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review 2020-08-29 15:08
The Wolves of Venice
The Wolves of Venice - Alex Conner

by Alex Conner


I love both Paris and Venice as settings and have to admit that influenced my request for this book. I did get some taste of Venice, but unfortunately not as much as I'd hoped for.


The story itself has possibilities, though it moves rather slowly and the author over uses the word 'had'. It isn't necessary in 99% of the sentences when you're already writing in past tense! It got really irritating and distracted me from the story.


The other thing the book got wrong is what too many series are doing these days, leaving resolution for a future sequel. I have to admit this has made me generally avoid series written in this century, with very few exceptions.


There is mystery and intrigue, but too much left unanswered at the end.

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review 2020-08-25 12:10
Black Sunday
Black Sunday - Tola Rotimi Abraham

by Tola Rotimi Abraham


A story that takes us into a different culture in Nigeria. Identical twins take different paths in life after circumstances break up their family, one into modern life and the other into Yoruba tradition.


It's an interesting concept and the language and structure suggests translation from a West African language, but after the first few paragraphs it settles into present tense.




Despite this, I was able to read it in small snippets and follow the story of the twins and their separate lives. The chapters change pov among four siblings so you get the contrast of events that leave them in the care of their Yoruba grandmother. There are some disturbing realities of what it's like to be poor and female in a third world culture.


Overall I found the story interesting, but depressing. The present tense writing makes it feel like someone telling a story in a monotone, but with enough horror of events, including sexual assault, that you can't help but listen.

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review 2020-08-23 12:50
The Lost Queen
The Lost Queen - Signe Pike

by Signe Pike


Once in a while you start reading a book and the author's voice draws you right into a magical world. This was one of those.


It is the untold story of Languoreth—a forgotten queen of sixth-century Scotland—twin sister of the man who inspired the legend of Merlin, according to the blurb. I checked and there really is such a legend of Languoreth with Arthurian overtones, though the details might vary a little.


Regardless, the story drew me in quickly and put me right into the Dark Ages, a historical period I love reading about. The writing is excellent and I've put the author on my watch list! I've also requested the sequel to this one. Apparently it's to be a trilogy.


The story has everything you would expect from such a tale. Battles, an illicit romance, and an interesting take on healers called Keepers that I haven't seen elsewhere. There's a touch of magic and fantasy elements in just the right amount. It is told from Languoreth's point of view and I found her an easy character to love.


Forget comparing this to other series. It will be one future novels will aspire to be compared to!

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review 2020-08-22 14:12
Elemental Magick
Elemental Magic - Nigel Pennick

by Nigel Pennick


Nigel Pennick is well known and respected for his books on magic and folklore. This is a good book on Earth-based spirituality. It is not, as the title might suggest, about Elemental Spirits.


The book is about natural magic, in his own words, "It is the power of everyday objects and human actions." I think it's a good starting place for someone interested in nature magic, but not drawn to a specific path or the Pagan religions like Wicca.


Some of the correspondences were different than I've read elsewhere in older sources, like Friday has always been green but Pennick assigns in blue and the purposes of Opal really threw me, but most of them are familiar with just the occasional anomaly.


Pennick gives us an over view of working with minerals and stones, animals and birds, and of connecting to the magic of the Earth in general. It isn't in depth information, but a decent starting point. He covers making magical tools and offers some food and drink suggestions as well as simple rituals throughout.


The one thing I would caution someone new to the subject is that some of the 'rules' like making your own magical knife are not hard and fast. I would look at the information as folkloric and likely to be a little different than another person's path might take them.

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review 2020-08-21 15:19
The Wood Burn Book
The Wood Burn Book - Rachel Strauss

by Rachel Strauss


This is a short and basic book about the art of woodburning. It starts with information on safety, which is good, then goes over tools, techniques, ways to add colour and finishes. It mentions different material a pyrography tool can be used on besides wood, including canvas which was a surprise!


The book does provide patterns to follow, but there is a section on project ideas and it does tell how to transfer patterns. Anyone can Google graphic designs and line drawings that can work well.


It does go into how to add texture, but I didn't see a lot on using different line sizes to add shading and other expert techniques. I'd say this is one for the beginner.

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