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review 2017-11-20 16:49
She’s Kicking Ass Again in Strong to the Bone by Jon Land @jondland
Strong to the Bone (Caitlin Strong Novels) - Jon Land

Buckle your seatbelts, because Strong to the Bone by Jon Land is one rootin tootin, smash bang novel of action and mystery that culminates in a rip roaring ending not to be missed.

 

Strong to the Bone (Caitlin Strong, #9)

 

Goodreads  /  Amazon US  /  Amazon UK  /  Amazon CA

 

MY REVIEW

 

I am so happy to be back into a rootin’ tootin’ Caitlin Strong adventure. The Texas Rangers and Nazis…doesn’t bode well for the Nazis. LOL

 

Right off, Jon Land does what he does so well, makes me so curious and surprised about our prisoner of war camps in Texas during World War II, that questions arise. Why have I never thought of this before? Was I never taught in school? Is is true? I know a lot of people don’t care one way or another about prologues, but this one sure did it’s job. Sent me straight to Google. I had to know more.

 

I can picture Caitlin on top of the fire truck, spraying the rioters with the fire hose like Al Capone sprayed his enemies with his tommy gun. A young woman is in distress, possibly being raped, and nothing will stop Caitlin from going to her rescue.

 

If you are not familiar with Caitlin, let me introduce you. She comes from a long line of Texas Rangers, but until she was raped in college, she had no plans to follow in their footsteps. Now…she’s a kickass, no holds barred force to be reckoned with. She goes in with guns blazing,  her fists and legs pumping, doling out justice.

 

I love that Jon Land is constantly challenging Caitlin in personal and professional ways.

She teams up with her sweetie, Cort Wesley. He’s an ex Green Beret, maybe a bit tarnished, but that will only serve him well when he meets up with Armand Fiskar. Armand is the son of the man who created the Aryan Nation, only he has more grandiose plans.

 

I am lovin’ Paz, an ex Venezuelan secret policeman, sent to kill Cort. Now they walk together. I love characters who have walked the wild side, yet are able to redeem themselves.

 

And neo Nazis…smacks of reality.

 

Cort, Paz, and even Caitlin, though she doesn’t acknowledge it, have a little bit of help from the paranormal.

 

Moments to laugh, moments of anger, smiles and frowns, humanity in all its glory and disgust.

 

Jon Land’s creative writing shows his humorous side, when he allows his characters to replace the Captain’s cigarettes with the candy kind. Do you remember eating them as a kid?

 

The Aryan Nation, neo nazis, bioterrorism, organ transplants, weapons of mass destruction…so many underlying plots culminate in a blown out ending. I am a lifelong fan and eagerly await each and every story Jon Land has to tell.

 

I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of Strong to the Bone by Jon Land.

 

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos  5 Stars

 

Read more here.

 

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Source: www.fundinmental.com/shes-kicking-ass-again-in-strong-to-the-bone-by-jon-land-jondland
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review 2017-11-12 20:48
Good Me, Bad Me
Good Me Bad Me - Ali Land

Annie is the daughter of a serial killer. Her mother’s case has yet to go on trial. Annie plans to be a witness and testify in court over the deaths of the nine innocent children who were killed while in the care of Annie’s mother, while Annie was nearby. Annie acts too quiet, she was too nice to have endured what she has and act the way she is, I kept waiting for the true Annie to come out.

 

Annie has changed her name to Milly and is currently living with a foster family. Her foster father, a psychologist, is helping her prepare for trial. In my opinion, he was a bit too big for his shoes and his wife, she needed to start wearing his shoes. What a pair. Everyone is trying to protect Milly’s new identity so she can have a quiet life until the trial. My emotions were all over the place with Annie/Milly. I wanted to like her but she was playing this hopeless, depressed individual and I knew, for what she had gone through, she was hiding something. As her foster sister Phoebe began harassing and tormenting her, I wanted Milly to fight back. I wanted justice! Do something Milly! Phoebe needed to have her lights shut down, she was one mean chick. The actions in the novel intensified and I loved how things were progressing. It was fantastic. The ending, I was waiting for it and then, when I read those final twenty pages or so….oh Milly, Milly, Milly

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review 2017-11-01 07:49
Land of the Lustrous (manga, vol. 1) by Haruko Ichikawa, translated by Alethea Nibley and Athena Nibley
Land of the Lustrous 1 - Haruko Ichikawa

Land of the Lustrous is set on a world that has been battered by meteors several times over the course of its history, to the point that all life was driven into the ocean. Some of the surviving beings eventually sank to the bottom and were consumed by microorganisms, transforming them into inorganic substances that eventually formed into crystals (I know, it’s bizarre, but just try to accept it). Those crystals eventually became 28 (ish?) genderless gemstone-based beings that washed up onto the shore. Those gem beings are the series’ good guys. Beings from the moon, called Lunarians, periodically attack the gem beings so that they can capture them and break their bodies down into weapons and decorations.

The series’ main character is a gem being named Phosphophyllite (Phos). Phos desperately wants to become a member of one of the watcher and fighter pairs that protect everyone against the Lunarians, but unfortunately Phos is so brittle that that’s out of the question. So far, Phos has been unsuited to every task they’ve been assigned to, which is why I suspect the latest task Kongo, the group’s leader, has come up with is probably just busy work. Kongo asks Phos to compile a natural history.

Phos starts off by talking to the tragic and dangerous Cinnabar, because that’s who everyone keeps saying they should start with. After that, Phos spends some time with the Diamond fighting pair, Bort and Dia. And then there’s an incident with a giant snail.

This volume was weird. I requested it after reading Katherine Dacey’s review, so I knew going in that it would be beautiful and strange, but reading a review about it wasn’t quite the same as actually experiencing it. I loved it, at first, but then I became unsure, and the whole thing with the snail was just odd, like it was aimed at a different audience than the rest of the volume.

After I finished I let it percolate for a while, which turned out to be a wee bit too long. Suddenly my library due date had arrived and I couldn’t remember enough details about what had happened to write a proper summary. I didn’t quite reread it, but I did flip through the whole thing in order to refresh my memory, and to my surprise I liked it more the second time around. The world info was even weirder after giving myself some time to think it over, and, although the artwork was still gorgeous, the gem characters were still a bit hard to tell apart, but...there was something appealing about it all.

The artwork was a large part of what drew me to this series in the first place. Dacey’s review has one of my favorite sequences, the horrifying and beautiful moment when one of the Lunarians is sliced open to reveal arrows made of a captured gem being. Although the history of the gem beings was just plain bizarre, it was the Lunarians who were truly alien. They were perfect, beautiful, and incredibly creepy. I’m curious about them, but part of me hopes that Ichikawa will opt to keep them a mystery.

Unfortunately, there were times when the artwork definitely aimed more for style rather than clarity. The battles were gorgeous but occasionally difficult to follow. Also, like I mentioned earlier, the characters were sometimes hard to tell apart. Those things are part of the reason why I’d like to see the new Land of the Lustrous anime - muddled manga action scenes sometimes turn out better when adapted for anime. That said, it seems awfully early in the series' run to be turning it into an anime.

The world and characters grew on me, although this volume didn’t exactly give readers much. Phos was one of those borderline annoying characters that everyone just sort of puts up with. I’m crossing my fingers that Phos at least manages to come through for Cinnabar, as unlikely as that seems. Dia and Bort’s relationship intrigued me, and I’m hoping there’ll be more on them in the future. The whole thing about Dia’s arm confused me, though.

Of all the characters, the one that intrigued me the most was Cinnabar. Most of the gem beings are only active during the day because the organisms that hold them together feed off of sunlight. Cinnabar is the only exception, having been essentially banished to night patrol for everyone else’s safety. Lunarians have never attacked at night before, but it’s the only time Cinnabar can patrol without risking hurting anyone - Cinnabar unintentionally oozes (and sometimes vomits) a poison that destroys everything it touches. The poison can even cause irreversible damage to the otherwise immortal gem beings.

The properties of all the gem beings are based on the properties of the real minerals on which they're based, so each gem being’s hardness is based on the Mohs scale (the numbers are even used in the text). Since I knew nothing about cinnabar, I looked that up and was delighted to learn that Cinnabar’s poison was probably mercury. So those tidbits were kind of cool, and I’m wondering what other gem-related info Ichikawa might work into the series.

I don’t know at this point whether this series is one I’d recommend, but I’m intrigued enough to want to continue on.

 

Rating Note:

 

This one was a toss-up between 3 stars and 3.5. I settled (uneasily) on 3.5. I'm letting beauty and intriguing strangeness trump clarity and focus, at least for now. I may change my tune after reading volume 2.

 

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

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text 2017-10-31 15:11
The Land Without Shadows by Abdourahman Waberi
The Land Without Shadows - Abdourahman A. Waberi

I read this short book (only 80 pages of text, plus a 20-page introduction) for my world books challenge, as a book set in Djibouti. I’m not sure I really “got” it, hence the lack of rating. Though billed as a collection of 17 short stories, most of these pieces are better described as a description, or an extended metaphor. Other reviewers have referred to them as essays, but as most of them seem to exist in fictional space (though often without plot and sometimes even without real characters), rather than advancing an organized argument, that description too seems not quite accurate.

Obviously I can only judge this work as a foreign reader and can’t predict the reactions of those who share the author’s cultural background. But I had to push myself through this one, and didn’t connect with it. The short pieces are highly stylized and often hard to understand, and only a couple, the ones with a recognizable plot, had me at all interested in the fates of the characters. However, the book did show me something of Djibouti. The pieces are set throughout the country’s history: dealing with legends, with the lives of nomads, with the colonial period, with modern war and disenchantment. Unfortunately for a reader unfamiliar with Djibouti, they are not organized chronologically. The introduction did help me understand these pieces and their context a bit better, and for other foreign readers I’d recommend reading that first; this isn’t the sort of book where spoilers are much of a concern. (Academics generally seem to assume that every single reader already knows how every single book ends and that no one gets any enjoyment from discovering the story as they go, so I typically read introductions last if I read them at all, to avoid massive spoilers. But here the introduction can serve as more of a readers’ guide.)

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review 2017-10-18 18:22
Good Me Bad Me - Ali Land

Wow!! A book about a serial killer's daughter? And, the daughter turns in her mother to the police? Yes, please!

This book definitely held my interest as I sped through it. While reading it, there was no way that I could tell it was debut novel. It was well written and certainly worth my time.

The subject matter was definitely uncomfortable, but thankfully there wasn't a lot of explaining or detail about what the mother was doing to the children.

Thanks to the publisher for sending me an ARC with the hopes that I would and review this book.

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