Manual Praxis: A paranormal romance/urban fantasy thriller (Blood Magic Saga Collection)

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White Stag by Kara Barbieri. So I have some really mixed feelings about White Stag , and honestly, even having gone in knowing about some of its potential issues did not make putting together this review any easier. At the center of this tale is seventeen-year-old Janneke, the youngest of a family with only daughters, hence she was raised by her father to be his heir. In the wilderness, she learned how to hunt and track and other survival skills.

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But one day, her village is razed to the ground and everyone is massacred by the depraved goblins of the Permafrost court. As the sole survivor, Janneke is taken and tortured by the wicked Lydian, suffering the worst kinds of abuse at his hands before she was handed off to his nephew, Soren. When the book opens, Janneke has already spent a century as a goblin thrall.

Soren, however, has been a much kinder master than his uncle, and over time the two have settled into a comfortable, if not convivial, relationship. But then the death of the Goblin King throws everything into uncertainty, setting off the Hunt for the great white stag which would determine the next ruler of Permafrost, a position that both Soren and Lydian would be vying for. Still suffering from the memories and scars of the violence she has endured, Janneke finds herself caught between two worlds, her loyalties to Soren tested as the goblin and human aspects of her spirit clash within her.

On the surface, there appears to be quite a lot going on in White Stag , but dig a little deeper and it is revealed that most of this is of the window dressing variety—nothing really necessary or essential to the plot, which, in a nutshell, comes down to the stag hunt. The main story is simple, really: the first goblin to kill the stag gets to be the new king, but since the villain wants to fix the contest so that he can be the ruler forever, Janneke and Soren must do everything to stop him from carrying out his evil plans.

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Ironically, had the author kept things as simple and straightforward, I might have enjoyed the book more; as it is, though, all the superfluous bells and whistles and other melodramatic fluff actually made this one feel uninspired and less interesting. Take the goblins, for one. On the one hand, I appreciate the attempt to build a story around these unconventional fantasy creatures, though on the other, I am disappointed by the wholly conventional and surface-level way it was carried out.

The whole thing reminds me of a running joke I have with a gamer friend of mine regarding elves, a staple race of many of the MMORPGs we play. My friend despises playing elves because he thinks they have become a worn out, tired old trope that either needs to be completely revamped or straight-up retired. This novel had a chance to do all kinds of cool and different things with goblins, but really, for all intents and purposes, they are the Fae, complete with all their courtly machinations, glamor, and every other kind of faerie trope.

Again, I liked the attempt at an unconventional romance, one between two people who have been companions for a long time but are only now starting to explore the possibility of becoming more to each other. There are other issues here, namely plot points and world-building elements that are interesting at first glance but slowly start to lose their appeal as you read on and find out they are either superficial cosmetic details or underdeveloped.

As a result, White Stag feels like the book version of a stock piece of music or artwork, full of surface beauty but no real substance or depth.

Books by Carolyn McCray

With time and experience, I think Barbieri can become an accomplished author because I see so much of her potential in this book, which was a decent read that could have been a great had it not been held back by its generic nature and uncertainty of itself. Suspicious Minds opens in the year , and from Woodstock and the moon landing to the Manson murders and war in Vietnam, it was an eventful summer for the youth of America. For a group of college students in the heartland of Indiana, however, life is about to get even more interesting.

After learning of the paid volunteer opportunities offered by the psychology department on campus from her roommate, Terry Ives decides to take part in a research experiment in the hopes of earning some extra cash.

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  7. There, she meets others who have been selected for the program, including Alice, Gloria, and Ken. But within the research facility known as the Hawkins National Laboratory, Terry soon suspects that not all is as it seems with the experiment or with its director, Dr.

    Martin Brenner. As she and her fellow test subjects are made to undergo more demanding and unsettling tests, Dr. Brenner also grows more controlling and tight-lipped about the exact nature of his research. Then, there are the children. One day, Terry happens to meet a little girl in another wing of the building, whose files identify her simply as Eight. The presence of other records indicates the possibility of even more kids kept behind the locked secretive doors of the facility, and Terry and her friends are determined to find out why.

    Because it is a prequel that takes place well before the events of the show, no prior knowledge is strictly required, though of course if you are familiar with the series you will get much more out of the references and other little Easter eggs thrown into the narrative. No surprise perhaps, but one of my favorite things about this book was getting the chance to meet Kali as a little girl. However, make no mistake, Suspicious Minds also offers up a completely brand-new experience. Bond has done her homework, ensuring that her story feels at least historically convincing.

    Furthermore, instead of focusing on a group of middle school protagonists, this novel follows an older crowd—college-aged, to be exact. This not only puts Terry Ives at the right age when all this went down, it also serves to make this book more appealing to a wider audience, i. There are times when our toyear-old characters seem to act, think, and speak like preteens, or certain sections of the book that droned on and on about the sentimental dramas of youth without adding anything relevant to the overall plot. I also thought the first half of the novel was also better written and organized than the second half, which felt a little rushed and messy—a pattern you see often with an author who has a pretty solid idea of what the beginning and end of their book should look like, but struggles to connect them with everything that happens in between.

    Still, despite its flaws, Suspicious Minds was a fun read that offered me exactly the right kind of enjoyment and escapism.

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    I ended up being generally pleased with her performance and overall thought this audiobook was a very light and easy listen. Each Friday, we will pit cover against cover while also taking the opportunity to showcase gorgeous artwork and feature some of our favorite book covers. Ah, is there a more fearsome sea creature than the mighty Kraken? The story follows Billy Harrow, a scientist at the Museum of Natural History in London as well as its resident mollusk expert charged with overseeing the exhibition of the prized specimen.

    But then the huge creature unexpectedly goes missing, and Billy suddenly finds himself thrown into a side of the city he never knew existed: a world full of strange magic, secret doomsday cults, and other supernatural beings. There are many strong contenders this week — who knew tentacles could be so appealing?

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    My favorites are the Pan Books , Hungarian , and Spanish editions, but if I had to choose one, I think the Spanish one edges out the others slightly. Batman: The Court of Owls by Greg Cox is an original novel based on the titular secret society that has been operating from the shadows of Gotham for centuries.

    Known for using their wealth and political influence to shape the city, their origins were first gleaned in the opening arc of the New 52 series of comics featuring the Caped Crusader back when DC carried out their revamp, which was also when the Court made their first appearance. With the deft writing skills of a seasoned author and the keen alacrity of well-versed fan, Cox expertly combines classic elements of the character and story with the touches of the modern world to create this brand-new exciting adventure.

    This villain is not actually one figure but a group of many. In the comics, the Court utilized their vast resources and deadly assassins to best Batman by trapping him in their massive underground labyrinth, where they succeeded in driving him to the edge of his sanity before our hero managed to escape. Presently, a series of disturbing murders have given Batman cause to suspect the Court of Owls have reemerged from the shadows and are planning something big.

    The first victim was a college art professor, whose charred corpse was found burned from the inside out. A bit of digging revealed that one of his students, Joanna Lee, has recently gone missing—and Batman finds himself unexpectedly familiar with her name. Something in her research must have alerted the Court because they are now intent on silencing her, and Batman surmises that the college student had gone into hiding.

    I read the first book in this saga in I liked it well enough to put the series on my to read list and this week I reread book 1 and read books 2, 3, and 4. While this is definitely teenage romance and angst, it also dystopian and paranormal. I think teen age will really like this series. Segundo libro de la serie. Unsubscribe from MelAlexanderful? Cancel Unsubscribe. Subscribe Subscribed Unsubscribe 2.

    Whispers of Desire Saga Click on the link and you will be able to read all the chapters posted so far or click HERE and link to a free ebook of Surrendering. This eBook is available for a Limited Time Only. Subscribe to: Posts Atom Cary J. Hydraulic-driven Track Mobile Plant. Wait, you say, rarely bored, that must mean there was some boredom. There were some very technical scenes, which were necessary to explain Tyr and the Beasts powers but my eyes would glaze over when I read them.

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    There was also a slight science fictiony I made that word up feel to the book. It felt like the Matrix all over again, if there is no spoon then why the heck do I want to bend it? It just gives me a headache. The technical and science fiction aspect aside and I am obviously going to seek help for my problem soon I did enjoy this book. There are some slightly ok not so slight graphic violent scenes and one really great love scene. Nov 08, Kas rated it it was ok Shelves: This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.

    This book was NOT up to the standard set by her other novels. I found the characters to be a bit flat.

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    They reacted predictably something, say, Darc never does. The plot was repetitive and boring.

    How many "beast battles" did we really need? The thing was impenetrable. We got in the first big battle and definitely after the second one. Did we need to see them throw themselves into the fray over and over again? Her immediate "love" for Tyr irritated me. I hate when books do that. It's passion. It's lust. You're not in love. Shut up. Why was her "virtue" mentioned when we spent several paragraphs in the first scene discussing her sex life?

    She obviously was not a virgin.