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text 2017-07-21 07:51
Agents of Light and Darkness - Simon R. Green

It's been years since I read Something From the Nightside but I found it easy to slip back into the world without having to re-read the first book for refreshers. I really enjoy that. I also enjoyed this story. Not very long but a fast read, lots of action. Nice bits of background drops, not just on the main character, kept it interesting. Learning about all the ways John Taylor's gift for finding things can be used makes you realize that there's more than just people and objects that can't be hidden from him. The entities hunting him are the reason he doesn't make his life easy and use his gift each time someone hires him, which gives him depth. Add in the Unholy Grail, which is the cup of Judas, rather than the Holy Grail, the cup of Christ, and you have an interesting target. I think this is the first story I've run across that centered on the Last Supper that didn't revolve around the Holy Grail, and I found it a breath of fresh air.

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review 2017-01-09 21:36
Books of 1916: Part Three
Light and Darkness - Soseki Natsume
Kusamakura and Kokoro by Soseki NATSUME (Japanese Edition) - kisaragishogo
Grass on the Wayside (Michikusa) - Soseki Natsume,Translated and with an Introduction by Edwin McClellan
The Magic Mountain - Thomas Mann,John E. Woods
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man - Seamus Deane,James Joyce
Stephen Hero - James Joyce
Ulysses - James Joyce Ulysses - James Joyce
Exiles - James Joyce

Books of 1916: Part Three: Natsume Soseki and James Joyce

 

Light and Darkness by Natsume Soseki

 

This unfinished novel, which was serialized in a newspaper, was Natsume Soseki’s last work, as he died of an ulcer in 1916. As the story begins, the main character Tsuda is going to have an operation on his intestines that sounds incredibly unsound and unclean. Think of the horrible and bizarre medical care we get today and then imagine it 100 times worse! So I was really worried about what was going to happen to Tsuda and felt that he was putting his head in the sand by worrying about his money troubles and his relationship with his wife, etc. But it turned out that the book really was about those things. Tsuda’s illness and operation ended up seeming more metaphorical than an important plot point.

 

I’m sorry to say that I really struggled to get from one end of this book to the other. I adored Natsume Soseki’s other books Kokoro and Grass on the Wayside. They were so lovely and brilliant. But he didn’t get a chance to edit this book and get it into shape, plus it sounds like he was sick and worried the whole time he was writing it. The afterword said that some critics consider this novel a “postmodern masterpiece” precisely because it is unfinished. But it wasn’t the lack of ending that did me in, it was the whole middle of the book, which dragged and was hard for me to focus on. I liked hearing from the point of view of Tsuda’s wife, O-Nobu, except that it went on and on without resolution. I also liked seeing all the period details of Japanese life, especially now that I’ve actually been to Japan.

 

Tsuda was a little bit like the main character in Grass on the Wayside in that he didn’t have very good social skills and tended to say things that made people feel bad without meaning to. The story really picked up at the end, when we finally learn Tsuda’s secret, that he has never gotten over the woman he used to love, and he goes to see her in a sanatorium, sort of like the one in The Magic Mountain except Japanese of course. His pretext is that he’s recovering from the surgery and he wants to take the waters, but naturally I was wondering if his pretext would turn out to be the truth and he would never leave. This was the section that I enjoyed the most but of course it came to an abrupt end.

 

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce

 

When I think of James Joyce, I always think of three people in my life who felt very strongly about him. First was my mother, who was a big James Joyce fan and talked to me a lot about him. Second, a boyfriend I had who was also a big Joyce fan, and we used to read bits of Stephen Hero and Ulysses out loud to each other. Third, my wife Aine, who had been forced to read some Joyce in secondary school in County Clare and absolutely hated him, and all other Irish writers she read in school (except Oscar Wilde.) She said they were all pretentious wankers. Early on, I had to work hard to convince her that James Joyce was not a Protestant, as she had lumped him together in her mind with Synge, Yeats, Shaw etc. In fact, just now when I read her this paragraph to see if she endorsed my characterization of her views, I had to persuade her once again that Joyce was not Anglo-Irish.

 

I read Portrait of the Artist As A Young Man in 2002, sure that I was going to love it as much as I loved everything else I’d read by Joyce. And indeed I was hooked by the opening page (“When you wet the bed, first it is warm and then it gets cold.”) I loved reading about the childhood of this sensitive boy Stephen Dedalus, and how his family argued at the dinner table about Parnell, and all about the scary priests who ran everything. But then I got to the part where Stephen starts going to prostitutes at around the age of fifteen, and I was completely bewildered and grossed out. Then he catches religion and becomes devout. Then he starts rabbiting on about art and aestheticism.

 

I had utterly lost sympathy with the protagonist and the author. Not only that, this Stephen Dedalus character began to remind me incredibly strongly of the Joyce-worshipping boyfriend, whom I had just broken up with weeks earlier. They were both totally pretentious and couldn’t keep it in their pants! (This is the same boyfriend who would get me so angry, the one I mentioned earlier in my review of These Twain. He’s certainly getting a harsh edit in these book reviews. Who knew he was so inextricably linked to 1916? He did have many good qualities, which were not at the forefront of my mind when read Portrait of the Artist.)

 

I ended up despising this novel. I bet if I re-read it now having had more life experience, I would have a more gentle and forgiving eye, but I probably never will. (Also, what kind of person likes Stephen Hero but not this one, when Stephen Hero is just an earlier draft of the same book? I think it’s pretty clear that the problem was mainly me, or mainly the ex-boyfriend.) I do get another chance to give James Joyce a fair shake in 1918 with his play Exiles.

 

I inherited my mom’s copy of this novel. It’s all marked up with notes, including D.H. Lawrence’s assessment of Joyce—“too terribly would-be and done-on-purpose, utterly without spontaneity or real life”—to which I say, people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Much more magically, this copy contains photographs of me and my mom and Aine. Look at how happy we all were back then! These were from my birthday, in 2010 or even earlier.

 

 

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review 2017-01-07 22:53
Book Review of Light In Darkness (Others of Edenton Book 6) by Brandy L Rivers
Light In Darkness (Others of Edenton Book 6) - Tara Shaner,Brandy L. Rivers

Sometimes light comes from the darkest shadows…

 

Lincoln, having been sheltered his whole life, is finally finding his path after losing his mother. Gaining confidence isn’t easy, but he can’t resist going after the woman he craves.

 

Victoria believes she is a monster. Her past is full of darkness and pain, horrors she would protect Lincoln from. Pushing him away proves harder than she imagined now that his heart is set on her.

 

A secret is revealed when a group of Other hunters come searching for Victoria, putting Lincoln in danger.

 

Will darkness consume Victoria? Or will Lincoln’s light show her the truth?

 

Review 5*

 

This is the sixth book in the Others of Edenton series. I loved it!

 

Lincoln is a wonderful character. I liked him a lot. He has been in the periphery of the storyline for the most part as a secondary character since the first book, so I was glad this story gave me a chance to get to know him better. He has been attracted to Victoria for a while, but due to his sheltered upbringing, he has an innocence about him and he is rather shy. However, since the death of his mother, he has come out of his shell a lot more and gained confidence. He knows it'll be hard to win Victoria's heart, but as danger threatens and brings them closer together, can he show her that she's not the monster she thinks she is?

 

Victoria is also a wonderful character. I liked her a lot too. She is a vampire - a shadowstalker to be precise - who has fought hard to not feed on Other blood for several years. She is also attracted to Lincoln, but is determined not to give in to the temptation he represents. When she finds herself the target of an organisation that hunts Others, she must decide whether to embrace her inner darkness or entrust her heart to Lincoln.

 

This is a hard review to write because I don't want to give any spoilers. I will say that I thought this book has been the best of the series so far. I love the way Lincoln and Victoria's relationship unfolded. Lincoln is so determined that Victoria be his, he keeps chipping away at the wall she's placed around herself that she's got only one choice, and that's to surrender.

 

There are several twists and turns in this story, along with a few surprises, which kept me hooked. As secrets are revealed, Lincoln comes into his own. I enjoyed watching him gain even more confidence and see how his character grew. Victoria grew as a character too. There is a definite story arc developing as an organisation called HARP is introduced. This organisation seems to be playing with both human and Other fears and pitting them against each other. What their end game is, I'm not sure. One thing I am sure of is that this book has a lot of action. I enjoyed meeting the residents of Edenton again, even though they always seem to be under siege from someone's enemy. However, there are several new characters introduced, though some were introduced in prior books but only had minor roles. Declan, Fallon and Devlin's father, is now sharing a house with Victoria as she is his sponsor since being turned into a vampire. We also get to meet Hadraniel and Jophiel, who are both angels. Byron is a young man bent on revenge, Monty is his brother (and a vampire) and they are both in HARP. Then there is Mena and Jones, who are the leaders of HARP. They are not exactly human and feed off of pain and fear of their victims.

 

The story is a mix of romance, magic and danger, and takes the reader on an emotional roller coaster ride from start to finish. It felt like I'd only just started reading and then it finished! But, having said that, I raced through the pages as I was completely gripped by the story. Though this book does not finish on a cliffhanger, it left me looking forward to continuing the series with Blissful Agony to find out what happens next.

 

Brandy L. Rivers has written an entertaining paranormal romance series. I love her fast paced writing style, and the flow is wonderful. Her characters are lifelike and likable. With her ability to write in both the paranormal and contemporary romance genres, she is one of my go to authors when I'm in the mood for a sexy read.

 

Due to explicit scenes of a sexual nature, as well as use of bad language, I do not recommend this book to readers under the age of 18. However, I do recommend this book if you love hot erotic paranormal romances full of sexy men and determined women. - Lynn Worton

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review 2016-12-29 18:38
Between Darkness and Light by Exaggerated_Specificity
Between Darkness and Light - Exaggerated_Specificity

A very dark, very moving wincest fic based on graphic novel 'The Crow.' Sam seeks revenge after a gang destroys Sam and Dean's happy retirement in Lawrence, Kansas.
Art by chomaisky
description
'It wasn’t a death befitting a hunter, a hero. It was stupid, it was sloppy. It was meaningless and needlessly violent. It was a death that didn’t mean anything in the grand scheme of the universe.'

Source: archiveofourown.org/works/4459892?view_full_work=true
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text 2016-10-05 12:06
This weeks featured Author is Kyra Halland

 

 

Twelve noblebright fantasy novels of beauty and wonder! Noblebright fantasy characters have the courage to risk kindness, honesty, integrity, and love; to fight against their own flaws and the darkness of the world around them; and to find hope in a grim world. This boxed set includes novels by C. J. Brightley - The King's Sword: A disillusioned soldier. A spoiled, untried prince. And a coup that threatens the country they both love. Lindsay Buroker - The Emperor’s Edge — A law enforcer being hunted for a crime she didn’t commit must work with a cold-hearted assassin to save the only person who can clear her name. Sabrina Chase - The Last Mage Guardian: Most thought the Mage Guardians simply a myth, but their old enemy knows better--and of their number only one remains to thwart his plan of magical domination and revenge. Francesca Forrest - Pen Pal: It starts with a message in a bottle and ends with revolution. Kyra Halland - Beneath the Canyons: A bounty-hunting wizard and a rancher's daughter with untrained powers must stop a renegade wizard who is tampering with dangerous magic. Angela Holder - Into the Storm: A massive hurricane will destroy Elathir unless Larine and her fellow wizards sacrifice everything to stop it. Ronald Long - On the Shores of Irradan: Ealrin Belouve and his friends travel to a new land and face new dangers in search of a tree that may restore magic to one of their own. Mike Reeves McMillan - Hope and the Patient Man: A talented young mage must overcome a curse to be with the wounded hero who loves her. T. A. Miles - Six Celestial Swords: The dragon Chaos threatens the magical world of Dryth. Xu Liang sets out on a quest to unite the only six magical blades that can save it. Christina Ochs - Rise of the Storm: When a renegade priest prophesies an imminent apocalypse, a conflict is sparked which will tip a continent into war. Sherwood Smith - Lhind the Thief: Lhind enjoys life on the run, taking what she wants, until her secrets are uncovered one by one. Emily Martha Sorensen - The Keeper and the Rulership: In a world where mathematics and magic are forbidden, Raneh's growing magic and can't figure out how to stop. Most books in this set are appropriate for ages 13+, but Hope and the Patient Man is appropriate for ages 16+. 

 

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

 Beginning with the Prydain books by Lloyd Alexander and the Earthsea Trilogy by Ursula K. Leguin, Kyra Halland has always loved fantasy. She has also always loved a good love story. In 1990, as a new stay-at-home mom with a young baby, she finally decided to combine those two loves - like chocolate and peanut butter! - by writing the kinds of romantic fantasy novels she wanted to read. Complicated, honorable heroes; heroines who are strong, smart, and all woman; magic, romance, and adventure; and excursions into the dark corners of life and human nature mixed with a dash of offbeat humor - all of these make up Kyra Halland's worlds. She is excited to share those worlds with readers, who she hopes will enjoy her stories and characters as much as she does. Kyra Halland lives in southern Arizona. She has a very patient husband, two less-patient cats, and two young adult sons. Besides writing, she enjoys scrapbooking and anime, and she wants to be a crazy cat lady when she grows up.

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