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review 2017-09-04 19:29
The Downs
The Downs - Kim Fielding

Similar to The Pillar and Treasure, this is another story of a magic healer and a man in desperate need of healing, both of them social outcasts in their own way. While The Pillar felt too similar to Treasure, this novella felt unique to both of them, even though it uses the same basic themes. That could simply be due to getting the POV of the one being healed, rather than the one doing the healing, but it really is more than that.

 

The world of the Downs is lush and vividly described, and while it holds many dangers, it's also easy to see its appeal. The city, which goes unnamed, is more mysterious than the mysterious, legendary Downs, and I wonder if that was on purpose. We never really see the city before Enitan is convicted and removed from it and literally cast out into the Downs. I would've like a bit more worldbuilding for the city (why did the people settle there and why did they stay, for instance) and how it came to operate the way it does, but in the end, those things don't really matter.

 

What matters is Enitan learning to think of himself as someone with value, and Rig learning to let go his past regrets, finding healing in himself as he heals another. The story takes its time as these men get to know each other and Enitan regains his strength. There's no insta-anything here, just two men learning how to live and love when neither of them expected to have any reason to.

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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 2017-08-30 02:48
Pins and Needles
Pins and Needles - A.J. Thomas

It's been too long since I've had a new A.J. Thomas to read, and this one was worth the wait. 

 

Nate is a trial lawyer working in his father's law firm. He's tired of waiting for his father to see his worth and the hard work he puts into his job and sets out to start his own practice. Sean is newly disabled in an oil rig accident and the company's settlement offer is paltry at best. Nate's the first lawyer to take his case seriously. 

 

The law here is very well done and even the antics that go on in the second half of the book are sadly not far from the truth either, lol. It was a little obvious who the whodunit was, though Thomas does give the reader a few suspects to choose from. It was a bit of a stretch that Nate was handling this case all on his own, especially with all the time he's spending at the tattoo parlor and his other cases, even if they're minor ones, though there was at least an explanation why he was having trouble getting help. I liked that the ethics in getting involved with your client isn't ignored either. 

 

But what I really liked was this story took its time. The relationship isn't rushed. Sean's dealing with a lot after his injuries and just trying to walk again is a challenge. Ms. Thomas doesn't go the disgruntled paraplegic route. Sean's got struggles and pain and a lot on his plate, but he doesn't become bitter or angry or disillusioned. His kinda-dad Hawk is great too and I wish we'd gotten a little more of him. 

 

Nate's got his own issues, and it's neat that they're both going through somewhat similar journeys in this story, each one out to prove they're better and worthier than how they think others see them. Nate especially has to deal with a homophobic brother, and the way his parents have decided to deal with the situation is less than ideal for him. I was pleasantly surprised with where that subplot ended up going with his parents. 

 

I really enjoyed this one, so much so that I stayed up until 1:00 AM to finish it. I did think it got a little overstuffed in a few places and I would've liked more resolution on one or two subplots, but I did like that the epilogue didn't end with the wedding ring/proposal scene that has become cliche at this point. The ending here was much more touching and more appropriate to these characters. 

 

Highly recommend.

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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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text 2017-08-23 06:33
Reading progress update: I've read 99%.
A Storm of Swords - George R.R. Martin

 

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WHAT IS AIR

 

WHAT IS LIFE

 

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