books

Lish McBride

Books

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, (2010), Necromancer: A Novella (2011), Necromancing the Stone (2012)

Burnt Sugar (2014), Firebug (2014)

 

 

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer (2010)

Sam can’t decide what to do with himself, which means that by default he has fallen to the painful default of food service. His life is going nowhere, he’s job is crap, but he has friends, and friends can make anything easier. Even drawing the attention of a very scary man and his even scarier minions.

This is a fabulous young adult book. There is boinking, but it’s off screen (so to speak) and shouldn’t keep this book from young adult users.

The story is very good, but what I liked best was Sam’s relationship with his friends, and his recognition that friends are there to help you when you need it. It’s nice to read about teens/young adults with strong friendships. Sure, there’s angst, but it’s hard to be too angsty if you have a best friend to kick you in the butt when you get too full of yourself.

I read this because I had downloaded and read Necromancer: A Novella (free! it was free!) and enjoyed the writing and characters. (Let that be a lesson to you, publishers. I most likely would never have bought this book if I hadn’t read the free novella. But I enjoyed the novella so much I wanted to read more books by the author.)

There is, quite obviously, going to be a sequel, but for the most part the story arc was resolved, and I want to read the next book not because of any unresolved bits, but because I enjoyed the characters and writing.

If you think a story about a boy becoming a necromancer might be at all interesting to you, I highly recommend reading “Necromancer: A Novella” because if you enjoy that, you’ll certainly enjoy Hold Me Closer, Necromancer.
Rating: 8/10

Published by Henry Holt and Co

Necromancer: A Novella (2011)

One of the things I’m coming to adore about the Kindle (and there are many) is authors can put up short stories and novellas–for free!–to give you an introduction to their work. Which is how I ended up downloading “Necromancer: A Novella” because who is opposed to a free short story? (Not me!)

Necromancer is associated with the book “Hold Me Closer, Necromancer” and a good introduction to the author’s writing and world. It is also A COMPLETE SHORT STORY! WOOT!

Let me say that one more time: IT IS A SELF-SUFFICIENT SHORT STORY! Lish McBride, I may love you.

Here’s the thing, a lot of these “short stories” are little more than teaser chapters or stories for existing books.

That does not make me want to read more by the author. That annoys me.

Necromancer, however, is a complete short story about Matt and Ash. Matt is a loner teen and Ash was his best friend for years. Until she died. And later came back as one of the incarnations of death. But although this story contains death, it is more about the characters, their past, and their relationship.

And it is very well done.

No, I did not immediately purchase “Hold Me Closer, Necromancer” but that is only because my TBR pile has gotten out of control again. But once I get it pared down, I am definitely going to get it.
Rating: 8.5/10

Necromancing the Stone (2012)

This is a sequel to the YA book, Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, which I really liked.

Luckily, I like Necromancing the Stone just as well.

Sam LaCroix is still trying to adjust to being a necromancer. And to having a position on the local Council, because he killed Douglas, the evil necromancer who tried to kill him and now sort-of-girlfriend Brid. He also feels guilty because Ramon, his best friend, is now a were-bear, solely because Ramon was injured while trying to help Sam.

Although, like the last book, there is an acknowledgment that Sam in Brid are boinking, this is not a kissing book. This is a supernatural fantasy that recognizes that teenagers often boink.

Like the first book, important people die (and they should, I mean, this IS a book about a necromancer), and like the first book, I think this issue is dealt with very well. People die. It really really sucks. But like it or not, life has to go on.

But I think what made this book especially good was how it dealt with Douglas, the evil necromancer who Sam killed in self-defense in the first book. Sam (who is a vegetarian) is still struggling with the fact that he took someone’s life. I think that is a really important part of both Sam and the book.

Not to rant, but in many movies, someone kills in self-defense and they’re over it and okay with it. My understanding is this is NOT how it happens in real life. Taking another life is hard, and it’s nothing someone just does and moves past.

Well, normal people anyway.

So like the first book, I highly recommend this one. There are plenty of openings for another Sam story, but if there isn’t, I’m okay with the way this book ended. Which is always a good thing.

Necromancer, a Novella is still available for free as a Kindle download, so if you think you’re interested, download the novella.
Rating: 8.5/10

Published by Henry Holt and Co.

Burnt Sugar (2014)

Ava, Lock, and Ezra have been sent by the Coterie (magical mafia) to collect a tithe from a witch who has missed payment.

But when the find a gingerbread house, they know things are more serious than they expected.

Lock stopped and crossed his arms, giving us a look that Ez and I knew well.

“Did we forget to do our homework?” Ezra whispered in my ear.

“Neither of you read the file, did you?” Lock said accusingly.

“I skimmed it.” I said. “Something about collecting money, blah blah blah.” “

I looked at the pictures,” Ezra added.

“There weren’t any pictures.”

I’ve had Firebug on my wishlist for two years, but it hasn’t dropped in price, so I haven’t picked it up.

I really should, because this is a short story with the character from Firebug, and its (of course) fun and good.

In the end, we decided I should approach the house alone. I looked the least threatening and I was the youngest— people don’t put up their guard for young teenage girls the same way they would for the boys. It didn’t matter that, out of the three of us, I was the most dangerous. The important thing was that I didn’t look it.

This story is set in the same world as her Necromancer series, but (at least in this story) none of the characters from there make an appearance.

I did enjoy this, and now I really want to read Firebug.
Rating: 7.5/10

Published by Tor

Firebug (2014)

I have this thing where if I really love an author, I sometimes have difficulty starting a book in a new series. Because I’m afraid the new book won’t live up to my expectations of the other books I’ve read, so I keep putting off reading it.

Lish McBride fell into that category. I loved the Hold Me Closer, Necromancer series, and so when a new parallel series started I wanted the book immediately, but… didn’t want to read it.

Silly Michelle.

Ava is a firebug–a firestarter–but is trapped into a contract with the Coterie (think supernatural mob) as an enforcer, made to keep the one person she cares about safe from harm. But now she has new friends, and Venus (head of the Coterie) has more things with which to threaten her, and she is trapped into a contract she can’t escape but won’t fulfill.

I was chattel to Venus, queen of the manor and head of the Coterie. Lock and Ezra at least had the illusion of hope. Since they were tithes, their blood pacts were over at age twenty-five. They donated a few years of service to the Coterie, and Venus left their families alone. My contract only ended with death— mine or Venus’s.

Ava is your typical snarky teen, and delightful and complicated.

Duncan nudged a pot of jam closer to me. “To go with your butter,” he said.

I slathered my biscuit with jam. “Do you hear that cheering? That’s all the cholesterol in my arteries welcoming their new friends, butter and sugar. Yaaay, new friends.”

My immediate response wasn’t just no, it was hell, no. Extreme no. No ad infinitum, ad nauseam, with trained No! dancers doing a routine in sequins on top.

But it’s also supernatural fantasy, which means it has all kinds of interesting creatures, like Baba Yaga’s hut (a personal favorite).

Then we tracked it by the giant mounds of chicken poo. Lock stopped at one big pile with what was clearly a beanstalk growing out of it.

“The moron is feeding it magic beans.”

“He’s afraid,” I said. Lock squeezed my hand. Fear of the Coterie, of Venus, was something we both knew well.

“You’re going to have to burn these,” he said after we’d had our moment. “They’re an invasive species.”

I also like that as a YA book, there are bits scattered here and there that are thoughtful and useful but not overdone.

(W)hen you drink a lot, things tend to come out. I’ve seen drunk girls throw themselves at guys they wouldn’t normally give the time of day to, cry over ancient troubles, and generally place themselves in dangerous situations with questionable people. I’ve seen drunk guys act just as bad. This is not to say every drunk person I’ve ever seen is a train wreck, but when you mix a depressant with hormone-crazed kids who are already depressed most of the time, the mess gets worse.

That’s spot-on for the character, but also an interesting point to give to teens.

It’s also realistic in important ways.

Please. Let us make it out. Let me have this. I wanted those boats just as full when we left as when we arrived.

But even as I prayed I knew it wouldn’t happen. Coups were bought with blood. And no whispered entreaty to nameless deities would change that.

That’s a nice touch.

So of course it was good and of course I highly recommend it. Now I just have to watch for a price drop on the sequel.
Rating: 8.5/10

Published by Macmillan