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review 2018-09-23 00:54
Halloween Bingo - 1st Square Filled
The Raven Boys - Maggie Stiefvater

I finally finished my first book for Halloween Bingo by re-reading The Raven Boys. While it can go many places I am counting it for the Raven Square.

 

The first time I read The Raven Boys, I listened to the audiobook, and was enchanted.  This time, while my delight  was somewhat lessened by already knowing the major reveals, Maggie Stiefvater's language was almost as magical in print as it was as an audiobook.

 

Reducing my rating from 5 stars to 4.5 because you can't be delighted by a book for the first time twice.

 

 

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review 2018-09-22 00:17
The World of All Souls: The Complete Guide to The All Souls Trilogy
The World of All Souls: The Complete Guide to A Discovery of Witches, Shadow of Night, and The Book of Life - Claire Baldwin,Colleen Madden,Deborah Harkness,Lisa Halttunen,Jill Hough

There are some here who know I'm an unapologetic fan of this series, but fan or not, I'm generally not the type to buy the "guides" the more popular series put out because in all truth, they feel like something that's been thrown together to squeeze just that much more money out of everyone; especially completists.  

 

But the cover of this one sucked me in at the Barnes and Noble and BN was the first bookshop stop on my Holiday of Book Buying Madness, so I caved.  

 

Yay to caving!  It ended up being really interesting, as evidenced by the fact that it took me three weeks to read the damn thing.  Harkness et al manage to weave an awful lot of historical facts into a book about books that are about vampires, witches and demons.  This is the place where Harkness gets to share all her historical knowledge, research and education that went into giving Matthew and Diana's adventures verisimilitude, as well as brilliantly weaving the lives of the vampires (and Diana to a lesser extent) into history.

 

She's really clever about this too; using real documents that have gone missing, or paintings done during the correct period that are of unknown subjects or known to have been destroyed over time, she's able to plausibly weave fact and fiction together without an abundance of anachronisms.  Little asides throughout the book in her own voice shares with the reader her inspirations for locations, homes, castles, even tea shops.

 

I had no problem seeing the delineation between the factual and the fictional, but in the section where the characters are outlined, a symbol is next to each name that does exist in the historical records, a touch I appreciated since Elizabethan history is something I'm hazy about, at best.

 

There are beautiful illustrations throughout, a couple of out-takes from two of the books, and a few full color illustrations from - I think - alchemical texts.  This was, in fact, my only complaint about the book - the full color inserts were not captioned - an odd oversight where everything else is clearly foot-noted and cited or explained within the narrative.  At one point Harkness' own historical research was used as a citation, leading me to believe the authors' were determined to be as clear and accurate as possible.  Perhaps this means the color inserts were the work of the illustrator for the book, and not historical, but it would be nice to know either way.

 

A fun and very informative read for those that enjoyed the trilogy; not sure how well it would work for those that didn't read it as it might be annoying to have fictional characters you know nothing about, or care nothing for, interwoven through all the historical goodies.

 

I read this for the New Release square of Halloween Bingo 2018.

 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-09-18 01:25
Magic Triumphs - Ilona Andrews
After sleeping on this, I've decided to downgrade my rating from 4.5 to 3.5. While I liked the book, I had some issues with it.
 
When I'm reading an on-going series, I tend not to read the synopsis of each book (as I'm going to read the story, regardless). While it's not made as clear, I was disappointed that the main enemy was Neig and not her father. I felt like the story meandered too long trying to figure out what Neig was and how to defeat him. There was so much focus of this showdown between Kate and her father, and it kind of was an aside to the battle against Neig. Am I happy that Kate didn't kill her father? Yes, it's something she doesn't have to live with. I just wish it had been more epic.
 
My main issue was the apparent lack of trust between Kate and Curran. Instead of talking with each other about their fears and coming up with possible solutions to combat her father, they both made decisions that could have backfired badly. I felt it was a bit convenient that Curran was eating gods so he could save Kate from herself. It undermines her choices but things could have been avoided if they just had a conversation. I found the whole thing trite and it did not make me happy with either of them. I'm glad most of the crew made it out alive, but with the ways things were left off, it feels unresolved to me and was not a very satisfying conclusion to an otherwise fantastic series.
(spoiler show)
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review 2018-09-17 21:58
Book Review of Hell & Gone: Volume 3 (The Heckmasters) by Allison Merritt
Hell & Gone - Allison Merritt

Tell Heckmaster has always known the day would come when his demon blood overruled his human emotions. Years of searching for a miracle to overcome the name curse placed on him as a child have been fruitless. Now, after Berner has finally found peace, his worst fears are coming to light—he begins to manifest strange new powers and his finely honed control is slipping. Sylvie Duke has enjoyed the hard-won peace her sister and friends fought for. She has almost everything her heart wants—a successful seamstress shop, a loving family, a devoted suitor, and all the flouncy material she can stand. The one thing she doesn't have is Tell. With his powers growing out of control, his attempts to push her away only make her fight harder to stand beside him. The curious thing is, the closer Sylvie is, the less demon-like Tell becomes. A cryptic warning from an old ally will help her protect their loved ones, but if Tell loses all control, even Sylvie's love might not be enough to save them.

 

Review 5*

 

This story is the third and last book in The Heckmasters series. I loved it!

 

First off, I absolutely love the new cover! It fits the story wonderfully, although the original cover did too. Initially published as Tell, the author received her rights back from the publisher when it closed, and she had a new cover made and re-published it herself with a new title: Hell & Gone. I have noticed this series is no longer available in Kindle format, so not sure if this book is going through another round of edits to be re-published in the near future through another publisher.

 

Tell Heckmaster is a wonderful character. I liked this taciturn man when I first met him in the first book, Hell & A Hard Place. Tell is one of three half-demon brothers who police the portal to Hell in the small town of Berner. Unfortunately, his real name was cursed long ago, and if anyone said it, all Hell would break loose. Literally. Fearing his demon-side, he finds that the only thing that holds it at bay is Sylvie Duke, who also happens to be his sister-in-law.

 

Sylvie Duke is another wonderful character. She is just as stubborn and determined as she was when I first met her. No longer a pre-teen, she has always had her sights on Tell, though the idiotic male seems oblivious to the signs. While Tell struggles with his darker nature, Sylvie finds herself drawn even closer to him.

 

This series is a fantastic supernatural/paranormal romance! The book, set in the late 1800s/early 1900s, quickly swept me up and carried me away. The story is shown through the eyes of both Tell and Sylvie; this made it very interesting. There is excitement, danger, mystery and suspense mixed in with the hot romance.

 

The story continues several years after the events that saw the end to the portal. The town of Berner has now grown, populated with humans as well as the demons' that originally lived there. I loved meeting all of the characters again: Wystan and Rhia, Eban and Beryl, amongst others. The siblings' father, Seneca, and an imp called Dochi are included as introduced characters and add to the cast. Seneca is now the ruler of the Gray Lands, a world created by the god El, and Dochi is one of his subjects.

 

The story is full of twists and turns. The mystery of how Tell's real name became cursed becomes revealed, and what it is. I could tell you what it is, but then it would ruin the surprise, so will not do it - I try not to add spoilers to my reviews. There are also several emotional moments which drew tears to my eyes. Dochi, however, had me grinning. His eagerness in serving the youngest Heckmaster reminded me a little of Dobby from Harry Potter, though he does not look like him. He is extremely loyal to the Heckmasters, and his obsequiousness annoys Tell significantly; this gave the story a little light relief from the danger that threatens. The end of the book left me with mixed feelings. I love how the story took me on a fantastic adventure, but it also made me feel sad that this series has now come to an end. I will miss these three couples, as they have become my friends.

 

Allison Merritt has written an exciting paranormal/supernatural romance. Her characters come alive on the page, and her descriptions of the scenes made me see them in my mind's eye with ease. I love her writing style, which is fast paced and exciting. I also love the flow of the story; the scenes flowed seamlessly from one to another. This author has found another fan! I would love to read more of her books in the future.

 

Due to scenes of an explicit nature, I do not recommend this book to younger readers under the age of 16. However, I highly recommend this book if you love erotic wild west type supernatural romances filled with sexy half-demons, or paranormal romances with strong, likeable characters. - Lynn Worton

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text 2018-09-17 13:19
Can our intrepid friends save the world?
The Last Coven - Rick Gualtieri

 

Maybe.

 

The last battle to prevent the first vampire? mage?  from controlling the world is upon us. 

And if she's defeated, Alexander the Great wants the job.  (asshole)

If they take out him, Ghenghis Kahns granddaughter (?) is ready to step in and fullfil her perceived destiny.  (little psycho whack job)

 

At least ass kissing smarmy Colin gets what's coming to him.

 

Some royal ass kicking (everyone gets to participate), some sadness, a nice interpretation of the origin of the vampire myth, and a nice creepy WTF! Ah shit!  at the end.

 

 

Spent some time agonizing where to put this one.  I decided on Spellbound because of the whole origin thing.

 

 

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