[Book Review] Magic tattoos, cat familiars, shadowy phantoms

Book Review: Stolen Ink by Holly Evansstolenink

You know that shortlist of back-of-the-book keywords that are krypton to your wallet? One moment you’re browsing the shelf, the next you’re in the checkout isle, and all because the book mentioned a psychic cat familiar or told you you’re about to embark on a urban fantasy romance filled with tattoo magic. Or both.

Definitely both.

Enter Stolen Ink by Holly Evans.

The concept kicks ass. In this story’s alternative modern day, everyone has an animal spirit that’s bursting to come out. This spirit takes its physical shape through a magical tattoo, which, once inked, becomes a psychic familiar (think Pullman’s The Golden Compass). Drawing these critters is Dacian’s job. He’s a tattoo magician who runs a parlor with his elven partner and pretends to be a middling, third-tier tattooist. Except he’s not.

In a world where everyone is magical to some degree, Dacian’s an ink magician, with a direct line to the heart of magic, who spends most of his time in denial, not doing anything about it. Which is fine and dandy, right up till the Big Bad shows up in his city and starts stealing people’s tattoos and killing them. Continue reading

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TV Tuesday: Castle, with a side of Heat Wave

In an interview published just before Castle first premiered four seasons ago, creator Andrew Marlowe delightedly told eager fans that the protagonist’s name may have chosen specifically because when it’s shouted loud and fast, it sounds like a choice piece of profanity.  Any show that has that level of levity built right into the title was surely meant to be a winner.

Four seasons later, and Castle remains one of Monday’s highest ranking shows. This is in no small part to the leads,  the fierce Detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic) and the endlessly-charming  Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion), who have created the best will-they-just-go-make-out-already pairings this side of Boothe and Bones.  Add in a stellar supporting cast (I have a special place in my heart of Ryan and Espisito-centric shenanigans), and this lighthearted cop drama is one of the best studies in character development out there.

Castle-lovers, here are our reading picks for you… Continue reading