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review 2018-10-06 16:09
To stoke your wanderlust
Unruly Places: Lost Spaces, Secret Cities, and Other Inscrutable Geographies - Alastair Bonnett

Unruly Places: Lost Spaces, Secret Cities, and Other Inscrutable Geographies by Alastair Bonnett is essentially a sociological and philosophical study of what 'place' really means to each of us. The author explores 47 different locales around the globe (usually with GPS coordinates included) and divides them by type (floating cities, underground bunkers, and places without borders to name a few). He examines the dichotomy in wanting a place which is set in stone and also desiring to be itinerant travelers like our ancestors. Until I read this I had never really thought about the significance that we as humans associate with place. The historical and geographical facts Bonnett detailed were especially fascinating (examples include: pumice rafts, Sealand (they have their own passports!), and the enclaves of Belgium). The pacing was just right and the material kept me engaged throughout (which by this point in the year is a challenge).  I really like to learn about places that are far removed from the everyday and Bonnett delivered on that in spades. For those with wanderlust in their heart or a desire to learn about phenomenally odd and/or out of the way locales then this is a great little book. I bet it would make an excellent travel companion on any vacation! 10/10


What's Up Next: When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi


What I'm Currently Reading: Star Trek: Destiny #3: Lost Souls by David Mack (yes, I'm still reading this)

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2018-06-05 19:26
Wanderlust - Lauren Blakely

Joy Danvers-Lively decided to take a new job overseeing the fragrance lab at L'Artisan in PARIS!!!!  She had had enough with her boyfriend, Richard and wanted a break from everything.  Joy has been trying to learn French, but she will still have an interpreter with her during the days at work.  Her first day in Paris Joy wanders into a bakery and hears the most delicious, British accent she has ever heard....coming from a tall, dark man with a sexy butt and he starts flirting with her.

Griffin Thomas has been living in Paris for a year.  It was an item on his brother Ethan's bucket list that they made while his brother was dying.  Just as he was finally able to leave Paris for his next journey, Griffin finds out that he has been reassigned to a different job, not the big cushy one that would have earned him all the money he needed to leave.  Now he has to be an interpreter for and American woman who is an organic chemist.

Griffin is enjoying flirting with Joy.  It's the first time in a long time that a female has excited him since his brother died.  After they part ways, they both keep thinking about the other.  Imagine their surprise when they are introduced later at her new job.  Oh, the fun banter between these two was superb!  Both very quick witted!

As these two spend more and more time together because of work, it quickly turns into more time together after work so Griffin can help her with her French even more.  The sexual tension between these two was explosive.  Once they finally crossed that line it was LOOK OUT!!!!

I really enjoyed both of these characters.  Griffin was chasing a dream and he ended up finding something completely different than he thought he was looking for.  Joy was running from life and ending up finding just what she really always wanted.  I really loved their happy ending.  It was just perfect!

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review 2018-03-15 00:00
Wanderlust - Lauren Blakely

Lauren Blakely is a master. All she needs is a pen and paper to set my imagination ablaze. Wanderlust is a bit old time Hollywood with modern day adventure. Joy and Griffin take readers on an escapade fueled by beautiful scenery, sexy banter and a passionate attraction that sets the pages on fire. For Joy a change of scenery lands her in over her head. She came to Paris to find herself and may end up leaving her heart behind. Griffin is every woman's fantasy. The look, accent and attitude are enough to steal your breath, but the way he treats Joy is hard to resist.

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review 2018-03-06 13:44
Of Stillness And Storm by Michele Phoenix
Of Stillness and Storm - Michèle Phoenix

It took Lauren and her husband ten years to achieve their dream—reaching primitive tribes in remote regions of Nepal. But while Sam treks into the Himalayas for weeks at a time, finding passion and purpose in his work among the needy, Lauren and Ryan stay behind, their daily reality more taxing than inspiring. For them, what started as a calling begins to feel like the family’s undoing.  At the peak of her isolation and disillusion, a friend from Lauren’s past enters her life again. But as her communication with Aidan intensifies, so does the tension of coping with the present while reengaging with the past. It’s thirteen-year-old Ryan who most keenly bears the brunt of her distraction. Intimate and bold, Of Stillness and Storm weaves profound dilemmas into a tale of troubled love and honorable intentions gone awry.





Lauren and her husband, Sam, are living in Nepal with their thirteen year old son, Ryan, for the purpose of doing missionary work. This project is a labor of love for Sam, who has a sort of frenetic excitement for each day's work, while Lauren and Ryan, though supportive, struggle with their daily grind. 


As Sam is away in the villages of Nepal for days at a time, Lauren is left isolated with only her mostly silent, moody teenage son and her own inner thoughts for company. It is through these inner thoughts that the reader gets to know the story of Lauren & Sam and how the idea of the Nepal project came to be. We also get insight into the tiny fractures within this once solid marriage and why Lauren starts to question where her very life purpose truly lies. 


"A heart unrisked is a heart unshared and yours is too good to waste."


All those years ago, Sam & Lauren met as college kids experiencing a semester abroad in Austria. She was drawn to his intelligence and flattered by his honest interest in who she was at her core. Fast forward to the current moment and Lauren is living a life she flatly describes as "sufficient", which is pretty much aka BLAND. She finds herself bored, lonely and maybe just a bit bitter over the sense that she is doing a lot of the grunt work in this relationship while Sam reaps the rewards of her devotion to him. Even the burden of finding the means to fund Sam's dreams tends to fall on Lauren to answer. But all that is about to be challenged. 


It only takes one instance, one moment of weakness. Lauren receives an online private message (through FB, I believe, or something similar) from Aidan, an old friend of Lauren's from 20 years ago. The private messages continue and the friendship is gradually rekindled. As you can imagine, this can be tricky territory to manuever for a bored, lonely housewife desperate for attention. 


From there, this novel essentially becomes a character study of people and what drives them, their desires, what's worth sacrificing / what's truly important, etc. When it comes to Sam, he seems like a decent, considerate guy with a strong moral code but BORING. The semantics-filled conversations bantered between him and Lauren nearly did my head in at times! There's just not much warmth to the guy, too serious and analytical to be very enticing to readers... to the point where you can almost understand the appeal in the dangerous territory that is Aidan.


Lauren's not the obvious winner either, though. She struck me as having very little backbone, but the kind of person that has to work to just barely contain their whistling teapot of emotions brewing inside. She holds things in until it eats away at her and then when there is a release it's in the form of anger, taken out on others. That said though, one of the aspects of the novel I was most touched by was Lauren's struggle to stay connected to her son and her frustration at not knowing how to stop the disconnect growing between them. 


The setting for this novel is what first peaked my curiosity, as I don't often see fictional stories set in Nepal, a place I'd like to see for myself one day. While I do enjoy Phoenix's work with building the atmosphere, the plot itself didn't do much for me. As I mentioned, the conversations between Sam & Lauren were often a chore to push through and I didn't find either of them especially compelling. I did feel for Lauren when it came to her and her son and the emotional distance but that was about the only plot point that my interest stayed fully committed to to the very end. 


FTC Disclaimer: TNZ Fiction Guild kindly provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The opinions above are entirely my own. 

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review 2018-03-01 15:41
I have no idea
Shutter Vol. 1: Wanderlust - Joe Keatinge,Leila del Duca

None.   I don't know what's going on with Kate Kristopher's family, I don't have a good grasp of what exactly she does, what her father did, how they got their money, or the logistics behind her fantastical adventures.  

I also don't care.   I like Kate, I like her best friend, Alain, who happens to be a trans woman who hasn't changed her name.   I like the skeleton butler, although his backstory is disturbing to me. 


It's fun, it's funny, although it also addresses some fairly serious issues: family secrets, being kind, accepting people for who they are.   Some aren't central themes, but I noticed them nonetheless. 


That being said, I particularly like Kate.  She just doesn't take any bullshit, and I applauded her for start to finish for this.   Foul mouthed, cranky at times, she just was an absolute blast.   

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