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review 2018-10-14 13:47
A Darker Shade of Magic ★★★★☆
A Darker Shade of Magic - V.E. Schwab

I approached this with some wariness, as I saw other readers had tagged it as YA and my experiences in that genre has led me to expect tiresome teenaged angst and even more tiresome love triangles, but this was a pleasant surprise. The only connection with that genre I saw was the age of the primary female character. What I found instead was a good adventure fantasy with a well-developed world and rules of magic. The characters were fun, the world was fun, and the action was suitably violent and gory, even if the Antari trait of self-healing did rob some of the danger of its impact. I would have liked to see more well-developed villains, though. They were fairly two-dimensionally evil, simple baddies to be knocked down. We did get a little more depth to the opposing Antari, at least, so there was some investment in that character. The book is obviously the start of the series, but there is a satisfactory (enough) resolution to the books to events to allow this one to serve as a stand-alone.

 

I read this for the 2018 Halloween Bingo square Darkest London: any mystery, suspense, horror or supernatural book set in London. This book is set in several Londons in adjacent worlds, with one (not visited) literally called “Black London”.

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text 2018-10-13 12:49
A Darker Shade of Magic - 70%
A Darker Shade of Magic - V.E. Schwab

Well, this took off about the 25% mark and I've had a hard time putting it down. 

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text 2018-10-12 14:19
A Darker Shade of Magic - 15%
A Darker Shade of Magic - V.E. Schwab

A little too slow to start, with a lot of exposition, but it's starting to pick up now and get more interesting. 

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review 2018-10-01 05:28
What She Knew ★★★☆☆
What She Knew: A Novel - Gilly MacMillan

This book kept me reading. Well, parts of it. Other parts were eye-rollingly bad. The narrative framed as a direct recollection of events from Rachel (mother of missing boy) and from Jim (primary detective) were compelling. They felt authentic. The supposed psychiatric case notes were just awful. Even with my limited experience, I know better, so the author apparently didn’t make use of consultants as she did for the police work. There’s an ongoing theme of professionalism and competency throughout this story, and I doubt any licensed counselor writing those notes could be considered either. Not to harp on it, but every one of those sections kicked me completely out of the story. But if you can distance yourself from those fatal flaws, the rest of this book is absolutely worth the time spent reading it. There was plenty of intrigue and deception to put the reader off the path of whodunnit. There are few likeable characters, and in fact I spent much of the book wanting to give the mother of the missing child a swift kick in the pants. But I actually like that. Overall, worth the time and energy spent reading it.

 

This was the eBook version, a gift from my mother who loved it. I read this for the 2018 Halloween Bingo square Genre: Suspense: anything that fits into the suspense genre.

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text 2018-09-29 13:35
What She Knew - 95/519pg
What She Knew: A Novel - Gilly MacMillan

This has been a pleasant surprise. It's been a while since I started a text version book that was compelling enough that I struggled a little to put it down and get other things done. I've got a landscape guy coming over this morning to give me a quote on sod and I really need to do a little cleaning on my pig sty of a house first. 

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