Nicola was never a hero. She was an everyday single mother, Heathen witch, and herbalist. And she wanted nothing more than to forget the cluster of a situation she'd barely survived only a few months ago. But explain that to Hel.As it turns out, Hel wants the souls she was promised, but something paranormal is keeping a lot of souls out of her reach. Nicola goes undercoverNicola was never a hero. She was an everyday single mother, Heathen witch, and herbalist. And she wanted nothing more than to forget the cluster of a situation she'd barely survived only a few months ago. But explain that to Hel.As it turns out, Hel wants the souls she was promised, but something paranormal is keeping a lot of souls out of her reach. Nicola goes undercover into an isolated healing cult to find out what is going on, and if it is connected to the Runespells. The problem with cults, however, is the brainwashing.Abandoned to her own devices by the gods and far from the friends that helped her before, can Nicola survive the tests long enough to complete her mission? And will she still be herself if she does?...
|Number of Pages||:||182 Pages|
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Fluffy Bunny Reviews
I received an Advanced Reading Copy in exchange for a fair review.I enjoyed Too Wyrd, the first book in this series, thoroughly (see my review here) so I couldn't wait to get my hands on book 2. I think it's fair to say I was primed to enjoy it, but fearful that I wouldn't like it as much as I liked the first one.There was nothing to fear. In book 2, we resume the story of Nicola, reluctant chosen hero of the Norse gods, charged to stop Ragnarok by obtaining the Runespells; bindrunes in physical form that represent the true power of the runes as shown to Odin after his ordeal on Yggdrasil. (Yes, Heathens and Pagans, Buhrman is a Norse Pagan, she reads a lot, and she knows what she's talking about.) This time, Nicola is asked to infiltrate a New Age cult who might have the Runespell for healing. They are doing real and provable faith healing rituals.From a real-world perspective, this cult is cleverly rendered. I want to talk about it a bit. I have spent a lot of time involved in the New Age community as a Pagan who owned a metaphysical store. And I saw lots of people who were engaged in some of the (in my opinion, destructive) behaviours and beliefs that this cult represents. This is not in any way to say a) that the New Age is all like this, because it's not, or b) that the New Age is all cultish, because it's not. There are people (lots of them) who do good things for lots of people.But this type of thing, though taken to extremes in the novel by necessity of story, easily flourishes in the New Age community (and the Pagan community too). Mostly that's because people are reluctant to engage in confrontation or positively critical dialogue, and those who do are portrayed as negative, angry people who are throwing shade on the Lightworkers who are trying to be pure and good and holy and above all, non-negative. This has the effect of shutting down all discernment and critical discourse, and shaming people for asking questions. It's one of the reasons I drew away from the New Age (and in some cases, even the Pagan) community in my real life.This is used to brilliant effect in the novel, and hence the title. "Fluffy Bunny" is a term that Pagans use to describe someone who wants their Witchcraft and Paganism to be all light and unicorns and rainbows. But it can't be, because life is just not like that. It's a fine thing to aspire to, but one must also be willing to look at the dark and thus, to get through it, or it stays at the bottom of the well, poisoning everything you do. Put a different way, denial is a useful coping strategy for surviving a difficult situation, but not for coming to terms with it afterwards.Nicola is vulnerable to this type of manipulation because she is, unlike the unflappable heroes of so many works in the urban fantasy vein, traumatized by the events of the first novel, and suffering from PTSD. I cannot tell you how delighted I am that she is not unchanged by the depths of her experience! This is something authors almost never dare to do. That alone makes this a great book.Nicola finds herself in a situation where more horrible things happen to her, because, like many other victims of abuse, she is primed for it by already having experienced horrible things and not adapting to them well. This makes for an intense, moving psychological thriller in the heart of what seems a simple paranormal adventure novel. And I can't tell you any more than that without ruining it for you, so I won't.I will tell you from a Neo-pagan perspective that I am picking up a copy of this book in paperback just to add to my Wiccan students' required reading list, because there is a valuable lesson in here about ethics and the Craft that I think they need to know, and I can't think of a better way to illustrate it. There is also a valuable psychology lesson in this, both for understanding how people get locked in a cycle of abuse, and how they get out of it.Once again, we are treated to renditions of gods and supernatural beings that feel contemporary as well as carrying the gravitas of myth. I liked them quite a lot.More of this book takes place in the astral plane and other "spirit-realms" than the last book. Again, a special level of compliment is due here. These sequences are more often about tests of character than direct confrontations, and like much in the way of spirit-work that Pagans do, have immediate real-world consequences, mostly because of how the person doing the inner work has changed.And it's a good page-turning mystery too just for its own sake, with an ending that might surprise you. It surprised me.Some minor critiques, because of course nothing is perfect: beta readers told Buhrman that she didn't have enough physical description of Nicola so she tried too hard to get it in there, at least in the copy I read. I didn't see the point. Nicola doesn't care about such things; why should the reader? She never thinks about her appearance other than, "Do I need a shower? Is my hair brushed?" For her, makeup is for special occasions or trying to make an impression, and that's it, so since the story is written in first person personal, I can't see an easy way to include that.I would also like to see more direct hands-on involvement between Nicola and her daughter in future books. Being a tough single mom is an important part of Nicola's identity. I would like to see more directly into that relationship, rather than hearing about it as a backstory until she's needed as a potential obstacle or liability (because of course Nicola rightfully tries very hard to keep her little girl away from all this dangerous stuff.)I feel that the world needs to discover Sarah Buhrman. She's a really good writer, on par with some of the best mainstream urban fantasy I've read, never mind the small press publisher. My feeling about this book was so positive that they asked me to write an editorial blurb for it. I was happy to do so.
I enjoyed reading this book. With this series, it's probably a good idea to start off reading the book before delving into th is one (ie. Too Wyrd). This book delves into magic and mythology, and it's easy to relate to the characters as the novel progresses. I would recommend this book (and series) to anyone that is a fan of fantasy and mythology.
Nichola Crandall saved the world from Ragnaroc with the magic power of some Rune Spells and gets to keep them and play hero now. Awesome, right? Well, it gets tougher than all that. The Norns send our hero deep into crazy cult land to retrieve other Rune Spells from the guy serving the Kool-aide.Buhrman has woven action and mystery into Norse Mythology and created more than just an urban fantasy series. I enjoyed the philosophy and pagan religious ideas woven into the tale. This passage took me back to my days of pondering Malcolm Gladwell’s work, Blink. “Everyone already has all the information they need, they just need to see it in a way that isn’t loaded down with emotions and biases.”Her content isn’t the only enjoyable angle, the story is well crafted. Action and dialogue drive the story, not the dreaded info dump. We are on a journey, not stuck in the library in front of the Encyclopedia Britannica! Do young people know about that reference manual? No matter, this book is best read by adults. I’d say it’s rated R or NC17. If you are Christian and/or not open minded about stories that God isn’t the one and only magic guy and certainly isn’t our hero, this story may get you riled. Remember, Jesus was about love, so don’t be a hater. I haven’t read the first book, and this one was easy to get right into. We get a bit of backstory, but not a full rehash of book one. Just the way I like it. Now I remain curious enough to put it on my TBR!The title is our hero’s reference to white privilege. This is an interesting concept and one that is currently a focal point in our collective society’s struggle at not being jerks to one another. Repulsed by the notion? Chances are you need to explore the concept more than anyone. I met Buhrman doing a couple video discussion panels for Virtual Fantasy Con 2017. I was “host” of one, but she did all the heavy lifting. Thanks Sarah! Her input on the panels got me excited about her work, so naturally (and unsurprisingly to those who follow my book blog), I bummed a freebie! There were no strings attached. I wrote this review because you deserve to know about books that I think are awesome, Dear Reader! Check out other books I like at LARC-SciFi(dot)com.
I voluntarily read an advanced reader copy of this book.Oh so good!The "Runespells" series knocks its second volume outside the park just like it did its first! When I first read in the description that Nicola was going to have to handle this mission without her friends Mercy and Joseph from the first book, I was worried it might end up being too "flat" of a story because they'd added so much texture to Nicola's adventures, but I honestly found I didn't really notice their absence as much as I thought I might, and the new friends she makes are welcome company. In "Fluffy Bunny" Nicola is called upon to investigate a healing cult that is messing with the natural order of things by saving the lives of people who's time has come, and the death goddess Hel is *not* pleased. To find out what is going on, Nicola must go undercover as someone hoping to join the cult. Her mission becomes more complicated when she finds the cult atmosphere almost too seductive.Much of the story takes place more-or-less in Nicola's head as she finds herself taking refuge in the Astral. I found those to be some of the most interesting parts of the book as I got to know Nicola in ways its often hard to get to know a character and because her adventures there helped me not only see but get a real feel for how the physical and ethereal relate to each other. But don't think that this is mainly a big noodley mind-trip - there's plenty of action, suspense and things that hit right in the feels.This series as a lot going for it. For me, one of the best things is it avoids a number of Urban Fantasy tropes. We learned in the first book "Too Wyrd" that Nicola isn't some chosen one who was born to solve a problem, nor was she someone who suddenly learned her life is a lie, there's magic in the world, all the myths about the Old Gods are true and that because she's reached a certain birthday or a little known relative has died she now has a bunch of powers and has to save the world. She's known about magic and the Old Gods because they're part of her faith. She ends up being given her task because of choices she made when she was faced with various challenges - and while she may not have known that making the choices she did would result in her taking on this responsibility, her nature is such that it's hard to imagine she'd make different choices even if she knew what the result would be. While I do love the more "normal" (for lack of a much better term) UF, reading something that looks at the concept from such a different starting point is just a real nice treat.I really can't wait for more in this series!
Fluffy Bunny is book 2 in the urban fantasy/magical realism Runespells series. Nicola Crandall is sent on a new quest by the Norns to find out how a spiritual group has managed to anger the goddess Hel. Could they have some of the Runespells she must recover?Although shorter than Too Wyrd, I enjoyed Fluffy Bunny even more! In this novel, the reader learns even more about Nicola as a mother and as a person dealing with her own personal demons. Warning--there are some possible triggers in this book. However, I think Sarah Buhrman does a really interesting job dealing with abuse and its psychological consequences. Nicola's personal discovery and the interesting connection this adventure has to her overall Runespells quest make this an engrossing read. And while I would have loved it to be longer, I think it is at the perfect length for her story. I will, however, have a hard time waiting now for Book 3.I highly recommend this book and the rest of the Runespells series both for their urban fantasy elements and their ability to make you think about the world around you.
Amazing book. Loved it. Well written. Great author. I do reccomed it. I arc tis book and I'm happy i did. It's amazing picked up right where book one left off. Amazing series.
Awesome book! Once again Sarah Buhrman and her heroine Nicola trapped me in an awesome book! This time Nicola have to find the 3rd and 4th runespells and to do so she has to do it undercover at a Healing center. She takes a weekend workshop and then stays as a member. Once she's a member things that she hasn't thought of happens. I mean who thinks they are going to be an addicted at a Healing Center? Well I don't want to spoil more so all I can say that this book was read in a very short time, started yesterday and finished this morning and before I even had my coffee. I was on my way to the kitchen and the book was so exciting that I couldn't put it down to make my coffee, and my morning coffee is holy so you can understand how great this book is!