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Search tags: out-of-my-past
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review 2018-01-14 23:24
Queer Magick (Queer Magick #1) by L.C. Davis
Queer Magick - L.C. Davis

After years of being imprisoned, used and abused by his father, Holden is finally settling down in Stillwater, a small New England town. He's been on the run for a long time, trying to cover his tracks by changing his name and moving from one place to another as far away from his home state as possible. 

A happy protective bubble of Stillwater seems like heaven. It has a few quirks, of course, but which town does not? Everyone knows everybody and people are mostly friendly. That is until Holden meets Daniel, a local vet (who is a veteran). An injured cat and the severity of the injury make Holden a catnapper when he refuses to surrender the poor kitty for euthanization and flees the clinic. 

Daniel knows what Holden is and confronts him shortly after catnapping. From that moment on the town secrets and the mysterious creatures start coming out of the woodwork full force. Every time you turn the page, there is a surprise. Every time you think you finally know who/what the person is, you are proven wrong. Things, people, situations turn and twist; there is humor, there are pockets of darkness and despair; there is an amazing diversity of characters (not going into details on the characters' subject, cause - spoilers! ;))

I could not get enough of the book and really wanted to give it five stars, but here is this:

- it ends smack in the middle of things. I can't even call it a cliffhanger, more like the author roughly separated the manuscript in two without much thought. 

- the story lost its momentum around 80%. Instead of fast paced it became stagnant with characters sitting around in one spot for weeks, waiting for the next full moon, reflecting, eating pizza and even (finally) having sex, since there is literally nothing else to do. But it looks like things are going to pick up with a vengeance in book two :D

Otherwise, an excellent read and pure pleasure :) Highly recommended

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review 2018-01-14 22:03
Christmas Past by Robert Brenner
Christmas Past: A Collectors' Guide to Its History and Decorations - Robert Brenner

I have to admit something to you all: I'm crazy about Christmas. I don't have a tree up all year or sing carols or anything, but as soon as Thanksgiving is over, IT'S ON! The Christmas albums come out, the lights get put up and our collection of ornaments get hung on the trees.*

My husband and I have family ornaments ranging from a few fragile German pieces from just after WWI to mid-century Shiny Brites to a piece of purple foil glued on cardstock marked 'MyLes' in pencil.** We also like finding eclectic antique and vintage ornaments in cotton or paper or glass. The problem is that while we've picked up a thing or two, we never had a comprehensive reference on how to identify or date ornaments. As 'crackers' as we are about the ornaments, there's a real limit to how much we'll spend on a piece of fragile glass or a disintegrating candy container. So we hunt for bargains that aren't going to be researched and labeled. That's where Robert Brenner and his books come in.

This Christmas we received three of his books on the history of ornaments. This one is his earliest and is a valuable reference tool, but it does suffer from some issues. The book is divided into sections based on the materials an ornament is made of - dough, cloth, metal, paper, wax, cotton, glass, composition and plastics - with some grey areas addressed. Oh, and lighting. The book is furnished with some excellent photos of early ornaments of most types discussed.

A big revelation was how many ornaments and styles kept on for decades after we thought they would have fallen out of fashion. We were aware of many modern reproductions, but certain styles of ornaments we thought were exclusively Victorian it turns out were made well up into the early 1930s - these include the large wire wrapped glass figurals and the abstract tinsel ornaments made built around tissue-thin glass spheres. "Feather trees", artificial trees made of wire and wrapped in dyed goose feathers, and the miniature ornaments to match, were also made right up until WWII. Brenner offers some advice on what to look for: a rule of thumb is that more elaborate construction and "true" lifelike colors in glass and paper indicate an earlier date. But there are exceptions. And, while there are hundreds of color images in the book, Brenner rarely, if ever, puts examples side by side. For example, if Japanese honeycomb tissue ornaments were 'less dense' then their German counterparts what does that mean exactly if there isn't a single picture of a German or a Japanese item?

The book is a great place to start, and there is a later edition of this book (still twenty years old...), but I'm hoping the others provide some more concrete examples and insight. I'm hoping to be a little more educated next time we come across promising ornaments.

*We had two. Maybe a third next year. Only one is real though! Does that make it better?

**I've always disliked arts and crafts, so I tended to phone it in even then.

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review 2018-01-14 18:28
A second chance with a little help.
A Texas Christmas Past (Whiskey River Christmas Book 1) - Julia Justiss

This story is about second chances at love with a little help from the spirit world. My heart hurt for both Audra and Drew as they dealt with their PTSD in their own ways, in a time when the idea of PTSD was unheard of. Audra had the strength to recognize her weakness and worked toward a future of healing herself and others. Drew felt a need to keep it to himself, and I felt sorry for him as he struggled with loneliness, anger, and shame. When they decide that the other is more important, I had tears in my eyes. The story moved me and entertained me. I look forward to reading the other Whiskey River Christmas stories.

This is my unsolicited review.

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review 2018-01-12 12:59
Had a tear in my eye, not lying.
Christmas Past: A Chronicles of St Mary'... Christmas Past: A Chronicles of St Mary's Short Story - Jodi Taylor,Zara Ramm,Audible Studios

This was a really nice short read, for fans of the series.

 

It was all in the story - a bit of heartbreak for the realism in the christmas past.

 

And a bit of a christmas miracle :)

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review 2017-12-31 17:36
Historical fiction with dark thriller underpinnings
Yesternight - Cat Winters

Winters continues to amaze with detailed historical fiction that delves into the creepy, the paranormal, the supernatural, and the crappy bits of being human.

 

Alice Lind is a psychologist fresh off of a masters degree and traveling rural Oregon conducting child intelligence assessments for the school system (bc a mere woman can't get into doctoral programs in 1925, natch) when she comes across a child who claims to remember a past life as a drowning victim. Alice wants to help, and not just because it's a fascinating case; she was a difficult child herself, with unexplained, extreme behavior buried in a half-remembered past. But when there's no psychological explanation for the child's supposed delusion - no trauma, no abuse - Alice's journey to solve the mystery may cause more harm than good.

 

Good period-appropriate worldbuilding, a clear, modern but not overly anachronistic voice, feminist characters and story development, and a taut thriller-esque mystery with supernatural-leaning elements that may or may not be more than human. The ending was a twist and a half, and unfortunately not one I really appreciated, taking the tone of the book to the horror end of the thriller genre. Very well written, though. Heads up on some adult content; a dash of language and sex scenes may offend some readers, but is on the milder side of adult fiction content.

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