October 2018 — A Wrap-Up

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An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard

This book surprised me and in a pleasant way. Having never read anything by Ms. Howard, I didn’t really know what to expect. What I discovered was good UF with half decent world-building. It had shades of the movie Now You Can See Me  only the magic in the book wasn’t an illusion.

We are introduced to the major players almost immediately. They each have their motivations and that was completely okay. The world-building should have been better because as far as I can see, this book is a standalone. Even if it is to be the first in a series, then it would need to be immersive enough for readers to continue with the sequel. I think it mostly does that.

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The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells

Wow! I mean I tried reading The War of the Worlds and failed miserably. If you can make a novel about an alien conquest sound boring, then there isn’t much hope that I’d ever like anything you’d write. While playing Book Bingo, I landed on a category that fit this book beautifully. So, I decided to give Mr. Wells another go.

I am so glad that I did! Suspense colors the atmosphere in the story and there is a stench of violence waiting to happen. Why don’t scientists ever learn? I kept cringing every time the humans faced the monsters (Moreau could give Frankenstein a run for the money)! Some were near misses and some events just foreshadowed the darkness that was to come.

The edition I read also came with a summary of H. G. Wells’ life history. He had been involved in the formation of League of Nations. Cool!

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Some Girls Bite by Chloe Neill

This book had issues similar to that I highlighted in the review of Kat Howard’s book. Say, vampires do exist and they decide to come out. Won’t there be a political upheaval to makes all other upheavals look silly? Nothing like that happened in this book.

Meritt caught my interest because she refused to be grateful for being turned into a bloodsucking parasite. She also clashed with the authorities regularly and I liked that she wasn’t ready to give into her attraction towards the head vampire just yet. Her troubled relationship with her gold-digger and nouveau riche parents cemented her authenticity as a person. As did her bonds with her bff and grandfather. What detracted from the believability factor was how she rebelled against her new life and yet gave up so easily on her old one. What of her dissertation? What about going back to school?

What did bug me was the identity of the person having humans killed by her minions. As far as twists go, this one was just all right.

Even so, I want to read the next one in the series before I decide if I will continue with the rest.

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The Dirt on Ninth Grave by Darynda Jones

The humor in these books is always a winner. Consider the two quotes below:

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But what I liked even more was that the series took a break from the disaster it had become. In case, you haven’t yet read the last book or my review of it it was horrible. The author dropped a doozy of a deus ex machina on us. Then she left the readers with a huge cliffhanger that took us back to the prehistoric age (not literally)!

Guess what though? The last part did wonders for the book! I could reconnect with Charley without the usual over-the-top complications. The world was still about to end, but that wasn’t going to happen just then. Charley did spend the whole book lusting after her husband even if she didn’t know who he was. But that is typical behavior for her.

I also fell in love with Cookie all over again after reading this book. The woman has a life of her own, a daughter, and a husband. Yet she put everything on hold to come be with an amnesiac Charley. Even though she can’t act worth a damn and kept slipping up and calling Charley by her real name. Cookie rocks! 

Bring on the next book!

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A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin

Another book that I wish had read a long time ago. Now, I don’t appreciate it the way it is meant to be lauded. Firstly, since it is by a female author writing epic fantasy. Yaaaaay! Then because the protagonist isn’t white and male, but colored and male. Okay, this deserves a smaller yaaay. Even so, it is still a win.

What I wasn’t a fan of was the writing style. It felt stilted and kept me from devouring the book in my usual way. Of course, the fact that I have read my fill of epic fantasy might have something to do with it. Although, this book wasn’t much concerned with the affairs of the world. It focused on a character’s solo journey to get rid of the darkness that he had called from another world.

So, I’ll reserve the final verdict until I have read the next book in the series.

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Everwild by Neal Shusterman

I can never understand how a children’s book can scare the pants off me when so many horror novels have failed to do that! Similarly, I survived watching Jessica Jones being mentally — and otherwise — raped by Killgrave repeatedly. And yet, I have to force myself to sit through one episode of A Series of Unfortunate Events!

The idea of kids being in control is a very scary one because they can be very cruel. At times, they won’t even realize the extent of damage they are leaving on another kid’s psyche. The good thing about kids managing their affairs is that they can take highly complicated concepts of morality and simplify them.

I had a great time reading this book for both those reasons. Can’t wait to read the next one!

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Dark Crime by Christine Feehan

Have mostly given up on this series ever being anything but cheesy, if I ever thought so in the first place. This novella was a good surprise though. Instead of the swooning heroines, we were shown someone who could fight and hold her own. She was also the one who kept the vampires and their minions at bay while hubby went to ground.

Yeah, she was forced into the whole Carpathian mating for life ritual by her husband to-be. And yes, she couldn’t live without him as soon as he arrived at the scene. Little improvements, see?

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Dead Beat by Jim Butcher

The humor was on point, as usual. Look below for a crack or two:

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The relationship between Harry and his brother is slowly developing. By that, I mean they talked to each other about real stuff, like Thomas being thirsty all the time.

Susan was awesome!

The rest was pretty much as it always is:

Harry was trying to save a woman’s life.

Harry couldn’t hit women, even ones bent on killing him.

Harry defeated a threat that he couldn’t possible defeat.

Harry saves an adorable character who learns how to stand up for themselves and others.

Harry is hit with threats from all directions and lives to tell the tale.

So, this was my October in reading. How was yours?

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