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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-09-04 04:22
Review: Ariella's Escape by Carolee Croft

35609015

 

Ariella had always believed that the life of a warrior should include indulging in wine and men whenever they were on offer… And in Chaldea, the capital of the old empire, they certainly were. … Especially the man she finds in her bedchamber, a slave provided by her hosts to entertain her in any way she wishes.

 

But when betrayed and surrounded by enemies in a strange land, there is only one man she can trust—the slave who was meant only for her pleasure but is much more than he seems.

 

Demetrius had been captured in battle at the age of 15, and slavery was all he had known in his adult life. When his chance for freedom comes along, his fate is bound to the noble warrior maiden whose voice and body he cannot resist. Duty calls him to return to his kingdom, but the journey will take him places that will change him forever.

 

Together, they make their way through a den of thieves and an enchanted elf forest, but the biggest danger of all may be their fiery attraction to each other and the secret that will draw a dividing line between them.

 

***Disclosure: I was provided a free copy in exchange for a review.***

 

This was an odd book. It definitely belongs in the Erotica Fantasy Romance category, even though it's not billed as such, which hurts it because if you knew that going in, you wouldn't feel so let down by it all.

 

What's Good: a female protagonist who swings a two-handed sword, rules her own lands and gets to make use of a sex slave while on a diplomatic mission? Heck yeah- I'm in! But that initial encounter at the start of the book is as good as it gets. The reasons behind the assassination attempt were interesting, showing a deeper game than some of the players knew they were involved in. But it needed more development, more to invest you into it.

 

What's Bad: where to start? How about the stilted, overly formal way everyone speaks all the time? All that was missing was a few doses of 'yea, verily' and we'd have Shakespeare.

 

Or the ridiculousness of the sexual situations? Ariella gets to bang Demetrius while visiting the castle- fine. But an innkeeper who wants a live sex show in exchange for room and board... and protecting them from the soldiers chasing them? Not buying it.

 

Or all the @$$ pull magicks that sound like they came from an all-night D&D session? Ariella happens to possess a magic crystal that creates a yellow-brick road that lets ride over the castle walls...? And that she's descended from a line of legendary magical warriors- a lineage she never knew about- so now she's also the Chosen One? Gotta be kidding me.

 

And that Wild Hunt-style thing with the elves... no, none of it made much sense and just felt like page filler. *smdh* The idea behind the prophecy is kinda interesting, but clumsily handled. It reminded me of a 90's anime called X- where two people were destined to be at opposite ends of a prophecy. And no matter which path one of them decided to take the other would have to automatically oppose them. Because reasons. That's pretty much what's going on here.

 

What's Left: what started out as an interesting fantasy adventure with a strong female lead that devolved into some kind of teenage hormone fest that's pretty much off the rails. Not that it can't be salvaged, but I don't see that happening.

 

2.5/5 stars

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review 2017-08-15 18:13
Amulet 1-6
Amulet, Vol. 1: The Stonekeeper - Kazu Kibuishi
Amulet, Vol. 2: The Stonekeeper's Curse - Kazu Kibuishi
Amulet, Vol. 3: The Cloud Searchers - Kazu Kibuishi
Amulet, Vol. 4: The Last Council - Kazu Kibuishi
Amulet, Vol. 5: Prince of the Elves - Kazu Kibuishi
Amulet, Vol. 6: Escape From Lucien - Kazu Kibuishi

I picked up the first six volumes in this series for free.  Apparently, it was when volume seven was about to be released and Scholastic offer the first six via Kindle for free.

 

                The series chronicles the adventures of Emily, her brother Navin, and their mother as they try to adjust to an unexcepted trip to a magical land.  Emily is a Stonekeeper, an Amulet wearer (hence the title of the series).  She received this amulet from her grandfather upon her arrival.

 

                In short, this is a series where the chosen one is a girl.

 

                And that is cool because that doesn’t happen too much.  Don’t worry though, unlike some series where the sidekick gets sidelined, Navin too is allowed to come into his own, and his skill set is different than his sister’s.

 

                Kibuishi makes it quite clear that the siblings love each, though they do tease each.  The back story for the family is pretty much comic standard, one that we have seen pretty of times.  The artwork is cool, and the comic touches on themes such as redemption and protection.  At first it seems that the bad guys are going to be the elves, but the true evil becomes more complicated than that.  Kibuishi also illustrates where hate and fear can lead people.  It’s a tale with morals that doesn’t hit the reader over the head with them.

 

                Additionally, there is a creature that resembles Cherbourg (you know that mountain demon from Fantasia’s Night on Bald Mountain).

 

                I did have some problems with the story.  The first is one that I think only adult readers will have.  Both Emily and Navin at times seem both too adult and too childish.  It doesn’t quite work and at times, it throws you out of the story.  This occurs when Navin says to two children that they are too young to be helpful.  But I am pretty sure this is just an adult perspective.  The other issues are despite Emily being the chosen one, for much of the series the other major players are all male.  This changes in books 5 and 6 where we finally get more female characters who are active and not simply damsels in distress (like Emily’s mother).  This could have occurred before – Emily is being accompanied by men, trained by men (or male animals) so it is a little disappointing.  But if 6 is any indication this is going to change in the rest of the series.

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review 2017-07-30 05:30
Old concept made new again...
Nightmare Escape (Dream Jumper, Book 1) - Greg Grunberg,Lucas Turnbloom,Lucas Turnbloom

 

 

In Dream Jumper: Nightmare Escape Ben learns that he has a gift. He can jump into the dream world and see other people’s dreams. When Kaylee (his not girlfriend), falls into sub-rem sleep and can’t wake up, Ben decides he must find a way to save her. While asleep, Ben meets Lewis, a mysterious rabbit who helps him fight evil forces in the dream world.

 

There are currently two books in the Dream Jumper series. The idea for this series came from a dream that author (and actor) Greg Grunberg’s son had. The drawings are bright and cinematic feeling. They match perfectly with the story’s sense of adventure and mystery.

 

I really enjoyed this one. The concept reminds me of the Freddy Kruger movies, but this is much tamer - meant for the younger set. Ben is a great character and I really like him. I will try to read the second book too. I also think I will suggest we add this to our elementary school library.

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review 2017-07-22 13:02
The Andromeda Strain ★★★☆☆
The Andromeda Strain - Michael Crichton

Put together the most meticulous plans and bring together several brilliant and creative minds, but still nearly come to disaster through mistaken assumptions and mechanical and human errors, and be likewise saved by random leaps of logic and mechanical and human errors. Perhaps the most fun part of reading this, for me, is how plausible this seems, because all the characters involved behave like real humans do. Plus, having been written in 1968, Crichton is writing about cutting edge/futuristic technology that is now hilariously dated. Imagine a disaster nearly caused by

a communication failure, because an isolated team is relying on alerts that are transmitted to a machine that prints on a continuous roll of paper, but the paper gets jammed and nobody notices because the guy who’s supposed to check it just looks for software failures rather than mechanical and thinks, well, no news is good news.

(spoiler show)

 

Paperback, picked up at a used book sale. Good thing I didn’t try this on audio, as I expect that the frequent displays of lab test results and technical readouts would be horrible on audio. What would they do, just read line after line of figures?

 

I read this for the 2017 Booklikes-opoly challenge, for the square Tomorrowland 33: Read a book set in space or tagged SciFi on GR or a book that includes robots or cyborgs. The SciFi tag applies to this book.

 

Previous Updates:

7/8/17 - BLopoly pick

7/14/17 – 40/288pg

7/18/17 – 107/288pg

 

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review 2017-07-18 20:03
Review: The Escape - Soren's Saga (No Regrets #3)
The Escape: Soren's Saga - Nicky James

 

I feel like I can not give this any less than 5 stars !!! Soren's book was the cherry on the cake in this series

 

  

 

No Regrets and New Beginnings dealt with so much loss, it was excruciating!! But that's what I love most in reading. I love that stories touch my heart, that it's painful. And losing Landon en seeing Abel struggling with this loss was all that.

In these stories, Soren was a character. Soren, also being kicked out of his home for being gay, comes to live with his brother Abel. In the beginning they get along but Abel goes through some dark times and they kind of lose their connection. Soren is on his own, has to take care of himself.

We know from previous books that Soren danced at a nightclub. Abel hated him working there cause he didn't trust the owner. It seems that dancing is not all Soren is doing..... He's stuck in his life and doesn't know how to escape.

 

 

When Remy meets Soren for the first time, he's captivated. And after he understands what trouble Soren is in, he'll do anything to keep him safe.

I loved the differences between them. Soren's sassiness was able to get Remy out of his ODD comfortzone. “We balance each other out, don’t you see?" - Remy

Remy

 

 

“Your heart is racing,” he said. “I can hear it.”
I chuckled and traced my fingers up and down his back.
“Because you drive me crazy.”
“I know.”
He smiled into my chest.
“But you like it.”
“I love it,”



I'll be revisiting this series often!!

*HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

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