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Wake of Vultures by Lila Bowen

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(Lila Bowen = Delilah S. Dawson, for the record)This is another book that I just had to give a 100/5 Stars score. It is SO GOOD. Every word, every move, and each piece of the story is so captivating and absolutely magical.

Wake of Vultures is set in 1860's Texas and follows Nettie Lonesome, a young woman who is as alone in the world as her name suggests. She was orphaned as an infant and adopted/enslaved by two pretty terrible people who overworked her. Nettie's world changes after she kills a supernatural creature, but the interesting thing is she didn't even know that they existed at all before this encounter. Once someone kills a supe, essentially the spell is broken and they are able to see them all under their human illusions.

Nettie find the courage to leave the only "home" she has ever known in search for a better life. In her search, she finds herself on a quest that, unbeknownst to her, has been waiting for her her whole life.

After reading this, I want to travel back to Texas in 1860 and become a Ranger. Kinda. Okay, just kidding, because I really want to stay here with my indoor plumbing, kindle, and contact lenses, but Bowen made being a Ranger seem very exciting! This was a story that was definitely swimming around in my head for several days after I read it, and I can't wait for the next book in the series to come out.

100/5 Stars :-)

Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

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Ink and Bone was a great story told by a terrible storyteller. The whole time I kept waiting for the moment where something amazing would happen, the story to click, and for me to feel like a part of the book. This first half was pretty painful- very slow and I had a difficult time caring about what happened. I wanted to stop reading so bad, but it really takes a lot for me to stop reading a book. After the half-way mark some action started to pick up and things got going, but I still felt like I was reading a book rather than a part of the story.

All of the book in the world are controlled by the Great Library and people read books on "blanks," which are books that are blank until you "check them out" from the Great Library. It is way illegal to have a real, physical copy of a book. Jess Brightwell, our main character, comes from a family of runners. Runners procure physical copies of books for very wealthy people and take great risk in getting them to the buyers. Jess is very smart and his father arranges for him to apply to work for the Great Library. He is accepted into the program and travels to Alexandria in the hopes of landing a job.

Though I had a hard time getting into the story, the idea behind it and many of the scenes and events are great. There needs to be more, especially in the beginning, and there needs to be more really good and really bad, not so much ambiguity. The Library is supposed to be a decent institution but the reader knows the whole time that it isn't quite good but we don't yet know what's on, and the characters don't realize anything until the end. I feel like this could be a metaphor for the government but it falls flat on it's face.

2/5

Lady Killer Vol. 1

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Lady Killer is a different a fun story about  basass 1950's housewife... who is also an assassin. Josie spends her days caring for her two daughters, making dinner for her husband, and tracking down her latest assignment. The shit hits the fan when the big boss of the "company" she's worked for for 15 years worries her loyalties to her family will have a negative effect on her work. Josie decided she wants out and enlists the help of another female agent who is also looking to leave.

The art in this comic is some of my favorite. Joelle Jones's strong colors and bold lines give excellent corresponding visuals to the in-your-face theme of Lady Killer. I can't wait for volume 2!

5/5 Stars.

Nora approves this comic.

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

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Neverwhere is classic Neil Gaiman but one of my least favorites of his so far. It has all of his usual twists and surprises but with the pizzaz I have come to expect.

Though a series of events, Richard finds himself in London Below, which has many of the same things as London Above but with more Tube stops, warriors, monsters, and a floating market that's always in a different place. In order to leave London Below behind and to stay forever in London Above (his London), Richard finds himself helping Door and her companions on their quest to avenge the brutal killing of Door's family. Some in their party are not who they seem to be and they must find out who before it is too late.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and while I did find my mind wondering back to this book while I was not reading it, I did try to kind of quickly finish the book because I didn't love it.

3/5 Stars

I Was the Cat

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I picked up this book from ECCC (more happy memories!) and I hate that I waited to long to read it. It is a beautiful book; a sturdy hardcover with no jacket (yay!) and is beautifully designed. I wish more hardcovers were made this way. (What's with dust jackets anyway? I feel the same way about DVD covers; I don't like them but I can't bring myself to get rid of them.) The pages are also great quality and I love the design of the inside cover and back pages. It is so noticeably nice that this is my first description of how physically nice a book is.

In addition to being an appealing object to hold in my hands, I really love the story. I've never read anything like it and it has a bunch of cats in it. I was pleasantly surprised with how well written the story is. Usually when the art is so great the story is sacrificed because, well, I guess it's hard to pair an equally great writer and artist? I dunno, but the two aren't always both fabulous. Here I feel like the writing and the art came together quite nicely. I don't want to spoil all the details, but it was creative, interesting, and I didn't expect the little turn at the end even though it wasn't anything too wild and crazy.

This is a fantastic read with amazing (fabulous, wonderful, beautiful, perfect!!!) art. WHEN'S BOOK 2, GUYS???

5/5 Stars
Note: This is a Jacques-approved book.

Victoria, BC and the Olympic Peninsula

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In September my in-laws came out to take Joe and I on a little vacation to Victoria and the Olympic Peninsula. On Thursday after work we drove to Port Angeles and stayed the night there so we'd be able to take an early ferry to Victoria. On the way we ate at Sogno di Vino (I do not recommend), an Italian restaurant in Poulsbo.

Leaving Seattle

On Friday we took the Coho ferry to Victoria from Port Angeles and drove straight to the Craigdarroch Castle since our hotel wasn't ready for check-in. After doing a self-guided walking tour of the castle, we parked near our hotel and walked to Fisherman's Warf for a fish and chips lunch at Barb's. The food wasn't great but there were some adorable seals who swam up to the dock who had the employees of a fresh-fish vendor very well trained. Afterwards, we walked up Government Street, did some sight seeing and souvenir shopping, visited a book store and comic shop, and finally checked in to the hotel and took a much needed nap. We stayed at Gatsby Mansion. It was right off the ferry ramp and a real dream of a house.

Craigdarroch Castle
A friendly seal at Fisherman's Warf

Parliament, eh?

I <3 Orcas

Our room at the Gatsby Mansion

We ended up having dinner at 10 Acres. We ended up eating really late and I was hangry in the worst way. I had the Tagliatelle dish with a Blue Buck by Phillips Brewing and it was SO GOOD. I highly recommend this restaurant and hope to go back when I visit Victoria again.

Dinner from 10 Acres

The Empress Hotel.

The Gatsby Mansion

On Saturday we ferried back to Port Angeles then drove to the Sol Duc Resort where we stayed for that night. The accommodations were fine but way, way, way overpriced. While we waited for our rooms to be ready, we hiked to Sol Duck (yes, this one has a "k") Falls (very pretty). That afternoon we joined the masses in the hot spring pools they have at the resort. It was okay but pretty underwhelming and very smelly. We ate at the restaurant there at the resort and the food was surprisingly very tasty. I had the Roasted Draper Valley Chicken and this, too, was a fantastic meal.

At Lake Crescent.



Dinner at the Sol Duc Resort restaurant.

Sunday breakfast was had at the resort as well (biscuits and turkey sausage gravy with sweet tea) before we drove to the Quileute Reservation to stay in La Push. We got there around lunch time and had several hours until check in, so we drove to the Hoh Rainforest and hiked the Hall of Mosses trail. It was a beautiful hike and I highly recommend it!

Hall of Mosses in the Hoh Rainforest

Hall of Mosses in the Hoh Rainforest

Hall of Mosses in the Hoh Rainforest
After checking in to the resort (the term is loosely used, but the cabin was really awesome), we walked on the beach that was right in front of our cabin then had dinner at River's Edge Restaurant, which is on the reservation. This is definitely a more humble tribal community; they don't have a casino or large resort to pull in revenue so I was a bit skeptical about the restaurant. It was amazing. Joe and I shared clam chowder (my first!) to start then I had the Smoked Salmon Fettuccine Alfredo. Holy cow. They were so very generous with the smoked salmon and it was so, so tasty. We all loved our meals and highly recommend this restaurant as well.


La Push, WA

View from River's Edge Restaurant on the Quileute Reservation.

Smoked Salmon Fettuccine Alfredo

Sunset at La Push
We headed back to Seattle on Monday and since the weather was pretty nice we took a side trip to Hurricane Ridge. We had about 5 minutes of clear views before the fog and clouds rolled in.

On the way down from Hurricane Ridge.

On this trip I decided to not take my DSLR and try out just using my iPhone for all of my photos. It's something I've wanted to try for quite a while and I went for it. I am pleased with how they turned out and now know if I leave it on a future trip I won't miss out on good pictures.

If I were to do this trip again or have a suggestion for someone else doing something similar, I would recommend not moving around so much. I'd suggest to skip staying at Sol Duc (you can buy a pass to go in the hot springs if you really want to do that) and instead stay two nights on the Quileute Reservation. It was overcast the whole trip and raining for some of it but we still had a great time. Just bring your rain boots!

Servants of the Storn by Delilah S. Dawson

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This is the fifth book and second world I have read of Dawson's and I absolutely love her authorly abilities. She has a magical way of creating worlds or versions of our world without having to explain too much, but you totally know what's going on. She seamlessly gives details throughout the story so it doesn't seem like you're reading paragraph after paragraph of descriptions and rules, because you aren't. Servants of the Storm is set in Savannah, GA (visiting in February, yay!) and the book starts just as the fictional hurricane Josephine hits. Our main character, Dovey, loses her best friend, Carly, in the storm, and Savannah herself loses and untold amount of people, animals, and buildings. About a year after the storm, Dovey stops taking the anti-psychotics she was prescribed after Carly died and realizes that these aren't normal pills- they make you passive, compliant, and zombie-like.

If you're a stickler for spoilers, stop reading now. I feel that mentioning a few of the heavily hinted-at details may convince one to read this book if you are not yet convinced.

Hurricane Josephine wasn't just an act of nature- it was brought about by demons, as most natural disasters are. Demons wanted a stronger hold of Savannah and they needed a way to get more servants, and fast.

Uh, cool!

Of course, I won't give away all of the good surprises of this book. Several reviews I read online said they liked the book in the beginning only, and I think with just a little more information in the description more people would know what to expect and if this is the type of book for them.There's also sisterhood, lust, love, ghosts, and lots of fun, creepy stuff. And chocolate cake!

I haven't been able to find out if this is a stand-alone novel or a series, but since it isn't mentioned it seems to be the former. There's definitely enough material to make it into a series, but I also think it stops at a really interesting place as a stand alone.

5/5