Giveaway!!! The Last Days of Magic by Mark Tompkins

An exciting new giveaway has been offered to the readers of this site. I've not read this book; however, it is currently sitting in my to-read pile on my nightstand. 

Below is from Penguin on the press release: 

"Spanning the forests and villages of 14th-century Ireland, the lavish courts of France and England, the Vatican’s inner chambers and present-day mysteries, THE LAST DAYS OF MAGIC , which is now available in paperback, blends historical, fictional, and mythical events to create a richly imagined world and an exhilarating story of adventure and enchantment. Ireland is the last magical outpost on Earth, its Middle Kingdom—home to faeries and otherworldly beings—still strong in the face of the Vatican’s ever-expanding influence, its armies, exorcists and mercenaries.  But when an ancient treaty between the Celts and faeries is broken, leaving them vulnerable to the machinations of the power-hungry Roman Church, the very existence of magic in the world is threatened. 

In Ireland, the reincarnated Morrígna twins are goddesses in human form and the chosen rulers charged with keeping the uneasy peace between the human Celts and Ireland’s faeries, the Sidhe. When one twin is assassinated in an act of defiance by a sect of tree faeries, her sister Aisling, is left weakened and alone, struggling with human desires and a goddess’s destiny.

The Vatican, meanwhile, is plotting the eradication of all magic from Europe takes the opportunity to strike. Jordan is a Vatican commander tapped for the invasion, but he’s plagued with doubts of his own. With budding magical abilities and a growing attachment to the enchantress Najia, he’s torn between desire and duty. As the Celts, Sidhe, and Vatican forces prepare for the battle ahead, Jordan must decide who he stands with—a decision that will have repercussions centuries later, when a graduate student named Sara Hill stumbles unknowingly into the thick of the mystery."

The first comment below will receive the book and the gorgeous deck of tarot cards (which I'm very jealous of). 


Book Review: All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai

All Our Wrong Todays is a debut novel by Elan Mastai ... and it is amazing. 

Our narrator is Tom Barren who starts us off by saying that he is from the world we should have had but he messed it up. A quarter of the book is following the steps that Tom took to get to the point where he fucked up the present. Then we move on to the act itself then the consequences of that act. 

Tom is a failure in his world. His father dispises him. His mother is tragically killed. He cannot hold a job. He is unable to have meaningful relationships. His father, who is a distinguished scientist and the pioneer of time travel, is preparing for the first trip back into time to allow Chrononauts to witness the point of history where the technology of the world was propelled into unending clean energy and expansion.

Tom is given a pity job at his father's company. He's the backup to a brilliant Chronoaut named Penolope. He is mesmerized by Penelope and one day she finally shows interest in him and this is where it all goes downhill. 

I don't want to spoil this for you guys. If you have any interest in science-fiction I highly suggest this book. It was enthralling. Tom is a lovable, interesting narrator. The author created a fantastic story here, go and devour it. 

Book Review: Let the Old Dreams Die by John Ajvide Lindqvist

Not many people are aware of John Ajvide Lindqvist but are somewhat familiar with his work due to the movie "Let the Right One In" (which, in my opinion is the best vampire movie to date). Lindqvist is a Swedish, horror writer, who is frequently compared to Stephen King. 

If you've seen the "Let the Right One In" movie but haven't read the book, stop now, come back in a week. 

Let the Old Dreams Die is a collection of short stories by Lindqvist. Generally I refrain from short story collections, I tend to feel disappointed with the lack of closure that short stories tend to provide, however, Lindqvist's short stories are thorough enough to be consider novellas. 

The writing is fantastic, the care to ensure that character development was thorough is evident. Lindqvist has a delightfully dark sense of humor. It took me a long time to get through this book, but at the same time I didn't want to put it down. 

If you are aware of Lindqvist's work, you'll be happy to note that this collection contains mini-sequels to Let the Right One In and Handling the Undead.  My favorite of the collection was the Fight Club style story regarding older women sick of society. 

Book Review: My Best Friend's Exorcism by Grady Hendrix

This book was so damn charming. It's a fun but scary read about two friends (best friends) who grew up together. They met awkwardly at a birthday party for Abby, where Gretchen was the only attendee. Abby was more worldly, came from the wrong-side-of-the-tracks, etc. Gretchen grew up in a white collar family, sheltered from anything that could possibly harm her. 

The book jumps ahead to Gretchen and Abby in High School. One night, while out at a friend's lake house, they and a couple other girls, decide to try LSD. Gretchen strips off her clothes and disappears into the woods. When Abby finds her, she's disheveled and visibly shaken. 

The friends head back home and Gretchen changes, dramatically. 

The novel takes place in the 80's in a private, Christian school. There's a lot of nostalgia in this book which makes it fun, the whole demonic possession makes it scary, and the relationship between the Gretchen and Abby makes it touching. 

Book Review: Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood pays homage to Shakespeare's The Tempest in her latest work, Hag-Seed. Atwood's main character, Felix, is a top theater director who was usurped by his assistant Tony. Tony teamed against Felix and orchestrated his dismissal in a very humiliating fashion.

At the time of Felix's embarrassing exit, he was just starting work on his production of The Tempest to honor his daughter, Miranda, who died at 3 years old. Felix doesn't leave in tears, he leaves in red-hot anger. He then sells his belongings and moves into an isolated country shack for the next nine years.

This is very different from what I've read in the past from Atwood. This is an entertaining clash between Atwood's amazing ability at character development and a well known Shakespearean classic. One of my favorite things about this book was that Felix's voice in my head while reading sounded like David Rakoff, and that delighted me.

If you are new to Atwood, I'm not sure that I would suggest this as your first experience. If you want to dip your toe into some fucking amazing books, check out The Handmaid's Tale or The Robber Bride.

Hag-Seed will be available for sale on October 11th!

Book Review Quickie: Feminist Fight Club by Jessica Bennett

Feminist Fight Club has some great aspects. Its funny, its spot on in many points. I think it really is a good guide for women entering the workplace for the first time. There are some excellent scripts on requesting raises and equal pay. 

My qualm with this book was that it pushes the definition of feminism past the equal rights to supporting only women. My suggestion is that when you read this, take it lightly. Accept the good but don't be crazy with it. 

Book Review: The Dollhouse: A Novel by Fiona Davis

The Dollhouse revolves around the legendary Barbizon Hotel. For those unaware, the Barbizon was a women's only hotel/hostel where models, editors, secretaries, etc lived in "safety" away from the men of New York. The narrative switches between Rose, a journalist in 2016, and Darby, a secretarial student in 1952. 

Rose lives in the updated condos of the Barbizon with her boyfriend Griff. She runs into a woman in the elevator that rarely speaks and wears a veil over her face. Rose becomes fascinated with the woman, Darby, who has such an air of regal mystery about her. 

Rose asks around about Darby and finds that she was one of the original residents of the Barbizon, currently living in a rent controlled apartment on the 4th floor. She also finds that Darby's veil covers a large scar that happened Halloween night of 1952. Darby ended up with a disfigured scare, while Esme, a maid at the Barbizon, fell to her death from the Sky Terrace. 

Rose becomes obsessed with the story of Darby, and crossed journalistic ethics to find out more. While Rose's live unravels she becomes more and more obsessed with the story of Darby and Esme. 

This was a fantastic read. It was a quick book, I gobbled it down like candy. It reminded me of The Valley of the Dolls. I loved the developing relationship between Darby and Esme. The end was a bit too quick for my tastes but definitely worth the read. 

Book Review: The Sixth Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko

Anton returns in another installment of the Watch Series. Anton, having spent the last decade teaching light magicians instead of fighting dark magicians, is pulled back into the field to hunt a vampire who has been sending a message to him. 

While Anton is hunting down information to find the vampire, the world's prophets all receive the same prophecy at the same time. The message is cryptic but foretells the end of all Others, and then end of people. 

Sixth Watch digs deeper into the Others that haven't received a lot of attention in the series. We get an inside look at the dark magicians, witches, shape shifters, etc. 

I actually, just now, while writing this review realized that this is the last book in the series, which is depressing, I've been reading these books for years and rejoice at the announcement of a new installment. There are some bits that are very Russian, and maybe I don't get all the references because of that, but this is a fantastic series. Its a great urban fantasy that isn't a YA urban fantasy. The vampires do not sparkle. 

I highly suggest this series and must say that I will miss it dearly.