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book reviews in 200 words

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July 2017

The Epiphany Machine – a book review in 200 words

The Epiphany Machine

by

David Burr Gerrard

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What would my epiphany tattoo be? What would yours be?

“The worst possible thing you could think of to say about someone will almost certainly be your epiphany.”

The epiphany machine tattoos on the forearm a one-sentence “truth” about the person receiving the tattoo. You know, that one thing about someone that everyone knows – except the person themselves.

“Everyone else knows the truth about you, now you can know it, too”

Venter Lowood is the POV character in this book. His fascination with the epiphany machine starts young; his mother abandoned him as a baby to work with Adam Lyon, the man who runs the epiphany machine. We follow Venter from childhood to middle age, and as the world changes around him, so does the public opinion of epiphany tattoos. John Lennon gets a tattoo, as does a 9/11 terrorist. The tattoos can be bought with $100 or with no monetary exchange and then commercialized epiphany tattoos are the norm. In the beginning, one tattooed person says of their unflattering epiphany:

“You should only feel shame before you feel shame. Once you feel shame, you know that you have to change. When you feel shame, you should really feel relief. You should say: ‘Hurray! Now I know that I have to change.”

By the end, another says,

“Shame is basically hypocrisy redirected against yourself-it’s holding yourself to a higher standard than you’re capable of meeting, rather than holding other people to a higher standard than you’re capable of meeting.”

This book is beautifully written in many distinct voices – the main narrative, short stories from a book about the epiphany machine, and accounts by those who have received epiphany tattoos.

As this is only Gerrard’s second novel, I predict you should expect further great reads from this writer!

Now – I want an epiphany tattoo.

 

Rating: 92/100

Buy this book:

Barnes & Noble

Amazon

Find it local at Indie Bound

The Witches of New York – a book review in 200 (and a few) words

The Witches of New York

by

Ami McKay

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If you are intrigued by any of the following:  mysticism, spiritualism, witches, demons, opium, absinthe, crazed clergy, surviving civil war soldiers with missing limbs, Egyptian obelisks, the djinn, fairy tales, spells, ghosts, the Fae, talking animals, insane asylums, fortunetelling, scrying, herbal remedies, the Salem witch trials, women suffragists, mediums and/or folk magic – then this is the book for you.

The Witches of New York tells the story of three witches in New York City in 1880. Eleanor comes from a long line of witches, absorbing her folksy magic from her mother. Adelaide learned fortune-telling while working for a side-show and quickly found she had a real knack for it. The too-smart and restless Beatrice moves to the City and learns that she’s a new kind of witch.

There is so much history and magic contained in the pages of this book, that it is difficult to describe it exactly. McKay blends the real 1880’s New York with her fictional characters and circumstances so effortlessly that I found it difficult to discern the difference. Her descriptions are spot-on as well; when her characters walk down the street, you walk with them – you can hear the newsboys, smell the roasted peanuts, feel the cold on a sleigh ride through Central Park in January.

Hopefully, this book is the first of a series or I will be sorely disappointed; many storylines were left unresolved at the end of the novel. Plus I would love to spend more time with these three witches of New York.

Rating:85/100

Buy this book July 11, 2017. Pre-order at:

Barnes and Noble

Amazon

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