Tag Archive: fantasy



Blackbird HouseBlackbird House by Alice Hoffman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Let’s suppose there was a plot of land that was the main character of a book. I would have done better had I known that simple fact. For some reason, the Kindle version did not download properly so I just listened to the Audible version.

I could have done without the first narrator. Oh, goodness what a bombastic voice! The rest of the narrators were great. In fact, it was fun that each chapter, which was each new inhabitant of the property got a new voice many of them were fantastic!

When I finally got my Kindle to download, I did much better as I could read along with the Audible. In fact, it synched perfectly.

Alice Hoffman has become one of my favorite authors. Remember she is the one who wrote Practical Magic. So I had to grab this when it was on special. This one read similarly to the Red Garden. She refers to witches and red shoes and other symbolism that would be fun to discuss in a book group.

I may have to read this again someday as I know there was a lot more there than I absorbed. One of my issues with the book was I wanted more of each resident. I always felt each story too short. Maybe I wanted a series?

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American GodsAmerican Gods by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What if you mix a radio show, comparative religion, with a road trip? This is it!

Look, I see a lot of differing reviews on this book. I think if you are able to listen to the Audible version you would like it better. The many actors bring this far-fetched story alive. The narrators: Ron McLarty, Daniel Oreskes, and full cast (whatever that means) make you see gods, goddesses and dead people and other characters. They help you feel the cold, the pain, smell rot or smoke.

I don’t know if I would have liked the book had I just read it without the Audible narration. I think it might have been more meandering and possibly boring. What kept me going was wanting to see what would happen to the main character. And having a bit of interest in other religions and cultures I wanted to see how Neil Gaiman would portray them and the war between them as they were fading into the obscurity of disbelief.

This wasn’t my favorite book. It is very male-heavy. Goddesses and women were given little time or depth. BUT I doubt I will forget it and may want to read it again in a few years and see how it affects me then. I highly recommend using the audio version to immerse in this world, which may be America, but a different dimension than where most live.

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The Witch's Vacuum CleanerThe Witch’s Vacuum Cleaner by Terry Pratchett

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you are looking for a light, funny read, this is your book. It was like watching cartoons or Monty Python. Very bad for a bedtime book for me. I found it hard to stop reading, well, actually, listening to this one. 3:00 came too quickly. So, sorry if this sounds more disjointed than my usual reviews.

Oh, I listened to the Audible using the whispersynch. Julian Rhind-Tutt (Narrator) is facinating! His voice changes with every character. He tells the story with so much gusto that sometimes I think I missed story for enthusiastic energy. Even still, at the end of each story I had that sigh of fulfillment.

The stories themselves are sadly, mostly, male. In fact, the very first one ended with the main character marrying the witch with us hardly knowing a thing about the witch except that she was a witch. I wanted more about her and that parrot. Please forget that you just read the last two sentences if they seem spoilers. After all, the title of the book is The Witch’s Vacuum. Seems like there should be a lot more witch and vacuums than men in the form of police or gnomes. But hey, Mr. Pratchett wrote this when he was a teen and the adage says ‘write what you know’. Sadly, Mr. Pratchett knew nothing about the other half of society then. Later he did write some fun books that did have fems but mostly they are witches. Is it any wonder how the world is now if this is all anyone has read most of their lives?

Still, I have loved Terry Pratchett’s writing, so creative! Magick exists, but sadly without fems. Even colors we have never heard of exists. Don’t get me started! YET, I love his writing. Fun, fun stories!

So take it with a grain of salt that in male authors’ worlds, fems hardly exist. We will try to change that with our own writings and making sure they see us as the other humans. After all the whole language system leaves us behind. Even human. We could be called hu.

But it is for this teeny-tiny problem that I am giving the book four stars instead of five. If you can get the audio version you are in for the best story telling around–save for girls, fe=iron.

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Cyrus LongBones and the Curse of the Sea ZombieCyrus LongBones and the Curse of the Sea Zombie by Jeremy Mathiesen

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

You wnt boys to read? Keep the action going. Want girls to read it? I wouldn’t. The action is fine. But here’s the female line-up:
An abusive step mother
A zombie water witch
a girl-sister(?) who needed rescuing

It seems you want to grow heroes but don’t want them to be female. And don’t care to teach inclusiveness in any way.

Sorry. All that action was boring to me and I wouldn’t recommennd it to boys or girls for what it doesn’t teach.

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The Magician's Turban: A Short Chapter BookThe Magician’s Turban: A Short Chapter Book by Gita V. Reddy

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a fun little chapter book for kids! For an adult, this was a quick read, but for children learning to read for themselves, this would be a fun book for them to read chapter by chapter. It would also make a fun little book to read aloud to your child.

I think if I would’ve read this to my children when they were young we would’ve all founded fun but a little scary. Because it’s never truly explained how the boys ended up inside the turban. I think explaining that part to my kids would’ve been difficult. I’m not sure. Maybe we would’ve taken it as ‘you don’t need to follow your curiosity all the time’. That it can be a bit dangerous to do so. But it does point out to use your brain and figure things out and by doing so the boys get free.

And why don’t girls get to go on adventures like this?

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The Road to Helltown (Preternatural Affairs #9)The Road to Helltown by S.M. Reine

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well, Sara Reine has done it again! Prolific equals S. M. Reine. Sorry, I’m late coming around with my review. Since Kindle did a bunch of updates I have had quite a time trying to get back to reading because they messed up the text-to-speech they messed up the backgrounds they messed up the font sizes and hardly ever can save my place in a book. And as much as they want to think of themselves as a tablet, I choose to think of Kindle as a reading apparatus. I don’t read on my tablet I use my tablet for other things.

Enough of my rant. Cèsar Hawke is not my favorite character in Ms. Raines books. I go into those books kicking and screaming. These books are more male-oriented. Cèsar reminds me of the old detective movies, film noir, I think is called. But when we get past that were back in Ms. Raines universe. Regardless of how San Francisco looks now, through her eyes, it isn’t. Same holds true when she incorporates Reno or Las Vegas. It just is more fun reading from her point of view. Cèsar is a witch who is allergic to magic. If you don’t think that puts some complications on things, you’re not paying attention. It takes a lot of magic to fight a demon. Especially a really big one. So in spite of his allergies, Cèsar does the job.

Even though I would give any of the Cèsar books 3 stars, because they’re okay, the overall stories are always superb, exciting, and hard to put down. I can blame these books for nights of lack of sleep. Not because they’re so scary, but because you want to see what happens.

Please come to the Sara Reine universe starting with the Six Moon Summer series and keep going through all the different series that Miss Reine puts out. They’re all good!

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The Mists of Avalon (Avalon, #1)The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

November 8, 2017 –
54.0% “Due to Kindle’s new updates I haven’t been able to read for a week trying to recapture the book I’m reading and figuring out where I left off. Then the text-to-speech stops working and the formats get changed so I can’t even read what to do about it. AMAZON!! DON’T FIX WHAT ISN’T BROKEN!!!! KINDLES ARE FOR READING BOOKS!!!!!”

The above was the first thing I wrote about the book. I tried listening to the Audible version and found the woman’s voice just didn’t work for me. Especially when the older woman voice seemed the same as a male voice. I finally just returned it to Audible thinking I would have better luck with my British text-to-speech voice. And that did help me but as I said above, Kindle itself ruined this experience altogether.

As for the story, there were parts I found interesting but mostly I found that the quote that Tyrion spoke about the gods repeating in my head while reading this book. Neither seemed to care for the women even though the goddess was supposed to be helping the women. Sorry I won’t quote Tyrion here because I don’t want to offend anyone. But those of you who are Game of Thrones fans will remember Lord Varys and Tyrion on the wall talking about the gods.

Maybe had my reading experience been more consistent with books in the past I would have a more favorable review. But I am quite disappointed in the book and with Kindle and Amazon for ruining it for me. I am not at all caring to go read the rest of the series. I’m sorry to everyone that this is how I feel about this book. I have heard so much praise for it over the last few decades that all I can do is shake my head. Please do try it. It’s just me, I’m sure.

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Suicide Queen (Dana McIntyre Must Die #4)Suicide Queen by S.M. Reine

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

For some reason, I thought I had already written this review. Boo Me! This was my favorite Dana story yet! And even that may be a bit of a spoiler! Only for those following this part of the series.

Timeout. I just need to say how much I love the cover pictures of Dana! She is so cool! She isn’t some starved skinny-mini. This gal means business! The story reflects the cover or vice versa. Geez, with all the vampires, Las Vegas will never be the same. But that is why Dana is there, to rid that fine city of those bloodsuckers.

As I’m writing this review, I am having the hardest time making sure not to put out spoilers. Just take it from me, this was a marvelous series and Dana is my favorite of all of Ms. Reine’s characters. So sorry to see this series end. How I hope Sara will bring Dana back again soon!

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Review: 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami


1Q841Q84 by Haruki Murakami

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fulfilling. That what I think describes finishing this book. It kept me going. I wondered what would happen next. With fantasy, anything is possible, even if it is in 1984.

And that brings me to the next thought. We didn’t have cell phones and internet access the way we do now. Often I would think, check your cell and realize that couldn’t happen then. They had pay phones and word processors. If a person had a computer it wasn’t user-friendly. So one has to keep that year and those thoughts in mind.

Next was the curiosity of the two moons that signify to our main characters they weren’t in true 1984 but an alternative reality. That was why Aomame called it 1Q84. I loved her name. She was the main character, by the way. I craved Edamame the whole time I was reading it. Yes, the ‘mame’ part means pea. I love how often the author used that theme.

I loved the characters. But I felt the description of their clothing or appearance over done. In fact, this book needed a good editor to go through and get rid of all the unneeded repetition. I often felt like throwing the book (my Kindle) across the room. I wanted to get back to the story and see what happened and telling me one more time about the two moons or the wrong clothing or any of the millions (I may exaggerate here) of other times something was repeated. I understand that the author wanted to stress certain things but it insults the reader to do that too often. But who am I to say that, an unpublished author of 12 books compared to his mass of highly acclaimed novels. Just trying to be true to what I felt as I read it.

This book took me ages to finish. It must be hefty in hardback. It was a library book so I had to spend every moment reading as I have two more books that are due next week. Still, it was worth the struggle and I miss the people already.

Stop reading this review here as this might be a spoiler. I wish I could read more of what happens next to the main characters. And I felt there were threads in the two-moon world that I wanted to see worked further. Well, maybe that didn’t reveal too much after all.

If you get the chance, please read this book. My friend, Patty B. was right. This was a very good book!

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Cashing Out: An Urban Fantasy Thriller (Dana McIntyre Must Die Book 3)Cashing Out: An Urban Fantasy Thriller by SM Reine

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Yippee! Another Dana installment! I still don’t like vampires. That may be why I like Dana. She doesn’t either, even when she becomes one.

I’m not lowering my star rating from five to four even though most of the beginning is about Nessa, not Dana. After finishing the read, I saw why that was so. Picture me rubbing my hands together in anticipation. More is to come!!!!

Though not left on a cliffhanger, this book did leave me anxious to read what comes next. More Dana! Please, please, please!

Oh, and though this part of the series(s) is rather stand alone I suggest you all read of the Saraverse from Six Moon Summer on. SM Reine is one of the most prolific writers I know. Her places are alternates of places many have been, just add a were-beings, demons, vampires, fae, etc. thrown in amongst we muggles. And GODS/GODDESS and many layers of heavens and hells Yet if you see her on Instagram, Sara is a fascinating mom person.

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