Lovin’ Reading List***

This series *should* be perfect for me. Fae of various degrees of danger and friendliness? Check! Mysterious goings on in Dublin? Check! Magical items which need to be collected to prevent disaster? Check! All kinds of frenemies for the heroine, forcing her to make lesser-of-evil choices between them? Check, check, check!

And yet I don’t really connect with this story. I feel like I should like MacKayla more than I do. I should find Barrons more attractive than I do. I should find the end-of-life-as-we-know-it scenario more troubling than I do.

That was some cliff-hanger at the end! But I guess it accomplished something—I put a hold on the next volume of this series at the library! If these endings continue, I may get pulled along further in the series just to see what happens.

One of the last books in my summer of fluffy reading, snuck in over the Labour Day weekend.

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review 2017-09-05 17:08
The Cottingley Secret / Hazel Gaynor
The Cottingley Secret - Hazel Gaynor

1917… It was inexplicable, impossible, but it had to be true—didn’t it? When two young cousins, Frances Griffiths and Elsie Wright from Cottingley, England, claim to have photographed fairies at the bottom of the garden, their parents are astonished. But when one of the great novelists of the time, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, becomes convinced of the photographs’ authenticity, the girls become a national sensation, their discovery offering hope to those longing for something to believe in amid a world ravaged by war. Frances and Elsie will hide their secret for many decades. But Frances longs for the truth to be told.

One hundred years later… When Olivia Kavanagh finds an old manuscript in her late grandfather’s bookshop she becomes fascinated by the story it tells of two young girls who mystified the world. But it is the discovery of an old photograph that leads her to realize how the fairy girls’ lives intertwine with hers, connecting past to present, and blurring her understanding of what is real and what is imagined. As she begins to understand why a nation once believed in fairies, can Olivia find a way to believe in herself?

 

My thanks to my Goodreads friends Melissa and Rory, whose reviews pointed me towards this lovely book.

It was a nearly perfect book for me—first, there is the question of what Frances has actually seen. In her mind, she has seen fairies and I found myself wanting so much to believe her! Having spent many long hours as a child playing outdoors, watching all that went on around me, I always longed for a special experience such as hers.

Secondly, there is the link to the real world—Frances and Elsie were real girls who did create fairy photographs that fooled many people, including Arthur Conan Doyle! And I can’t say I blame them—after all, I just admitted above how much I wanted to believe in Frances’ fairies. At the end of WWI, many people were looking for evidence of life after death and having lost dear folk myself, I can sympathize with that wish.

Thirdly, there is a present day story which takes place around the story of Frances and Elsie. Olivia Kavanagh is dealing with the grief of losing a beloved grandparent (who has stood in a parental role to her) and dealing with his store and his belongings. Her grandmother has Alzheimer’s and doesn’t always know Olivia when she visits. I identified strongly with her grief and her desire to escape from her London life while she sorted things out. I’ve sorted out the contents of our farm house and know exactly how difficult such an endeavour can be.

Lastly, I loved the unresolved ending. Frustrating to some, to me they reflect reality. Until we also pass on, we only have the ending until now. There is more to come tomorrow.

An enchanting, beautiful book which I am ever so glad that I found.

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