Tag Archives: book review

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Book Review: High Priestess, by Wendy Hewlett

I do this thing, sometimes, where I search the extremes of Amazon Prime’s algorithm and let fate and random mathematics sell me a inexpensive book. In this manner, I bought a copy of High Priestess, by Wendy Hewlett.

high priestess wendy hewlett

Detective Constable Raven Bowen’s life seems to be falling apart around her. Her Wiccan mother, Ena Bowen, has recently passed to spirit and even though Raven hasn’t seen or spoken to her in twelve years, she feels the loss.

Then there’s her relationship with lesbian lover, Riley Gallagher, which ended rather abruptly and Raven only has herself to blame.

When the body of a young woman is discovered with the spring thaw, Raven takes on a new case and isn’t impressed when her sergeant assigns a rookie to investigate it with her.

If all of that wasn’t enough, Raven’s mother starts speaking to her from beyond the grave. She only has one question for her mother … “How the heck do I get you out of my head.”

The answer comes swiftly and shocks Raven to her core.

“Find my killer.”

my review

I quite enjoyed this. Though fair warning, the plot centers heavily on rape/rapists, including the rape of a child. I didn’t know this going into the book and I usually try to avoid such things in the books I read for fun. But I’ll grant that it is integral to the plot and not just tossed in as cheap plot fodder, which is quite often my complaint about rape in the books I read for entertainment.

I liked DC Bowen’s though she has quite a lot going on in the book and maybe isn’t at her most likeable. I also liked most of the side characters. I did think the villains a tad cliched, some of the personal drama dragged out longer than it felt like it needed to, and the whole being The Most Powerful made Bowen feel like too much of the special snowflake. But ultimately the book is quite readable and I’d be well up for reading another of Hewlett’s books.

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Book Review: Magic Thief, by C.C. Sommerly

I borrowed an audio version of Magic Thief, by C.C. Sommerly through Hoopla.
magic thief c.c. sommerly

Stolen magical artifacts, missing girls, and a hot partner I don’t want, what could possibly go wrong?

Paranormal Private Investigator (PI), Rayne Martin races against the clock to solve a case that is becoming more complicated by the moment. What started as a simple missing grimoire and stolen ancestral necklace has now morphed Into a potentially debilitating new reality for magic users.

Now, young women are missing. Others are turning up stripped of their magic and raving about monsters. Stealing magic once seemed inconceivable, but it is now a very real threat. It’s up to Marty to find out who is stealing magic.

Just when she has things in-hand, a partner is forced on her. Marty never learned to work well with others, so this is the last thing she wants. He is a straight play-by-the-rules guy. There is no rule she wouldn’t break. If they can’t learn to work together, then they will fail.

When her closest friend is taken, time is running out for Marty and Lochlan to crack the case. If they can’t find the magic thief, there may be nothing left of Marty’s friend to recover.

This was a bit of a fail for me. It was almost something good, but just seemed to miss the mark. The writing was pretty good, but there were some continuity issues in the plot, quite a lot of pointless drama that just seemed like filler (I’m thinking of the whole trip with the bone man, for example), and what felt like missing bits. For example, two characters would have a conversation and one would react to something the other very obviously was meant to have said. Except, that the one hadn’t said the thing being reacted to. The scene seemed to have a chunk missing from the middle. Then, later, the narrative would act as if the information hadn’t been shared at all. It’s hard to tell in an audio, when you’re not looking at text. But I can only assume this is a matter of editing.

I did like the characters and the man theoretically being position as a love interest. Though I wouldn’t say this is a romance, certainly none develops here. All in all, a pretty mediocre experience. I might be tempted to see if the next book gets better. But unless it does, I can’t see continuing the series.

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Book Review: Mary, Everything – by Cassandra Yorke

Cassandra Yorke‘s Mary, Everything was promoed on Sadie’s Spotlight and I was lucky enough to win a copy. Yes, since I have nothing to do with drawing winners, I absolutely enter the giveaways on the blog!

mary, everything cassandra yorke

Courtney is a lonely undergrad at secluded Braddock College in 2004, working a drowsy summer job in the Archives. Assigned to a new project, she becomes haunted by a college yearbook from the 1920s – filled with familiar faces and memories of times she never experienced. A chance encounter with a mysterious girl named Sadie – dressed in long-outdated clothes – alters her reality. But if you were never meant to be born, that reality can expel you like an infection – or kill you outright. While Courtney struggles against forces she cannot comprehend, a psychopathic stalker smells blood and closes in for the kill.

Sadie, now in 1921, races against the clock to save her friend, joined by some remarkable allies – an American combat sorceress and veteran of World War I, an enigmatic professor who specializes in piercing the veil between realities, and two young women who insist they’re Courtney’s oldest friends – one of them even claiming to be her truest love.

Time is running out for Courtney, and a terrifying wilderness – haunted by the dead from centuries past – may hold the key to her salvation. But none who enter have ever returned…

my review

This had some really interesting aspects that I very much enjoyed. The convoluted timeline, for example, makes your brain work for the reward. The book is set in 1921 and 2004, jumping between the two. But the 2004 scenes are essentially flashbacks (of a sort). Go ahead and get your head around that one. The writing is also quite lyrical at times and the editing clean.

But there were some things I could have done without. The book is pretty slow, especially in the beginning. So, as a reader, I really felt the 400+ pages. And I thought a lot of the climax too blunt for the light-fingered story up until that point.

For one, all the rape threats weren’t needed at all. (Notice, I said all. There were several from a variety of men). I do understand that this was intended in part to show how Courtney felt victimized by men, but that was established far earlier and needed no further evidence. The story would have been more interesting if the men had truly been enacting an evil for what they thought was a greater good. Already, as a reader, I knew to abhor them. Turning them ALL into pervy, would-be rapists was a cudgel the scenes didn’t need. True, I’d be happy never have to sit through another rape scene or rape threat in a book I read for entertainment ever again. But I would really, REALLY love it if authors would stop putting them in books that don’t need them as some sort of short-hand for “this is a bad guy.

Similarly, (in the cudgel sense), having both Courtney and Sadie suddenly and inexplicably become the strongest, most powerful, bad-assest chicks ever was too much too fast. There is so much subtly in the book until that point that it really stands out as a change in tone.

Having said all that, I don’t regret reading it. There is an interesting magic system and world here. It’s readable and thought provoking. Worth recommending.

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Other Reviews:

Mary, Everything Review

BOOK VIDEO REVIEW: MARY, EVERYTHING BY CASSANDRA YORKE – EBOOK