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Brigid: History, Mystery, and Magick of the Celtic Goddess - Courtney Weber

I received a copy of Brigid: History, Mystery, and Magick of the Celtic Goddess from GoodReads First Reads giveaway for review. This in no way influenced my review and/or rating.

Let me start off by saying I’m not Wiccan, I am a firm Christian believer.  So be forewarned that I skipped over the spells/meditations/rituals, so no part of my review will deal with these.

Brigid has fascinated me for most my life.  I’m completely serious here.  My Junior year of high school was when I ‘discovered’ her, and it was at that same time a friend had asked a couple of us to design characters for a book she was writing.  Mine were triplets.  Any guess why?  In designing these characters around the three aspects of St. Brigid, I ran into her history as a Celtic Goddess.  So much of what is here (myth-wise) I have already come across in one form or another.  But there had never been anything I found on Maman Brigitte.  So I was very interested to learn about her Voudon lore.

Sadly, Maman Brigitte gets such a brief mention in this book that I had to go back to the index to verify she had been mentioned (I do have to confess I didn’t remember her name, so when I looked the sections back up, i took down the name).  Now, right off the bat Ms. Weber does mention that there are arguments over whether or not Brigid & Maman Brigitte are the same, so I understand why there wouldn’t be as much as the saint vs. goddess information.  But I had hoped for more than a couple paragraphs and a brief one sentence mention later.

Ms. Weber was in her element in regards to the saint/goddess conversions/comparisons and her telling of the druid/Celtic history was more interesting to me.  She didn’t sugar coat the rituals and practices that are horrifying to think of in this day and age, yet back then was something that they felt HAD to be done their people to survive.  And I feel she wasn’t vilifying the early Christians when she discusses how they change the Goddess Brigid in St Brigid to spread our religion.  And I respect her for how she handled this.

Unfortunately, after my praise, I do feel the need to now say what I didn’t like.  The writing didn’t keep me hooked.  It has taken me almost a year to read this book, and I finally had to leave it at work and force myself NOT to bring other books in order to do so.  Once I started reading, it was way to easy for me to set the book down without coming back to it for long periods of time.

And once again I have to mention Maman Brigitte.  Having alluding to her on the back of the book and in the book description, she should have had a larger part in the book.  I feel like this was close to false advertising, except she was mentioned briefly.

Brigid: History, Mystery, and Magick of the Celtic Goddess is a good book if you are just getting into who/what this intriguing woman is, and you want to learn more about her as a Celtic deity.  I do not think this book is for someone who has researched Brigid previously, and is looking for new information.  Actually, let me say I think this book should really only be for those people who really don’t know Brigid’s lore, and who are looking for information into the her Goddess aspect.  Otherwise it is nothing all that new or noteworthy.

Initial reaction was 2 stars, changed to 3 once I sat down and actually thought my review out.

Average 2.5 stars

ARC Review

Mercy Thompson: Hopcross Jilly - Tom Garcia, Rik Hoskin, Patricia Briggs

I received a copy of Hopcross Jilly from Netgalley for review.  This in no way influenced my review.

I love Patricia Brigg's Mercedes Thompson books.  They are almost always an insta-buy/read for me.  I'm actually rereading them at the moment.  So when I saw a copy was available for review, I jumped on it.  When I finished it, I was a tad disappointed.  I guess I had higher expectations for anything with Patricia Briggs on it.

Hopcross Jilly starts out with Mercy and the pack finding a burial site full of children, around an old house suspected of belonging to a fae.  Wanna guess which one?  Told between flash backs and current events, the at times confusing tale of how the Fae works, her prey, and her reappearance comes together.

But, for me, the main star was Jesse.  I have always liked her as a side/sub/background character, and while I didn't care all that much for this story, I like how it showed her different aspects.  Her 'public' face where she has to be tough and act like the bullying from school doesn't bother her.  And her 'private' face, the one she shows to Mercy and around the wolves.  

Even with Jesse taking a HUGE part of this story, it didn't suck me in until the final confrontation.  And I think that's sad.  Being a graphic novel, there's not alot of time to hook and draw me in.  The visuals should draw me in with the story & dialog.  They failed.  Some scenes where drawn beautifully, and others seemed haphazardly thrown together.  And I'm not sure how 'Jilly' was defeated.  I have a pretty good idea, but not confirmation.

I have recommended this to a friend (turns out she was reading it serialized), but I won't recommend this to anyone who isn't familiar with the worlds Mercedes Thompson and Alpha and Omega.  3 Stars.

ARC Review

Wayward Volume 1: String Theory - John Rauch, Jim Zubkavich, Steven Cummings

I received a copy of Wayward from the publisher through Net Galley.  This had no bearing or influence on my review.


I LOVED Wayward vol. 1.  I am anxiously waiting for volume to be announced, so then I can get antsy waiting for it to be released.  I might just break my own rule and buy the individual issues.  It was that good!


The story starts with Rori, a half Japanese/Irish, arriving in Tokyo to start living with her mom.  This is also the first time we see her 'strings'; glowing ribbons that lead her to here she needs to go/be.  Soon she runs into the crazy girl, the bad boy (who eats spirits), and another young boy with odd abilities.  There are some monsters and a mysterious figure that seems to have a connection to them.


As much as I find the story and the drop dead gorgeous artwork enthralling, I can't describe the story.  I just can't.  There is so much going on all at once; I'm not 100% what is taking place.  Except for the end, but that's a spoiler.  *shh*  Hopefully the next collection will shed some light on some of the actions happening.


4.5 Stars

ARC Review

Victorian Fairy Tales - Michael Newton

I received a copy from NetGalley for review. This in no way influenced my review. 3 stars.

I hate to say that I might not be as enchanted with fairy tales as I used to be. Otherwise, I don't know why I didn't like this more. Many of the tales I have read before; the few I hadn't were kinda meh. Don't get me wrong, this was a good collection and there was a range of tales, it just didn't click with me. The introduction was a tad lengthy, but I'm not a scholar, or particularly care about the history of fairy tales.

If you collect fairy tale books, or want a whimsy read, pick this up. Otherwise I can't really recommend this either way.

ARC Review

The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy: A Lexicon of Life Hacks for the Modern Lady Geek - Sam Maggs

I received a copy of of this book for review from the publisher. This in no way affected my review.

The blurb for this book hooked me, even if I was a tad leery about a fan 'guide'. I have been a fan girl for so long, I'm not willing to date myself by giving examples of my first fandoms. So what could this guide give me that I didn't already know?

Sam Maggs did a wonderful job including as many general fandoms as possible!  There are book-, TV-, comic-, game-, and even Disney-fans.  The only real disappointment I had in this regard is she tends to focus on the current, widely known books and TV shows. She didn't talk about lesser known titles that could have become new favorites.  Understandable, but still slightly disappointing.

With sections on vocabulary, ways to find like-minded new friends, conventions, to name a few, a lot of ground gets covered. Thankfully the information provided doesn't feel thrown together or missing key things the beginner should be aware of.

Saying that, there is one big problem I have with this.  And, not being sure how to word what I mean right, I'm sure I'll make some people mad.  While the issue of safety is stressed (numerous times, which I an NOT complaining about), I get the vibe that it is more of an internet issue to worry about. I would've liked to see convention trolling/harassment covered better.  I don't cosplay, but I have friends who do.  One was stuck in an elevator with a drunk man who made inappropriate comments, and made her feel unsafe getting off in her floor in case he followed her.  Another one got harassed and groped when she had a low-cut outfit on.   These things happen, and, sadly, most times Con security have other things to worry about verses some harassment.  It's not ok, but anyone planning on cosplay should be aware this happens and there might not be any repercussions.

The only other issue I had is a small one.  In the beginning when she discusses the different types of fan girls, she has a 'key accessories' listing.  I am many of these fans, and don't have any of the listed items.  And while it is not said,  but I feel implied, that to be a fan you should have these items or something like them.  Not a big deal, but something that has bugged me.

3.5 stars.

Jackaby - William Ritter

Jackaby is a supernatural twist on Sherlock Holmes for YA readers.  The whirlwind action surrounding the killings takes on an almost realistic tone when told for the view of Abigail Rook.  Newly to the US, she becomes Jackaby's assistant (not really by his choice) and we get the unique perception of someone who is being influenced by the supernatural world, yet is blind to it.  Jackaby CAN see and interact with it, causing much confusion to the people around him.  This is great for the story and character development.

Abigail Rook is a 'normal' girl with no gifts other than being normal. Something Jackaby seems intrigued by.  She is the character with the most development; going from a skeptic to a believer and willing to place her life in Jackaby's hands.  Even saying this, she's not a gullible/complete believer.  Proof is still needed in someway or another.

R. F. Jackaby is the main detective.  He is a seer, someone who can see the supernatural world.  While compared even by Abigail to Sherlock Holmes, he is not as great of a mind, nor does he notice as much mundane things.  But he is good at what he does, even if at times he forgets to take into consideration others around him.   

The supporting characters come in all shapes, sizes, and species.  They help to create the scenery and push Abigail into becoming the strong character she is at the end.  While the book is titled Jackaby, it is more about Abigail and how her association with Jackaby changes from the student who ran to the states to avoid facing her parents to the woman she is at the end.

I think the culprit was fair obvious, but that in no way took away from my enjoyment of this book.  I HIGHLY recommend this book to mystery lovers who don't mind a the dash of fairy for added spice.  5 Stars.

Nightbird - Alice Hoffman

I received a copy of this book to review from the publisher. This in no way affected/influenced my rating and review.


To start with, I need to confess that when I agreed to review this book, I was thinking it was a different author. When I got my copy and realized I was wrong, I was unaware of what I was getting into. Am I ever glad I made that mistake! If you haven't read anything by Alice Hoffman, you need to. Now. Preferably with this book. It was that good!


Nightbird is told from Twig's point of view. She lives in the small town of Sidwell, where her family is famous for their apples and an old legend about the Sidwell Witch cursing her family. What the town doesn't know is that the legend is true. New neighbors move in (descendants of the witch), things go missing by way of the Sidwell Monster, and Twig is hard pressed to discover who the monster is and how to break the curse before the town starts a hunt for the monster and discovers the secret her family has hidden for all these years.


Teresa, aka Twig, is a young girl who lives a lonely life. All she knows is that if you let someone close, they discover your secrets-secrets that could devastate her family. Having no friends, she spends a lot of her time walking in the woods, and wandering her families apple orchards. That all changes when she falls out of a tree and meets the Hall family. This starts her on her journey to find out why her family was cursed and how to break it...


I cannot say enough how thoroughly I enjoyed this book. It's not quite the fluff read I expected, but it was even better. I want to rate this a 7 or 8, but I can only give it 5 stars. I recommend this to EVERYONE!!!

Liberty and Other Stories - Alexis Hall

I received a copy of Liberty and Other Stories from the publisher for review; this in no way influences my opinions positive or negative.

Liberty and Other Stories is a collection of novellas (2-4, 6) from the Prosperity series. Thankfully you don't need to have read book one to understand who the characters are or what is going on. These are a mix prequels and standalones.

Shackles introduces you to Ruben and Milord. Ruben (an excommunicated priest) is given special dispensation to try to 'save' Milord by getting his confession. If Ruben can get the confession, Milord won't suffer a harsher punishment.

Sadly, I could care less about Milord. While you do learn some of his nature, he just didn't seem that fleshed out or dimensional. Ruben, on the other hand, absolutely fascinates me. I want to know more! Why/when did he get excommunicated? Why did they choose him? I have an idea for both, based on some of was touched on, but I don't know for sure. I went and bought the rest of the Prosperity books because of this specific story.

Squamous with a Chance of Rain is Jane's story. Which seems to be a mesh of The Sound of Music and Cthulhu mythos, with a dash of fem!slash. Told in letters to her friend, this was a delightful romp of a governess with a dead uncle, an odd employer, and his even odder family.

Jane is not Maria in any shape or form. Which more than once had me burst out laughing at something she said/did. I really can't say more without giving away the storyline. Just give it a try!

Cloudy Climes and Starless Skies is the history behind Bryon Kae and the aethership, Shadowless.

I think this was the weakest story of the collection. This might be because I haven't read Prosperity, but I'm doubting that is the case (I will update this review once I have read it, to confirm/deny my theory). Up until the last couple of scenes, the story just was 'meh' for me. Not much action, and not really that different from any 'rescued off the street by a parent, illegitimate child' regency story, only with some steampunk elements. Once I got into the action, things moved swiftly, and I became curious and wanted to know more. This was good for a collection, but I don't think I'd recommend it as a standalone.

Liberty is a series of letters and court documents pertaining to Captain George England and his part in the destruction of a skyfleet above the skycity of Liberty in 1866.

I like Captain England. He is a honest, loyal soldier of Britain, and seems to be very earnest. Fate has dealt him a bad hand, and yet he still believes in doing whatever the country needs him to do. Which is how he ends up aboard Shadowless and in the mess at Liberty. While I am intrigued with Ruben, all I want to do is smother England in hugs. Sadly, this story takes place after Prosperity; Captain England (I love typing that) won't make an appearance in it.

All in all, I enjoyed this book. I would recommend (and will be) this to my friends. 4.5 Stars.

Bound for the Forest - Kay Berrisford

I did not finish this, nor do I think I will come back to it to do so. The blurb had so much promise, but the actual book didn't deliver. I think I am close to 1/3, maybe 1/2 of the way through when I just gave up.

UST doesn't begin to describe what's going on between Brien and Scarlet. A slight exaggeration, but it seems like very other paragraph they are lusting over the other and then hating that person for making them feel that way.  Which got old, fast. 


Another problem I was having is how to figure out who I should consider the bad guys, antagonist, whatever.  The woodcutter who bought the land to harvest the trees?  While they seemed extreme in dealing with Scarlet, he was trespassing/stealing/planing arson.  The Druids are made out to be harsh, almost man-hating women that Scarlet is fearful & leery of, and Brien holds contempt? for.  Yet, they don't come across as being all that bad.


There seemed to be a lot going on, without enough explanation/plot advancement to keep me reading.

With Love - J.L. Langley

To start with, this is listed as story 0.5 (which means 1st in my mind) of the With or Without series.  I'm not sure how that is, maybe because it has werewolves and a character named Cole?  Anyway, you won't miss anything if you skip this book.  And I suggest you do.


Devin is the new wolf in town, getting ready to meet the current Alpha before moving there with his partner and his wife.  When he goes to the meeting place, he interrupts the attempted rape of Laine (the pack's Omega) by the Alpha and some other pack members.  After carrying the unconscious man back to his car, Devin realizes they are mates! *gasp of shock*  Actually, this is pretty typical for most werewolf romances I've read.  Devin becomes protective and slightly possessive, and not in a bad way.  He's not demanding and breathing-down-the-back-of-your-neck hovering.  I like Devin. 


Laine, who is confident, clumsy, and outspoken came off as being child-like.  As in I felt dirty reading this and I had to keep reminding myself he is an adult.  He owns a flower shop that was his grandmother's before she retired.  I just can't make myself really care for him.  The store gets vandalized (GREAT scare tactic.  Not.) and his grandmother kidnapped before everything is said and done.  Which, again, seem to be typical events in werewolf literature.


Cole is Devin's partner and a pack-mate.  Along with his wife, Caroline (who's transfer is the reason Devin is even in town), they show up in time for Cole to basically be Devin's second and Caroline to become bosom(?) buddies with Laine.  Caroline is supposed to be a female version of Laine, and comes off just as childlike as him.  For what little Cole is seen, I like him almost as much as Devin.


There is some conflict with the Alpha, which gets taken care of rather quickly once it comes to a head.  The clash between him and Devin happens fast; blink and you'll miss it.  I would have liked more action as opposed to the time spent showing how clumsy Laine is.


I give With Love 1 1/2 stars because of Devin, Cole, and the fact that heterosexual relationships aren't just mentioned, one is secondary.  Odd thing to say in a G/L story, but having them makes the story seem more realistic.  Even werewolf stories. 

Territory - Emma Bull

Wow. This is an incredible book! I borrowed this from a friend, and come payday, I'm buying my own copy. More than once I was late to work, having to finish one last chapter. I've never read anything by Emma Bull before, but I plan to get my hands on as much as possible now.

Told from three different viewpoints (Jesse, Mildred, and Doc Holiday), Territory is a captivating tale about Tombstone, the Earp brothers, and the people caught in their power struggles. A wonderful job was done weaving magic into a period of history without. There were a couple times when I wasn't sure if magic was being used to cause this or that to happen. The twists and turns the plot takes as Jesse tries to not only come to terms with his gift, but solve a gruesome murder kept me from putting this book down.

Jesse Fox is a drifter that wanders into town around the time the Wells Fargo stage is robbed. Mildred Benjamin is a widow working as a typesetter for one of the local papers with a hope of becoming a writer. And Doc Holiday is the man from the legends. A picture is painted with their 3 voices of what life was like in the old west; the outsider, the woman, and the lawman. Jesse tries to stay uninvolved, with no real attachment to the people of Tombstone unless forced. Mildred gets an inside look at the lives of the Earp women when she befriends them. Holiday is the unique view of a dying man who wants to do right by his friend, but sometimes wonders about which side they are on. They weave in and out, drawing you into a story of what might have been.

Diary of a Confessions Queen - Kathy Carmichael

I started out reading with low expectations (it was a freebie from B&N, which I seem to have bad luck getting good titles). Luckily, this exceeded those expectations, it keep me reading later than I should be up. T o be cliche-I couldn't stop reading until the end. I did figure out the culprit roughly halfway through, but I couldn't figure out the motive.

Amy is a confessions writer, whose husband disappeared seven years ago on his way home. Struggling to keep the house they had together from foreclosure, she is taking action to declare him dead. Which is when things take an odd turn-she gets a blackmail letter threatening her with insurance fraud since her husband is still alive. But is he? With her best friend Sue Ann, a local officer who may or may not have feelings for her, and a VERY out there mother-in-law, Amy is going to find out what really happened to her husband seven years ago. Or die trying. Which just might happen.

I'm not sure what purpose Amy being a confessions writer serves, other than explaining the quirky chapter titles. It does happen that she writes alot, and can get lost in her own little world when she is writing, but it is also mentioned she is writing a book. So why have Amy doing both? As for 'taking on the abilities' she writes about, I never noticed that happening, or her imagining having abilities. Which is the description that drew me into to trying this book.

I still gave this 5 stars because it was a good, intriguing read, which I was satisfied with when it was done. Not a lot of complicated characters, no loose ends left behind.

Waking Up Married - Mira Lyn Kelly

Megan wakes up with no memory of how or why she married Connor the night before. Connor remembers the whole evening and is determined to keep Megan as his wife.

Basically, the book is Megan trying to prove to Connor why they shouldn't be married, and Connor trying to prove why they 'work' so well together and should stay married. And should I mention it has nothing to do with love? This is main reason I didn't like this book as much. The second Connor realizes Megan is in love with him, never-mind the fact she never comes right out and agrees to the whole no-love thing, he starts withdrawing from her and treating her coldly. AFTER he tries to be the perfect husband. This bugs me on so many levels. He knows she has been hurt by the numerous stepfathers through the years who did basically the same thing. Heck, his own father did the same thing to his mother. And lets not forget that he promised her as many children as she wanted into this loveless marriage. Grr.

Of course, by the end when she leaves his, he realizes he did love her. So he comes after her & sweeps her off her feet. And she is SO happy he did. I like reading mindless romances, I do. But this just didn't work for me.

The Reluctant Knight - Doug Glener

I was given a copy of this book to review by the author through Goodreads First Reads.

When I first read the book description, I was excited. And expecting lots of action, cool battle scenes, an epic journey. Well, maybe my expectations weren't that unbelievably Lord of the Rings high, but they were raised due to the little blurb. Unfortunately, this book didn't meet them. It took me almost a week to get through the first chapters, and almost a month for the first half. The second half I finished in a matter of hours, that's where my action scenes were waiting! The very end felt somewhat flat and out of sync with the rest. Percival gets a B on his autobiography because he grew a backbone & changed himself in that past week, the football players agreeing to defend him because of his sister, his friends standing up to the bullies (not as off as the rest, but still...) I can't say this was a completely bad book, just don't come into it with high hopes because of how good the blurb sounds.

Percival (named after King Arthur's famed Knight) is a 'loser' nerd. He gets beat up/picked on by bullies frequently. The highlight of his week is D&D night when his friends Dillon and Chaz come over and they get lost in their campaigns. That all changes when he accidentally comes across a door in the woods behind the school while running from Huey, Dewey, & Louie, the school bullies. Going through the door he meets Arwain, and his 'knight' Tesshu. Because of this meeting, he not only involves himself, but his sister (Guinevere) and his two friends in a plot to stop the destruction of the world by the evil Raeben.

Percival's personal change that happens over this week period is somewhat realistic. He doesn't all of a sudden become an eagle after being an ostrich. After quite a bit of soul searching, and a couple life or death situations, he finds his backbone and develops his character. The rest of the motley crew, are less so. I'm still trying to figure out at what point Chaz decided he could stand up to the bullies-all through the last battle he was the doubting, some what cowardly friend-or why Dillon (even with the proof before his eyes) become the steadfast sidekick.  Guinevere, like Chaz, is struck with guilt for abandoning Percival at the beginning, but even after the final battle, nothing really seemed to change in her demeanor to suggest she would risk her popularity in asking the football team to defend Percival. Was it surprising? Yes. Did it make sense? Yes, again. She did seem to develop a closer bond with Percival over everything, but at the end of the battle, she was back to acting like her old self.  And just what the heck is going on with Moebius?

Personally, I would have liked the book to be a little longer with some more character development going on. This book might have appeal to a younger audience, I don't have anyone to test this theory on.

Tasting Home: Coming of Age in the Kitchen - Judith Newton

I was given a copy of Tasting Home for review by the author through GoodReads First Reads.


I really liked this book!  Ms. Newton did a wonderful job weaving her life story around her cooking, and she provided some wonderful recipes.


Starting out in the 30's with her parents, and then telling the tale of her life through the different cookbook fads, she sprinkles her life story with the recipes that had meaning for her, at that time, behind them.  Some I've done before, some I've never heard of, but all I am planing to use at some point or another soon.


Ms. Newton had lived an incredible life, one that I hope she feels proud of.  I am impressed with how she handles the various obstacles life throws at her, and how well she has stuck by her beliefs-even if they weren't necessarily popular at times.  I don't want to go into any more details, this is a book you should pick up and start reading!  I regret that it took me this long to get around to reading it, when I could have had this enjoyment months ago.


5 Stars.

Icecapade by Josh Lanyon

Icecapade - Josh Lanyon

Icecapade is a short (170ish pg) novella that I found a pleasure to read.  It is about Noel Snow (ex thief now author) and Robert Cuffe (FBI).  10 years ago they had a one night fling, and it seems neither can forget about it.  Robert shows up at Christmas, claiming that Noel committed a string of thefts that just occurred.  Noel is just as adamant that he didn't.  Matters aren't helped any by the fact that Noel has written a best selling series based on his crimes, with a bumbling FBI agent vaguely modeled after Robert. 


Even though this is a short story, enough character development happens that I felt like I got to know both Noel and Robert.  I wish they had their own novel!  Josh Lanyon did a good job of focusing on the characters, and not so much on unnecessary scenic backgrounds or even people.  Granted this takes place in December after a snow storm, but still...and the neighbors you are introduced to are fleshed out just enough to be believable for the short time they appear. 


I had added Icecapade to my small list of comfort reads because I just felt good once I finished it.  There wasn't an over-whelming amount of sex

(one main scene that didn't steal anything from the story, actually helped tie everything together),

(show spoiler)

 and characters you can fall in love with.