ARC Review: Paladin by Sally Slater (Paladin #1)

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Original Title: Paladin

Year Published: 2015

Published by: Perfect Analogy Publishing (an arc was kindly provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review)

Number of Pages: 386

First Sentence: Sam paced anxiously outside the Duke of Haywood’s solar. 

Goodreads Rating: 5/5

Plot:
Brash, cocky, and unbeatable with a sword (well, almost), Sam of Haywood is the most promising Paladin trainee in the kingdom of Thule… and knows it. The only problem is that Sam is really Lady Samantha, daughter of the seventeenth Duke of Haywood, and if her father has his way, she’ll be marrying a Paladin, not becoming one.

But Sam has never held much interest in playing damsel-in-distress, and so she rescues herself from a lifetime of boredom and matrimonial drudgery. Disguised as a boy, Sam leaves home behind to fight demons-—the most dangerous monsters in Thule—-alongside the kingdom’s elite warriors. Pity that Tristan Lyons, the Paladin assigned to train her, is none other than the hero of her childhood. He hasn’t recognized her–yet–but if he does, he’ll take away her sword and send her packing.

Sam is not the only trainee hiding secrets: Braeden is a half-demon with a dark past that might be unforgivable. Whether he can be trusted is anyone’s guess, including his.
As demons wreak havoc across the land, rebellion stirs in the West, led by a rival faction of warriors.

A war between men is coming, and Sam must pick a side. Will saving the kingdom cost her life–or just her heart?

My thoughts:

This was such an enjoyable book and I absolutely loved it. It did get off to a wobbly start for me, but after the first chapter it just took off and I was absolutely hooked. It was well written and super entertaining.

Sam was a really nice main character. I loved how she was badass without either being a tomboy or too cold-hearted. Instead, she was a young girl knowing what she wanted from life. And yes, she has to pretend to be a boy for a really long time, but it is something that she hates to a certain degree and it isn’t really implied that a woman has to be like a boy to be badass.

Both Tristan and Braeden were really interesting characters. It was interesting to see how they interacted with each other and with Sam. There was a camaraderie that was really enjoyable, and I loved seeing their relationship develop and grow.

The plot was really entertaining and I definitely enjoyed all of it. The world building was really good, not too complicated but not vague enough to create any questions. We get some insight into who the Paladins are and how they are trained. We also learn about the evil forces that try to attack the rest of the world. It was really interesting to see how it all fit together and the plot itself was fun and felt really well paced. It moved forward naturally but with some unexpected twists and turns.

Do I recommend it?

Yes, I really do.

  

ARC Review: Die Laughing: Killer Jokes for Newly Old Folks by William Novak

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Original Title: Die Laughing: Killer jokes for newly old folks

Year Published: 2016

Published by: Touchstone Books (an arc was kindly provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review)

Number of Pages: 256

First Sentence: N/A

Goodreads Rating: 4/5

Plot:

From the co-creator of the celebrated Big Book of Jewish Humor comes a laugh-out-loud collection of jokes about growing older that makes fun of memory loss, marriages, medicine, sex, the afterlife, and much more, making this the perfect gift for almost anyone who was born before you were.

Growing older can be unsettling and surprising. (How on earth did this happen? Where did the years go?) So what better way to deal with this new stage of life than to laugh about your new reality? Die Laughing includes more than enough jokes (not to mention cartoons!) to let that laughter burst out.

Whether it’s dealing with doctors, dating in one’s seventies, or unexpected bodily changes (not to mention funny noises), some things are easier to face with a smile of recognition. That’s why Die Laughing is the perfect gift for your parents, anyone celebrating a significant birthday, or any boomer with a sense of humour whose age begins with a six or higher.

My thoughts:

This was a funny collection of jokes about growing older. No, I’m not really at the age to which this book is aimed, but I could still enjoy most of these jokes. If I couldn’t personally relate to some things, then I at least could enjoy them because my parents have gone through similar things and have expressed similar things to what is mentioned in this book. And it’s jokes, they are easy to understand and jokes are meant to be funny. I think the fact that I could still enjoy the jokes prove that they are funny (or suitable for my type of humour).

Definitely, something to give as a gift to your ageing parents or grandparents. It is a good break as well when reading more serious books and you just want to read something quick and fun.

Do I recommend it? 

Yes, I do.

ARC Review: Man, I Hate Cursive: Cartoons for People and Advanced Bears by Jim Benton

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Original Title: Man, I Hate Cursive

Year Published: 2016

Published by:  Andrews McMeel Publishing (an arc was kindly provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review)

Number of Pages: 96

First Sentence: N/A

Goodreads Rating: 5/5

Plot:

No one does comics like Jim Benton. His creativity and artistry have led to the monster success of It’s Happy Bunny and Dear Dumb Diary, and his standalone strips have topped Reddit’s comics section for years.

Jim Benton’s first cartoon collection was nominated for an Eisner. This new volume collects more of Jim’s most popular strips from Reddit, shining a light on talking animals, relationships, fart jokes, and death. From whimsical to cutting, from gross to poignant, Benton’s grasp of the form is on full and hilarious display.

My thoughts:

This was a really enjoyable graphic novel/cartoon album (nor sure what to call it). It was funny and clever, without being too much. There were some panels with jokes that I couldn’t really relate to, but it didn’t really matter. It was still a fun read.

There is not one common theme in this novel, instead, there are several different types of topics that the author chooses to write about. Even if you don’t find all topics relevant or interesting, then at least there will be something there for you too.

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Here is one example of what one page could look like. This was a favourite since I’m both a cat person and a cat owner.

(Btw, I totally stole this off another reviewer over at Goodreads).

What the panels do have in common are that they are funny and the jokes are told with a twinkle in the eye.

 

 

 

Do I recommend it? 

Yes, I do.

 

 

ARC Review: The Trouble With Women by Jacky Fleming

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Original Title: 

Year Published: 2016

Published by: Square Peg (an arc was kindly provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review)

Number of Pages: 128

First Sentence: N/A

Goodreads Rating: 5/5

Plot:

CAN WOMEN BE GENIUSES? OR ARE THEIR ARMS TOO SHORT?
WHY DID WE ONLY LEARN ABOUT THREE WOMEN AT SCHOOL?
WHAT WERE ALL THE OTHERS DOING?

The Trouble With Women does for girls what 1066 and All That did for boys: it reminds us of what we were taught about women in history lessons at school, which is to say, not a lot. A brilliantly witty book of cartoons, it reveals some of our greatest thinkers’ baffling theories about women. We learn that even Charles Darwin, long celebrated for his open, objective scientific mind, believed that women would never achieve anything important, because of their smaller brains.

Get ready to laugh, wince and rescue forgotten women from the ‘dustbin of history’, whilst keeping a close eye out for tell-tale ‘genius hair’. You will never look at history in the same way again.

My thoughts:

This was such a fantastic little collection of thoughts and facts about women. The illustrations are gorgeous and silly, the statements both factual and witty. I both learned new things reading this and had so much fun. I read through this beauty in less than an hour and enjoyed every single minute of it.

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Here is an example of a page from the book (I totally stole this from another reviewer on Goodreads). It is funny and done with so much humour and the satire is just on point. I laughed as much as I cringed at the stupid-ness of men. A lot of old-fashioned rules are explained here and then made fun of in a really awesome way. The humour is not malicious, it is just hilarious.

 

 

 

If you want to learn more about history, and the amazing women who played important yet forgotten parts, then this is a great book to read. Not only will you learn new things, you will also have a lot of fun doing so.

Do I recommend it

Hell yes, I do!

The Medium Path by Elizabeth Davies

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Original Title: The Medium Path

Year Published: 2015

Published by: Romance Beckons  (an arc was kindly provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review)

Number of Pages: 250

First Sentence: If I wasn’t dead, today would be my one-hundred-and-third birthday.

Goodreads Rating: 4/5

Plot:

Ruby died nearly one hundred years ago. She saw spirits of the dead when she was alive, and now she is dead she has become a guide who helps ghosts pass on. When ghosts start being taken by darkness instead of the light, Ruby is forced to seek help from a handsome and unwilling medium, who awakens emotions she never knew she had.

My thoughts:

This book started off slowly for me, but then picked up and managed to get interesting. I almost gave up after the first two chapters but stuck with it which I’m so happy about. The story turned out to be both interesting and fun.

Ruby was a quite interesting character. In body, she is only supposed to be around her late teens, but since she is a ghost she is actually around a 100 years old. That means that she is an extremely mature teenager. She still has some insecurities though and she tries to make decisions that won’t hurt others. Despite not being totally happy about her own situation she still cares for others.

Michael is an unwilling medium. As in, he has tried to ignore the fact that he is a medium for his whole life. When he meets Ruby he has no choice but to accept it, although he does it soooo reluctantly.

The plot was interesting and fun. There are several subplots that do help the main story move along, but also ensures that the book stays interesting to the end. Sure, there are some moments that aren’t that fun or interesting, but overall it was a good read. I should also say that it was predictable but that didn’t matter because the journey to the end was fun anyway.

Do I recommend it? 

Yes, I do.

ARC Review: To Honor You Call Us by H. Paul Honsinger (Man of War #1)

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Original Title: To Honor You Call Us

Year Published: 2014

Published by: 47North (an arc was kindly provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review)

Number of Pages: 454

First Sentence: Lieutenant Max Robichaux, Union Space Navy, stood in the crowded boarding tube, breathing the scent of fear – acrid sweat from thirty-four other men he had been able to round up from the USS Emeka Moro.

Goodreads Rating: 5/5

Plot:

The Terran Union is engaged in a vast interstellar war against the Krag, ruthless aliens intent on exterminating humankind. In 2315, the wily Max Robichaux is given command of the USS Cumberland, a destroyer with state-of-the-art capabilities but a combat record so bad, she’s known as the “Cumberland Gap.”

Capt. Robichaux’s first mission: to take his warship to the Free Corridor, where the Krag have secretly been buying strategic materials, and to seize or destroy any ships carrying enemy cargo. Far from the fleet and under enforced radio silence, Max relies only on his determination and guile…and the support and friendship of his chief medical officer, the brilliant Dr. Sahin.

Because even as he deals with the ship’s onboard problems and the stress of carrying out her risky assignment, Max and the doctor discover that the Cumberland and her misfit crew are all that stands in the way of a deadly Krag attack that threatens to end the war—and humanity—once and for all.

My thoughts:

Ok, I requested this by pure boredom. Turns out, it’s one of the most interesting books I have ever read. I like when stories are set in space, been a huge fan of Star Trek, Stargate and so on since I was a little kid. I am also a fan of war stories, especially when they get into the culture and nerdiness that exists within the military. This book is a perfect combination of both.

Captain Max Robichaux is just such a wonderful character. He is damaged yet kindhearted and pretty much everything you would want in a leader. I would follow him to war and even into death. Competent, smart and charismatic. He is also witty and gentle, but not weak. Although he suffers from PTSD to a certain extent he isn’t hindered by it, and others don’t see it as a weakness in him (PTSD isn’t a weakness btw).

Dr Sahin, or Bram, is another wonderful character. In comparison to Max, he is incompetent when it comes to Navy procedures, but he is a more than competent doctor. He matches Max in regards of wit and charisma, and despite not being a competent Naval officer, he is one heck of smooth talker and it turns out that he is very useful because of that.

The plot is really interesting. It is very well paced and never gets boring. We get a perfect mix of action and clever/witty politics (yeah, you read that right), and the plot moves forward in a way that manages to keep your interest. Yes, there is a lot of science talk as well as military chatter, but you don’t have to be a super nerd to enjoy it (I’m not). Honsinger has somehow managed to make even sciency stuff sound super interesting (he must be a magician). It’s the perfect mix of nerdy and intersting which made this book an amazing read.

Do I recommend it? 

Hell yes, I do!

ARC Review: Lessons for Idle Tongues by Charlie Cochrane (Cambridge Fellows #11

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Original Title: Lessons for Idle Tongues

Year Published: 2015

Published by: Riptide Publishing  (an arc was kindly provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review)

Number of Pages: 241

First Sentence: Thirteen for dinner.

Goodreads Rating: 4/5

Plot:

Cambridge, 1910

Amateur detectives Jonty Stewart and Orlando Coppersmith seem to have nothing more taxing on their plate than locating a missing wooden cat and solving the dilemma of seating thirteen for dinner. But one of the guests brings a conundrum: a young woman has been found dead, and her boyfriend is convinced she was murdered. The trouble is, nobody else agrees.

Investigation reveals that several young people in the local area have died in strange circumstances, and rumours abound of poisonings at the hands of Lord Toothill, a local mysterious recluse. Toothill’s angry, gun-toting gamekeeper isn’t doing anything to quell suspicions, either.

But even with a gun to his head, Jonty can tell there’s more going on in this surprisingly treacherous village than meets the eye. And even Orlando’s vaunted logic is stymied by the baffling inconsistencies they uncover. Together, the Cambridge Fellows must pick their way through gossip and misdirection to discover the truth.

My thoughts:

I really enjoy these Cambridge Fellows book. They are cleverly written and really fun to read. Although they are part of a series you do not necessarily need to read all of them or even read them in order. It is easy to grasp the universe and characters without having read all the books. For the few things that have happened in previous books that are now referred to again, you get a quick yet comprehensive explanation which means you can understand its significance and relevance to the current plot.

The characters are pleasant and easy to like. Apart from Jonty and Orlando, we have several other characters, like Jonty’s family and other people the two know from different circles. All of these of characters bring warmth and depth to the plot which makes the whole read very sweet and fun. The banter between Jonty, Orlando and Jonty’s family is just so much fun and creates a warm feeling of familiarity.

The plot was the perfect mix of cosy and interesting. These books are pretty much cosy mysteries. Sure, somebody die which is really far from the definition of cosy, but you aren’t on the edge of your seat with fear, instead you have the right mix of intrigue and wittiness. The book is just a fun read and allows you to disconnect for a few hours.

Do I recommend it? 

Yes, I do.