Title: The Hangman's Replacement: Sprout of Disruption
Author: Taona Dumisani Chiveneko
Number of pages: 492
Genre: mystery, magical realism
Book Number/Goal: 29/52
My Rating: 5/5

Zimbabwe is looking for a new hangman. Such a job naturally attracts all kinds of weirdos, so a honest, brave and straightforward Abel Muranda, a farmer from a distant village, stands out as a candidate. But his chances are unclear, seeing that a huge conspiracy appears to reach all corners of the society, and it's somehow related to the carnivorous flame lilies which are threatening the peace of many citizens...

The story is epic and woven out of multiple threads, presenting many characters' points of view. It unfolds slowly, mostly through conversations. But even if some of the dialogs seem to drag forever, the overall great writing style compensates for the occasional boring parts. The language is witty, vivid, precise and elaborate without being pretentious. One of the characters' descriptions can apply to the author himself: "No word ever made it into his documents until it had been grotesquely tortured and failed to confess to the existence of a better synonym." The dry wit permeates the whole book, including the introduction, the acknowledgements and the best author's bio ever.

Keeping track of all the perspectives, names and events doesn't make it an "easy reading" but it's totally worth the effort!
Title: Keys to the Coven: A Hellfire Universe Contemporary Urban Fantasy
Author: Vicky Loebel
Number of pages: 360
Genre: fantasy, romance
Book Number/Goal: 30/52
My Rating: 3/5

A demon's life is hard, even though he is already dead. A witch forces Max to accept a problematic promise. Now he is stuck with a task he's obliged to accomplish, but eventually he realizes that it comes into conflict not only with his code of honor, but also with his feelings.

The book's universe is detailed and amusing, with well-developed rules for magic, karma, demons and angels and witches, and other supernatural creatures. However, the core of the story is romance, including explicit erotic scenes of mostly traditional, consensual sex. Maybe it's a perfect story for a romance lover, but I had to skip pages and pages of pointless drag. There's a lot of enjoyable scenes, in particular, the bureaucracy of Hell, but not enough to counter-balance the overload of fluff.


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