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review 2017-05-20 23:37
Charlotte's Web
Charlotte's Web - E.B. White,Garth Williams,Rosemary Wells

I probably had this book on permanent check out from my school's library when I was a kid. I don't even know how many times I read it growing up, feeling awkward and out of place and wanting that one person to think I'm special. I loved Wilbur and Charlotte and their amazing friendship. <3

Still don't like spiders though. ;)

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review 2017-05-06 23:20
Wizards at War (Young Wizards #8)
Wizards at War - Diane Duane

After my disappointment in Wizard's Holiday and the cliffhanger ending that led into this book, I wasn't sure what I would get or how I would like it. Well, I am now officially protesting only being allowed to give a book five stars. This deserve every star ever born! This was phenomenal, and a definite one to read with a box of tissues close at hand. There will be sad tears and happy tears alike. 

 

I'm really impressed with how Duane managed to turn Roshaun's character around. Not that he stops being a pompous ass, mind you. But with more background on him and his situation on his home planet, and more time spent with him as he and Dairine become friends, lends a lot to being able to appreciate his character better. I even came to appreciate his pompousness. :D Filif and Skeer'ret continue to be great, we get some great character development for Carmela and Ponch, some expected, and some very much not expected. That Duane can still surprise her readers this far into the series is a testament to her skill as a writer.

 

This is a long book, with a few different POVs, and it's necessary. This is the culmination of the series up to this point. We see characters returning from previous books, and we understand the stakes after the various travels we've seen our main three characters have done over the previous seven books. This was tense and the prose was beautiful as ever. This series easily could've ended here - most other authors would build up to the Doom Day book and end it. Duane doesn't do that. She leaves just enough to hint at future stories, maybe not ones that will be as intense or as high stakes as this one, but still stories worth telling. And after this long with her, I'm willing to go along with the ride.

 

I can't say much more without spoiling a bunch of stuff, but I've decided that this is the secret about dogs the Colonel was going to tell Dean Winchester before the dog-talking spell wore off. ;)

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review 2017-04-15 04:49
Connection Error (#gaymers #3)
Connection Error - Annabeth Albert,Sean Crisden

As with the previous two books in this series, traveling and getting to know each other while trapped together in a confined space plays an important part in the MCs' relationship. Unlike the previous two books, they weren't frenemies beforehand, and the traveling didn't force them to come to terms with their differences and learn to appreciate each other, with that appreciation quickly turning to love. 

 

I said in my review for the second book - Status Update? Or was it Beta Test? I don't really remember which one came first or second. - that they were too similar to each other and I probably would've done better to wait to listen to the second book so I could better appreciate it on its own merits. And that's why I waited so long to finally get around to this one. Well, that's one reason. The other would be Sean Crisden, who is at best a meh narrator for me, so he doesn't exactly inspire me to rush out and get his books. Yet somehow, despite his meh-ness, I still really enjoyed this book. 

 

I was really pleased to see that this book deviated a bit from the previous two. Ryan doesn't work for the video game developer that Josiah works for, so the first time they meet is on their flight, which they're both taking for different reasons. So there's none of that boring frenemy nonsense to bog through. They hit it off immediately and forge a really strong friendship while geeking out over the video game expansion packet Josiah is developing. 

 

And then they land - and Josiah realizes for the first time that Ryan, the super hunky Navy SEAL he's been sitting next to this whole time, is a double amputee, missing both his legs - and in true Josiah fashion he blurts out the most horrible insensitive thing you can say to an amputee. It doesn't matter that he doesn't mean it in a cruel way, that he's just stating the obvious in his shock. It's a bad thing and he knows it and immediately tries to apologize. Thankfully, Ryan's able to forgive him and their friendship continues.

 

A lot of this is told through their various texts and emails as they have a friends with benefits relationship long-distance while Ryan does his rehab in Texas Josiah works on his video expansion pack in Germany and California. We get to see them actually be friends and come to care for and like each other in that capacity. Yes, Ryan knows very early on that he wants more than just friendship, but there's no instalove here. I loved pretty much everything about their relationship and how it developed. Ryan takes longer to get to where Josiah is, but he's actually there a lot sooner than he realizes or admits. 

 

While I did like seeing them chit chat back and forth, these parts did kind of drag a wee bit. I'd have skimmed/skipped right over all those To:s and From:s and Subject:s if I were reading this myself so I could get to the actual messages faster. Crisden naturally had to read all those headers out in full. Also, Crisden does this weird thing with his voice when he's reading their texts and emails, like he's almost trying to make them sound a little robotic or automated. Or maybe he's just being typical Crisden. Hard to tell.

 

All the rehab stuff with Ryan and his goals and ambitions were very well done. I can tell the author did her research, and while I can't validate any of this as authentic, it did seem to be stuff that a double amputee would be reasonably expected to tackle during his recovery.

 

Josiah's issues at work though - I feel like Josiah got shortchanged in his own book. We get to meet Ryan's rehab team and see him doing his rehab and having his setbacks and successes and frustrations. Josiah's issues at work, leading a team for the first time and dealing with his ADHD and how that makes people undermine him, is mostly given lip service. We're told about it, but we don't actually see it. There's only one scene in the entire book at his job. One! Everything else we hear about secondhand, and not even from Josiah some of those times. And for all that we're told his ADHD can make reading social cues difficult, other than that first snafu on the airplane, we're also not really shown that either. There's so much focus on Ryan, that Josiah just got shifted to the side.

 

If there had been a better balance of scenes, I'd have given this four stars easily, but as it is, 3.5 is the best I can do.

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review 2017-03-28 03:22
Wizard's Holiday
Wizard's Holiday - Diane Duane

The first 70% of this wizard-exchange holiday was everything you'd expect of alien wizards visiting and getting to know other worlds and cultures: good, wacky fun; some clashing of worlds; and nice, relaxing kickback time at the beach. The last 30% proves that there's no such thing as a holiday for our poor wizards.

 

 

The pacing did feel a little off on this one, and with Nita and Kit's half of the story in particular, the resolution almost feels like it comes out of nowhere. I'm sure there are hints there that I didn't pick up on, but it felt random. 

 

I did love all the exchange wizards, especially Filif, and even Roshaun grew on me (though he's still a douche). It was great to see Dairine's growth since the start of this series, and in this book particularly as she deals with the massive drop in her power levels and having to do wizardry the "regular" way. Seeing her and Harry get some bonding time after the events of the last couple of books was nice too.

 

There were a few dangling threads at the end of this, no doubt set up for the next book, and while the main conflicts are resolved, the ending felt abrupt.

 

This isn't my favorite Young Wizards book, but it's still a lot of fun.

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review 2017-02-17 23:39
Pressure Head
Pressure Head - J.L. Merrow

It took me awhile to get into this one because the snipping-at-each-other form of enemies to lovers is just not that entertaining to me. I also couldn't understand why Tom was allowing Phil to drag him along on his investigation, when he really shouldn't be giving him the time of day. Also, Tom has a day job he was constantly neglecting and Phil wasn't pay him. Though to his credit, Phil did make an attempt.

 

Here's the deal: Phil had bullied Tom back in high school, which resulted in an accident that permanently injured Tom and altered his life in significant ways. Even if that was 13 years ago, I just don't get the "fancying the guy who bullied you" trope, and Phil kind of quasi-stalking Tom didn't help. Nor do I get Tom just going along with Phil's demands for help before anything was really resolved between them. Thankfully, things do eventually get resolved and in satisfying enough ways to make me forgive the slow, awkward, weird start.

 

The mystery was well done and there was no obvious villain, though I do admit I wasn't paying as much attention to the details and clues as I usually do since I was getting hung up on trying to figure out Tom. Still, there were enough red herrings and everyone had possible motives, so it wasn't easy to pick any one character out as the whodunit. 

 

Gary and Darren were the standouts here. They're only side characters, but they steal the show every time they're on page, and they're a hoot and a half. Then there are Merlin and Arthur, Tom's cats, who are very catty and fluffy. :D And even though there were a lot of Britishisms, there was only one I couldn't figure out. The humor is very dry though, so might not be to everyone's taste.

 

 

Actually, that's a good way to sum up Tom and Phil, innit?

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