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review 2017-05-19 02:53
Salamandastron by Brian Jacques
Salamandastron - Brian Jacques

(I finished this a month ago and should have reviewed it back then, but I was more interested in diving into my next book than writing a review.)

Salamandastron follows multiple groups of characters whose paths eventually converge. The primary storyline starts at Salamandastron. Ferahgo, a blue-eyed assassin weasel, has set his sights on that place and is convinced that there is great treasure to be found there. He knows it’ll all belong to him if he and his band can manage to defeat Urthstripe, the great badger Lord, and his skilled warrior hares. Urthstripe, meanwhile, is distracted by family problems: Mara, his adopted daughter, has been growing increasingly rebellious and restless.

The secondary storyline starts at Redwall Abbey. Everything there is good food and celebrations, with occasional light punishments for scamps like Samkim the squirrel and his best friend Arula the molemaid, until a couple stoats accidentally do something horrible. Suddenly Samkim finds himself suspected of killing someone. As if that wasn’t bad enough, many of Redwall Abbey’s residents then fall ill with the dreaded Dryditch Fever.

This is the first Redwall book I’ve ever read. I had planned to start with Redwall, the very first book in the series, but my copy was used and fell apart in my hands when I opened it up. After a little searching online, I determined that I should be able to start with Salamandastron, the one other Redwall book I owned, without becoming too confused.

Salamandastron was given to me by a friend back when I was, I think, in middle school. If I had read it back then, I might have liked it more. Despite its copious amounts of (not explicitly described) violence and death, Salamandastron definitely read like it was meant for a younger audience - I’m guessing either the high end of the Middle Grade age range or the low end of the Young Adult.

Then again, who knows? Maybe the various accents in Salamandastron would have annoyed Younger Me too. The moles were definitely the worst, although the falcons and eagle occasionally gave me trouble too. Here’s an example that made me laugh bitterly - a mole saying he had trouble understanding an eagle:

“‘Och, these vittles are braw eatin’, Dumble. Ha’ ye nae mair o’ these wee veggible pasties the guid hedgepig lady made?’

Droony squinched his eyes until they nearly disappeared into his small velvety face. ‘Bohurr, you’m heagle do be a-talken funny loik. Oi carn’t unnerstan’ a wurd ‘ee be sayen, Dumble.’” (290)

Oh really. And how do you think I felt every time one of the moles opened their mouths? There were times I just gave up and skimmed certain characters’ dialogue. Why did Samkim’s best friend have to be a mole? ::sob::

I can totally see younger readers being drawn in by the anthropomorphized animals and action scenes. And food descriptions! This book was chock full of delicious-sounding food. Unfortunately, sometimes all that food and eating detracted from the story. For example, at one point Mara’s friend Pikkle took part in an eating contest. This was after he and Mara had nearly been eaten by carnivorous toads. Not to mention, Mara and Pikkle should still have been worried sick about what Ferahgo and his band might be doing to their friends and family back at Salamandastron. But no, figuring out who could eat the most hot spiced apple pudding was suddenly the most important thing.

This was part of the reason why the book read so young: serious stuff happened, but it didn’t seem to have as much emotional impact as it should. Several good characters died! At least one of them senselessly! And one villain’s fate was saved from being gruesome only because most of it happened off-page and none of it was described in detail. If the other Redwall books have body counts similar to this one, I don’t think it’d be too out of line to say that Brian Jacques is the George R.R. Martin of Middle Grade fantasy.

But, again, those deaths didn’t have much emotional impact. Beloved friends and family died, and characters moved on within a page or two and were soon back to happily gorging themselves on delicious festival foods.

Meh. I had hoped to fall in love with this series, but Salamandastron has left me with no desire to try more.

Additional Comments:

I couldn’t figure out how to fit it into the body of my review, but I wanted to mention it anyway: I have never seen so many characters practice such terrible weapons safety in a single book. Samkim liked to shoot arrows wherever, just for fun, and all the adults around him did was ground him and then worry they were being too harsh. And one character, an adult who should have known better, straight up stabbed himself (not fatally, but still) because he’d been playing around with a sword like it was a toy.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2017-05-03 19:10
Serial Killers Run Amok In The Count To Ten series by Jane Blythe @jblytheauthor
One (Count to Ten) (Volume 1) - Jane Blythe

The simple covers for Jane Blythe’s Count To Ten series speak to me (this is the one I have) and, of course, reading about serial killers is always a high priority.

 

I love dark stories, the darker, the better.

 

One…

 

One (Count to Ten #1)

 

Amazon  /  Goodreads

 

MY REVIEW FOR ONE

 

 

I love dark stories with murder and serial killers running wild, and Jane Blythe has come through in this fantastic series. This guy is a real sicko. Only death will stop him.

Right off, I’m thinking…Oh no she didn’t…

 

Yes, he fell for her and yes, there’s a lot more gory and brutal murder to come.

 

Who is it? Why such grotesque murders?

 

I have a problem with Annabelle and Xavier hooking up, but hey, stranger things have happened. He seems too old for a naive, inexperienced young woman like her. I like my books to be ‘realistic’ and, even though I enjoyed how it developed, not just jumping in bed, but the slow and getting to know you kind of thing, something still felt off.

 

Annabelle ‘s dialogue made her seem older than her years, but maybe the traumatic events she has been though have caused her to grow up sooner. After all, she had been the adult of her household.

 

I love the fact I can’t figure out who is the culprit, even though I feel I must have met him by now. I do have a feeling…oh, wait, maybe it’s him…or could it be him?

 

The sicko wants revenge and I want to know why.

 

The twists and turns kept coming, never letting up, even when the last page was read. I DID NOT want it to end. Jane Blythe was ‘this close’ to having me rate this a five and I definitely look forward to reading more of her work.

 

I voluntarily reviewed One by Jane Blythe.

 

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos 4 Stars

 

GOODREADS BLURB

 

Annabelle Englewood slaughters her family while they sleep.

 

Or so it seems to Detective Xavier Montague when he and his partner arrive at her house to find her sleeping peacefully, her family all dead.

 

But then another family and another are murdered, again with one family member left alive, and it becomes clear that Annabelle is simply a pawn in a vicious killer’s game.

Intrigued by Annabelle, the first woman Xavier has been attracted to since his divorce, when he comes face to face with the killer he will be forced to make the ultimate choice, a life and death decision, that could let a psychotic murderer walk free.

 

 

  • You can see my Giveaways HERE.
  • You can see my Reviews HERE.
  • animated smilies photo: animated animated.gifIf you like what you see, why don’t you follow me?
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Source: www.fundinmental.com/19701-2
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review 2017-05-03 19:06
Serial Killers Run Amok In The Count To Ten series by Jane Blythe @jblytheauthor
Two (Count to Ten Book 2) - Jane Blythe

I love dark stories, the darker, the better.

 

Two…

 

This is the simple cover I have and I like it a lot.

 

Two (Count to Ten #2)

 

Amazon  /  Goodreads

 

MY REVIEW FOR TWO

 

Jane Blythe writes of serial killers and grotesque murders and I LOVE it.

 

Brooke Mariano is a pregnant teenager with dreams of wealth and leisure and her life is snuffed out like a candle, all to keep a secret, a secret I want to be revealed and the guilty party to pay for it.

 

I like that Ryan’s interest in Sophia began before they were shoved together because of the murder. Her mysterious illness may seem to make her weak, but she is strong enough and determined enough to live on her own, disinherited by her rich father because she has a mind of her own. I love strong, independent female protagonists, and Sophia is spot on. I hate men that act like dictators and feel women are supposed to fall in line.

 

The body count grows and so does the suspect list. I love to be kept guessing and Jane Blythe is very good at doing that. Was someone in the family eliminating other members? If so, why? Most of them are wretched, miserable, pathetic excuses for human beings, so, in my book, none of them would be missed. LOL

 

Sometimes those surrounding the killer are worse than the killer himself.

 

When they go into the room…

 

Jane Blythe’s use of misdirection is very well done.

 

I can easily visualize events as they unfolded, as if a Criminal Minds episode was playing in front of me. It is so easy to picture Sophia…in a wheelchair, hunched over, looking at photos…But…I do hate a character I am growing very fond of making such a predictable and stupid error. Now, I am pissed at her. Is it my personal feelings keeping these ratings at fours, where others would rate them higher? It’s up to you to decide.

 

The book has an ending , but Three will bring One and Two together in a reunion I do not want to miss. I can hardly imagine where Jane will  take it and I am rubbing my hand together in glee just thinking about it.

 

I voluntarily reviewed Two by Jane Blythe.

 

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos 4 Stars

 

GOODREADS BLURB

 

Before the sun rises, another will fall.

 

When Brooke Mariano is found murdered on the grounds of the powerful Everette family’s estate, it looks at first as though she may have been killed in order to keep the paternity of her unborn child a secret.

 

However, when another member of the Everette family turns up dead each night, it quickly becomes a race against time as Detective Ryan Xander and his partner try to discover which member of the family is the killer before the entire clan wind up dead.

Ryan’s only inroad to the secretive family is Sofia Everette. Shunned by her father for her refusals to obey him, and battling a mysterious illness, Sofia’s childhood dreams may be the key to saving her life and stopping the killer from exterminating the entire Everette family.

 

 

  • You can see my Giveaways HERE.
  • You can see my Reviews HERE.
  • animated smilies photo: animated animated.gifIf you like what you see, why don’t you follow me?
  • Thanks for visiting!
Source: www.fundinmental.com/19701-2
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text 2017-05-01 20:30
I thought it would be longer...

I just saw a self-published author announce their new release, Book 1 in a series. It sounded interesting, and then I saw that "Book 1" is less than 10,000 words long. I am...less interested now.

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review 2017-04-14 13:06
Growing pains
Make it Count - Megan Erickson

Alec does not want to find his best friend's girl attractive.  Lately it has been so much more.  Now, they share a secret.  Will it help or hurt the already tense situation?

 

Katia AKA Kat knows her time is almost up with her boyfriend.  She only keeps men around to avoid getting lonely.  Alec offers more, even dreams of a future.  If she can be brave maybe the future is already here.

 

Started off slow, but then got going so well I was not sure how to react.  This story is what most would call a slow burn.  I love the heat, heart, and humor.  These characters are some I would love to see again.  Loved how such a tense subject was handled.  I cannot wait to read more in the Bowler University series!  I give this story a 3/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

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