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text 2017-01-30 15:21
January wrap-up
Rebel of the Sands - Alwyn Hamilton
Letters To The Damned - Austin Crawley
A Tale du Mort - Jaimey Grant;Wendy Swore;Rita J. Webb;Paige Ray;Jeanne Voelker;K. G. Borland;Gwendolyn McIntyre;Katrina Monroe;S. M. Carrière
Splintered Souls (Flames of Time Book 1) - Erica Lucke Dean
Infernal Parade - Clive Barker,Bob Eggleton
The Art of Leather Burning: Step-by-Step Pyrography Techniques - Lora Susan Irish
The Doors of Perception/Heaven and Hell - Aldous Huxley
Surviving The Evacuation, Book 1: London - Frank Tayell

Since I know I'll be working tomorrow and I'm not close enough to finish anymore books before the end of the day, I might as well get this done early.

 

8 books for the month, one of them a re-read because a group was reading it.

 

5 Netgalley books! I had a moment of weakness, but most of this batch have been really good! I even snagged the sequel to Rebel of the Sands, which I'll be starting very soon.

 

1 craft book and 1 from the Philosophy backlog.

 

1 Dystopian off my tbr A-list. Oh, I meant to read more from that list, but the Netgalley selections pushed in front again. No worries, only 2 left and one of those is the sequel I'm looking forward to starting.

 

I also got my samples organised and all the ones off my cloud downloaded to my Kindle folder so I can see how many I've got. I read loads of them but lost track of how many. I have about 130 still to read. I'm going to try to reduce that number every month.

 

I've had a very enjoyable reading month. I may have given into the lure of Netgalley, but I've learned to spot books I'm more likely to enjoy.

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review 2017-01-09 12:13
The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell
The Doors of Perception/Heaven and Hell - Aldous Huxley

by Aldous Huxley

 

Non-fiction

 

This is a well-known treatise on altered perceptions and is loosely categorized as Philosophy.

 

The Doors of Perception is largely about the author's experience of mescaline and the altered mental perceptions of the world he experienced under the influence of the drug. I have to admit that I was a little disappointed with the limited viewpoint as this could have been much more interesting with input by other people, especially native American people who have traditionally used Peyote for spiritual questing in their rituals.

 

The sequel, Heaven and Hell, goes more into the philosophical musings that I was interested to find. In this follow-up, Huxley discusses correlations between hallucinogenic drug experience, especially the heightened sense of color, and religious experience as well as the natural attraction our species has to gemstones and flowers with bright colors.

 

It made for dry reading, yet had some interesting points. The rock band, The Doors, named themselves for this book so curiosity made me want to read it. I wouldn't recommend it for deep Philosophy, but it was interesting in parts and blissfully short. Reading a few pages at a time worked for me to keep from letting the boredom mask the worthwhile insights.

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text 2017-01-02 02:16
Top 5 Graphic Novel reads from 2016
Suicide Squad, Vol. 1: Kicked in the Teeth - Adam Glass,Ryan Benjamin
The Sandman Vol. 1: Preludes & Nocturnes (New Edition) - Neil Gaiman,Sam Keith,Mike Dringenberg
Preacher Book Three - Garth Ennis,Steve Dillon
The Beauty Volume 1 - Jason A. Hurley,Jeremy Haun
The Boys, Vol. 12: The Bloody Doors Off - Garth Ennis

 

 

 

 

 

I managed to read 143 comics last year which was a bit more than anticipated and came at the expense of neglecting novels and audiobooks.

 

 

 

I love my comics but this year I'll be trying to pare it back a little and concentrate on getting my novel/novella TBR under control.

 

Suicide Squad, Vol. 1: Kicked in the Teeth - Adam Glass,Ryan Benjamin 

 

A fun first outing for me with the Suicide Squad team, the star is of course Harley Quinn and I'm looking forward to reading more of her this year.

 

The Sandman Vol. 1: Preludes & Nocturnes (New Edition) - Neil Gaiman,Sam Keith,Mike Dringenberg 

 

A beautiful start to the Sandman series with the Robert Smith inspired Dream escaping capture and returning to his kingdom.

 

Preacher Book Three - Garth Ennis,Steve Dillon 

 

I loved all six books in this series but the reason I picked this one was due to Herr Starr. He is left wounded by Preacher, his head now resembles a penis and there are some hilarious panels that show him trying on wigs and hats with the same sour expression on his face until the last panel when he finds something he likes.

Image result for preacher book 3 herr starr

Image result for preacher book 3 herr starr

Related image

 

The Beauty Volume 1 - Jason A. Hurley,Jeremy Haun 

 

Great premise of beauty being a STD and how society values outer beauty at any cost. Amazing artwork makes this a must read.

 

The Boys, Vol. 12: The Bloody Doors Off - Garth Ennis 

 

A shocking end to an amazing series. Garth Ennis is a genius.

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review 2016-03-19 00:00
Lock All The Doors Behind You
Lock All The Doors Behind You - entanglednow Although Derek talks like, the last 10% of the story, this fanfic was so cute! It is mostly Stiles taking care of a wolfish Derek, who all he does is growl and attack people... except Stiles, for some reason. Scott is a lovely friend that relays on Stiles to bring Derek back, since the pack needs their Alpha. So almost all the story is Stiles bonding with wolfish Derek, feeding him, reading to him, bathing him... and all is very clean and proper. Like Stiles, I did miss Derek's human face and human growl, but wolfish Derek was so cute and a bit possessive of Stiles. I love that Derek killed a couple of animals to give it to Stiles (although for Stiles it was gross). It is what werewolves do for their mates, right?

It ends with a sweet kiss and a need for more. Thumbs up.
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review 2016-03-02 01:20
Thoughts: Behind the Red Doors
Behind The Red Doors - Stephanie Bond,Vicki Lewis Thompson,Leslie Kelly

Actual Rating: 2.8 Stars (overall rating taken from average of individual story ratings)

 


Behind the Red Doors is the first in a five book romance series called Santori Stories as well as a collection of three romances surrounding Valentine's Day. The stories all take place with the setting of a high-end department store called The Red Doors that houses three boutiques: Heaven Scent sells items pertaining to aromatherapy oils and candles, perfumes, and so on; Diamond Mine sells jewelry and accessories; and Sheer Delights sells mainly lingerie and sexy women's clothing.

While this collection follows a promising premise for three love stories, it didn't escape my notice that there were quite a few things that triggered my frustration and "eye-rolling" issues. Yes, the stories were cute. Yes, this would make a nice little romance read for Valentine's Day. And it also seems that many others have enjoyed it. But I couldn't help but notice that certain aspects in each story didn't quite sit well with me even as I enjoyed their cuteness. They are enjoyable love stories, but only if able to overlook a few quibbles here and there that weren't quite easily overlooked.

Also, it finally dawned on me by the end of the collection that each of these stories hinges on big secrets and lies to create conflict and propel the love stories. I'm not sure how to feel about that.


A short summary
Thanks to a nice financial windfall, courtesy of Dev Sherman, the two best friends Jamie and Faith have decided to invest all their money into a high-end boutique targeting gifts for women. What makes The Red Doors different from other boutiques are the specially programmed gift kiosks for men--a means of which they can input information about the women in their lives to produce a specially tailored gift order from one of the three Red Doors boutiques without the hassle of shopping in the store.

Each story begins a few days before Valentine's Day and progresses into the love story surrounding a certain couple. Meanwhile, a secret admirer is amidst our group of friends, leaving little gifts for widower and manager of Sheer Delights, Dixie Merriweather.


Heaven Scent by Vicki Lewis Thompson -- 3.0 Stars
Jamie has had a crush on Dev since before she could remember and looks forward to seeing him every morning as their small group gets together for coffee each day. Dev has started taking notice of Jamie for the past two years since The Red Doors has been in business. Thanks to the meddling of younger sister Faith, Jamie and Dev find themselves getting together alone for business research where neither can continue to deny the attraction brewing between them.

Heaven Scent was the easiest to like with the cuter of the three stories. Aside from the standard "cynical heroine who doesn't know how beautiful she is", I only had one other frustration about this story. Granted, the couple's interactions are cute, but at the same time, the consistent lack of communication and all the jumping to conclusions between the two made for a grand fest of frustration on my part. Really, if these kids would have just talked to each other and tried to be honest with each other... well, I guess there wouldn't be much of a story.

Enjoyable, nonetheless.


Diamond Mine by Stephanie Bond -- 2.5 stars
As the young daughter of the wealthy Sherman clan, Faith had been determined to make something of herself to prove her success with The Red Doors. But that's not this story's focus.

Faith and Carter broke up a year ago because neither were on the same page with their relationship: Faith wanted an actual relationship and Carter is the typical commitment-phobe broody male hero. He always showed up late or didn't show up at all to dates, and the last straw was forgetting Valentine's Day. Ending things on bad terms a year ago, Faith is not quite happy to see that Carter had been the police officer hired by her brother as the added security she needs for her newest diamond display. What she also hadn't expected was to find out that Carter was currently attached and in a committed relationship. Except that Carter really isn't... he just made one up to make a statement to Faith that he's not the man she assumed him to be and that she'd made a mistake breaking up with him; that he is not a man who is "not commitment material".

Except that he kind of is.

This story had a good premise to play off of. A second chance romance that went wrong because two people weren't in the same place at the same time. And while things were going quite smoothly and I even thought that the big secret reveal had all the potential to break into a huge angsty problem between the couple... turns out that the rest of the love story was just as rocky as Carter's lie.

As another reviewer had pointed out: I think I would have liked to have more honesty and truth telling before we started getting all lovey-dovey and naked. Otherwise, the story isn't too bad.


Sheer Delights by Leslie Kelly -- 2.5 Stars
Joe Santori draws his sister-in-law for their family's Secret Santa gift giving, and after a plea from his brother to get her something that will make her start thinking sexy thoughts again after her pregnancy, he ends up at The Red Doors to pick up a gift certificate. While there, he plays around with one of the gift kiosks and somehow creates a picture of the "woman of his dreams" after inputting several of his ideal details on a woman; for the next few weeks he continues to lust after this imaginary woman, even buying the lingerie gifts generated by his kiosk information input.

Meanwhile, Meg O'Rourke has discovered that her innocent photo posing had been used as part of the lingerie modeling program of The Red Doors kiosk gift generating program. While she's having an emotional breakdown over this problem, who should come to her rescue but Joe Santori, the perfect man, who realizes that his dream woman DOES actually exist.

I had so many problems with this story that it was hard to determine whether or not I actually enjoyed it. Because aside from Joe's strange habit of ogling a computer generated picture of Meg and buying all the negligees he ends up creating, and aside from a few other unflattering pieces of dialogue here and there... the story itself wasn't all that bad.

The interaction between Joe and Meg were sweet and cute, big looming secret notwithstanding. And if we could overlook Joe's strange, almost creepy activity as part of the backstory, the story itself would have progressed a little bit better. I mean, granted, like the second story, the big secret had big, delicious potential to implode with all sorts of revelations and angst... and it kind of did.

But what really made it hard for me to overlook was the fact that I would have liked a little bit of honesty in the relationship before anyone got naked. And on top of that, there were very casual off-hand comments here and there that came off kind of insulting to the female sex, including some indirect slut-shaming of no one in particular.

But I have a soft spot for Leslie Kelly, and while there were those few things that I didn't care for, the love story itself was still pretty cute.


Overall Thoughts:
I had been looking forward to this collection because it sounded like sweet, cute fun for hopeless romantics. I can't deny that I'm slightly disappointed that things didn't turn out the way I had hoped and that I had more quibbles about the stories than I expected. Just the fact that there's nothing else going for these stories outside of sweet and cute love stories makes it hard to overlook a couple flaws that really stand out.

Nonetheless, each story was written well and, in a way, still quite enjoyable to read.

***

2016 Reading Challenges:
Goodreads Reading Challenge
BookLikes Reading Challenge
Bookish Resolutions Challenge -- New to me author #7
Mount TBR Challenge


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