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review 2017-01-31 01:24
The Galloway Road by Catherine Adams
The Galloway Road - Catherine Adams

Renna is a young mage on her way to her first job. Her traveling companions include a pair of musicians specifically requested by Renna’s new employer, plus Brett, the mercenary hired to protect them all. Brett is closed mouthed about himself and his past, and Renna has secrets of her own. However, none of that may matter if they can't manage to survive the Galloway Road’s deadly horrors.

This story takes place over the course of 11 days and mostly features the group traveling from one inn to another. The beginning was boring, dull, and a little confusing, although the Galloway Road’s creepy atmosphere eventually grew on me, as did Renna and Brett (sort of). A word of warning: some of the descriptions are gruesome. The Galloway Road is called that because it's lined with gallows and gibbets. Sometimes the people Renna, Brett, and the musicians pass are dead, and sometimes they're not. Honestly, if I had been Renna or the musicians, Galloway Road alone would have had me questioning the wisdom of agreeing to work for Lord Galloway.

Okay, on to the characters. The musicians made so little of an impact on me that I had to check the story just to make sure I had the number of characters right - I had thought there were three musicians, not two. Brett was an intriguing character, apparently competent and yet prone to self-destructive behavior (he’d been banned from at least one or two inns because of his drinking). Renna...was just there. I never felt like I really knew her beyond the most surface level. I did gasp at the big revelation about her, but that was in large part because I hadn’t noticed any sign of it in her behavior or thoughts up to that point. This bugged me a bit, because the event had happened so recently. I suppose it could be explained away as emotional numbness on her part, but still.

The main reason I got this story was because it was one of Less Than Three Press’s recent releases in their “asexual” category. Renna was asexual, possibly homoromantic depending on the specifics of her feelings for her best friend. There was a hint of something that might have been ace-related angst - at one point, Renna wondered if she was “stone-hearted, cruel-hearted” (37). It was a bit ambiguous, though, and might have also been inspired by the thing that happened shortly before she was hired by Lord Galloway. I honestly don’t know.

I appreciated what this story tried to do, but overall my reaction was just “meh.” I didn’t care enough about the characters for the ending to have the kind of emotional impact that it should have had. Also, I hate to say this, but I laughed a bit during some of the events in the tomb. I know that stuff was probably supposed to be horrifying/scary, but I kept imagining B-movie special effects.

Rating Note:

I might have opted to give this 3 stars if I had rated and reviewed it right after finishing it. However, my thoughts have had time to settle, and I think 2 stars is more appropriate. There just wasn't enough there in terms of content, characters, or world-building.

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2016-01-07 17:24
A 5 Star Shapeshifting Romance – Running Free by K Webster ( @KristiWebster )
Running Free (Woodland Creek) - Woodland Creek,K. Webster

I fell in love with the cover for Running Free by K Webster as soon as I saw it.

I love Doberman Pinschers and have had several of them for pets.

Now…to find a Dobie shifter…I am LOVING it!

Add me to Goodreads

Cover:  Jennifer Munswami

Adult: Strong language and sexual situations.

MY REVIEW

I am a Dobie lover, so just seeing the cover for Running Free by K Webster made this a must read for me. I am so very glad she is the Dobie shifter. I love the supernatural and paranormal world, so let’s see what’s happening in Woodland Creek, Indiana.

Frankie is a 12 year old foster kid, a coming of age young girl who is driven to Run Free.

It’s ten years later and the only person she cares about is an owl shifter named Otis. At least that is what she tells herself. OtisHe is the dad she never had. She wears a collar with a “bitch” tag. Love it! It’s special touches like the tag that takes a novel to an extra level for me. Frankie has the power of intimidation and a very protective nature towards the “people” that matter to her.

Detective Gunnar Mason has come to investigate Acey’s disappearance. He is one of the “rescued” that Frankie was looking out for. She is a badass, but kids are her weakness. She goes out of her way to help them. She finds them in animal shelters, where she had spent some time herself. I couldn’t help but smile and chuckle about that. I wonder…if her and Gunnar were to get together, what would they have? Humans or puppies? LOL

There is so much about Running Free that I loved and would like to share, but I am afraid of giving too much away.

I love that Frankie thinks of her new “family” as the Brainless Horny Idiot Pace.  I love the witty and snarky dialogue that creates a tension felt through the written word. I love all the different types of shifters – we have owls, dogs, wolves, bears, tigers, swans, even a mouse. There is imprinting. Can you imprint on a mouse? I would love to tell you more about a couple of the shifters, but it is well worth your time to find out about them yourself.

I finished reading the book through teary eyes for the tragic/heartwarming end. A fabulous fantasy of shifters, love, sacrifice and a misplaced sense of revenge. The writing evoked a gamut of emotions, from anger and rage to sorrow and heartbreak to fun and laughter. And I LOVED every minute of it. LOL

My only complaint is…I WANT MORE and I want it now!

I received a copy of Running Free by K Webster in return for an honest review.

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos  5 Stars

 

To read more visit fundinmental.

 

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To see all my Giveaways, go HERE.

If you like what you see, why don’t you follow me?

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Source: sherryfundin.tumblr.com/post/136821209955/a-5-star-shapeshifting-romance-running-free-by-k
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review 2015-05-26 06:33
Inu x Boku SS (manga, vol. 2) by Cocoa Fujiwara, translated by Melissa Tanaka
Inu x Boku SS, Vol. 2 - Cocoa Fujiwara,Melissa Tanaka

Ririchiyo is surprised to realize that, despite her continued prickliness, she has become friends with Watanuki and Karuta. Closing the gap between herself and Soushi proves to be far more difficult, however. Whereas the other client-agent pairs tend to be more relaxed around each other, Soushi is always the perfect and servile bodyguard. Ririchiyo decides that having a cup of coffee with him, as friends rather than as client and bodyguard, might bring them closer, but her plans are ruined by the arrival of Kagerou, her fiance.

This is the volume in which the details of Soushi's past and his reasons for being so devoted to Ririchiyo are revealed. It happened a little sooner than I expected – the anime saved this revelation for the very end – but I still loved it. I loved this evidence that Soushi was at least as vulnerable and lonely as Ririchiyo, and seeing them grow closer via the letters they exchanged was sweet and kind of heartbreaking.

The bits with Watanuki and Karuta at the beginning were so-so – to be honest, the hints of romance between those two didn't really interest me. Watanuki kept saying that there was more to Karuta than there appeared to be, and that did seem to be true, but for the most part those hidden depths stayed hidden. She was primarily just a sleepy-looking girl who loved food, and I got the feeling that Watanuki was going to be left pining for her forever.

And then Kagerou. Oh, Kagerou. He'd have been creepy if he hadn't been so ludicrously over-the-top. To him, everything in the world, including inanimate objects, could be classified as either S (sadist) or M (masochist). He didn't even vaguely try to win Ririchiyo over. I'm still not sure if it was Ririchiyo's closeness with Soushi that bothered him, or if he was just bothered by Soushi, period. Soushi was smoother and more cultured than him, and at the same time completely lacking in shame. There was nothing that Kagerou could say or do to him that would hurt him in any way, except maybe exposing Soushi's lies to Ririchiyo. I hope that the series takes a closer look at Kagerou at some point – I was intrigued by the indications, near the end of this volume, that there was more to him than there appeared to be, and that he was more than just some weird guy who shouts “S” and “M” at everything.

I absolutely loved this volume. The revelations in the latter half of it were excellent, and I'm looking forward to seeing if anything else in this series ever manages to top it. I just wish the cover weren't so gross. See what I mean about Ririchiyo's hands looking like those of a toddler compared to Soushi's?

Extras:

  • 14 pages of side stories and joke comics - I could have done without Nobara's "smexy" lessons, but "Useless Skills" and "What's in the Box" were okay. I especially liked it when Soushi got mad at Kagerou for being more disgusting than usual towards Ririchiyo. Oh, and the "S&M" side story involving Kagerou and Sorinozuka was great. Sorinozuka makes a fabulous anti-Kagerou weapon without even trying.
  • One page of translation notes - Again, I always appreciate these, although only one of them came in handy for me this time around.
  • A two-page Inuboku postscript - Cocoa Fujiwara's recent death made this kind of painful to read.

 

(Original review, with read-alikes and watch-alikes, posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2015-05-26 04:41
Inu x Boku SS (manga, vol. 1) by Cocoa Fujiwara, translated by Melissa Tanaka
Inu X Boku SS, Vol. 1 - Melissa Tanaka,Cocoa Fujiwara

My first exposure to this series was through the anime, which, as far as I can tell, means I know what's going to happen in this manga through at least part of volume 3.

In this first volume, we meet Ririchiyo Shirakiin, the sensitive daughter of a wealthy family. The Shirakiin family is one of a select few families with an ayakashi (supernatural being) ancestor, and Ririchiyo is considered to be a “throwback,” a sort of reincarnation of the Shirakiin family's ayakashi ancestor. Although she has spent her life coddled and protected, she has also felt isolated. Anyone who ever spoke up for her or was nice to her only did so because of her position within the Shirakiin family, and so, as a defense mechanism, Ririchiyo began adopting a haughty and prickly demeanor.

Ririchiyo knows that her behavior makes it that much harder for her to make true friends, but she can't seem to stop herself. In an effort to change, she requests to leave the Shirakiin family home and is allowed to go as far as Maison de Ayakashi, an apartment building whose tenants come entirely from families with ayakashi ancestors. Each resident of Maison de Ayakashi is protected by a secret service agent (no explanation is given for why some throwbacks are secret service agents and why some are clients). Soushi, Ririchiyo's agent, is surprisingly devoted to her. No matter how prickly she is towards him, she can't seem to push him away, so he accompanies her as she gets to know her new home and those who live there.

This is one of those series that it's embarrassing for me to admit that I like. Ririchiyo is 15 years old, almost 16, and in the next volume we learn that Soushi is at least 20. Cocoa Fujiwara emphasized this age difference by giving Ririchiyo proportions that sometimes made her look even younger than she really was – for example, Rirchiyo's hands were so tiny compared to Soushi's that they almost looked like they belonged to a toddler. It did help that, in this first volume at least, their relationship was entirely innocent. Although Soushi's devotion was more than a little over-the-top, their master-servant relationship put a barrier between them.

It also helped that Ririchiyo, though starved for affection, wasn't an idiot. She knew that Soushi's devotion was excessive, especially since, as far as she knew, they'd never previously met. Part of her worried that he only acted the way he did because he was being paid by her family, or because he was hoping to benefit in some way. Why else would a grown man be that happy to serve as a 15-year-old's bodyguard, to the point where any sign of approval from her, even something so little as a text message, made him positively joyous?

His behavior was so flawless that she found herself starting to believe it, only to catch him kissing some strange woman. His explanation was that she was a former neighbor who had confessed her feelings to him and who he had rejected. She said she'd accept his rejection if he kissed her, and so he did.

That was the first big clue Ririchiyo got that Soushi was willing to play any part he needed to and do whatever he needed to. Ririchiyo valued sincerity above all else, so this bothered her a lot. This was one of my favorite moments in the whole volume, in large part because I already knew the truth about Soushi and that his behavior during this part was not faked. I was happy when Soushi jumped to Ririchiyo's defense at the party, and when Ririchiyo forgave him, although I admit that, had I been a newbie to this series, I'd probably have been shouting “No! Stop! He's a master manipulator worming his way back into your good graces.” The last page of the volume certainly fit that interpretation.

All in all, I liked this first volume. The bulk of it was devoted to character introductions and fluffy stuff like the signature-gathering contest, but Ririchiyo's efforts to connect with other people were nice to read about, and I enjoyed the hints of mystery surrounding Soushi.

Extras:

  • One page of translation notes - I always love translation notes, and these ones were helpful. I knew what some of the ayakashi named in the volume were, but not all of them.
  • Two pages of extra comics, printed on the inside of the front and back covers - I appreciated these too, although I didn't find these two to be particularly funny. They did do a good job of emphasizing the creepy depths of Soushi's devotion, though.

 

(Original review, with read-alikes and watch-alikes, posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2014-06-14 22:43
Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
Heir of Fire - Sarah J. Maas

Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3)

As broken as Celaena Sardothien felt after the death of her dearest friend, Nehemia, and after breaking her relationship with Chaol, she thought that she couldn't feel any worse, or that she will never feel again expect for self-loathing and numbness that covered her heart and soul. But as her heritage is being brought up and she has to face who she is and what she represents and who she was born to be, the anger and fear inside her have no bounds and just like the numbness are trying to swallow her whole.

 

While Celaena fights her own battle with herself, Prince Dorian is fighting his own. The magic inside him grows stronger with each passing day and he has no knowledge and no means to stop it surfacing, and if his father ever found out about it, he and anyone close to him, would be killed. Estranged with Chaol, because all the secret both of them started to keep from one another, Dorian has no one to talk to and no one to save him from himself.

 

In the meantime Chaol is struggling with the knowledge that Celaena left him with. With a secret of her real identity. Chaol has to make serious choices about who he should serve and protect.

Will they all find the answers to their questions? If they do, will they embrace their fate or will they crumble and hide? Find out reading Heir of Fire. This book kept me on emotional rollercoster through the whole book. Great read and unexpected developments. Just read and enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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