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We stand in the sun and look back in our tracks
An image of self in grays and in blacks
Laughter and joy hold us in their sweet thrall
But even in wonderland shadows must fall

Book Review: Stolen Ink by Holly Evans

October 30, 2017 | Posted in Book Reviews, Fiction, Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy | By

Stolen Ink (Ink Born #1)Stolen Ink by Holly Evans
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is *really× good

I voluntarily read an advanced reader copy of this book.

There are several different kinds of magic in this alternative Earth. The main kind used here is tattoo magic and it is easily of the more interesting ones I’ve come across in my reading. It’s kind of tricky to try and explain how it works without giving an example of one being done, and I know how much I hate spoilers, so I’ll just say this: It’s really creative and sounds exceptionally cool. I kinda wish I it was real!

Dacian is a tattoo magician and is quite good at his job – perhaps too good. He’s worked hard to keep the extent of his abilities under wraps because if it were known it could put him in danger. However, when someone starts stealing people’s tattoos – causing them to die in agony – he realizes he may have to risk exposing himself to prevent more murders.

The book had a moderately large cast of characters who are introduced to us over the course of the story, which I really liked. The pacing of the introductions allowed the characters personalities to stand out before becoming part of the enable.

There’s a sweet romance that develops and I really appreciated that it wasn’t an “instalove.” By going at a slower pace I get to see how the guys grow together as a couple and how their interaction changes them both. I feel more invested in their relationship and it makes me want to see them succeed that much more.

I also really liked how vivid the descriptions are.I often felt like I was almost more watching the story than reading a book.

I have high hopes for the rest of this series based on this start.

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Book Review: Blood and Gold by TG Ayer

October 30, 2017 | Posted in Book Reviews, Fiction, Mythology-Based, Urban Fantasy | By

Blood & Gold (Hand of Kali, #2)Blood & Gold by T.G. Ayer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I voluntarily read an advanced reader copy of this book.

For most of her life Maya had been skeptical about her parents religious beliefs and the work they do for the goddess Kali. Discovering that she is the Hand of Kali, however, and meeting some members of the Hindu pantheon has understandably given her a new perspective on things. And so it is that we find her now accompanying her parents on the job as the second installment in this series opens. I liked getting a chance to see what her parents do and through that to learn a bit more about Indian folklore.

Of course, working with her parents is just a small appetizer before getting into the meat of the story. Maya receives a summons from Lord Shiva, the most powerful god in the Hindu pantheon, who has a mission for her. With Nik and Joss along to help, she sets out to fulfill the request Lord Shiva has made.

A lot happens in this book. In addition to her main mission, Maya also finds that her friend Ria needs her help, as does an acquaintance of hers and a grieving mother she meets along the way. Sometimes when so much happens in a story it can become a bit tiring to read. Ayer does a good job of pacing the plot so that doesn’t happen here.

There are some interesting twists to the story. As usual, Ayer nicely sets them up so that they don’t feel completely out of the blue without telegraphing them. It’ll be fun to see what surprises are in store in the next volume.

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Book Review: Too Wyrd by Sarah Buhrman

October 30, 2017 | Posted in Book Reviews, Fiction, Mythology-Based, Urban Fantasy | By

Too Wyrd (Runespells, #1)Too Wyrd by Sarah Buhrman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I voluntarily read an advanced reader copy of this book.

This book is great. The characters are a lot of fun, and the heroine, Nicola – a single mother and a witch – had just the right mix of strength, stubbornness, street-smarts and courage tampered with compassion and vulnerability. As the story opens, her best friend, Joseph, is telling her that her sister Muriel is missing and that she may have gotten caught up in a cult Nicola’s ex-boyfriend – and the father of her child – is running. She and Joseph quickly head out to determine what’s happening, and when they find out its nothing they’d expected.

I really liked how the story covered a range of emotions. There are action sequences, scenes that are laugh out loud funny, scenes that are heartbreaking and more. It keeps the story moving along nicely and gives the book a feeling of real life when we can experience all those emotions in any given day .

The main characters are well-developed and believable and many of the side characters – even if they’re only in one scene – are colorful and distinct .

The only complaint that I might have about the book is that the final battle scene has so much going on that it was difficult to keep track of what was happening during that scene. Given how good everything else in the book is, though, that’s really just a minor quibble.

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Book Review: Rage by Sierra Cross

October 30, 2017 | Posted in Book Reviews, Fiction, Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy | By

Rage (Spelldrift: Coven of Fire #3)Rage by Sierra Cross
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I voluntarily read an advanced reader copy of this book.

With Matt’s dramatic actions at the end of “Ignite” the stakes are even higher for the Coven of Fire. While Alix and Asher head to Europe to help Matt, Liv works in Seattle to find a way to save the good Cassie she believes is still hidden within the dark witch she’s become.

There are a lot of twists and turns in this installment in the series and we get a closer look at the various ruling bodies that regulate the Magicborn community. A lot happens during the story – sometimes it came close to being a bit too much – but overall it’s a good, fun read.

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Trump, Truth and Emotional Reasoning

October 30, 2017 | Posted in Politics, Trump | By

How to Deprogram Truth-Denying Trump Voters

How did Donald Trump win, when he used so many misleading statements and outright deceptions? Couldn’t people see through them? As an expert in brain science, I want to share why his followers fell for his lies and what can be done to address this situation in the future. First, let’s get the facts straight. At… Read more →

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Trump’s Pardon Powers Have Limits When Indictment Comes

October 30, 2017 | Posted in Politics, Trump, Trump Surrogates and Spokespeople, Trump-Russia Scandal | By

A good analysis of the limits of a presidential pardon and why Trump won’t likely be able to just wave a magic wand and make it all go away, even for his friends.

With the first indictment looming from the federal Trump-Russia investigation, President Donald Trump is getting a reminder: His pardoning pardons can’t fix everything. “I don’t think the president’s power is all that absolute, as people have been suggesting,” California Representative Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, told ABC News’ “This Week” Sunday.… Read more →

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Donald Trump Has Betrayed the Kurds, Iraq Will Suffer

October 28, 2017 | Posted in Foreign Policy, Politics, Right-Wing Extremism | By

Yet another example of how Trump is a danger not only to us but to the entire world. It just makes me sick.

Following the Kurdistan Region’s defeat of the Islamic State militant group (ISIS), we moved quickly to secure our own rights in an independence referendum last month. We seized the opportunity to solidify our role as a stable partner for peace for America and the rest of the world. Yet in a tragic turn of events, our… Read more →

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NaNoWriMo

October 27, 2017 | Posted in Stuff | By

For reasons I have yet to fully comprehend, I’ve decided to take a crack at this year’s NaNoWriMo. I don’t actually have a whole story in mind yet, but I keep coming up with various scenarios for a character that stays pretty consistent. I mentioned this on a mailing list I’m on and they suggested that I just start by writing out those scenes and that may help the rest of the story come into focus. That sounds reasonable, and I realized I’ve spent quite a bit of time this year critiquing other’s work so maybe I should see what it’s like on the other side.

So, with prayers to Bragi for inspiration and guidance, a heart full of hope, a stomach full of butterflies and a little voice in my head rolling on the gray matter laughing I’m going to dive in head first. Anyone have any spare life preservers?

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Book Review: Seer’s Stone by Holly Evans

October 22, 2017 | Posted in Book Reviews, Fantasy, Fiction, Urban Fantasy | By

Seers Stone (Hidden Alchemy #1)Seers Stone by Holly Evans
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Great series opener

I loved this book. Normally, I’ll be in the middle of two or three books at any give time and take a few days to work through them all, but once I started reading Seer’s Stones I just kept going. It was a fast read and lots of fun. The characters are well-developed and their individual strengths and weaknesses mesh nicely to make for a good team. There’s quite a bit of humor in the book and a fair amount of talk about sex, but the few actual sex scenes that are included are quite mild.

Interestingly, there wasn’t really any kind of defined villain to the story, which is about the main characters’ attempts to obtain a valuable artifact. Others are also looking for it, of course, and the dramatic tension comes from our heroes trying to stay ahead of these various rivals. I really rather liked the idea that there wasn’t just one guy who kept throwing blocks in their way nor any grand conspiracy against them as it felt more like how a situation like this might actually play out.

This is a good start to what looks to be a really fun series.

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Three Charged With Attempted Murder After White Supremacist Event

October 22, 2017 | Posted in Politics, Right-Wing Extremism | By

Three Charged With Attempted Murder After White Supremacist Event

Three men have been charged with attempted murder in Gainesville, Florida, for firing a shot at anti-Nazi protesters after a speech by white supremacist leader Richard Spencer on Thursday … Read more →

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