Black like my soul.

Look. I can’t be funny all the time.

I can’t even poke my kids and say “Hey, do something funny.”

Okay, I can poke Beta and he’ll step up to the plate, but sometimes translation is hard and you can’t distill the funny into a cut-scene. So today we do shameless promotion.

(cue trumpet fanfare)

BEHOLD SHAMELESS PROMOTION!

Today’s beloved topic is the coffee.

Oh, that magical brew that allows me to be functional against my natural circadian rhythm and the demands of children who apparently do not have circadian rhythms and do not respect the circadian rhythms of others. The brand I propose to you today is the Perle Noire.

(linky goes not to the Amazonian empire and I am not being paid for this review)

The bag was a birthday gift from my sister-in-law, who understands my love of coffee. She also understands that Mama Ain’t Proud(tm) and I will drink whatever coffee is on hand. Because I am just grateful to have coffee. Because its hard to justify the really expensive coffee when I have a pack of feral chimps in my house who’ll eat two dozen hardboiled eggs in less than a day.

There’s my self-slam. I’m cheaper than eggs.

Thus I am gifted the Expensive Coffee. Because when you’re all grown up, its the expensive treats that really get you excited.

Anyway – I cannot tell you in pretentious wine terms about “hints of oak” or “a chocolate finish”. I have not that refined a palate (see again, Mama Ain’t Proud(tm)) But it is smooth. So smooth. Like they took out that bitter sucker punch of your first morning’s hit and replaced it with unicorns and rainbows. I suppose it must be mentioned that I drink my coffee black. Black black blackity black. No sugar. No cream. Nothing. Just me, hot water, and the sacred almighty bean to whom I pledge life and loyalty.

There is nothing to stand between me and whatever the Coffee Gods decide to put in my mug in the morning and so I must taste its full savage judgement.

And Perle Noire loves me. It says to me “Child, life is hard. You’re going to need this. Godspeed.” And I say, “Thank you, Perle Noir. Without you, my life is meaningless.”

Even the smell is smooth. Everything about Perle Noire is dark and silky and full of love. You want Perle Noir. Trust me.

Carrot’s Book Review: Undead and Lost

Comedy Central What GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

That seems a good place to start.

Hello fellow book nerds. Carrot here to review Nona the Ninth, yet another installment of those loveable yet incomprehensible space necromancer. Again, not paid to review and linky goes to not the Amazonian Empire.

Gee, what to say about Nona?

Allow me to hasten to reassure you, oh less-than-gentle readers, it was good. I’m invested in the character, even though I wasn’t entirely sure who was who, and what was what, even though some of the names were familiar. Maybe it would have all be way more clear who was who if I had been listening to it rather than read it (go me, read a whole grown up book!) and I could take cues on just the voices of the reader. Some of the characters not only were playing a new role in this novel, but I think were also going by code names. Like maybe Coronabeth was going by Crown this time around? For reasons, I’m sure, but for reasons I’ve not exactly figured out.

Okay, so, there’s still an epic war and there’s still hard science in some of the necromantic excitement. It does detail – in a somewhat round about flash-backy kind of way – how the Emperor Undying and his necromantic legion even came into existence. I feel like a second read might help me understand better, but the part I did grok was kind of depressing. Let’s just say that some of the motivation in become necromancers are currently in play with our current eco/political/environmental conundrums. That bit of existential gloom has a back-up dancer in the form of the characters in ‘current day’ on a world under siege by something and in a civil war on the ground and people being shot in the streets or rounded up by gov’ment types. Or maybe freedom fighter types. I’m not really sure where the line was or even who the good guys were. Are we cheering for Blood of Eden or are we cheering for the Nine Houses? What even is the Blood of Eden and why the hell are they called Blood of Eden?

I won’t lie, book nerds, if you told me that I had gone to Burning Man and hallucinated the whole thing after too long in the desert, I’d totally believe you. Nona the Ninth is one big fever dream and I fully expected to get to the end and have the whole “then they woke up” explanation chapter. Nope. Prepare your shocked faces, I don’t feel like the ending was an ending all, just another “Same bat time, same bat channel!” where you turn the last page and wonder if you’re going to spend eternity just trying to get your brain on straight.

But. It. Is. So. God. Damn. Compelling.

There is no clear or easy answer on why that is. I cannot tell you what kept me reading or what brought me back after the fever dream that was Harrow the Ninth. It seems that I am committed to this necromantic cause and to follow the Emperor Undying. Also, I am determined to find out what is in the Locked Tomb, of which teases you along. All answers reside there, it seems, both for the Nine Houses and for those of us caught in their wake and and confused as hell.

I can only attribute it to the well crafted characters and the compelling world in which they reside. If you made it as far as Harrow, just jump right into Nona. There is no going back for us, there is only forward.

Carrot’s Book Review: WTF Undead Edition

Editor’s note: Am not being paid to review and linky goes to not the Amazonian empire.

So, class. You might remember my love of necromancers, and so I finally got around to Harrow the Ninth, sequel to Gideon the Ninth.

Listening, more like. My brain has been scatter shot of late and I can’t keep my eyes on the printed word for very long, skimming like I was trying to cram before a college final. Audio books are rarely an option for me as I cannot stand most voices. I have finally found myself another audio reader that I can stand (still can count them all on one hand) and settled in for some embroidery and listening. Thank you Moira Quirk.

We shall begin. Ahem.

Whiskey.

Tango.

Foxtrot.

I had so much no-damn-clue what was going on, I checked out the first audio book for a re-listen to help me get fresher base for whatever insane bit of storytelling architecture I was subjecting myself. By the way, Sassomancers get +3 to everything when voiced in snotty English accents. The kids kept interrupting me wanting to know what I was laughing at.

While I had a better understanding of Gideon’s tale of WTF, I still had no idea what was going on with Harrow’s WTF. It didn’t mean the story wasn’t interesting, it just had less Sassomancy than the first book. I’m not even sure how to describe what was going on without giving exceptional spoilers. We do get introduced to the Undying Emperor. Some space travel. Some space bees.

I’m not kidding. Space bees. You know you want to read it now just for that.

Again, there’s some hard science to the necromancy but still no damn explanation on how the Emperor Undying became undying and no damn explanation on why they’re at war or who they’re at war with! There were times I had to stop to consider that maybe this story was being told by the baddies perpetuating a terrible and unjust conflict. It didn’t make any more sense of the tale I was being told.

Harrow’s strange little trip does get some resolution by the end. Most of her crazy little drama is made clear, but in the process of unveiling that madness, it just gives you another crate of WTF and isn’t even shy about the cliff hanger it gives you.

Bastards.

So, just the fact I listened to it on loop to make sure the WTF portion of this novel wasn’t 100% a user error (constant familial interruptions likely contributed) should be factored into the entertainment the book provided based on my Stargate Theory*. The characters were interesting, the mystery compelling, I’m dying to find out the rest of the world and the universe and am still holding out that I will have that itch scratched sooner rather than later. I suppose I need to find out if Ms. Quirk read the rest of them and hope that giving them a listen will make All Thing Clear(tm).

Still no clever undead ratings, so I’ll give it another four outta five stars just for the brain game it played with me.

Carrot’s Stargate Theory: Back when Stargate hit the theater, a knot of us nerds went to see it and debated the merits – or lack thereof – for well into the evening. Someone pointed out that we talked about the movie longer than the movie’s actual run time. It was postulated that any movie that could make you discuss it for that long was de facto a good movie.

Ergo, the fact that a completely incomprehensible book was interesting enough in its confusion to get you to hit repeat for a second ride meant that it was good.

Carrot’s Book Review: Crime Pays

Since it was a duology, I figured I’d finish both books before I said anything.

Here we revisit the Grishaverse with Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom.

(Ed. note: I was not paid for this review and for all those that wish to avoid the Amazonian empire, links connect to an independent bookstore)

Loved! It!

It follows the heist and tribulations of a group of thieves and con-men. If you’d seen the Shadow & Bone tv show on Netflix, we’re talking about Brekker, Inej, and Jasper. I might have mentioned before that the show and books deviate a great deal by combining characters/plots, making them all one big story arc rather than separate one (there’s a duology after this one with another charcter years after the Sun Summoner drama).

I do speculate, however, with how the first season of the show ended and how Nina and her Fjerdian boyfriend came to questionable ends, I suspect that the meat of these books are what will be on the plate for our loveable thieves in the next season.

But moving on. I really love Brekker. Love me some cold and highly competent crime bosses. Thanks to having watched the show first, I envisioned the actors rather than my brain creating them from nothing. I’m not entirely sure I could see that much competence in a gang of teenagers, but then I never had to hone my wits and my skill to survive an uncaring underworld that’d chew you up and spit you out the first chance they’d get.

It was also better written, I think, than the Shadow & Bone trilogy. Ms. Bardugo upped her game. Mad props.

Even better? There was an accidental necromancer! We’ve already discussed how much I love necromancers. So it was like I got my cake and ate it too. I really hope that if there are any more novels set in this world, we get some more Brekker, Inej, and Jasper. They are really the best thing about the Grishaverse.

Except maybe the coats. I’d love a kefta.

Giving these books a Double the Pleasure.

Carrot’s Book Review: Undead Edition

We come here together to talk about Gideon the Ninth, written by Tamsin Nur.

I love Necromancers as a general rule. Most gaming systems (eventually) offer them as a class choice and I love playing them. There’s not a whole lot of variation, sadly, almost as if people really don’t know what to do with Necromancers save “raise the dead” and “summon ghost”. It means that while you get the option of playing one, you’re very limited on what you’re allowed to do. No one wants to make Necromancers more deadly than Tanks for some reason. Like its an offensive threat to the Nerd Gods to up-end some sort of classic and traditional “He-Man Protects Nerdy Weak Magic Class” dynamic. Can’t have freaky Goth Kids saving the Captain of the Football team, right?

But I digress.

The fact that Gideon the Ninth is a book entirely about futuristic space necromancers (bear with me) was a big draw. Not gonna lie. I would not be surprised to find out that the author is a closet Warhammer 40k fan. Or at least has spent a goodly amount of time flipping through lore books. There are nine – count them nine! – noble houses all with their own variation/flavor of necromancy, and they serve/worship their Undying God Emperor who apparently is battling some space war with something never specified.

Its the never-specified that gets me. Were I to go with a traditional Five Star Rating, I’ll have to go with a Four just because while I really liked it, I had no goddamn idea what was going on for the start of the book. It opens cold into this universe with no explanation and you have to scramble to fill the holes as you find them. I don’t mind scrambling if the story is good, its like a treasure hunt and the map unfurls oh-so very slowly.

Oh you terrible tease!

Once you settle in and come to terms that some things will not be explained, like most of the worlds and their cultures, you can focus on the characters, which are a delight. Gideon is a straight up Sassomancer and who doesn’t like some mouthy chick with a sword, amirite? Every house has a necromancer at the lead, and every one of those house scions has a dedicated sword master to serve them. Nice to see the Goth Kids in charge for once, even as there’s still the thug-protecting-the-scholar set up. This story centers around Gideon as the sword master (they call them cavaliers) to the Head of the Ninth House. Personality conflicts ensue.

I can only guess that there will be more explanation of WT Ever Living F (“ever living” ha ha, see what I did there?) is going on with this never ending necromantic war and why everything seems to be multiple millennia old and crumbling around them. Maybe how they got an Undying God Emperor, how you resurrect an entire solar system, and for what purpose? Where are all the regular people?

I guess this is more of my map slowly unfurling. There are four books in this run, the fourth not yet published. I only recently discovered there’s a couple Point(tm) in this series. And by Point I mean this new (and weird trend) to publish books slightly out of order and “to the side”. Example? Having just finished Book #1, I discovered there’s a Book #0.5 (which is NOT in my local library!). Book #1 was published in 2019, book #0.5 published in 2020. I suppose all the explanation I didn’t get in Gideon the Ninth was published in a later game supplement back up novel? There’s also a #2.5 novel which seemed to be published in correct order between #2 and #3. Does that mean I don’t have to read it to make the novel make sense? And if I do have to read it, why isn’t #2.5 just #3? I guess I’ll figure out when I get there.

I would like to know why this is now a thing in writing. It’s a bit aggravating.

But I digress again!

Some of it was way sciencey. I glossed over that a little bit, wanting to get back to the witty sassomancer and her necromancer. It gets a little deep with the science experiments and the alluding to previous studies. Like, the actual scientific theorems of various necromantic abilities. They put a way lot of thought into what Necromancers can/could do if given the ability to really stretch their magic class. A little hard science in your sci-fi-fantasy, I guess. Hey – DMs & STs – read these books and take some damn notes so your Necromancers can do more than just tag along behind the party to question the guy you accidentally killed.

This here book is getting Four Stars because I don’t have a witty rating for it that doesn’t somehow involve Bela Lugosi.

Shameless Promotion: Ridiculous edition

Its been a while since I’ve shared my oh-so important thoughts about anything, but you really need to see this.

That, my dear readers, is Duke Cannon’s Offensively Large Sunscreen Lip Balm. Don’t be surprised when I tell you…it is offensively big. I can’t tell if I feel like a tiny little child playing with mommy’s lipstick or if I mistakenly grabbed Delta’s glue stick. It does give good coverage. At a mild SPF 30, I feel like I could easily hit my cheekbones and nose in an extra swipe it’s so large.

Okay, backtrack a bit. I am not receiving any goods nor monetary inducement to give this review, just the hilarity in my black little heart.

It smells a little minty but it doesn’t burn the mouth the way menthol related medicated lip balm does. Once I get used to the feeling of putting on clown makeup, I think I’m gonna love it. Also, way harder to lose when its that damn big. Takes up almost the entirety of my girl pockets. I’m giving this a: Worth the Extra Cargo Space.

Continuing on this shameless promotion: The reason I ended up this monstrosity is because I was hunting a replacement jar of Bloody Knuckles Hand Repair Balm. I got a jar for Husband a while back, for he dislikes scented things. Lotions tend to be on the perfumed side and few of them are acceptable, even to for me. It is a scentless lotion that is super creamy and does not leave the hands gross and oily and slick and slimy. Or all of them. And it works really well. Trust me, I’ve got dragon skin. This gets a: No Joke, You Need Some.

Yes, yes, the entire site is Hyper Masculine Marketing. Men can’t have lip balm, they must have tactical lip balm! They don’t use soap, they use Thick Ass Soap! (which I did get myself, but have yet to use) But something deep inside of me tells me that they don’t actually believe their over the top testosterone laden product blurbs. Its part of the joke?

As a final bit of review, I got myself some solid cologne. Yes. For me. It smells of vetiver and oakmoss and now you know what they used to make English Leather cologne (for those of you old enough to have fathers that wore such a thing). One does not buy perfume/cologne without knowing the preferences of the recipient, so I was unwilling to order for any of my stinky boys. So I will share, if they are inclined to be headed into the world of Manly Smells(tm). Meanwhile, I get to smell like a forest god. It’s quite intimidating. And this is a rather large solid tin, so it’s going to last me quite a while. This is rated: Maybe Too Much

Husband is going to love that.

Old Fashion Hobby

(scene opens in dim dining room, homeschool hell in progress)

Me: (frowning, thinking, typing slowly)

Gamma: (comes around table to look over Carrot’s shoulder) Black Phoenix Alchemy? Is that for me? Because I like alchemy?

Me: (confused) What? No. Go back to your chair.

Gamma: (lingering) I’m curious.

Me: (sharply) Go!

Gamma: (flouncing away dramatically) Why isn’t it for me? Why won’t you let me do alchemy?

Me: (struggling to focus) Black Phoenix Alchemy is a perfume site, not alchemy.

Gamma: (bemoans) Why doesn’t anyone do alchemy any more?

Me: (trying to articulate) Now it’s called chemistry.

Gamma: Doesn’t sound as much fun as alchemy. I suppose I could do chemistry if I had to.

(Carrot puts head down on table, fade to black, cut to car commercial)

Frickin’ Fabulous

(scene opens in Tricoci University, students working on clients and mannequins)

Me: (Flounces to counter, resplendent in galaxy colored hair, followed by compliments and murmurs of approval from students and instructors)
Old Lady: (turns to look who’s behind her at the counter)
Me: (smiles brilliantly)

(scene repeats several times, Old Lady looking back then away, trying to hide a smile, finishes up making her appointment)

Old Lady: (finally) I just wanted to tell you, you look like a unicorn.
Me: (delightedly sharing Old Lady’s glee) I know! It was the effect I was going for!
Old Lady: (surprised, recoils) Really!? (shakes her head in disapproval and totters off)
Me: (WTF look)
Fabulous Host: (muttering to himself) Like that would have happened on accident.
Me: Right? By the way, love the nails.
FH: Thanks! (waggles inch long glitter acrylics honed to a deadly point)

Shameless promotions: Mint Edition

IMG_20171205_084544219

Beta accused me of being “overly jolly” the other day. In the doom and gloom of a withering 2017, with no hope that 2018 is going to be much of an improvement, and terrified for the future of my spawnlings, I spent a little more on Christmas than was probably necessary. I’m especially susceptible to magical holiday eats, the more festive the better.

A bit of backstory on this impulse buy: I had caught Alpha spiking his hot chocolate with peppermint extract and only just stopped him before he poisoned himself. While it smelled lovely, I’m sure that the digestive horror caused by a tablespoon of extract doesn’t bear thinking about. A week later, during a Thanksgiving baking extravaganza, I discovered I had no vanilla extract. Why you ask? Because Alpha had drunk it in his hot cocoa. How my children stay alive is a mystery. Please don’t report me.

I was forced to explain the existence of flavored syrups for just such a thing, Torani’s for example, but had not yet brought any home despite continued begging. So just regular, boring, plain old cocoa – until I found Bobs Sweet Stripes, peppermint flavored stir sticks! I know, stir sticks. What sort of ridiculous extravagant thing is this? Just stick a candy cane in the cocoa! But no – these are so much better.

First, they come in a variety of flavors. I brought home to my precious darlings the standard peppermint and a chocolate mint as my budget allowed for only so much whimsy. I had seen a cinnamon on the shelf as well, but hadn’t brought it home for fear of its being too cinnamon-y in the aggressive God Hates You kind of way that cinnamon candy tends to be, thus no one in the house would eat it. Contrarian Beta, however, objected to this executive decision, declaring that he hates mint in all its forms and prefers cinnamon.

Long story short on that is that I brought him around on the chocolate mint sticks and converted him. Both minty flavors are gentle and subtle, not at all overpowering, with the chocolate mint being less of the pepper variety, giving way to a stronger chocolate. Who doesn’t like more chocolate flavor in their hot chocolate!?!

The major difference between these stir sticks and just sticking a candy cane into your drink is that they’re soft. The kind of soft of those weird old butter mints that always seemed to be at weddings when you were a kid. Or in that crystal candy dish on grandma’s coffee table. I’m a sucker for weird old lady melt-in-your-mouth candy and this fits the bill. It doesn’t dissolve instantly, but will erode quick enough that if you linger on your drink it will have have disappeared, flavoring your hot cocoa.

I give this a Carrot’s “Its taking a lot of self control just to eat them straight up” and recommend it to you – and your obnoxious smalls – this holiday season.

Moar Carrot’s Book Review

In today’s shameless promotions, we’ve got an independent author Leonard Petracci.

For those who are unaware, there is a website called Reddit and within their many forums is a Writing Prompt. People post the theme/scenario and anyone who wishes can submit their flash fiction. Sometimes they become longer, becoming mini-novellas posted under that topic in itty bitty chapters. Occasionally, the Muses take them and a novel is born from a simple prompt.

Personally, I tend to favor the science-fiction prompts as they provide entertaining escapism from the World of Today(tm) and it’s many uncertain political woes. That means you might find more of these Reddit Authors being shamelessly promoted her in the future. Who doesn’t need a good read?

So, onto The Bridge: A Science Fiction Survival Story

It only comes in Kindle format, what with that independent author status and all. For $2.99 I thought I got a good read. The concept (writing prompt) was simple – generation ship heading to a planet and over time the inhabitants lost understanding and knowledge of who they were, where they were going, and even the technology of the ship itself.

I think the main character could have been fleshed out a bit more, as most of the story was from his perspective, but you still got a real sense of his feelings an motivations throughout the story. The culture shifts on the generational ship from spacefaring to….not spacefaring…seem very plausible given the limitations of their environment and what was necessary to keep society alive. Some of it was shockingly cruel, but if it was a question of life and death, what other option would there be?

I have to admit to practically skimming the last few chapters in a desperate race to get to the ending to see how it all played out, so the minute details are lost to me, not that I would give you a detailed summary of how it ended anyway. Take the fact that I sped read it as an indication of how tightly the story had me.

I give this book a “Speculative Anthropology” – which only sounds boring to the non-nerds. I’ll add “With Spaceships” for the rest of you.

Carrot’s Book review: Surprise Edition

A week ago, no sooner I finish my glowing praise of The Name of the Wind“>, than UPS drops off a package at my door.  I hadn’t remembered ordering anything and none of my family or friends ‘fessed up to sending me anything.  In the padded envelope was nothing but a book.  No letter or invoice or anything explaining whyfor this book arrives or whence it came!  Exercising my big smarty brain, I read the label for a clue and got only that it came direct from Penguin Publishing.

Maybe I signed up for some free give away?  I have no idea, but obviously the Universe wanted me to read this book and perilous is it to ignore directives from the Universe when they are so blatant.

So the book – Alwyn Hamilton’s Rebel of the Sands.

I can sum up this book in two words –

Arab Gunslinger.

No seriously!  Stick with me on this!  It’s a fantasy novel, so it takes place in a fictional desert kingdom with a Sultan and far eastern magical myths like djinn.  It’s very careful not to imply fictional Islam, so there are no Imans or Mosques, going for Holy Men and Prayer Houses instead.  Some standard social issues are present, such as polygamy and women having little to no power in their own lives.

Which brings us to the wild west aspect of it all.  Our tale starts out in a desperate small mining town, rife with all the problems that a small desperate mining town has – scarcity of water, scarcity of options, the men give their lives to the mine and women suffer the brunt of their hopelessness in a one horse town where not even the monthly train runs through.

Our heroine is desperate to escape the gritty emptiness of life here and the awfulness of her impending future.  Dressed as a boy (naturally) and gifted with uncanny aim with a gun (heresy!), she exchanges an empty unhappy life for endless danger as she naturally falls in with the rebellion.   Because of course there’s a rebellion, all tied up with the mines, an allied/occupying foreign kingdom (that seems awfully western with their blond hair and blue eyes), and the struggle to retain the magic/identity of the kingdom/people without losing their soul.  There’s even a train heist!  Because Arab Gunslinger, duh!

I’m sure there’s a little subtext in there on the magic vs technology side of things, but the magic part really didn’t show up until later in the story and I presume it will be further explored in the following books.

Overall?  I expected it to be very tropey what with the YA label and a girl hero, but it wasn’t.  It was very engaging, handing me a few surprises along the way, making it an even more enjoyable story than initial assumption.  If ever you were looking for a book that would actually break the molds and play a strong part in that whole “Representation Matters” I couldn’t suggest this book fast enough.  Faux Arab Heroine.  What more could you want?  This should be read in school, except for the fact they never seem to offer fantasy as a literary choice.

I give this book a Make Your Kids Read It, because when I’m so delighted by an pro-active non-timid girl hero in a setting far underutilized in the writing world, then obviously my kids need the exposure as well.  Especially in this current world where women and our Middle Eastern brethren are never considered heroic.

Back later, I have to hand the book off to Alpha.  He was asking for it last night.

Carrot’s Book Club

Just finished Patrick Rothfuss’ “The Name of the Wind”. I have been trying years to get around to reading it as I had yet met a fellow book lover that did not rave about it.

I feel like any raving I might do about it is just redundant. It has been so very very long since I was at a point in my life where I looked forward to bedtime; that scheduled hour or two where I’d curl up with my dozens of pillows and viciously run through as many chapters as I could swallow before my eyes grew fuzzy and an adult’s sense of responsibility forced me to a reasonable hour’s sleep to be somewhat functional the following day. I’d think about the book during the day, trying to predict where the plot might lead based on the clues I had already read the night before.

Would I dare say lyrical? There are some books for whom the story is compelling while the writing is weak, forcing you to slog through dreary narration so you can learn what you need to learn and get closure on what could have been a far better tale. There are some books that the dialogue is witty and you enjoy the characters as you would old friends, but there is no significant adventure and you see the end coming long before you’ve even come to the middle. This book had both real people and real adventure and perfectly musically paired.

So real, I was made uncomfortable by a repeated failure to overcome something so simple as monetary debt! Perhaps that is nothing more than personal experience with the topic, but it was unsettling and made me fearful for the character. There were times I grew impatient with the character’s inability to choose the simple solution to his woes, but seeing as how at the time of the telling he was only a teen boy, perhaps that would explain overly complex solutions that only brought more hot water.

I also grew impatient as the remaining chapters dwindled and I realized that it was not a stand alone book. There would be no ending for this tale, not even in an intermission partial closure, or a season ender to tie the plots together. Not so much a cliffhanger as the commercial break with still more show to go. I had been putting off buying it – restlessly waiting for my turn at the library’s wait list to get a copy – but now I see that I can’t do that for book two and must, as soonest possible moment, head out to purchase the next one (and of course the first one so my shelf has a complete set).

I’m giving this book a Carrot Rating of Two Hands, as in it’d take that to pry it away from me.