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text 2018-10-11 18:06
TBR Thursday
Made to Kill: A Novel (L.A. Trilogy) - Adam Christopher
Evil Librarian - Michelle Knudsen
Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore: A Novel - Matthew J. Sullivan
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader - C.S. Lewis,Pauline Baynes

 

I'm currently working on The Mysteries of Udolpho, which pretty much demands that you take things slow and gentle.  I feel like I've been reading forever, and the girl isn't even an orphan yet.  And she must be an orphan for this to be gothic!  It's one of my Halloween Bingo choices, so I've got to persevere.

 

I've got two more Halloween Bingo books waiting.  I've read a few pages into Made to Kill, but I'm making myself wait to start Evil Librarian

 

And I've got two books from my planned reading list for the year, Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.  I've heard very mixed reviews on the former, but the latter should be a reliably good read.

 

Also on my schedule is a performance of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, which I'm attending on Sunday.  Our city's Shakespeare Company is doing a season centred on Hamlet, which this play kicks off.  Next up will be Hammered Hamlet, followed by Hamlet, a Ghost Story.  The fourth play is The Hamlet Frequency, but I've got my fingers crossed that I will be in France at that point.

 

I still need to get my Science Fiction & Fantasy books organized--maybe I can squeeze that task in as well.

 

Have a great weekend!

 

 

 

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review 2018-10-09 09:56
Gewissenhaftes Worldbuilding
The Magicians' Guild (Black Magician Trilogy, #1) - Trudi Canavan

Der erste Band der „Black Magician Trilogy“, „The Magician’s Guild”, basiert auf einem Traum der Autorin Trudi Canavan. Nachdem sie mitten in der Nacht einen Bericht über die Olympiade in Barcelona sah, der behauptete, die Regierung habe Obdachlose umsiedeln lassen, träumte sie, sie sei Teil einer Gruppe, die aus einer Stadt vertrieben wurde. Die Übeltäter waren in ihrem Traum allerdings keine Regierungsbeamte, sondern Magier. Quizfrage: wann fanden die olympischen Sommerspiele in Barcelona statt? Ich recherchierte, dass die spanische Stadt 1992 Austragungsort war. „The Magician’s Guild“ wurde 2001 erstveröffentlicht. Da sieht man mal, wie viel Zeit von der ersten Idee bis zum fertigen Buch vergehen kann.

 

Magie ist den oberen Schichten vorbehalten. Dies ist ein eisernes Gesetz in Imardin, Hauptstadt des Landes Kyralia. In der klaustrophobischen Enge der Slums gedeiht kein magisches Talent, dort sprießen Armut, Hunger und Kriminalität. Deshalb führt die Magier-Gilde einmal im Jahr auf Befehl des Königs eine Säuberung durch und jagt „Gesetzlose“ aus der Stadt. Die Säuberung ist ungerecht, brutal und herzlos. Wie viele andere Bewohner_innen der Slums demonstriert die junge Sonea gegen das unbarmherzige Vorrücken der Gilde. Sie lässt sich von der aufgepeitschten Stimmung tragen und als ihre Wut sie überwältigt, wirft sie einen Stein – und trifft. Wie ist das möglich? Nichts sollte die Schutzbarriere der Magier durchdringen können. Geschockt von ihrer eigenen Tat flüchtet Sonea. Mithilfe ihres Freundes Cery und den Dieben, einer kriminellen Untergrundorganisation, versteckt sie sich vor der Gilde, die fieberhaft nach ihr sucht. Doch ihre neuen, unkontrollierten Kräfte sind gefährlich. Schon bald kann Sonea nicht mehr garantieren, niemanden zu verletzen. Kann sie der Gilde entkommen, ohne ganz Imardin zu zerstören?

 

„The Magician’s Guild“ erforderte von mir einige Geduld. Zeitweise war ich wirklich besorgt, dass es in diesem Trilogieauftakt ausschließlich um die Flucht der magisch begabten Protagonistin Sonea vor der Magier-Gilde geht. Dieser Part, der mehr als die Hälfte des Buches einnimmt, erschien mir ausschweifend und langgezogen, da ich sicher war, den Ausgang des Handlungsstrangs zu kennen. Ich hatte niemals Zweifel daran, dass die Magier Sonea am Ende kriegen. Deshalb wünschte ich mir, Trudi Canavan würde schneller zum Punkt kommen. Ich brauchte eine Weile, um die Vorteile dieses ausgedehnten Vorlaufs zu erkennen: Soneas Flucht ermöglichte es Canavan, die spezifischen sozialen, politischen und ökonomischen Strukturen Imardins ausführlich vorzustellen. Die Stadt ist tief gespalten; die Gesellschaft ist streng nach Klassen unterteilt, nicht nur baulich, sondern auch ideologisch. In den Slums herrscht starkes Misstrauen der Oberschicht gegenüber. Die Magier der Gilde werden aufgrund der jährlichen Säuberung argwöhnisch oder gar hasserfüllt betrachtet. Niemand kann sich die Dienste eines Heilers oder einer Heilerin leisten. Kinder niederer Klassen werden nicht auf magisches Talent getestet, weshalb ich davon ausgehe, dass Sonea nicht die einzige mit unentdeckten Kräften ist. Die Menschen fühlen sich abgelehnt und allein gelassen. Daher ist es nicht verwunderlich, dass sie sich selbst umeinander kümmern. Slumbewohner_innen wenden sich mit ihren Problemen an die Diebe, ein kriminelles Kollektiv mit einer losen, mafiaähnlichen Hierarchie. Sie vertrauen den Dieben mehr als den Wachen, dem König oder der Gilde. Folglich sorgen Kriminelle in den armen Bezirken Imardins für ein Mindestmaß an Ordnung und daher ist es für Sonea naheliegend, eher bei ihnen um Hilfe zu bitten, als sich der Gilde zu unterwerfen. Canavan erläutert das Verhältnis der Bevölkerung der Armutsviertel zur Gilde sehr gewissenhaft, sodass alle Ereignisse in „The Magician’s Guild“, speziell Soneas ablehnende Haltung den Magiern und ihre ihren eigenen Kräften gegenüber, nachvollziehbar und logisch wirken. Es dauerte, bis ich mit Sonea warm wurde, weil ich sie während ihrer Flucht unvernünftig fand. Ihre mangelnde Kontrolle über ihre Fähigkeiten ist jedoch vollkommen natürlich. Canavan entschied sich für ein gradliniges, klassisches Magiesystem, in dem Menschen mit angeborenem magischem Talent in der Gilde ausgebildet werden müssen und sich später auf einen von drei Pfaden spezialisieren können. Magie ist nicht nur in Kyralia bekannt, sondern auch in den angrenzenden Nationen. Es gefiel mir sehr, dass Canavan ihr Setting und die Gilde sofort in einen internationalen Kontext integriert und fand das schlichte, elegante Magiesystem für den ersten Band einer Trilogie bereits sehr gut ausgearbeitet. Die Gilde in Imardin ist ein interessanter Haufen exzentrischer Persönlichkeiten, wodurch interne Spannungen vorprogrammiert sind. Es überraschte mich demzufolge nicht, dass der mutmaßliche Hauptkonflikt der übergreifenden Geschichte ihren Reihen entspringt. Genie und Wahnsinn liegen sehr dicht beisammen.

 

Ich freue mich auf die Fortsetzungen der „Black Magician Trilogy“. Obwohl ich „The Magician’s Guild“ inhaltlich etwas langatmig fand, schätze ich Trudi Canavans sorgfältigen Aufbau ihres Universums. Ich bin gespannt auf Soneas magische Ausbildung, die ich hoffentlich intensiv erleben darf und brenne darauf, zu erfahren, wie sie das sensible Gleichgewicht ihrer Welt zwischen Krone, Dieben und Gilde beeinflussen wird. Meiner Meinung nach wird ihre bloße Existenz die Machtverhältnisse verschieben, da sie als Bewohnerin der Slums eigentlich kein magisches Talent besitzen dürfte und die herrschende Elite somit zum Umdenken zwingt. Trotz dessen hoffe ich auch, dass Canavan zukünftig zügiger zur Sache kommt. Sollte die Handlung im nächsten Band Fahrt aufnehmen, steht einer durchweg positiven Leseerfahrung mit traditioneller High Fantasy nichts mehr im Wege. Ich bin optimistisch und halte schon mal zusätzliche Sterne parat.

Source: wortmagieblog.wordpress.com/2018/10/09/trudi-canavan-the-magicians-guild
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review 2018-10-03 00:50
New Release Square
Codex 1962: A Trilogy - Sjón

I'm not quite sure what I just read.

 

No, really.

 

Sjon's writing has always been fluid and stunning.  And that's here.  

 

I liked the first two books the best.  The last, seems to be an written form of Sjon's own morality.

 

The first book is a wonderful expression of reader and writer working together.  So wonderful and brillant.  There is this whole sequence of reaching into a hous and a mind.

 

It's just wonderfully strange.

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review 2018-10-01 11:30
Release Day Review! Legendary Beast (Legendary Warriors #3) Barbara J. Hancock!

 

 

She slept......his love didn't

Once upon a time, Madeline was trapped in an enchanted sleep, her baby wrapped tight in her arms. Then the white wolf woke her, and her son disappeared. For centuries, Lev Romanov searched for his wife and their child, and the search drove him half-mad. Can Madeline trust the wolf to be the man who can help her save their son?

 


This paranormal fantasy romance has a bit of a fairy tale feel to it as the heroine has been in an enchanted sleep for a really long time and once she awakens she has to join her mate and fight the evil bad guys, but of course it’s not as easy as all that. This fascinating read has some captivating characters and fascinating plot with a wonderfully different world, one that certainly captured my attention and keep me turning the pages. The romance between Madeline and Lev is one that has some major odds to overcome as there are misunderstandings, curses, magic, evil and trust issues to get in the way but the love and the attraction is still there and burns bright if they can just trust their hearts.

 

The plot is steady paced and flows smoothly throughout all the trials of tribulations of this couple’s journey to save their son with magic and thrilling battles adding excitement to the story and some unique elements spice things up as well. If you are like me and haven’t read the first two, please do because reading this story without having read them, left feeling a little lost at the beginning until I got quite a bit into the story and figured out what was happening, that’s not to say that the story wasn’t enjoyable because it was quite fascinating and kept a hold of me until I had figured it out and of course by then I really had to know how it was going to end, so I have added the previous books to my TBR pile and will hopefully get to them soon.

 

 

Add to your shelves at -

 

Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40637056-legendary-beast

 

BookBub - https://www.bookbub.com/books/legendary-beast-by-barbara-j-hancock

 

 

Legendary Beast is the 3rd book in the Legendary Warriors trilogy -

 

Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/series/230488-legendary-warriors

 

HQN - https://www.harlequin.com/shop/miniseries/legendary-warriors.html

 

 

which includes -

 

1 Legendary Shifter
2 Legendary Wolf
& 3 Legandary Beast

 

 


AVAILABLE in print or ebook at:


HQN - https://www.harlequin.com/shop/books/9781335629647_legendary-beast.html

 

Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/dp/1335629645/ref=cm_sw_su_dp?tag=hqnweb-20

 

iBooks - https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/legendary-beast/id1323500845?mt=11&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

 

B&N - https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/legendary-beast-barbara-j-hancock/1127620038?ean=9781335629647

 

GPlay - https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Barbara_J_Hancock_Legendary_Beast?id=qGJCDwAAQBAJ

 

Kobo - https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/legendary-beast

 

 

I write gothic thrillers and fantasy romance. For Harlequin Nocturne, I've written a Faustian series featuring men who've sold their souls and the women who save them--Brimstone Seduction, Brimstone Bride, and Brimstone Prince. And a fairytale Gothic series featuring three Russian wolf shifters-- Legendary Shifter, Legendary Wolf and Legendary Beast. Also watch for my first YA romance, a Gothic Thriller w/ Entangled Publishing available October 2018. When I'm not writing, I'm a referee to twins and adopted mom to many rescued pets. I live in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains in Virginia with my soulmate where ghost stories are often told on a dark side porch in the flicker of firefly light.


Website - http://www.barbarajhancock.com/

 

Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2787211.Barbara_J_Hancock

 

BookBub - https://www.bookbub.com/authors/barbara-j-hancock

 

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/authorBarbaraJ.Hancock/

 

Twitter - https://twitter.com/barbarajhancock

 

Pintrest - https://www.pinterest.com/barbarajhancock/

 

 

 

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review 2018-09-29 18:39
Series Thoughts: Circle trilogy
Morrigan's Cross - Nora Roberts
Dance of the Gods (Circle Trilogy #2) - Nora Roberts
Valley of Silence - Nora Roberts

Circle trilogy

by Nora Roberts
Book #1:  Morrigan's Cross | Rating:  2.5 Stars
Book #2:  Dance of the Gods | Rating:  2.0 Stars
Book #3:  Valley of Silence | Rating:  2.5 Stars

Series Average Rating:  2.33 Stars


This series reminded me of the Cousin's O'Dwyer trilogy.  I know that this one came first, but I read that one first, and the similarities in dialogue, narration, and even the awkward timing of the dialogue, as well as the overall awkwardness of the dialogue itself is much too similar to be ignored.  To be honest, I kept getting the distinct feeling the characters weren't sure which time period or what genre of book they were in.

Honestly, this entire trilogy probably could have been cut down to one book, although I then suspect that we wouldn't get to showcase each couple as the front and center.  But the romances weren't all that great, so I'm not sure if that's really an issue.  The couple who had the best chemistry were Glenna and Hoyt in the first book, but even then it felt lacking.  The couple with the worst chemistry happened to be Blair and Larkin--those two just didn't mesh at all and I couldn't figure out how Blair even fell for Larkin, because he annoyed the crap out of me.

To each their own, I guess.

The last book might have been the best one, but due to certain factors, it was still graded an average 2.5 Star 'Meh' Rating.  There were too many things wrong with the way the book, the entire series, really, was set up and outlined.

Anyway you see it, I've read better Nora Roberts books.

 

 


 

 

In the last days of high summer, with lightning striking blue in a black sky, the sorcerer stood on a high cliff overlooking the raging sea...

Belting out his grief into the storm, Hoyt Mac Cionaoith rails against the evil that has torn his twin brother from their family's embrace.  Her name is Lilith.  Existing for over a thousand years, she has lured countless men to an immortal doom with her soul-stealing kiss.  But now, this woman known as vampire will stop at nothing until she rules this world—and those beyond it...

Hoyt is no match for the dark siren.  But his powers come from the goddess Morrigan, and it is through her that he will get his chance at vengeance.  At Morrigan's charge, he must gather five others to form a ring of power strong enough to overcome Lilith.  A circle of six: himself, the witch, the warrior, the scholar, the one of many forms and the one he's lost.  And it is in this circle, hundreds of years in the future, where Hoyt will learn how strong his spirit—and his heart—have become...



As I've stated above, there were a lot of things about this book that bugged me, least of all were the similarities to the Cousin O'Dwyer trilogy I read a couple years back, the first book of which had been read for Halloween Bingo 2016.  While the premise seemed interesting and promising enough, I can't say that the execution of the entire ordeal was really that great.

I was a little overwhelmed that so much was thrown at us in this first book, including all the six players, their thoughts and histories and conflicts, as well as more to grow on.  There was a lot of predictability to the actions, and also a lot of frustration with these characters.  And, as I'd felt with the Cousin O'Dwyer trilogy, the dialogue just feels too unnatural, too poetic, to feel real--it's a bit jarring.

Nonetheless, I found myself enjoying this book and interested in following the rest of the trilogy to the end.  It would be interesting to see what comes of Cian, as the one and only vampire in this army of vampire slayers.

On a side note, I was a bit ecstatic when Blair pops into the picture and her introductory was actually quite kick ass--so I find myself hopeful for the second book wherein Blair's kick-ass self will be expanded upon!

 

 


 

 

With one vampire determined to rule the earth, the Circle of Six prepares to battle for their lives—and their hearts...

Blair Murphy has always worked alone. Destined to be a demon hunter in a world that doesn't believe in such things, she lives for the kill. But now, she finds herself the warrior in a circle of six, chosen by the goddess Morrigan to defeat the vampire Lilith and her minions.

Learning to trust the others has been hard, for Blair has never allowed herself such a luxury. But she finds herself drawn to Larkin, a man of many shapes. As a horse, he is proud and graceful; as a dragon, beautifully fierce; and as a ma ... well, Blair has seen her share of hunks, but none quite so ruggedly handsome and playfully charming as this nobleman from the past.

In two months' time, the circle of six will face Lilith and her army in Geall. To complete preparations and round up forces to fight, the circle travels through time to Larkin's world, where Blair must choose between battling her overwhelming attraction to him - or risking everything for a love that can never be..



All of my hopes for this series picking up with Blair's inclusion pretty much shattered with this second book.  This isn't Blair's fault, however, as I still think she's pretty kick-ass, and I like that she comes to the circle as 'The Warrior.'  Of course, she seems to have a little bit of Buffy in her, but there's nothing wrong with that.

What was wrong with this second book was that it truly contributed nothing new to the series.  It was entirely a bridging book, created for the sake of having a second book, and for the sake of giving Blair and Larkin their romance.  And if the romance had been any good, I probably would have been okay with it, even as the book was quite draggy.

But Larkin annoyed the ever-loving hell out of me, and I can't even really pinpoint why.  He was always flirting and always trying too hard to be charming.  Why that annoys me, I'm not entirely sure.  While Blair is trying to organize a fight with the vampires, he's acting like a teenager who's playing some game, having fun with his training, seeing the sights of the modern world, and flirting with every female he comes in contact with.

The fact that the romance started developing before I could even pinpoint where the chemistry was coming from didn't help.

And finally, Larkin's shape-shifting abilities remain fully unexplained for 90% of the book, and everyone just kind of goes with it.  Because, you know, sorcerors, witches, vampires... people from another world.  Obviously no one ever questions why any of these people exist, which is not surprising.  But I think I would have liked to have had Larkin's shape-shifting abilities brought to light more than the simple one paragraph flashback that was given to us at the end.

At least we got to see Blair's journey starting as an ordinary girl living in a demon hunting family, to becoming a full blown demon hunter.  There was more depth to her background than Larkin's, though I'm not sure I like that her conflicts weren't really addressed.

 

 


 

 

The battleground has been chosen for the final showdown between those selected by the gods and the minions of the vampire Lilith. But there is one vampire who dares stand against her. And his love for the scholarly queen of Geall will complete the circle of six - and change the face of eternity.

Having traveled through the Dance of the Gods to the land of Geall, the circle finds themselves convincing then training the people of Geall to defeat Lilith’s vampire army. The Valley of Silence is a forbidding place for the battle of all battles, but the circle continues to prepare through magic and a few early stakeouts that test their strength individually and as a team.

Moira finds herself playing the roles of warrior and royal, as she follows the tradition of her people and prepares to take the crown before leading them into battle. And if that isn’t enough, she finds her thoughts turning to Cian more often than not.

So what’s a chaste and intelligent young woman to do when given less than a month with the man she loves, who’s not a man, but a vampire? And how will the people of Geall fare against an army of blood-thirsty vampires who have had centuries to prepare?



While the entire series isn't really much to write home about, I'd say that Valley of Silence was the best of all three books.  Not that that's saying much, because it didn't receive more than a 2.5 Star Rating from me anyway.  It was 'Meh', though certain aspects of this book probably should have yanked the book's rating down to 'It was less than Meh and didn't do anything for me.'  There were things in this book I'm not sure were handled very well.

Secondly, I didn't really like Moira all that much.  She wasn't irritating, nor was she a speshul snowflake.  She was just there... and she was kind of flat and boring.

In contrast, I loved Cian's relationship with the other two women in this book, even as just friends.  He regards Glenna with endearment; and he seems to have some sort of rapport with Blair.  In contrast, I'd noted that neither of the other men in the series had much to do with the other women in this series who weren't their significant other.  I would have expected Hoyt and Blair to at least have something to talk about, but they barely did.  I figure it's because Blair and Cian are so much alike when it comes to their ultimate goal and mission, because they both understand the ruthlessness of their enemy and the fact that they also need to act towards the bigger picture of things.

I liked that Cian understood that both men and women were equally necessary in the war.  Whereas Larkin and Hoyt spent more time playing the big, neanderthal of a macho man.

And I suspect that this has a lot more to do with which time period each of these people come from.  Hoyt, Larkin, and Moira come from a land where honor is held much more highly than Cian, Blair, or Glenna would see it.  The latter three come from a land where--not that it isn't held highly--but in the face of war and survival, sometimes honor needs to take a back seat, and emotions can mean either life or death in a millisecond.

Hoyt and Larkin come from a land and time where you protect women and children and babies and the elderly... which really doesn't leave a whole lot of population to fight a war, but whatevs.  Meanwhile, the latter three, more modern characters come from a world where everything should be equal opportunity.  Which also helps the former three time-bound characters understand that everyone needs to learn how to protect themselves and those around them, rather than just having the women rely on all the men to do the protecting.

I suppose that's why this circle sort of works--they balance each other out, I guess.  They're all even paired as such romantically.

Anyway, the conflict in this book was a little deeper, if only because of Cian.  He made this last book work for me.  Meanwhile, the romance between him and Moira did not work for me, because, much like the previous book, I couldn't find that chemistry between them.

The ending was too abrupt for my liking, and while there were some emotional feels towards the end of the book, there still seemed to be a feeling of unsatisfied incompleteness.  And I'm not sure if it's just because the series itself was a bit lacking.

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/09/series-thoughts-circle-trilogy.html
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