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Lora's Rants and Reviews


Currently reading

African Cowrie Shells Divination: History, Theory, and Practice
The Hearth Witch's Kitchen Herbal: Culinary Herbs for Magic, Beauty, and Health
Anna Franklin
The Great Wizards of Antiquity
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The Taste of Different Dimensions: 15 Fantasy Tales from a Master Storyteller
Alan Dean Foster
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Templar Silks
Elizabeth Chadwick
Progress: 43%
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Suman Chakraborty
Progress: 68%
Keeping Her Keys
Cyndi Brannen
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Don Quixote
Roberto González Echevarría, John Rutherford, Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
Progress: 71%

Black Wings

Black Wings - Megan Hart

by Megan Hart


This is a story about a child who is intellectually gifted, but rather a handful. She develops an affinity with a wild raven, much to her mother's chagrin. The mother comes over as very weak and unsympathetic to animals. A reason for that is revealed early on, but her insinuation that animals don't have souls really grated.


There seems to be an unnecessary emphasis on religion that doesn't really move the plot forward, as well as some embarrassingly intimate scenes between the mother and step-father that I could have done without, even graphic sex on one occasion.


I didn't like any of the characters, except the raven. He was rather interesting. The end was very dramatic, but lacked explanation or believability. This could have been an effective Horror story redolent of The Bad Seed, but despite hints being dropped like anvils it just didn't have enough creep factor in the story as a whole.


Despite all that I found the read interesting. I wanted to see what happened.

Lora's Snake & Ladders Post

Black Wings - Megan Hart Nation of the Beasts - Mariana Pavlova One Summer in Paris - Sarah Morgan Any Witch Way You Can (Wicked Witches of the Midwest #1) - Amanda M. Lee A Conjuring of Light - V.E. Schwab Templar Silks - Elizabeth Chadwick


Well, as I've learned we can start with a book we're already reading, for square one I'm reading Black Wings by Megan Hart. I'll list the criteria for the squares as I occupy them.


1. Author is a woman: Black Wings by Megan Hart


Roll 10


11. Author's last name begins with the letters P, Q, R, or S:

Nation of the Beasts by Mariana Pavlova


Roll 9


20. Set in a country that is not your country of residence

One Summer in Paris by Sarah Morgan


Up the ladder to:


70. Something related to fall/autumn on the cover

Any Witch Way You Can by Amanda Lee



Roll 10


80. Main character is a man

A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab


Roll 5


85. Written by an author who has published more than 10 books

Templar Silks by Elizabeth Chadwick




Ok spammers, I give up.

I'm not going to waste any more time blocking spammers, not even the death dealing Keto ones.


Why? Because if I don't follow them, I don't see their posts. But they see all mine. :D


Obviously if they start using comments to spam my posts they're toast, but I might even unblock the 500+ blocked accounts I've already done and just let them read my rantings.


F%^& 'em.

I love sharing what I find on FB

Reblogged from Peregrinations:

The Binding

The Binding - Bridget Collins

by Bridget Collins


This is a rather fascinating imaginary world. Emmett buys a book at a fair and his father reacts as if he has brought something evil into the house and gets rid of it. A few years later, a woman who is a binder of books asks for Emmett to be apprenticed to her and to his confusion, his parents hand him over to his fate.


The world building unfolds slowly in this, allowing the reader to gradually get used to the beliefs and attitudes of the people and learn what it means to be bound in a book. A lot of superstition and outright fear surrounds the occupation of binding, yet Emmett is told that he was born to be a binder. Exactly what that means is revealed to the reader at the same time that it is explained to Emmett.


On his first solo binding, Emmett has no idea what he is meant to do. He also has reason to object to the assignment, yet what is entailed and why he was predicted to be a binder born soon becomes clear.


One thing that was unique about this book (apart from the entire concept) was that I actually changed my opinion about a character. After not liking Lucien for a long time, a side of him came out that made me more sympathetic. The action speeds up in the second half of the book and I actually got so engrossed into what would happen next, despite present tense writing in part three throwing me out of the story every time I started a new chapter, that I stayed up late, unable to put it down.


My one complaint is that the ending was rather abrupt. I wanted to know what happened to Emmett and Lucien after the events of those last chapters. I don't know whether a second book is planned. If it is I will probably read it and hope it holds my interest as well as this one did!


Reblogged from Chris' Fish Place:

Bloomsbury is having a 40% sale online.  



The Key to the Demon's Gate

The Key to the Demon's Gate - Daniel Quilter

by Daniel M. Quilter


The target age for this story is Middle Grade and it reads appropriately for that level to me. The story is wonderfully imaginative and sends three teenage protagonists on quests and through adventures that would definitely appeal to young readers.


Henry Rockwell and his friends get whisked away into a fantasy world adventure with demons, pirates, magic and of course a quest.


Though the character development and plot were fairly average for the age group, I think younger kids would enjoy it. My only complaint is that it ends with some of the details of the story unfinished and an invitation to continue the adventure in the next book.


I'm becoming less tolerant of this sales approach as more authors do it and although I don't mind it in favorite adult or YA series, I think it sends the wrong message to younger readers and feel that even a series should conclude the adventure at hand and act as a stand alone. How can you encourage reluctant readers to take an interest if the story never ends? Or takes three or more books to do so?


Overall an okay story that would sit well in a children's library one the series is complete.

To Kill the President

To Kill the President: The Most Explosive Thriller of the Year - Sam Bourne

by Sam Bourne


I don't often read books with political themes, but it was given to me at Christmas and once I started to read, I got caught up into the intrigue and danger of a well-written Thriller.


Maggie is a White House aid whose job it is to investigate an apparent suicide by the president's personal physician. Something about it doesn't smell right and she digs deeper, finding reason to suspect that the doctor was killed as part of a higher level plot. When she starts getting too close, her suspicions are confirmed by what might be called near miss attempts on her life, given as warning to back off.


The one thing I found unrealistic was that she didn't. Whatever altruistic or patriotic ideology a person might have, the threats expanded beyond just herself, to loved ones, and a woman in particular, especially one who saw the benefit of just sitting back and washing her hands of it, would be very unlikely to take on the odds demonstrated against her.


Despite that, it made a good story and the twists and turns got frightening at a level that made me wonder just how much of the techno-terrorism might actually be possible. Towards the end, I found it difficult to stop between chapters because I needed to know what happened next!


The ending was worthy. No spoilers, but there was some high tension to the very last.

The Age of Misadventure

The Age of Misadventure - Judy Leigh

by Judy Leigh


I really enjoyed the author's previous book and was looking forward to another fun adventure with this one. The title is intriguing and full of promise! Imagine my shock when I saw that it was written in present tense. Generally when an author turns to the dark side and uses this abomination perspective, I never trust them again.


I did persevere, although the rather miserable beginning seemed to go on too long. I have to admit that I was really disappointed that I didn't like this story. I gave a lot of thought as to why and concluded that it's the characters. The author's previous book had a main character who I really liked. A strong woman who despite being elderly, decided she wasn't ready to be dead yet and went on adventures. This one, all the characters were whiners, complainers or both.


I felt it took too long to get to the traveling part and then everything seemed to go wrong so that it was just depressing. Even a satisfying ending couldn't make a stressful journey into something fun or daring.

Reading progress update: I've read 325 out of 410 pages.

To Kill the President: The Most Explosive Thriller of the Year - Sam Bourne



In the course of a good rant, one of the characters just explained the psychology of Trump supporters in a very real and believable way. I'm impressed!

Heads Up SciFi & Fantasy Fans

Big .99 sale this weekend. All countries.




January Wrap-up

Just Eat It - Laura Thomas SLEEPY HOLLOW: General of the Dead (Jason Crane Book 3) - Richard Gleaves Numerology: Dancing the Spiral of Time - Elen Sentier The Sound of Silence - Myron Ulhberg Empire of Sand - Tasha Suri The Search for Rasha - Paul B. Skousen

Six books finished in January, 5 of them Netgalley. I do keep trying to get ahead of those but somehow end up requesting more!


Never mind. A lot of them have been disappointing recently so I'm getting pickier again.


Meanwhile I've started reading my samples again and am delving into the free book slush. Who knows what might come out of that! The rejections are thick and fierce.

Just Eat It

Just Eat It - Laura Thomas

by Laura Thomas PhD




I had mixed feelings about this book. The premise is sound. A qualified nutritionist is advising to escape 'diet mentality' and stop obsessing about food. Great! But there's rather a lot of swearing which makes it sound unprofessional and hinders the 'authority' of the author's voice, despite the PhD after her name.


She makes a lot of good points about the detrimental obsession over weight and food, but at times she seems to be saying that people who are overweight should just accept it as normal and make no effort to lose health-destroying obesity. I can see her advice being wonderful for those who obsess over 10-20 lbs of natural weight gain and for rejecting the rail-thin ideal of popular magazines, but someone who is 100-200 lbs overweight can't rely on 'intuitive eating' to lose enough to be a healthy weight! Diabetes and heart disease from excessive weight are a real thing!


Not to mention increased mobility and energy if someone does it a healthy way rather than through fad diets (don't even mention Keto to me! I equate it with Scientology.)


There is a chapter on 'gentle nutrition' and some extensive nutrition information near the end, but the author seems to assume that anyone who stops obsessing over food will naturally gravitate towards healthy eating. I don't believe that. I know people who would happily live on pizza and tacos forever and never touch another vegetable if they weren't paying attention to nutrition and quite honestly, I'm one of them. I spent my late teenage and early 20s years eating whatever I liked and the fruit/vegetable category didn't feature! The occasional banana maybe. And assuming I would EVER put vegetables on a pizza is just fantasy. I'm a meat feast girl and don't want my flavors diluted with nasty vegetables!


There are several mentions of Instagram and a specific hashtag that give me the impression that the author is assuming everybody has the same attitudes and assumptions about food and dieting as a particular group on that network. I'm not on instagram and don't know anyone among my real life family/friends/acquaintances/work colleagues who is, or who has the exact mindset as the author is working from.


I know a lot of people who consider themselves to be overweight to one degree or another and a few who have successfully lost weight through healthy diet programs. One thing we have in common is that given free reign to eat anything we want as the author suggests, certain Easter sweets in the stores right now would push those vegetables off our plates as far as our budgets could take it!


There are a lot of good nuggets of information in this book but I don't feel I can recommend it to anyone except those who keep obsessing over 10-20 lbs over the BMI charts. True those are outdated and imperfect, but someone seriously obese could easily see this as giving them permission to ignore the very real health dangers and put it down to stressing over food, as the author theorizes. Accepting your body shape isn't going to get you to fit into seats on planes or at entertainment venues and as much as I might agree that fat shaming and discrimination is wrong, it still happens.


I don't swallow that nature makes some people naturally fat in the extreme. Processed foods and high sugar content might have made it the new normal, but eating a nutritious diet will find the biological norm.


I've never one starred a book on Netgalley before but I think apart from the unprofessional delivery, the advice in this book is actually dangerous to people at risk of diabetes and heart disease through excessive weight.

General of the Dead

SLEEPY HOLLOW: General of the Dead (Jason Crane Book 3) - Richard Gleaves

by Richard Gleaves


Having enjoyed the first two books of this series, I really did have to finish the trilogy. Oddly, it seems to have become tradition for me to read one of the books each Halloween! Very fitting for the theme of the story.


This one opens with what I could see had to be a nightmare sequence, but how much of it was dream and how much reflection on the real situation? That isn't given away right away.


The second book had left the situation in a mess and I have to admit, I couldn't imagine how the author was going to untangle it all. However, slowly, one strand at a time, the various convoluted happenings took form in the early chapters until it all began to make sense.


Several chapters in the middle were devoted to giving back story on Agathe. While I found these slow reading, the information did help see where her character was coming from. There is a lot of artistic license taken on the original Headless Horseman tale, but that's to be expected.


I had mixed feelings about the book as a whole. Sometimes I was caught up in the action and other times I felt it went too far afield of believability, considering I was reading a ghost story! The one thing that really took me out of the story was an inaccurate use of tarot cards, changed to fit the story. I figure if an author is going to use something like that as a device, they should read at least one book on the meanings and use them as they are supposed to be! Otherwise they could invent their own divination system, like the cards used in the Thieves World series.


The other thing that didn't work was inconsistency in the villain's behavior. Once incident in particular at the lighthouse was completely out of character and struck me as a lazy way to get out of a tight situation. Also the townspeople don't react much to widespread murder and with enough shooting incidents in the U.S. to show how people really react in recent history, it just felt neglected.


Mostly the ending resolved things, though a bit at the very end felt insufficiently related and just thrown in as a jumping off point for another series within the same world. I'm done though. The supernatural world built through this series didn't quite work for me, although I did enjoy Jason's story for the most part.

Filching again from FB

Reblogged from Couple With A Quill:

The Spam Follows are Thick Today and Keto Kills!

I'm fed up with these spam account follows. This could be the thing that makes me give up on Booklikes.


Four Keto accounts today! Two of them were sneaky. Let me be clear about this, I regard Keto as like Scientology. It seems to be becoming a religion, or a high profit venture for someone.


The high fat aspect of Keto makes it bad for the heart. Yes you can get too much of 'good fat' too. I resent having this spam in particular thrown at me as it is anathema to everything I know about diet and nutrition.


Oh and 80% gain the weight back.


End rant!