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review 2017-11-22 08:21
Fence (Issue #1) by C.S. Pacat; Illustrated by Johanna the Mad
Fence #1 - C.S. Pacat,Johanna Lindsey Fence #1 - C.S. Pacat,Johanna Lindsey

As you know (if you've been following my reviews for a while now), I am a huge fan of C.S. Pacat. I love her Captive Prince trilogy. Those are some of my favorite books of all time and since I've read them, I've decided that I will read everything else she has ever written in whatever form of media she chooses. So when I heard she was creating a comic about queer fencers, I pre-ordered my copy right there and then. When I discovered Johanna the Mad was the artist for this comic, I jumped for joy! Johanna is known in the fandom world for her many contributions to various different anime and manga. Basically, these two are a force to be reckon with and I was so excited to read their work.

 

Well, FENCE does not disappoint. I can't talk about it too much since it is the very first issue of the comic, but I will say this comic is everything I've hoped for. It's everything I love about sports anime, from the love of the sport to the rivalries to the ambition of always striving to do better! It's incredible! Plus, it's about a sport I know very little about: fencing. I love that the reader will not only be invested in the characters and their struggles, but they will also learn about fencing as a sport. I'm curious to learn more about fencing and seeing how the characters develop their skills. 

 

Speaking of characters, we are introduced to the main two. Nicholas Cox and Seiji Katayama. Nicholas is a character who grew up in poverty, is a bit of a loner, and has an attitude but loves fencing. Seiji seems to be someone who has it all and is a bit full of it because of his talent. These two, naturally, butt heads and a rivalry ensues. I can tell these two are going to have quite the relationship. >:3 

 

The artwork adds to the enjoyment of the story. It's so gorgeous and stunning! Johanna has done an amazing job at bringing these characters to life. Both C.S. Pacat and Johanna the Mad have worked really hard to bring this comic to life and it shows.

 

If you are a fan of any of these ladies, if you love their work, if you love sports anime, if you love queer content, then I highly recommend you check this comic out. It's such an amazing first issue and I am so looking forward to reading the other issues as they are released!

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review 2017-11-22 04:40
Book Review: Digestive Intelligence by Dr Irina Matveikova
Digestive Intelligence: A Holistic View of Your Second Brain - Irina Matveikova

Despite the medical tone, this book is accessible to the layman interested in improving digestive health. Offering good advice and excellent insight into the workings of the gut, this is worth the read. Quite fascinating to realise how much a toxic digestive system impacts the whole body.

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review 2017-11-22 04:38
Book Review: Midwife for Souls by Kathy Kalina
Midwife For Souls - Kathy Kalina

A gently written book with some good advice for caring for the terminally ill. Unfortunately, the strong Christian religious dogma was to the detriment of the overall good that this book could offer caregivers.

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review 2017-11-22 00:18
Book Review: Blood From A Stoner by L.A. Witt
Blood from a Stoner: A paranormal gay romance with vampires & weed. In Seattle. Obviously. - L.A. Witt

I first heard of this book when the author talked about it on Facebook - about this romance between a vampire and a stoner. Giggling, I made a note to snatch this up when it became available. 

It's a quick read, and just based on the title, you'd think it'd be all fun and sexy times, and you'd be half-right.

Greg is the aforementioned vampire, forever frozen at 24, needing blood, having to stay out of the sunlight, and somewhat regretting his decision to become one of the undead, even if it will allow him to eventually pay off his student loans. He works as a software engineer for an IT company, and since in this particular universe, people (mortals) know about vampires, the company accommodates them by having the vamps work overnight, and provide sleeping quarters in the windowless basement in case of unpaid overtime so they don't have to drive home in the daylight. 

Zane is a mortal/human, similar in age to Greg, and works at the same company as a programmer. On whom Greg has a secret crush. Zane also indulges in weed which is legal in Seattle, where they both live and work.

Speaking of work, the company has been putting Greg under a lot of pressure to get the new product ready for release, which means overtime and no days off, and Greg is hangry. Which, being a vampire, is never a good thing.

Then Greg happens upon Zane outside, while taking a minute to breathe, and hangry Greg takes up Zane on his offer of taking a sip or five from Zane's neck. Which is super frowned upon at the company, but hey - whatever. Except Zane has partaken of some pot, unbeknownst to Greg. And now Greg is also a bit high.

I laughed and laughed and laughed at this point, because high vamp was hilarious. 

This being an L.A. Witt book, the sexy times are right around the corner, and boy, do they ever burn up the sheets. With or without weed, with or without getting high. The author has a real knack of writing those scenes, and they never felt gratuitous or repetitive. 

Obviously, as feelings develop, as they usually do in romance books, Greg now has a problem on his hands - he's immortal. Zane, not so much. And considering how much Greg regrets having chosen this life, he sure as hell won't convert Zane. But thinking of Zane growing older and eventually dying also makes Greg's unbeating heart hurt. What's a vamp to do?

I'll leave you to read this for yourself...

It's not easy fleshing out your characters to make them realistic in a novella, especially since one of them is supernatural, and you also have that whole world-building thing needing to happen, but the author does a fantastic job sprinkling the info into the narrative without ever making it feel like info-dump. Greg bitches about higher insurance rates, and extra tinting on the car windows, and being taxed higher than mortals, and generally having to pay more for stuff, because of that whole undead thing, which is plenty to make this world feel real enough. 

There's more to the book than just the sexy times, even if those are plenty. There's also doubt and confusion and fear, and the author did a great job exploring those feelings. As the story is told entirely from Greg's POV, we don't get a whole lot of insight into Zane, but what we get is enough to paint a picture of the guy - laid-back, a bit of a free spirit, definitely into weed and sex with Greg, but also insightful enough to realize that Greg needs to come to terms with what's bothering him, and then giving him the space and time to figure things out. Well done, that.

Recommended for all L.A. Witt fans, and those who love romance books that are sexy, light, and fluffy, but also have some serious undertones.

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review 2017-11-21 23:56
ARC Review: All Of The Above by Quinn Anderson
All Of The Above - Quinn Anderson

I quite liked this book once I pushed past the first 30% or so. Brendon, one of our MCs, works what's basically dead-end job as a salesperson for hair straighteners and other beauty products in a local mall, while also going to school to become a hair stylist/make-up artist. He's friends with a married couple running the sales stand next to his.

Brendon also comes across as a bit lonely, though he's described as someone who doesn't usually finish what he starts, a bit flaky, a bit effeminate. He's gay and there's no hiding it. His hair frequently changes color. He can't seem to hold on to a boyfriend, looking for perfect and never finding it. He felt real enough to me, and definitely likable, and I hoped he would find what he was looking for.

Then he comes across a quiz in a local magazine asking "Who's Your Perfect Man?" And it appears as if the author of the quiz, one Matthew Kingston, is just perfect for Brendon.

The meet-cute is fake, obviously, as Brendon sort of stalks Matthew online, finds his pictures and his usual hangouts, realizes that what he sees he definitely likes, and begins hanging out at those places, hoping to run into Matthew.

Which he does, after a while.

They have an awesome first date, and they seem to have a lot in common, considering how much Brendon knows about Matthew's preferences, which he uses to his advantage. And then Brendon realizes he has to come clean, knowing Matthew abhors liars, and what might have been turns into heartache.

I didn't actually like Matthew all that much for most of the book, to be honest. He came across as a bit of a judgmental dickhead. Even after he supposedly forgives Brendon for the initial deception, and they're on their 2nd date, something Matthew apparently spent some time setting up, he keeps making snarky remarks about Brendon's lie, until Brendon, suddenly finding his backbone, calls him on that shit real quick. I cheered in my head when that happened, because I was getting quite irritated with Matthew at that point. His behavior was, while certainly understandable, not something someone with forgiveness in his heart would likely do.

I did warm up to him eventually, when he makes an about-face and the two of them really talk things through. I really liked that Brendon who, despite feeling guilty about his earlier deception, held Matthew's feet to the fire when his words of forgiveness didn't match his actions.

The feelings between them grow quickly, but believably, and I had no issues with the time frame here. I do believe that Brendon and Matthew were well-matched, and thus the rapidity with which they developed into a full-blown relationship was perfectly fine with me. 

This is the kind of easy, happy reading that I need every so often. It's a bit quirky, on the sweet and fluffy side for sure, and definitely worth your time.


** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher via Netgalley. A review was not promised in return. **

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