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review 2016-09-13 17:14
The Autumnlands Tooth and Claw Volume 1
The Autumnlands Volume 1: Tooth and Claw - Benjamin Dewey,Jordie Bellaire,Kurt Busiek

5 Stars, buy it.



I've read up to issue 6 previously but need a refresher before going back to where I left off.  I still love the story and characters (except for the bad guys of course) and I still love the art.  I remember this from when I initially read the first 6 issues that I don’t like the long paragraphs that they stick on with the book covers. I’m not really sure what the book covers are supposed to be, maybe magical texts of theirs? The Autumnlands is highly original and should be read by anyone who likes comics. In anycase, for anyone who loves animals, in particular talking animals, I highly recommend this series.

 

My general Notes: The first issue you meet Dusty, Gharta and Sandhorst. Gharta tries a spell which is forbidden and she destroys the city but produces a champion. In issue two, the survivors are attacked by a bison herd. At that moment he champion is freed and to everyone's horror he's not an animal.in issue 3 we meet Goodfoot and Affa. Goodfoot shows her true colors and so does councilor Sandhorst. Issue four- Dusty, who is also the narrator goes out scouting with the champion while Goodfoot and Councilor Sandorst are up to no good.  In Issue 5 Dusty and some others go on a secret mission for the Champion. Anxiety skyrockets for me when Councillor Sandhorsts arrests Gharta and Affa. Affa and Gartha seem to have a relationship of some sort going on. The plots continue to thicken. In Issue 6:  The parley happens and Gharta is finally freed.  However we loose someone and I won’t spoil it for you.  The asshole Councillor Sandhorst comes out looking the hero.





List of characters for my reference.

 

Bhord- Pug dog who is grey

 

Councillor Sandorst- is the owl

Dunstan/Dusty- White dog/terrier

Gharta- is the warthog

Goodfoot- fox/coyote

Gutruk- walrus I think

Leahroyd- the champion (and only human)

Affa- Giraffe

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text 2016-01-03 21:03
Most Memorable Reads of 2015
The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives - Lola Shoneyin
Redeeming Love - Francine Rivers
A Lover's Vow - Brenda Jackson
China Rich Girlfriend: A Novel - Kevin Kwan
In Good Company - Jen Turano
The Wrath and the Dawn - Renee Ahdieh
The Milliner's Secret: An epic and heart-wrenching love story set in wartime Paris - Natalie Meg Evans
Best Friends Forever - Kimberla Lawson Roby
Luxe - Ashley Antoinette Snell
The Lost Heiress (Ladies of the Manor) - Roseanna M. White

I read a little over 50 books in 2015. It was the worst reading year for me. I believe that's due to reading pretty much exclusively on my kindle, undue pressure placed on myself, choosing too many fluffy reads and watching too much You Tube.

 

This year I've started with a bang. I'm currently finishing An Untamed State by Roxane Gay. I will be participating in the hashtag #readmyowndamnbooks on Instagram started by Andi at EstellasRevenge on Twitter and YT. Physical books motivate me and push me in ways a kindle can't. I like marking the pages with page flags every 50 pages to keep me going and I like the feel of a book in my hands. I just need to remember to diversify my reading material and genres. 

 

I'm planning on a better 2016 with knowing what changes are needed to make it happen!

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review 2015-12-23 13:07
Thoughts: Head Over Heels
Head Over Heels - Jill Shalvis

Head Over Heels -- Jill Shalvis

Book 3 of Lucky Harbor

 

 

Head Over Heels is definitely my favorite of the first three Lucky Harbor books. I had been looking forward to this book for a few reasons, one of them a bit shallow, but what are ya gonna do?

First of all, I was the most interested in reading about Chloe since she was first introduced in Simply Irresistible. She just seemed so much more complex than the other two sisters, but probably moreso because she’s the less standard type of Romance novel heroine I have typically seen reading a lot of contemporary romances. Second, we will have seen much more interaction and have a bit more backstory on Chloe and Sawyer by the time their love story rolls around (unlike Maddie and Jax’s instalust to instalove story). And as much as second chance romances are more believable in the relationship developing arena (for Tara and Ford’s love story), I sometimes also like to see a developing romance in progress without pre-storyline emotional ties being an issue.

Finally, Sawyer is Lucky Harbor’s town Sheriff--and I like men in uniform with hero-style jobs. Yes, this is my shallow reason for being more interested in this book.

Romance-wise, the romance between Chloe and Sawyer is extremely sweet and cute, very wonderfully developed over the course of the book. With a case of opposites attracting, a straight-laced sheriff and a free-spirited “wild child”, the two seemed to be meant for each other. But in regard to what actually occurs in Head Over Heels these two have earned their Happily Ever After™.


The Story:
Chloe is the free-spirited “wild child” with a penchant for wanderlust and, according to the Lucky Harbor Facebook newsreel, a knack for getting into trouble. Of course, we get to see over the course of the book that Chloe’s trouble-making life in Lucky Harbor borders more on a Robin Hood-like vigilantism than actually just getting in trouble for the sake of getting into trouble. But for the past six months that she has been living in Lucky Harbor with her newly found half-sisters, Chloe has finally found a place she feels like she’d love to call “Home.” And to be able to call someplace home, she’s slowly started to show her sisters that she, too, would be able to settle and whittle down her wanderlust ways.

But Chloe is far from wanting to change her free-spirited personality.

Meanwhile she has drawn the attention of town Sheriff, Sawyer Thompson, who is somehow determined to save her when she’s in distress, or keep her out of trouble as much as possible. In turn, Sawyer’s altruistic nature and hero complex has also drawn Chloe’s attention as well.

In other Lucky Harbor news, there’s a new Cute Guy in town who is now the center of our Lucky Harbor gossip crew’s attention; two of our three half-sisters are currently engaged with one sister’s wedding pending; and some intrigue may be afoot in the more secluded wooded areas around Lucky Harbor.


My Thoughts:
To be totally honest, once again it is my love for the characters of Lucky Harbor that keeps me so hooked on these books, and the fun, crazy humor in the narration. Chloe and Sawyer’s love story isn’t all that unique even with a much more non-standard heroine as Chloe. And to be totally honest, without the wonderful bantering between these two, they’re courtship (if you could call it that) might have been kind of bland since they spend more time than not either having “Moments” together or trying to seduce each other.

And then you get some mundane, side tangent stuff such as a look at the everyday happenings of Lucky Harbor town sheriff and what he has to deal with on a regular basis; which is great, but almost too mundane to be of significance. Granted, it shows you more insight into Sawyer’s personality and his day-to-day life, but it’s not really all that exciting even if some of the events are newsworthy.

On the other hand, Chloe’s self-development was actually quite interesting to follow as she goes from traveling all over the place and being without roots, to finding a place she could see herself settling down into, if only her sisters and the people of Lucky Harbor would give her a chance. And the heart of the matter is, you also get to see the thought process in Chloe’s mind, wrought out from years of growing up following her equally wanderlust-y mother and having no real place to truly call “Home”. I also think it’s great that, even in her process of finding a group of people to belong to, she doesn’t completely banish her free-spirited attitude towards life.

Again, Chloe is the much more complex of the three sisters, which is probably why I loved her book so much more than the first two, even if I had a blast reading all three of them.

The romance developing between Chloe and Sawyer, though not all that unique, stands out in their interactions with each other. After professing their attraction and their interests to each other, they actually spend more time trying to be in each other’s presence as much as they can manage. And they spend a lot of their developing friends-with-benefits relationship building a rapport, learning about each other, and in general, trying to take care of each other in their own little ways.

Sawyer may be a commanding caveman at moments, but with Chloe, I love how he’s so sweet and thoughtful, especially during those times when she needs someone to lean on the most. And during sex, I’m absolutely thrilled that an asthma attack doesn’t completely scare him off and instead, he goes and learns how to best give Chloe pleasure without putting her in the hospital since Chloe has admitted that she cannot have sex without straining her asthma and ending up in the ER. If that doesn’t scream “sweet” for the Lucky Harbor sheriff, I don’t know what does.

The sexy times in this book were probably much steamier and hotter for that fact, even if they were already kind of hot and steamy by their own merit.

The romance between Chloe and Sawyer is so much fun to follow, and as I love Head Over Heels more than the first two books, I also love this couple more than the first two as well. As I already stated, despite the implied “Meant for each other” vibe that the whole polar opposites attracting plot device gives off, I’m satisfied to say that the love the between these two was actually developed and outlined really well. They got their Happily Ever After™ because they earned it--not that other couples don’t deserve theirs as well, but we actually get to see the relationship slowly develop from mutual attraction and lust, to friendship, and then finally a much more caring and deeper love for one another.


Final Side Thoughts:
I have every intention of continuing into the rest of the Lucky Harbor series. The writing is witty and fun with a great dose of humor infused. If the character interactions are going to continue in the same vein as what I’ve come to love in the first three books so far, then I know I’ll enjoy the rest of the books. Certainly, it will be hard to replicate the awkward, yet tightly-knit, sweet and loving continued development between the three half-sisters, but I’m holding out that we’ll still get to see a bit of them here and there throughout the rest of the series.

And skipping forward to peruse the summary blurbs of the rest of the Lucky Harbor works, I’m pleasantly surprised to see a return to Chloe and Sawyer in a side novella--although it does happen to be listed as Lucky Harbor #12.5. Nine more novels and another short story and another novella to go before we come back to my favorite Lucky Harbor couple...

I am absolutely anal enough to read everything just to make sure I get to that last novella at the proper chronological moment, even if I don’t know if I’ll enjoy all of it.

 

 

***

 

This book is a pre-chosen participant in the following Reading Challenge(s):

 

 

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review 2015-12-19 10:12
Thoughts: The Sweetest Thing
The Sweetest Thing - Jill Shalvis

The Sweetest Thing -- Jill Shalvis

Book 2 of Lucky Harbor

 

 

It's safe to say that The Sweetest Thing is much like my impression of it's preceding book, Simply Irresistible. It's formulaic as a typical love story with an overused plot device.

HOWEVER, that is where my complaints stop, honestly. Because sometimes you just need something lighthearted and fluffy to make your day, and, so far, the books of Lucky Harbor seem to fit this definition very well. Much like Simply Irresistible, The Sweetest Thing is fun and enjoyable, with a lot of strange, nonsensical humor and some laugh-out-loud moments. It's sexy in its own way (even if the sex wasn't really all that hot to write home about), and it touches the heart in just the right places.

The continuation of the three half-sisters in getting to know each other and the continuation of their new lives in Lucky Harbor is a treat. I may have liked The Sweetest Thing a bit more than Simply Irresistible if only because the love story was slightly more in-depth. And also, there was a lot more bonding going on between the three sisters, something that I had wished we could have seen more of in the first book. So I'm glad we're seeing more of it in this second book and I'm hoping to see more still, in the third book.

I might have had some feels at some point thanks to the three of them.


The Story:
Picking up from where the first book left off, Tara Daniels has chosen to stay in Lucky Harbor to help her sisters revive their mother's dilapidated, rundown dockside inn. A lot of renovations and rebuilding are in progress and the small, cozy business will be seeing it's grand opening soon. And, of course, Tara is at a crossroads in her life (as are all Contemporary Romance heroines), not quite sure whether to remain in Lucky Harbor with her sisters after all is said and done, or run away back to Texas where she'd been raised most of her life and do... whatever.

Tara's life is kind of out of sorts after her recent divorce and inheriting her mother's inn with her two half-sisters. But things are only going to become more complicated still. Her old childhood first love, Ford Walker is doing whatever he can to get back into her good graces (as well as into her bed), and after what had happened between them seventeen years ago, Tara's not sure if she can withstand another round of deep passion followed by disappointment and heartbreak. After all, it's not like Ford wants the same things she wants for her life.

To make matters even more interesting, Logan Perrish, Tara's ex-husband, shows up in Lucky Harbor determined to reconnect with Tara and make their marriage a thing once again.

Meanwhile, youngest sister Chloe is still on her wild streak, Maddie and Jax (from Simply Irresistible) are in the honeymoon phase of their relationship (as they disappear at odd moments to consummate like bunnies), Lucille the town gossip is running a Facebook poll on which man will win Tara's heart, and a seventeen year old girl arrives in Lucky Harbor set on learning about her origins. There might have been a lot of male posturing, wet t-shirts on boats, some sailing, and maybe a washboard abs contest in a bar as well.


My Thoughts:
To be frank, a lot of things happen in this book, even if not all of it significant. It almost feels like the next ten episodes in a story arc of a long running mini-series sitcom, or something like that. New characters are introduced vaguely and the next big coupling pair starts up a probable relationship with sexual tension and everything by the time the end of the book rolls around (hint: it's Chloe and Sawyer, and I've been most looking forward to their book since day one, Head Over Heels).

But the story line itself is nothing unique: A set of young lovers were wild and passionate during their teens, but had a bumpy First Love story, ending in heartache and separation. Years later, the powers that be give them a second chance by bringing the two back together for whatever reason, but both parties have their own reserves about getting too close lest they be burned once again, but they just can't seem to keep their hands off of each other.

Of course, to complicate matters, let's throw the ex into the little mess that's already complicated enough (even if the mess really didn't need to be complicated in the first place, but what do I know about relationships?).

What makes The Sweetest Thing so much more than just a typical love story, however, are really the characters and all of their interactions, relationships, and bonds with one another. I simply love the developing care and love between the three half-sisters, Tara, Maddie, and Chloe--how they've started to take care of each other in subtle ways, but how they also bond in a straight-forward, harsh-love type of way. They say what they feel, they get mean if they have to, and they're not afraid to dish out jokes or make each other's lives miserable so long as they maintain their biggest goal: Getting to know each other better as sisters and surviving each other together.

In and around the sisters are other great friendships and relationships to be had as well. Jax, Ford, and Sawyer are as good as brothers. Lucille and other of the elderly women are like mother hens and an extensive and over-imaginative gossip network. Everyone in the town of Lucky Harbor are good people without an evil bone in their bodies. Even if they side with certain people on certain matters, they don't do it by rolling over other people.

Again, sometimes you just need a light, fluffy romance with a heart-warming setting to make your day. Because even while The Sweetest Thing isn't the most unique story line in the world, just the character interactions make me all grinning and fuzzy and smiley and awe-ing. It's a pretty great feeling all with a Happily Ever After™ tying everything together.

Also, a lot of Tara's little quips and quotes are pretty awesome. And there's nothing wrong with some weird situations that just make you gape a bit or give a hearty little "Ha!" at how well it tickles your funny bone.


***

Chloe came up behind them. "Hey, thought we were doing yoga this morning."

"I get enough exercise just pushing my luck," Tara said, still watching the houseboat through the binoculars.

***

"Change is good but dollars are better."

-- Tara Daniels' recipe box of quotes


***

The inn's first real guests arrived as scheduled [...] Maddie and Tara checked them in together, and Chloe gave them a gift basket full of her natural products. The wife fingered through the items, cooing at the bath salts, the herbal teas, the...

"Massage oil?" the woman asked, lifting the bottle. She had to slip her glasses on to read the label, "Edible strawberry massage oil," she said out loud. "Perfect for that special someone. Put it on your--Oh my."

Mia gaped.

Maddie covered Mia's eyes.

Tara looked at Chloe in horror.

Chloe laughed and reached for the oil. "Whoops, I was wondering where that went. Here, try this instead." And she quickly replaced the oil with body lotion.

"Oh," the woman said, sounding greatly disappointed. "Could I maybe have both?"

"Well, sure." Chloe handed back over the oil. "Enjoy."

[...]

Mia giggled [...] and then Maddie snorted. She slapped her hands over her mouth, but it was too late, and the sound of it sent Mia into a new fit of laughter. Chloe promptly lost the battle as well.

"It isn't funny," Tara protested. "They're going to be up there doing... things." But her daughter was still cracking up, and Tara felt the helpless smile tug at the corners of her own mouth at the sound of it, and the next thing she knew, they'd all slid down the wall to the floor laughing like loons.

Together.

 

 

***

 

This book is a pre-chosen participant in the following Reading Challenge(s):

 

 

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review 2015-12-15 01:41
Inspector of the Dead - David Morrell

My favorite historical mystery series and it keeps getting better. Seriously, this series demonstrates how a historical mystery should be done. You drop down a rabbit hole and wander around in the damp dangerous world of Victorian England. The amount of research Mr. Morrell must have done is staggering, yet he weaves the historical elements and the lives of real people seamlessly into a breathtaking mystery thriller without sparing one ounce of tension.

 

Several times along the way I found myself stopping to delve into the historical story lines because Morrell made them so interesting.

 

Please, someone make this into a movie or, better yet, a series.

 

5 stars. 6 stars. However many—just read it.

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