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review 2018-01-22 16:39
"The Veil - Devil's Isle #1" by Chloe Neill
The Veil - Chloe Neill

Somehow I managed to miss Chloe Neill's Chicagoland Vampire series, so I came to "The Veil" with no expectations other than it had been recommended by Faith Hunter, who writes the Jane Yellowrock and Soulwood series.

"The Veil" makes a promising start to Chloe Neill's new "Devil's Isle" series. The premise of the book is original and intriguing. It takes places in New Orleans seven years after the end of a war that started when "the Veil" that separates our world from the magical one was torn open by magical forces that wanted to conquer the Earth. They lost. The Veil was resealed. Nothing was the same afterwards.

I liked the complexity and plausibility of the post-war world that Chloe Neill constructed and I enjoyed how she revealed it gradually by expanding the understanding of the main character, Claire Connolly. Claire, who was in her teens when the war happened and lost her father to it, now runs the antiques store in The French Quarter that her father left her. She is trying to lead a quiet, hardworking life, honouring the memory of her father and not drawing attention to herself. Given that she has magical powers that are currently illegal and that she can't stop herself from coming to the rescue of women under threat. this turns out to be an ambition she can't fulfil.

This is a fun, light read, with likeable characters, interesting ideas and good actions scenes. It tends a little towards Young Adult in its politics-lite view of the world but it is still an entertaining read for grown-ups.

I groaned a little at how beautiful everyone had to be, especially the main male character. It didn't add anything for me except slightly clichéd romance and struck a false note amongst all the original ideas.

It works as a standalone but is mainly a set up for the series. I didn't mind that. The second book is already out and I'm looking forward to it.

I recommend this to anyone who wants some original, upbeat, urban fantasy and who doesn't mind the odd bit of eye-candy ogling along the way.

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review 2018-01-20 22:54
The X-Files: Cold Cases (audio drama) written by Joe Harris and Chris Carter, adapted for audio by Dirk Maggs, starring David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson
The X-Files: Cold Cases - Dean Haglund,Tom Braidwood,Willliam B. Davis,Dirk Maggs - adaptation,David Duchovny,Audible Studios,Mitch Pileggi,Joe Harris,Chris Carter,Bruce Harwood,Gillian Anderson

This audio drama is based on X-Files graphic novels (I'm not sure which ones) and structured like a collection of X-Files episodes, complete with most of the original voice actors, the X-Files theme song, and narration outlining the location and time. Most of the episodes are alien or black oil episodes, as Mulder and Scully go back to the FBI and look into incidents involving amnesia-causing bright lights, appearances from people who supposedly died a long time ago, and potential threats against Scully's son. However, the second one is more of a "random monster" episode, featuring the Flukeman, a creature from Mulder and Scully's past.

This had been on my wishlist for a while, but I never felt like spending a credit on it back when I had an Audible subscription. When I heard recently that it was on sale, I snatched it up. Even if it wasn't great, I figured that it'd be worth it for the nostalgia alone.

And boy was there a lot of nostalgia. It went beyond hearing so many of the original actors (there were only one or two characters who I think were voiced by other people). I know the title was Cold Cases and all, but it still seemed a bit too closely tied to things from the original series - almost everything that happened involved something supernatural or extraterrestrial that fans of the original series would probably remember. I found myself wishing that the authors had been more willing to work something new into the story.

One big issue for me was that I was never a fan of the X-Files story arcs that dealt primarily with aliens. One-shot stories that dealt with aliens were okay, and I really enjoyed the "random monster" episodes, but the episodes where black oil became more and more important or when Scully got abducted just didn't work as well for me. Unfortunately Cold Cases was almost exclusively focused on this sort of thing. It also didn't help that I've never been a fan of the Mulder and Scully romantic pairing. I was mostly able to forget about this, except for the occasional moment where one or the other of them said or did something that reminded me.

The one aspect of this audio drama that absolutely won me over was the casting. It was wonderful to hear so many people I remembered from what used to be my top favorite show. Gillian Anderson, in particular, did a fabulous job. David Duchovny...less so. I thought he sounded a bit bored at the beginning, particularly during a part where he found Skinner potentially trying to kill himself - none of the emotions I would have expected Mulder to be feeling were conveyed in Duchovny's voice. Thankfully he got better as the drama progressed.

The audio drama format resulted in occasional awkward moments, as the characters described what they were seeing during moments that would usually have relied on visuals in the original TV series. Basically: "Excuse me while I describe aloud everything that I'm currently seeing, since the audience can't see these mysterious lights themselves."

Other awkward moments included those times where characters briefly explained references to events and characters from the original series, so that newbies and fans who hadn't seen those episodes in ages could keep up. Although it made the dialogue more than a bit strange, I admit to appreciating those explanations, since the last time I saw much of the original series was over 10 or 15 years ago. Even then, I found myself checking fan wikis multiple times in order to get my bearings.

I don't think I'd ever recommend this to people who weren't already fans of The X-Files, and it didn't really have anything in the way of new content for fans, but the nostalgia of it worked for me. I imagine I'll re-listen to this at some point just to hear everyone again, even though the stories themselves were only so-so.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-01-20 22:01
Blood Moon by Graeme Reynolds
High Moor 3: Blood Moon - Graeme Reynolds

Blood Moon by Graeme Reynolds
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Top Read 2017 * * * * *

Atrocities committed in the name of war. In this incredibly brutal finale, the world attempts to deal with the fact that werewolves are real, and oh-so-dangerous. Security measures are taken and, on both sides, death is dealt to those undeserving. As the body count increases exponentially, difficult decisions have to be made, and extreme action has to be taken.

(WARNING: This review contains spoilers.)

It's no secret that I absolutely adore this bloodstained trilogy with all my heart - each instalment elicited an abundance of excitement, thrilling me with every character and their often perilous ventures. Blood Moon proved to be one hell of an epic conclusion, even if it left me saddened because I just didn't want it to end. It's extremely rare that I consistently rate so high - usually I find highs as well as lows, my overall enjoyment changing, sometimes drastically, throughout a series, but with Graeme's wolf-tastic world, each addition kept me entranced. Not only did it maintain its strong quality of descriptive writing, it continued to surprise, delight and disturb me. There's actually something I feel I need to state, because it's been in my mind and, for me, it holds a lot of significance:

An author doesn't need to be a best-seller, or have a great deal of recognition to be a great writer. I believe it's our job, as readers, to discover the hidden gems out there, to bring acknowledgement to the stories that bring us joy.

It pains me to think of deserving authors going unnoticed, and not even given a chance by the wider community, but I digress. Let's get back to the review, shall we?

There's a lot of characters to keep track of and, I admit, returning after a year since reading Moonstruck was confusing at first. I found myself trying to remember who was who, but it swiftly returned to me the further I went. I daresay these novels are meant to be read in order; context plays a big part in understanding how the war came to be, not to mention the journey each character had to traverse to reach that point. Marie and John were undoubtedly my favourites, as despite being apart for most of the book, they had time to shine in their own individual ways. Marie had to step-up, become what she never thought she'd become, and John had to endure and overcome a great deal.

Of course, amongst the large cast, others stood out as well - Phil and his desperation to return to his beloved wife, and Daniel, who just wanted the best for the pack. Every single one had their own unique personality, and their own agenda that added a considerable amount of substance.

To tell you the truth, it was at times hard to root for either side. Both the human force and the werewolf pack did terrible, terrible things. Just who was the lesser evil? Well, I'm not sure, both were neck-deep in murky waters - the pack just wanted to survive, but in retaliation of their species being killed and imprisoned, they set upon a whole town of human civilians, either savagely butchering them, or turning them into moonstruck. This included children, so I can't quite say the pack was at all innocent in the situation. I felt a whole lot of dread right before that High Moor slaughter; I knew it was coming and the anticipation nearly killed me.

The ending I considered to be bittersweet. I understood why it needed to be so, but I still felt rather bad about it. It was, after all, a last resort, and I couldn't stop thinking about what all those people would lose. I almost had tears it my eyes, and that's another oddity, as most of the time nothing I read renders me so emotional, and if it does, that in itself makes it special.

One more thing, before this review comes to an end. A paragraph in chapter eighteen piqued my interest, specifically, this one:

On occasion, the she-wolf picked up the scent of fresh death in the air, and when the two of them happened across an old stone mausoleum, the air crackled with an atmosphere of malevolence that raised both wolves' hackles and forced them to back track to find another path around the place.

Is it possible that was a hint of another monster? Perhaps it was just me, but I got a vampiric vibe that I just couldn't shake! It's a little - a mere hint - but it certainly stuck out. Since it was confirmed that other creatures did exist, I kept it in mind to pay extra attention for any teasers, and I believe I may have found one.

In conclusion - I was lucky to discover this trilogy, and honoured to read it. Werewolf horror at its finest, and I hope Reynolds one day returns to this world. I'm sure it has much more to offer.

Notable Scene:

Where Amy's pretty face had been, there was only a bloodstained skull. The bone had deep gouges carved into it and Amy's beautiful blue eyes stared out of the gore at nothing. Her friend's body stood on its own for a second, then fell to the floor in a crumpled heap. Anna couldn't help herself. She turned to Matty and was met by a visage from the depths of hell. The boy's eyes were flat, reflective disks in the flicking candlelight. His face is distorted - the bone stretched into a snout filled with row upon row of razor sharp fangs. A mass of bloody flesh and muscle dangled from between those terrible jaws. They crunched once, then swallowed. Matty brought up a clawed hand and wiped his mouth. "Aye, she wasnae wrong. She did have a tasty face."

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© Red Lace 2018

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Source: redlace.reviews/2018/01/20/blood-moon-by-graeme-reynolds
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review 2018-01-19 21:41
The Undead Walk Among US in Cloak of Deceit by Gwen Mitchell @Gwen_Mitchell
Cloak of Deceit: An Urban Fantasy Romance (Alex Moore Book 1) - Gwen Mitchell

I received Cloak of Deceit from Gwen Mitchell some time ago and it got lost in the review pile. This year, I aim to catch up on every review owed, regardless of how long it has been.

 

Cloak of Deceit (Alex Moore, #1)

Goodreads  /  Amazon

 

MY REVIEW

 

Alex Moore is a college senior and her whole life had been planned out. Until now.

 

Her boyfriend broke the rules of the vampire society when he created her and now she is not only a vampire, she is a psychic and has telekinetic powers.  The voices inside her head are the hive, a group of psychics called Gregori. But she is more than that.

 

She is an impossibility. She is a Gregori, a sworn enemy of the Undead, even though she is one of the Undead also.

 

I went through the painful, horrifying transformation with her. I heard the voices calling. I ran with her, though it was only in our minds.

 

Whether she was a violation of the law or a walking bull’s eye, it didn’t matter. Either way she was in deep danger. They all want her dead.

 

There would be no escape. Without Julian, a Knight of the Cloak, a sexy Undead enforcer, she didn’t stand a chance. Would he stand beside her?

 

When she talked of drinking the blood and the thickness coating her throat, it almost made me gag.

 

Tomato juice + cow’s blood = newbie cocktail

 

I enjoyed this vampire romance novel. Gwen Mitchell did an excellent job with descriptions and details of the fights and emotions of the characters. I loved and hated them and what more can I ask for.

 

I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of Cloak of Deceit by Gwen Mitchell.

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos 3 Stars

 

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Source: www.fundinmental.com/the-undead-walk-among-us-in-cloak-of-deceit-by-gwen-mitchell-gwen_mitchell
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review 2018-01-16 21:48
Need a Laugh? Check out My Big Fat Demon Slayer Wedding by Angie Fox @AngieFoxauthor
My Big Fat Demon Slayer Wedding - Angie Fox

I was looking for something easy to read and all I had to do is sit back and enjoy.   Well, My Big Fat Demon Slayer Wedding by Angie Fox was just the ticket.

 

My Big Fat Demon Slayer Wedding (Demon Slayer, #5)

Goodreads  /  Amazon

 

MY ONE SENTENCE REVIEW

 

Outrageously funny band of biker bitches witches help Lizzie battle the evil Earl and plan her wedding kept me laughing, because of its cast of quirky characters with magical spells that don’t always work the way they should and creatures that cover the supernatural world.

 

I picked this up on an Amazon free day and I’m glad it didn’t get buried in my Kindle.

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos  3 Stars

 

Read more here.

 

  • You can see my Giveaways HERE.
  • You can see my Reviews HERE.
  • If you like what you see, why don’t you follow me?
  • animated smilies photo: animated animated.gifLook on the right sidebar and let’ talk.
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Source: www.fundinmental.com/need-laugh-check-big-fat-demon-slayer-wedding-angie-fox-angiefoxauthor
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