the Little Red Reviewer

Archive for February 2016

Burning Midnight McIntoshBurning Midnight, by Will McIntosh

published February 2016

Where I got it: Received ARC (thanks!)
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What if, for a very small fee, you could be better at math? Or could fall asleep easier at night? Or could digest anything? Or had better eyesight? Or could hold your breath a little bit longer? Or any one of a hundred other things that could make your life just the smallest bit easier? Wouldn’t that just be the best?
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Thanks to mysterious marble sized orbs that fell from the sky, everyone’s life is a little easier. All you have to do to reap their benefits is find a matching pair and burn them. Burn the slate gray ones for a beautiful singing voice, forest green for enhanced senses, copper to become ambidextrous, chocolate for enhanced strength, and so on. The rarer colors are of course, more expensive, but anyone can afford a common color, or even find the common ones in their own backyards and randomly all over the city. Orbs can only be used once, but the skills they impart last a lifetime.
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Teenager David Sullivan, who goes by Sully, had his fifteen minutes of fame when he found a Cherry Red, one of the rarest and most valuable orbs. Young and naive, he was talked into selling it to a famous collector. And then a team of lawyers cheated Sully out of the money. Well, the collector, Alex Holliday, says it was done fair and square. It’s not Holliday’s fault Sully didn’t read the contract through.  It’s an event that’s come to define Sully’s life.
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Is there such a thing as a free lunch? Some people feel the orbs are evil, that they are harmful. Some people refuse burn them, yet still buying and selling them to make a living. Sully and his working class friends often burn only the commonest, cheapest orbs. As it is, the little bit of money Sully makes at the flea market barely makes up for the family’s lost income when his mother loses her job. Sully feels protective of his Mom, he’s all she’s got.

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But what are the orbs, really? Should we be burning them, willy nilly, with no thought of what it could do to us, long term? Holliday continues to brag about all the colors he’s burned, making speeches and putting his prized orbs on display in his department stores. He reminds me a little of Zachary Quinto’s character in the first season of Heroes, “collecting” every talent he can. Ugggh, I want to punch Holliday in the face.

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How things were in my life until January 2015:

Most days it was easy to find a half hour to read slush and at least an hour (and sometimes 3) to read a book.  I had a super cushy job that mostly involved waiting around.  If nothing was happening at work, it was totally OK for me to sit around and read a book.  Finding a few hours here and there to write long and passionate reviews as also pretty easy.  I’d spend Saturday mornings catching up on my RSS feed, commenting on other blogs, arranging author interviews,  plotting and planning read-alongs with other bloggers, requesting ARCs, and all those other fun things that come with being a passionate blogger. For four years, I was in book blogger heaven.  I was ridiculously spoiled and I no concept of how good I had it.

 

Things changed, as they do, and in Oct of 2014 my employer reorganized and downsized, which resulted in me having a nice and relaxing depressing and terrifying 3 month vacation from working.  In January of 2015 I landed a job with a very large and very stable company.  They wanted to pay me a lot of money to do something I truly do enjoy: field management.   The hours are long, and the job is incredibly intense and challenging.  Finding time to read and blog has practically disappeared, as you can see from the drop in my published reviews and general online presence.

 

I’m not giving up my blog. She’s my labor of love, my  baby. She’s not going anywhere. But, if I’m going to keep her alive, I need to change gears.  But I only have so many spoons.

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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.