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review 2017-06-25 21:05
Review: Empire of Ivory (Temeraire Book 4 of 9)
Empire of Ivory - Naomi Novik

Going just by the story, the characters, and my general entertainment throughout most of this book, I would have rated this at five stars.  I’m giving it 4.5 stars, the same as the last two books, but I’m rounding down to 4 on Goodreads whereas I rounded the previous two up to 5.  The reason I'm rating it so much lower, in spite of enjoying it so much, is that there were a couple things that particularly annoyed me, one being what I consider to be a major story discrepancy.  More details are in the spoiler tags further below.

 

Aside from that, I thought the story was very entertaining.  I enjoyed it at least as much as the first book, and slightly more than the second and third.  I was especially engrossed by the end, and I’m eager to start reading the next book.  Unlike the previous books, this one ended with quite a cliff hanger and I look forward to finding out how Laurence and Temeraire will get themselves out of their current predicament.

 

The rest of my comments include some spoilers for this book and also for the previous three, so I’ll put them in spoiler tags:

 

The discrepancy that bothered me so much was the way everybody completely ignored Temeraire’s history with the disease.  Early on, when Laurence first learns that all the dragons are sick, he comments that they’d “had word” of the illness.  This was true enough, I guess.  In book two, when the courier dragon Volly landed on their ship to deliver messages, Volly was sick and his captain James said “half the dragons are moaning and sniffling about”.  So, yes, they “had word”.  They also had a nice little exchange of dragon germs.

 

Temeraire caught that same illness, about a week after Volly had left.  In this fourth book, at around 28%, there’s finally a mention of Temeraire’s own illness, but everybody still seems to doubt the connection.  Nobody mentions that Temeraire caught it after being exposed to one of the sick dragons.  The connection seems like it should have been obvious, if only to Laurence and the dragon surgeon Keynes who had been with them.  It seemed to me like Novik cheated, trying to drag things out for dramatic effect at the sacrifice of logic and consistency.

 

A more minor thing that niggled at me was the misrepresentation of where Laurence’s wealth came from.  Novik really downplayed how much of it came from his capture of Temeraire’s egg and the subsequent harnessing.  We’re told that the Admiralty pays little for the capture of a dragon compared to that of a ship, and that “Laurence had established a handsome capital while still a naval officer.”  These things are technically true, but presented in a misleading way.  Laurence didn’t capture a dragon, he captured an egg, and most of his wealth came from that bounty rather than from the capture of the ship itself, which admittedly happened while he was “still a naval officer”. 

 

Along those same lines, Temeraire also mentions in this book that Laurence bought his breastplate with the money he earned from taking the French ship, but he knows the money came from his egg.  In book one Laurence told him, after presenting the gift to him, that “it is quite your due, you know, for the better part of it comes from the bounty for our having taken your egg from the French.”  So again, everything stated is technically true, because the egg came from the ship, but presented in a way that seems intentionally misleading.  Maybe Novik was afraid reminding readers of that aspect of things would take away from the anti-slavery message in this book, or maybe I just read too much into it, but it seems odd that she would remind readers of some aspects of Laurence’s capital but avoid mentioning the most relevant aspect at the same time.

(spoiler show)

 

 

Next Book

Victory of Eagles by Naomi Novik, the fifth book in the Temeraire series.

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review 2017-06-25 16:05
Book Review: Cursed Moon
Cursed Moon - Jaye Wells

*I read this book for my own enjoyment.

Halloween's in two weeks. The full blue moon is the double full moon this month and has people acting all sorts of crazy. The police have their hands full so MEA, Kate's team, is helping to subdue events. Then things take a turn for a scary future. Aphrodite Johnson has one of her Houses of Worship robbed, $50,000 of powerful sex magic potions stolen. The hint of the Raven, new thief in town, they are looking for comes from Kate's Uncle Abe. The big show from this new threat is planned to happen on Halloween when the blue moon is at it's fullest.


No more introduction. We know Kate and her close friends, or those that she doesn't consider friends, well and get right into work. Yes! This is what I want. Jaye does remind us of events in the previous book as the story goes because those events affect current places of the characters mentally and physically, but we are fully focused here in this book.

I feel for Kate in this book. She's working hard to keep her family and dear friends safe along with keeping her big secret from them all. The guilt over the secret has her feeling worse and worse with everything that happens, and seeing John Volos getting all the admiration and love from her littler brother... which is part of her secret. It's eating Kate from the inside out. It seems like no matter how hard she tries, everything just keeps piling on.

This is what I wanted! Kate's anxiety and internal stress is growing and I can feel it. It's terrible to watch life as people react to what you did, but they don't know it was you. The good and the bad that resonate from it, the love and hate that's felt.

Kate and her friends. Her relationship with her brother Danny is cracking. Danny's upset with her not being around like she use to be, but there's more to it too. Pen knows something is up with Kate, she's been drinking more and gets a feel for something else. John Volos... oh he's a slippery slope for Kate. She hates him, yet there's something else. I guess that first love never really leaves, but you know it's not a good relationship. John's not as prominent in this book but he's here, a shadow in Kate's life and mind. Is he holding the secret over Kate's head? Will he act against her uncle? Or will John get in more trouble? Only time will tell. Then there's Morales. I really enjoy him and Kate together. They have an easy banter and sixth sense as partners when it comes to work. They trust each other and know how to work together.

Kate feels the temptation to read potion signatures and cook. This is the withdrawal from cooking in the first book. Just that one time has a pull on her. And she likes it. Kate fights herself and pulls through, but she'll realize that magic is a part of her. She has to figure out how to handle that. For me, I loved this part of the book. Kate faces her demons in magic and who she is. This makes Kate stronger to me.

Another demon Kate faces is her uncle. I love seeing her go toe to toe with the man verbally. I just hope she can stay ahead of him because there is a lot of work to do in order to not fall under his thumb.

We learn more about Adepts. We know they aren't suppose to be affected by potions. But in this book we see it happen. The double blue moon causes the immunity usually seen to not be as strong, and Adepts are struck with the same results as humans.

Yes! This is what I want. Police in a world that uses potions (magic-ly made). I am once again taken with how closely related the magical potions run to drugs in our world. The magical potions gives the story an urban fantasy feel but it could very easily be replaced with drugs from our world. The world is a bit grittier here too. A feel I really enjoy.

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review 2017-06-25 15:59
Audio Book Review: Hound's Bite
Hound's Bite - E.J. Stevens Hound's Bite - E.J. Stevens

*I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

Ivy, Ceff, and Torn have returned from Faerie, with the Wild Hunt on their heels. Opening the door and going to Faerie has it's consequences, and the Wild Hunt is one for Ivy.

By now you know I'm a sucker for the extras in audio. The first thing we hear are the howls that Ivy hears as she speaks, questioning what the howls are. This has me liking the audio from the first moment. We get a female and male voice team for this book. All feminine voices are performed by Melanie and all male by Anthony. It adds a nice flavor and contrast to the characters as we listen. I like the sound that they give to Herne's voice.


The refresher was shorter in this book, thankfully. Though when we meet someone we get their back story as of now. I'm one for working this into the story not just giving it to me at seeing the person in the beginning of the book. But that's my preference, not everyone's.

At times I found sentences that were more poetic than others. There are also sentences that made the story feel as though it was for a young adult crowd (which it's really not) because it told what was implied the sentence before, instead of letting the impression for the reader be all that was needed. I like how the writing has improved as well. Ivy doesn't just point something out about herself, the events and others guide to that moment of a bigger feeling.

Ivy has grown into a strong woman. She has to do the things that are hard, and stop someone that's dangerous. She's written more in what she's doing than just telling us how she is. Ivy also has to face consequences of what's been done in the past.

This book feels to be deeper in the plot. There is more reason to the Wild Hunt being here than originally thought. And I like the connections to the reasons. They feel on the larger scale than the previous books. There is more to come and more going on outside of Ivy's little world than we knew.

Jinx has her own drive in this book. She's working to free the streets of the dangerous drug Ice. It was something that was used on her and killed another, but that story can be found in Club Nexus. This is a wonderful tie in and building of the character that we've seen through the stories.

I very much enjoyed this story. It felt to tie a bunch of strings from the previous books together here. Everything leads up to something. What the characters have lived through and why the events have happened. I like this connection as the story feels to have a great depth to it.

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review 2017-06-25 15:49
Audio Book Review: The Science of Supervillainy
The Science of Supervillainy (The Superv... The Science of Supervillainy (The Supervillainy Saga) (Volume 4) - C.T. Phipps,Valerie Kann,Raffaele Marinetti,Terry Stewart

*I was voluntarily provided this review copy audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator.

Gary aka Merciless may have stopped President Omega (for now?) but he still has Other Gary to tend to. After his imprisonment by Other Gary, Gary returns to Falconcrest to find Other Gary has taken Gary's name and turned the city into a wonder, run by a superhero. Gary must now overthrow Other Gary to get things to return to normal.


Jeffrey is a treat to listen to. In this book, he made me laugh out. What did he do? He did a villain's laugh for Gary. Yes, a laugh laugh not just telling me the words describing the laugh. It was awesome! These are the little things narrators do that catch my ears and draw me in. I wonder how many times Jeffrey had to speak the tongue twister sections, as they are perfect in the audiobook.

I'm so excited to get back into this world. Gary is kicking it strong with his references in this book. C.T. has weighted the book heavily with these cool nods to all sorts of memories of shows, comics, and so much more. All hit home as soon as I hear them, and make me smile at the memory and joke. So many references to the shows, comics, and more are in comment, actions, and title.

Gary's colorful look on events and life makes this book a joy to listen to. If you enjoyed Gary's perspective on events and life, you'll continue to enjoy this book. He really believes what he thinks, whether it's true or not. When he's wrong his friends point it out and he plays it off. He never thinks back to it and rolls with it. It's a hoot.

I love the twist to good and evil and live and death interpretation on things done in this book. It's a fun twist authors enjoy playing with, and C.T. has the ground work in place to do that with Gary and Other Gary.

Gary keeps friends and loved ones near and dear. Gary loves his wife, Mandy, so deeply. He is so caught on her, and it's great. He's not stalkerish, he's just full of heart or heartbroken or... well, he always wants the best for Mandy and hopes to have his relationship back. Gary meets a very special little one. The communication and conversations with the little one is cute and fun. I love the references to cartoons.

We get a lot of family (blood and picked) time. Gary was imprisoned in a town for five years and has a lot to catch up on. We do, and learn what happened with Other Gary in their town.

Just when I think things are going to become as I expect, C.T. throws in a surprise. I just never know what's going to happen or appear in a scene. Sure, I can guess and let my mind run wild, but then I miss something! lol.

Gary gets sidetracked so easily! lol. It's funny how this mans brain works. We have a goal, to stop Other Gary. But we get waylaid with family and friends along the way because things are different after five years imprisoned in Undertown, living the 1950's life style. At times I almost forgot what the end goal was with all we talked through with family/friends. This story's focus feels to be more on family, those we create by blood and more.

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review 2017-06-25 15:31
Rolling in the Deep by Mira Grant
Rolling in the Deep - Mira Grant

This is a rather short, nicely written novel that explores the story of the ship Atargatis, lost at sea with all hands.  "Some have called it a hoax; others have called it a maritime tragedy. Whatever the truth may be, it will only be found below the bathypelagic zone in the Mariana Trench…and the depths are very good at keeping secrets".  This is a mix between mythological/urban fantasy, horror and mystery.  I found the story to be an original take on an old myth.  There is apparently a sequel to this story out later this year.

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