Beach House Reunion – #BookReview

Turtles are the best!

It’s still summer so this week I am reviewing a summer book. The fact that pumpkin spice food is showing up and lots of kids are back in school will not deter me from remembering that we still have a month to go before fall.!

Beach House Reunion is the fifth book in a series about people who live in or come back to a beach house. Written by Mary Alice Monroe, the series is fairly popular and she has certainly hit best seller lists on multiple occasions. If you’re a big fan of hers, you probably are not going to like what I have to say about it. I can see how a certain audience would enjoy this book and I will say that the descriptions of the scenery are poetic and lovely. In addition I can respect the love for the environment and the health of an endangered species that the author shows. The rest of the book though, I could never get into.

The story centers on a few people of different generations who for one reason or another have come back to a beach house to spend the summer or in some cases, the rest of their lives in Charleston, South Carolina. The main focus is on the Rutledge family.

The story mostly centered on Cara, a widowed mother who has just adopted. She spends a good third of the book thinking about how she might be too old to be a mother. I get how you might see that as a problem but she really goes on and on about it. She spends all kinds of time looking for a babysitter for her daughter Hope. She seems gobsmacked to find out that there is something called a nanny. Then her niece Linnea is conscripted for the job and Cara can finally get some work done.

Linnea has her own issues with finding herself a job, you know, other than the nanny thing, and meets and falls in love with a guy named John. Her brother Cooper Pringle Ruteledge (the most one percent name ever) is in over his head with drugs and alcohol because he wants to go to USC and why can’t they just let him go to USC cause he really needs to go to USC.

The whole story is framed with facts about turtles and sea life which I think is supposed to be some kind of metaphor for these women. Also, they are apparently in a group called “Turtle Ladies” that looks for turtle nests to help with the population of the turtles. The turtle facts were probably the best part of this book.

There’s a few other side plots going on but those are the main thrust of the story. I had a few issues with the book so I am going to do my public airing of grievances below.

  • Cara, desperate and tired looks at her adopted daughter and for a moment sees her own mother. Now, personally if I see that, I am making an appointment with a shrink but, nope this all seems perfectly normal to Cara.
  • Later in the book, Cara feels like the ocean and a piece of furniture are her dead husband telling her it’s okay to like, move on and date a new guy. Again, I’d call that hallucinatory but whatever.
  • Because she feels like she never totally got to say goodbye to her husband, Cara, digs a hole in the beach and has Hope drop her wedding ring in it. Really? I mean I get you don’t want to wear it but that seriously seems like a waste. At this point I am really concerned that Cara needs some professional help, stat.
  • Also, Cara adopted a baby girl named Esperanza which I think is a great name. What does Cara do? Immediately translates that pretty name into boring old Hope. It’s her daughter and she can do what she wants but I felt like Esperanza would have been a fine name.
  • At one point Cara is talking to David, the guy she starts dating, and says that he is a “manny” – a male nanny. We don’t need to do that. If you are a guy who is a nanny, you can be a nanny, you don’t have to man-ify it.
  • I know that as new parents it’s hard to be able to do everything but at one point when Hope is crying, instead of hold, comfort or play with her, Cara looks up what to do about crying babies on google. Seems like she might have wanted to read a parenting book at some point? You, know after you get Hope to settle down.
  • David gives Cara a Burberry bag from Harrod’s and she tries to refuse it but then David says it’s insulting not to let a man pick up a tab for a woman. This is not the 1940’s and women can pay for stuff if they want to. There are waaay too many cases of men controlling women by taking control of their finances. How do they start that? By insisting that they should pay for everything. I know it’s not meant that way in the book but I just got tired of the rampant gender stereotyping in this book. Like really tired of it.
  • Cara came from an abusive home from what I can gather from this book. Her father used to get physically violent and her mother did not protect her from it. At one point her brother, Palmer, who is the father of Linnea and Cooper is showing clear signs of alcoholism just like Cara’s father did. Cara doesn’t do much to help him but just thinks he has to hit rock bottom for the cycle to end. Here’s what rock bottom is – throwing a bottle of bourbon at huge portrait and almost hitting your daughter. The fact that he doesn’t hit his daughter, in Cara’s mind, means the whole cycle has ended. B.S. this dude is going to get worse. He does end up going to AA and that might help but I just thought Cara’s attitude about the whole thing was dangerously passive.
  • Also, these people are stinking rich. They own this import/export business. It wasn’t clear what the goods were but that might have been covered in past books. They have big blow up arguments over what prestigious college their kids will attend and you know, own beach houses. Kinda tired of the filthy rich in real life, so reading about them in fiction (when they are not named Jay Gatsby) gets tiresome to me.
  • There is wine or alcohol mentioned like every other passage, yet they wonder why Cooper gets a DUI and overdoses. Can’t have anything to do with the constant availability of alcohol can it??
  • I also had a real hard time with the relationship between Linnea and John. John is a surfer who is staying for the summer before he goes back to San Francisco. He was born in the south and so does have relatives there and I think Linnea’s family knew his somehow but that wasn’t super clear to me. Again that could have been covered in a previous book. But boy howdy did I find this whole thing unbelievable.
  • John and Linnea first bond over the film Gidget and then later over the poem The Highwayman. I am not saying either of those things are bad but it made me wonder if they were college aged, or in their eighties. Gidget? Really? I mean come on, use a more modern reference to relate to the youth.
  • Linnea meets John because she tries to surf on her own and wipes out completely. The book says she looked up some YouTube videos on how to do it before she went. I gotta say, those videos were made by the worst surfers ever. First off, she went surfing alone. No surfer should do that. Second, she didn’t have a leash for the board, didn’t know what it meant to be goofy footed and had no idea how to push up off the board. These are seriously basic things I know and I don’t even surf!
  • At one point John hands Linnea a bottle of water out of a cooler. But before he gives it to her, he wipes it off with a towel and opens it. She is all impressed but what I thought was she is not a toddler!
  • Also, John is supposed to be a great surfer but he wants to go swimming at night in dark water. Hello! Did you not see Jaws? Oh yeah, you were too busy watching Gidget.
  • Towards the end of the book, after one summer together John invites Linnea to come to San Francisco with him to try and get a job. It seemed very transactional and not that romantic all in all but then Linnea sort of implies her father wouldn’t want her to go there without being married. John reasonably says that’s a bit much and Linnea totally agrees, But then she is disappointed he didn’t ask her anyway. Which is it? Also, do you really want to marry a guy you have known for like three months? That’s a bit of a rush.
  • My final question about this book has to do with the “Turtle Ladies”. Do you have to be a woman to join this thing? What if a guy loves turtles too? Are you going to exclude him? Even if he is a manny?

Next week I will be back with another summer read as I review Summer in Tuscany by Elizabeth Adler.

Manny-ly yours,

Slick Dungeon

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.
Advertisements

Romancing the Duke – #BookReview

Dating 101

Hey everyone, Slick, here back to tell you all about the book I read this week. Let me start off by saying that I am not a fan of romance books. I am not a fan of historical romances unless they are written by Diana Gabaldon. And while I won’t say I am a fan of Romancing the Duke, I will say, I did not hate this book in the way I expected to. I thought it was going to be utter and complete garbage. But, if you like romances and you know what to expect from romances, this book is pretty decent.

There are a few things this book gets right and I want to call those out right off. So, if you want to read this, consider this the valet/footman/butler calling down the hall: SPOILERS AHEAD.

This story centers on a Duke (obviously) and the woman who romances him (obviously). In the story he is blind and I thought the whole time that there was going to be some kind of miracle where he got his sight back. That never happened. What’s more, the blindness is accurately described as the Duke can see sometimes enough to make out shapes but he’s still most definitely blind. So kudos to the author for not falling into the all or nothing blindness trope along with the miracle cure trope.

Also, this book has a clear understanding of what it is. It’s a fun little romance between two people and doesn’t really expect more out of itself. The uh… shall we say steamy… parts are just that and it doesn’t bash you over the head with it too much. So again kudos.

The last good thing to call out is that this does have a realistic understanding of how women were disadvantaged by societal rules in the past. (Still are in many instances but let’s stick to the book). It’s clear that men control the property and inheritance and that it would be considered extremely unseemly and unlikely for a woman to be an author, despite the fact of, you know, all the female authors out there at the time.

But as I was reading this, I realized that this book actually is an instruction manual on dating. To give you the highlights, I am going to list the steps to getting your own Duke, or romance, depending on if you are the Duke or the romancer. Also, this book is clearly for hetero relationships so I can’t say this is a foolproof guide to dating for everyone.

Without further ado, I present to you, Slick Dungeon’s foolproof guide to dating for everyone.

Step 1: Live in the time and area when Dukes who have a massive estate but are unclaimed bachelors seem to be as easy to find as dropping a pebble into a pond. Alternatively, be one of these Dukes.

Step 2: Get involved in a tangled property dispute over a castle that the Duke owns but that you think you own, show up at his door and faint. Alternatively be the Duke, open the door, catch a feinting woman and immediately think to yourself that her hair is “predatory”.

Step 3: Have a father who writes literary fantasy stories and has named you something romantic, like, say, Isolde Ophelia Goodnight. Alternatively, have a manly man’s name like, say, Ransom, Duke of Rothbury, and be scarred in battle after having your intended elope with another, then fight her suitor in a duel with swords causing you to go blind, then go back to live alone in your castle for so many months that everyone thinks you might just be dead.

Step 4: After you faint let the Duke undress you, make you more comfortable, put you in bed but don’t quite sleep through the night, wake up, and nearly immediately mention that you make excellent pancakes. Alternatively, awkwardly undress the woman who fainted at your door and place her in a bed, figuring she is just some stranger who will most likely leave in the morning and assume she fainted because your scarred face is monstrous.

Step 5: Think to yourself that you own this castle but even if this Duke is who he says he is, he doesn’t own this castle because it is yours now but also marvel at how devilishly handsome the man is and that even though you are determined to keep the castle, keeping the Duke might be a bonus. Alternatively, be outraged internally that a woman who showed up trying to take your home that you are definitely not giving up, offered to make you, of all things in the world…. pancakes.

Step 6: Scare the heck out of the Duke who seems to be a bit of a jerk by not informing him of the ermine that is hanging out in your bag. Alternatively, be the Duke and get bit by an ermine and exclaim several profanities while asking what that was and ultimately admit that you are visually impaired, but internally, refer to this woman’s hair as an octopus.

Step 7: Offer to go through the Duke’s correspondence to sort this whole property dispute out but also go about as if you own this whole dang castle already cause, like, you do right? Alternatively, try and get this freaking woman with her predatory, octopus hair having, pancake making, butt out of here by scaring her with bats and/or also offer her a job to go through your correspondence and also kiss the woman that you wish would just leave already.

Step 8: Step up steaminess. Alternatively, step up steaminess.

Step 9: Have this whole host of people show up who are like a fan club of your father’s writing and be super embarrassed about it, but also enjoy the fact that the Duke has stepped up the steaminess. Alternatively, be annoyed that this whole host of people has shown up to disrupt your life, but like totally, keep the steaminess going for sure.

Step 10: Have the inevitable blow up where you are just trying to help the Duke and prove he is sane so he can keep this dang castle that is supposed to be yours but is his but doesn’t really matter because maybe you’ll get married anyway. Alternatively have the inevitable blow up because this woman won’t leave you alone and you are clearly trying to help her but are more interested in the steamy parts but then again, she seems like the perfect woman so maybe you’ll just marry her.

Step 11: Admit that you are actually the writer of the books, not your father and that also, you think you are not beautiful, despite the fact that this Duke clearly has the serious hots for you. Alternatively, admit that your father was a total jerk and that you only became blind because you more or less let the guy you were fighting win because you didn’t want to actually kill the dude, nor did you love the girl you were engaged to, and also finally be nice to this woman’s friends.

Step 12: Get the whole property/sanity thing sorted out, marry the Duke, make pancakes, get pregnant, write more and get slammed by literary critics who are too stupid to realize this is the same author they just praised, all while still keeping it steamy. Alternatively, get the whole property/sanity thing sorted out, marry the woman, eat pancakes, build a nursery, listen to bad reviews of your new wife’s work and get irritated all while keeping it steamy.

There you have it. I guarantee if you follow all those steps, you will have either romanced or been romanced by a Duke.

Next week we’re going to go back to being a little more contemporary as I read The Beach House Reunion by Mary Alice Monroe. It’s about time someone put that dang thing back together!

Steamily yours,

Slick Dungeon

My Favorite Places to Read

Hey, Slick, where are your favorite places to read I ask myself. Why, I am so glad you asked that, Slick, I answer myself. I read quite a lot and although, I tend to be a somewhat slow reader compared to many of my peers, I do read more than the average human shaped entity. I’ve got a few places I really like to read. For no particular reason, I listed these below. Do you have a favorite place to read? Do you like it more when there is no one around or if there is a crowd around you? Let me know in the comments.

  • In bed before I fall asleep. Who doesn’t love curling up with a good book as you are about to head off to sleep? I do have to be careful with this one sometimes though because if a book is good enough, I am reading all night and getting zero sleep.
  • While camping. I absolutely love reading while outdoors. Especially if I am reading a fantasy novel. I can easily imagine the events taking place in the Shire happening right where I am. The only real drawback is if the bugs start gnawing at my flesh. In a way that just adds to the imagination though.
  • On the train. There’s something hypnotic about reading while the countryside passes you by. The tricky part about this one for me, is that sometimes people will see that you are reading a book and try to strike up a conversation with you about the book. Apparently these people don’t realize I would rather be reading but, whatever. And on a very rare occasion I do end up talking to a book lover I can relate to so I guess it’s not all bad. I usually put on headphones so that I can prevent the conversation but it’s nowhere near one hundred percent effective.
  • At work. Okay so again, this is one to be careful with but every once in a while, I would sneak off into the bathroom and read a book on my phone for a few minutes. I only recommend doing this when you really don’t have anything to do for a few minutes and with a book you know you won’t get absolutely engrossed in. If you get a lunchtime at work, that’s also a good time to go have a bit of a read.
  • On a stormy and cold night in front of a fire. This situation, in my opinion, is best suited for reading horror novels. Stephen King and I have shared many, many hours this way, and that man can still haunt the heck out of my dreams. I can’t get enough of his books.
  • In my dungeon. Yep, right here in this dungeon that I fell into, I love reading because, well, that’s what there is to do here. That and watch bad movies but hey, it’s better than falling into a pit trap or battling off a horde of Orcs, am I right? Yeah, I am.

Eruditely yours,

Slick Dungeon

Anyone Else Out There Get Zombie Anxiety Dreams on a Regular Basis?

I watch a lot of television and films with different kinds of monsters in them. Same for the books I read. But for me, there’s one type of monster that no matter what, when I see it, or read it, or even think about it for more than five minutes, I end up having a nightmare about it. It doesn’t matter if I am watching Zombieland, Night of the Living Dead, 28 Days later or Shaun of the Dead. It doesn’t matter if I am reading a quality zombie book, or a terrible zombie book, or anything in between. Every time I read this stuff I have a nightmare. I love these stories so I keep reading and watching. Just wondering if anyone else out there has this happen to them? Do you have another type of creature that does that for you? I can watch vampire movies and read vampire books until the sun comes up (see what I did there?) and no trouble in my dreams. Werewolves, no problem. But if you put a flesh eating crowd monster in my head. it’s there to stay. Let me know what your favorite nightmare monster is in the comments.

Sleep Deprivedly yours,

Slick Dungeon

10 Completely Random Thoughts I Have had While Reading Bad Books

I read a fair amount and while I do try to focus on the story, sometimes my mind wanders. Here’s ten thoughts I have had recently.

  • How does everyone in romance novels stay so fit and healthy, yet never seem to go to the gym?
  • Who chose Tuesday as the day new books come out? Why is Tuesday so special?
  • Do hardcover book jackets automatically get destroyed or is that just because I am not careful enough?
  • In zombie books, why don’t the animals ever become zombies? If they did, would they have to eat the same kind of animal? Or could like a horse eat a chicken and be good?
  • I’ll go to sleep in twenty minutes or once I finish this chapter. Twenty minutes later… that chapter was too good, I’ll go to sleep in twenty minutes or when I finish this chapter. Twenty minutes later… you get it
  • Lifting a heavy book totally counts as exercise. I need another Oreo.
  • This whole entire book is just made up of different ways of rearranging twenty-six letters.
  • Wait, so the guy is a werewolf, dating a woman who is a vampire but the witch coven hates them both. Have I already read this? Aww man I have already read this…
  • Did anyone far in the past predict fax machines in a story? And if they did, were people who read that story super excited when we finally got them. And if they were, are they still excited now?
  • I should probably find a better book to read.

Ponderously yours,

Slick Dungeon

Armada – #Book Review

Have you read this before? yes. Yes you have.

Sometimes you read a book full of pop culture references with a cool story about a video game player and you think, “I wish Steven Spielberg would make a movie out of this.” And sometimes the author of that book writes a second book that proves that was a one time experience. Welcome to Armada by Ernest Cline.

Stop me if you’ve heard this before. Actually, scratch that, don’t stop me because you have heard it before but read this review anyway.

From the opening moments of this book, I kept wondering what science fiction story this was ripping off. The answer? All of them. I mean it. There is pretty much no science fiction story here that is not referenced or mimicked in this book. It is so chocked full of direct quotes and references that I began to wonder what percentage of a book has to be original not to be considered plagiarized. I know that a lot of people like Easter eggs and find them fun when you can recognize them in books or movies. I like it too, especially in a Marvel film that might give a hint of what’s to come. But this wasn’t like that. It was more like the Easter bunny firing a rapid fire Easter egg grenade launcher at your face.

I wish that was the only problem with this book but boy, howdy, is this thing a walking disaster.

Has this ever happened to you? You’re a senior in High School on his last semester who has daddy issues because your father died in a sewage treatment explosion just after you were born. To deal with the tragedy, you spend your life obsessed with all the video games, movies, books and music that your father left behind. You play a new game called Armada but are a little worried about your mental state because your father left some notebooks behind with a timeline that seems kinda crazy. Not only that but the notebook makes it seem like there is a global conspiracy to cover up the fact that we have already made contact with aliens. Then you see a spaceship that looks directly like the one from Armada. Your boss who is a used video game store owner shows up with a secretive government agency right out of the video game you happen to be really good at. You get recruited to fight against these aliens by playing your favorite video game that is now real. Lucky for you, you are recruited moments before you were about to beat up a guy with a tire iron because he said bad stuff about your dad. While waiting around to get the full story, you meet a beautiful girl who is smart and also an awesome video game player who is instantly attracted to you. Carl Sagan then gives you a briefing about the aliens and how every science fiction movie, book, or video game has been used to get the population prepared for the knowledge that aliens are out there. Not only that, Star Wars, and all the cool stuff you love, was actually funded by the government for that very purpose. Oh, and not only that but the video games you have been playing happen to function the exact way the real weapons that the government has reverse engineered from the aliens work. Since the whole world plays video games, our best and brightest aren’t people like astronauts and math geniuses, it’s actually the people who have been logging the most online hours playing video games. This all seems pretty weird to you but you roll with it because you feel like you were always meant for some bigger destiny. You are also shocked and amazed at every single new revelation in the whole thing. Like you see the video game ship in real life and go, “That’s not possible.” Then you are taken into a big old government training facility and see the guy from the video game and go, “Even though I now believe the ship is real, I don’t believe the dude is real” And then you find out your dad is alive and had been recruited by the video game dude years ago and you go, “Even though I now believe the ship is real and the dude is real, I don’t actually believe my dad is alive.” And then they take you to the moon to meet your dad and you go, “Even though I now believe the ship is real, that the video game dude is real, that my dad is alive, I still didn’t really believe there was a moon base…” (Ok, I think you get the point.) Then on your first mission with the real drones you screw up but still get to fight because, you’re still good at the video game. Then your dad tells you all about how he figured out there was this conspiracy and not only that, your dad thinks that the aliens may not actually want to kill us. Then you watch your dad almost die trying to prove his point. Because you have a very hard time believing things that are clearly obvious, you still don’t quite believe him so you go back to your home town of Beaverton, Oregon and run it by your two best friends. They argue a lot, while your mom and dad get reacquainted and you convince everyone your dad was right. Well, almost everyone because the video game guy doesn’t believe it and wants to blow the aliens to kingdom come. So, now you need your two best friends, the people you met on the moon base, your dad, and the hot girl you met at the mission briefing to help you out while you go blow up the super weapon that Earth has come up with before we do something really stupid and get the whole planet destroyed by these aliens. You are also able to excuse global warming and a whole host of other problems because clearly the aliens are a bigger threat. So, after your dad actually gets himself killed, on the day that you finally met him, you go after the weapon and blow that to kingdom come. Then the aliens start talking to you and telling you that humanity has just passed “the test” so we’re all good now, welcome to a new galactic society that you as the dude who blew up that weapon get to decide if we are joining or not. Thankfully you say yes because no would have meant that the aliens would blow us up anyway. Also, the aliens aren’t aliens but actually just some kind of robotic thing that was left behind on Europa to, you know, watch us. Then you go back home, get to run the used video game store, are a celebrity, sign an autograph for the guy you almost beat with a tire iron that one time, get married to the beautiful girl you met at the briefing, and have a kid you name after yourself and your father. Then you basically get to live out a normal happy life.

Spoiler alert. Shoot, probably should have put that up higher.

Here’s a few answers to if this has happened to you from some random people I polled on the street.

Ender Wiggins [Ender’s Game] – “Sounds pretty familiar but it was a little different”

Alex Rogan [The Last Starfighter] – “I think I was in that story”

Doug Masters [Iron Eagle] – “Well, there were no aliens but my dad’s plane did get shot down”

Well, there you have it folks, it’s a pretty common occurrence. Even with that being said, I still had more problems with this book.

  • I actually listened to this as an audiobook and while I love ya Will Wheaton, your Carl Sagan somehow sounds exactly like George Takei. How is that even possible?
  • They claim that the government funded Star Wars??? Hands off my favorite film franchise man, I’m not having it! It made me want to get Daisy Ridley to slice the book in half with a lightsaber.
  • It made zero sense to me that the government goes to all that expense of cover ups to then just be like, yup there are aliens everyone, watch out when the aliens attack
  • There are a lot of crazy things in this book and I am pretty good at suspending my disbelief but there is no way that Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawking and Neil Degrasse Tyson all went in on the covering aliens up thing. Not a freaking chance, period. To me, this was the least believable thing in the book.
  • They recruit these gamers under complete duress and basically kidnap them and tell them they can either sign up or wimp out cause the aliens are about to attack. The second I got back from that, I am hiring a good lawyer and getting out of this contract.
  • Finally, this book was just such a huge disappointment because Ernest Cline has written a good book. I hope he has it in him to pull out another good story, but man am I going to be hesitant to give it a try.

Next week I am going to get off the Sci-Fi bandwagon and give a read to Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare. I wasn’t sure which Duke she was talking about but it’s romancing the Duke, so it’s that one.

Repetitively Yours,

Slick Dungeon

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

Awesome blogs to read for #NationalBookLoversDay

Friday August 9th is #NationalBookLoversDay! On my blog I usually tear into books that I did not enjoy reading. However, I do love books and reading. Below are a bunch of blogs that I really like to read that have to do with books. After that, when you are ready once again to find out what books not to read, come back to https://slickdungeon.blog and read about the worst of the worst. Until then, enjoy these blogs.

A Book. A Thought: Very insightful reviews and book related happenings here: https://abookathoughtblog.wordpress.com

A Book Nation: Lots of book reviews and recommendations here. Also if you are a budding author, this blogger offers a manuscript service. Might be a good idea to splurge on that if you want to keep your book from being reviewed on my blog: https://abooknation.wordpress.com

A World of Books: A seriously impressive amount of reading and reviewing goes on in this blog. A book a day? That’s a tall order: https://bookgeeking.wordpress.com

Adventures of Bibliophile: Stephanie claims to be a bibliophile and boy does she prove it! Tons of reviews here: https://adventuresofabibliophile.com/book-reviews

Ailish Sinclair: This one is not a book review blog but rather an author who has a blog. The site is seriously worth checking out though because the photographs posted are stunningly gorgeous views of Scotland and other places around the world. She has a novel coming out soon and if The Mermaid and the Bear is even the least bit like this blog, it’s bound to be magical: https://ailishsinclair.com

Alys in Bookland: A book review blog that has won a fair share of awards. This blogger from the Phillipines is well worth checking out: https://alysinbookland.wordpress.com

Big Comic Page: Are comic books books? Heck yes they are! And you know what? If you want to see some great reviews of those books, check this blog out: https://bigcomicpage.com

Bookidote: Two reviewers for one on this site, Trang and Lashaan cover a wide variety of genres and topics. Both are worth reading: https://bookidote.com

Bookish Connoisseur: All things bookish are reviewed here with a particular interest in YA and Sci-Fi/Fantasy books: https://bookishconnoisseur.com

Books and Strips: Reviews of novels and graphic novels? Sign me up! https://booksandstrips.wordpress.com

By Gabbie: This blog doesn’t just cover books but there are many, many book related posts here: https://gabsi77.wordpress.com

Fantastic Book Dragon: Not only a cool name, this site features a voracious reader with lots of reviews to check out: https://fantasticbookdragon.wordpress.com

Food in Books: So great, you’ve just read a passage in a book that has described the most amazing meal and you are now starving. What do you do? You check out this blog where you can find the book and the recipe to make said delicious food here: https://foodinbooks.com

Keeper of Pages: This blog is for those obsessed with crime fiction books. Great reviews to check out: https://keeperofpages.com

Never Not Reading: Katie is a mom who doesn’t have time to read but does it anyway. She also probably doesn’t have time to run a book review blog but does a fantastic job of it considering the amount of awards she has won: https://nevernotreadingblog.wordpress.com

Read and Drink Tea: Reading and having a cuppa? Pretty good combo if I do say so myself: https://readanddrinktea.com

Sci-Fi & Scary: Here’s a blog that focuses on the important things in life, science fiction and horror. Oh yeah… give me more! https://www.scifiandscary.com

Slick Dungeon’s Dusty Tomes and Terrible Films: Okay, I know I said you should come back to my blog after you read all the other good ones I have listed. But sometimes you get tired of reading about great literature. When it’s time to find out what not to read and watch, this blog is the one to go to. https://slickdungeon.blog

The Bibliophagist: Great reviews of Young Adult, New Adult and Romance books: https://bibliophagistreviews.wordpress.com

The Book Review Directory: Looking for an easy way to find books and book reviews? This blog is perfect! https://bookreviewdirectory.com/?wref=bif

The Critiquing Chemist: When you get a chemist reading literature, you know an analytical and well thought out review will appear. Read them here: https://critiquingchemist.com

The Never Ending Unread: I don’t know about you but I definitely have more books lying around waiting to be read than I know what to do with. This site tries to help catch you up: https://neverendingunread.wordpress.com

Thrice Read: Three friends who love stories and want to share their reviews and reactions with the world. Lots of good stuff here: https://thriceread.com

Written Word Worlds: An Australian blogger who always has two books in her bag just in case she finishes the first one. I can so relate to that. https://writtenwordworlds.com

So look, I know I have missed a gajillion great blogs that I have forgotten or don’t know about. I hope this list could at least give you something cool to look at for a few minutes on #NationalBookLoversDay. I would spend more time trying to find more blogs for you to check out but I have to finish my review of the entirely disappointing second novel from Ernest Cline, Armada. Once you have read everyone else on this list, come back here and check that out.

Also, what are some of your favorite blogs? Always looking for recommendations so post away in the comments below if you know of any. Thanks for reading.

Book Lovingly Yours,

Slick Dungeon

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

Jane Carver of Waar – Book Review

Biker Chicks fighting Cen-tigers? I’ll pass

Have you ever started watching an original Star Trek episode and said to yourself, “You know what would make this better? If Captain Kirk was a bisexual biker chick on the run?” Yeah me too. But guess what? The reality of that is terrible and the proof is Jane Carver of Waar.

The plot here is pretty simple. Jane Carver is somewhere in California when a rude jerk in a bar hits on her. She gets pissed and throws a punch at him. Unfortunately for her, she’s kind of big and strong and her punch accidentally hits the dude in the throat and kills the guy. Not knowing what else to do, she runs away, ends up in a cave, touches a gem and ends up on an alien planet. Then she has adventures on her way to try to get back home. Other than it being the biker part and a woman, it really does remind me a lot of Star Trek. But you know how that show could be charming sometimes and even have deep political implications on occasion? Yeah, this does not. Like really does not.

Jane wakes up under a weird sky and realizes pretty quick she’s not in California any more. Also, she sees a bunch of dudes killing each other and they have purple skin so that’s probably a second clue. These guys are dressed up Conan the Barbarian style and are using swords so it’s a good bet they don’t have a transporter to get her back home. Jane watches the fight play out and then goes to talk to the loser of the fight, a dude named Sai. She then proceeds to follow him around for the entire book. I guess if you have no other friends stick with who you’ve got?

This book being extremely convenient, Jane is somehow able to talk with these aliens because, magic. This Sai dude has had his true love stolen and he has to get her back. Jane tries to help but they get captured by some Cen-tigers (centaurs but with a tiger bottom) and made to be slaves. Then they get free. Then they find another guy who is Sai’s friend and then they try to wear disguises to get to the place where the wife kidnapper is. Then they get captured. Then they get free. Then they wear disguises to get on a ship. Then they get captured and sold as slaves. Then they get free. Then they wear disguises to go to the place where the wife kidnapper is again. Then they get captured. Then they fight and Sai gets the girl, the book ends and Jane gets transported back home.

If you are thinking that description sounds a lot like lather, rinse, repeat, that’s because it is. Why in the blistering blue blazes they don’t think to do anything but wear a disguise and/or get captured in this whole book is completely beyond me. So that’s the plot for ya. Let me tell you a few things that annoyed me about this book.

  1. Jane has a bit of super strength because of the gravitational differences on the planet Waar. She’s able to lift really heavy stuff, take Hulk sized leaps, and is a bit bigger than most of the humanoids on this planet. Conveniently, it fails her when the plot calls for it, and works when the plot calls for it. I know a lot of stories do this kind of thing but it’s super noticeable here.
  2. Jane is attracted to every person and Cen-tiger who is nice to her for even a second. She’s always going on in her head about how she wants to get some from pretty much everyone. And this includes people that made her a literal slave. Umm… what? I know Kirk does that in Star Trek but Jane would easily give him a run for his money.
  3. There’s a political intrigue side plot that is about as exciting as watching the galactic senate negotiate trade relations in Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace
  4. Cen-tigers? Come on man, do better. How the hell is it likely that these things evolved? What are the odds that there were tiger creatures that were centaur like?
  5. As you can see from the cover of this book, Jane is supposed to look exactly like Red Sonja. Metal bikini and all. Jane spends half her time complaining that she doesn’t have good armor and then when she does get good armor, it’s in the form of a metal bikini. That’s terrible armor!!
  6. There’s evidence that people from earth have been here before. There’s a paved road, airships and other items that just seem like they came from our home planet. This is never even close to explained. I suspect you would have to suffer through the rest of the series to find out more. I’ll pass.
  7. Let’s try disguising ourselves! Dangit, we’re captured. Let’s try disguising ourselves! Dangit, we’re captured. Let’s try disguising ourselves! Dangit, we’re captured. I think Einstein would define these people as crazy.
  8. Jane goes back an forth in her head over and over about whether it is right or wrong to kill a guy, while killing a bunch of guys. She has moral issues about it even though it’s clear at times that the person really deserves it or it was a complete accident. I’m not saying you shouldn’t consider your life choices if you are likely to kill someone but I didn’t really care about Jane’s agonizing over it.
  9. Sai was about as boring and stupid of a sidekick you could find anywhere. This dude had zero personality.
  10. This whole story is framed around someone finding a recording of Jane telling this story. Yet the person believes this crap, rather than thinking, uh whoever this woman is, she needs to find a psychiatrist stat.

I’m keeping this one short because, this book was flat out too long and I’m tired of talking about it. Next week I will review Armada by Ernest Cline. He wrote Ready Player One which was great novel. I’m sure his second novel will be an amazing read and extremely entertaining. We all know how second books are so much better than the first right?

Lucklessly yours,

Slick Dungeon

The Creatures are Stirring and I Apologize

Slick Dungeon here. Normally at this time on a Friday I am dropping a fiction review for you all to enjoy. Unfortunately for me, this week has been a bit hectic. I’ve had to fight off Cen-tigers (Centaurs but the bottom half is a tiger), been chased out of my usual dungeon area and dealt with watching a Tromaggot. I haven’t had the time to finish reading Jane Carver of Waar but as soon as I am back where there is adequate light, and a decent wifi connection, I will post my review. Until then folks, stay as weird as possible.

Inadequately yours,

Slick Dungeon

A Time to Love (Quilts of Lancaster County #1) -Book Review

What’s wrong with this picture?

But Who Will care about the Children?

If you are looking for a romance book that is extremely chaste and never wades into any kind of inappropriate territory, this one’s for you. No steamy scenes because, well, this book is about an Amish community so it fits that there’s no heavy petting. Ever wondered what an Amish romance book was like? Nope, me neither. At least, not until I heard they existed. Guess what? They’re pretty much like other romances except, much, much tamer. I have no problem with the romance part of this book, or the Amish part of this book. I wouldn’t want to live in a community without electricity or buttons, but if that’s what floats your boat, float away.

That’s not to say that there weren’t things about this book that bugged me. I’m gonna list ’em after a quick plot summary.

Jenny, the main character is recovering from a difficult surgery she had to have after suffering a bomb blast while doing her job as a journalist overseas. To recuperate she visits her grandmother Phoebe who happens to be Amish and live in Lancaster County. While there she reconnects with Mathew, a man she knew long ago and nearly married. Mathew married while Jenny was away and had three children. Mathew’s wife died and it’s been a couple years since that happened. Now would be a good time for Mathew to move on and as luck (or God as the book states) would have it, Jenny seems to come back at the perfect time. Everyone ends up happy because, well, what do you expect out of an Amish romance?

My annoyance with the book is as follows:

  1. Jenny is a a journalist working for [unnamed network] recovering from a bomb blast she suffered in [unnamed country]. I put the brackets there because the author chose not to actually name the network or the country. Jenny was always overseas. What was she doing overseas? She was making sure that [the people] knew that there were children there who were suffering. I think this was mentioned roughly twelve times per chapter.
  2. Is there an adorable little kid in this book meant to tug at Jenny’s and the reader’s heart strings and says things like “Read me a stowy.” Oh you betcha. It’s like the plucky kid in apocalypse novels but you just know they are going to make people get married in romances, not get themselves killed the way they do in the other books.
  3. This is an Amish community we are talking about and Jenny is there recovering which is fine, but they keep talking about how much hard work there is to do. Yet Jenny, who more or less recovers doesn’t seem to do any hard work. She does try and cook one meal but I kind of think the author sold it short cause I am sure that there really IS hard labor to do in these places.
  4. It’s mentioned like a zillion times how the Amish children are so good and clean their rooms and do their chores and help out and never, ever complain. I have two thoughts about this. First, I bet that some Amish children DO complain on occasion. Why? Cause they are kids and sometimes kids complain. Second, there are plenty of non-Amish children that are good. But the author bludgeons us about how lazy the “Englisch” (the Amish term for people living outside their community) children are because they watch television. I sort of felt, more than once, like the author had not really interacted with real children over the age of three.
  5. Jenny has suffered what would be a real, major trauma. I mean life changing. She is described as being scarred across the face. She is constantly fretting about this. Of course Mathew and everyone around Jenny who all love her think it’s no big deal. I agree. Having a scar on your face doesn’t disqualify you from love. It doesn’t mean you are not beautiful. It doesn’t mean that anyone should think less of you. But you know what bugs me to no end? Look at that cover image. You know what I don’t see? A Scar!!! Come on cover designers, own it! I doubt this was the choice of the author so I can’t fault her but jeeze, let’s judge this book by it’s cover. Jenny should have a scar. Have the guts to put it on the cover. Okay, I am getting off of my body image soap box now.
  6. Another thing Jenny agonizes over is that if she doesn’t go back to work for [unnamed network] then no one, and I mean no one, will ever care about the children in [unnamed country]. Jenny is quasi famous and people on the street recognize her now and then. She is occasionally told by nurses or other random people how no one has gone back there. No journalist has gone back overseas (interesting how everyone on the street calls it overseas too instead of naming a country) to talk about the children. So her choice seems to be Mathew or go to [unnamed network] to work again. But Jenny’s colleague has this idea to interview her so the audience of [unnamed network] can see that she is okay. She does the interview and when it airs, they put a few charity phone numbers on screen. In Jenny’s mind that seems to clear the problem up. Yup, want to help out orphans in war torn [unnamed countries]? Two options. First. Jenny. Second, phone numbers on a screen. Either one will most definitely fix it.
  7. While cooking the one meal that Jenny makes, she tells Phoebe about microwaves. She says that microwaved food doesn’t taste as good because they don’t put love into the food the way her grandmother does. Note to self: invent microwave that operates on love. Also, I don’t know about you but I’ve loved me some hot pockets and microwave pizza rolls on occasion and no one’s grandmother made those.
  8. Mathew works very hard and loves his children. This is perfectly obvious from the descriptions of what he does and it’s no surprise. We wouldn’t want our main character to fall for a jerk of course. But not only do we have to see that revealed through his actions. No, everyone around him has to say pretty much every time he leaves the room how he works hard and loves his children. I think we get it.
  9. Since this is a romance, there has to be a setup for a continuing series. I think that’s a contractual obligation for even thinking of a romance concept. I’ve got good news. Mathew has a sister, Hannah. She’s Amish and lives in Lancaster County. Hmmm…. You don’t think… I mean could it be… Wait guys, it is, it really is… The sequel is about Hannah! Groan. It couldn’t be more obvious if they had put Hannah’s phone number on the television screen during an interview. Wait, that doesn’t make sense, Hannah wouldn’t watch television and it’s a community phone. Ah, never mind. I will say though that it bothers me one hundred percent of the time when you know that the sibling of one of the love interests is going to star in the next book. I read that there is a brother or sister who is not in a relationship and I know right where it’s going.
  10. Okay so part of this is me and part of this is not. This book has a long subtitle involving quilts. There is a quilt mentioned at the very beginning and it shows up a lot. But see, I thought that we were going to see Jenny learn to quilt or do all sorts of quilting or something. She doesn’t even begin to quilt until the second to last chapter. I was like, where’s the quilting? I want to see transformative, life changing quilting and I want to see it now. I think that was my misconception. But the quilt also wasn’t all that essential to the plot either. So, maybe make less of a big deal in the subtitle if your not gonna make a bigger deal of it in the book. Like they say, if you see a quilt in the first act, you should see quilting all through the book. I may have that quote wrong. But anyway, more quilts please.

I’m going to stop there but to finish my summary, I am going to give it over to the wisest, smartest, most celebrated poet of mine or any other generation. “We been spendin’ most our lives livin’ in an Amish Paradise” – Weird Al Yankovich.

After all this non-quilting peaceful time spent in Amish country, I need to spice things up. Come back next week when I will review Jane Carver of Waar by Nathan Long. I’m sure there is a perfectly reasonable explanation for the extra a. I’ll let you know what it is.

This guy gets it –

Image result for scar lion king
Beautiful and Proud