Book Review | Paper and Blood by Kevin Hearne

Kevin Hearne returns to the world of the Iron Druid Chronicles in book two of a spin-off series about an eccentric master of rare magic solving an uncanny mystery in Scotland.

There’s only one Al MacBharrais: Though other Scotsmen may have dramatic mustaches and a taste for fancy cocktails, Al also has a unique talent. He’s a master of ink and sigil magic. In his gifted hands, paper and pen can work wondrous spells.

But Al isn’t quite alone: He is part of a global network of sigil agents who use their powers to protect the world from mischievous gods and strange monsters. So when a fellow agent disappears under sinister circumstances in Australia, Al leaves behind the cozy pubs and cafes of Glasgow and travels to the Dandenong Ranges in Victoria to solve the mystery.

The trail to his colleague begins to pile up with bodies at alarming speed, so Al is grateful his friends have come to help—especially Nadia, his accountant who moonlights as a pit fighter. Together with a whisky-loving hobgoblin known as Buck Foi and the ancient Druid Atticus O’Sullivan, along with his dogs, Oberon and Starbuck, Al and Nadia will face down the wildest wonders Australia—and the supernatural world—can throw at them, and confront a legendary monster not seen in centuries.

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How was it?

It seems like the banter is the main driving force of this story; it works at times, there’s even a few memorable quotes and pearls of wisdom in there but that’s about it. The adventure we go on this time around seemed mysterious and exciting but kind of fell flat in the end. If it weren’t for the innuendos behind some of these jokes, I’d swear this was a so-so middle grade book.

As much as I love re-entering the world of the Iron Druid Chronicles, I don’t remember it being so…underwhelming is not the right word, I guess I’m whelmed. It almost makes me doubt my fond memories of the main series. It’s the same lavish, mystical world building with Al MacBharrais having his own interesting way of using magic – through ink sigils on paper – and yet I’m hardly captivated or excited by what I’m reading. I wasn’t bored at least the book has that going for it but I’m frustrated because the way the inks and sigils work are great, the little backstories on how they’re made is interesting, and Al’s group of friends/employees are awesome – Nadia in particular. There’s also a strong supporting appearances of three, well four characters from the Iron Druid and it didn’t help as much as I thought it would. I still feel like these characters’ potential is not fully realized but I still have hope.

I may have preordered this book before reading Ink & Sigil but I’d still give a shot to the following book in the series, in hopes that the first two were intro and filler episode before a grand finale or a thrilling new entry.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

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Jurassic World Dominion | Trailer

  • Writer: Colin Trevorrow (story & screenplay), Emily Carmichael (screenplay), Derek Connolly (story), Michael Crichton (based on characters created by)
  • Director: Colin Trevorrow
  • Stars: Bryce Dallas Howard, Chris Pratt, Laura Dern, Sam Neil, Jeff Goldblum

I didn’t know that I needed to see some Velociraptors chasing people through a city but I’m glad I found that out today. The movie looks amazing and seeing the original cast returning is great.

Jurassic World Dominion will hit theaters on June 10th

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December readings | Personal Development, Dystopia, Thrillers & Smut

Title: The Lost Daughter
Author: Elena Ferrante
Genre(s): Contemporary, Cultural, Literary Fiction
Page count: 140 pages
Published: 01 March 2008

My review | Book | Audiobook

Title: Station Eleven
Author: Emily St. John Mandel
Genre(s): Post Apocalyptic, Fiction, Dystopia
Page count: 333 pages
Published: 09 September 2014

My review | Book | Audiobook

Title: Killing Floor
Series: Jack Reacher 1
Author: Lee Child
Genre(s): Fiction, Thriller, Mystery, Action, Crime
Page count: 524 Pages
Published: 25 April 2006

My review | Book | Audiobook

Title: The Bullet Journal Method
Author: Ryder Carroll
Genre(s): Self-Help, Productivity, Personal Development, Journaling
Page count: 336 Pages
Published: 23 October 2018

My review | Book | Audiobook

Title: Cold Fire
Author: Keegan Kennedy
Genre(s): MM Romance
Page count: 428 pages
Published: 29 Junes 2017

My review | Book | Audiobook

Title: Home Invasion!
Author: John Valjean
Genre(s): Adult, MM Erotica, Taboo, Dubcon, Fiction
Word count: 8920
Published: 16 April 2019

My review | Book

Title: Daddy’s Construction Workers
Series: Forced Assault
Author: John Valjean
Genre(s): Adult, MM Erotica, Taboo, Fiction
Word count: 6600
Published: 17 October 2019

My review | Book

If you’re interested in any of these books are also available on The Book Depository, Smashwords, or you can get them from the links above at no extra cost to you

Book Review: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Set in the days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.

One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time—from the actor’s early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as the Traveling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains—this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet.

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How was it? For a book written in 2014 the first part rings very true to the early days of COVID. However I was glad that the pandemic this book is kind of about isn’t the sole focus. We’re not spending too much time on the descend, the collapse of civilization, but it basically goes from the bottom up.

The story has a nice pace to it. I loved the back and forth between the past and the present, telling us what happened to the world and how the people the story follows lived and are living. The clever way some these characters are connected was an odd delight. Whether they knew it or not they basically had one connection in common, Arthur Leander, an actor who died on the same night the Georgia Flu pandemic began. There’s nothing mystical about the way they’re connected – at least I didn’t see it that way – they just happened to have crossed paths with Leander at one point in their lives pre-pandemic.

At some point, the steady pace in which the author tell us about this “collapsed” world with none of the trapping of modern society, felt slow or maybe monotone. I wanted to get to the end and was tempted to skip ahead. It wasn’t really out of boredom but a crescendo toward the end would have been appreciated. Besides the connections between the characters and the marvelous way this post apocalyptic world is described, there’s not much going on. There’s no big mystery to be solved, or cure to be found, and the book doesn’t need that but there’s a sameness that creeps in that makes the book a little interesting the further you go along. It takes the book a tad too long, even though it’s quite still somewhat entertaining.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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November readings | Adventures on Land and Sea

Title: The Eye of the World
Series: The Wheel of Time #1
Author: Robert Jordan
Genre(s): Epic, High Fantasy, Adventure
Page count: 814 pages
Published: 15 November 1990

My review | Book | Audiobook

Title: Fable
Series: Fable #1
Author: Adrienne Young
Genre(s): YA, Adventure, Romance, Fantasy
Page count: 357 pages
Published: 1 September 2020

My review | Book | Audiobook

These books are also available on The Book Depository, or you can get them from the links above at no extra cost to you

Book Review: Fable by Adrienne Young

For seventeen-year-old Fable, the daughter of the most powerful trader in the Narrows, the sea is the only home she has ever known. It’s been four years since the night she watched her mother drown during an unforgiving storm. The next day her father abandoned her on a legendary island filled with thieves and little food. To survive she must keep to herself, learn to trust no one, and rely on the unique skills her mother taught her. The only thing that keeps her going is the goal of getting off the island, finding her father, and demanding her rightful place beside him and his crew. To do so Fable enlists the help of a young trader named West to get her off the island and across the Narrows to her father.

But her father’s rivalries and the dangers of his trading enterprise have only multiplied since she last saw him, and Fable soon finds that West isn’t who he seems. Together, they will have to survive more than the treacherous storms that haunt the Narrows if they’re going to stay alive.

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How was it? Well it took me a little over a year to finish this book. I know that sounds bad but some books are like that, they take me months to finish them. I read half of it in one sitting and was enveloped in the world building but just has everything was set up – because that the first half is mostly that – I stopped reading.

As much as I ended up liking this book, it has some aspects that are eye roll worthy, bringing the quality down. I paused right in the middle of an action sequence, which is odd for me, but the book was getting to a point where I felt that most of the world building was done. The setting of this book is one of the best thing about it. I loved learning about it, the different places, what made up the crew of a ship, the trade guild or the idea of Gem Sages, the author does a great job at laying all that out. It’s not too complicated and it feels real.

However, when the focus was shifting more to other characters and tried to move the plot forward, the story lost its shine a bit. The problem is part of the plot is vague and the other is predictable; as for the other characters – mainly the crew of the Marygold – the further you got from West, the less you knew about them. I can barely remember their names and am not sure how many of them there were. Also as charming as these characters were, they’re not believable as the crew of a ship. Their young age might make them seem like underdogs compared to the other ships but given how these other crews are described it’s a wonder that they’re still alive and retained their ship.

There’s also some romance in this book, thank goodness it’s doesn’t take much space but it’s USELESS. It seemed liked an obligatory added on thing, as if it can only be a YA novel if someone catches feelings. I don’t mind romance, in fact I read a lot of it but it was unnecessary here.

Besides the world building, the other aspect of the book that I liked is Fable. She’s driven, brave and a great character to follow. I may not have liked all of her choices but I enjoyed going on this adventure with her.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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