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review 2017-11-10 00:33
ARC Review: Birthday Presents by Dianne Hartsock
Birthday Presents - Dianne Hartsock

This is NOT a romance. This is a horror story. I knew this going in, and I was still pretty horrified while reading. 

Birthday Presents is dark. It contains rape, torture, and death. The villain is seriously disturbed. There are explicit scenes that are difficult to read. This book is not for the faint-hearted. 

The plot is fairly straight-forward, and we know from the get-go who the villain is. Spending time in Crimson's mind made me want to bleach my brain to get the disturbing images gone - he's vile and insane. He's a hunter, he is a murderer, and he has no conscience. He lives for the hunt, for the kill, for the depravity of his actions.

There's an attempt at making the reader sympathize with the villain, though that didn't work with me - I am firmly in the camp of not believing that a rough and abusive upbringing excuses the actions of our villain. 

I appreciated that the author gave the victims strength and allowed them to be more than just simpering damsels in distress. They fight for their survival, they do what they must to live. 

There's a bit of a mystery as to who's helping the villain, though I wasn't completely shocked to find out who the mystery person was - there were sufficient hints along the way. Still, that was a well-done plot point that kept me at the edge of my seat.

I hope that Tracey and Kyle get the psychological help they both need after living through these horrors, but I felt confident that they will both get through this. As for the little bit of romance we get toward the end, between Gene and his co-worker - that development came a little out of left field for me, and I didn't quite buy the long-time pining that's insinuated here. 

The writing was inconsistent in some instances, and I had to reread a few passages to understand what the author was trying to tell me. I also thought that the characterizations were uneven, and in some moments, the characters' actions didn't make sense to me. YMMV.



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

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text 2017-11-01 08:40
Bridal Shower Party Favors - Choose the Latest Collection Online

Bride, the most beautiful lady and center of attraction of entire event of wedding day, needs special attention. Presenting beautiful gifts is a very common thing. However, the bride isn’t the only one being showered with gifts, wishes are also important. Choosing Bridal Shower Party Favors is an important decision to make. 


Choosing something unique and special one for that very special day of a beautiful lady’s life is one of the vital decisions to make. If you are taking responsibility of making this grand occasion ever more special, you will get a chance to choose something classy and unique. Some of the best quality bridal shower party favors include, but not limited to:


• Bottle Openers, Bottle Stoppers and Candles & Votives
• Kitchen Favors, Edible Favors and Luggage Tags
• Totes & Bags, Matchboxes and Napkins & Plates
• Cups & Utensils Personalized Napkins and different others


Bridal Shower Party Favors


Apart from these items, you can also choose a lot more like favor jars & bottles, favor boxes & bags and favor containers. not to mention the availability of DIY blank favors, labels & tags, bridal party gifts, apparel, jewelry & accessories, mugs & tumblers, jewelry box, gift boxes, flower girl and ring bearer. 


Wedding Party Favors


Making the right decision for selection of the latest items also depends on your budget and other points. However, reaching the right and reliable store for bridal shower party favors or anything else is important. Online search is one of the time-saving and convenient ways to help you in fulfilling your requirement. You will get a number of big names.


Jubilee Favor is a well-established and reliable name offering you Personalized Wedding Party Favors and a lot more. Prices are competitive and depend on things you are getting. They are delivered directly to your address and without any delay.

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review 2017-10-28 13:27
NetGalley Review
Happy Birthday! - Mamoru Suzuki Happy Birthday! - Mamoru Suzuki

We received this book to give an honest review.


A very cute story with very good pictures that tell of how your birthday came to be. From the time you were born to the time you crawled and so forth. Happy Birthday! Is very fitting for this story. There is too many words to the page and I think that is perfect for the younger kids because they mostly like to look at pictures. Now the only thing I will say about the book that may ask questions is the part where the mom is breastfeeding the baby. Now it doesn't bother me at all and I am all for it, but for some people it may. 


I did like the ending where it says "Fly wherever and with whomever you would like! It doesn't matter how far you go; I will love you. Always." This is the perfect way to end this story. 

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video 2017-10-13 22:41

Happy Birthday to Linda and me!



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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-08-13 17:04
The Birthday of the World, Ursula Le Guin
The Birthday of the World and Other Stories - Ursula K. Le Guin

Aaaaaaaaaaaaargh! Sooooo goooooood!


When I learned that Le Guin's father was an anthropologist it explained a huge amount to me. Her SF "what ifs" aren't much along the lines of "what if there was magic goo that could make and fix everything?" or "what if aliens built an interstellar subway system then disappeared?" They are more along the lines of, "what if the female:male ration was 1:16 instead of 1:1?" or "what if most people were bi-sexual, with a minority of heterosexuals?" or "what would the religion of people on a generation ship be like?" or "what if everybody was an introvert?" Not much about technology, a lot about society.


All of these stories are excellent. In my experience it's unusual for the standard of a short collection to be so uniform (and high).


Serious spoilers for one story ahead.


The one that I want to discuss is the novella, Paradises Lost. It's a generation ship tale, putting it square in the mainstream of SF and inviting comparison with all the other such tales there have been over the decades. Earth's major religions are represented upon launch but five generations in, they have faded away, shorn of their context and therefore relevance and supporting societies. However, a new religion arises that threatens the mission, because it suggests that only the ship is real and it's Heaven.

Le Guin seems to be saying that religion is an invention that en mass humans can't do without and that it fulfills some kind of psychological need to explain and make bearable one's circumstances - and that just as inevitably people will opportunistically use it to try to gain power over others.


In Le Guin's made up situation, the fictional religion gives greater meaning to the lives of people who's function is merely to produce the next generation and keep them alive for an event they will either be too old or too dead to fully participate in themselves (arrival at the Destination). That meaning is that the journey is the genuinely important thing and actually arrival is undesirable.


To have validity, this theory must apply to real religions. I can figure it out with regard to Christianity. It's the religion of the poor and oppressed: never mind your poverty and powerlessness in this life, in the next, eternal one, you will be rewarded with endless bliss in Heaven while your rich oppressors are eternally punished in Hell. The pantheistic "spirit of place" religions such as that of the pagan Celts or of Japanese Shinto also make sense in the contexts in which they arose - an apparently incomprehensible and capricious world. Every place, every thing and every type of thing must have a controlling spirit that, whilst wilful and unpredictable can at least be negotiated with - here's my offering, please don't harm me. It seems less obvious to me regarding other religions, which might just be a reflection of my lack of knowledge. Why did Islam deviate from Christianity? What changed circumstance or new need did it satisfy? I don't know. But, to come full circle, this theory seems a very anthropological one.


Great stories - read them.

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