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review 2017-10-28 19:39
A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms (The Tales of Dunk and Egg, 1-3)
A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: Being the Adventures of Ser Duncan the Tall, and His Squire, Egg - George R.R. Martin

I didn't know what to expect from these novellas except that they occurred around ninety years before A Game of Thrones and featured a knight named Dunk and his squire named Egg.

 

First thing: I love the illustrations! They're reminiscent of the books I read as a kid, and I wished they were in color. They fit tonally with the stories and the illustrator picks great moments to highlight.

 

The novellas were originally written for anthologies, and so spaced out over time. Reading them one after the other shows some repetition in some of the exposition, and some similarities in the tales are more obvious, but those are the only issues I had and they were minor. 

 

The stories aren't as grim or dark as the ASoIaF stories, so if you've been avoiding those because you don't want all the murder, pillaging, raping and child endangerment, these might be more your speed. Of course, this is still George R.R. Martin, so they're not fluffapalooza, but they are lighter in tone and Dunk and Egg are very sweet with each other.

 

Dunk is one of those rarities in Martin's writing: a genuinely good guy who stands by his convictions, does what's right and doesn't get horribly killed because of it. Egg is irascible and sheltered, but more than game for following Dunk around the kingdoms and proves receptive of everything Dunk has to teach him, whether it's how to care for armor, how to treat others better or how to hold his tongue. ... Ok, maybe not so much that last one. ;) 

 

There's also still plenty of politics and intrigue, as these stories occur about a decade after the Blackfyre rebellion and the realm is still feeling the aftermath of it. Dunk might not be very good at avoiding getting tangled up in events, but he's so far proving good at getting out of them. :D

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review 2017-09-09 01:26
Moondrop
Moondrop - Katey Hawthorne

This was cute. A high school teacher meets a dragon-shifter and it's tru wuv, though not in that creepy brain-washy meant-to-be way that tends to define the shifter genre. This could've been rounded out more, but for a short, breezy read this was nice. 

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review 2017-09-03 18:40
Blow Down (The Plumber's Mate #4)
Blow Down - J.L. Merrow

More fun and snark from our psychic plumber. 

 

Tom's little secret - the ability to locate hidden objects (which occasionally includes dead bodies) and leaky pipes - is not so secret anymore now that someone let the cat out of the metaphorical bag. Tom's propensity to martyrdom allows him to be guilt-tripped into displaying his talents to the public - with the expected disastrous results.

 

Really, y'all, this is why you don't ask the guy who can find dead bodies to perform "magic" tricks. I mean, that should just go without saying.

(spoiler show)

 

I did feel the whodunit was a bit more obvious this time around and wondered why Tom and Phil didn't cotton onto them sooner. That aside though, the mystery was full of wackadoodles and cagey relatives aplenty, enough to be fun while still making you wish Tom would start wearing a helmet everywhere he goes. :P And it does seem Tom's abilities are taking on possible new skills - not that he's anymore open to testing them out than he was before.

 

I like the way Tom and Phil's relationship is progressing. There's still plenty of ways for them to miscommunicate without going the whole Big Misunderstanding route, and they trust each other enough that they don't blow everything (well, most things) out of proportion.

 

That's not the only relationship Tom has to foster here either, now that he's found his "real" dad. I like that their reunion and getting to know each other was realistically awkward and that they're taking their time getting a feel for each other. I still need to know a lot more about Mike, so hopefully we'll see that in the next book, which I'm pleased to see Ms. Merrow has planned for next year. Fingers crossed there are no delays it getting it to us. 

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review 2017-08-26 18:48
Accepting the Fall
Accepting the Fall - Meg Harding

This is my first book by this author and it's a good one. It's a nice slow burn as Cole and Zander reunite and get to know each other again after their disastrous first attempt at love as teens. Cole's now a teacher and Zander's a firefighter with a daughter in Cole's class. While there's plenty of focus on their past and current relationship, this doesn't ignore the rest of their lives and I liked having that balance here. I might have found it a little hard to believe they'd still be hung up on each other after 17 years apart, but there was enough time given to them getting reacquainted that it didn't bother me too much.

 

I loved Savannah, and Cole's plethora of pets. Savannah was a realistic five-year old - not sweetly perfect but not out of control disruptive either. She had a lot of issues and I like they were taken seriously, and I really liked seeing Zander overcome his own issues to help  her deal with hers.

 

Aside from the inability to capitalize "Marines" ever, and one very wrong wording choice, there weren't too many editing issues, better than most stories out there today. 

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review 2017-08-24 03:20
A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire #3)
A Storm of Swords - George R.R. Martin

Holy amazeballs! This is easily my favorite so far. This one takes off running and never slows down. It was very hard at times to pace myself and not just tear through it because I wanted - needed - to know what was going to happen next. Martin is a master storyteller and the various narratives he's crafted in the first two books continues to build here until it reaches max capacity - and then just keeps going. And that ending

Catelyn's resurrection and paling around with the Robin Hood gang

(spoiler show)

- wow. I couldn't believe it when I heard that was left out of the show, because I can't wait to see what Martin's going to do with that. 

 

And how about that kill count, eh? 

 

Happiest death:

Joffrey, hand's down. Tywin's a close second.

(spoiler show)

 

Most upsetting death:

Prince Oberyn Martell, my prince of salty goodness. You were too precious for this world.

 

Also, Lysa Arryn. I absolutely hated her character, but what a miserable, loveless and lonely life she led. And then betrayed at the last second. 

(spoiler show)

 

Most predictable death:

ROBB YOU IDIOT!

(spoiler show)

 

Death worthiest of a Darwin award:

Hope you had a nice fall, Balon Greyjoy. May you make it to that pearly ship in the sky, or whatever.

(spoiler show)

 

Just die already:

Gregor, Littlefinger, and Roose Bolton and his little Bastard too, and all the Freys.

(spoiler show)

 

 

 

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