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review 2017-12-07 00:30
Necromancy and toilet humour make for surprisingly good MG
The Silver Mask (Magisterium, Book 4) (The Magisterium) - Holly Black,Cassandra Clare

This latest entry in wonderful MG magic-school series Magisterium balances some seriously dark themes and action with laugh-out-loud lines.


The first book or two's Harry Potter overtones with all the joy of discovering a new magic world were more fun, to be honest, but as the penultimate book, I can see how things are ramping up. I


'd say this is borderline YA - as the kids move on through the school years/grades, they're heading into teen territory, adding kissing and mild romance angst to death, identity crises, and necromancy. I'd recommend for older kids, maybe 10 or even 12+. But the relatively simple language and style of expression are solidly middle grade. Looking forward to the big wrap up in book 5!

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review 2017-09-04 09:35
Finn Fancy Necromancy (The Arcana Familia, #1)
Finn Fancy Necromancy - Randy Henderson

A different kind of urban fantasy for me, but I liked it.


Finn was framed for dark magic when he was 15 and exiled to the Fae world, where they fed off his memories for 25 years.  When he's finally released, an attack during the 'exchange' (a changing was using his body during his sentence) left him with his body back but without the usual memory transfer, leaving him with no idea what's happened in the world for the last 25 years.


This allows the story to occasionally wallow in cheesy 80's references, and his fellow exile Zeke to look like what sounds like a Nordic Mr. T.  If you're a child of the 80's or a fan of pop culture, it definitely makes the story chuckle-worthy.  


The plot revolves around Finn trying to clear his name and figure out who didn't want him released from exile.  The answer was both transparently obvious from the start and a surprise; I missed enough clues along the way that I didn't see the twist coming. 


I must be getting old, because I found myself skimming a lot of the action scenes, but I did thoroughly enjoy the book.  It's funny and well written and I cared about what was going to happen to the characters.


It's the start of a series, and I'll happily read book #2, but I'm not champing at the bit to rush out to buy it.  I'll come across it eventually and snap it up when I do.



(I was a bit worried at first that this book wasn't going to have ghosts beyond the first couple of chapters, but they end up playing a significant part in the plot, even though it isn't strictly a 'ghost' story.)

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review 2017-07-13 20:34
Bright Smoke, Cold Fire
Bright Smoke, Cold Fire - Rosamund Hodge

[I received a copy of this book through Edelweiss.]

Hmm, not sure about this one. It’s a retelling of ‘Romeo & Juliet’, in a city that is the last one standing while the rest of the world has been invaded by ‘zombies’, where three families share the power, and where the religious order of the Sisters of Thorn has to perform yearly blood sacrifices in order to keep the undead at bay. It has a mysterious plague that makes people rise again after their death if precautions aren’t taken, and in that city, ‘the Juliet’ is actually a warrior bred from birth through magic rituals, with the ability to sense if someone has shed her family’s blood, and the compulsion to avenge said family member in turn (in other words, she still does a few other things than feigning death, thinking Romeo is dead, and promptly killing herself in turn). Also, she’s doomed to turn mad at some point

All in all, why not? This was interesting. The story itself, though, was kind of confusing, and although it did end up making sense, there were quite a few things I would’ve seen developed more in depth. Such as the Night Games, or the Necromancer (who kind of turned up at the awkward moment), or the Romeo/Paris/Vai trio relationship.

I’m not sure about the characters. I sort of liked the Juliet? Because she had that idea that ‘I’m already dead, and Romeo is dead, so I don’t care about dying because it means I can see him again’, yet at the same time she was quite lively and determined and not actively trying to take her own life while moping; her story is also rather sad (stripped of her name/real identity in a family whose beliefs in the afterlife involve having a name in order to be saved... nice). Romeo, though, was kind of stupid, and Paris way too naive; of the power trio there, the one I definitely liked was Vai (with a twist that was a bit predictable, but eh, he was fun to read about, and I totally agreed with the way he envisioned problems and how to tackle them!). As for Runajo... I don’t know. Determined, too, yet there were several moments when I thought her decisions should have her get killed or cast out or something, and she wasn’t because Plot Device.

(And very, very minor thing that probably only peeved me because I’m French, but... ‘Catresou’ sounds just so damn weird. I kept reading and ‘hearing’ that name as a French name, which sounds exactly like ‘quatre sous’—that’s like ‘four pence’—aaaand... Yep, so bizarre.)

Conclusion: 2.5 stars. To be fair, I liked the world depicted here in general, and that this retelling is sufficiently removed from R & J as to stand by itself; however, it was probably too ambitious for one volume, and ended up confusing.

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review 2016-10-20 21:46
Book Review of Necromancist (The Seven Forbidden Arts Book 6) Kindle by Charmaine Pauls
Necromancist (The Seven Forbidden Arts Book 6) - Charmaine Pauls

Nine years ago he took her virginity. Now he’s back for revenge.


Alice Jones has loved one man only–the man who stripped her from her clothes and defenses to leave her vulnerable and cold, the man who took her virginity and went downstairs for ‘a glass of water’ never to return. After nine years the once poor and shamed Ivan Kray is back in London, now a world-famous rock star. He is wealthy, successful, surrounded by millions of fans, and built like a machine while she is struggling, single, overweight, and has to borrow affection from her neighbor’s cat. To make matters worse, he blames her and her family for driving him away. This time round, Ivan doesn’t come to her with gentle caresses and roses. He comes with vengeance and thorns that will either purge or destroy her.


A malnourished toddler barely kept from starving by a nursing dog, Ivan Kray grows up into a hard and emotionally scarred man with a golden voice and a cursed art. Suffering from visions and voices in his head, he finds peace in Alice Jones’ heart and naked arms, only to be knocked down once again. When she chooses her upper-class family over him, he slaves for nine long years to climb to the top of the ladder with one purpose only–to take revenge. He swore he’d be her first and last, and he isn’t a man to break his promises. His plans of submitting Alice to his will are hampered when someone tries to kill him. The sinister attempts on his life are more than the actions of a fan gone fanatic. When his hunter uses Alice to achieve his ominous goal, Ivan must acknowledge his true feelings and put his skills as necromancist to the ultimate test. Will his unusual ability be enough to save Alice before it’s too late to tell her the truth?


Review 4*


This is the sixth book in the Seven Forbidden Arts series. I loved it!


Alice Jones is a wonderful character. I really liked her. She is an independent woman and level headed, though she has low confidence in herself from being abandoned by her parents, and Ivan when she needed him the most. She is now working in the PR office of a theatre in London. However, nine years before she'd met Ivan Kray and fallen for him. After a night of passion he disappeared from her life. Now he's back and determined to exact revenge. Will she be able to survive with her heart intact, or will she have it broken all over again?


Ivan Kray is a character with a huge chip on his shoulder. I didn't like him very much to begin with, but as I got to know and understand him, he gained my admiration. He is a Necromancist, able to talk to the spirits of the dead. However, in Alice's presence, the voices and visions that usually plague him disappear. After being thrown out of the house by Alice's father nine years previously, he was determined to make something of himself and became a huge rock star. Now he's determined to punish Alice but as danger threatens, he finds himself having to make the biggest sacrifice of his life.


Having previously read the other books of the series (although for some reason I've missed Geomancist), when I found out that Necromancist was due to be released I pre-ordered my copy. However, I was also contacted by the author to see if I would like a complementary copy to read, which I accepted.


I started to read the story and was quickly hooked. I found myself on a huge emotional roller coaster ride from start to finish. There are a few twists and turns that I didn't see coming and a shocking scene that had me in tears. Finding out who Alice's father is, was a bit of a shock too. However, as this brought the other members of the paranormal task force into the story, it made sense. I loved meeting them again. The heat level between Alice and Ivan is extremely hot and the bedroom scenes are a little on the kinky side (think spanking and anal play, though not full on BDSM). I was unsure how the author was going to end the story, but I was pleasantly surprised with how it did end. I am now looking forward to reading book seven, which will, I think, be the final book of the series when it's released. Though, I think I will read Geomancist in the meantime. Although these books are standalone, it is better to read them in order.


Charmaine Pauls has written an entertaining standalone erotic romance. Her characters are lifelike and come alive on the page. I love her fast paced writing style and the flow is wonderful. I would definitely consider reading more of her books in the future.


Due to the explicit nature of some of the scenes, as well as use of foul language, I do not recommend this book to readers under the age of 18. I do, however, recommend this book if you love science fiction, erotica, erotic romance or paranormal romance genres. – Lynn Worton

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review 2016-10-06 20:40
Eight Rivers of Shadow
Eight Rivers of Shadow - Leo R. Hunt

[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]


Alas, I didn’t enjoy this second instalment as much as I did the first. It lacked the character dynamics, the spark I had felt at the beginning of this series.


I think the main reason is the way Luke and Elza are rather isolated from the others throughout the novel, even from their parents (who apparently don't even care what their kids do?). Elza’s family pops in on one page only, Luke’s mother is faring better health-wise but still not very present, Luke’s former friends don’t talk to him anymore… So mostly it revolved around two, maximum three people at a time, and in turn, it shed light on the fact those characters weren’t that much developed. It would have been a great opportunity to do so, and it wasn’t used as such, and I found this too bad.


Another annoying thing was the magic itself: here, too, this book provided huge opportunities of developing it, more specifically of showing Luke growing into it and learning more. However, for the most part, he either didn’t want anything to do with it, or bumbled from one mistake to the other (when he was warned about what mistakes not to make!) while more savvy characters saved the day. Not unexpected, sure, but frustrating no matter what. Or perhaps it is my bias towards necromancy speaking?


On the other hand, the novel shows an actual foray into the land of the dead, which is definitely not unexpected where magic of the necromancy type is concerned! This catabasis was very welcome as far as I’m concerned. And ghosts fighting each other. That’s cool. (I would really have wanted to know more about the Widow!)


Also present in this second book: themes that make you think and difficult choices to make, especially when it comes to helping your loved ones vs. the sacrifices you may have to make. Again, this is about necromancy, not kittens and giggles, right?


Conclusion: Still interesting, only I didn’t feel invested much in the characters, and Luke disappointed me both with his magic and with his borderline stupid decisions.

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