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review 2018-06-10 00:26
Answering the Call of Duty
In the Line of Fire: Daring Stories of Man’s Best Hero - Ace Collins

Dogs are known ubiquitously as man’s best friend, and “In the Line of Fire” develops this epithet further, highlighting instances in which dogs of all kinds have come to serve in the military over the years. From Sallie, the bull terrier who served in the Civil War, to Lucca, a German Shepherd-Belgian Malinois mix who sniffed out IEDs during the War on Terror, this illuminating work of nonfiction provides short but incisive accounts of some of the most incredible and patriotic canines involved in war efforts. These dogs served in various branches of the military—even the Navy—and encompass a variety of breeds, shattering stereotypes. Each chapter focuses on a specific dog and how he or she came to be in the military in the first place; many times, especially during the earlier wars, this happened coincidentally but paved the way for canine troops to come. The stories are fascinating, heartwarming, and yes, at times sad. Because they are true, there is not always a happily-ever-after ending, but this emphasizes the realities and vagaries of life. Working dogs hold a special place in my heart, and acknowledging their service and sacrifice allows us to properly honor them and to work toward ensuring that when their duty is done, they can live out the rest of their life in peace and well-being.

I received a complimentary copy of this ebook and was not required to post a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-06-04 19:43
May 2018 — A Wrap Up

 

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Vamps and the City by Kerrelyn Sparks

 

A pleasant surprise! I was expecting the lead couple would jump into bed immediately but I liked how the author took time to let the relationship develop. I also appreciated how they were willing to sacrifice their vamp/human nature for each other but decided on a compromise. I will definitely be reading the others.

 

 

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Undead and Unwelcome by MaryJanice Davidson

 

Funny and sad as usual. Funny because Betsy is so not what everyone expects her to be. She is a monarch who doesn’t wanna control the lives of her subjects. She doesn’t judge people based on their race, gender, sexual orientation etc. Hell, she is friends with the Devil’s daughter. Sad because she remains lonely or “unwelcome” almost everywhere. She is willing to put her trust in people and learns otherwise after they have hurt her (or tried to kill her). Her husband is the king of vampires and even though he loves her, he is still a cold bloodsucking…well vamp! Betsy is a misfit and I like her all the more for it.

 

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Overwinter by David Wellington

 

I don’t do why I keep doing this to myself. These books scare the heck outta me but I just can’t stop reading anything written by David Wellington. The Laura Caxton series was the same way and I finished it. Then, I went after this duology. There is another about zombies I think. I am going to die trying and I don’t even like horror! Oh, and the covers are so delicious.

 

 

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Unseen by Rachel Caine

 

Like it used to be with Jo from the Weather Warden series, Cas is a punching bag. Everybody thinks they can use her and then throw her away. She also doesn’t know when to quit or give up on people. She manages to be a kickass even when she had all her Djinn powers taken away from her. It won’t be a surprise if I said those were also the reasons why I like her so much.

 

Another good thing about this series is how violent things get. The big bad is brainwashing kids, arming them with the power to control the elements, and unleashing them on the world. That means there needs to be violence at a level that suits the events. It horrifies you and makes you sad at the same time. Cas does her best to remember that these kids might be mindless soldiers but they are still kids. Tough line to walk!

 

 

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Winterblaze by Kristen Callihan

 

I love books that show us how love for your family gives strength to face the world. My family has always been my rock, so it figures. This book is about a girl who does her best to protect her family from a supernatural threat. She almost loses the man she loves because of it.

 

I also like the light steampunkish vibes that this series has. In this particular installment, the main characters can’t decide if they actually felt something for each other or if it was due to a demonic deal the guy struck. It was fun to see how they untangled that mess. Oh, and the bad guys are really bad, so that was good too!

 

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Truth by Julia Karr

 

Just as cringe-inducing as the first one and I mean it in a good way. Even so, the writing could have been better. Like the whole feminist agenda could have been handled in a more subtle way. The author promised a third book sometime ago but I don’t think its coming. Well, another series wrapped up…good enough for me!

 

 

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Saving the Sammi by Frank Tuttle

 

A short story set in the same world as the previous book. The protag is a headstrong girl with a chip on her shoulder. She sets off to rescue a family who are in danger of being smashed to bits when their airship crashes. Not bad I’d say.

 

 

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Rebel Angels by Libba Bray

 

This YA series is more about sexual awakening than fantasy. It just doesn’t resonate with me the way I thought it would. The sense of foreboding created doesn’t let up until the very end. But I felt like nothing major happened that would qualify. The main character is constantly bombarded with visions and she fails to connect the dots until she is betrayed by a person she trusts. What I did like was the authentic portrayal of class differences and how vicious teenage girls can be to each other. If you’ve read this series, it won’t surprise you when I say that I didn’t sympathize with any of the characters, including the protagonist. However, I think that was deliberately done and made her feel more real to me. It is the same with her friends: one is rich, shallow, and dealing with effects of sexual abuse; the other is poor, unsure of herself, and constantly dreading her future. I will be reading the next one soon.

 

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The Beauty, Vol. 1 & 2 by Jeremy Haun and Jason A. Hurley

 

Imagine a viral STD that leaves half of the population looking model-like beautiful. Then imagine the rest protesting it as unreligious and unnatural. Sometime later, it is discovered that the virus is causing people to implode. That is the world these comics are set in. They are also full of gory deaths and an evil government. The art is pretty and the message about superficial perfection isn’t subtle. I like it!

 

So, this is what I did in May. What did you read?

 

Originally published at midureads.wordpress.com on June 4, 2018.

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review 2018-06-02 23:07
Book, Line, and Sinker by Jenn McKinlay
Book, Line and Sinker - Jenn McKinlay

I'll start by saying ignore the back of the book. The publisher's description is incorrect - although Charlie found the body, he was never one of the prime suspects.

Briar Creek is in an upheaval after a salvage company arrives with plans to dig up Captain Kidd's buried treasure, which can supposedly be found somewhere on Pirate Island. It sounds too amazing to be true, except that Mr. Riordan, the owner of the salvage company, has Captain Kidd's very own treasure map. The treasure hunt could turn Pirate Island into a huge tourist attraction, but it would also cause ecological damage. While Milton Duffy, a well-known and well-liked member of the Friends of the Library, tries to protect the island, Trudi Hargrave, the head of Briar Creek's tourism department, does everything she can to help Riordan's work move forward. Then Trudi turns up murdered, and Lindsey finds herself in the thick of things as usual.

This is probably the best book in the series so far. I loved the way the mystery tied in with Briar Creek's history. If I had one complaint about the way things worked out, it was that it took a lot longer than I expected for Trudi to finally be murdered. Which sounds terrible, but waiting so long for the death I knew was supposed to happen made the book drag a little. Plus, Trudi was kind of annoying.

The fact that Sully and Lindsey were finally dating didn't lessen Sully's appeal. I was happy to see that Sully was still giving Beth rides and waiting to make sure she got into her house okay before driving off. Little things like that really demonstrated that he wasn't just being nice in the previous books in order to spend more time with Lindsey. He also handled the sudden appearance of Lindsey's ex-fiance, John, surprisingly well. I expected aggravating amounts of jealousy, and instead he opted to trust Lindsey, stand back (mostly), and let her deal with John in her own way. Unfortunately,

McKinlay opted to throw all of this out the window at the end of the book. It was very sudden and felt out of character for Sully, even taking into account the amount of stress he was under.

(spoiler show)


I continued to like Officer Emma Plewicki - I hope she gets more page-time in future books. The real surprise, however, was Chief Daniels. In the first book he was a stereotypical small town cop, too focused on his initial assumptions to even consider other possibilities. In this latest book, he had visibly mellowed, and I actually found myself liking him.

This was a great entry in the series, although I'm worried about what the ending will mean for the next book. Crossing my fingers that McKinlay doesn't drag this development out too long.

Extras:

  • The Briar Creek Library Guide to Crafternoons
  • Readers Guide for The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Lindsey's pattern for her cross-stitch sampler ("Books are my homeboys.")
  • Recipe for Charlene's cucumber cups stuffed with feta

 

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

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text 2018-05-31 13:00
Reading progress update: I've read 274 out of 274 pages.
Book, Line and Sinker - Jenn McKinlay

My gut-level rating is either 3.5 stars or 4. I really liked the way the mystery tied in with Briar Creek's history. John, Lindsey's ex, hanging around was somewhat annoying, but mostly handled in a low-drama way. And Sully continued to be sweet, but, ugh, that ending.

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text 2018-05-30 08:08
Reading progress update: I've read 236 out of 274 pages.
Book, Line and Sinker - Jenn McKinlay

The back of this book makes me wonder how book descriptions get written, because this one is just plain wrong. It states that Charlie becomes the prime suspect in the murder, so I've been waiting for that to happen. There have been two or three prime suspects, but none of them were Charlie.

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