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Review: Owl and the Japanese Circus by Kristi Charish

23213197For me, I always wonder what’s worse: an emotional betrayal or a physical betrayal? That’s a really tough call. – Hilarie Burton

In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility. – Eleanor Roosevelt

Oh, Owl. You just can’t win, can you? One rule. Just one stupid rule. Don’t mess with the supernatural. Of course, if she could identify the supernatural, well, that rule would be a whole lot easier to follow. And maybe she wouldn’t have vampires chasing her all over the world in a vendetta for that one, silly mistake. You know, the one where she opened up the box she stole for a client. A client she didn’t know was a vampire. A box that just happened to hold an ancient vampire. Well, what do you expect when you tell a professional thief not to open the beautiful box before delivering it? There has to be something ‘interesting’ in there, right? And Owl is nothing if not curious.

Now, things just keep getting more and more ‘interesting’ – well, if you subscribe to that apocryphal ideology “May you live in interesting times”. And, sure enough, Owl’s life is about to get really, really interesting. The vampires are bad enough, but an ancient Japanese Red Dragon? Come on, you gotta be kidding me! Uh. Nope.

Her new job is to track down a scroll for said dragon – a scroll stolen more than 2,000 years ago, with no idea of where it went, or who took it. Meh. Gotta be an easy chore for a famous archeological thief, right?

With everyone and their goons chasing her around the world, from the US to Tokyo, Bali to Las Vegas, Owl scrambles to find the scroll before a very secretive, and very violent, competitor find it first. But what is really going on? Who are her enemies, and who are her friends? The answer to that may be quite different than what she thinks – and maybe the supernaturals are not whom they seem to be – in both good ways and bad.

Owl is a damaged character. Her default reaction to, well, everything is to break and run for the hills. Sure, it can save your backside to run away. But sometimes, you are just running further into the fire. And sometimes, the people you believe you know are not the people you thought they were at all. For good, or for bad. And Owl needs to learn the difference, quickly, if she wants to live, and to grow into something more than a child in a grownup world. Owl definitely needs to grow as a person, and as a character. She isn’t perfect, by any stretch of the imagination. But, to be honest, that is what I like about her. She is damaged, frightened, and immature, but even in this first book you see her begin, just a bit, to grow. I look forward to watching her development over what I hope are several books. The storyline is interesting, the characters, while your usual supernatural grouping, are sharply and quirkily written. And Captain, her Egyptian Mau ‘battle cat’? Completely AWESOME!!  I would read the stories just for him! Overall, I look forward to more.

I received Owl and the Japanese Circus from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own. If you enjoy my reviews, please let me know by clicking “Yes, this review was helpful” on Amazon! Thank you.

Review: The Vines By Christopher Rice

You want to believe that there’s one relationship in life that’s beyond betrayal. A relationship that’s beyond that kind of hurt. And there isn’t.Caleb Carr

vinesCaitlin Chaisson has been betrayed, in the most horrible ways, all of her life. Her family and her husband have used and abused her since childhood. Her own father tried to pay her best friend to marry her. Well, she may be rich, but being ugly made her a victim of her family’s humiliating treatment since her birth. But when she walks in on her husband having sex with gold-digger in the bathroom during her birthday party, well, what happens next will open the door to an old, old evil. An evil that is determined to give birth.

I haven’t read Christopher Rice before, but after reading The Vines, I will be looking up his other books. This falls easily within the horror genre, with quite creative “monsters” – but as much as the horror-story monsters are scary in their own right, the monstrous humans were actually just as scary. No, scratch that. The human monsters were more scary. Hatred, bigotry, murder, all those human emotions are there, as well as betrayal and humiliation. And deep, deep hatred.

The history of African Slaves in Louisiana is a big part of the story – and that story one of horror that even the most scary of the written genre cannot touch.  For all the American preaching about the horrors and despair in other countries, our own history is filled with rivers of blood, pain and death to rival any third-world country’s history of warlords and genocide.

I highly recommend the book. It is odd, quirky, scary and above all beautifully and atmospherically written. Well worth your time.

I receive this book from the publisher in return for a realistic review. If you like my review, please choose “This Review Was Helpful” when the book posts to on October 21! Thanks!

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