A little love story told from two perspectives, The Thorn and the Blossom is the story of Brendan Thorn and Evelyn Morgan, told against the backgroundA little love story told from two perspectives, The Thorn and the Blossom is the story of Brendan Thorn and Evelyn Morgan, told against the background of modern day and a woven with the theme of an Arthurian legend.
Interesting binding - an accordian style with hardback boards and accordianed paper held in a slipcover; no spine to bind it. This takes some getting used to in reading it, but it isn't too difficult. I liked/appreciated the author's use of the local legends, especially that it was singled out as being a local legend, rather than forcibily incorporating it into the larger legends. A grand Arthurian theme would have drowned this little love story. The scenes where they meet are particularly well done, from both perspectives, and the legend and semi-fantasy scenes are also excellent in their depiction; in some ways they feel almost more real from their detail/vividness than the more mundane aspects of daily life.
As above, there are several good points about the story, but there are some things that just didn't win me over. I was far more interested in Evelyn's "episodes" than in her actual life, or, for the most part the story as they are so much more vivid than the rest of the tale. The story feels incomplete, though that is intentional to a certain extent, I ended up feeling as though both characters just go through the motions until they meet, as if their normal everyday lives were somehow not important. That made me less interested in them both generally, so that I cared less about their love story. Occasionally the story has to work too hard to connect to the legend, so that it feels forced in places. As others have stated, you have to get used to handling the binding- the accordion style is neat, but feels a little fragile, though the paper quality is much higher than that of the usual best seller hardback, it is still paper. The Only Revolutions style of binding* would probably be a better choice in terms of longevity. Another thing, the binding is mentioned in every review, mine included, to the point where I feel that it overshadows the story itself. I'm not sure what to make of this, but feel like it needs to be mentioned.
3.5 stars Review copy supplied by the publisher as part of LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program. *regular binding, but you have to flip the book for the alternate point of view....more
Ethan Russell Erway's Michael Belmont and the Tomb of Anubis is a sort of young adult, Indiana Jones style adventure that collides with supernatural bEthan Russell Erway's Michael Belmont and the Tomb of Anubis is a sort of young adult, Indiana Jones style adventure that collides with supernatural beings, folklore, Egyptian mythology and Christian theology. Michael and his younger sister are staying at a castle Scotland over the summer with family friends, while their parents head to an archaeological dig in Egypt. Michael discovers a mysterious wing of the house, the passage to which only appears at night, and is filled with all sorts of legendary objects, including a sort of living movie/memory box of Anubis and some slightly disturbing werewolf lore. Then their parents are reported as missing, and the children head off to try and help find them.
The first thing I need to praise is Erway's creative use of mythologies and folklore (though the whole "where the power comes from" bit left me feeling exactly the same way I did when they downgraded Pluto from being a planet: unhappy and twitchy.) He gave good depictions of the kids, especially the sister - she was just ornery enough to be believable, but not Scrappy -doo annoying. The objects in the night corridor were also particularly well done - just enough detail to identify, but not an overload of information. Overall, this was a good, fun, rollicking adventure.
Though I liked the story, I really felt as though it was pulled way too many directions to be really satisfying; at times it felt like the author was trying to cram as many ideas in as possible, regardless of whether or not it really fit with the story. The Arizona scenes felt very contrived as part of the cramming (and I still don't quite get the point of the assembled "team") as did the revelation at the end. It just felt like a grocery list of things was being filled, rather than being a legitimate part of the story. Characters seem to have unrealistic reactions and recoveries to/from situations (Michael's sister's quick recovery from her experience in the woods, for example.) The travel seemed excessive, particularly with what I know of archaeologist's salaries. (Arizona again. I think I have it in for that segment.)
3.5 stars Review copy supplied by the author as part of LibraryThing's Member Giveaway Program....more
We Need the Blood is a short story/novella split between the actions of a serial killing and the police interview of a suspect. Very well told, and, tWe Need the Blood is a short story/novella split between the actions of a serial killing and the police interview of a suspect. Very well told, and, though grisly, the focus is on the mind/mentality (of both victim and perpetrators) over the gore. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys tales of dark psychological horror.
4 stars Review copy supplied by the author as part of LibraryThing's Member Giveaway Program....more
Ethan Russell Erway's Aesop Revisited Vol. 1, is a short selection of Aesop's stories including the original fable (where applicable) then Erway's modEthan Russell Erway's Aesop Revisited Vol. 1, is a short selection of Aesop's stories including the original fable (where applicable) then Erway's modern retake, then commentary by "Aesop," who appears to be just as confused as I am as to the purpose of the collection. This collection fell flat for me - the author's political humour in particular just felt out of the spirit in which it was intended - too much message and too little actual humour for my tastes, and, at times, bordering on bitter. I rather enjoyed another book* by the author, and had hoped to enjoy this as well
2 stars Review copy supplied by the author as part of LibraryThing's Member Giveaway Program.
Brandon Marlowe and the Alpha in the Omega is the second in a series of fast paced young adult fantasy novels about a young man, Brandon Marlowe, whoBrandon Marlowe and the Alpha in the Omega is the second in a series of fast paced young adult fantasy novels about a young man, Brandon Marlowe, who has the ability to be an air elemental, a gift descended to him via a Greek Titan. Brandon is attending a school where he trains to be a part of an elite force created to protect the people and allies of Tartarus, and where he also is seeking further information on his older brother's death. Amongst the enemies of Tartarus are the original Greek Pantheon, and a group of other humans, referred to as the Followers, who are fanatical believers in a single deity, and are lead by a man called the Apostle. There are intrigues and complications as Brandon learns more about the history of the conflicts, and delves into his brother's death.
I liked this much, much more than I initially thought I would - the first few pages sort of tumbled me into a world for which I had not been prepared - and was especially pleased that it didn't follow the usual strategy of beating one opponent, then "leveling up" and going on to the next. Instead, the opponents are mostly shrouded, and the narrator's goals are diverse rather than singly focused. Any sense of "leveling up" is gained through not only mission or training experience, but through the narrator's sense that he either succeeded or found a way to improve a technique, rather than just moving on to a bigger bad guy. Once I had a handle on the world in which the series is set, it proved to be fascinating, incorporating Greek mythology and elements of Christian theology into a fairly complex storyline. The characters felt fairly real, rather than being two dimensional, though I think I would have found them even more so, if I had read the previous novel.
The lack of a synopsis covering the previous book was a drawback; it took about seventy pages before I really felt that I had a handle on all that was going on. There's also confusion in the setting - I had (and still have) very little idea of the locations and their positions (this may have been covered in the previous book.) I also had very little idea of what any of the main characters looked like (again, probably covered in the first novel). A later scene from Olympus, felt strange and out of place, not only because of its content, but also because it was the only scene outside of the narrator's point of view. Also, along these lines in a sort of odd complaint, we never see the narrator working/practicing some of the things he tries out until the moment he tries them, making it harder to gauge him as a person, not that I think I would want to see endless amounts of training/practicing spells, etc., but it would bolster the image of a school/student far more if a bit were included.
I read this as an .epub on an iPad, and noticed some formatting issues with altered text sizes, which may not be present in other formats (one paragraph would be a normal font size, then the next would be tiny. Then, a paragraph or two later, text would be back to regular size.)
4 stars Review copy supplied by the author as part of LibraryThing's Member Giveaway Program....more
Poe's work itself is 5 stars, no question. But this edition would benefit from some footnotes/annotations for some of the more obscure things and thePoe's work itself is 5 stars, no question. But this edition would benefit from some footnotes/annotations for some of the more obscure things and the French phrases, rather than the additional material and the "reader's circle" questions/discussions, particularly for someone not familiar with the early 1800s. ...more
Dreams of Gray isn't exactly a horror tale, though it incorporates elements of Celtic folklore and brings them forward into modern times and is graphiDreams of Gray isn't exactly a horror tale, though it incorporates elements of Celtic folklore and brings them forward into modern times and is graphic in some of the descriptions of transformations, it lacks the feeling of suspense or dread that a horror novel imparts. The novel is told in the first person, from the point of view of Dreama "Dree", who wakes up naked in the woods, with a Celtic tattoo on her back and no memory of the night before. The tattoo seems to have effected some changes in her - she's warmer all the time, and the tattoo feels like it burns during times of stress. A visit to her friend's uncle, a tattooist specialising in Celtic artwork, rapidly brings her to the conclusion that there is something deeply wrong with the tattoo. Meanwhile, her body undergoes additional changes, making life ever more embarrassing and complicated.
While the story begins with an interesting use of Celtic folklore, this isn't really developed in a meaningful way. Secondary characters feel ...flat, and not fully fleshed out enough to be believable (both PJ and the boyfriend are involved in Dree's life, but you could remove them from the story and not feel much an absence.) In a lot of ways this felt like an excuse to animalise a woman, write sex scenes, and then have the main character be dominated. In most of the scenes where Dree showed strength, there would be a sense of shame/guilt or she wouldn't have any clear memory of it, as if the only time she has strength is when she is out of control. So I was sort of weirded out by the author's treatment of his main character. Some of the explanations offered are flawed - the forgetting and the remembering in particular felt shaky, as well as some of the animalistic thinking. The story also felt pulled in five directions, leaving a number of things unresolved. Put together with a sequel or conclusion, I'd rate this higher - despite the flaws the story is good, and keeps you reading - but I'd be a happier reader with some fine tuning.
3.5 stars Review copy received from the author a part of Librarything's Member Giveaway Program....more
a little simplistic, but by and large, a fast and fun read. No glittering vampires here; fun parasite facts and creepy sewers abound. Be slightly forwa little simplistic, but by and large, a fast and fun read. No glittering vampires here; fun parasite facts and creepy sewers abound. Be slightly forwarned that one character overuses the word "dude" to a punch-worthy degree. ...more
Bird of Prey is a good, fun, pulp as a buddies versus monster brood story. Slightly ridiculous, occasionally Aliens style disgusting, and definitely aBird of Prey is a good, fun, pulp as a buddies versus monster brood story. Slightly ridiculous, occasionally Aliens style disgusting, and definitely a David versus Golaith scenario. In the process of removing some metal sheeting from an abandoned factory, a man is attacked by a strange flying creature. He recruits his buddy to return to investigate the weird birdlike attacker, and discover there is more than one of the things. Rather than report this to the authorities, as they would take forever to act, the two go and collect two more buddies, and some old weapons to take care of the creatures themselves.
This novella read a bit like a screenplay, and could really have done with a bit more fleshing out, particularly when it came to understanding the flying creatures. I didn't really get a sense of them being an ancient evil, and despite the scene at the bar, we're not really given an understanding of the threat they propose. I did enjoy the interplay and dynamics between the men, especially their more comedic moments. 3.5 stars Review copy received from the author a part of Librarything's Member Giveaway Program....more