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review 2018-01-26 00:35
Mannethorn's Key: Book One of the Key of... Mannethorn's Key: Book One of the Key of Life Trilogy (Volume 1) - Simon Lindley

Fans of the epic fantasy genre who appreciate complex, well-detailed and absorbing quest sagas will find Mannethorn’s Key the perfect choice for a long winter's night. 


The story opens with an intelligent drakehawk bird who is being called back home via magic. It turns out that Ka is the decoy for bringing Grailborn to the wizard's door, and the reward for her loyalty is betrayal. 


Algarth Willowbrow's kingdom is in ruins: Grailborn has overcome his wards, his magic tricks and drakehawk have failed, and all that's left is a secret that involves a costly compromise and a final encounter that will ultimately determine the fate of Drageverden. 


In another world, former broker Bartholomew Waxman has also gambled everything and lost; but he's about to embark on a journey between worlds he never knew existed, on a quest that could change them both.  


Can a wizard stripped of his powers and an unsuspecting human who has already lost everything amass a power between them that can save both realms? 


One pleasure of Mannethorn’s Key lies in its ability to depict two very different worlds and purposes and bring them together in unexpected ways. 


As Bart and Algarth consider their choices, breaches of tradition, and most of all, their failures, other characters enter the story that also have lost much and made decisions that conflicted with their interests.


Rage and revenge, a key hidden by Mannethorn that involves Bart in impossible circumstances, and mythical relics that explain much but are never found all make for a gripping story. 


It should be cautioned that violence, swearing, and clashes on more than one level permeate the story line. These are always in keeping with the tale at hand, but add an extra dimension of spice and angst to the story that may stymie fantasy fans looking for clean action reading. 


It should also be mentioned that Mannethorn’s Key is the opener to a series and only explores Bart's first day of experiences in Drageverden. More books are in order, and will likely flush out the story of guardians, spells, and dilemmas of a man who knows he is no savior, but seems to have been thrust into this unlikely role, with Mannethorn Lexipath holding the key to everything. 


Readers of epic fantasy looking for a powerful winter read will relish the detail and world Simon Lindley has crafted here, which sets the stage for further books in the Key of Life trilogy. 

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text 2018-01-03 12:48
Reading progress update: I've read 245 out of 336 pages.
Archie: The Married Life Book 6 (The Married Life Series) - Fernando Ruiz,Paul Kupperberg,X.J. Kennedy,X.J. Kennedy

I'm actually enjoying this more than I suspected I would.  


But - Archie OD.


I need something else, so Clive Barker's Nightbreed and flying through some Judge Dredd Humble Bundle instead. 


Also, possibly some actual catching up with the comics I buy week by week, because my pile is still grossly large on that side of things.

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review 2017-10-19 01:19
Definitely not what I thought it was going to be.
Life is Good: The Book - Bert Jacobs,Joh... Life is Good: The Book - Bert Jacobs,John Jacobs

I'm somewhat familiar with the "Life Is Good" brand, having seeing their products somewhere and once visiting their Boston store. Never purchased anything from them but enjoy seeing their stuff and so it seemed like a good way to support a brand that was so positive and upbeat.


Sadly it was not what I thought it was going to be. I had hoped for a story and history behind the brand. And while yes, there is certainly that I also felt it was trying to be too much at once: a biography of the founders, details behind the philosophy of LIG, some self-help tips, etc. All packed in a very slick looking hardcover book with lots of pictures.


And that's about it. It actually really reminded me of the same book by the person behind the KIND bars/products. A brand history, a biography of the founder, business tips, etc. Too many things going on at once all published in a very nice looking book that costs quite a bit of money (vs. other books in similar veins). And for the right person such as a die-hard fan or maybe someone who might really want or need advice from this angle it could really work.


But a lot of the negative criticisms for this review is on target. It's not exactly a well-researched book and more of a feel-good rah-rah self-help guide. I didn't really need to know the songs the founders like and quite frankly I didn't care about their family history. It is a beautiful book to have on your coffee table but otherwise there's not much here unless you adore the brand.


So, obviously it wasn't for me. Glad I bought it as a bargain book to read on my own time. Skim it at the library, bookstore or at an actual LIG store if you get the chance. Unless you're part of a very specific audience of fans or want to model your brand/business after LIG I'm not sure who the target readers are for this one.

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review 2017-09-26 16:43
For Life or Until: Love and Warfare series book 1 - Anne Garboczi Evans,Heather McCurdy,Gregg Bridgeman

For Love or Until by Anne Garboczi Evans
This story starts out with Ness, a Celt and she's warming the water. Cedric loves her since forever. He wants to set up his farmland before he asks for her hand.
She plans her farmland and wants to raise sheep and weave the wool.
After the dance she's informed he had asked someone else to marry another girl.
The Roman tribune, Aquillus wants to marry her to raise their children as Romans and she accepts in retaliation of not being wed by Cedric.
She thought she'd be closer to her family but is not within days of their location any longer. She tries to befriend women and they just hate her, like she's from the wrong side of the tracks.
She has to go through so much pain and heartbreak and you wonder if the couple will ever be happy at all...
Parts that struck me the most were those of what she has to do to survive for her children and herself as she lends to the fields. She follows her passions and something she always wanted to do.
Like that after the Latin phrases are spoken they are translated in English so you can not left in the dark. Enjoyed listening to their traditions as they are explained.
Love the travel and that she had brought seeds for the land she was moving to. Love that knitting is mentioned and things other make and sell to make money for the family.
Love learning new words as I look them up to find out what they mean.
Excerpt from the second book in this series is included.
Received this review copy from the publisher Olivia Kimbrell Press via Bookfun.org and this is my honest review.

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text 2017-09-17 11:36
Reading progress update: I've read 6%.
How to Save a Life (Howl at the Moon Book 4) - Eli Easton

"The thing about dogs was, they were incapable of artifice or guile. They just wanted to be loved. They were far superior to humans in that regard, and in pretty much every other way besides."

Yep. Dogs are just 100% better than people.



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