The Art of DeceptionThe Art of Deception by Stephanie Burgis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was an Instabuy in 2017, based on Ilona Andrew‘s recommendation. Finally picked it up. It was ok. Pretty forgettable, actually. Deception after deception folded into each other. Minimal world building, okay characters, a sword master that mostly spent his time wanting to grab his sword or unsheathing it in a dramatic fashion, to not do much with it. Whatever. Not picking up anything else by the author in a hurry.

2.75 illusionary stars

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Not magical enough for me

Magic for LiarsMagic for Liars by Sarah Gailey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I expected good things from this. But it did nothing for me, I am sad to say.

At the 10%-mark I posted: “Build-up, surprisingly not very interesting so far.” It did not pick up.

I disliked Ivy with her drinking and feeling sorry for herself. What a sad, one-dimensional person it makes her. Drinking and feeling sorry for herself, because she isn‘t her sister. How horrible. And also not very interesting after the umpteenth repetition.

Ok, that doesn‘t mean the story is not good. But I found it mildly boring and lacking in surprises. The conclusion was not unexpected, I guessed at the reason behind the murder pretty early on.

The healing magic was great and provided great visuals. That was the only highlight for me.

Oh yes, and I didn‘t like the audiobook narrator. Weird accent and sometimes she slurred her speech so much that I couldn’t understand her.

Not sure, it might be me. I seem to be in an unfavourable mood for reading at the moment.


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Elementary, my dear Wyndham

The Affair of the Mysterious LetterThe Affair of the Mysterious Letter by Alexis Hall
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A book trying very hard to present a magical Holmes & Watson and using all the right cues. An overly amusing and mocking first person narration by Dr. Watson Captain John Wyndham. A Scandal in Bohemia lurks somewhere in the background.

The amusing tone got old pretty fast. About two hours into the audio narration I started to seriously loose interest. The microscopically small plot barely managed to hold the story together. It was a slog. I only continued, because I wanted to find out who was the culprit.

Actually, on second thought, the plot wasn‘t bad. There was just too much fluff in between.

And really annoying? „Oh, she used a bad, bad word, but my publisher told me not to repeat it!“ Funny the first three times. After that, not so much!

Nice resolution at the end and there was something truly well written just before it that caught my interest.

In summation too much amusing vapor, too little actual story. A lot of talk, trying to create a Sherlock-Holmes-apropriate atmosphere. Some great ideas, smothered in the overly quaint narration. Kudos regarding the cameos of various gothic horror novels. Pretty nice Dracula rendition.

Best part of this novel: The excellent audiobook narrator, Nicholas Boulton. His tone of voice reminded me a bit of Stephen Fry.

The author has written some romance novels that look like they could be fun…. Other than that I will definitely not continue with this, if there should be a sequel. I will look up the audiobook narrator though.

The author on Sherlock Holmes: https://crimereads.com/sherlock-holme…

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Ghost story about a ghost story. Meta ghost?

Uncanny Magazine Issue 25: November/December 2018Uncanny Magazine Issue 25: November/December 2018 by Lynne M. Thomas
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Review for “The Thing About Ghost Stories“ by Naomi Kritzer, 22 pages, ★★½☆☆

“The most interesting thing about ghost stories is that almost everyone has one.“

A story about a woman collecting ghost stories. Meh. A bit rambling, not quite boring but nothing interesting for me. Her mother‘s Alzheimers and her changing relationship with her was the only redeeming feature, but it was too little to matter.

Can be read for free here: https://uncannymagazine.com/article/t…

Review for “The Rose MacGregor Drinking and Admiration Society,” by T. Kingfisher, 1.885 words, 4 pages, ★★★½☆

“There was a land of elven halls and hollows, … there was a campfire, and around it sat a half-dozen men, and a great bull selkie, and a horse the color of night..“

Normally humans fall for the fey and pine after them…

It was ok. Not sure what makes it so special that it gets nominated for a Hugo award.

Can be read for free here: https://uncannymagazine.com/article/t…

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Magical almost-steampunk

Witchmark (The Kingston Cycle, #1)Witchmark by C.L. Polk
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This made me think of World War I, Pat Barker‘s Regeneration Trilogy (on a much shallower level), Sherlock Holmes (blond), Steampunk (with aether instead of steam engines) and the M M Romance of KJ Charles (without the hanky-panky).

It took me a little to warm up to the main character, it was not love a first sight. The bad guy was a bit one-dimensional. A deeper look at him would have been nice. I hope that some of my favourite side characters from this will show up in the second book. And I really, really wanted to see Grace burn in a fire for a long time.

Good world-building, nice plot, not terribly complex. Overall I liked the story, but wasn‘t glued to the page. I could have done with a trickier mystery and a little more suspense. The bicycle chase was fun. I loved the reveal at the end—I had my suspicions, but guessed wrong and had a wow-moment.

I am pretty sure that I will pick up the sequel at some point.

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Vengeful foxes…

Lightspeed Magazine, February 2012Lightspeed Magazine, February 2012 by John Joseph Adams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Review for “Her Words Like Hunting Vixens Spring“ by Brooke Bolander, ~14 pages

“The first fox to come clawing up and out of her throat is a sleek gray thing with enormous ears and eyes like drops of crude. (…)
The Day My Beau Tried To Kill Me, September 17th, 1880.“

A story of revenge, Old Wild West style. With the help of a bruja, Rosa has unusual assistants on her hunt for her serial-killing ex-fiancé.

Bolander seems to like mixing her heroines with fantastical beasts.

Enjoyable, easy read. Nothing too surprising. Nice visuals.

Can be read for free here: http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fic…

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