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Book Review – Vaguely Familiar and Oddly Familiar

Alma Boykin returns to her Familiar Tales world with “Vaguely Familiar“, and Oddly Familiar, a pair of fun rides with Lelia Chan and her familiar, Tay the Lemur.

First, the blurb from Vaguely Familiar:

When stone calls to stone, Familiars and mages must answer.

Lelia Chan’s and Tay’s chance discovery of a fragment of a blood-soaked knife leads them deeper into what it means to be a shadow mage and her Familiar. Meanwhile, Morgana Lorraine heads west, looking for answers (and really good bacon), leaving Officer Jamie Macbeth to deal with the Off Ramp of Doom and his mother-in-law’s ongoing displeasure. But the stone won’t stay quiet.

Could the Off Ramp and the stone be connected? As the stone’s call grows stronger, Lelia and friends race to find an answer to an evil that won’t go quietly.

And Oddly Familiar:

Ah, October, when the ghosts, and spirits walk, and the Off Ramp of Doom falls quiet. Too quiet…

Lelia Chan and her Familiar, Tay, continue learning about magic and what mages do. When a customer drops a strange silver disk in Belle, Book, and Blacklight, it starts a chain of events that pull Lelia deeper into shadow magic. André Lestrange and Rodney return to help sort out the off-ramp. Someone else returns, someone who wants to open doors best left closed. Lelia and Company have their hands and paws full dealing with the forces of darkness and bad jokes.

Evil walks on All Hallows Eve. It’s up to Lelia and Tay to send it back where it belongs. Or else.

Boykin brings a wry sense of humor, a collection of rich settings and characters, and a deft hand at story telling to bring these tales to life. Lelia is quickly becoming one of my favorite characters to learn about, but the other mages are just as well fleshed out and enjoyable. The interaction between the mages and their familiars is at times touching, but also adds a good dose of humor to what could easily have been intense, dark stories.

Both Vaguely Familiar and Oddly Familiar are quick reads, and went very well with a couple of evenings in front of a fire. While the stories dealt with adult themes, they were appropriate for teenagers and adults alike.

I’m really looking forward to seeing where the author takes this world.

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