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review 2018-05-23 16:05
"Coyote Dreams - Walker Papers #3" by C E Murphy
Coyote Dreams - C.E. Murphy

 

 

Overview:

 

This third instalment of the Walker Papers sets itself a significant challenge that it doesn't entirely rise to: how do you make fighting sleep exciting?

 

The strength of this book lay in the character development and the dialogue.

 

The weakness lay in an excess of metaphor-heavy astral combat.

 

Moved the series along but if this is the shape of episodes to come, I'll be tuning out of this series.

 

The Story:

 

Joanne Walker's actions in the first two books, "Urban Shaman"and "Thunderbird Falls", have caused a disturbance in the Force, or at least woken up an as-yet-unknown big bad that is sending all Joanne's friends (which includes half a Police Precinct) into a potentially lethal sleep. Joanne has to figure out what the threat is and how to stop it while dealing with big changes in her social life (she finally seems to have one) and confronting trauma in her past that made her the late-developing Shaman she is today.

 

Things I Liked:

 

The humour remains sharp and well-dressed. Joanne's progress through her day is a chaotic rush from crisis to crisis lubricated by witty or sometimes regretful exchanges with her friends, bosses and even her maybe-enemies. This is done in a way that is smooth without being slick, makes me care enough about the characters and often gives me cause to smile.

 

The introduction of two new characters, (one of whom Joanne wakes up next to in the opening paragraphs - even though she doesn't know his name or remember how he got there) freshened up the ensemble cast and gave lots of room for jealousy, misunderstanding, wit and a little bit of genuine insight.

 

I enjoyed going back and seeing Joanne Walker's earlier self and getting a better understanding of how she got to be where she is. It was a welcome origins story that was done well.

The book ended with some decisions about Joanne Walker's future that could set the series on a new and more varied path, which would be very welcome.

 

Things I Thought Could Have Been Better

 

The astral-projection dream-landscape stuff went on for too long and without enough physical action in between. The Walker Papers has the same problem as Marvel's "Doctor Strange" comics, most of the conflicts happen at a level and in a place the rest of us can't even see. This places a heavy burden on the metaphor machine. C.E: Murphy does this well but this novel had an over-abundance of it. I hope future episode will vary the pace a little.

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review 2018-05-22 16:10
"Cracked - Soul Eater #1" by Eliza Crewe
Cracked - Eliza Crewe

"Cracked" has Cool carved into its forearm with a Stanley Knife.

 

The opening draws Meda, our evil-but-wittily-self-aware more-than-human teenage heroine, in a series of fast, confident, blood-red claw strokes that create an image as clear and succinct as a Kanji.

 

We start at night, with a crazed, helpless girl, waiting in her cell in a run-down lunatic asylum as an evil guard prepares to pay her a visit.

 

Except the girl isn't helpless and she's a completely different kind of crazed, so soon there is blood everywhere and none of it is hers.

 

Yet just as I was settling down to a Dexter-meets-teen-girl-soul-eater story, filled with gore and witty banter, new players arrive and the story cracks open into a whole universe of possibilities.

 

Turns out that all that cool, quietly desperate, slightly self-deprecating, slightly self -congratulatory wrapping contains more complex characters, a mostly-original urban-fantasy universe and a plot that could go anywhere.

 

We meet suit-wearing evil demons and Harley-riding good-in-their-own-eyes Crusaders, while Meda tries to hide in plain sight in a Crusader highschool which seems more like a SAS training camp.

 

The action comes in wave after wave, with each wave getting taller and crashing more loudly. In between, Meda finds out what's really in her past and struggles to work out how "good" she's capable of being. As we watched her go from, me-first-survival, even if I have to throw one of you to the bears, to I-will-not-let-you-kill-my-friends bravery, I was impressed that what I saw was a rebalancing of a believable person rather than some epiphanal rebirth.

 

I liked Meda because she's capable of being truly evil and chooses, mostly, not to be.

The humour kept me smiling but never detracted from the tension for example when Meda has to flee through a sewer and her nose teaches her how foul they really are, she says: 

"The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles lied to me. Sewers aren't a cool place to hang and definately not for eating pizza."

Clichés are skillfully repurposed or called out ironically and then milked with flair.

I got so hooked on this that I read the whole book in a day and didn't regret a single missed or delayed chore.

 

This is a Young Adult book that doesn't patronise its readers, no matter what age they are.

 

"Cracked" cries out to be an audiobook, Amy MacFadden would nail it, but I can only find ebook copies so I'm faking Amy in my head - that sounded better before I typed it.

 

"Cracked" is the first book of a trilogy. I'm in need of escape, so I'm going to consume them back to back the ways upset girls on TV eat whole cartons of ice cream.

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review 2018-05-21 11:19
Review: “The Lightning-Struck Heart” (Tales From Verania, #1) by TJ Klune
The Lightning-Struck Heart - T.J. Klune

 

~ 5 STARS ~

 

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text 2018-05-21 11:04
Reading progress update: I've read 27%. I'm hooked.
Cracked - Eliza Crewe

"Cracked" has Cool carved into its forearm with a Stanley Knife.

 

The opening draws Meda, our evil-but-wittily-self-aware more-than-human teenage heroine, in a series of fast, confident, blood-red claw strokes that create an image as clear and succinct as a Kanji.

 

We start at night, with a crazed, helpless girl, waiting in her cell in a run-down lunatic asylum as an evil guard prepares to pay her a visit.

 

Except the girl isn't helpless and she's a completely different kind of crazed, so soon there is blood everywhere and none of it is hers.

 

Yet just as I was settling down to a Dexter-meets-teen-girl-soul-eater story, filled with gore and witty banter, new players arrive and the story cracks open into a whole universe of possibilities.

 

Turns out that all that cool, quietly desperate, slightly self-deprecating, slightly self -congratulatory wrapping contains more complex characters, a mostly-original urban-fantasy universe and a plot that could go anywhere.

 

I'm hooked.

 

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review 2018-05-16 15:13
Review – Gypsy Blood by Jeff Gunhus @Jeffgunhus @XpressoReads
Gypsy Blood - Jeff Gunhus
 

Gypsy Blood
Jeff Gunhus
Publication date: May 1st 2018
Genres: Adult, Horror

 

MY REVIEW

 

I love the creepy cover for Gypsy Blood and Jeff Gunhus writes some great stories, so I am eager to begin reading.

 

Corbin is sitting at a cafe minding his own business, suffering writers block and trying to come up with something, when in walks a dame. Sounds cliche, but Margo is not just any dame.

 

The death of the old man brings about strange happenings, strange men, and danger with a capital D, which will dog his every step.

 

I think I know what will happen, but Jeff doesn’t make it so simple. This is so not what I was expecting and I do love surprises when it comes to my reading material.

 

Evil oozes off the pages and I wonder if they will make it out alive and in what shape they will be in, if they do. Corbin and Margo must work together, though neither trusts the other.

 

I thought Stephen King writes great stories of raising the dead, but he has nothing on Jeff Gunhus in Gypsy Blood and if you are a horror lover, like I am, this is one book and author you will want on your reading list.

 

I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of Gypsy Blood by Jeff Gunhus.

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos 4 Stars

 

READ MORE HERE

 

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