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nrlymrtl has commented on (252) products.

Shattered: The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne
Shattered: The Iron Druid Chronicles

nrlymrtl, March 9, 2015

Fans of this series are in for a treat with this latest installation. It picks up where the previous book left off. Granuaile is a full fledged druid. Atticus (our 2000+ year old druid) has unstuck his teacher, Owen Kennedy, from a bubble of time. The three must gather their wits for the forthcoming battle with Loki. But, alas, there is much to do before they can get to that.

If you’ve read my reviews for the previous books in this series, then you will know that it took me a long time to warm up to Granuaile. Well, with this book I can finally say that I have connected with her and that I would be sorely sad to see her dead. She and her companion hound go off to India to see about rescuing her dad. The witch Laksha does her best to assist her. Things do not go as planned and for a while there, I was pretty worried about Granuaile. Some of the most intense scenes of this book belonged to Granuaile.

Atticus spent time bouncing around, tending to some of his own matters, but also in educating Owen and seeing that he was acclimatizing to the modern world. How did he do this, you might ask. Well, by leaving him with the Arizona werewolves of course. All werewolves love a sharp tongued, ill-mannered druid who can shape shift into either a bear or a hunting hound. All sorts of colorful exchanges were had, much to the amusement of this listener. Owen’s crazy remarks, some of which had to do with his nipples, had me chuckling out loud.

So, without spoiling anything for this book, it is a worthy installation in this enjoyable series. The deities still play a major role in Atticus’s life. His friends are still stalwart, but in ever more and more danger. And epic battle gives us a very satisfying end to this book, but not to the series.
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Women, Food, and Desire: Embrace Your Cravings, Make Peace with Food, Reclaim Your Body by Alexandra Jamieson
Women, Food, and Desire: Embrace Your Cravings, Make Peace with Food, Reclaim Your Body

nrlymrtl, March 9, 2015

This book explores the power of listening to our own bodies when it comes to food and desires. After all, cravings are really just desires that have been shoved sideways into a pint of ice cream.

If you pick up this book, be prepared to explore several things about yourself. Alexandra Jamieson doesn’t hesitate to talk about subjects that have been considered taboo, such as female pleasure and intestinal health. She also delves into this culture of body shaming, especially body shaming of and by women.

The book is an uplifting piece with its message of taking control of your cravings, your life, and what you put in your mouth. She challenges the reader to look deeper for what makes us truly happy, pushing us to have food nourish us instead of just filling our bellies and consoling us. She talks openly of her own failures, cravings, and eventual realizations along with the actions she took to find happiness. I really appreciated how she addressed female sexuality.

While this book is marketed for women, I think men would also find much that they can relate within its pages. Food cravings are universal, after all. Plus, men are starting to feel the scorn of body shaming in our culture.
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Black Ships by Jo Graham
Black Ships

nrlymrtl, February 28, 2015

This is the story of Gull, a slave born of a slave. Her mother and many people like her were taken from fallen Troy. Gull was allowed to stay with her mother, working the flax that grew along the irrigation ditches until the day an accident left her crippled. Her mother found her another role in life, that as acolyte at the temple of Pythia, she who speaks for the Lady of the Dead. Gull grows up learning the inner mysteries of the Underworld and prophecy. Her life takes her places she could hardly foresee.

Several years ago, back before I became a book reviewer, I read several Jo Graham novels and loved each and every one of them. Having this book rendered as an audiobook does not diminish my enjoyment of her work one bit. This is a beautiful story full of deities who meddle in human affairs, rulers who may care little for the common folk, and ill luck rained down on those already beaten low. Through all these obstacles, our heroes must endure and over come.

Gull, who becomes Pythia, isn’t just some unthinking priestess that reacts to the whims of her goddess. No, quite often she must apply her own knowledge and thoughts to the situation. And yet this balanced by the hand of the Lady occasionally laying heavily upon her handmaiden. I really enjoy this aspect of the book. These ancient peoples were not separate and free of their deities ��" no! They lived side by side with them, each complimenting the other. However, the writing is clever in that if you don’t have a bend toward the supernatural, you can read all the events and decisions as acts of nature (weather) and/or man-made (hallucinogenic drugs). It is great that the author left it up to the reader’s interpretation.

For those that have studied the fall of Troy and what followed after, there will be touchstones for you to recognize in this book. While my own knowledge is only passing, even I caught a few of these. So often we look at ancient history as rather dry and happening so long ago that it doesn’t touch us personally. This book brings that ancient history alive and puts face and heart to the tale.

Gull’s people are a people without a home. Her wisdom and visions help guide the people as they search for a safe harbor, and later for a more permanent solution. Throughout much of the tale, she gives counsel to Prince Aeneas, the lost prince of Troy. Their travels take them all around the Mediterranean. This allowed our main characters to compare various great cities of the time such as the main cities of Egypt, Byblos, and others.

Gull is far from the only plot-important woman in this story. The author did a good job of realistically portraying women of the time without diminishing their roles in society or in the shaping of history. Also, because Gull’s people are traveling so much, we get a comparison of women’s roles from culture to culture.

This was an excellent book the first time I explored it and it remains an excellent book now. The characters were intriguing and the plot gripping. The ending was very satisfying.
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Faery Swap by Susan Kaye Quinn

nrlymrtl, February 16, 2015

Finn and his sister are new to England, their father recently having moved the family to near Stonehenge. With his mother newly killed in a car accident, his father has been mostly absence, throwing himself into his work. It’s up to Finn to get his sister to and from school and make sure she’s fed. But Finn’s life is about to get a bit tougher, because Faery Prince Zaneyr needs a human body. Zaneyr’s father, king of the Faery realm, has a crazy plan to reunite Earth and Faery. But many worry that will simply kill many humans and potentially destroy both worlds. So Zaneyr plans to flee the Faery realm and take up permanent residence in the human world.

This was a great listen. I quickly became attached to Finn and then his little sister. The story started off pretty light with just a bit of bullying and a still-grieving father. Once Zaneyr takes Finn’s body, he has to figure out what the human world is all about…and that leads to some funny misunderstandings. While Zaneyr struggles with concepts like enforced schooling and gets sucked into handheld games, Finn is struggling to understand the Faery realm as a disembodied spirit. He runs into a few helpful people…..or perhaps they just want to use Finn for their own means. One such is Pix, who wants to keep Finn around to assist him with his poetic aspirations. Pix was a very amusing side character!

And then things get a little more serious as we learn more about the Faery King’s plans and the potential for destroying lives, if not worlds. Zaneyr’s concern comes through loud and clear at this point and you really feel for the (what feels like) impossible situation he finds himself in. We also learn more about Finn’s father and his latest work with physics, which ties directly into the possibility of the two worlds crashing into one another.

There’s a couple times that Zaneyr and Finn face off and they were some of the most intense scenes in the book. I was a bit torn as to who to route for! The mix of humor, fantasy, action, and intensity was perfect. Definitely a worthy read!
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Monster Goose Nursery Rhymes by Henry Herz
Monster Goose Nursery Rhymes

nrlymrtl, February 16, 2015

Monster Goose Nursery Rhymes is a delightful book for young kids (perhaps 3-6 years old) and fun for parents too. It takes several well known nursery rhymes and twists them just a bit to pull in more fantastical creatures and put on the barest touch of sinister or scary. Each rhyme is shot, perhaps 4 or 6 lines, and this makes it easy for young kids to remember and repeat. For older kids or adults, it gives a good base for them to make up the rest of the nursery rhyme, continuing in the same vein of fantastical beasts.

The illustrations in this book really make it a page turner, and a book that kids and parents alike will enjoy returning too. I was often surprised at the detail for a kids rhyming book, as well as the lush colors. The rhymes themselves pull in a bestiary’s worth of mythical creatures. The illustrations help the imagination picture each and every one of these beasties.

All around, it is an excellent kid’s book and I recommend it for the fun the young and the old will both get out of it.
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