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review 2019-01-21 04:41
The Silver Music Box (Silver Music Box #1) (Audiobook)
The Silver Music Box - Mina Baites,Alison Layland

From the blurb, I thought this was going to be about Lillian finding out about her roots and trying to research where her family came from and what happened to them during WWII, but that part of the plot doesn't come in until a little over 2/3s of the way through the book. Instead, it starts out with Johann Blumenthal fighting in WWI for Germany, then follows through to his son Paul at the dawn of the Nazis taking over power and Paul's eventual attempts to get his family out of the country. When things are looking grim for them, it then drops that storyline and jumps forward to the 1960s to Lillian, where I thought the story was going to start.


It was a bit jarring to start off, since I wasn't expecting the story to be so linear, but in the end, I found it more effective getting to know the Blumenthal's and seeing their attempts to stay in Germany as long as they could before realizing - perhaps too late - that they needed to flee to save themselves. It was disheartening to see them doing everything they could to be good Germans, in a Germany that cared about them less and less, and to see the small steps that began to segregate the Jews from the main populace more and more until the Nazis were in power and didn't care about being quite so subtle anymore. 


This is compounded when they end up in Capetown in South Africa - they're safe there, but all around them is apartheid - which was implemented based on Aryan propaganda and laws.

(spoiler show)


I did feel at times that the characters were there more to serve as plot points, and Charolette suffers the most from this since she mostly just reacts while Paul is making all the preparations. Knowing how many women worked in the underground and resistance forces during WWII, I would have liked to see Charolette take a more active role. 


I also would have liked more time to get to know Lillian so her story arc could have more weight, but seeing her so driven to find out everything she could about where she came from and what happened to her family was touching nonetheless. 


The narrator, Jane Oppenheimer, who I first heard narrating The Moonlit Garden, was an odd choice I think for this story. She has a very mellow and soothing voice, which dulled the tension from a story that really should have been tense.

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review 2019-01-21 03:42
Dark, gritty, and I just love this
Spawn: Origins Volume 1 (New Printing) - Todd McFarlane

The amnesia trope seems to be one I like, particularly in my comics and graphic novels.   So are broken characters, and ones who put down evil doers.   Not put in jail when they can't be reformed, but put down. 


Spawn has it all for me.   It was one of the series that ushered in a little more darkness into comics, and I know some people pine for the days when it was all nice and clean.   I do enjoy many of the lighter, cleaner comics that you can show the kids, but I also enjoy the darker universes. 


Spawn has been a long-time thing for me, although I dropped Spawn for a long while.  I'd like to use Comixology Unlimited and Hoopla to get through everything - all 13 volumes of Spawn origins and the more recent graphic novels - and maybe just start buying them on Comixology after I get through those.   Because rereading them?  I love it all over again. 


I own volumes 1-3 via Humble Bundle - and in paper - but I want to read them on Comixology and those volumes are amiable there, so the pages are from the Comixology version.

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review 2019-01-21 02:58
Widdershins (Whyborne & Griffin #1)
Widdershins - Jordan L. Hawk

Reread review 1/20/19:


No wonder I couldn't remember some of this. I read it three and-a-half years ago! ;) Time flies.


Whyborne and Griffin are the best. <3 I really enjoyed revisiting them at the start of their relationship, and seeing how much they've both changed and grown in confidence and strength since this first outing. Whyborne's so used to abuse and bullying that just Griffin being nice to him is enough to endear Griffin to him. And Griffin is so used to being abandoned that Whyborne sticking by him in times of trouble is enough to make its own impression. They're exactly what the other needed. <3


Christine's as great as ever. I still think making Ms. Parkhurst

fall for Persephone is a retcon. She's clearly crushing on Whyborne this whole time, but suddenly she's into a squid monster. Ooookay. Sure.

(spoiler show)

I'm going to try to be more open-minded about Niles, since as of book 10 I still have reservations about him. He was somewhat less awful here than I remembered him being - though he's still plenty awful, no question.


Original review 6/7/15:


I held out on delving into this series for the longest time, because historicals, especially in M/M are almost never done to my liking. They're too contemporary, or they're costume dramas, or they've got the sickly waif, or what have you. I've really only enjoyed Tamara Allen's works because she gets into the mindset of the time and doesn't try to modernize them. Ms. Hawk doesn't quite come up to that standard, but she comes incredibly close. The characters sound like they're from the turn of the century, more or less. They don't go gaga over the dress of the times; there is no more attention paid to anyone's garb than there would be in a contemporary fiction. So I liked this book just for that right from the start.


Then the plot starting picking up. Historical AND paranormal? Two genres I'm usually picky about. I'm trying to get into shifters, but so far I've only read THIRDS and that fell flat. Vampires? Even if I hadn't had my fill with Anne Rice in high school and with Buffy/Angel right after that, I do believe Edward Cullen has ruined the genre for the rest of humanity and all of time. Harry Dresden works for me because it's from the POV of someone working to oppose those forces and it doesn't get overly angsty, and that's more or less what Ms. Hawk does here as well. There is some angst, thanks to that Big Misunderstanding, but I wasn't bothered by it because of the way it was resolved. The paranormal element takes front and center, and I liked seeing Whyborne struggle to understand it and resist its lure. I thought the family conflict was resolved a bit too neatly, but I'm willing to see if it's resolved for good or just put on hold due to traumatic circumstances. 


I really enjoyed Whyborne and Griffin. They're not as cut and dry as they appear to be. They both have past struggles to contend with and past regrets that haunt them, but they're a good match for each other. You could see Whyborne slowly growing more confident in himself as the book progressed. Griffin too gets some development, but as the story is told through Whyborne's POV, we only get to see it secondhand, but we do get to see it and experience it. Then there's Christine, who in my mind looks and acts much like Marvel's Agent Carter. She's the perfect woman and I hope she becomes a regular character and a part of their team. 


There were a few typos, words repeating where they should have been edited out (no, not the stutters), and a couple of other minor instances but nothing overly glaring. There was just the right amount of sex, at least for me. And while this isn't quite instalove, they do fall for each other fairly quickly if you pay attention to the timeline. Still, with the focus being primarily on the investigation, that didn't bother me all that much. I'm much more forgiving of that trope when the characters are able to get over themselves and focus on the actual plot instead of getting sidetracked constantly by feels and horniness. Not that there isn't some sidetracking, but it's not on every single page and they're able to act like mature adults.


Overall, I really enjoyed this one. I can see myself becoming a fan of this series if they continue to hold up to the standard set by this one. Plus, Widdershins sounds like a place that can get Hellmouthy, so I'm looking forward to what their future adventures might entail. 

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review 2019-01-20 22:27
Really tired of the AU
Savage Dragon Archives Vol. 4 - Erik Larsen

It goes away, it comes back, it goes away.  I'm invested in the original world, and the characters and it's frustrating that we keep getting teased with them.   


I'm getting frustrated, which is why I knocked off one star.   The art is getting tighter, even when Larsen plays around with style.  And he does.  I read about how he does that, and then in this volume?  I can really see him doing it, more so than in the past.   It's new, it's exciting, partly because it's good.   The way he combines more realistically drawn characters, right next to more cartoony characters, in the same issue/book/panel really emphasizes the story he's telling, so not only is he exploring artistically, he's doing so thoughtfully. 


This series continues to pay homage to other books, while winking at the reader.   Larsen knows what he's doing, and he makes that obvious.   It's still a funny, action-packed soap opera on steroids.   I mean, I finally feel like I know the feels of soap opera aficionados.   I also wonder how many soaps Larsen has watched. 


That being said, sometimes soap-like stories just get on my nerves; this one has really gotten under my skin.  It's just... riveting.  I may end up buying the handful of issues past archive nine, just to catch up, in fact.   Loving, loving, loving this.   

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text 2019-01-20 07:12
Reading progress update: I've read 100 out of 291 pages.
A Dog's Ransom - Patricia Highsmith

Mmh ... I haven´t done a whole lot of status updates because there isn´t much to say about this book so far. It´s not the worst Highsmith book I have read and its definitely not the best.


Tbh, I´m not overly fond of the characters. The Reynoldses and the young police officer are incredibly bland and the third main character, Kenneth Rowajinski, is interesting enough, but he isn´t on the peak of his scheming just yet. Plus most of the chapters so far have been told from the perspective of the other characters.


I hope the story will pick up from now on.


BT, how far are you into the book? :)




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