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review 2018-03-11 04:11
Multi-fantasy-genre mashup with surprisingly good twists
Fire and Bone - Rachel A. Marks

Disclaimer: Reviewing uncorrected proof on NetGalley

 

This seemed like one of those genre-bridging stories that you're technically not supposed to do, but that often work so well. There are elements of Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, and Contemporary Fantasy in the mix, and it sort of hovers on the edge of YA/NA/Adult Fantasy.

 

I found it a little hard to get into at first. The narrative switches perspective between the MC, a homeless teen on the streets of LA who discovers unexpected, uncontrollable powers, and the man (immortal Irish magical something or other) who protects her. The voices aren't necessarily all that distinct, and at the beginning it feels like there's a bit more information to get caught up on and angsty internal monologue than I really needed, but I'm glad I stuck with it, because by the end I was ready to pick up the sequel immediately!

 

The magical worldbuilding, with gritty back alleys, glitzy clubs, and luxurious, at times otherworldly, retreats, is quite well done, and the mixed supernatural/fantasy cast of gods and goddesses, their powerful children, fae, vampires, and other creatures actually fits together pretty seamlessly. Part of what makes it a hard read at the start is that the main character/viewpoint character doesn't have a clue what's going on, and you have to follow through with her as she stumbles, fights back against those who could help her, and generally suffers a lot before finding her balance.

 

I liked the twists - there's some really interesting stuff happening with identity, memory, and purpose. I was worried about this tipping into explicit NA territory, but while there's some sexual situations, lots of ink spilled on romantic mishaps, and some language/violence etc. that ranks a mature rating, it never goes too far - though I wouldn't be surprised if the main characters hook up at some point in the series. So, for me, that was a count in its favour that all the romantic stuff didn't get detailed.

 

Weirdly, this kind of reminded me of a Sarah J. Maas book, with a bit of a slower start and wild, power-move twists at the end. There's a lot of potential here for an intense series and I'd be up to see where things go.

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text 2018-03-05 00:15
Calling all book bloggers~~
Blind the Eyes Limited Preview Edition: 3 Chapter Preview - K.A. Wiggins

Hey guys! I have a last-minute cover reveal for Blind the Eyes coming up this week because I've got some other exciting news breaking pretty much immediately.

 

If anyone has an opening on their blog or whatever social channel you're rocking and would like to get involved in sharing the news/boosting the signal, please DM!

 

For everyone else, subscribers get exclusive first looks, breaking news, & previews at http://kaie.space/newsletter

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text 2016-07-25 14:23
#24 in 48 wrap up
The Coming of the Third Reich - Richard J. Evans
The Trouble with Women - Jacky Fleming
The Mystery of the Mary Celeste: The History of the American Merchant Vessel and the Disappearance of Its Crew - Charles River Editors
Weird Scotland: Monsters, Mysteries, and Magic Across the Scottish Nation - Charles River Editors
Hoofprints: Horse Poems - Jessie Haas

So I finished the Evans as well as the Netgalley graphic novel, Hoofprints, and two short books.  I also made my way though most of Gentlemen and Players.  Additionally, I read the NYT pretty cover to cover or page to page.

 

That was fun.

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review 2016-05-09 20:03
Not-So-Mysterious-After-All New Mexico
Mysterious New Mexico: Miracles, Magic, and Monsters in the Land of Enchantment - Benjamin Radford

 

It was intriguing to read the methodology of man who investigates paranormal claims. Since his goal is to disprove them all, the book might better be called “Not-So-Mysterious-After-All New Mexico.” The topics in the book range from ghosts to miracles to UFOs to monstrous birds, crystal skulls, and of course the legendary La Llorona, who is creatively depicted on the cover.

 

Each chapter takes a predictable path. The author introduces the legend or event, the people who believe in it or did in the past, makes it sound as if he thinks it would be so wonderful if it were to turn out to be true, and then through a mixture of on-site experiments and historical or scientific research, he shows why it just ain’t so. If there was an intentional scam, he gives the scammers their due. If it’s an honest error, he makes an effort—not always successful— to sound respectful of the people who believe, explaining how memory can be faulty and attributions made to non-causative events. He does show great and sincere respect, though, for the dead who are falsely accused of being ghosts, pointing out how this dishonors their memory.

 

Unexpectedly, the author includes an actual unsolved serial killer case, and readily mentions the names of two deceased men who were suspected of being the killer but never proven guilty. This strikes me as a worse blow to someone’s legacy than being described as haunting a hotel or a theater. He also mentions the name of a living person who was cleared of guilt. Why do that to him? This chapter doesn't fit well in the book. The author brings up psychics who failed to solve the case as a way of forcing it to fit into the paranormal theme, but the Albuquerque police have so far failed to solve it, too, and I’m sure he doesn’t mean to discredit them. He does a good job of explaining why it’s been so difficult.

 

My favorite chapter is the one on the Old Cuchillo Bar, in which the author concludes that if the place isn’t haunted, it ought to be. It makes me want to visit it. He’s at his best when investigating things like this, explaining the physics behind why a certain cabinet opens itself, or when he examines the source of an apparent ghostly image on security camera footage at the Santa Fe Courthouse. That chapter is the funniest in the book, full of the city’s quirky personality.

 

The author is occasionally too much present in the narrative, but overall he writes well, turns a good phrase and tells an engaging story.

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review 2015-08-07 00:00
Monsters, Magic, and Machines (The SteamGoth Anthology)
Monsters, Magic, and Machines (The Steam... Monsters, Magic, and Machines (The SteamGoth Anthology) - Jonathan Baird,Bruce Blackistone,John Raposa The two stars reflect the two tales I enjoyed. One was about a demon on an airship ("The Curse of the Cygnus"), the other was about a lass from the 21st Century taken into an alternative reality.
The others? Some of the authors ought to be told that there are other punctuation marks besides full stops. Rambling sentences that are really paragraphs. Another uses "thru" and "Dr's" instead of "through" and "doctor's". This laziness meant I refused to read further.
Some of the stories had promise, but not lived up to.

I would happily read further adventures of the ones mentioned in the first paragraph. Besides those; no thanks.
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