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Book Review: The Paper Magician

by Charlie N. Holmberg

When sheThe Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg finishes Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, Ceony Twill wants to be a Smelter magician. Although she is at the top of her class, she isn’t allowed to choose. Instead she is assigned to be a Paper magician. Paper! That is such a weak classification, nothing like working with metal. But it’s either accept the Paper bonding or give up magic completely. She doesn’t want to become a household servant so she accepts the position.

Master Magician Emery Thane is one of the few remaining paper magicians in the world. He takes Ceony as his apprentice. He has an animated paper skeleton as his butler and makes a paper dog to keep Ceony company. She quickly learns the art and precision of folding and how to animate her creations. An incorrect fold will ruin the whole design and prevent the magic from working. He teaches her how to bring stories to life while reading a book.

Ceony is on her own for a few days while Mg. Thane takes care of Magician Council business. Shortly after he returns, his arm injured, another magician appears in their home.

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Book Review: One Thousand White Women

One Thousand White Women by Jim FergusOne Thousand White Women by Jim Ferguson
5 stars

Chief Little Wolf of the Cheyenne Indian nation met with President Grant with a proposition for future peace in the United States. The Cheyenne believe that all children belong to the  mother’s tribe. He proposes that the President provide 1,000 white wives to the Cheyenne. All babies born to these women would belong to the white race. Thus the two tribes of peoples would merge peacefully.

Although President Grant refuses initially, the program gets surprising support from women across the country. May Dodd, a Chicago socialite whose father had her locked in an insane asylum, is one of the women in the first group of volunteers for the grand social experiment. They are representing their country by joining with the Cheyenne. May keeps a journal of her travels.

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Book Review: Blue Labyrinth

Blue Labyrinth by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Childby Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

FBI Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast is spending a quiet evening at home with his ward, Constance Green, when someone knocks on the door. By the time Constance gets to it, the person who knocked is gone. Instead, a dead body lays on the door sill. Pendergast chases after the car pulling away from the curb but is unable to catch it before it disappears into New York City traffic. This leads him into a hunt that takes him to California, Brazil, and back. The killer leaves specific clues that lead him to dead ends and questions.

When a man is found dead in the New York Museum of Natural History, Lieutenant Vincent D’Agosta is assigned the case. The man, an assistant in the Osteology Department, was killed and hidden to a side area. He wasn’t important in the ranks of the museum, nor did he appear to have any obvious enemies. The last encounter he had had was with a visiting professor studying a skeleton of a Hottentot male from the mid 1800s. D’Agosta presents the case to Pendergast, knowing the agent’s interest in odd cases.

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Book Review: Bride of the Rat God

Bride of the Rat God by Barbara Hambly

LBride of the Rat God by Barbara Hamblyos Angeles in the 1920’s is a combination of artificial Hollywood glamor, open spaces, rich and poor, Prohibition and speakeasies, parties, and small town Los Angeles. Norah Blackstone’s sister-in-law Christine (stage name Chrysanda Flamande) brings her from a low paid lady companion’s position in England to be her assistant.

Norah’s life has completely changed. After the death of her husband in the war and her family to the flu a few years later, Norah was left bereft. The only position she could get was with an older, stingy woman with a lecherous son. Now she lives with Christine, a Hollywood star at Colossus Studios. Norah takes care of Christine’s Pekingese dogs, stays with her on the sets, accompanies her to parties and lives with her.

Christine kept a fabulous necklace she was given from her last movie. Norah catches notice of an elderly Chinaman trying to talk to Christine. He claims the necklace is haunted by the Chinese Rat God who will try to kill the actress.

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Thanks for the recommendation, Karmen.

Book Review: Golden Son by Pierce Brown

Golden Son by Pierce BrownBrutal. Compelling. Violent. Intriguing. Golden Son shakes up beliefs and emotions.

Born a Red, Darrow had worked in the mines of Mars. The human classes were distinct and divided by color. When his wife was arrested and hung by the order of the Golds, he almost gave up. Then he was able to join a revolution to help bring down the caste system. He went through painful surgery and training and has become a Gold himself. In Red Rising he proved himself as a strong, fierce Gold.

Three years later, Darrow is a disgraced lancer for the House Augustus, ruled by the man who ordered his wife’s death, Nero au Augustus. He is still strong and crafty but is considered a nonentity…

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Book Review: The Dark Tower

The Dark Tower by Stephen KingThe Dark Tower by Stephen King

Dark Tower VII

Roland is certain he and his ka-tet are close to the Dark Tower. First he, Eddie, Jake, Oy, and Susannah must escape New York and Maine and find each other in a land called Fedic. From there they still have two Beams that support to Dark Tower to protect. Once those are stable, they can seek their final goal of the Tower.

Susannah splits from Mia who dies when her baby is born. The baby, Mordred, is a changeling with an intense hatred for Roland, his “white father” and longing for the mad Crimson King, his “red father”. He quickly grows strong enough to be able to follow the ka-tet to Fedic, keeping hidden behind them. Even so, both Roland and Susannah can sense he is lurking out there.

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Book Review: My Real Children

My Real Children by Jo WaltonMark – My plans have changed, Patricia. We have to get married now or never.

Trisha – Now!

Pat – Never!

Now, sixty years later, Patricia is in an extended care home with dementia. Does she have three children or four? Did she spend her summers in Italy or was she a beaten down homemaker? Is there an international moon base studying science or a Russian one with nuclear missiles pointed at its enemies? Did she serve on city council or was she devastated when her partner was injured?

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Book Review: When’s the Doctor?


When's the Doctor? by Jorge SantillanWhere’s Waldo? Er, um, When’s the Doctor?

This brightly illustrated book is perfect for the young Doctor Who fan – like my granddaughters. It’s also fun for us adult fans. I admit I bought the book for me. But they both like the I Spy type books and will have a great time looking for the Doctor, his companions Amy and Rory, and the TARDIS on the different pages.

Jorge Santillan drew these cheerful pages using different time periods from many of the different Doctors – including the Aztecs, ancient Egypt, Metebelis III, and the TARDIS graveyard among others. Aliens of all sorts can also be found in these drawings.

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Book Review: Hidden Impact by Charles Neff


Hidden Impact by Charles NeffCharles Neff’s Hidden Impact originates with the frontward access of the narrator’s Atlantic Airlines flight swinging out to let soggy stickiness to seep into the compartment.

Bored, khaki clad customs officials gave the narrator’s day pack and larger bag a perfunctory glance.

Not a lot had improved during the 32 years the narrator had been away.   The Immigration officer glanced at the passport, Senor James Norberg, resident of Maine, United States.  And how long will you be staying.

Mid June in Nicaragua, and his having a 90 day tourist card Norberg knew could remain in the country until the middle of September 2004 and, NO liquor, tobacco, drugs and firearms, and the former Peace Corps worker was on his way.

Hotel del Parque, the meeting place where Norberg had stayed during Peace Corps days had survived mostly intact the 1972 earthquake.  The long day of travel from Bangor, connecting flights to Boston, Miami and Managua; Norberg was all set for a decent meal, calm late afternoon and a timely bed time before setting out for La Prada, the community where he had toiled during those Peace Corps days.

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Book Review: The Brothers Karamazov

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor DostoevskyIn The Brothers Karamazov the defense attorney says about the prosecuting attorney, “”Also, he goes in for rhetoric too much, and those long sentences..”

For the modern reader, that statement is one of the problems with Fyodor Dostoevsky’s work. It is extremely true of The Brothers Karamazov. This is an interesting Russian novel – or would be if abridged in about half. When the action is moving and the characters are interacting I enjoy reading The Brothers Karamazov. Then Dostoevsky goes off into philosophical discussions that go on and on and on. The worst is the religious discussion discourse Ivan Karamazov has with his younger brother Alexi about a third of the way through the novel. I was determined to read every page of this book but that was one of the times I was sorely tempted to skip ahead.

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Book Review: The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August


The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire NorthOver the years of science fiction, time travel, reincarnation, and immortality has been studied in many ways. Claire North has taken the different ideas and melded them together into an interesting, intriguing adventure.

Harry August is a kalachakra. When he dies, he is reborn back at the time he was born originally. Harry was born January 1, 1919. When he died the first time, he was born again on January 1, 1919. By the time he was three to four years old he started having memories of his previous life. In his third life, Harry tried to tell someone what he was. That didn’t go well. In his fourth life Harry finally hooked up with the Cronus Club. The Cronus Club was already established back in early Egyptian times. The members are there to help each other. Once a member recovers his or her memories, that person can contact the club for assistance – perhaps a “scholarship” to a private school or some other cover.


Book Review: Six of Swords by Carole Nelson Douglas

Six of Swords by Carole Nelson DouglasIrissa is walking one day when she comes across an injured man wearing mail. Kendric is one of the Six of Swords, or Wrathmen, warriors who guard the Realms. But the Six have broken up. His injury was from another of the Six. Irissa is the last Seeress of the Torlocs. As they turn to her home, she watches it disappear, with her mentor leaving a message of encouragement. Kendric and Irissa begin a quest for Irissa to find a gate that will lead her though to the world where the other Torlocs are.

They first leave for the capital of the Realms, the City of Rule. The head of the council dismisses Kendric and disdains Irissa. Instead he plans to capture the floating island of Clymarind. Clymarind is the magical island where the Wrathmen are sworn into their lifetime positions. It is where magicians go to learn and increase their magical powers.

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