The Witchling's Girl
Sci Fi & Fantasy | Teens & YA
Hodder & Stoughton
Pub Date 7 Jan 2021
In a quiet street far from the river, with an ancient tree growing through its walls and floors, is the House of the Dead. There lives the witchling: healer, midwife and conduit between the world of the living and the world below. A witchling must give up her family and friends and spend her life alone, tending to the sick and carrying the dead down dark tunnels to the underworld. Haley was born with the gift of death-magic, and at the age of seven her mother abandons her to the witchling to be raised as her successor. But as Haley grows older and learns her craft - as invading armies pass through her town, people are born and die on her floor, and loyalties shift and dissolve around her - she finds it harder and harder to keep her vows and be the perfect and impassive healer. But if she can't, it will be her downfall - and that of everyone she's not supposed to love . . .
I failed to get involved in the storyline, it seemed too reminiscent of the stories of Baba Yaga and her house on chicken legs that lives in many dimensions. (In Slavic folklore, Baba Yaga is a supernatural being who appears as a deformed or ferocious-looking old woman. Baba Yaga may help or hinder those that encounter her or seek her out). So having read stories about Baba and her disciples before and quite enjoyed them, I needed to read a story which was completely different – except this one wasn’t. And death magic is quite common too in stories and comes across better in a humorous format I find.
This is my personal view as someone who reads and has already read, far more than the 10,000 lifetime books – as I read 400 books a year. So you really have to be good and original especially when delving into folk-lore or fairytales.
Vale Investigation #1
May 14, 2018
WINNER Urban Fantasy Category in the 2019 Independent Press Awards When the devil's his boss, one botched murder case could send him straight to the underworld... PI Bellamy Vale's near-immortality doesn't give him a moment to rest. Completely worn down as Death's supernatural detective, he's starting to think he got the short-end of his do-or-die deal. So when a string of savage attacks grip the city, Vale abandons all hope of sleep and sets out to discover who let the Otherworld beast free... Reading dead crime victims' minds for clues, Vale attracts the very unwanted attention of a fresh-faced journalist and his jealous police officer ex. Reluctantly agreeing to let the women tag along for the danger, the investigation reveals his worst fears. It turns out the brutal portal monster may only be the first wave of destruction. Can PI Vale catch the puppet-master before the whole world is dragged to hell? Hostile Takeover is the first book in the fast-paced Vale Investigation urban fantasy series. If you like classic noir-style action, out-of-control mythology, and a healthy dose of sarcastic charm, then you'll love Cristelle Comby's edge-of-your-seat adventure. Buy Hostile Takeover to open the gates to pandemonium today!
Set in Cold City we have a hero, Bellamy Vale, who seems to get into at least one too many fights.
The story starts with him rescuing a young girl kidnapped for ransom. He is a Private Investigator with a penchant for getting into trouble – and a very strange relationship with a femme fatale demon – she saved his life and got various favours from him in return. He calls her Lady McDeath. And thus, we add in some supernatural to the storyline.
Written in the light style of modern PI stories where we expect to find our PI amenable, lovable, and to feel for him. He is not cold, and is often misguided, and must fight the nasties that other citizens may not even know about.
A Magical Romantic Comedy (with a body count) #14
R. J. Blain
Fiction, paranormal, urban famtasy
Pen & Page Publishing
May 12, 2020
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.
Daisy Cooper's Rules for Living
Death, women writers
April 2, 2020
Rule One: Anything Can Happen Daisy Cooper's life has been pretty uneventful - until the moment it suddenly ends. Unfortunately, her death is (literally) an accident: Daisy wasn't meant to die for another fifty years. One terrible, embarrassing clerical error is behind it - and Death himself is to blame. As Daisy battles against her new reality, she starts to learn that letting go isn't just a challenge faced by those left behind. And while she learns how to survive this impossible new reality, friendship, hope and even love begin to come alive in the most unexpected ways. For Daisy Cooper, death was the perfect time to start making sense of life... A fresh, funny and joyful story about our own humanity at the most testing times.
Rules for living and dying too. This was an unusual book about life after death and being Grim Reapers
I did have one issue with the storyline though. Death says he has been around for millennia. But, he also remembers our Middle Ages as when he was a child. And the question then arises, who was death before Death?
I liked the Rules but Daisy should never have gone back even as her part ghost. As she came to realise, it is just too hard for those left behind.
Overall, a well written book but please address the plot issues.
Helen Reaper has a weird relationship with the dead. As in she can bring anyone or anything back to life, so she’s constantly bombarded by people begging her to restore their loved ones, their pet fish, that cute girl who fell off a building while taking a selfie. Super. Annoying. So Helen becomes a necessary introvert and a homebody, choosing to absorb herself in books instead of real life.
The Deadication Dating Agency, the mysterious matchmaking service in her town of Midnight Cove, comes to her in the form of a mysterious letter and a cute little puppy.
They know someone who’s already dead who won’t mind her talent one little bit.
Can a woman who raises the dead find a love that stays alive?
SE Banin writes funny stories about romance with heroines who are a little bit dotty
(and which I find fun to read as a result)
and in this book she is nerdy and with a strange ability. Necromancer with a difference, she can bring back a person or creature. Make them alive again.
This is not something you want to advertise too widely as you will get bombarded with people who want to bring back dead pets and people whether for love or revenge…
Thus her dating life has suffered… but a Dating Agency has her in their sights… and so the story begins. They want to help her find her Soulmate and….