Tag Archive: magick


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 But who am I to say that, an unpublished author of 12 books compared to his mass of highly acclaimed novels.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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The Rules of MagicThe Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

That was fun. I usually love Alice Hoffman books. And though I liked this one and was kind of sad finishing it, it was slow. It was so wordy while not getting anything done or convincing me that anything got fixed.

As the movie, Practical Magic deals with the curse of the family that should never fall in love, that is the theme here, too. And since romance novels bore me I found myself doing other things than reading, so it took longer to finish than it should.

Don’t get me wrong, it is worth picking up and reading. Would be a great vacation read. But if you are like me, the book, the characters, don’t seem to gel until near the end. I must admit to misting up near the end so I must have finally gotten into it.

I wish I knew how to improve this read. Maybe I needed the audio rather than text-to-speech? A real voice or bunch of actors playing the story for me? I do remember pulling out of the book thinking ‘show don’t tell’ but then as I looked at it I couldn’t figure out how that could be done.

Don’t take my word for it. You may love this book. Like is as far as I can reach.

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Kill Game: An Urban Fantasy Thriller (Dana McIntyre Must Die Book 2)Kill Game: An Urban Fantasy Thriller by SM Reine

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love Dana! My first born son and this female powerhouse character that we all met long ago in Sara Reine’s series. In this case, it is the first character I could personally relate to in size and shape. I’m much older but a part of me thinks I looked like her when I was in my forties. I think I had similar beliefs to hers. I don’t know that I hate vampires. But I never saw the craze. Now Ms. Reine has brought me along to expand my imaginary creatures profile.

And Dana isn’t a perfect person in any way. She makes mistakes. She has a mindset that needs taming. But she is lovable and loves deeply. And it is wonderful that she is getting her own series. This was the second book. I think it may read as a stand alone but I love that I have read all the history of these altered Nevada stories from the beginning. Other states are in her other books but most of Sara Reine’s books are in places I have lived or visited enough to know ‘our’ versions. It gives a depth to the books that a made up place never has.

Dana is going through divorce in this series and it is messing with her mind. As it does for most of us. The reasons seem weird to me, but most folks from the outside of the couple going through this might think that, also. But will the ending of this book change that? Gosh, Sara, if you’re going to bring us to this ending can’t you write faster and let us see what happens next?

Okay, I need to clear this up. This is not a cliffhanger. You all know how much I hate those! And I don’t know a more prolific author than S.M. Reine. I just love her books so much I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next. Hey–since I moved from there two years ago, how about another Reno setting? Las Vegas is too busy, too much of a tourist trap–even in the alternate universe. Is there a place for Dana, the vampire-slayer in demon possessed Reno? Or, since I can’t seem to find a way, could you take her to the beaches of California? Orange County, LA County? Mojave Desert?

Okay, I’ll read it no matter where you take us! Can’t wait!!!!

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Drawing Dead: An Urban Fantasy Thriller (Dana McIntyre Must Die Book 1)Drawing Dead: An Urban Fantasy Thriller by S.M. Reine

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

WOW!!!! OMG!!!!! Of all of S.M. Reine’s massive series(s), this is my favorite!!!! I couldn’t stop reading once I started.

I almost missed this one. I had gotten so far behind in my email that I didn’t see the one offering to read/review Drawing Dana. Luckily I was offered a reprieve and allowed to read it even though late. Because since I met Dana McIntyre I have loved her. She is the bitch with a heart of gold. She is strong with the right amount of weakness. She is the vampire slayer who has been bitten. And I love the name of the weapon of choice. Spoilers! Can’t tell you!

Some of the many series(s) are a little dark or ‘demonie’, or too far into fae. And as much as I hate vampire stories, this should have been a non-starter. But it was Dana!!! I knew I couldn’t go wrong.

What I like and have liked about Sara’s writing has been her use of places where I have lived or at least visited. This one takes place in Las Vegas. Never lived there but been there enough to recognize the place. I never saw the vampires there but it is easy to imagine them there. Ms. Reine often writes of Reno. I did live there a while. But my Reno looked nothing like the one in her books, except, they did. Her imagination put beings there that I must have overlooked.

Please, if you get the chance, read this book. It is written so that you can start here. BUT… I suggest you start at the beginning: Six Moon Summer. Watch the world around you change into Reine’s world. So many adventures await, including this one.

I can’t wait for the next book!!!!!!!

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A Tale for the Time BeingA Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Over a decade ago, I met an online friend that would change or at least, modify my life. I met Judith on LiveJournal, you remember that old site, better than MySpace but not quite as social as FaceBook. Judith was chatting in her journal about Chris Baty and the NaNoWriMo scene (Which resulted in my first novel being written between the Ides of March and the Ides of April. I didn’t finish the novel then as we had to move to a new city and I just couldn’t stay with it. But I added more than enough wordage to that novel in November 2002 to “win”. (First of 10 or 11 novels since.)

The other thing Judith introduced me to was BookCrossing.com. The concept that grabbed me with BC was how my read book could be recycled to others and then the new reader and the old could discuss this story. The book could travel even when I couldn’t, so it felt like a message in a bottle thrown out to sea. It is fun to see where your book could end up and the friendships that develop over said book. I still belong but since my eyes aren’t what they used to be, I am happy for the invention of Kindle and other e-readers. So I release far fewer books nowadays.

Besides Judith, what do the above paragraphs have in common, and what do they have to do with ‘A Tale for the Time Being’? The art of writing and the art of reading. Both concepts play strong in this story. Rather than a message in a bottle, this message floats ashore in a Hello Kitty lunchbox in layers of freezer bags. The writer was in Tokyo, the reader/finder in Canada. Years separate the two. Yet a bond is formed. Oh, yeah, Judith read and reviewed this and hooked me in. I think she didn’t like the Zen parts of the book. I found that part delightful. I have to admit that most of the book is believable whereas the Zen bits are a little more ‘magical’. But the title twinkles with that magic. If you read it right.

Anyway, I HIGHLY recommend this book. I actually read it one and a third times. I borrowed the Kindle version from the library. Between reading it on my Kindle app on my Tablet and listening on my old Kindle text-to-speech, I managed to get to about 36% in. Then I found that my library also had the OverDrive version. So I restarted reading the book with the author’s voice. That pumped up my ratings for this wonderful tale. Each layer of depth into the story has its own built-in amazements. Level one, tree book, and the Kindle version, there are many footnotes and definitions to help with a deeper understanding of that time in history or that country, language. But the narration includes minor helps. Hearing a voice say the Japanese names or words adds to the believability of the whole story. Ms. Ruth Ozeki has an impeccable voice and narration, her variations of voices for each character supreme! I enjoyed rereading the first third with her help. I felt I gained deeper understanding just by hearing her. Please, if you get the chance to pair both versions, go for it!

By the way, I want to thank Jonelle Patrick and her Mysteries and website: http://jonellepatrick.me/ for introducing me to many contemporary Japanese subjects presented in A Tale for the Time Being. At least I was forewarned.

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The Ocean at the End of the LaneThe Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I can see my friends faces as they shake their heads and murmur, “It’s about time!” So. Yeah. This is my first Neil Gaiman. Note the five stars. I know! He’s written Doctor Who episodes that I loved. How could I not love his other writing? I do have another book and narration sitting around waiting for me to get around to it. But this one took priority. Library book. They always take top of the list because of their due date. So, sorry other authors, waiting for me to get to your books. When a book comes off hold and lands in my lap, I have to read it first.

Do I dare say I would have love to have a teacher read this aloud to my class as a kid. You know the chapter books that you would have to put your head on your desk as the teacher read. Yeah, it had it’s scary parts, but I think a child could handle it.

Okay. I can, also, hear mumbling about my reading goals of strictly female writers with strong female characters. Well, it’s not written in stone is it? Sometimes a person has to stray to see the color of the grass or, in this case, interesting writing of the others.

Though the main character is a young boy, the heroes of this story were women. Strong women! Witchy, magickal womyn! Without these womyn, this story would be BORING! But you never get to know them or get inside their heads. This is all from the boy’s head. In fact, you never even learn his name or where he is. And since there are references to place in gestures, food, accents, it seems unnecessary to name it. Funny how that bothered me, but I didn’t care if I had the kid’s name. Really. Did I miss something? My guess is this is somewhere in southern US. But other clues made me wonder if it were in some British colony (Australia? South Africa?). Hmmm.

But enough about needing labels. This story was the most imaginative I have read in a while. And yet, maybe because it is coming from inside the head of a kid, the most believable. Ocean in a bucket. I want that bucket! I miss the ocean so here in the Nevada desert I could have my beach!

Oh, and talk about brilliant! The transitions between the boy and his adult self, are seamless. And the character remains the same person. I am more amazed by the book the more I think about it! How is that possible?

So I plan to read more Gaiman very soon! And watch more Doctor Who. Thanks, my friends, for being patient while I catch up! 😉

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The Forever Girl (The Forever Girl #1)The Forever Girl by Rebecca Hamilton

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I became aware of this book one when I picked up book two for free with Kindle Unlimited. Notwithstanding the inside out reading of Marie Lu’s Legend series, I prefer to read books in their prescribed order.

As the title ‘Forever Girl’ implies, this is a young adult book. And though I loved the storyline and the characters, I just got ill with the sexual teen-angst. If you don’t want to have sex with the guy, don’t sleep with him and then dwell on all things sexual. And, okay, the main character is out of school, in her twenties, still a virgin though I can’t see how. She seems immature. Oh, but don’t get me started on the centuries old vampire with another label. Why has he no more self-control than a child especially when he says he cares for her and wants to wait until she is ready to go adult? But vampires and sexual ambiguity seem to be the theme in young adult books these days.

Had I realized that I would be reading about vampires I might not have read this. It is a worn-out cliche, to say the least. But the drawing card, for me, is the awakening of the witch. Even then the main character was so wishy-washy about moving forward.

Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t hate this story. The writing was well-done. The story carried me past any errors that might have been there. This next problem I put on me. I started getting mixed up by the extras in the story. It was near the end of the book that the name Paloma came up. I still can’t quite figure out who she was.

It was four o’clock in the morning when I finished the story and quickly opened the next book. So that interest in the story kept me from going to sleep. Read this during the day. The end is hair-raising.

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Ashes and Arsenic (Preternatural Affairs, #6)Ashes and Arsenic by S.M. Reine

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Agent Cèsar Hawke is not my favorite character. I prefer Ms. Reine’s female main characters. But Cèsar is humorous to read about. After all, I don’t know of any witch who has a major allergy to magic. Then, again, I don’t know many witches. So they may well exist out there somewhere.

Cèsar is self-effacing, definitely not a macho man. He does cause me to giggle every now and then. In this book, we get to know more about his brother and father. We’ve already met his sister and she’s off doing her own thing.

This was a one-day read and as usual Ms. Reine kept my interest. The thing about S.M. Reine is how prolific she is. My goodness, I keep thinking I’ve read everything by her and she comes out with more. I love it all! Even though she often writes about demons or other scary subjects, she is able to keep the story light enough to enjoy and yet suspenseful enough that I didn’t want to stop reading. She throws in her great sense of humor causing the aforementioned occasional giggle.

I want to thank Sara for letting me read her books free for review. Sorry it takes me so long sometimes, but I keep it honest.

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A Witch's Magic: A Love Triangle With a Magical Twist (Heart of a Witch Book 2)A Witch’s Magic: A Love Triangle With a Magical Twist by H.T. Night

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Can I give a three and a half star rating? I loved the first book, but this one so left me flat. The first dealt with the power of a blooming witch trying to decide between good and black magic and the decision that needed to be made between her two great guys. Unfortunately, book two was more of the same angst. Nothing got resolved.

I was happy to hang out with old friends. I had grown to really like the characters, even the not so good ones. But I got very frustrated without any progress being made in this book. In the first book, there were even bits of seemingly real information about how to find your center and power. Not much was in this one.

AND I might have been happy just hanging with the friends as I mentioned before, but the book needed more editing. There were places I had to reread sentences to make sense of things. A word left out or not the right word. A sentence of present tense mixed in with mostly past.

Even still, I can’t wait to read the next book.

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Witch to ChooseWitch to Choose by H.T. Night

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I just had to slap my hands and get tough with myself. I am three reviews behind my reading! The problem right now is that I already had book two of this series and I didn’t stop reading to do my own writing. Bad Dar, bad Dar!

And look at this! I didn’t know that this author was a male! So I have to give kudos fo his writing. With my goal of the last couple years to read mostly books written by women with strong female main characters, and aiming for the Bechdel test awareness, this book nearly slid right by. I think it was around the third chapter that I had to stop and look up this author. Women talking to each other and not about the male characters, realistic feelings coming from all of the people in the story. Men who cry. Women with power! Wow! H.T. Night, I am proud of you! And I plan to read more by you.

Oh, and look at this: NO CLIFFHANGER! It ended nicely yet I just wanted to see what happened next.

Now I am not a Wiccan and have only studied a tiny amount. So it felt believable…all except the person who is a warlock. I have heard that men are witches, too. Aren’t warlocks dark magicks? If anyone wants to educate me on that I would be happy to know.

For what it’s worth, Mr. Night has a plethora of books out there with vampires and wolves and all. I may have to stretch our my reading chops and finally include those bitie creatures. Now more reviews to do before I can read more!

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