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review 2016-01-25 00:00
Through Painted Deserts: Light, God, and Beauty on the Open Road
Through Painted Deserts: Light, God, and Beauty on the Open Road - Donald Miller Ehhhhhhhh.I wasn't that impressed tbh. The part where he left an entire cart of groceries for someone else to put away basically killed my enjoyment of the rest of the book.
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review 2014-10-10 09:37
Refreshing and not only because it's set on tropical islands
Jala's Mask - Mike Grinti,Rachel Grinti

Just one glance at the cover of Jala’s Mask hints that this book will not be the usual fantasy novel. Cover gives us tropical tribe vibe and no medieval looking castle, metal armor or swords in sight. And, trust me, the cover does not make empty promises.

 

Set on a group of tropical islands, Jala’s Mask stands out in a row of boring same-old fantasy novels. The people of Five-and-One Islands are fierce and reminded me of Ironborns from A Song Of Ice And Fire. They are pirates who attack ships and coastal towns for loot. To them, this is not regarded as stealing, it’s the way of life.

 

But while Ironborns are all stone and rigid rules, culture Mike and Rachel Grinti invented is full of colors, exotic birds, dances by the fire and interesting customs. And don’t get me started about ships! Five-and-One islanders grow their ships out of corals… I won’t talk about the details, because I want for you to experience all the fun of this new culture by yourself.

 

Jala’s Mask is centered mostly on Jala, a young girl from noble family raised with a hope that she will be a queen one day. And, surprise, surprise young king Azi picks her (although maybe not for the expected reasons). Jala dreamed to be a queen ever since she was a little girl. But will reality fulfill her expectations? When she needs to act will she do what is good for her family, her people or hide in the corner?

She hated that, hated feeling confused and hurt and lost. Better to just jump in and hope everything worked out. Well, maybe not always better. But easier.

Jala’s decisions might not be always be right, but they are never boring. She is not afraid to try. She proves that she is strong and resourceful woman.

 

A lot of other characters seem pale and shallow compared to Jala, even her husband King Azi. I would have loved to find out more about them. For example, her father was most intriguing character. But since this book is a standalone fantasy novel (a rare beast indeed) I will not complain… much.

 

The only other person who stood out for me, beside Jala is her childhood best friend Marjani. This is awesome for so many reasons. First because strong female friendships without malice are rare in books. Second because Marjani is kinda having a crush on Jala. LGBT theme is handled extremely well and feels like part of normal live on the islands. Same sex marriages are nothing uncommon.

 

In The End…

When you are bored with fantasy novels with medieval vibe, Jala’s Mask will be a quick break from the usual. Lovely tropical islands and their charming inhabitants will be like a breath of fresh air. And since it’s a standalone, you don’t need to worry about a sequel. Although there is a chance you will keep an eye out for next book by Mike & Rachel Grinti.

 

Recommended if you like fantasy novels with dark-skined characters, island setting, pirates, royals, conspiracies, …

 

Disclaimer: I received this ebook from publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Source: www.bookwormdreams.com/book-review-jalas-mask-by-mike-grinti-rachel-grinti-2
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review 2013-04-15 05:05
Dulcé: Deserts from Santa Fe Kitchens
Dulcé: Deserts from Santa Fe Kitchens - Museum of New Mexico Foundation It's desserts not deserts!
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review 2013-02-18 00:00
Golden Angel, Unwilling Sex Slave 5: Jus... Golden Angel, Unwilling Sex Slave 5: Just Deserts - Claire Thompson Things are finally getting better for Laura, because after she was bought she's supposed to seduce and marry a very rich guy. How in their right mind buy a slave to marry in the family. That woman is completely insane and Laura is absolutely terrified of her treats.

So she ended up with a nice guy that only wants to know the truth and actually saves her, but things are not so great for the bad guys and the FBI busted their little compound and discovered several identitys of buyers and Laura ended up happy and putting the bastards in jail with her testimony.
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review 2013-02-15 00:00
Venomous Animals of the California Deserts
Venomous Animals Of The California Desert - James W. Cornett Pop Quiz. What creature in the California desert is the most responsible for deaths by venom ?

I'll give you some hints. It's not the rattlesnake. Nor is it the black widow spider.

Give up?

It's the bee. The boring ordinary bee. Annually there are about ten deaths in California from bees, more than all other venomous animals combined. If that sounds like a ridiculously low amount, it will give you an idea how rare these deaths are. Not that a venomous animal shouldn't be treated with the utmost respect. It's just they are not out to get you and will usually do anything to avoid you.

The highly informative book may be short at 36 pages but it is full of interesting information and has some practical information about preventing bites and sting (Number one rule; don't go poking under rocks with your hands) and treatment issues (when to go to the hospital and when not to). If you live in the desert like I do, it is probably good to have something like this just in case. I've been living in the desert for quite a while and I still learned a lot from this book.

For instance, I've never heard of these little guys before. Isn't she cute?

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But don't try to pick her up and pet her which is usually how people get stung. She's a velvet ant which isn't an ant but a flightless species of wasp.

Anyhow, this is a very entertaining and helpful book for either armchair naturalist or people who like to wander in the desert. Recommended.

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