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Why is humour often grave?

Grave Humor Book Cover Grave Humor
A Magical Romantic Comedy (with a body count) #14
R. J. Blain
Fiction, paranormal, urban famtasy
Pen & Page Publishing
May 12, 2020
386

Most days, Anwen regrets working at a funeral home. With the residents no longer inclined to stay in their coffins where they belong, she's got her hands full making sure everyone follows the rules: In the funeral home, there is no screaming, no murdering, no mutilation, no possessions, no kidnappings, no resurrections, and no cursing of any type. Be quiet and stay polite. The day Old Man McGregor decides to take a walk and disturbs her peace, Anwen learns there's a lot more to the basement in the funeral home than a vampire and a handsome gentleman on ice. If she's not careful, she'll learn first-hand why 'eternally yours' is the most potent of threats. Warning: this novel contains romance, humor, bodies, shenanigans, and mythological puppies. Proceed with caution.

Part of a long series with bodies….

This was a good length and so it was long enough to complete a story in one book. No need for a sequel here and I enjoyed reading through whole.

Just a couple of minor grouches from me though – 1. For me it seemed there was too much emphasis on the Aramaic pantheon; and 2. I got seriously confused at times when the characters were explaining all the different relationships within the angelic host and others. This just needed to be simplified down for those not familiar with this pantheon and the way angels and their various families are linked.

I had not realised, until I looked it up, that angels are common to many religions including Sikhism and Zoroastrianism. Of course Medieval scholars managed to make it all very complicated and to have many different choirs of angels and thrones etc but the one thing that most agree on is that Azrael holds a rather benevolent role as the angel of death, wherein he acts as a psychopomp, responsible for transporting the souls of the deceased after death. I have come across the concept of a psychopomp before in Christine Bauer’s work so this was at least familiar to me. But of course, each religion has a different take on angels – names, roles and hierarchy too.

I’m glad that I didn’t give up though. As I found that the story kept me interested and I loved the Mausoleum and graveyard. Anwen was an interesting heroine and I loved her chats with the dead and the loved the way the dead behaved too.

A different world again – but as the angels and others keep hinting – each world that the universe  builds lasts only a time – and then is destroyed for some reason and another world appears and magic appears in this new world at some point too. But each world acquires its magic at a different point in its history. Some characters in these stories live through multiple worlds – often by sleeping for long periods. Interesting thought and philosophy.

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A World of slavery and …

House of Earth and Fire Book Cover House of Earth and Fire
Crescent City
Sarah J. Maas
fantasy, romance. sci-fi
Bloomsbury Publishing (3 Mar. 2020)
Pub Date 3 Mar 2020

Perfect for fans of Jessica Jones and True Blood, this is a blockbuster modern fantasy set in a divided world where one woman must uncover the truth to seek her revenge.

Half-Fae, half-human Bryce Quinlan loves her life. Every night is a party and Bryce is going to savour all the pleasures Lunathion - also known as Crescent City - has to offer. But then a brutal murder shakes the very foundations of the city, and brings Bryce's world crashing down.
Two years later, Bryce still haunts the city's most notorious nightclubs - but seeking only oblivion now. Then the murderer attacks again. And when an infamous Fallen angel, Hunt Athalar, is assigned to watch her every footstep, Bryce knows she can't forget any longer.
As Bryce and Hunt fight to unravel the mystery, and their own dark pasts, the threads they tug ripple through the underbelly of the city, across warring continents, and down to the deepest levels of Hel, where things that have been sleeping for millennia are beginning to stir ...
With unforgettable characters and page-turning suspense, this richly inventive new fantasy series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas delves into the heartache of loss, the price of freedom - and the power of love.

 

I was given an extract of this book through NetGalley – now I don’t usually bother with extracts, but this one looked intriguing. And it was.
I’ve never read Sarah Maas before, and this is apparently her first venture into writing for an adult rather than YA audience. And for me it worked. I have read some comments where people who have read her YA books thought that this one had faults – yes of course we had Alpha aholes and a kick ass heroine. After all, this is the trope in which this book was written. Nice to see also that the angels weren’t all bright and light and good – plenty of grey and nasties.
I thought it was good universe building – yes we had the MidGard planet and a continent called the Pangera (see Pangea – the real land mass on Earth) and other references to these universes/worlds built in other books in this genre – but still the mix of technology and magic in this one was different.
And I so far haven’t come across a universe where there are angel slaves. Which I thought was a nice touch and permitted new storylines to emerge.
For me, this was a good read – it could have stopped at many points and been a much shorter book and left stuff for the next – but instead Mass carried on with a new twist and more highs and lows. The twists and hidden secrets kept coming right until the end – hints of these secrets only realisable after the action – which is good writing and means good plotting took place.
I liked the extract enough to buy the full book which means I wanted to find out more in the story… so a good read for me. I hope to read the next one in the series and that it is as long and complex in plotting as this one.

I was given an extract of this book through NetGalley – now I don’t usually
bother with extracts, but this one looked intriguing. And it was.

I’ve never read Sarah Maas before, and this is apparently her first venture
into writing for an adult rather than YA audience. And for me it worked. I have
read some comments where people who have read her YA books thought that this
one had faults – yes of course we had Alpha aholes and a kick ass heroine.
After all, this is the trope in which this book was written. Nice to see also that the angels weren’t all bright and light and good – plenty of grey and nasties.

I thought it was good universe building – yes we had the MidGard planet and a continent called the Pangera (see Pangea – the real land mass on Earth) and other references to these universes/worlds built in other books in this genre – but still the mix of technology and magic in this one was different.

And I so far haven’t come across a universe where there are angel slaves.
Which I thought was a nice touch and permitted new storylines to emerge.

For me, this was a good read – it could have stopped at many points and been a much shorter book and left stuff for the next – but instead Maas carried on with a new twist and more highs and lows. The twists and hidden secrets kept coming right until the end – hints of these secrets only realisable after the action – which is good writing and means good plotting took place.

I liked the extract enough to buy the full book which means I wanted to find
out more in the story… so a good read for me. I hope to read the next one in
the series and that it is as long and complex in plotting as this one.

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Thrax and Ghouls – what’s not to like?

The Dark Lands Book Cover The Dark Lands
(Angelbound Origins #6)
Christina Bauer
YA, fantasy,
Angelbound Origins
2019-07
308

"This YA paranormal fantasy series is cute, compulsively readable and above all fun." - The Nocturnal Library Blog Nineteen-year-old Myla Lewis is loving life--she's now a wife, mother, and Queen of the Thrax. Oh yeah, and being a super-powerful demigoddess who moves souls into Heaven or Hell doesn't suck, either. In fact, everything is pretty much awesome. Until something craptastic happens. Her honorary older brother Walker enters the Dark Lands, home to the rule-loving ghouls, and vanishes without a trace. Now it's up to Myla to solve the mystery of Walker's disappearance. Of course, Myla likes interacting with ghouls about as much as elective dental surgery. To make matters harder, everyone thinks that Walker is simply taking a well-deserved vacation. But Myla and her Angelbound love, Lincoln, both suspect that a new criminal called the Viper took Walker in order to release Lucifer, the ex-King of the Angels and bloodthirsty killer. Long story short, Myla and Lincoln have only twenty four hours to rescue their good friend and stop Lucifer from taking over the after-realms. Even for them, this may be a too-tall order, especially when Lucifer's mysterious past with Myla's father threatens the very future of the after-realms. "I loved jumping back into the world of Angelbound." - Mean Who You Are Blog Angelbound Origins In which Myla Lewis kicks ass and takes names. Nuff said. 1. Angelbound 2. Scala 3. Acca 4. Thrax 5. The Dark Lands 6. The Brutal Time (Fall 2019) 7. Armageddon (already here, long story!) 8. Quasi Redux (Fall 2020) Angelbound Offspring The next generation takes on Heaven, Hell, and everything in between 1. Maxon 2. Portia 3. Zinnia (Summer 2019) 4. Kaps (Summer 2020) 5. Huntress (Summer 2021) Angelbound Lincoln Angelbound Origins as told by Prince Lincoln 1. Duty Bound 2. Lincoln 3. Tricksters Also From Christina Bauer - Fairy Tales of the Magicorum, a series of modern fairy tales with sass, action, and romance - Beholder, where a medieval farm girl discovers necromancy and true love - Dimension Drift, a dystopian adventure with science, snark, and hot aliens Don't Miss Out Get your FREE copy of Christina's novella, BEVERLY HILLS VAMPIRE, when you sign up for her personal newsletter: https: //tinyurl.com/bauersbooks ***Not available in stores***

I know. This is supposed to be a series for the YA audience, but guess what? Lots of us older people like these fantasies too. And this is one of the more imaginative series with some interesting concepts about Heaven and Hell – or not Heaven and not Hell, and how you get there and all the worlds that lie beneath us and the people – or not quite people – who live there.

One of the things I most like about Myla is her tail.

Now we all now know that we have brain cells in our stomachs – and that ‘gut’ feeling really is our brain – or part of it, as it processes what we have seen and heard. Now Myla has her tail. Which has a brain of its own. It behaves autonomously. It waves at people. It gets angry. It is cheeky. It is fun.

I am enjoying this series immensely and find the writing amusing and light and the stories interesting.

Keep going Christine! Looking forward to reading Rhodes – the latest book in the Offspring series – #4. Review to come in December.

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Why Awake?

Awakening: Rise as the Fall Unfolds Book Cover Awakening: Rise as the Fall Unfolds
An 8th Dimension Novel Book 3
Carissa Andrews
Genres: Science Fiction, Thriller, Urban Fantasy
Independently published
Publication date: November 12th 2019

The final five angels have been located and averting the apocalypse means somehow recreating the birth of Christ.  Morgan never expected total annihilation would come down to the actions of five misfit angels. But as each one’s hidden angelic power unfolds, so does the sinister truth… the entire Jesus storyline has been wiped from the collective consciousness, leaving a tear in the fabric of reality. The final five need to figure out how their gifts are meant to fit together in order to set things right. However, coming to terms with the responsibility resting on their shoulders doesn’t come easy. To make matters worse, the demons have found them and unless they get on the same page quickly, the darkness will consume them all. But how can they make things right when the thing that’s missing happened more than 2000 years ago? One thing’s for sure. If they fail, existence ceases. If you love books like Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s American Gods or Good Omens, Joe Hill’s Nos4A2, or Stephen King’s (Richard Bachman) Blaze, then you’ll love Awakening!

“Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular genre to write about? What appealed to you about it? Why do you think it is different and your approach is unique?”

When I originally went to college, I had big plans to become an archaeologist or anthropologist. I have always been fascinated by the idea of mythology, spirituality, and religion. But more than that, I have always loved the paranormal and supernatural side as well. I grew up in a very eclectic, open minded family who embraced dichotomous thinking—which basically means holding two seemingly opposing viewpoints as true at the same time. For example, being Christian, but believing other religions or spiritual traditions hold similar truths. Magical mindsets and energy work have always played a role in my life. In fact, in 2002, I started my journey to become a reiki master. I have also dived deep into comparative religion because the concept is deeply fascinating to me.

Then, on the other side (remember the dichotomous thinking), I love science. Physics, astronomy, biology, chemistry—you name it. So, being this strange person with seemingly opposing beliefs, I find I can look at subjects more… subjectively.

Awakening originally came to me as a way to make sense of the world after the 2016 election. I’m not gonna lie—it seriously felt light we were fighting a war of light and dark and the dark was winning. So, my question to myself was… what if there were angels buried in the subconsciousness of humans walking the Earth? What would that look like? How would that play out?

However, I couldn’t quite wrap my head around their mission. What would they fight for? How would they fix things? Then, at our local writers group’s Christmas party last year, we got an interesting writing prompt. There were actually something like seven of them, but the one I chose was: write something about the Jesus story from a totally different perspective.

Now, I have to place a caveat here – I am actually very eclectic spiritually because of my background. I don’t identify as one religion or another anymore. I just don’t feel it’s necessary. So, as a sciencey, fantasy jumbled up mess I am, I took an idea I’d had in the back of my mind for a long time about the Jesus story. It relied on the question of—what if Jesus didn’t exist? What if in the future, darkness had taken over and his light never shone on the world? (Okay, historically, there are actual questions about true existence, but there is no denying his story exists—and has had a huge impact on the world.)

But more than that, what if someone from the future could go back and make things happen? How could you tell this story where it seems both believable—and completely crazy at the same time? I mean, that’s what science fiction and fantasy are meant to do, right? Play with the bigger questions of who we are, why we’re here, and the stories we tell ourselves… right?

To my knowledge, no one has written a story quite like Awakening. It’s part urban fantasy – part alternative history – part science fiction. But what I am most pleased about with this book is that it must have placed its timing perfectly (I may have written it, but I swear the stories have their own timing). Both Christians and non-Christians alike love the story and the way the story was able to tread the wire between motivation and blasphemy.

About the Author:

Carissa Andrews is a freelance writer, award-winning graphic designer, indie author coach, and internationally bestselling author from Crosslake Minnesota. She is the President of the Lakes Area Writers Alliance, a 501c3 nonprofit for writers in central Minnesota, as well as the owner of Author Revolution, LLC – an organization geared toward helping new authors navigate the waters of indie publishing. For 2020, Carissa has her sights set on becoming a NYT or USA Today Bestselling Author with her upcoming series, The Windhaven Witches. You can learn more about Carissa, her services, and her upcoming novels by visiting her websites: www.carissaandrews.comwww.authorrevolution.org, or authorrevolution.teachable.com

Author links:

https://www.carissaandrews.com/

https://www.instagram.com/Carissa_Andrews_MN/

https://www.pinterest.ca/carissaandrews/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5755860.Carissa_Andrews

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCarissaAndrews

https://twitter.com/CarissaAndrews

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And the unicorn is on fire?

Burn Baby Burn Book Cover Burn Baby Burn
Magical Romantic Comedy (with a body count) #
RJ Blain
contemporary, fantasy, urban fantasy, humour
Pen & Page Publishing
(14 May 2019)

Bailey Ember Gardener Quinn should’ve read the manual on caring for an incubus before marrying hers. The marriage license hadn’t mentioned anything about their sexy, insatiable ways. If she doesn’t get a single night of undisturbed rest soon, she’ll snap—or go on a napalm bender.

Either would work.

Recruiting Tiffany “Perkette” Perkins to be her partner-in-crime isn’t the best idea, but nothing says fun quite like a road trip, and Perkette the Misdemeanor Collecting Queen could teach the devil a thing or two about having a good time.

Add in a string of rabies cases, more puppies than she can count (or readily adopt,) a job promotion, and her very own incubus in disguise on the hunt for her, and Bailey’s in for one hell of a ride.

Warning: this novel contains excessive humor, a unicorn on a napalm bender, Quinn on the hunt, and more shenanigans than you can shake a stick at. Proceed with caution.

I just love this series and fall about laughing – out loud!

You just never know who will turn up, what they will say or even do! What do you say to Anubis when he gives you a dog – or is it a dog? And then offers to babysit? And then there are the Gorgon grandparents, and yet more grandparents because there may be a succubus too or and angel – and remember these angels don’t have heads, but still talk and see things and babysit the kids..

So once upon a time there was a flood – and Noah built an arc and took animals into it, but he forgot some, such as cindercorns, and they managed to survive the flood and mated with ordinary unicorns, and at which time you have lost the story.

In case you haven’t come across this series, I’ll just explain the difference between a cindercorn and a unicorn. Basically cindercorns like fire. They like to eat napalm and use it as fuel. They can then run very fast indeed. And some can use sunlight to fly..

Got it?

If not, then read the book and have fun in this very fantastical world that RJ Blain has built.

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