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review 2017-11-25 01:51
A fast, clever, intro to a fantasy trilogy.
The Hidden Face (The Fifth Unmasking Book 1) - S. C. Flynn

There's so much of the world-building, the overall mythology and political structure of this book that drives the plot and is given in bits and pieces to the reader, that I'm having a hard time knowing how talk about it without taking away anything from your experience in reading the book.


Essentially, you've got Dayraven, returning to the Emperor's court from being a political hostage for 15 years -- he's pretty smart, a better than average fighter, and the son of a legendarily great warrior. He's been returned to the court at a pivotal time, and he's also supposed to be meeting his former teacher for reasons he doesn't understand, but seem possibly more important.


One of those reasons is to be teamed up with Sunniva, a woman making her way through the world disguised as a man to make it easier for her to move freely as she searches for her missing father. I really liked her -- from her memories of a childhood where she'd get bored playing the way the other kids wanted to, so she'd make up her own stories of battle and gallantry, to her dealing with her phobias, to her grit, determination, and compassion. She's not much clearer on why she's been teamed up with Dayraven, but jumps in with both feet, certain that it's the right thing to do.


They have puzzles to solve, clues to piece together -- which lead to fights with mercenaries, legendary criminals, a conspiracy or two, and others, while they're trying to piece together more of the clues which should point the way to the Fifth Unmasking. Don't worry, you'll find out what that means as you read the book. On the one hand, none of this story is new to you -- you've read all these elements before. But the way that Flynn has assembled them, and the way he executes them are pretty novel and are interestingly entertaining.


When we first meet the Emperor, I wasn't sure how I was supposed to feel about him -- whether he was supposed to be funny, if I was supposed to pity him, or something else entirely. If you react similarly, hang in there, and you'll learn that both reactions are wrong -- and you'll likely end up really liking the Emperor.

There's a very Sméagol-y character, a few clearly villain-ish characters, and a pretty cool mercenary to round out the cast. All in all, especially by the time we get to the end of the novel and we understand them all pretty clearly, are as strong a collection that you can ask for.


Flynn does do something that it bugs me so much when Fantasy authors do -- he uses words/names/ from English/our world to mean something alien in their world. FOr example, the kingdom of Faustia results in the adjective "Faustian." Which is used a lot, and each time I had to remind myself that he didn't mean anything like what is usually meant. It's pretty distracting. Particularly in the opening chapters there's a sentence or two of dialogue that made me roll my eyes. But it's not something that detracts too much from the story or, really, makes up that much of the dialogue. My most significant area of criticism is the way that Flynn unspools the mythology for the reader -- I think he could have done it a little faster and clearer to get the reader on board with the theology/government of this world. Is it possible that I was being particularly dense this day? Yes. Is it possible that other readers will pick up on things a lot better than I did? Yes. But I don't think so -- I think it was Flynn trying to avoid an info-dump and to dole out the information to the reader at his pace. Which I absolutely endorse, I just think he could have done it a smidge faster.


I'm not sure, but I can't think of many fantasy novels that I've read lately that are as short as The Hidden Face. This isn't a selling point or a word of warning, I'm just saying this is short, and fast paced. Flynn crams a lot of story into this book and does it well. You don't feel rushed, or that he's cutting corners -- you don't get the impression he's doing anything other than telling his story until you stop and think of everything that happens in 350 pages, a good deal of it is what I expected in book 3. I'm not sure how he pulls that off, honestly.


This is a strong, fast and gripping fantasy novel. I cannot wait for the sequel -- it's pretty clear where it'll start, but I'm not really sure what to expect the story to do after that, and that really appeals to me. The Hidden Face, isn't perfect, but it's good -- you should give it a try.


Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the author in exchange for my honest opinion, for which I'm grateful, but not so grateful that it colored my thinking.

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2017/11/24/the-hidden-face-by-s-c-flynn
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review 2017-11-24 23:08
Changing Lines (Harrisburg Railers, #1) by R.J. Scott and V.L. Locey Review
Changing Lines (Harrisburg Railers Hockey Book 1) - RJ Scott,V.L. Locey

The Rowe Brothers are famous hockey hotshots, but as the youngest of the trio, Tennant has always had to play against his brothers’ reputations. To get out of their shadows, and against their advice, he accepts a trade to the Harrisburg Railers, where he runs into Jared Madsen. Mads is an old family friend and his brother’s one-time teammate. Mads is Tennant’s new coach. And Mads is the sexiest thing he’s ever laid eyes on.


Jared Madsen’s hockey career was cut short by a fault in his heart, but coaching keeps him close to the game. When Ten is traded to the team, his carefully organized world is thrown into chaos. Nine years younger and his best friend’s brother, he knows Ten is strictly off-limits, but as soon as he sees Ten’s moves, on and off the ice, he knows his heart could get him into trouble again.




This is a bit of an odd read. Jared and Tennant are great characters. The hockey world building is well done and the cast is great.

The romance is sweet, hot, and steadfast. They deal with the age difference and the brother's friends troupe well. However, we miss a lot of the moments in the love story as they happen off stage and it keeps this book from really being a great romance.

I am looking forward to the rest of the series.

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review 2017-11-24 21:27
“Seek the light, Dark One, when chaos and confusion obscure the truth. Keep faith, Dark One, against the tribulations that will raise your doubt. Be true, Dark One, to the one you love most in your heart.”
Dark Longing (Pure/ Dark Ones Book 2) - Aja James

Received a copy from author for honest review.


You don’t need to have read Pure Healing to read this book. If you have read Pure Healing then, this book will not disappoint you.


This was truly a wonderful story. The characters were full of depth and I couldn’t help rooting for them, even ones that you probably shouldn’t. There is a bit of a mystery but it is not the heart of the story. This is a story that goes beyond love and delves into destiny. What does one do when more than your soul is on the line? What would you give to spare the love of you existence pain? Will you give up this life for a chance of meeting again? The painful truth is that these questions demand an answers before destiny can be fulfilled and you won’t know the consequences of your choice until destiny has its way. But the journey maybe just as important as your destination because when living becomes the deciding factor, only what you know to be true can give you the courage to choose. As with all good stories, the ending leaves with with a few questions and several intriguing possibilities. I look forward to what this series has in store next.

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review 2017-11-24 20:40
The Book of Gold
The Book of Gold - Bob Staake,Bob Staake
I think this book is geared for older children, kids who are at least in the third grade. From looking at its cover and its title, I was hoping it would be something I could read to my 5-year old granddaughter but it just didn’t keep her attention with far too many words on each page and a storyline that didn’t jump out at her. I did enjoy the story but I think it is a story that only older elementary students will be able to enjoy. If you take the time to notice the illustrations, you will see that the beginning illustrations were created using a dull yellow. Something changes within the main characters as the story continues and suddenly the illustrations burst out with color. It isn’t till the final pages of the novel when another change occurs, this time the pages are coated in gold as another change occurs within the main character. I liked this transformation with the illustrations and I thought the story was cute and entertaining but I don’t think a young child will find this story captivating.
The story centers around a young child named Isaac who really doesn’t care about anything. His parents are trying to find something to engage his interest in but nothing is working. They have tried to talking to him about a variety of subjects and now they are tempting him with books. They are trying to show Isaac that his world is vast and the answers to his world are inside novels. His parents love books and the knowledge that they have gained from them but Isaac doesn’t care about books or his world. The trip to the library didn’t work so on their way home, they pass a store front were mother stops to buy a present. This novelty shop was full of strange items but Isaac was not impressed. When the shopkeeper notices the bored Isaac, she finds it odd that he is memorized by her wares and she talks to him. When she mentions The Book of Gold to him, Isaac finally becomes excited and his life changes. The Book of Gold has become his mission and Isaac begins this transformation. The ending was not what I expected or wanted, I guess I didn’t know what to expect but the ending left me hanging.


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text 2017-11-24 19:29
First three books free today 11/24/17
Rose Hill Mystery Series Three-Book Collection: Books 1-3 - Pamela Grandstaff

I read the first of these and wasn't overly impressed (review here) but others may like it, so I thought I'd offer the link since all three are free today, at least in the U.S.

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