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Today’s Run: Sonic’s Still Faster.

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Today was all about just seeing how long I can stay at my top speed; which for my fat ass is about 4mph. I was able to hang there about 3 or so minutes before needing a one minute break. Next time I’ll keep better track.

I have to say this isn’t so bad considering I was a lazy oaf last week and didn’t workout at all. I did a two-minute warmup then went as fast as I could for as long as I could. Next workout I’ll try to go longer!

But, I have been lax with my cross training so tomorrow, I’m busting out Ma’s old eight-pound dumbbells. We’ll see about getting my upper body strength up!

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Lenni Reviews: “Days of Hate Act One” by Ales Kot & Danijel Zezelj

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*This book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review

Set in the USA in the year 2022, America is now a police state and teeters on the edge of civil war. Divorcees Huian and Amanda are on opposite sides; with Amanda in an extremist terrorist group and Huian and her family under surveillance due to her prior association with Amanda.

This graphic novel is a hard read, and not because it’s particularly disturbing, it’s a little too on the nose. Touching on rampant alt-right conservatism and equally extreme leftist terrorists using violence to combat them, this book feels like it’s trying to be V for Vendetta but coming off too preachy. While still sinister and foreboding, there’s this lack of depth that keeps it from being perfect. I do want to read more, however, to see how everything shakes out. 3.7 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Infidel” Vol. 1 by Pornsak Pichetshote, Aaron Campbell

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review and is suggested for mature audiences.

Aisha is a young Muslim woman living with her mother, fiancee, and step-daughter in an apartment building that has recently suffered a bombing. Aisha faces not only suspicion from her neighbors but she begins to see visions of the dead bomber in the form of enraged and violent poltergeists tormenting her. As the specters become more aggressive, Aisha and every other occupant in the building is at risk of being killed or worse.

I like the idea of the ghosts in the building feeding on the inherent fear and hatred around them; as such emotions become dangerous when people are scared and panicked. This book manages to express this sentiment without getting too preachy or pandering. The art and the writing make this an effective horror story that reminds me of Stir of Echoes with some Tales From the Crypt mixed in there and if it continues, I’m on board. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Sheets” by Brenna Thummler

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*This book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review.

*This review is cross-posted to Otakus and Geeks.

After her mother’s death, Marjorie is holding down the family laundromat all by herself and raising her little brother as her father is still mired in his grief. She has typical outsider problems at school but she also has to deal with the conniving Nigel; who is after the laundromat to demolish the building and replace it with a resort. Feeling disconnected and helpless, things change for Marjorie when a ghost named Wendell sneaks into her shop.

This is a beautiful story about a young woman dealing with loss the best way she can. The laundromat is a perfect setting after such a deep shock since, after the death of a loved one, you do feel like you’re spinning and being tossed about beyond your control; feeling transparent and lost, just floating through life.

Not too much time is spent on the “mean girls” schtick, as that can get old real fast. The idea of ghosts being actual sheets could be stupid if not for the amazing art. The whole book is in such a soothing palate, it’s a pleasure to the eyes. Wendell and his friends are delightful as well but if I had to nitpick (and of course I do) this is another of those awesome graphic novels that feels like it ended too soon. I wanted to know more about everyone; even that dipshit Nigel: He of the Punchable Face.

Also, and this is spoiler territory here, something about the ending didn’t quite sit right with me. SPOILERSSS!!!

Marjorie starts using Ghosturizer – basically ghost detergent/stain remover – to save her failing business, which seems a bit exploitive to me. I get that do misadventures it was Wendell’s fault in part that Marjorie got into some extra trouble but unfettered access to otherworldly cleaning products? Seems highly suspect.

Other than that, awesome book. It’s meant for kids but I recommend to anyone who needs a daily dose of DAWWWW!! 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “The Guild Conspiracy” by Brooke Johnson

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*This book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review

In the six months since Petra Wade destroyed one of her dangerous inventions, her life has been picked apart by a twisted man named Jullian who is determined to coerce her into building an even deadlier machine. With her life on the line under accusations of treason, Petra is in a race against time to delay a war in which her own inventions would be used to destroy human lives.

I love the protagonist’s enthusiasm. Even though Petra faces some dire consequences for her actions and, like Sinless – we are again treated to the “capture – freedom – capture” cycle; as if the character can’t get anywhere without someone picking her up and dropping her there. But Petra is smart, determined, and naive in a way that doesn’t seem annoying. She is genuinely trying to save lives and have her intelligence taken seriously instead of being used as a tool or sidelined because she’s a woman. A great lead with some awesome steampunk elements? I’m absolutely sold. 4.9 out of 5.

Lenni Reviews: “A Matter of Oaths” by Helen S. Wright

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*This book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review and is suggested for mature readers

In this reprint of a 1988 novel, Commander Rallya of the patrol ship Bhattya takes on a new officer; an oath breaker named Rafe. Not only is Rallya gambling by taking on an oath breaker, Rafe has also undergone a memory wipe as punishment. All Rafe wants is to do his job and perhaps earn the grudging respect of his new crewmembers but the deep secrets hidden in Rafe’s memories begin to flutter to the surface, secrets which may plunge the kingdoms into war.

This is an awesome space opera with odd politics that can get bogged down in its own details at times – both in the technical aspects and in the political. However, when the action is front and center; this book is a sharp, intelligent science fiction offering that is a nearly perfect book. It is truly a hidden gem that explores LGBT and people of color in science fiction and even has a retirement age captain! I’m sorry I didn’t come across this sooner. 4.8 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Barren” by Peter V. Brett

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*This book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review.

*This review is cross-posted to Otakus and Geeks.

In this novella set in a world where demons come out at night, Selia, a 69-year-old Speaker in her village, is instrumental in protecting everyone by leading the charge to keep the demons at bay. With every kill, Selia is imbued with some of their magic and she is gifted with youth and vitality. As jealousy and anger come to a head in Tibbet’s Brook, it appears the demons are devising a new play which may wipe their town and everyone in it off the map.

There may be some things I’m not getting since this is a novella set in a five book series’ universe, but I felt there was enough here for me to chew on. Selia is a badass and her need to just do right by her neighbors without having to hide who she is comes off as noble and real, not pandering at all. It’s been awhile since I read some good high fantasy and this fast-paced, well-written novella absolutely fits the bill. Since I feel as if I would have gotten more out of this with the rest of the series in mind, I give this a 4.7 out of 5 and I will check out the rest of the series when I get a chance.

This novella will be released 9/25/2018.

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Lenni Reviews: “Sinless” by Sarah Tarkoff

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*This book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review.

*This review is cross-posted to Otakus and Geeks.

Grace lives in a world where your sins are physically manifest on your body. Pretty people are good and bad people have been punished with physical deformities and are ostracised from society until they earn forgiveness. When she encounters a boy seemingly immune to Punishment, it starts a chain of events forcing her to face some rather ugly truths about the world she lives it.

While an awesome concept, it feels immature in execution. About halfway through the book, Grace comes off to me as stumbling over the line between “flawed character” and “spoiled brat” so I found her hard to relate to; even as a YA novel. As things go on, (spoiler maybe??) she turns into the Queen of Being Kidnapped as this happens WAY too often in order to get her to the next plot point.

It’s a good thing this is essentially told by an older character because I am way more interested in adult Grace than teenage Grace. I almost want to read the next one with that want in mind. Despite not being thrilled with the protagonist, I still wanted to know what happened next enough to read through to the end. 2.7 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “To Your Eternity” Vol. 5 by Yoshitoki Oima

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Trapped on Jarada Island with outcasts and criminals, Fushi befriends Tonari as he fights in the island’s deadly tournaments. When an old enemy resurfaces, Fushi may have to compromise his vow to refrain from killing.

Watching Fushi use his various forms in battle is a thing of beauty. It’s bittersweet to see him use and gain new forms when you know he gains them when someone dies but it’s still amazing to watch. It’s also awesome to see how Fushi’s character is growing and changing. as the series progresses. I look forward to seeing how he will change from here.

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Lenni Reviews: “The Mystery of the Curiosities” by C.S. Poe

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*This book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review and is rated 18+

In this sequel to Mystery of Nevermore; Snow and Winter are back!

Sebastian Snow is enjoying a peaceful life running his antique store and spending his free time with his boyfriend; detective Calvin Winter. But it all too soon turns back into an irresistible mystery when a cryptic message smashes through the window of Sebastian’s store. But when bricks with notes become dead bodies with notes, Snow and Winter must unravel the identity of the killer and why the suspect is connected to P.T. Barnum’s lost museum.

What a fun and wicked sexy ride! I got to geek out over an old-timey mystery, thrilled by the action, and moved by the romance. Calvin and Sebastian are cute without being annoying and they are a blast to follow through the book. Like spiked dark chocolate, this is a sweet romance with a kick. If I had a complaint, I would want more backstory on the villain. It had this very “That’s the one! Okay, BYE!” sort of feel. But this wasn’t a deal breaker for me. 3.9 out of 5.

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