Wednesday, August 23, 2017

What a month!

Ah, I've been silent again, but for good reason. 

I had a whole post on what my dogs put me through (they are all fine now but seriously dogs...), my health, and Charlottesville. While I was writing it out I realized I really didn't want to talk about all of that. Since Charlottesville I've been angry and tired and let me just say it... racism is bad. How do some people not get that? Even though I was not surprised that violence has happened but what did surprise me is that it has become personal in a way I didn't expect. I won't reveal the specifics but I will state that I have no problems standing with my convictions but it did make me angry. I only wanted to state that since I KNOW I'm not the only one going through it and I want anyone out there to know they are not alone. So many more people are speaking out against racism. Racism has always been there, it will be there after this section in history but we can do what we can to lessen it's impact for future generations. I have no problem believing it will happen because so many people are saying no. It is good to see and hold onto that. 

Now I'm switching gears (but know you just got a virtual hug from me)...

I just became a affiliate for Craftsy. 

Paper Crafts Supplies

I have used this site for quite a while. I often buy patterns or videos from this site when they are on sale. I can now let you know so if you are interested you can get in on the sales. Yep, I'm trying to do more crafting. I'm also previewing a lot of videos for them so hopefully I'll get to share those as well for you. I've been a bit behind where I want to be due to personal issues but hopefully will get to writing those things down.

I am also getting more involved in dog nutrition and training. I have to write some reviews on this and will hopefully have them soon.

It will be a bit before I'm back into full swing, but thanks for sticking around! I hope I end up having something here you will enjoy.

Hope your day gets better (even if it is great, I want it to get even better!) since I think we all deserve it right now.

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Monday, August 21, 2017

Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore

Standalone
384 p.
Publisher: Del Ray Books
Published: 8/22/17
Source: Publisher and NetGalley for review
A magically inspiring tale of a man who is reincarnated through many lifetimes so that he can be with his one true love: Death herself. 
What if you could live forever—but without your one true love? Reincarnation Blues is the story of a man who has been reincarnated nearly 10,000 times, in search of the secret to immortality so that he can be with his beloved, the incarnation of Death. Neil Gaiman meets Kurt Vonnegut in this darkly whimsical, hilariously profound, and wildly imaginative comedy of the secrets of life and love. Transporting us from ancient India to outer space to Renaissance Italy to the present day, is a journey through time, space, and the human heart.
My thoughts:

The blurb made me curious and I also wanted to see how the worldbuilding would play out in this story since so many cultures have a form of reincarnation within it's mythology narrative. While it was an interesting story, it did not really follow any specific religious views which I think was a good thing. However, it also touched so lightly on various cultural views it ended up not really having one of it's own and I'm not totally sure it was purposeful in doing that. Most people will not come to this story for that specific cultural view so this will be a minor niggle to most but I personally wanted it to go a bit deeper. Personal preference only but I also was glad it didn't so it didn't become preachy or religious at all.

I wasn't quite certain what the theme of the book was as he was continually pushed for "perfection" or enlightenment (which I think was interchangeable here) but it was never truly defined and he did find perfection within imperfection (say that 3 times fast). The romance was actually quite light in this book and was really the motivation for our hero to achieve perfection. The timeline flows back and forth through time with historical characters we know and futures we have yet to experience. It was an interesting journey and his lifetimes were interesting within itself. The ending is satisfying as is the epilogue but it does pose a philosophical question which I will not reveal since it would end up being a spoiler. You'll just have to see if you feel the same. *evil laugh*

I would have also liked to have followed "death" or Suzie more and I think that would have made the romance stronger. It was not strong within the story as most would expect but I did believe it and rooted for both of them to be together.

I give this book 3 stars. I did enjoy the fantasy of many lifetimes and even though I would have liked a stronger and more depth to the worldbuilding and romance I still found our hero Milo's journey to be interesting in how he learned and grew.

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Monday, July 31, 2017

The Queen of Swords by R. S. Belcher

Series: Golgotha #3
364 p.
Publisher: Tor Books
Published: 6/27/17
Source: From publisher for review
1870. Maude Stapleton, late of Golgotha, Nevada, is a respectable widow raising a daughter on her own. Few know that Maude belongs to an ancient order of assassins, the Daughters of Lilith, and is as well the great-great-great-great-granddaughter of Anne Bonney, the legendary female pirate.

Leaving Golgotha in search of her daughter Constance, who has been taken from her, Maude travels to Charleston, South Carolina, only to find herself caught in the middle of a secret war between the Daughters of Lilith and their ancestral enemies, the monstrous Sons of Typhon. To save Constance, whose prophetic gifts are sought by both cults, Maude must follow in the footsteps of Anne Bonney as she embarks on a perilous voyage that will ultimately lead her to a lost city of bones in the heart of Africa—and the Father of All Monsters.
My thoughts:

I haven't read the first two in the series and judging by the book I thought it was an offshoot series. It is not, but firmly a part of a series. I was not lost as I think Anne Bonney and her descendants take center stage in this one but not center in the other books. I enjoyed it as much as I thought I would but it made me crave more of Anne Bonney's story and I think I'll get some of it when I go back to read the other books in the series. Tor, if you are listening... I'd love to read those other books... *hint* πŸ˜‰

This story flits back and forth between timelines. The time is stamped on each chapter but even if you didn't pay attention to it, you would not be lost. In this instance Anne's story is more of a supportive role to tell Maude's story but she doesn't take the back seat. In fact, I think she may have stole the show... but it fits her character well.

The weakest parts were with the Sons of Typhon and with Typhon himself. He doesn't quite make my most feared villains but perhaps that is because I haven't read the other stories. He lacked depth but I'm not real sure that bothers me. He was a good backdrop and a reason for the tale we got and I really wanted more of Anne and the sisters of Lilith and that background story.

I give this book 4 stars. While I think you could dive into this one as I did and not be lost, be prepared to want more of Anne's story. I have a feeling you'll be wanting either her own book all to herself or at least the other books in this series. I want both. I recommend it to those that enjoy fantasy and pirates you would sail with around the world.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Arts and Crafts (and Entertainment): Dog Harness and NetFlix

...and a bit of movies and shows as well...

I actually have a few crafts I need to post but because I'm behind and have a few things to work out before I post most of them so this will be short. I do have one I would like to share that I just completed. 

I made a pup harness!

I put an extra D ring on the front to make it a no pull harness. Will see if it works soon. It is also an no choke harness as well. She needed another one and I made this one so I could wash the one I had on her. LOL 


Here she is modeling the harness. She is growing! Her face is starting to elongate a bit and now I can see more of the shepherd that she is supposed to have in her. Still looks nothing like one though. 

I have also been catching up on a few movies from time to time. Finally saw Moana (and now it has been in the background now and again... LOL) and I also finally saw Kubo and the Two Strings.
I knew about this one a long time before it came out because Toby Froud (yes that Toby from Labyrinth) worked on the film and I saw a bit of it while in production. If you haven't seen it yet, you should. 

I also got my mom into Sense8 and about the time I knew she would be hooked they announced that it would be cancelled. I warned her but she had already been hooked enough to continue and by the time it was over she was cursing with me about Netflix stopping production. Soon after it was announced that there would be a 2 hr ending in the works and it should be available next year. *whew*

I also have been getting into Wynonna Earp. It is a campy-ish sci-fi show with demons and other odd characters. It is fun and I'm just in the first season. It comes on the Sci-Fi channel but the first season is on NetFlix.

Hope everyone is doing well! I'm going to try to catch up on my blogging and blog visiting one day soon... 

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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Reluctant Queen by Sarah Beth Durst

Series: The Queens of Renthia #2
368 p.
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Published: 7/4/17
Source: From author for review
Everything has a spirit: the willow tree with leaves that kiss the pond, the stream that feeds the river, the wind that exhales fresh snow . . .
And those spirits want to kill you.
It’s the first lesson that every Renthian learns. 
(minor spoilers for first book in blurb) Not long ago, Daleina used her strength and skill to survive those spirits and assume the royal throne. Since then, the new queen has kept the peace and protected the humans of her land. But now for all her power, she is hiding a terrible secret: she is dying. And if she leaves the world before a new heir is ready, the spirits that inhabit her beloved realm will run wild, destroying her cities and slaughtering her people. 
Naelin is one such person, and she couldn’t be further removed from the Queen—and she wouldn’t have it any other way. Her world is her two children, her husband, and the remote village tucked deep in the forest that is her home, and that’s all she needs. But when Ven, the Queens champion, passes through the village, Naelin’s ambitious husband proudly tells him of his wife’s ability to control spirits—magic that Naelin fervently denies. She knows that if the truth of her abilities is known, it will bring only death and separation from those she loves. 
But Ven has a single task: to find the best possible candidate to protect the people of Aratay. He did it once when he discovered Daleina, and he’s certain he’s done it again. Yet for all his appeals to duty, Naelin is a mother, and she knows her duty is to her children first and foremost. Only as the Queen’s power begins to wane and the spirits become emboldened—even as ominous rumors trickle down from the north—does she realize that the best way to keep her son and daughter safe is to risk everything.
My thoughts (spoiler free):

You hear so much about sophomore slump in series but this one has none of that. I really liked the first book, but I have to say I enjoyed this one a bit more. This may also be enjoyed more by adults than the first one as one of the heroines in the tale is a mother, Naelin, who is quite mature to start, but still grows and has even more maturity in the end.

This book is split between several POVs (more than the first book) but you are never lost and it flows well. The multiple POVs enhance the story and bring you more fully into what is going on. We do get less of Daleina, our heroine of the last story, and her role and character feel like it is more relegated to a secondary character which might be my only complaint about the book. I really wanted to be with her as she also grew into more maturity. However, this is really a minor niggle and I still enjoyed the character who has fully embraced her new role in the story.

There were red herrings I fell for, some twists I figured out early and one huge twist I didn't see coming. This was an interesting adventure and a harder puzzle to see come together. It did fall into place well in the end and the book feels complete. You are left with open roads to more books in the series but no real cliffie... until... the epilogue. It wasn't the kind of cliffhanger I hate but it is one that does the job nicely in making me want the next book NOW.

I give this book 4 1/2 stars. I really think this one was even better than the first book, but do not skip that first book. The first book solidifies the world and the problems within it. It is also a good book and should not be missed on that merit. I highly recommend this series to those that enjoy fantasy. It can also be easily enjoyed by those that don't foray too deep in fantasy since it isn't heavy handed but an enjoyable adventure.

If you missed it, the review of first book, The Queen of Blood.
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