Sunday, March 29, 2015

Review: Red Sonja: She Devil With A Sword #0


Red Sonja: She Devil With A Sword #0
Red Sonja: She Devil With A Sword #0 by dynamite

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



I didn't care for the artwork in this issue if it had been more to my taste it would have been a 5 star book, I still gave it 4 stars because the story itself is one of the best Red Sonja tales I've ever read.



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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Review: Aquaman, Vol. 1: The Trench


Aquaman, Vol. 1: The Trench
Aquaman, Vol. 1: The Trench by Geoff Johns

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



The first four chapters the art was gorgeous but then chapter 5 it wasn't as nice but still good and chapter six the artist changed and overall it looked nowhere near as nice especially the character design.



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Review: Aquaman #0


Aquaman #0
Aquaman #0 by Geoff Johns

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



I know nothing about Aquaman so this is a decent introduction to the character and I liked it enough to pickup the first trade paperback to see where the story goes.



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Review: Reyn #3


Reyn #3
Reyn #3 by Kel Symons

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



The first two issues introduce the world and the two main characters, with this third issue we start a quest so I guess the story is now very much underway. The writing and art are quite appropriate to the story and setting, really looking forward to where this series is headed.



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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Guest post: By Ermisenda Alvarez

Guest post: By Ermisenda Alvarez

Dreams, imagination, and perspectives


I had a dream; I wanted to write novels. I have been writing since I joined a Harry Potter guild on Neopets at twelve years old. You could write short pieces to receive points. Writing didn't stop there.

I had a vivid imagination; I wanted to know more. Often, after finishing a book I pondered about how the story could have been retold from a different perspective, maybe a different character. What if we were able to read the story of Snape over the course of seven novels rather than Harry Potter?

I had chance on my side; I met Eliabeth and we were two young women crazy about writing. So, what did we do? We wrote. How did we write? The nature of our friendship began on a role-playing site whereby we wrote from different characters to create scenes and stories.

We had a dream, vivid imagination and each other. What more did we need? Not much else as we embarked on an amazing journey and wrote Blind Sight despite living half the globe away.

Writing a novel was a dream I have had for a long time but I was so excited to write a two-sided novel that followed two different perspectives. It was an ambitious choice for us to make but one of the best. We have not only challenged ourselves but have provided readers with a new way of reading. For those who only wish to read one side, that is okay, but for those of us who are interested in the power of different perspectives and multiple stories we have another side to offer.

The power of multiple stories cannot be emphasized enough in our daily lives. How many times have we heard one story about an acquaintance but once we have met them, we receive a second story, in which might completely contradict the first. Is either one wrong? Maybe not. But your understanding of the person, or novel in the case, is enriched.

Growing up in a Spanish family and living in Australia has taught me a lot about language in my, so far, short life. My very first language was Spanish, but when school started English became my "mother" tongue. A simple saying can dramatically change through translation, those of you who know more than one language will understand this perfectly. I have had to translate pieces of Spanish into English for friends and even though the words I have translated make sense in English, only I can grasp the full meaning and implications of the phrase.

Staying open minded, listening to varied opinions and soaking up what we can from the zillions of stories out there in the world is part of life. Eliabeth and I have channeled the essence of that concept into our first two-sided novel. We live on an earth with billions of people. We all think differently, we see the world differently and together, we are the characters of humanity. I am inspired by dreams, imagination and people.

The story of Leocardo, Aniela, and Odette in Blind Sight can be enjoyed through one color, one perspective but, why limit yourself? There is not only another color to live through but together, a new range of shades to enjoy.

Ermisenda Alvarez

Review: Blind Sight Through the Eyes of Leocardo Reyes

Blind Sight Through the Eyes of Leocardo Reyes
Blind Sight Through the Eyes of Leocardo Reyes by Ermisenda Alvarez

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



I love the way this starts, drawn right into the mystery in the opening pages and drawn further in at the start of the first chapter. I would recommend reading this after Blind Sight Through the Eyes of Aniela Dawson" by Eliabeth Hawthorne the co-authors version of the story because of this mysterious opening, at least that’s what I thought after reading the first third of the novel, now after finishing it I think it’s less important which order you read them in.

But I definitely encourage you to get both because aside from a great story that stands well on it’s own it’s so very interesting to experience it from another character’s perspective. This has been done before “An Instance of the Fingerpost” by Iain Pears and Rashomon by Ry√Ľnosuke Akutagawa being two examples that spring to mind, but the interesting thing is those were written by one author, we see the story develop through different character’s eyes. “Blind Sight” is fresh because not only is the story told through differing characters but also completely different authors who each bring a unique perspective to the novel. Aside from being entertained isn’t that why we read fiction to learn about another person’s perspective on the world.

I don’t want to get into any spoilers so I just say I love the way Ermisenda paced this book, I was drawn into the mystery immediately and the story moved along nicely with time to mediate on some of the finer points of the mystery but never slowing down or becoming repetitive. I really liked the brother sister dynamic, compared to the large royal family the differences are striking.

I received ARC copies from both Ermisenda and Eliabeth and want to thank them both and let them know that I’m rooting for you both and eagerly await your next book. Whether it’s set in the magical island of Edaion or some other world they dream up I waiting to read it.

[bc:Blind Sight Through the Eyes of Aniela Dawson|13174273|Blind Sight Through the Eyes of Aniela Dawson (Blind Sight, #1 Aniela)|Eliabeth Hawthorne|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1323329166s/13174273.jpg|18353980]
[bc:Blind Sight Through the Eyes of Leocardo Reyes|13174193|Blind Sight Through the Eyes of Leocardo Reyes (Blind Sight, #1 Leocardo)|Ermisenda Alvarez|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1323328191s/13174193.jpg|18353889]



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Excerpt: Blind Sight Through the Eyes of Leocardo Reyes
Written by Ermisenda Alvarez


 

Prologue




Something was wrong. Leocardo’s blind, sixteen-year-old sister Odette was drawing. She stood next to the fridge and scribbled feverishly on a piece of paper.

“Odette?” he walked over, certain his eyes deceived him. He quickened his pace when she didn’t respond. “Odette what are you doing?”

Something was wrong with her eyes; her pupils were huge, and they engulfed her usual chestnut color.

“Odette, stop.”

He tried to pull her arm, but like a cat that didn’t want to be picked up, she seemed to become instantly heavier. The pen continued to run across the page as her silence persisted. He frowned, growing angry.

“Odette!” She did not flinch.

He glanced down at the paper and realized her scribbling were actually an image. Trees and mountains framed a large lake on the paper and Leocardo was frozen in confusion. How was she drawing? The pen fell onto the paper as Odette collapsed into Leocardo’s arms.

Twisting her around to face him, he demanded, “What were you doing? Answer me!”

Her limp body shook in his arms; her eyes closed and she was barely audible as if on the brink of passing out. “I don’t feel good,” she murmured weakly. Even though she was naturally petite and fragile, now she looked like she was about to shatter. “I want to sleep.”

The warm brown crept back into her unfocused eyes and her pupils normalized.

“Odette,” he started again, but her trembling became more violent so he stopped.

“Okay.” He scooped her up in his arms and carried her to her room. As soon as she hit the sheets, the trembling stopped and almost as quickly, snoring followed.

Leocardo wanted to wake her up so he could question her, but he was not sure if she would have any answers. He couldn’t help but wonder if this had happened to her before. He stormed back to the kitchen, picked up the paper, and examined the drawing. The sun’s rays tore through the clouds, and Odette had even added glimmer to the lake’s rippled surface. Odette had been blind since birth; so how could she have drawn this so perfectly? If he hadn’t seen her doing it, he never would have believed it.

Leocardo slouched into the leather couch, still holding the paper. He felt a throbbing pain behind his eyes. Staring at the drawing, he tried to glean some divine understanding of what it meant or how she had done it. His black labrador, Cielo, had abandoned him to sit outside Odette’s bedroom.

An hour passed; he was no more enlightened. He looked up to find Odette standing in the open doorway to her room. He kept silent, but his gaze followed her. She seemed better, no longer moving with the mechanical gestures she had used when she was drawing. Cielo’s nails clicked on the hardwood floor as she followed Odette’s every move.

With disbelief, he watched as Odette began to prepare some sandwiches. “Odette,” he called softly, not wanting to startle her.

“Yeah?”

Leocardo hesitated; why was she acting like nothing happened? “What happened to you before?”

She shrugged, “I guess I had low blood sugar. It was just a headache.”

“What do you remember?” he pried. How could she not remember?

“I had a headache. I went to the fridge. I got dizzy for a second. You caught me.” She paused. “How’d you get from the couch to the fridge that fast?” she asked, as though he was the one who did something strange.

“What?” Irate, he marched over. “Don’t you remember drawing this?” He flapped the page so she could hear it rustle. “What are you trying to pull? This isn’t a game.” He was losing his already short patience.

Her brow pressed together and her lips thinned as she let out a frustrated huff. She spoke slowly, as if concerned he was losing his mind. “Leo… you know I can’t draw, much less see whatever it is you might be holding.”

“I know you can’t,” he said a little defensively. Why was she questioning him when she should be providing answers? “You got up and went to the fridge before you started to draw this. I’m not making this up. I have the drawing right here in my hand!” He restrained himself, shaking the paper again, as if hearing the sound made his story more believable.

Odette’s calm expression indicated that she was not amused.

“How can you not remember?” he asked angrily.

He sighed and dropped the drawing onto the floor. His fingers ran through his hair as he tried to make sense of everything without flying off the handle.

“I’m sorry,” Odette murmured, “but I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“It’s okay… sorry,” The moment was awkward and disjointed; he was unsure what to do. Odette went back to making the sandwich, and Leocardo returned to the sofa. He snatched the remote and flipped between channels until he settled on the news.

Tragedies flashed on the screen as Leocardo watched, wanting to distract his mind. Spanish television bored him, but he didn’t know what else to do. The news featured new government policies in Spain that did not directly affect them amongst other random trivialities. The information changed, and the news channel now featured Alaska and their trading links with other countries.

“Edaion,” Leocardo repeated one of the countries listed. A sudden and overwhelming desire to visit this island nation overtook him.

Odette came over and sat next to him, her unfocused eyes in the direction of the screen. Leocardo leaned forward as if being pulled into the screen. He was mesmerized. Slowly he felt his eyelids droop.

“Edaion,” Odette whispered. A silence fell over them and a supernatural film began to wrap around them, invisible to all, it pressed down on him. Cocooned in this new state, he continued to stare in a trance at the screen. Unable to make sense of anything anymore, he had never wanted anything in his life as much as he wanted to travel to Edaion.

When he tried to stand, he felt an immense pressure upon his shoulders, face and chest. He reached out to Odette, feeling as though he was falling through the sofa itself. Cielo whined and nuzzled his knee. His grip around Odette’s hand tightened. Suddenly the pressure snapped and he felt the painful sensation of being rammed from all sides. The sensation of being hit by a train from every angle was overwhelming.

In a dreamlike state, he stumbled forward with Odette sandwiched between him and Cielo. He was somewhere else. The air was clean and chilly. A stranger’s arm brushed up against him as a group huddled together, all looking lost and confused. Half a dozen dogs circled and sniffed them. Trying to restore his equilibrium distracted him from the dogs until they wouldn’t leave Odette alone. They sniffed and licked her palms causing her to wipe them on his shirt. Someone asked him if he was okay, but he did not answer. The speaker herded the group onto a bus, and as soon as he was seated, Leocardo’s head fell against the windowsill. Blackness engulfed his vision.

The bus lurched and Leocardo was propelled into the seat in front of him. His eyes flew open; his throat felt dry and his nose was pink from the cold. Someone held a drawing before him and had colored it in. It was blurry, and as he reached out, his fingers hit glass. With his sleeve, he wiped the window to see the drawing become clear. Something was wrong.

Why was it behind glass? Where was he? Why was he on a bus? His gaze darted back to Odette who had Cielo nuzzling her affectionately. Her eyes were closed. He woke her up with a shake of the shoulders.

“What is this?” Leocardo demanded as if she would know.

“What’s what? You’re the one who can see, remember?” Her voice was soft and timid. He realized she was just as confused. He wrapped his arm around her and pulled her close and then placed a soft kiss on her forehead.

His gaze returned to the window. It was still there. As the bus meandered through perilous mountains, he never lost sight of the lake. It was glistening, majestic and overwhelming in size, but it was not a drawing. This time he knew it was real. Something was terribly wrong.




PRIZES: Did you enjoy the review? You could win a gift card and I could win one too! Just leave a comment about the review below and you're entered in the drawing.

Learn more about Blind Sight: A blind girl drawing is abnormal even on the magical island of Edaion where leaves brush themselves into piles in the middle of the night. So when Odette Reyes, a girl blind from birth, begins to experience ominous side effects of the island's "gift," her brother Leocardo and best friend Aniela must figure out what the doctors cannot. As an immigrant, Leocardo is not biased by accepted rules of magic and determines that Odette's drawings are premonitions. Aniela grew up with magic and knows premonitions are impossible. She determines Odette is a medium channeling voiceless spirits.

Who is right? Whose eyes will you read through?

Both books are "volume one" you can read one without the other and still get a complete story, but you won't see how the characters interpret the same situation differently.

Buy the book! Both volumes are available as an e-book for Kindle (Aniela's vol. / Leocardo's vol.) and Nook (Aniela's vol. / Leocardo's vol.) Don't have an e-reader, pick up a PDF on Smashwords (Aniela's vol. / Leocardo's vol.)

The paperback special edition will be available in the fall (northern hemisphere).

The authors:

Eliabeth wrote her first mini-series in second grade when the teacher told her she was not old enough to write a chapter book. Regrettably, for fear of turning into a starving artist, Eliabeth played it safe in college and is now a recent William Jewell graduate with a BA in International Business and Japanese. She now returns to what she truly loves, creating worlds for people to escape to and characters for them to fall in love with. Ermisenda began writing Harry Potter fan-fiction at the age of twelve and started developing her own writing at fourteen when she joined play sites and completed her first crime novel at fifteen. Although her favorite genres were crime and fantasy, she reads a bit of everything. Driven by the desire to evoke the kaleidoscope of emotions her favorite authors are able to, she kept writing. Growing up bilingual amongst her Spanish family in Australia, she found a love and deep appreciation for language and the power it wielded. She is now a Psychology major at the University of Newcastle. Together, they write as Ermilia.

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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Guest post: By Eliabeth Hawthorne

Guest post: By Eliabeth Hawthorne

 


Inspirations from literature and bad table manners


There are two sides to every story.

That's the major premise behind how Blind Sight is written. Anyone who has ever listened to grandparents talk to each other without their hearing aids knows how funny those conversations can be. What one of them says is not always what the other one hears. Or trying to understand someone when their mouth is full, I wanted to capture the misunderstandings that occur when the perspective is limited to a single point of view, but I couldn't do it alone.

I was first inspired by Tom Stoppard who turned Shakespeare's tragedy, Hamlet into the comedy Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. Tom Stoppard's play follows the plot of Hamlet through the point of view of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, giving them their own voice and own plot so that even though it is the same story line, it is a very different story. It was exactly what I expected out of Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West.

I made a few futile attempts to write the same story from different perspectives and eventually let the idea drop. I couldn't get the two sides different enough to where it felt like two different voices, but then I met Ermisenda on an RP site of all places. She was a brilliant writer, but more than that, she made me a better writer. We played off each other in a way that I just can't explain unless you've ever found that other RPer with whom you just click.

It was a true partnership, making Blind Sight a superior novel to anything we could have put together individually. It wasn't working from an already written manuscript and trying to put a new spin on it. We worked together every step of the way, literally RPing scenes over MSN and Skype since we live half a world apart.

Eliabeth Hawthorne

Review: Blind Sight Through the Eyes of Aniela Dawson

Blind Sight Through the Eyes of Aniela Dawson
Blind Sight Through the Eyes of Aniela Dawson by Eliabeth Hawthorne

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



Aniela is a princess on a magical island of Edaion, where all the residents possess a magical ability. She makes friends with a new immigrant to the island, a blind girl named Odette who has a magical ability, Odette goes into a trance and makes drawings.

I was struck by the imagery of the novel “Aniela spent a good twenty minutes playing Tetris with the boxes to get all to fit in the fridge.” I just love that description it’s so vivid it plays like a movie in my mind.

Before beginning this novel I read an article in The Guardian about reading and empathy http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/dec/30/humans-hardwired-read-books. I’m an only child so I was first struck with the sibling relationships which I have no experience with and as the novel continues the family dynamic with the King and Queen and how much more complicated this makes Aniela’s life, and interesting. Aniela’ a character I really liked, “I wanted to be Sailor Moon, Spin around and change clothes, fight bad guys and find prince charming.” But she’s not a superhero but in her own way she strives to be. How can you not like a character who wants to be a hero, keep her family together, and repair the rifts with her sister, caused by her mother?

This book is quite a bit different from the majority of urban fantasy that I’ve read, it’s contemplative and has a slowly unfolding mystery with very interesting characters. In a way it reminded me of Ray Bradbury, the kind of stories he would tell like “Something Wicked This Way Comes”. I’d highly recommend you give this book a try. I’m glad I did and I thank the authors for the ARC copy. I’m looking forward to reading the other book in the story. http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13174193-blind-sight-through-the-eyes-of-leocardo-reyes Where we get to see Leocardo’s perspective.




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Excerpt: Blind Sight Through the Eyes Aniela Dawson


Written by Eliabeth Hawthorne



Prologue




A bundle of joy wrapped in a white feather boa streaked down the hall. Her long blonde hair flowed out behind her. Dressed in a vintage dress several sizes too large, Edaion’s youngest princess had just come out from playing dress up in her mother’s closet. Aniela wore oversized tortoise-shell aviator sunglasses and a necklace of pearls that dragged on the floor, threatening to trip her as she ran barefoot toward her sister’s room. The energetic four-year-old girl pushed open the bedroom door without knocking, still learning appropriate boundaries.

Seven-year-old Tatiana sat on her bed, her dark hair and dark eyes a stark contrast to Aniela’s baby blues. One of their mother’s favorite lamps levitated up and down; it moved slowly through the air. Tatiana never let it exceed six inches from the ground while she practiced her magic. All three of the Dawson children had inherited telekinesis from their mother. Tatiana specialized in large, heavy objects. Her twin, Theodore, who sat at Tatiana’s desk playing solitaire in the air, specialized in multiple small objects. Aniela had yet to develop a specialty.

“Hi Ana,” Theodore said. The door swung shut without any help from his sister.

“Hi Teo,” Aniela replied, sometimes still struggling with her t-h sounds.

Aniela tried to jump on her sister’s bed, but it was too high, causing her to miss and slide down until her feet once again touched the soft rug. She backed up and took a running leap. Aniela’s forehead smacked into Tatiana’s palm and she toppled backward onto to floor. Theodore frowned. His brow furrowed as he shook his head, but he did not comment as Aniela crawled up onto his lap instead. Much like his role in life, his looks fell somewhere between the two girls’. He had Tatiana’s intelligent brown eyes and Aniela’s light blonde hair. While he lacked Aniela’s innocence, he also lacked Tatiana’s smugness. He was the middle; one they could both enjoy.

“What do you want?” Tatiana droned in her ever present annoyed tone.

“Where does magic come from?” Aniela watched the lamp travel fluidly through the air as Tatiana moved it to the floor before answering.

Everyone knows that a boat shipwrecked on the island and that one of our ancestors was the captain.”

“They were cursed for hunting on the island.” Theodore took up the story.

Aniela looked back and forth between her siblings, watching them trade off the conversation like a ball in a tennis match and quickly lost interest.

“I want to go to the park,” she announced.

“I’ll see if Marcus can drive us,” Theodore offered. Rarely did the king or queen have time to chaperone their children.

Simultaneously, and with practiced ease, the cards moved into a neat pile on Tatiana’s desk as Theodore picked Aniela off his lap and set her on the floor. Tatiana’s eyes flickered with new-found mischievousness as her twin closed the door behind him and waved Aniela over. Excited to be included, Aniela scrambled over, but Tatiana stopped her before she could climb onto the bed. She leaned in close, Tatiana’s voice barely more than a whisper. Something in her voice made Aniela feel the way she did before she snuck into their mother’s closet without permission.

Tatiana’s eyes glistened. “You know what we should do?”

“What?” Aniela bounced as she failed to contain her enthusiasm.

“We should play hide and seek at the park, but you know how Theo always finds you so quick?” She paused, lowering her voice. “So when we get there, you go hide, and I’ll give you a head start before I tell Theo it’s time to look for you.” If Aniela had known about Alice in Wonderland, she would have compared Tatiana’s smile to that of the Cheshire Cat’s.

“Okay!” Aniela agreed enthusiastically. She put her fingers to her lips and turned an invisible key, offering it to Tatiana for safekeeping. Tatiana did not play along, letting the would-be key fall onto the bed untouched.

“And no telling Theo,” Tatiana emphasized. “I’ll tell him, but before we go you had better put Mum’s clothes back where you found them.”

“Okay.” Aniela sprinted out of the room and back down the hall. She placed the clothes back in the trunk at the back of her mother’s closet, pearls and all. She then returned to Tatiana’s room to find Theodore waiting and Tatiana ready to go. They piled into a waiting car; Theodore placed himself between the two girls. The driver would stay with them in place of a bodyguard, for while no one had expanded on the subject, Aniela knew there was some kind of protection in place that made them unnecessary.

Aniela pressed her face to glass as she watched the houses go by. “We here! We here!” she celebrated.

Theodore helped Aniela as she fumbled to get out of the car.

“You’ll want to chew some gum after you smoke or Mum will smell it on your breath,” Tatiana told Marcus as she climbed out. He coughed and Theodore’s eyes narrowed. “What? It’s true!”

Once Aniela was freed from her booster seat, she shot out of the car and went to find a suitable hiding place. She looked around and chose the jungle gym. Hiding in one of the many colorful tunnels, she listened for either of her siblings to start counting. When she did not hear any, she assumed she was safely hidden. Excited about the game, she was determined to stay put, at least until her short attention span got the better of her. Her gaze fell on two boys sitting in the gravel near the swing set; one was holding a vehemently protesting cat while the other pulled its whiskers.

“Stop it! Stop being mean!” her voice echoed through the tunnel. She crawled out and ran back to the twins.

She pulled on the hem of Theodore’s shirt with one hand and pointed with the other. “Mean boys are being mean to a kitty!” she screamed and turned to Tatiana. “Fix it!”

Aniela’s anger elevated once Tatiana’s eyes fell on the boys, able to read her sibling’s mood whether she wanted to or not. She moved behind Theodore, pushing on his lower back and keeping directly behind him as if he were an impenetrable wall. Tatiana walked over with an intimidating gait, so quiet in her movements that despite Aniela’s yelling, the boys did not look up until her shadow was upon them. One look at her and they both shot off in the opposite direction, leaving the cat to run off as well.

“Awe!” Aniela yelled, “Kitty! Kitty come back! I wanna take you home! Tia get it!”

“Ana, don’t be silly. The cat is not going to want to be caught after that.”

“But I wanna make it feel better. Tia use your ma-muh…” she was muffled by Theodore’s hand cupping her mouth. She huffed at him, but his hand remained firm as he began forcibly walking her back to the car.

“Not a word until we get home,” he hissed.

Confused, she looked up at him, unable to understand why he was angry now that the cat was free, but he remained silent.

“Marcus, gum please.” Tatiana shot out a demanding hand between the front seats once she joined them. He handed her two pieces and she passed one to Theodore.

“I want gum,” Aniela whined. The first and only time she had been given gum, she had swallowed it.

“You’re too young,” Tatiana gloated, blowing a large bubble and popping it with her teeth.

“Am not!” Aniela puffed out her bottom lip and made sad puppy dog eyes at her brother who she no longer felt was mad at her.

Tatiana reached across Theodore and pulled one of Aniela’s shoestrings, untying it in one fluid motion. “You’re too young until you can tie your shoe.”

“I can,” Aniela shot, bringing her foot up close and playing with the laces. Her tongue wiggled around, poking out of the corner of her mouth in determination. It kept her busy the whole way home until eventually, Theodore reached over and helped.

“Ana, you still want gum?” Tatiana asked once they were home.

“Yes please!” she held out her hand expectantly.

“Here.” Tatiana took the piece of gum out of her mouth and placed it in Aniela’s hand. A familiar grin spread across Tatiana’s face.

Aniela’s jaw dropped and her nose wrinkled in mortified disgust. Saliva pooled in the palm of her hand as it slid off the damp wad while she stared at it until Theodore took it from her. Aniela wiped her hand on Theodore’s shirt and he made no signs of minding, but as soon as Tatiana started to do the same, he gave her a dark glare and she wiped her fingers on her own shirt instead.

Theodore took Aniela by the hand and walked her to her room. “Stay. I will be right back and we can talk about why I had to cut you off in the park,” he commanded. He closed the door behind him. She waited for his footsteps to fade down the marble hallway before tiptoeing out of her room and back into her sister’s.

“What now?” Tatiana groaned.

“Why can’t we use magic outside?”

Tatiana had been lying on her back but rolled over on the bed before she answered. The same grin she had worn that morning pulled at the corners of her lips. “If you use magic, or mention it outside the house, in the middle of the night, when the lights are out and you’re sound asleep…”

“You just don’t!” Theodore interjected firmly. The door to Tatiana’s room had swung open so forcefully it collided with the wall, cutting Tatiana off mid-sentence. “Inside is one thing, but outside it is forbidden.” Theodore informed Aniela before Tatiana could contine.

Tatiana pouted and rolled back over, but Aniela could not help but worry where the story had been going. All sorts of terrible scenarios played through her vivid imagination involving monsters in the closet or bugs that came and carried people away in their sleep, but she did not want to know badly enough to ask Tatiana to continue. Theodore took her by the hand, this time more gently, and led her back to her room.

“Ana, don’t let Tia scare you. Magic is not scary; it is a gift. You will understand when you are older. For now, you do not want to get in trouble, do you?”

Aniela shook her head.





PRIZES: Did you enjoy the review? You could win a gift card and I could win one too! Just leave a comment about the review below and you're entered in the drawing.

Learn more about Blind Sight: A blind girl drawing is abnormal even on the magical island of Edaion where leaves brush themselves into piles in the middle of the night. So when Odette Reyes, a girl blind from birth, begins to experience ominous side effects of the island's "gift," her brother Leocardo and best friend Aniela must figure out what the doctors cannot. As an immigrant, Leocardo is not biased by accepted rules of magic and determines that Odette's drawings are premonitions. Aniela grew up with magic and knows premonitions are impossible. She determines Odette is a medium channeling voiceless spirits.

Who is right? Whose eyes will you read through?

Both books are "volume one" you can read one without the other and still get a complete story, but you won't see how the characters interpret the same situation differently.

Buy the book! Both volumes are available as an e-book for Kindle (Aniela's vol. / Leocardo's vol.) and Nook (Aniela's vol. / Leocardo's vol.) Don't have an e-reader, pick up a PDF on Smashwords (Aniela's vol. / Leocardo's vol.)

The paperback special edition will be available in the fall (northern hemisphere).

The authors:

Eliabeth wrote her first mini-series in second grade when the teacher told her she was not old enough to write a chapter book. Regrettably, for fear of turning into a starving artist, Eliabeth played it safe in college and is now a recent William Jewell graduate with a BA in International Business and Japanese. She now returns to what she truly loves, creating worlds for people to escape to and characters for them to fall in love with. Ermisenda began writing Harry Potter fan-fiction at the age of twelve and started developing her own writing at fourteen when she joined play sites and completed her first crime novel at fifteen. Although her favorite genres were crime and fantasy, she reads a bit of everything. Driven by the desire to evoke the kaleidoscope of emotions her favorite authors are able to, she kept writing. Growing up bilingual amongst her Spanish family in Australia, she found a love and deep appreciation for language and the power it wielded. She is now a Psychology major at the University of Newcastle. Together, they write as Ermilia.

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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Review: On Books and the Housing of Them


On Books and the Housing of Them
On Books and the Housing of Them by William Ewart Gladstone

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



Interesting essay on books and personal libraries by the Victorian British Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone (1809-1898), it’s easy to see that the man loved books. I also find interesting that the issue of copyright was a problem back then, something that still hasn’t been resolved to many people’s opinion a hundred years later. The essay also makes you more appreciative of ebooks, which take up just an atom or twos width.



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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Review: Arthur Machen: a novelist of ecstasy and sin


Arthur Machen: a novelist of ecstasy and sin
Arthur Machen: a novelist of ecstasy and sin by Vincent Starrett

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



How weird the path to a book, I read about Starrett in a book I'd just finished Ex Libris[b:Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader|46890|Ex Libris Confessions of a Common Reader|Anne Fadiman|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1312015577s/46890.jpg|1468318]and doing an internet search I found a PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK then when I searched for this on Goodreads I found a "Goodreads" friend, already had this book in her TBR pile.

This short book includes an interesting essay part of which is about
the novella The Great God Pan (1890)

(Stephen King called it "Maybe the best [horror story] in the English language".)wikipedia

Along with two poems, both thought provoking as well as beautiful. That from a reader "me" who never reads poetry.



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Review: Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader


Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader
Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



Nice collection essays about reading, books, libraries and the joy of used books. Each essay picks a different aspect of the bibliophile and are of consistently high quality. I found that reading them one at a time, spread amongst my other reading to be the most satisfying way to approach the book.



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Review: Three to Get Deadly


Three to Get Deadly
Three to Get Deadly by Janet Evanovich

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



I like this series and was inspired to read this one by the recent movie, which isn't bad but not as good as the books. This one has as interesting plot and the usual humor which occasionally has me lol. My favorite scene is when she's chasing a suspect through the mall with her hair in tin foil from the hair dresser.



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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Review: The Beekeeper's Apprentice


The Beekeeper's Apprentice
The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



This was a tremendous novel, all the classic Sherlock characters, Mrs Hudson, Watson, Mycroft and even a helpful Lestrade. Along with the newest character to add to the Holmes cast, teenage Mary Russell who Holmes identifies with immediately. I'd recommend this novel to any fan of Sherlock Holmes who's looking for more stories after the Doyle cannon.



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Monday, February 27, 2012

Review: The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline


The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline
The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline by Nancy Springer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



Another fun entry in the series, I can't believe I only have one to more book in the series left to read. Please Ms Springer give us more Enola cases soon!



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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Review: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Vol. 1


The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Vol. 1
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Vol. 1 by Alan Moore

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



An interesting read, the first two chapters as introductory are the weakest for me, the last two shows the true potential of the concept. I particularly enjoyed the little cameos such as the Artful Doger and his thoughts about civil air defense. I was also intrigued by the prior incarnations of the league that were hinted at, especially Bumpo and the Reverend Dr Syn.



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Review: The House of Silk: A Sherlock Holmes Novel


The House of Silk: A Sherlock Holmes Novel
The House of Silk: A Sherlock Holmes Novel by Anthony Horowitz

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



Ever since the Sherlock show ended, I been on a bit of a Holmes kick so this months feature novel in the The Mystery, Crime, and Thriller Group came at a great time. I'm a big fan of Horowitz's TV work on Midsummer Murders, and also a Sherlock fan so I hoped that it would read more like a Doyle story then a Horowitz plotted TV show and was completely captivated by the new story. The narrator sounds like the Watson from Sir Conan but the writing is quite easy to read, maintaining a historic feel without more modern language.



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Friday, February 24, 2012

Review: The Case of the Peculiar Pink Fan


The Case of the Peculiar Pink Fan
The Case of the Peculiar Pink Fan by Nancy Springer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



I'm really enjoying this series, the characters are terrific, Sherlock has never seemed more human then in this series and Mycroft so stuffy, but occasionally useful. The star Enola is who powers the series and she'e in great form in this novel. Again my only complaint is that the book is too short, luckily I have a few more to read.



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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Review: A Perfect Blood


A Perfect Blood
A Perfect Blood by Kim Harrison

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



Another kick butt Rachel Morgan adventure, this is the longest running urban fantasy series that I keep up with and the only one I get the day that it's published.

I liked this one as much as any in the previous series, and the few doubts about the logic of the plot that I had were more then answered as more facts were revealed by the author.

This series is so tightly plotted I'd recommend reading the first nine volumes before picking this one up.



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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Review: The Case of the Bizarre Bouquets


The Case of the Bizarre Bouquets
The Case of the Bizarre Bouquets by Nancy Springer

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



Not quite as good as the first two novels in the series but still a very strong entry. The story is about Watson and his wife and Enola's dysfunctional family. I have to agree with Sherlock that he wishes that Enola would trust him, but I can also understand why Enola can't. The real only problem with this novel is that it's just to short, if the story was expanded it would have been a strong four star book.



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Monday, February 20, 2012

Review: The Case of the Left-Handed Lady


The Case of the Left-Handed Lady
The Case of the Left-Handed Lady by Nancy Springer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



This is the best YA series that I've read since Robert Sawyers WWW trilogy. This second entry in the series is superior to the first as the characters have all been introduced and the mystery is the central part of the novel. Enola's family issues are an interesting second mystery, will she continue to elude her famous brother Sherlock in his city of London.



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Review: The Case of the Missing Marquess


The Case of the Missing Marquess
The Case of the Missing Marquess by Nancy Springer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



I'm a big fan of Alan Bradley's Flavia series, read all four novels at the end of 2011 and waiting somewhat impatiently for his next book I chanced upon this series. 11 year old Flavia is less mature then the 14 year old Enola but much more sure of herself. The first half of this novel deals mostly with the setup and introducing the characters of Enola and older brothers Mycroft and Sherlock. The second half see Enola come into a mystery and it's solution.

I'd highly recommend this novel to fans of Holmes or Flavia, being fans of both makes this an irresistible read.



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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Review: Spock Must Die!


Spock Must Die!
Spock Must Die! by James Blish

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



While this doesn't compare to my favorite James Blish series Cities in Flight it was a nice interesting story where the characters act as you'd expect from the TV series. Little new however is learned about the characters because of my biggest complaint about the novel, which is it's too short. It's much like an 60 minute episode from the original series. What I did like was the way that Bliss tied this to the original with both a plot heavily dependent on "Errand of Mercy" episode and secondary characters from other Trek episodes.



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Review: The Big Sleep


The Big Sleep
The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



A hard boiled classic that introduces Philip Marlowe as the knight out to save two damsels in distress. The opening hallway description of the Knight tells a lot about Marlowe's character. If you've seen the movie there is still lots to enjoy here as the details are finely drawn.



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Friday, February 17, 2012

Review: Dream Park


Dream Park
Dream Park by Larry Niven

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



I wouldn't rate this book as high as I did when I first read it a little over thirty years ago, because now I notice more of it's flaws particularly some of the early dialogue between Griffin, Harmony and Skip being horrendous. It reminded me of cheap 1950's SF movies. Also long ago it was one of the first novels I'd read about fantasy gaming something I was very much into. I've since read many more novels on the subject that I feel are much better, last year's Ready Player One is a prime example of a more exciting and interesting story. But I still like this Dream Park for the mythology surrounding the cargo cults which is still intriguing to me.



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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Review: The Alehouse Murders


The Alehouse Murders
The Alehouse Murders by Maureen Ash

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



This was a very interesting medieval murder mystery. It’s set about fifty years after the Brother Cadfael series in the time of King John. The series shares much with Peter’s Brother Cadfael series, both feature monks who spent part of their lives fighting the Crusades. Cadfael becomes a monk after his time in the Holy Land, Bascot de Marins the detective in this series served as a Templar Knight in the crusades and was at Acre with king Richard, and has a crisis of faith upon his return to England.

This series is much more secular then the Cadfael series and also at least this volume seemed to have much more historical detail and was more realistic then the highly romantic Cadfael series. That said if you enjoyed the Cadfael books I’m fairly certain you’ll enjoy this novel as well.




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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Review: A Purple Place for Dying


A Purple Place for Dying
A Purple Place for Dying by John D. MacDonald

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



MacDonald is a superb writer and the Travis McGee series just continues to get better and better. A series of mysteries can often take on a pattern and sameness of tone that make it to familiar and slightly boring, MacDonald has avoided that in the first three McGee novels.

This McGee novel has my favorite quote “People who censor books are usually illiterate” this quote from 1964 seems even more appropriate with the recent battle in the Senate over SOPA and how the internet really works.




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Monday, February 13, 2012

Review: Murder on the Orient Express


Murder on the Orient Express
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



This was a very clever mystery, but not exactly to my taste. I prefer a more character driven story and the characters in this mystery, the first mystery featuring Poirot that I’ve read were mere sketches. Even the famous detective seems to not develop at all over the course of the story. This may not be fair as I haven’t read the first nine mysteries in the series and the others may have been radically different and the author may feel that Poirot was developed sufficiently in the prior novels. But I still enjoyed the book as I say the puzzle itself was very enjoyable.



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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Review: Buried in a Book


Buried in a Book
Buried in a Book by Lucy Arlington

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



A pleasant first book in a cozy series about a literary agency and the middle aged woman who interns there. The thing I liked best was the literary town that she built, I would have liked to see more of the town, and also the characters could certainly be furthered developed maybe we'll see more of that in future books in the series.



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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Review: Knots and Crosses


Knots and Crosses
Knots and Crosses by Ian Rankin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



I'd picked this up because the The Mystery, Crime, and Thriller Group is reading another of Rankin's books this month Bleeding Hearts: A Novel and never reading any other works by the author I thought I'd give this popular series a try. [b:Bleeding Hearts: A Novel|69806|Bleeding Hearts A Novel|Ian Rankin|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1170712666s/69806.jpg|1398310]

This was a terrific first novel in a series and only the second novel by Rankin. The characters were all complex and interesting, most were deeply flawed but also somewhat sympathetic, while Rebus is my favorite Jim Stevens the journalist was also a well drawn and complex character who'd I'd like to learn more about. I will be reading more books in this series.




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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Review: The Burglar Who Studied Spinoza


The Burglar Who Studied Spinoza
The Burglar Who Studied Spinoza by Lawrence Block

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



Another terrific entry in Block’s burglar series, with a few surprises from the familiar formula that’s been used in the earlier books in the series. Bernie is most like a private investigator while still using his brain and burglar skills to solve a series of murders. Some favorite moments include the romantic twist at the end, I didn’t see that coming, the first killer, I knew that from the start, and finally the second killer that one was a surprise.



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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Review: A Superior Death


A Superior Death
A Superior Death by Nevada Barr

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



The first half of this book was two stars at best, it was very slow and with few likeable characters I had to push myself to keep reading. I wouldn't have bothered but I'd read the first book in the series years ago and like it quite a bit so I figured that I'd push on. The characters in the second half don't get any more likeable except for Anna and her roommates, but the action ramps up and she starts to solve the mystery which pushed a two star book up to three.



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Monday, February 6, 2012

Review: Buttercream Bump Off


Buttercream Bump Off
Buttercream Bump Off by Jenn McKinlay

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



Not as good as the first, just a little to over the top in parts, I'd really rate this as a two and a half star book but gave it three because a couple of the scenes were laugh out loud funny and I really liked the new characters Marty and Roach but especially Marty. The hair hat wearing oldster really added to the story.



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Sunday, February 5, 2012

Review: The Burglar Who Liked to Quote Kipling


The Burglar Who Liked to Quote Kipling
The Burglar Who Liked to Quote Kipling by Lawrence Block

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



This was my favorite book of the series so far,funnier then ever with lines like

“Wonderful. I can play it safe by sitting in a stolen car parked at a bus stop. Why don’t I just wait in the subway? I could cling to the third rail for security.”

Fictional Kipling poems " The Deliverance of Fort Bucklow" drives the story but it's all Bernie and Carolyn thatdrive the fun with excellent dialogue and a complicated mystery just perfect for a book lover.





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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Review: Sprinkle with Murder


Sprinkle with Murder
Sprinkle with Murder by Jenn McKinlay

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



I don't usually read cooking mysteries but after reading Books Can Be Deceiving also by Jenn McKinlay and no second volume in the Library series yet, I figured I'd give it a try. This was a fast paced story with genuinely likeable characters. Mel the heroine of the tale is a former fat kid, who shed the weight and learns to like herself while also learning that she still loves to eat. I'll be reading the next volume in this series as soon as I can get a copy.



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Review: The Burglar in the Closet


The Burglar in the Closet
The Burglar in the Closet by Lawrence Block

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



A funny fast paced mystery, my favorite scene in the book is when Bernie calls Denise Raphaelson on the phone and their back forth dialogue, she appears to have impressed Bernie with her wit also. I don't usually go to much for crime novels but Bernie makes an excellent detective and Block really knows how to write. You may need to be a bit older to solve this mystery written in 1978 with it's tent cent payphones and late night TV.



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Friday, February 3, 2012

Review: Murder Past Due


Murder Past Due
Murder Past Due by Miranda James

My rating: 2 of 5 stars



This was a two and a half star book for me, the mystery being the strongest part of the story. I went for the red herring hook line and sinker. My problem with the novel was the characters I really didn’t like any of them except for Diesel the cat. The main character was too prissy, his friends and co-workers were either gossips or pompous, the victim was so unlikeable everyone in the town hated him. For me the mystery or story or plot always is secondary to the characters so this book just didn’t cut it for me.



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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Review: The Thin Man


The Thin Man
The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



This novel is quite a bit different in tone from the 1934 William Powell, Myrna Loy movie which played almost like a screwball comedy where the book is more hard boiled. But the essential chemistry between Nick and Nora remains the same and drives the story from drinks in the hotel, to speakeasies, to drinks at the police station. Asta makes her appearance but doesn’t have the crucial role solving the mystery that she had in the movie. The best scene for me was when Nick took on the armed gangster with only a pillow, meanwhile Nora is fascinated and having the time of her life.



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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Review: Curiosity Thrilled the Cat


Curiosity Thrilled the Cat
Curiosity Thrilled the Cat by Sofie Kelly

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



Two cats in a small town “400 miles north of everywhere” with a literary protagonist, no it’s not the newspaper reporter Qwill from the Cat Who series, this is Kathleen the head librarian and her two magical cats.
The two series are really very much alike, with this series being given an edge for a decent mystery, The Cat Who series being better for the number of likable and quirky characters. But a cat fancier who enjoys a cozy mystery should enjoy this novel.




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Monday, January 30, 2012

Review: Books Can Be Deceiving


Books Can Be Deceiving
Books Can Be Deceiving by Jenn McKinlay

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



I enjoyed this first book in a series about Lindsay a small town Library Director and her best friend, Beth the children’s librarian in the Connecticut seaside town of Briar Creek. The sheriff is a sexist idiot so Lindsay has to solve the crime and clear her friend’s name. Lots of interesting characters and the town is so well described I feel like vacationing there next summer. Best thing is that the second book in the series is due in just a little over a month release date is March 6th per good reads.



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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Review: Sentenced to Death


Sentenced to Death
Sentenced to Death by Lorna Barrett

My rating: 2 of 5 stars



This was by far the weakest book in the series, I particularly didn't care for the "murder weapon". I just found it too unbelievable. The writing is still good, but the main character's obvious unhappiness with her life, even after making one of her life's dreams opening the mystery bookshop successful even in a poor economy makes for a lees enjoyable read. Another thing missing from earlier books in the series is Trish doesn't seem to read anymore and talk about the bookshop and classic mystery authors is almost non existent.

I hope her next entry in the series is more of a return to the the early books which I liked much better.



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Friday, January 27, 2012

Review: Nightmare in Pink


Nightmare in Pink
Nightmare in Pink by John D. MacDonald

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



This is a terrific, just a tiny notch below 5 stars and I give 5 stars to next to nothing. MacDonald's writing is near perfection.

The insect experts have learned how it works with locusts. Until locust population reaches a certain density, they all act like any grasshoppers. When the, critical point is reached, they turn savage and swarm, and try to eat the world. We're nearing a critical point. One day soon two strangers will bump into each other at high won in the middle of New York. But this time they won't snarl and go on. They will stop and stare and then leap at each others' throats in a dreadful silence. The infection will spread outward from that point. Old ladies will crack skulls with their deadly handbags. Cars will plunge down the crowded sidewalks. Drivers will be torn out of their cars and stomped. It will spread to all the huge cities of the world, and by dawn of the next day there will be a horrid silence of sprawled bodies and tumbled vehicles, gutted buildings and a few wisps of smoke. And through that silence will prowl a few, a very few of the most powerful ones, ragged and bloody, slowly tracking each other down.

I can only think of the pervasive zombie genre and wonder if this is what makes it so popular.

Even the villains of the piece have interesting things to say.

"I read a great deal. It's the only way we have to lead more lives than one."

Me too, I can be an astronaut in the morning, a deep sea diver in the afternoon, and a vampire in the evening or Travis the kinght is rusty armor, anytime during a sleepless night.



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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Review: Dread Brass Shadows


Dread Brass Shadows
Dread Brass Shadows by Glen Cook

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



Sydney Greenstreet should play Fido Easterman in the movie, Cooks dialogue between Garrett and Fido is pure Fatman and Sam Spade.

Another smile tried to break through and died young, smothered by fat. "Yes. As you surmise, my name is not Lubbock. No sir. That is merely wishful thinking, the heartfelt desire to walk the same path as the great Lubbocks of centuries past."

Fido doesn't have a large part in the novel but he's pure hard boiled fun, for a crazy man. This series get's better the deeper you go into it. While each case is separate they all tie together with many returning characters in each novel.



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