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review 2018-12-10 02:20
The Epic Adventures of Huggie & Stick
The Epic Adventures of Huggie & Stick - Drew Daywalt,David Spencer
What a hilarious book! This is the best Drew Daywalt book I have read. I found myself laughing out loud as I read this book. The illustrations are just as entertaining as the text as this duo takes quite an adventure together.
 
I’m not sure who I like better in this book, Huggie or Stick. Huggie and Stick spend most of their day in the backpack of Reese, a little boy, as he goes about his day. One day, the pair find themselves falling out of Reese’s backpack and their story begins.
 
Just thinking about this book makes me laugh. Stick is having the time of his life as they try to find their way home. Stick is thrilled and amazed with their adventures. He’s delighted and excited about everything they encounter. He sees everything through rose-colored glasses. Huggie, on the other hand is just the opposite. Huggie’s sarcastic tones and his familiarity with these events, puts their travels into perspective. I found myself reading this book multiple times as it’s hilarious the way that each character describes the world they see. Ironically, they both are correct.
 
This is a large square book and the illustrations are wonderfully done. Using glossy paper, these bright illustrations pop-out and I could feel the energy of Stick as he enjoyed this journey and looking at Huggie, I knew exactly how he felt as he listened and watched Stick in each encounter.
 
What a gem! This book is worth more than 5 stars, I really love it! It comes with a glowing recommendation.
(I read some reviews after I wrote mine and see that some people didn't like some of the language in the book.  You need to know your audience and I wasn't offend by the language.  If you look at circumstances of that line, Stick "broke his fall" he was saving his friend, things happen.  Good parenting/teaching moment.)
 
“BEST trip ever!” “Today we were rescued by these nice guys in super awesome hats.” “Huggie kinda barfed on the one with the biggest hat and they had us try out their diving board.” (Stick) “WORST trip ever.” “Today we were captured by pirates.” “I got seasick on their captain, then they made us walk the plank.” (Huggie)

 

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review 2018-12-08 00:34
Cards & Caravans
Cards & Caravans - Cindy Spencer Pape
Well paced, enjoyable. I could believe Belinda and Connor's interest and later love. I've enjoyed this alternate world.
 
 

 

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review 2018-12-07 16:56
Day Of Penance Book: "In The Bleak Midwinter - The Rev. Clare Fergusson & Russ Van Alstyne Mysteries #1" by Julia Spencer-Fleming
In the Bleak Midwinter - Julia Spencer-Fleming

The only thing better than a good book is a good book that is the start of a series. "In The Bleak Midwinter" was a great read that starts a series which currently sits at eight novels.

 

I took a risk when I bought this book - a mystery about a new woman priest and the Chief of Police of a small town in upstate New York could have been a recipe for saccharine scenes, hallmark sentiments and a story targetted for prime time on a Christian TV channel.

 

I knew I was safe at the 2% mark when the book made me laugh out loud at the scene where the small town Police Chief unexpectedly meets the new priest and discovers she’s female. The Police Chief asks himself:

What was he supposed to call her? “Mother?”

“I go by Reverend, Chief. Ms. is fine, too.”

“Oh. Sorry. I never met a woman priest before.”

“We’re just like the men priests, except we’re willing to pull over and ask directions.”

I was still surprised at just how good the book is. There's more to it than smart dialogue, Julia Spencer-Fleming has come up with two strong, likeable characters, with military backgrounds, who have their own, non-clichéd, approaches on how to exercise their authority. The rapport and the conflict between them is credible and engaging.

 

The Reverend manages to be caring and tough. The Police Chief manages to be authoritative without creating conflict.

 

The two are brought together when a newborn is abandoned on the steps of the Reverend's church with instructions that he be given to a member of her congregation and an as yet unidentified young woman who has recently given birth is found murdered.

 

What follows is a solid mystery that is a pleasing mix of detection, exploration of moral dilemmas/social issues and tense action. 

 

The Reverend's continuing close involvement in work that should be done by the police requires a little suspension of disbelief but is well managed. I found her ignorance of the clothes and vehicles needed to cope with mountain winters a little harder to accept but perhaps that's because I've spent so much time in those conditions.

 

This isn't a "cosy mystery" nor is it a voyeuristic rid into violence. It's something much rarer: a character-driven crime story that manages to acknowledge the bleakness of reality without being overwhelmed by it.

 

I've already bought the next book in the series, which has the rather off-putting title of "A Fountain Filled With Blood".

 

I read this book for the Day Of Penance Door in 24 Festive Tasks.

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review 2018-11-29 16:37
Review: Darkstorm by M.L. Spencer
Darkstorm (The Rhenwars Saga Book 1) - M.L. Spencer

Darkstorm by M.L. Spencer is the first book in The Rhenwars Saga. Braden and Quin Reis, two brothers of great power, are the only hope to stopping a conspiracy of mages who are intent on unsealing the Well of Tears.

Plot 5/5 : Interesting plot with some twists.

Characters 5/5 : Well fleshed out characters

World building 5/5 : An interesting setting 

Pacing 5/5 : Steady pace with spurts of action.

Writing 5/5 : Beautifully written with tastefully written scenes of sexual encounters

Overall 5 stars

M.L. Spencer's beautiful prose, world building, and character development breathe life into this tale of love, betrayal, determination, and intrigue. This is a must read book for anyone into fantasy.

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text 2018-11-24 08:57
Reading progress update: I've read 2%. Not many books make laugh out loud at the 2% mark but this did
In the Bleak Midwinter - Julia Spencer-Fleming

Heres what happens when the small town Police Chief unexpectedly meets the new priest and discovers she’s female. The Police Chief asks himself:

 

What was he supposed to call her? “Mother?”

“I go by Reverend, Chief. Ms. is fine, too.”

“Oh. Sorry. I never met a woman priest before.”

“We’re just like the men priests, except we’re willing to pull over and ask directions.”

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