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[Book Review] That Ain't Witchcraft

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That Ain't Witchcraft (InCryptid #8) / Seanan McGuire

Previously reviewed
Chaos Choreography (InCryptid #5)Magic for Nothing (InCryptid #6)Tricks for Free (InCryptid #7) Now on the run not only from the Covenant but attempting to avoid the notice of some unscrupulous mages, Antimony Price and her friends have left Lowryland far behind and found a place to recuperate in New Gravesend, Maine.

Of course, even with the aid of a jink, nothing ever stays simple with a Price around.  Annie made a deal with the Crossroads to save her friends, and they want to call in that debt.  It seems they're feeling a little threatened by a new friend Annie makes in New Gravesend...

Well, seven books in, I think no one is surprised when someone in this family responds poorly to being pressured into something they disagree with.  Nor at their ability to find allies and opportunities in unexpected places.

This time they're all up against something no one can escape.  The Crossroads are everywher…

[Book Review] The Beast's Heart

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The Beast's Heart / Leife Shallcross
"A tale as old as time" probably is going through your head right now. I don't blame you.

Shallcross gives us a familiar fairy tale with the point of view switched, the tale of the titular Beast and his journey towards redemption.  
In the glut of the YA/New Adult market for ever steamier fairy tale retellings, this romance is shockingly, and if I'm being honest, refreshingly, chaste.  Don't get me wrong, I love a good steamy read, but at the same time they were starting to feel a bit too formulaic.  So, that was nice.
I definitely enjoy the reversed point of view, and the showcase of the Beast's struggle to regain and retain his humanity.  The growth of Isabeau's sisters is perhaps my favorite part, seeing the much sidelined siblings shine as people and the place they take as family in the entire narrative.
Detracting from everything, the story feels almost too... convenient?  The curse itself was levied not becaus…

[Book Review] Crowded, Volume 1

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Crowded (Volume 1) / Christopher Sebela

There's an app for that.

There's an app for everything.

Crowd funding at it's finest and most chaotic, and if we live in a world where someone can get a fifty thousand dollars to make potato salad it's not a far reach to imagine people would pile on contributions to a hitman campaign.

Bright, colorful, and engaging.  The first issue drops us into the action and starts to show us who the characters might be, but not who they are yet.  Fun pace and well seasoned with chaos, but not so much that you get lost.

I look forward to more.

Advance Reader Copy courtesy of Image Comics in exchange for an honest review; changes may exist between galley and the final edition.

[Book Review] The Forever War

The Forever War / Joe Haldeman

Well.  I can certainly see where comparisons between Old Man's War and The Forever War are made.  I love that Scalzi wrote his book without having familiarity with this one, and his introduction to this edition is kind of precious.

The Forever War is a 40 year old novel, deliberately set so that characters could have served in Vietnam.  In some ways it has aged poorly, and in others it seems like something written today.  But then, some themes are as relevant now as then.  It's a space opera about war, about the world changing around you, and perhaps the vagarities of chance.

This was technically the July Virtual Speculation read, but at this rate I don't have to pick a list for next year, just finish up this years...  Life has been a bit, overwhelming.

Discussion Fodder
There are some markedly different cultural structures at the start of the story, including the bed rotation roster, the "Fuck You, Sir" response, and the deliberate c…

[Fiction] Magic & Shadows

The following is a narrative and epilogue for a character I played in Pandaemonium, at HLG Con, October 12-13, 2018.

Once there was a child, like any of us.  Playing the games we all play.  Running wild with friends, due home by dark to be welcomed back by parents

A child grows and changes, the pieces not always fitting the mold set by the parents.  Algebra seems so… tedious compared to the thrum of a tuned engine, the just so fit of a pair of jeans, to secrets held in the shadows.  Childish mischief transmutes into the usual adolescent rebellion.  Or started as such.  There were so many fascinating things to learn, interesting things to try, expanding the consciousness.

It was a laugh when the straights started crossing themselves instead of laughing or mocking.  Why not take on their scorn and wear it as a badge of pride.  Watch out for the scary witch.

It only takes a moment for everything to change, one decision made so quickly you don’t even remember making a choice.  Some punk b…

[Book Review] Night and Silence

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Night and Silence (October Day #12) / Seanan McGuire

Previously reviewed:
Once Broken FaithThe Brightest Fell Oh Toby.

When I began my review for The Brightest Fell, I remarked from the start that it felt like the book marked a turning point, that we had hit a new stage, that debts were starting to come due.  That isn't to say that she never pays a price, but the prices are becoming more dear.  What she stands to lose more precious, and what she retrieves is not quite whole.

Toby starts this story vulnerable.  There's the humor we all love and expect, but she is raw and exposed, her network weakened.  Tybalt is keeping distant and Gilly has been taken.  Threads of Toby's family history are starting to show, and at it's heart, Night and Silence is a book about family.

The ending is uneasy, uncomfortable, and it should be.  This isn't a happy ending.  Things are too raw, too forced by necessity.  There is hope, but there is also grief from change and the loss that com…

[Giveaway] Phoenix Unbound & More!

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To celebrate the publication of Phoenix Unbound by Grace Draven, Penguin RnadomHouse is offering a Paranormal Romance "Starter Kit" giveaway!

https://sweeps.penguinrandomhouse.com/enter/fantasy-romance-starter-kit-giveaway

I mean... look at these books.  I'm a huge fan of Patricia Briggs' writing across the board, and I quite enjoy Anne Bishop's novels of The Others.  The collection overall is a great starting point for sampling fantasy romance.

The giveway runs through the 19th!  Check it out.


PHOENIX UNBOUND by GRACE DRAVEN
Ace Trade Paperback | September 25, 2018

A woman with power over fire and illusion and an enslaved son of a chieftain battle a corrupt empire in this powerful and deeply emotional romantic fantasy from the USA Today bestselling author of Radiance.

Every year, each village is required to send a young woman to the Empire's capital--her fate to be burned alive for the entertainment of the masses. For the last five years, one small village'…