Thursday, April 21, 2016

Witchling by Yasmine Galenorn

Posted by Rebecca Brendel

Reviewed by: Andrew Zollman

What I Read: Witchling by Yasmine Galenorn

Find It @YCLD: Here!

What It's About: The D'Artigo sisters are half-human and half-Faerie operatives from the Otherworld Intelligence Agency. But their mixed-blood heritage short-circuits their talents at all the wrong times.  One sister, Delilah, is a shapeshifter who can turn into a tabby cat. Another, Menolly, is a vampire who's still trying to get the hang of being undead.  And the last sister is Camille--a witch.  Except her magic is as unpredictable as the weather, which her enemies soon find out the hard way...

What I Thought: Being a fan almost exclusively of high fantasy or urban fantasy contemporary fiction, when I first got introduced to this series I was skeptical whether I would like it at all. As with all series of books, the first always has a lot of character and worldbuilding involved to set the tone and pace. Galenorn does a great job of fleshing out each sister’s personality, starting with Camille in the first book. She’s sexy and flirtatious but has a sharp edge to her personality and relationships. This is an urban contemporary fiction but has strong romantic tones and distinctly different character types. One of the best themes included with each character is the inclusion of flaws and quirks that make them unique or stand out. It contrasts well with the three sisters because they are inherently flawed from the start due to their dual natures.

The action is fast-paced and hits hard on the emotional side of the conflict in which Camille and her sisters become involved. If you like mystery or thriller themed books, Witchling has elements of each as the story progresses. However, the actual description of the fights can lack at times or be very brief with more emphasis on the end result and the condition of the characters afterwards.

If you like a story with strong ties between the characters you will certainly enjoy the interaction as the first book unfolds and in later books of the “Otherworld Series”. As I mentioned before there are strong romantic scenes in this book and later on in the series. If you are looking for a light romance or Christian romance this is not the book for you. There are adult themes throughout and the content and language matches these themes. There are also themes not commonly talked about or viewed as normal in the series related to relationships and archetypes in families; sometimes it can be hard to like the characters if you don’t have an open mind.

I really enjoy these books as a contrast to other series I read that either have strong negative tones or dark content. Whichling and the following books, even if they can be emotional at times, leave you refreshed or excited to read the next book in the series. I recommend this series for adult readers.

Readalikes: The Six-Gun Tarot by R.S. Belcher

Or look this book up on NoveList!


Thursday, April 14, 2016

Verbal Judo by George J. Thompson, Ph. D & Jerry B. Jenkins

Posted by Rebecca Brendel

Reviewed by: José Beltrán

What I Read: Verbal Judo: The Gentle Art of Persuasion by George J. Thompson, Ph.D & Jerry B. Jenkins

Find It @YCLD: Here!

What It's About: The power of the word! Effective communication is so much more than what you say. The messenger is more likely to be killed for the way the message is delivered than for the actual message. The tone of your voice, your pace, pitch and body language, your sincerity, and your caring matters. Angry words spoken in haste cause wounds that fester and may never heal. You can avoid becoming part of the problem! Judo means the gentle way. Do not resist, keep calm, and redirect the negative energy. The purpose of Verbal Judo (martial art of mind and mouth) is to help you build and maintain your relationships with your family, friends and strangers.

What I Thought: This book demonstrates how to be a communications warrior. It shows how to redirect negative energy in order to keep you calm by deflecting verbal abuse through giving empathy. “Look good, sound good, or no good.” This book is most definitely not about humiliating and putting people down.

Readalikes: Tongue Fu! How to Deflect, Disarm, and Defuse Any Verbal Conflict. The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense at Work

Or look this book up on NoveList!


Thursday, April 7, 2016

Gold Fame Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins

Posted by Rebecca Brendel

Reviewed by: Becky Brendel

What I Read: Gold Fame Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins

Find It @YCLD: Here!

What It's About: Luz and Ray are squatting in an abandoned mansion in Southern California after a natural disaster has wiped out most of the water supply. They're free yet aimless, and when they find themselves responsible for a toddler they've rescued from an abusive situation, staying put no longer seems feasible. Yet many obstacles - natural, man-made, and internal - stand between them and a better, wetter world...

What I Thought: Gold Fame Citrus is a book you read for its words and its world - surreal and mythological, punctuated by short stories that flesh out the mysterious sea of sand encroaching on what had been Los Angeles. The barren beauty of the prose matches the setting well, and the book's metaphorical components work both as symbols and as fun bits of weirdness in and of themselves. Watkins' two main characters also feel pleasingly real; I could relate to both Luz and Ray even when they succumbed to their own individual weaknesses.

The second half of the book, however, is much weaker than the first, relying more heavily on cliches and tropes from post-apocalyptic fiction. Watkins has done an amazing job setting up her world, but once she gets down to populating it with people other than her central trio (Luz, Ray, and baby "Ig") she doesn't seem quite certain where to go from there. That impression might be my own expectations betraying me, however - I was expecting more of a travel story/Odyssey once Luz and Ray set out on their journey, and when the second half of the book ended up centering around just one stop, in a cult headed by a mystic who claims to be a dowser capable of finding water in the sand dunes, I was disappointed. Gold Fame Citrus did a terrific job at evoking a mood, however, and for that I still recommend it to anyone who wants to be transported to a world both strange and familiar.

Readalikes: Love in the Time of Global Warming by Francesca Lia Block, for more survivors of a ruined, poetic world; The Water Knife by Paolo Bachigalupi, for more fiction about the Southwest and its coming water crisis

Or look this book up on NoveList!