Nothing Left To Lose

Posted: August 17, 2017 by Writer Dan in Books We Love
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I can still remember reading I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER like it was just last week, though my rational brain tells me it was significantly longer ago than that. That book had a hook that hit me hard and deep. It was an easy setup to summarize, and so I told all my friends about it. Lots of them read it. Everyone liked it at first. About half of them decided they didn’t anymore when they found out it was a freaking “fantasy” book halfway through the thing. The other half, like me, crowed when the demon first made its appearance, and it was the appearance of that first demon that opened John Wayne Cleaver’s eyes to the wider world and what was out there. First one demon, and then another, and another, and soon he found out that there was a whole flock of them spread throughout the world. From that first view until now, I have loved every minute of this series and the story it’s brought me. But now the fear is finally setting in. The fear that this just might be the last time I get to ride this bike, and it’s scaring me half to death.
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Posting my Top Ten cuz people have asked and, yes, they are listed in a particular order (however they’re subject to change should something better come along)–my favorite is listed first, because I’m not mean. I’m also not going to claim that any of these are The Best Books Anyone Should Read, but if you agree with my reviews, you would probably enjoy these, too.

#1. PALADIN of SOULS by Lois McMaster Bujold (2005)

Dowager Queen Ista’s life’s purpose has changed: she’s now a widow, her daughter is married, and her invalid mother is gone. At the start of the book she’s a wrung-out and heartbroken woman who wants to escape a painful past. In a desire to leave her family’s estate and find a new purpose, she cooks up a pilgrimage and takes to the road with a female courier as her handmaiden, the priest of a half-demon god, and a small escort. Now finally–finally!–Ista’s true personality can emerge from a woman who’s lived in the shadow of her family to someone with confidence and presence who must lead her entourage through difficult circumstances. There’s magic, gods, demons, fascinating characters, scenery pertinent to the story, and a big problem only Ista can solve. It helps that Bujold’s prose is crisp and she provides a steady stream of revelations. I read this book about once a year to help me remember that just because you’re getting older doesn’t mean you can’t have adventures or learn something new about yourself. Read the rest of this entry »

Twin sisters Melina and Iris aren’t your typical teenagers. For one, they are half-Japanese (a father they never knew) living in a village in modern-day Montenegro. They’re exceptionally beautiful and talented, Melina with music and Iris with color and art. And they have magic.

Some might call them witches. Their mother calls it the “gleam” and when they do magic together it’s called “eating the moon.” Whatever it is, they are otherworldly women living in a village where they hopefully won’t get too much attention.

However, after accidentally exposing their magic in front of a neighbor their mother Jasmina forbids the girls from doing their magic–especially Iris, whose flashy magic is the most noticeable. And they must never, under any circumstances, fall in love.

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As I’m sitting down to write this review, I’m reminded of a card game that my oldest child taught us one night. It’s very similar to Uno, only played with a deck of face cards, and there are a whole lot of rules that the “director” of the game gets to make up. The rest of the players then spend the rest of the game trying to figure out what those rules are by watching the director abide by them and then trying to decipher what the rule governing the director’s actions might be. And then obviously duplicate all of them in such a way as to win the game before the director does. It is a wholly frustrating and ridiculous game, and I’ve forever banned it from being played at my house if I have to be involved. What can I say? I guess I just like knowing what the rules are when I get involved in something. That goes doubly for my reading experiences.
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Giveaway: Bannerless

Posted: July 17, 2017 by Vanessa in Giveaways
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Updated 7/17/17

This giveaway is closed.

The winner is: Johnathan from Thousand Oaks, CA. Congrats! Your book will be on its way soon.

The publisher of Carrie Vaughn’s newest release BANNERLESS has given EBR a copy to give away to one of our readers. If you love Carrie Vaughn’s stuff, dystopian novels, and mysteries, this book is for you! To enter this giveaway:

1. Email us at elitistbookreviews@gmail.com

2. Include the following on the subject line: BANNERLESS GIVEAWAY

3. In the body of the email include your name and mailing address. This giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses.

Giveaway rules can be found here. Entries will be accepted until midnight of July 16 and the winner will be posted on July 17th. Good luck!

See Vanessa’s review here: BANNERLESS

So I was reading a book with my daughter the other day and she skipped half a line, mid-sentence. There were two “ands” in a single line and she went from one “and” to the other “and” without a beat. Just kept reading without realizing what she’d done. So, I called her on it. “How in the heck do you even do something like that?” I wondered aloud. We both had a good laugh over it. It was only considerably later that I realized while reading the book for this review I felt EXACTLY like I had when my daughter had skipped half the line while reading: like I was missing a ton of story that should have been there, but just wasn’t. No surprise on the rating then, eh? Yeah. This one was kind of a rough go. Okay, maybe not kind of.
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From the cover: “Decades after economic and environmental collapse destroys much of civilization in the United States, the Coast Road region isn’t just surviving but thriving by some accounts, building something new on the ruins of what came before. A culture of population control has developed in which people, organized into households, must earn the children they bear by proving they can take care of them, with symbolic banners awarded to demonstrate this privilege. In the meantime, birth control is mandatory.”

Our main character, Enid, is from the community called Haven, and works as an investigator–she mediates disputes and investigates offenses against those living along the Coast Road. In her mid-twenties, she’s considered young for the job, and her first big case is to investigate the suspicious death of a young man treated as an outcast.

Strangely enough, in the post-apocalypse life murder is rare. Strict controls of being able to prove your worth as a contributing member of the community means people are focused on surviving and earning the right to have offspring. While for the most part this concept works, too many chafe at the restriction, hence the need for investigators. Read the rest of this entry »