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review 2017-07-24 17:16
Beasts of Burden
Beasts of Burden: What the Cat Dragged I... Beasts of Burden: What the Cat Dragged In #0 (Beasts of Burden Vol. 1) - Evan Dorkin,Sarah Dyer,Jill Thompson
Beasts of Burden: Animal Rites - Evan Dorkin,Jill Thompson
Beasts of Burden - Neighborhood Watch - Evan Dorkin,Jill Thompson
Beasts of Burden: Hunters and Gatherers #1 (Beasts of Burden Vol. 1) - Evan Dorkin,Jill Thompson
Beasts of Burden Hellboy One-Shot Comic - Mike Mignola

In the film 101 Dalmatians, Pongo and Perdita howl for help once their puppies have been stolen.  It is an interesting concept, this use of howling and work because any dog owner can believe it.  Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson start their excellent series about a group of dogs the same way.  The dogs of Burden, however, do so to call on the help of a wise dog.

 

                Wise Dog = Merlin or Gandalf, he is an English Sheep Dog after all.

 

                In Beasts of Burden: Animal Rites (the first four issues as well as a short story) chronicle the beginning adventures of Ace, Jack, Whitey, Rex, Pugsley, and their cat friend Orphan.   The story starts as the friends with the help of the Wise Dog, investigate why Jack’s dog house is haunted. 

 

                Apparently, Burden is the Sunnydale of the dog world because there is quite a bunch of weird things going on. 

 

                 Over the course of the first volume, the group of friends becomes wise dogs in training, guardians of the area, tasked to protect it.  Like most fiction involving super hero teens, owners (the de facto parents) are largely absent and a dog owner sometimes wonders what is going on with these people.  Yet, despite that wobble (and necessary plot hole.  To be fair, owners do make some appearances), the series is pretty darn good.

 

                In part, this is due to the dogs and cats remaining dogs and cats.  It is also because of the strength of the storytelling.  Animal Rites is in many ways, an origin sequence.  But the stories are heartfelt, and while not having the lecture footnotes of Atwood’s Angel Catbird series, the stories do comment on how we treat animals and each other in the world. 

 

                At first, the group is seeming to be entirely male, but female characters in the form of a dog and a cat are added.  In many ways, too, the dogs act like their respective breeds (though my Dobie was braver than Rex).  This isn’t a story for children, there is death of some pets (but not of the major characters), and the dogs sometimes are a bit, well, fierce.  It would be fair to say that the series is in part horror story from a dog point of view.  It actually remembers me a bit of Wayne Smith’s Thor.

 

                The issue Neighborhood Watch contains stories that are referred to in the later part of animal rites.  Included are a story about a chicken stealing goblin and a flock of strange sheep.  Honesty, the sheep story is one of the spookiest I’ve read in a long time.

 

                Hunters and Gatherers and Issue #0 seem to occur after Animal Rites.  Issue) details the story of one the cat characters in greater detail.  It is also a story about family.  IN the closing panels, you can easily see why the series has won awards.  Hunters is an adventure tale that does seem to change Watership Down in part.  The crossover with Hellboy is also very good, making Pugsley more than simply a downer.  It was both funny and touching.

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review 2017-07-11 09:47
The Forgotten Beasts of Eld
The Forgotten Beasts of Eld - Patricia A. McKillip

by Patricia McKillip

 

Old style medieval Fantasy with wizards and dragons, magical animals and a child who must be hidden.

 

The narrative reeks of fairy tale, yet doesn't come over as a children's story. Although it has the usual patriarchal society, the main character is a strong female.

 

I can see why Patricia McKillip is so well-known and highly regarded. How I've missed reading her before is a mystery to me! She weaves magic and drama together artfully so that the impossible feels perfectly believable and I found it easy to care about the characters, especially Tam.

 

She addresses hard choices and issues of human nature in a way that engages the reader in the lives of the main characters rather than preaching. Though her style is definitely for my fairytale-like Fantasy moods, I will definitely be reading more of her work. This was apparently one of her early ones, now re-issued.

 

There were some surprises and a lot of conflict near the end that I couldn't see a way out of, so kept me interested and gave me a resolution that I didn't see coming. Highly recommended for Fantasy fans.

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review 2017-05-17 22:15
Mythical Beasts and Beings
Mythical Beasts and Beings - Lisa Graves,Lisa Graves

This is only 32 pages long, I didn't realize that when I requested it. At first I thought is was going to be geared towards juveniles, but it isn't written like most children's book where the information is simplified to make it easy to understand, but it isn't so difficult that I would label it adult, so I will go with "for all ages" as I feel people of any age could gain something from reading this. Perfect for someone interested in mythical creatures not wanting to commit to reading a "big" book. The illustrations are very nice and add a lot to the content. 

 

Netgally provided digital copy for unbiased review.

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review 2017-04-06 05:53
When you just want to lik-- SQUIRREL!
King of the Sea - Nathan Bay,Daryl Banner
2.5 HEARTS--New author Nathan Bay's novella, King of the Sea, is a story with a lot of elements. Set in San Francisco, 28 year-old Carlos Santiago has survived. His testicular cancer is in remission. But his body wears the scars from the battle. He has a single testicle. The scars from the surgery is wreaking havoc on his body including his pleasure for sex. His older lover, obstetrician Tyson, has been distant and not helpful during his recovery. And he finally has had enough. On their one year anniversary, Carlos made a decision to leave his lover. Saying a final goodbye to the lavish lifestyle Dr. Tyson afforded him, Carlos goes to a rocky ridge by the sea that night. High on Oxycodone, he plans what he'll do in his future and what he will tell Tyson but he sees a hand in the water to greet him.

Was he hallucinating? He leans further to inspect and falls in.

He's saved by Ross, the iPad watching merman with healing capabilities. After the first chapter the story suffers from first-book-itis: too many ideas, not executed to the best ability aka SQUIRREL!



So much SQUIRREL! that I don't know why half of the things happened in this story. But it did.


The merman with no actual name calls himself Ross from his favorite Friends TV character. How he came to be able to watch an iPad and keep it charged is answered. But the story goes to wonky really quick as it progresses. Carlos and Ross share an intimate encounter. Carlos is energized to end things but then he goes to his home and sneaks into his lover's locked guest house on their estate. There he meets an even weirder secret.

It went to a weird experiment suspense yet very hokey twist.

Carlos meets a prisoner who doesn't want to be saved. Then proceeds to go to Folsom Street to have a little public sex in a seedy leather bar to declare he's back on the market.



Why did the spot of BDSM get added in when it was unnecessary? *shrugs*

There was a sexy dick contest and a sex sling but the moment is aborted because of telepathy. Then we have a suicide attempt that becomes accidental. Royalty that should have been introduced from the first introduction. A mystery that wasn't as interesting because of drugging and any interesting action happening off page. It was a lot.

This book needed a better edit, especially content wise. There were too many ideas to get a grasp. I think it if was simpler, let the hint of romance develop a little more solidly with just interactions primarily between Ross and Carlos, since it ends with a romantic-ish finish, the story would have made a better impact for me.

It was SQUIRRELLY to the point where you could read each point the author had a new idea to throw in. Some really cool ideas (genetically enhanced mermen, global warming and its effects) that in swirled in with throwaway ideas (suspense, self sacrificing MC, BDSM scenes, drug abuse). It wasn't added in smooth enough, which made for a lackluster, disjointed read.
 


The blurb states it was dark, I don't think it was. It was more corny than anything. The jokes were flat. The mystery could have been more interesting but SQUIRREL! The unanswered questions kind of bothered me such as if Ross is super important yadda yadda...why let him roam free in the sea unchecked? *shrugs* Diagnosis: first-book-itis

Having a cancer survivor who seemed to be on the search on finding himself in life was a good concept. He finally was starting to realize what he wanted in life. The SQUIRREL just got in the way. I kinda wished the vibe from the first chapter continued, it was more serious, more focused.

So in closing...

SQUIRREL!




A copy provided for an honest review.
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review 2017-03-30 20:07
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Book Review
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay - J.K. Rowling

This is written so much better than Cursed Child (which was obvious that Rowling didn't write). I hated that one and like to pretend it doesn't exist. But Fantastic Beasts has all of Rowling's humor and writing style. I don't really like this whole screenplay thing, I'd much rather her take the time to write another book but I did enjoy reading the scenes of the movie, which I also enjoyed very much. 

 

Enjoyable, but I want a full book by Rowling (Marauder's series please????). 

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