Gods and Demons (Melissa Sercia)

Gods and Demons is the third novel in the Blood and Darkness Series by Melissa Sercia.
Finished on: 29.1.2019
[Here are my reviews of the first two novels.]
[I won this book in a librarything Early Reviewer give-away.]

Plot:
Demons have escaped the Underworld and threaten New Orleans. It’s up to Gray to get rid of them – or accept the destruction of the human world. Gray knows that she can’t do it alone. She has to invoke the Hades Protocol, calling the Gods themselves for help. But a God’s help doesn’t come without its price – and there are forces that would like to see the world destroyed in any case.

Gods and Demons is again an improvement compared to the other two novels of the series, but its still far from being good enough for me to really like it. I’m pretty glad that I have reached the end of the series (for now, at least) and don’t think I’ll continue reading it should Sercia choose to continue.

The book cover showing a dark-haired woman with two glowing swords.
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Flesh and Bone (Melissa Sercia)

Flesh and Bone is the second novel in the Blood and Darkness Series by Melissa Sercia.
Finished on: 19.1.2019
[Here’s my review of the first novel.]
[I won the third novel in the series in a librarything Early Reviewer give-away and received a complementary copy of the first two novels.]

Plot:
A few months have passed and Gray the Dhampir keeps struggling more and more with her dark magic. But when her partner Aldric goes missing, she has to tap into those powers to find him. Her search leads her not only to an old family secret, but also back to her ex-lover-now-enemy Dragos whose help she needs to save Aldric.

I was hoping that Sercia would grow as a writer between the first and the second novel in series and she did, although not enough to not make me wish that an editor would have held her hand a little more.

The book cover showing a dark-haired woman with a glowing sword.
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Blood and Magic (Melissa Sercia)

Blood and Magic is the first novel in the Blood and Darkness Series by Melissa Sercia.
Finished on: 12.1.2019
[I won the third novel in the series in a librarything Early Reviewer give-away and received a complementary copy of the first two novels.]

Content Note: racial slur(s)

Plot:
Gray has been a Dhampir for 400 years now and she still resents that she was turned against her will. The last three years she has spent in a coma – and when she finally wakes from it, she realizes that it was her lover Dragos who put her under. And he is now working with the Consilium to create a new hybrid demon. Gray can’t let that happen. So she and her best friend Valentina gather their allies and prepare to fight back.

Blood and Magic has some nice ideas, but neither the writing style nor the pacing really worked for me. Since this is a debut novel, there is hope that things will be better in the following installments.

The book cover showing a dark-haired woman with a glowing red orb in one hand and a sword in the other.
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To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
Director: Susan Johnson
Writer: Sofia Alvarez
Based on: Jenny Han’s novel
Cast: Lana Condor, Noah Centineo, Janel Parrish, Anna Cathcart, John Corbett, Israel Broussard, Andrew Bachelor, Trezzo Mahoro, Madeleine Arthur, Emilija Baranac, Kelcey Mawema
Seen on: 4.1.2019
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Plot:
Lara Jean (Lana Condor) lives with her two sisters Margot (Janel Parrish) and Kitty (Anna Cathcart) and their father (John Corbett). Margot is about to leave for college in Scotland and therefore she breaks up with her boyfriend of many years, Josh (Israel Broussard), their next-door-neighbor. After Margot leaves, this brings up old feelings in Lara Jean who used to have a crush on him. She writes her feelings down in the continuation of a letter she wrote to him many years ago – as she has written a letter to all the boys she fell in love with at some point, without ever sending them. But then Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo), the most popular guy in school, approaches her asking about the letter she wrote to him and Lara Jean realizes all of her letters were mailed out. When Josh asks her about this, Lara Jean tells him a panic that she is dating Peter, completing the confusion.

After finishing the book in like two days, I was so taken by it, that I watched the adaptation basically immediately. And fortunately the film version did not disappoint at all: it’s pure, lovely sugar.

The film poster showing Lara Jean (Lana Condor) with a letter in her hand.
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To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (Jenny Han)

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the first novel in the To All the Boys series by Jenny Han.
Finished on: 4.1.2019

Plot:
Lara Jean lives with her two sisters Margot and Kitty and their father. Margot is about to leave for college in Scotland and therefore she breaks up with her boyfriend of many years, Josh, their next-door-neighbor. After Margot leaves, this brings up old feelings in Lara Jean who used to have a crush on him. She writes her feelings down in the continuation of a letter she wrote to him many years ago – as she has written a letter to all the boys she fell in love with at some point, without ever sending them. But then Peter Kavinsky, the most popular guy in school, approaches her asking about the letter she wrote to him and Lara Jean realizes all of her letters were mailed out. When Josh asks her about this, Lara Jean tells him a panic that she is dating Peter, completing the confusion.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is among the cutest things I ever read. It’s entertaining and sweet. I just breezed through it, while constantly wanting to squeeze pretty much every single one of the characters.

The book cover showing a girl writing on her bed.
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Fantasy Magazine 48

Fantasy Magazine 48 is the March 2011 issue, edited by John Joseph Adams. It contains four short stories and three non-fiction pieces.
Finished on: 29.12.2018

This issue of the magazine has a lot to offer when it comes to the fiction stuff. The non-fiction wasn’t all that interesting to me personally. But they’re quick, mostly fun reads, too – so I definitely didn’t regret reading them. Still, the short stories are the real winners here.

The magazine cover showing a female archer and a castle.

Read more about each of the stories and the non-fiction pieces after the jump.

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Female Science Faction Reloaded (ed. by Karin Ballauf, Helga Gartner, Roswitha Hofmann, Doris Nußbaumer)

Female Science Faction Reloaded is a collection of short stories that won the Lise Meitner prize, all dealing with female scientists in one way or another. It was edited by Karin Ballauf, Helga Gartner, Roswitha Hofmann and Doris Nußbaumer.
Finished on: 29.12.2018

The stories collected here are all very different, so it’s easy to find some you like and som you won’t like. Overall, it’s a nice collection, but not mind-blowingly good.

The book cover in purple with two silhouettes of women.

Read more about each of the stories after the jump.

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Nichts zu verlieren (2018)

Nichts zu verlieren (literally: Nothing to lose)
Director: Wolfgang Murnberger
Writer: Ruth Toma, Wolfgang Murnberger
Cast: Georg Friedrich, Christopher Schärf, Marcel Mohab, Susanne Wolff, Johanna Gastdorf, Lisa Wagner, Emily Cox, Michael A. Grimm
Seen on: 27.12.2018
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Plot:
Richy (Georg Friedrich), Tom (Christopher Schärf) and Charly (Marcel Mohab) have a plan: they will break into a famous artist’s house, empty his safe and then they’ll be rich. But things don’t go as planned. In fact, pretty much everything that can go wrong, does go wrong and Richy finds himself injured and looking for an escape with Tom, while Charly gets left behind. Out of options, Richy and Tom kidnap a bus, including the people riding on it, to get away from both the police and Charly. But their victims appear surprisingly disinterested in their fate: it turns out they are all on a “grief tour”, trying to work through the recent loss of a loved one.

I probably wouldn’t have watched Nichts zu verlieren if it wasn’t for Georg Friedrich (and to a lesser extent Christopher Schärf). The film just looked a little too much like a shallow comedy for my taste. While that impression wasn’t wrong, the film wasn’t bad and did manage to make me laugh a couple of times.

The film poster showing a bus on a meadow and Richy (Georg Friedrich) and Tom (Christopher Schärf) standing in front of it with nonplussed expressions.
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Lisa’s Liebe (Marlene Streeruwitz)

Lisa’s Liebe (literally: Lisa’s Love, though the apostrophe in German is actually grammatically wrong) is a novel by Marlene Streeruwitz.
Finished on: 27.12.2018

Plot:
Teacher Lisa hands the town doctor Adrian a love letter before she leaves for her mountain retreat where she spends the holidays. She has never exchanged a word with Adrian, but she now waits desperately for a reply as the holidays stretch out before her, remembering her past relationships and taking a long distance writing class.

Lisa’s Liebe is a photo novel that plays with a certain genre of kinda nationalistic, romantic fiction. It has a lot of layers and is probably most appreciated by looking at all those layers and not “just” reading it. But even if you opt for reading and not analyzing, it is definitely a very good, interesting book.

The book cover that shows the photo of a young girl in front of a mountain, emulating a certain type of nostalgic, romantic, nationalistic genre fiction.
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