In the Shadow of Lightning by Brian McClellan

In the Shadow of Lightning by Brian McClellan

In the Shadow of Lightning started with a powerful prologue, a battle scene that introduces our main character, Demir Grappo, and gives us insight into both his personality and his power. Then we skip nine years. Demir's mother has been killed and as her heir, he returns to the city to take the reigns of the family and to find out who ordered the attack. And there's a war going on, sparked by his mother's assassination. The magic is based on godglass. Different types of glass can give people enhanced abilities or cause restrictions. Wit glass for example makes one think quicker while shackle glass will allow the wearer to only tell the truth. Most everyone can use the glass, although there are some who are immune to its effects. I like that about the magic, everyone has access - if you can afford it. There are also glassdancers who can manipulate plain glass, mostly using shards of it to kill...
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The Christmas Murder Game by Alexandra Benedict

The Christmas Murder Game by Alexandra Benedict

I am a sucker for a country house Christmas murder mystery. Lily and her cousins have come to Endhouse for the annual Christmas game, but this time the grand prize is Endhouse itself. But Lily is there to find out the truth about what happened to her mom years ago. The Christmas Murder is a fun book. The riddles are given in the form of sonnets and they are rather clever. Of course, the group is snowed in and when the first person is killed, they can't reach the police by phone (the lines are down), by care (there is a tree down across the driveway), or by cellphone (they were confiscated at the beginning of the game so no one could cheat). It's a claustrophobic atmosphere where you can't trust anyone. Yes, the premise is a bit unrealistic and the killer obvious, but it kept me entertained throughout. It would make a good seasonal read. ...
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Babel by R.F. Kuang

Babel by R.F. Kuang

Babel is a fantasy world of the early 1800s offering an exploration of race, historical imperialism, literature, and language. The Industrial Revolution is powered by silver working, magic involving silver and words and translation. We follow the four characters Robin, our main characters, Ramy, Victoire, and Letty. All have been pulled out of their lives and sent to Oxford's Royal Institute of Translation, known as Babel, to learn translation and silver working. Each is an outsider and they form a kind of family for each other, providing comfort and camaraderie, but also disappointments and arguments. Babel is engrossing. First, I do love words and meanings, and Kuang goes into details and long-winded interludes about language and etymology that some may rather scan past but that made the book memorable for me. The politics of language is fascinating. The characters grow and learn and reevaluate their outlooks through the book. It's hard to both love Oxford and hate the British Empire for...
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The Big Lie by John Mankiewicz

The Big Lie by John Mankiewicz

The Big Lie centers around the filming of "Salt of the Earth" in 1954 in New Mexico. The FBI wants it shut down, believing it to be nothing more than Communist propaganda. The performances are solid and the sound effects evoke the period well. The story itself is a bit predictable, but since it's based on a true incident, that's probably not surprising. It turns out the world isn't as black and white as FBI Special Agent Bergin would like to believe. ...
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