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Review: One Way Fare (Null City Book 1) by Barb Taub – New Favorite!

One Way Fare (Null City, #1)“Suppose neutral angels were able to talk Yahweh and Lucifer – God and Satan, to use their popular titles – into settling out of court. What would be the terms of the compromise? Specifically, how would they divide the assets of their early kingdom?” – Tom Robbins, Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates (2000)

I really only picked up the book as it was advertised on one of my “Free Today” book emails. You know the ones, and if you don’t, why not?  So anyway, there it was, and the cover caught my eye. It was the first in a series, free, written by an author I hadn’t heard of. Why not?

Now, here is the thing. One Way Fare had a fairly interesting blurb, though I was a bit leery of the whole “Angels and Demons” shtick. Honestly? The whole Hellhound/Poodle thing is what really caught my attention. And you know what? For all that the Angels/Demons/Time Travel thing is normally so not my thing, well, I was entranced. I mean, really, truly entranced. Taub’s writing is unique. She has shaken up a couple of genres, and written her characters, and her story, in ways that held me rapt from page one.

In the room made of light, they plan the end of Hell.

The thing is . . . I’m rooting for Hell in this one. No, really. I mean, Lucifer is The Morning Star – which the oldest Latin texts portray as either John the Baptist, or Jesus himself. After all, it isn’t until much later that texts were converted to the concept of The Morning Star as being “Satan,” an evil character. Let’s face it – the ideation of “God vs Lucifer” is based in the takeover of various Egyptian, Canaanite and Jewish tales of gods who fought fiercely amongst themselves for power. To the victor go the spoils – an the right to tell the tales in any way they see fit.

Taub’s Hell is a nightmare for anyone who considers intellectualism to be threatening (you know, Right Wing Republicans, that sort of thing). As Ray Williams, in Anti-Intellectualism and the “Dumbing Down” of America (Psychology Today, July 07, 2014), says,  “There is a growing and disturbing trend of anti-intellectual elitism in American culture. It’s the dismissal of science, the arts, and humanities and their replacement by entertainment, self-righteousness, ignorance, and deliberate gullibility.”

Ha! Send me to Hell, because this place is Interesting!  And a whole “Hell” of a lot more inclusive than “Heaven” could ever hope to be. Or even “Haven,” the place where the Fallen Angels who want to recreate the “Heaven” they were thrown from, exist. So, a bunch of pissy Angels want to destroy Hell – and they don’t care that, “Not only will that strategy lead to massive death and destruction for humans, but it could mean war between Fallen and Angels.” Wow, total narcissism really can be deadly! (I still wish I could remember the book I read, I think it was in the late 70’s or early 80’s, where ‘god’ is so busy staring into a mirror admiring himself – well, keep telling a guy he is handsome, you just know that spells spoiled rotten, self-centered ego maniac, right? – he allows the universe to go down in flames around him.)

Then, of course, there is the time travel aspect of the book. Honestly, I am not usually a time travel book lover. They never seem to get the continuity right. But Taub proved me wrong. Her writing makes sense. “I have a theory about time. Things can’t happen if they didn’t.” And what is even more crushing? Things still happen if they did. Taub holds all of the timelines tightly in her grasp, flowing backwards and forwards, building a gossamer web of linkages that never left me thinking “Huh? What just happened?”

This series is now at the top of my “Must Read New (to me) Series.” I already downloaded the second, DON’T TOUCH, Null City Book 2. There are some issues that weren’t tied up all the way in book 1, and I look forward with great eagerness to see how they carry forward through the series. One Way Fare is edgy, imaginative, and deeply unusual compared to my usual experience with this type of book. Highly recommended!

And remember this – “Why do they blame me for all their little failings? They use my name as if I spent my entire days sitting on their shoulders, forcing them to commits acts they would otherwise find repulsive. ‘The devil made me do it.’ I have never made one of them do anything. Never. They live their own tiny lives. I do not live their lives for them.”  ― Neil Gaiman, The Sandman, Vol. 4: Season of Mists

A Human, A Ghost, A Vampire, A Witch And A Demon Walk Into A Baptist Fundamentalist Girl’s School…

It truly is darkest right around 3AM. Even the stars seem to dim, fading into the quiet of the night. The universe itself seems to sleep. But sometimes? Sometimes, not often, but often enough to keep your eyes turned to the sky in the darkest hours, a bright light flashes. Far off, and very quickly fading, a star explodes, giving off one brilliant flash before falling into the darkness, never to return.

Sometimes, I have that feeling with books. Even though my choices at that particular moment in time seem no more than dim stars, one will blast out through even the worst cover, worst blurb, the unknown (often only unknown to me, but well known to others, but not always) author, and, for whatever reason, simply take me someplace special.

It was a bit of a fluke that I picked up Juliette Harper’s Descendants of the Rose (The Selby Jensen Paranormal Mysteries Book 1). I am in no way a “Historical” lover. Long skirts and proper manners, they just don’t turn me on as they do some readers. So, when I saw the cover of this book, well, to say I was “put off” is a bit of an understatement. Although the cover is gorgeous, it screams historical romance. Or at least historical ghost story. But, for some reason, I went ahead and downloaded it (Free on Kindle!) and opened it up. Maybe it was the fates, maybe just sheer dumb luck, but I opened up a little world of wonders.

This is by no means a historical. Instead, it is a modern day jewel, filled with fascinating characters and a rich paranormal mystery (just as the title promised – imagine that).

Hi. My name is Selby Jensen. Now, unless you’re buying the coffee, get the hell out of my way.

Selby Jensen in a nutshell – the queen of snark. Of course, she has good reason for her attitude. Her life hasn’t exactly been rainbows and lollipops. Far from it. Her father was murdered by a monster, drawing her into a world she never knew existed. Then her beloved husband, Dex, met the same fate. Now, Selby spends her time with the dead, 24/7. Her vampire business partner. Her ‘died in Selby’s arms after a horrific car crash’ best friend Helen. Only, Dex apparently didn’t stick around after he died. And Selby? Well, after five long years, Selby hasn’t recovered, and it looks like she never will. So, why not face off with werewolves in filthy alleys, searching for the one who slaughtered her husband? Life as a blood bag just isn’t all that special any longer. Even though life is, well, ‘Interesting’ in the Chinese, “May you live in interesting times.” sort of interesting.

Burn all the sage you can find, but sleep with one eye open. The bogey man is real. I’ve met him. He’s from Bakersfield, and he did not have a happy childhood.

Well, the very fact that he is stuck living in Bakersfield would make anyone grumpy, just IMO.

Then, school calls. Well, “The Good News Educational and Salvation Academy” calls. One of those, “Praise God and don’t spare the Rod” sort of places (Well, their new headmistress is a bit ‘different’, but that is a part of the charm of making you wait to read it yourself) where your “embarrassing” daughters are sent away to be out-of-sight, out-of-mind. You see, they have a bit of a demon problem . . .

Ugh. Talk about your understatements. Now, a human, a ghost, a vampire, a witch and a smoke demon have a bit more than a ‘bit of a kerfuffle’ on their hands. And how’s that for the New Scooby Doo Crew?

Of course, now I have to wait (Impatiently, I might add!) for the next, Lost in Room 636. I have to wonder, now that I have researched Ms. Harper’s bibliography, if the publisher was simply kowtowing to the fact that the team of Patricia Pauletti and Randa K. Williamson (writing as Juliette Harper) are apparently well-known for a series called The Lockwood Legacy, a “nine-book chronicle of the lives of three sisters who inherit a ranch in Central Texas following their father’s suicide.” Hum… well, it seems to be set in the 1960’s (?) not the 1800’s, so I guess I am off on the whole “lady in the long dress” cover style. Boo me.

Well, well. Lookie there – the first three are a free box set (Kindle Unlimited) so maybe I will have to check that story line out and see if I like their previous works, but I think I will read “Witch at Heart” first. The first in the “Jinx Hamilton Mysteries” it looks like it could be a really fun series. Looks like there are three of those in print, another three (at least) up to bat (wink wink, nudge nudge) so I will let you know what I think. WaH is free on Kindle Unlimited, so I just downloaded it. Will let you know what I think!

 

 

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