The Last Thing You See by Marie Batiste (Rachel Dixon #1)

Title: The Last Thing You See
Series: Rachel Dixon
Author: Marie Batiste
Date Added: March 26, 2020
Date Started: June 23, 2020
Date Finished: July 9, 2020
Reading Duration: 16 days
Genre: Fantasy, Supernatural/Paranormal, Horror, Mystery/Murder Mystery

Cover of The Last Thing You See by Marie BatistePages: 185
Publication Date: February 5, 2020
Publisher: Self
Media: eBook/Kindle


Riley Green’s parents came home one morning to find their daughter missing and human organs in their dining room.

Following a ten-month suspension, forced rehab and a tumultuous divorce, New Orleans Detective Rachel Dixon is finally stitching her life back together when she is called to a strange crime scene. Joined by her new partner, Elias Crowe an intuitive elf dealing with discrimination in the department, Rachel starts the search for Riley’s killer.

Soon the investigation leads them to a series of strange murders not just in the city but across the nation. Desperate to find the killer the detectives seek help from an undead blood analyst, a standoffish necromancer, a tree spirit, and a living sculpture. But when the killer seems to have set their eyes on Rachel all the help and magic in the world may not be enough to catch the elusive serial killer.

Join the detectives as they maneuver through a familiar world stitched together with magic, blood, and animosity.


Rachel Dixon is a flawed but intensely likable detective who is being overly punished for the mistakes she’s made in the past.  The world merged with a magical one around twenty years ago, and the oddness and curiosity around this event is maintained throughout the novel as even the inhabitants of it remain clueless to the entirety of the effects.  The characters treat the world like their world (as you do).  There’s no info dumping; you’re given enough to understand how things work, and that’s all it is.  It’s like if you lived in a reality where magic existed, you wouldn’t bat an eye at it when it manifests, because it would be as commonplace as a smartphone.

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Thimbleweed Park

More video game reviews can be found here.

Genre: Point & Click, Mystery, Adventure
Developer: Terrible Toybox
Release Date: March 30, 2017
Platform: Nintendo Switch

Thimbleweed Park coverStart Date: February 25, 2018
Finish Date: April 23, 2018
Playing Duration: 57 days


Thimbleweed Park is a point & click murder-mystery adventure that winds up being much more than just your run-of-the-mill “who done it?”  Two federal agents, Ray and Reyes are dispatched to the small, titular town to investigate the murder of a foreign businessman, but each of them has an ulterior motive for being there.  Ray, the senior agent, is snarky and sarcastic with no time for rookie Agent Reyes’ overly enthusiastic attitude.  She wants to get in and get out as quickly as possible, and it’s clear early on how much she hates both the town and its residents, especially the irritating and unhelpful sheriff/coroner.  The rest of the town’s residents vary in their degrees of helpfulness, and as everything comes together, more than a mystery will be cracked wide open.

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The Missing Orchid by Fia Black (Submissive Beth Mysteries #3)

<–The Red Rose (SBM #2)

Title: The Missing Orchid
Series Title: Submissive Beth Mysteries
Author: Fia Black
Date Added: February 2, 2017
Date Started: February 8, 2017
Date Finished: February 20, 2017
Genre(s): Mystery, BDSM, Erotica

Pages: 122
Publication Date: February 3, 2017
Media:
Kindle

Lily aka Mistress Orchid needs Beth to help her find the daughter she was forced to give up when she was sixteen. With the help of Jason and Lily, Beth tries to find the girl only to learn she was searching for Lily too. But the happy ending turns tragic when they find the girl only to learn she is missing. Beth and Jason become determined to bring Lily the closure she needs even if that means solving two missing person cases.


This is the third book in Ms. Black’s Submissive Beth series, and I’m happy to say she continues to impress with her mystery, erotica novels.  Each iteration has done something new, but still upholds her paradigm of Beth, the BDSM worker turned successful PI.   The Missing Orchid hits a bit close to home with several characters and their familial issues, and I like where Beth and Jason are heading in terms of a potential partnership.

The end reveal is psychologically sound, and the author seems to be making a great effort to not become stale, formulaic, or boring.  I was half-expecting a particular ending, so I was happy and impressed when that did not occur.

The only issues with the novel are some grammar and spelling errors that could be taken care of with a careful edit.  The Missing Orchid is a swift, fast-paced read that perfect intersperses Beth’s work at the Club with her work on her cases.  It does BDSM the right way in terms of ensuring consent, going over the rules, and participating in after care.  I’ve said before I’m not remotely an expert on that lifestyle, but I understand the basics, and the author is far better at the basics than a certain, unfortunately popular series out there that’s giving many people wrong information.  I want them to read this instead since it’s better written and doesn’t promote abusive relationships.  Ms. Black also manages to leave a little bit of mystery and addition to an overarching theme that I’m sure will be explored in novels to come.

I linked Fia Black’s WordPress site above under her author name, and she has an excerpt for the next book right here (Warning: Graphic descriptions of torture).

4 stars.

<–The Red Rose (SBM #2)

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The State of the Reader: 8/31/16

<–The State of the Reader: 8/24/16          The State of the Reader: 9/7/16–>

A weekly post updated every Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and where I am with them in addition to what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads to make it easier for interested parties to add any books that might strike their fancy.  I attempt to use the covers for the edition I’m reading, and I’ll mention if this is not the case.  If you have a Goodreads account feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Books Currently Reading: 4
Change from Last Week:
0

Title: The Mystical Qabalah
Author: Dion Fortune
Date Added: August 13, 2012
Date Started: Unknown

Mystical Qabalah, TheMedium: Paperback
Progress: 82%

I finished the part of the book initially written by Fortune, and while I was  on the fence with whether I’d continue into the Subjective Pathworking section, I’m glad I did.  In many ways it’s more engaging than the book proper.  There are other reasons I’m happy I continued.  I came upon something extremely meta that I never would’ve known about had I not.

Fortune in this latter section strives to explain the concept of Astral Light, and I immediately thought of two other ideas, one bleeding from the other, with the source concept very well known in popular culture:

“It is held to extend like a tenuous yet viscid atmosphere throughout the entire cosmos, interpenetrating all dense substance, and acting as the medium for the transmission of subtle forces.”

I read that and thought, “…wait, that sounds a hell of a lot like the Force.”  *letting the geek flag fly* “And wait again…the Lifestream from FFVII is inspired by the Force…and this book is about the Holy Sephiroth, omg holy meta, Batman, wheels within wheels.”  Do I think Squeenix delved that deeply into this concept?  Probably not, but I do believe they did some preliminary research, nor is it farfetched that they’d use philosophies from the Qabalah, as it’s quite commonly if not knowingly utilized through the fantasy and sci-fi genre.  It’s one of those theologies that’s prevalent in the zeitgeist, though it’s not necessarily named.  I’m pretty sure GRRM is using it to with his followers of R’hllor, the Red God, in the ideas of light and darkness, as there aren’t two trees, but rather the tree and the shadow it casts.

Title: The Mabinogion Tetralogy
Author: Evangeline Walton
Date Added: August 24, 2014
Date Started: July 31, 2016

Medium: Paperback
Progress: 7%

I read more, but only a little bit.  Apparently, I didn’t put any reading on my to do list so I didn’t do any (except for what I can from my phone) since Saturday.  Wtf.  I’ve remedied it, but I’m a bit annoyed since I really like this and the one below.

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The Red Rose by Fia Black (Submissive Beth Mysteries #2)

<–The Jade Dragon (SBM #1)                                                 The Missing Orchid (SBM #3)–>

Title: The Red Rose
Series Title: Submissive Beth Mysteries
Author: Fia Black
Genre: Mystery, BDSM
Date Added: August 8, 2016
Date Started: Unknown
Date Finished: August 23, 2016

Pages: 119
Publication Date: August 5, 2015
Media Type: Kindle

Allana Bale dropped off her eight-month-old daughter at her mother’s house and never returned. With a pattern of running away and drug use, her disappearance isn’t given a second look. Until Beth comes along.
Beth, now a professional PI and submissive tries to juggle the two when she is given this missing person’s case. Having to delve into a person’s past can be dangerous but Beth is determined to learn what happened to Allana. Did she run away from the pressures of motherhood or is everything not as it seems?


This is the second book by author Fia Black that I’ve had the pleasure to review.  She provided me with a free copy under no obligation, but I was delighted to have another novel in the Submissive Beth Mysteries series to read.

The main character Beth remains just as intriguing with her “day” work as a PI and her “night” work as a submissive.  If you are not well-versed in the BDSM world, this is a far better series to set your sights on than some others.  It’s incredibly sex positive and non-shaming in addition to presenting BDSM with all the rules of consent in place.

As in the first novel The Jade Dragon, the missing person is someone of “ill repute,” a recovering drug addict and prostitute who seemingly abandons her eight month old daughter before going off on another bender, but there are numerous factors pointing away from what seems the obvious option, and Beth is more than willing to take this case that the police believe is open and shut  As in Dragon the victim is doubly victimized by utter lack of empathy and justice on the system’s part, the latter of which would’ve stood unless Beth intervened.  What complicates matters is our heroine’s rocky relationship with Detective Reiner whose help she needs in order to work the case.

This mystery is a quick read that uses direct and no nonsense language.  The parts where Beth is working her submissive job are so immersive and fascinating, and as I mentioned above, the novel and series as a whole are very sex positive/non-shaming, which is refreshing and needed.

Miss Black’s style of writing works very well for this genre.  It’s quick and to the point with no unnecessary fluff bogging it down.  Beth does serious work whether or not she’s sleuthing a case or satisfying a client, and in both instances, she always gets results.

4 stars.

<–The Jade Dragon (SBM #1)                                                 The Missing Orchid (SBM #3)–>

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The State of the Reader: 8/24/16

<–The State of the Reader: 8/17/16          The State of the Reader: 8/31/16–>

A weekly post updated every Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and where I am with them in addition to what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads to make it easier for interested parties to add any books that might strike their fancy.  I attempt to use the covers for the edition I’m reading, and I’ll mention if this is not the case.  If you have a Goodreads account feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Books Finished This Week: 1

Title: The Red Rose
Series Title: Submissive Beth Mysteries
Author: Fia Black
Date Added: August 8, 2016
Date Started: Unknown
Date Finished: August 23, 2016

This was a nice quick-read mystery that I highly recommend along with the first book in the series The Jade Dragon.  I’ll be writing a full review of this hopefully by the end of the week.


Books Currently Reading: 4
Change from Last Week:
 +1

Title: The Mystical Qabalah
Author: Dion Fortune
Date Added: August 13, 2012
Date Started: Unknown

Mystical Qabalah, TheMedium: Paperback
Progress: 77%

I finally finished the chapter on Malkuth, and I’m about to start the one on the Qliphoth or Unholy Sephiroth (emanations from the left hand of God).  After that the format of the book changes to be more instruction like for practical workings so I’m not sure how much of that I’m going to read.  We’ll see when we get there.

Title: The Mabinogion Tetralogy
Author: Evangeline Walton
Date Added: August 24, 2014
Date Started: July 31, 2016

Medium: Paperback
Progress: 7%

I read two and a half chapters in one setting this week instead of my customary one.  This compendium continues to delight.  Ms. Walton has a wonderful way with language.

Title: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Series Title: Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children
Author: Ransom Riggs
Date Added: May 11, 2016
Date Started: August 24, 2016

Medium: Paperback
Progress: 13%

I added this book on the May 11, 2016 State of the Reader post.  The instant I picked this volume up in the bookstore a tingle ran through my bones.  I knew it was going to be extraordinary, and I have not been disappointed.  It grips you from even the prologue, which is amazing since prologues are considered out of vogue these days and Ransom Riggs is a new writer, (or rather this is his first published book) so I know the story is fantastic since newbies are usually castigated for making that faux pas (I removed the prologue from my original WIP for that very reason).

This is a mystery that involves a murder, but the murder is only the start.

Title: Sigil
Author: Aidan J. Reid
Date Added: June 9, 2016
Date Started: August 23, 2016

Medium: Kindle
Progress: 10%

I added this book on the June 16, 2016 State of the Reader post.  Like the first story I read by this author, Spectrum (reviewed here), Sigil immediately grips you.  Each chapter so far hangs you on a cliff and you have to see what happens next.  Murder-mystery in a sleepy (Irish) town is certainly something that’s been often done, but the unconventional priest detective puts me in the mind of another unconventional murder-mystery 3 Gates to the Dead by Jonathon Ryan (which I’ve reviewed here).  The author himself is from Northern Ireland so there’s a powerful and authentic voice behind every word.

If you didn’t notice I’m currently reading four books instead of my customary three.  I noticed I was getting a bit of reading done on my Kindle right before bed with The Red RoseI’d already decided I was going to read Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children next, and realized that since Kindle reading (on my phone at least) doesn’t require a light, I could snatch some pages up before going to sleep.  I used to read from my Kindle prior to jazzercise (back when I was able to go ;_;) and have noticed I can even get some chapters read at work during lunch.  I’m always trying to get as many finished read as possible especially considering I’ve over 500 on my TBR list.  Since I managed to read 10% in only about a day, I think this plan has merit.

Therefore I’ll now be doubling up on my fantasy/general fiction reading since I can have both a physical book and a kindle copy going concurrently.

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The Jade Dragon by Fia Black (Submissive Beth Mysteries #1)

The Red Rose (SBM #2)–>

The Jade Dragon is a novel by fellow writer and blogger Fia Black.  I decided to read and review it after seeing her promote the work on her blog.  It is available through Amazon (as linked in the title above) or through Smashwords.  Spoilers will be marked.

This story is the first in the Submissive Beth Mystery Series and the initial offering follows our so named protagonist who is a professional submissive weary of keeping her occupation hidden from her friends.  She decides to to become a private investigator, and her first job is quickly forthcoming when Mistress Jade, the madam of the club she works for, approaches her about investigating a stalker.  Unfortunately, before Beth can even scratch the surface, Jade is found beaten to death with her place in shambles.  It becomes abundantly clear that the police are going to do nothing due to the nature of Jade’s work, so the new made PI decides to open up her own investigation.  With the help of a sort of rogue Detective Reiner, Beth sets out to solve Jade’s murder and discover how deep the rabbit hole goes.

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