Tag Archives: jewish heroine

blood and ash

Book Review: Blood & Ash, by Deborah Wilde

Though I own a kindle copy of Deborah Wilde‘s Blood & Ash (I think I picked it up as an Amazon freebie), I borrowed and audio copy through Hoopla so that I could listen to it while I worked outside.
blood and ash

Cold-blooded kidnappers. Long-lost magic. When things get serious, she goes full Sherlock.

Ashira Cohen takes pride in being the only female private investigator in Vancouver. With her skills, her missing persons case should be a piece of cake.

She wasn’t counting on getting bashed in the skull, revealing a hidden tattoo and supernatural powers she shouldn’t possess.

Or the bitter icing on top: a spree of abductions and terrifying ghostly creatures on a deadly bender.

And don’t even get her started on the golems.

Reluctantly partnered with her long-time nemesis Levi, the infuriating leader of the magic community, Ash resolves to keep her focus on the clue trail and off their sexual tension because WTF is up with that?

But with a mastermind organization pulling strings from the shadows and Levi’s arrogance driving her to pick out his body bag, can Ash rescue the captives and uncover the truth or will the next blood spilled be her own?

my review

I generally liked this. I actually loved some aspects of it. A urban fantasy with a Jewish heroine and supporting characters? Yes please. Set in Canada? I’ll take it. All that lovely diversity? Yep, give it here. Writing that rarely pulled me out of the narrative? I am here for it!

But I also felt like I was dropped into the middle of the story. Ash talks about ‘my leg’ and ‘my coma’ and about characters the reader hasn’t met for too long before any of it is explained. I thought I must be missing a first book for quite a long while. And so much is only barely given context. I never really felt any of it. The relationship with the romantic partner especially. So, while I enjoyed the ride, I wasn’t super invested in any of it.

All in all, though, I’d read another of Wilde’s books.

blood and ash

I’m gonna try a new thing for a little while, see how I like it. I’m going to start including links to other reviews of a book for comparison. I don’t know if it’ll become a permanent thing, but here it goes. Let’s start with two.

Blood & Ash by Deborah Wilde


Review: Blood & Ash by Deborah Wilde

midnight curse

Book Review of Midnight Curse (Disrupted Magic #1), by Melissa F. Olson

In 2017, I purchased a copy of Melissa F. Olson‘s Midnight Curse from Amazon. It is yet one more book I unearthed when I went through all my ebooks recently.

Description from Goodreads:

Scarlett Bernard is used to cleaning up messes. As a human who cancels out any magic around her, Scarlett’s job is to keep the supernatural world hidden—at any cost.

But on the eve of the Vampire Trials, a two-day tribunal that allows the otherworldly community to air their grievances, Scarlett receives a blood-soaked message from Molly, her estranged former roommate. Molly, a vampire, had been living with twelve human college students…and in one terrible night, she slaughtered them all.

Scarlett believes Molly’s been set up, but no one else in the Old World agrees with her. Meanwhile, the true perpetrator is determined to make sure Molly goes on trial for the massacre—and the penalty is death.

With less than two days to prove her friend’s innocence, Scarlett calls on former LAPD detective Jesse Cruz to help her dig into Molly’s past. But no one—Molly included—wants Scarlett and Jesse to bring the terrible truth to light.


I really quite enjoyed this. I admit that I didn’t know that this is actually the first book in a spin-off of sorts to a previous trilogy. (Well, it’s all the same characters, but apparently three years later). So, it would more honestly be labeled book four, in my opinion. But it’s readable on its own. I could follow the plot no problem, but I did feel I was missing quite a bit of history between the characters.

I liked Scarlette’s character a lot, enjoyed Jesse, and appreciated the side characters. The world is effortlessly diverse and the plot kept me interested until the end. Admittedly, the plot hinges on the abuse of women and I am just soooo tired of this always being the plotline. I have asked repeatedly, is this really the only plot available to authors? But that’s my biggest complaint. I’ll absolutely be looking for more by Olson.

Review of The Book of Esther, by Emily Barton

I received a copy of Emily Barton‘s The Book of Esther from Blogging for Books.

Description from Goodreads:
Eastern Europe, August 1942. The Khazar kaganate, an isolated nation of Turkic warrior Jews, lies between the Pontus Euxinus (the Black Sea) and the Khazar Sea (the Caspian). It also happens to lie between a belligerent nation to the west that the Khazars call Germania—and a city the rest of the world calls Stalingrad.

After years of Jewish refugees streaming across the border from Europa, fleeing the war, Germania launches its siege of Khazaria. Only Esther, the daughter of the nation’s chief policy adviser, sees the ominous implications of Germania’s disregard for Jewish lives. Only she realizes that this isn’t just another war but an existential threat. After witnessing the enemy warplanes’ first foray into sovereign Khazar territory, Esther knows she must fight for her country. But as the elder daughter in a traditional home, her urgent question is how.

Before daybreak one fateful morning, she embarks on a perilous journey across the open steppe. She seeks a fabled village of Kabbalists who may hold the key to her destiny: their rumored ability to change her into a man so that she may convince her entire nation to join in the fight for its very existence against an enemy like none Khazaria has ever faced before.

I had a strange experience with this book. When I was reading it I didn’t want to put it down. Once I’d put it down, I didn’t want to pick it up again. So, the whole thing was read by gorging on it and then wandering away to read something else, before gorging myself some more.

It isn’t that the book is bad. It’s not. But it’s heavy and there are a lot of Hebrew words that require repeatedly flipping to the glossary, which got annoying. The story is a good one though. It just only managed to hold my attention while I was actually holding it, if that makes sense.

Esther was a wonderful character and I enjoyed the way she learned and grew as the book progressed. There are a ton of interesting side characters too. I personally loved Gimmel, Chuluun and Shimon (it was great to see an arranged marriage that was obviously going to work well). But do prepared for a lot of named characters.

There is also the history to contend with. This is an alternative version of WWII, from a Jewish perspective. Really interesting. But it is steeped in Jewish history and ceremony and while I enjoyed it, I think those with a stronger understanding of it all will get more out of it than I did.

All in all, I found The Book of Esther to be something I’m glad to have read and experienced.