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Mardel has commented on (6) products.

Magic to the Bone by Devon Monk
Magic to the Bone

Mardel, August 10, 2009

I picked up this book on a whim last year and just loved it. Devon Monk does something new with the magic. In the world she writes about, (set in Oregon) when magic is used, a price needs to be paid, usually a physical one. The payment affects the body with pain, migraines, lost memories etc. However, magic users have learned how to use proxies to pay the price. A black market of magic users offload onto innocent victims.

Allie Beckstrom has learned how to set her own price, using something called a disbursement, allowing her to choose how her body will pay for the magic use, cold, headache, etc. Except sometimes she forgets to set a disbursement. Because of this she has learned to keep a notebook with her that she uses to jot down pertinent facts about what she's been doing or will be doing. She also knows how to "hound" magic use, track down magic "signatures" since everyone has their own signature when they use magic. This is how she makes her living. Her father is the head of a large corporation that sells magic and things to do with magic (experiments, also).

Allie Beckstrom's book begins with her being asked to find out who has almost killed a young child by illegally using him as a proxy. The trail leads her to her father. This begins a long and dangerous path for Allie. She ends up accused of murder, having to go in hiding, has to decide whether or not to trust a man that's been showing up everywhere she has (finds out some things about him also), and much more.

The thing I like about this book is that Allie, although she has great magic power, still pays huge prices for her actions. There is no HEA for her. Good things happen for her and bad things happen to her. She deals with everything as she can. Another thing I like about this book is the narrative style and the dialogue between characters. Never any lame dialogue, which is obsessively important to me.

Once I read this book, I was seriously "jonesing" for more from Devon Monk. But I had to wait until the next book came out, have read that one and wanted to go back to read both over again. I'm waiting for re-reads, though since I have a tremendous TBR pile waiting for me....

Magic to the Bone is a worthwile book.

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Night Child (Ace Fantasy Book) by Jes Battis
Night Child (Ace Fantasy Book)

Mardel, August 9, 2009

Night Child was a pretty interesting book. This was actually released in 2008, but I just read it on the spur of the moment last night and today. I happen to have the second book (Flash of Hex) and will probably start that one soon.

Night Child is set in a reality with Demons and Vampires. Although in this reality, vampires are a type of demons. In fact, necromancers, psychics and magic users are all half demons. I found this interesting.

This is Jes Battis' first novel, although not his first book. He has written two previous non-fiction books; Blood Relations and Investigating Farscape. He is a professor. Despite his professorship, I found the dialog between his characters believable. They did not speak like they were writing an essay. Refreshing. I also enjoyed the dialog between characters. Except....there was one point (and this is probably an editing issue) where Tess (main character) was speaking to someone about a murder. This person mentions the method of the murder, without being told how the victim was murdered. That, though, was the only thing that jumped out at me. The rest of the book was well written and a satisfying read. Satisfying enough that I want to read the second book. I've noticed this type of mistake on a NYT bestselling author, (repeatedly) so in comparison this isn't a big deal.

Jes Battis also has many descriptive passages about different areas of town. This at times pulled me a little out of the story, but was still entertaining. The plot was good, the ending a nice twist; in fact the ending reminded me of some of those old-time detective novels where the captured detective/or p.i. talks to the culprit about how the culprit masterminded the whole thing. Nostalgic.

Night Child also read like a episode of CSI. Throughout the book, when a method, or instrument was used for forensics, this method or instrument was expained. I read in another review that this was info-dumping, and in yet another that it was similar to how the CSI cast would explain things to each other. I didn't mind most of the "info-dumping" in this book, because it was different, regarding magical/supernatural instruments and procedures. I do not enjoy CSI episodes or Law and Order, because I feel like I'm in class, with the teachers expounding on whatever knowledge or morality they want to impart. Just my opinion. It's a little ironic that this bothers me in a show, but not in the book. Of course I didn't feel like Jes Battis or his characters were shoving their morality down my throat either, so that makes a difference.

Gist of the book: Tess and psychic friend/coworker become involved in the case of a murdered vampire, which leads them to a teenager (Mia) that they end up trying to protect, while dealing with Demon Assassins, a by the book boss, and a necromancer that Tess is repulsed by/attracted to.

My favorite characters were Derek the psychic friend/co-worker and Mia the teenager in danger. I love that Mia actually sounded like a teenager, and I loved the snarky dialogue between Derek and Tess, Derek and Mia and Mia and Tess. I also liked the fact that Tess wasn't a completely perfect employee, or someone with uber-powers yet, though she seems to keep some of her power under wraps.

This is a good read, and I'm looking forward to more from Jes Battis.
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Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs
Iron Kissed

Mardel, July 30, 2009

I thoroughly enjoyed this book (# 3 in the Mercy Thompson books).

Patricia Briggs used her words to good effect, as usual. Something horrible happens to Mercy, and the way she handles it is so believable, it breaks your heart.

The narrative is written well, the dialogue is good, there's a nice twist in there, and I found myself getting so pissed at the old fae (Mercy's former boss)with the way he behaves to Mercy, and yet Mercy's character made it understandable (the way of the fae). Patricia Briggs has surpassed herself with this book.

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Prey by Rachel Vincent

Mardel, July 30, 2009

If you've been following the Shifters series, by now you know the history of Faythe, Mark and co.

Mark gets kidnapped, the tabby Kerri refuses to shift compromising her own health, a heartbreaking shattering moment occurs, Manx is at trial for murdering the toms (previous books) and Faythe learns to be a leader throughout, pulling herself alond and pushing herself beyond anything she's ever had to do before. Greg (Faythe's dad) continues to have to steer through the machinations of the council members who want to take over the council. Lot's of plots going on.

This is the first book in a very long time that made me tear up. Sad things happen, Faythe tries to continue to grow, but still makes mistakes once in a while. Like life.

There is a real cliffhanger ending, but not your normal cliffhanger ending. There's a bit of a happy ending, tempered with tense and sad issues.

Great book.
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Sweet Scent of Blood by Suzanne Mcleod
Sweet Scent of Blood

Mardel, July 30, 2009

The Sweet Scent of Blood is #1 in the series, and the debut novel of Suzanne McLeod.

Suzanne McLeod writes about an alternative reality London, where Vampires and Witches have been around for hundreds of years, with an uneasy truce between them. In fact the vampires have taken advantage of public relations and marketed themselves as celebrities. Along for the story are Sidhe Fae and all sorts of "lesser" fae such as dryads, trolls, gremlins, brownies, pixies, satyrs, and others.

The main character is Genevieve Taylor (Genny) who is half sidhe fae and half something else (you find out later in the story). Genny works for an agency that helps deal with spell abuse, nasty spells, and spell detection called She has a talent for calling spells to her, or unraveling spells.

Genny is coerced into finding out the truth about the death of the girlfriend of a celebrity vampire. She is both stalled at every turn, and given "help" by unlikely people, help that she doesn't trust. Much more goes on in these pages, I was suprised at the ending (I rarely get surprised anymore), there are many entertaining and downright interesting scenes in this story.

The book flows from beginning to end, with nice little twists and some shivery moments, as well as some scares. Suzanne McLeod writes a great story with none of the awkward dialogue, or verbiosity that some newer writers use. It's nice to pick up a debut novel and be able to read it cover to cover, enjoying the entire thing- no awkwardness at all.

Something that works well for me-her "medical" fact based explanation of the vamp-virus, why humans crave the bite of the vamps, the chemical make-up of the virus that infects humans, causing a true addiction to their virus. Very well thought out. There is even a clinic devoted to helping vamp-virus addicts, much like clinics that we would have nowadays.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and was glad to see a sequel available (The Cold Kiss of Death). Ms McLeod is working on the third novel now (summer 09). Ms McLeod joins such writers as Lilith Saintcrow, Kim Harrison and Faith Hunter on my "auto-buy" list. The two books are definitely worth buying and keeping.
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