Reading Life


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

City of Dark Magic by Magnus Flyte

As in most thrillers, there is danger, intrigue, romance in City of Dark Magic, but there are also elements of spy fiction and literary suspense novels. A subplot involves a CIA operative and her KGB lover.

The main plot focuses on doctoral student, Sarah Weston, who music career hits a new height when she is invited to catalog the Lobkowicz's Beethoven artifacts.

Since its a literary novel, it has a plethora of arcane codes and messages. Sarah Weston finds a strange symbol on her ceiling of her Boston area apartment. This marks the beginning of a series of strange events that turn stranger and darker once she arrives in Prague.

Even though Sarah Weston was hired to do archival work, she finds herself investigating the death of her mentor, Absalom Sherbatsky. Professor Sherbatsky was working at the Lobkowicz Palace Museum shortly before he threw himself out of  a window. 

Sarah doesn't believe it was suicide and suspicious events at the Palace hint she may be right. While doing archival work at the Lobkowicz, one of the other researchers is killed in a bizarre way. In spite of the dangerous surroundings, she finds herself falling for the heir of the Lobokowicz collection, Prince Max. 

Several of the characters embarks on a quest to find something of historical or magical importance. Sarah not only wants to understand the mysterious death of her mentor, she also wants to find the identity Beethoven's "Immortal Beloved." Prince Max wants to find the Golden Fleece.

This novel, written as a collaborative novel, has overreached on a few ocasions. Some aspects of the novel were hard to believe. The messages Max leaves to Sarah are pretty undecipherable, yet she understands them. 

If readers enjoy a literary mystery with a dose of the supernatural, they will enjoy at this novel which boasts two sets of arcane letters, alchemical symbols, a key to portal, time travel, hidden rooms, and secret tunnels. 

Some situation are sexual and there is mild language. 

Though everyone enjoys a book for different reasons, the discussion of Beethoven and his patrons, the Lobkowiczes, was, for the most part, accurate and enjoyable. 

If you enjoy this title, you might like Graham Moore's The Sherlockian, Charlie Lovett's The Bookman's Tale or Emily Croy Barker's The Thinking Woman's Guide to Magic. 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Oneworld's Rock the Boat

OneWorld Publication will launch Rock the Boat, an imprint for young adults, on July 14.

OneWorld's U.S. YA Imprint will put more outstanding foreign authors in the hands of young adults. Topics will be moral dilemmas or self-discovery.

The first title to be released is Minus Me
by Norway's Ingelin Rossland. 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal

In Kitchens of the Great Midwest a series of interlinked short stories tell a rising young chef life story.

Each short story is a chapter that is named for an ingredient or recipe that is somehow pertinent to her life. "Lutefisk, "a dish most readers probably haven't heard of, introduces us to Eva and her parents. 
Kitchens of the Great Midwest
Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal

In "Chocolate Habanero" Eva gets revenge against schoolyard bullies with her extra-hot, home-grown, habaneros. Since she can tolerate extremely hot flavors, Eva and an older cousin, Braque, enter into an ill-fated money-making scheme. 

"Sweet Pepper Jelly," continues the spicy flavor theme as Eva and Braque's plans unravel.  In "Walleye" Eva meets a boy and continues her culinary education.

Later, in "Golden Bantam" Eva meets other chefs who host social dinner parties. The dinner parties are her entrance into the culinary big leagues and vital to her later success.

Two other stories, "Venison" and "Bars," introduce readers to more quirky characters.

The final chapter "The Dinner" comes full circle. In a fantastic finale people who have known Eva are inadvertently thrown together to taste one of her high-priced dinners. 

Ironic and darkly humorous, this novel is a wonderful read. Book clubs and anyone looking for quirky, yet delightful story will enjoy this book.

I received this book gratis from Penguin Debut Authors "first flight"  program in exchange for an honest review. 

For more information about this author,

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