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review 2017-03-24 15:27
Hot Lead, Cold Iron / Ari Marmell
Hot Lead, Cold Iron: A Mick Oberon Job Book 1 by Marmell, Ari (2014) Paperback - Ari Marmell

Chicago, 1932. Mick Oberon may look like just another private detective, but beneath the fedora and the overcoat, he's got pointy ears and he's packing a wand. 

Oberon's used to solving supernatural crimes, but the latest one's extra weird. A mobster's daughter was kidnapped sixteen years ago, replaced with a changeling, and Mick's been hired to find the real child. The trail's gone cold, but what there is leads Sideways, to the world of the Fae, where the Seelie Court rules. And Mick's not really welcome in the Seelie Court any more. He'll have to wade through Fae politics and mob power struggles to find the kidnapper – and of course it's the last person he expected.

 

Hard-boiled detective + the Fae = an interesting first book.

When I ran across this title in my public library’s catalog, I was intrigued. Those of you who read my reviews regularly will know that I am a sucker for books that feature Fae characters. I love them! Plus, I am an enormous fan of Raymond Chandler, so this combo was irresistible.

I enjoyed Marmell’s take on the Fae. Mick Oberon (yes, he’s related to THAT Oberon) has a penchant for milk, cream when he’s needs something a bit stronger. He doesn’t always ask for money to pay for his jobs—but he has an instinct for asking for something which later helps with a new problem. He’s also extremely reluctant to head back Underhill for any reason.

Marmell is obviously fully conversant with the whole hard-boiled genre. Mick is tough-talking, hard-(milk)-drinking, and wise-cracking. He gets beat on and thumps others in return. All the correct boxes are ticked. It would be unfair to compare his writing to Chandler—very few can live up to those standards. If I have a niggling annoyance, it’s that I felt the Chicago gangland vocabulary was laid on awfully thick (with a trowel, really).

Still, it’s a fun fantasy world and I will definitely continue on with the series. Not, however, a series that I will want to own.

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review 2017-03-23 15:01
Hyperion / Dan Simmons
Hyperion - Dan Simmons

On the world called Hyperion, beyond the law of the Hegemony of Man, there waits the creature called the Shrike. There are those who worship it. There are those who fear it. And there are those who have vowed to destroy it. In the Valley of the Time Tombs, where huge, brooding structures move backward through time, the Shrike waits for them all. On the eve of Armageddon, with the entire galaxy at war, seven pilgrims set forth on a final voyage to Hyperion seeking the answers to the unsolved riddles of their lives. Each carries a desperate hope—and a terrible secret. And one may hold the fate of humanity in his hands.

 

Canterbury Tales in space. With the plotting of Agatha Christie.

Earth is just a memory, destroyed long ago, but it looms large in the galactic consciousness. Hyperion is a world on the edge of things—not really part of the Hegemony of Man, not really part of the opposition either. Ruled or haunted by a being known as The Shrike.

As a birder, I am familiar with shrikes. They are songbirds that think they are raptors. When you find one of their larders, you feel like you’ve discovered a serial killer’s lair—they use thorn bushes or barbed wire to impale their prey until needed to feed chicks or themselves. Simmons borrows this behaviour for his creation and it feels ominous.

As for the Canterbury Tales aspect, seven pilgrims are traveling to Hyperion on the eve of galactic war. As they make their way to the Time Tombs on Hyperion, they agree to tell their tales of what has prompted their participation in the expedition. As their stories unfold, we acquire the background that we need to learn more about Simmons’ universe and enough to tantalize us about what may be happening.

As to the Christie angle, I realized as I enjoyed each character’s story that Simmons had skillfully crafted all of the tales to fit together in interesting and intricate ways. Events in each person’s life, reaching back many years in every case, have drawn them to be where they currently are. Have they been manipulated by the Shrike? Or is this a case of massive synchronicity?

I loved the ending of this book and if it was a stand-alone, I could live with that. However, I am pleased that there are three more books to explore this intriguing universe.

Book 251 of my Science Fiction and Fantasy Reading Project.

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review 2017-03-23 07:30
#21 - Thirteen reasons why by Jay Asher
Thirteen Reasons Why - Jay Asher

This book was hard. Not as hard as I though it would be, but definitely hard. What you do matter to other people, it can influence their lives. Even insignificant events, maybe those are not that insignificant to everyone.


Reading this book, I thought a lot about high school and primary school and I remembered all the little things I did that now make me feel like an asshole. I also remember what other people did that make me feel like shit. I would not want to live these years over again, teen years are the hardest.


This book has to be read, I think it should be read and discussed in class. It matters.

The format is also really great, I love how Hannas' story is shown through the tapes.
I really recommend this !

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review 2017-03-23 00:43
Take Me Back - Meghan March

When I heard that Meghan March would be releasing a new stand-alone novel I was over the moon. I have been a fan ever since being introduced to her ‘Beneath’ series. When I started this book, I thought this would be an emotional read about a couple, trying to rekindle the flames in their marriage. Indeed that was the case, but it went deeper than that, in fact, the turn of events took me by surprise. From that point, I had difficulty putting my kindle down. This is the second book that I have read in less than a week that blindsided me in a good way.

‘Take Me Back" is an amazing second chance love story. It's an intense, touching, addictive, sexy and suspenseful read that kept me on the edge of my seat. The story started out slow, but that pace was fitting for the events at that time, but then at around fifty-five percent, the angle of the story changed in a manner I never saw coming. Based on how the story was going, I knew something was going to happen but it went beyond what I expected. However, the secrets that Dane had kept about his life made the events fitting.

The story told from Dane and Kat’s perspective was written mainly in the present day. There were flashbacks to help readers understand what led them to their current position. Dane recognized that he and Kat had issues that needed solving and so he decided to take steps to address these issues. However, he ended up getting more than he bargained for.

This is a well-written story with fantastic characters. The romance and suspense were well-balanced. I should warn you the romance was written in true Meghan March style. That is hot and steamy. The story flowed seamlessly from start to finish and the pacing good. The story which was gripping held me captive to the end. It was not perfect as there was a particular scene, which I found somewhat unrealistic. I choose not to state what it is as doing may lead to spoilers. This, however, did not make me like the story any less.

This novel reinforced the fact that for relationships to succeed all parties involved need to play their part. Without the proper nurturing, a relationship is bound for failure. The first step in salvaging what was lost is to recognize that there is indeed a problem. I liked that Dane and Kat recognized that they had problems. Their love for each other gave them the strength to fight for what they once had. Their willingness to accept their share of the blame for the breakdown of their marriage was admirable. Theirs was a marriage established on secrets and lies, which would come back to haunt them.

Verdict:

Take Me Back is a story of forgiveness, loss, restoration and healing. If you enjoy second chance romances that are action-packed and have some steamy scenes then this book is for you.


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review 2017-03-21 21:05
Ashes of Honor / Seanan McGuire
Ashes of Honor - Seanan McGuire

It’s been almost a year since October “Toby” Daye averted a war, gave up a county, and suffered personal losses that have left her wishing for a good day’s sleep. She’s tried to focus on her responsibilities—training Quentin, upholding her position as Sylvester’s knight, and paying the bills—but she can’t help feeling like her world is crumbling around her, and her increasingly reckless behavior is beginning to worry even her staunchest supporters.

To make matters worse, Toby’s just been asked to find another missing child…only this time it’s the changeling daughter of her fellow knight, Etienne, who didn’t even know he was a father until the girl went missing. Her name is Chelsea. She’s a teleporter, like her father. She’s also the kind of changeling the old stories warn about, the ones with all the strength and none of the control. She’s opening doors that were never meant to be opened, releasing dangers that were sealed away centuries before—and there’s a good chance she could destroy Faerie if she isn’t stopped.

Now Toby must find Chelsea before time runs out, racing against an unknown deadline and through unknown worlds as she and her allies try to avert disaster. But danger is also stirring in the Court of Cats, and Tybalt may need Toby’s help with the biggest challenge he’s ever faced.

Toby thought the last year was bad. She has no idea.

 

Yay! This is book, folks, where Toby Daye finally wakes up and smells the coffee, both literally and figuratively. Indeed, she is as obsessed with coffee drinking as I am and all the people in her life have learned to make it to her specifications. Plus, she has learned about those people in her life—she cares about them, they care about her, and she should probably get used to that.

It was great to see her accept and even solicit help from her regular crew of friends and to see them all win the day as a team. No more isolation! She & Tybalt are officially great at co-operating to get things done, save each other’s lives, and defend the innocent. Not to mention their excellent chemistry! I also appreciate that this romance element to the story doesn’t over-power the novel. It’s an excellent side dish to a satisfying meal.

I think the major reason that I love October is because she is a flawed main character. She has obstacles to overcome, probably as many of them in her own mind as in the real world. And, like all of us, she has to work through her issues until she reaches a place where she can claim a little more happiness.

This is the series that started my serious love-affair with all things Fae. It’s a good time to love Fae fantasies, they are everywhere now, but this will always be my first love in that category. Thanks, Seanan McGuire, for hours of happy entertainment.

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