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review 2017-11-23 19:37
The Julius House / Charlaine Harris
The Julius House - Charlaine Harris

Love at first sight turns into newlywed bliss for former librarian Aurora Teagarden-until violence cuts the honeymoon short.

Wealthy businessman Martin Bartell gives Roe exactly what she wants for their wedding: Julius House. But both the house and Martin come with murky pasts. And when Roe is attacked by an ax-wielding maniac, she realizes that the secrets inside her four walls—and her brand-new marriage—could destroy her.

 

When your hobby is studying True Crime stories, what do you want as a wedding present? Well, a mysterious house where the whole family has vanished without a trace, that’s what. And that’s exactly what Aurora Teagarden gets from her new husband, Martin. She gets a few other secrets rolled into the bargain without her knowledge, however, that lead her to wonder whether she’s made the correct choices for her life.

The amount that I enjoy Charlaine Harris’ mysteries seems to depend more on my frame of mind than anything else. When I’m in a receptive mood, I’m willing to just go with whatever scenario she dishes up. When I’m perhaps a bit cranky, I start questioning those plot choices and I don’t enjoy the story quite so much.

This time out, I feel a bit cranky about things. Although I thought that the reveal of what actually happened to the Julius family was very well done, I found the relationship developments between Roe and Martin to be questionable. Who in their right mind goes into a marriage with unanswered questions of that magnitude? When you have an opportunity to question the ex-wife, why would you shut her down? And why would you ever go to your former date for marriage counselling?

Yeah, yeah, small town, limited number of people, blah, blah, blah. I’ve lived in a small town and I don’t find it realistic. But I’ve never lived in the Southern States, so what do I know?

I actually own a copy of the next book in the series, which I picked up in a second-hand bookstore. So I guess I will be continuing on at some point, when I have the crankies under control.

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text 2017-11-23 15:59
Back from vacation!

[Reposted from my Blogger blog, with a few edits.]

 

I've actually been back for a few days. I just hadn't settled down to write this post.

So, vacation could have gone better. I got sick a few days in and spent a few days with a fiery sore throat, a cough, and a fever. I had to cancel a lunch with a friend/former supervisor because my voice kept going in and out, and unfortunately that was the only day she could meet with me. There was one miserable 3 AM where I woke up thirsty and discovered I couldn't drink more than a tiny sip of room temperature water. Hot water with honey mixed into it (because I was too tired to make herbal tea) was my savior.

I still have a cough, and there are some problems with a filling I got on Monday, but otherwise things are better.

Although I didn't get quite as much reading done during my vacation as I would have liked (I had a stack of Haikyu!! that I never touched, plus Naruto and some leftoever Natsume's Book of Friends and Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun), I still managed to get a respectable amount of reading done. If my count is correct, I finished 43 manga and graphic novel volumes, one short story, and one book (that I'd started prior to my vacation but finished during).

Here are the spoiler-y posts you can look forward to in the coming weeks (I will, of course, slap spoiler tags on them when I post them here on Booklikes - no worries):

  • Alice in the Country of Hearts: The Mad Hatter's Late Night Tea Party (manga, vols. 1-2)
  • Alice in the Country of Hearts: My Fanatic Rabbit (manga, vols. 1-2)
  • Arisa (manga, vols. 2-12)
  • Black Butler (manga, vols. 21-23)
  • Delicious in Dungeon (manga, vols. 1-2)
  • Haven't You Heard? I'm Sakamoto (manga, vol. 2)
  • Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft (graphic novel, vol. 1)
  • M.F.K. (graphic novel, not sure if it's a one-shot or vol. 1)
  • Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun (manga, vols. 4-5)
  • My Neighbor Seki (manga, vols. 1-6)
  • Natsume's Book of Friends (manga, vols. 11-13)
  • Orange: The Complete Collection (manga, vol. 1)
  • Skip Beat! (manga, vols. 37-39)
  • Tokyo Ghoul (manga, vols. 1-5)

 

Next time I go on vacation, I'd definitely like to continue Black Butler, Locke & Key, Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun, Natsume's Book of Friends, Orange (if I don't request the next and I think final volume through ILL between now and then), Skip Beat!, and Tokyo Ghoul. I'll rerequest Haikyu!! and Naruto, too.

As for the rest: I think I might finally have read the last of Alice in the Country of Hearts/Clover/Joker/etc. Delicious in Dungeon was okay, but not something I'd want to binge-read. I really shouldn't have continued Haven't You Heard? I'm Sakamoto - for me, the series is like looking on in horror as the weirdest and most disturbing insect I've ever seen crawls across my carpet. It's something to do with the art style, I think, since the actual content isn't really that horrifying. And My Neighbor Seki is definitely not one of those series to binge-read. It'd work best in small amounts, and trying to get through 6 volumes at once was a mistake on my part.

Other things I finished:

  • The Yellow Wallpaper (e-short story) by Charlotte Perkins Gilman - Free through Project Gutenberg. Strange and a little creepy. Very good, although I have lots of questions.
  • Alliance in Blood (e-book) by Ariel Tachna - I went from "this isn't great, but not the worst thing I've ever read" to "this is very bad." It started in the introduction, when the author wrote about how she'd "proudly" never read any vampire stories, and culminated with insta-love, a plodding story, and a wooden and boring big battle. The author may have thought that this story was too big to fit into a single book, but I have a feeling a good editor could have combined the first two or three books in the series into something much better than Alliance in Blood.

 

And visual novels! I "finished" one and got started on another in the few days between flying back and going back to work. I believe that both can be played on Apple or Android devices, although one is definitely best played on a phone rather than on a tablet.

  • The Arcana (game) - I may write a more thorough review, but for now my impression is that it's quite good. The artwork is lovely and the routes are interesting. I had things I liked about each of the three romanceable characters. The app's main problems are 1) the pricing structure (if you want access to the entire thing at any time without waiting, be prepared to pay $60+), 2) the amount of waiting (it takes 8 hours to get a new key so that you can read another chapter, and you can only have a maximum of 3 keys saved up), and 3) its incompleteness (it's a serial that's still ongoing - no clue when it will be complete).
  • Mystic Messenger (game) - Again, I may write a more thorough review later, but for now I'm loving this app, with some reservations. It takes place over the course of 11 real-time days, and it assumes that you have a daily schedule that's busiest from 9ish to 6ish but that still allows you multiple breaks to check your phone. If I could ask for one improvement, it would be for the app to allow users to enter their work/school schedules. At any rate, I will probably end up paying for a calling card for all of the characters, and for the bit that allows you to romance a couple extra characters. The Common route lasts a few days, after which you're locked into a particular character. I couldn't decide between Zen (a flirty but kind of lonely actor) and Jaehee (an efficient but overworked assistant, and the game's only woman aside from the player character), and apparently my indecision pushed me more towards Jaehee's route, so that's what I'm currently playing. From what I've read, it's a friendship route rather than a romantic one, and I'm really enjoying it so far. Jaehee's a great character, and I'm rooting for her happiness (even though she dislikes cats).
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review 2017-11-22 08:21
Fence (Issue #1) by C.S. Pacat; Illustrated by Johanna the Mad
Fence #1 - C.S. Pacat,Johanna Lindsey Fence #1 - C.S. Pacat,Johanna Lindsey

As you know (if you've been following my reviews for a while now), I am a huge fan of C.S. Pacat. I love her Captive Prince trilogy. Those are some of my favorite books of all time and since I've read them, I've decided that I will read everything else she has ever written in whatever form of media she chooses. So when I heard she was creating a comic about queer fencers, I pre-ordered my copy right there and then. When I discovered Johanna the Mad was the artist for this comic, I jumped for joy! Johanna is known in the fandom world for her many contributions to various different anime and manga. Basically, these two are a force to be reckon with and I was so excited to read their work.

 

Well, FENCE does not disappoint. I can't talk about it too much since it is the very first issue of the comic, but I will say this comic is everything I've hoped for. It's everything I love about sports anime, from the love of the sport to the rivalries to the ambition of always striving to do better! It's incredible! Plus, it's about a sport I know very little about: fencing. I love that the reader will not only be invested in the characters and their struggles, but they will also learn about fencing as a sport. I'm curious to learn more about fencing and seeing how the characters develop their skills. 

 

Speaking of characters, we are introduced to the main two. Nicholas Cox and Seiji Katayama. Nicholas is a character who grew up in poverty, is a bit of a loner, and has an attitude but loves fencing. Seiji seems to be someone who has it all and is a bit full of it because of his talent. These two, naturally, butt heads and a rivalry ensues. I can tell these two are going to have quite the relationship. >:3 

 

The artwork adds to the enjoyment of the story. It's so gorgeous and stunning! Johanna has done an amazing job at bringing these characters to life. Both C.S. Pacat and Johanna the Mad have worked really hard to bring this comic to life and it shows.

 

If you are a fan of any of these ladies, if you love their work, if you love sports anime, if you love queer content, then I highly recommend you check this comic out. It's such an amazing first issue and I am so looking forward to reading the other issues as they are released!

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review 2017-11-21 03:35
Brave, (Awkward #2) by Svetlana Chmakova
Brave - Svetlana Chmakova
  Jensen is having a hard time in middle school, but the tragic fact, initially at least for the reader, is that he doesn't know it. Because he believes that sunspots are a real danger to us all, among other reasons, he's teased, tormented, and even ignored or taken for granted by his classmates.

Chmakova's story is full of humor and affectionate for its characters, and the first half of it was a great character study. As for the second part, most people won't have any issues, but I was bothered by how the plot was resolved. Brave has an important message, but I don't know if its the right way to teach compassion.

 

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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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