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Lenni Reviews: “When Dachshunds Ruled the Serengeti” by Michael Murphy

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

Phillip is an only child from a wealthy New York City family. José is the oldest of nine children of Mexican migrant workers. When the two meet at college, José is unwilling to form any closer attachments, lest anyone find out how poor he really is. But Phillip isn’t easily fooled and the pair do form a friendship that turns into much more. But can such a mismatched pair find true happiness?

If I were to describe this book in one word, it would be “simple.” The writing is simple, the relationship is simple, the conclusion is simple; it’s all simple. I kept waiting for some real conflict to happen and it never did. They fall in love so deeply so quickly, I found it barely believable for a romance novel! It’s great for newbies to the genre but more seasoned readers may find this contrived.

The only real conflict we get here is when Philip, seemingly at random, flips a previously unheard of asshole switch and it’s completely out of his character. On the whole, way too sappy for me. 2 out of 5.

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Today’s Run: Do the Mambo!

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This was Week 8 Day 1 of Couch to 10k. My body is still smarting from the Halloween 5k but I was still able to hold a slow jog for 28 minutes and other than being thirsty, I didn’t feel like I was going to faint. I stopped being lazy and made eggs and vegetarian breakfast sausage.

Why vegetarian? I just happen to like them. No real reason.

At any rate, I think I’m going to keep my workouts around 40 minutes cause that seems to be the butter zone where I feel like I can still walk around after I’m done. The 10k trainer will eventually do over that but I’ll jump off that bridge when I come to it.

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Lenni Reviews: “No Way Out” by Julie Lynn Hayes

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

While house-sitting for a friend of his mentor, Wyatt Findley sees Shylor Lind washing a car across the street and is immediately attracted. The problem is Shylor is a slave to Randy Grant; an abusive dom who keeps Shy as a broken prisoner to his every twisted whim and has done so since Shylor was a child. In the sparse moments they meet, Shy comes to care for Wyatt but does he possess the strength to defy his awful master?

This is another book I’ve read lately that comes with a smattering of trigger warnings; although most of the really icky non-consensual elements are done “off screen.” You’re still dealing with a damaged man who is not willingly consenting to his dom.

Mild spoilers but while I may have enjoyed Shylor’s story arch and his relationship with Wyatt, it was odd for me to have such a dark story culminate in a such a neat and tidy ending. I expected Randy to exact terrible revenge but nope! He storms off never to be seen again. Shylor and Wyatt’s chemistry makes up for it though. 3.5 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “The World Weavers” (Desert Rising 3) by Kelley Grant

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

The gods, now determined to regain their lost power, wage war in order to find the Obsidian Temple. Kadar gathers fighters while his twin, Sulis, works with her Masters to remerge the gods and their sealed powers back into The One. Bust at the armies of the greedy gods ravage the land, time may run out before the Chosen can fulfill the prophecy of the gods becoming one again.

Loving the cultural representation and the battle scenes are awesome but the training and marching and preparing made the middle part of this book drag terribly. But when the story got down to business, it was amazing with a satisfying conclusion. If you like sprawling fantasies, this trilogy is well worth your time. 3.7 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “A Game of Heroes” by Gary L.M. Martin

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

When a rift called the Great Connection shifts, it connects the small town of Stechelberg to different lands. These shifts can lead to anywhere but it appears the Connection is overdue for a stop at Dresden; a world full of violent, merciless Hairless Men. As the Connection flickers, a chain of events is set in motion that will either save their world or destroy it.
Our main cast is brought together by this upcoming calamity and they are the essence of your standard fantasy characters; wise wizard, wayward warrior princess, chosen one with untapped potential, and a woman too smart and ahead of her time. But thankfully, the deck is shuffled a bit to keep things interesting; which is all I will say to avoid spoilers.

While the social commentary in the narrative is not very subtle, the way the story slowly brings such different characters together is thrilling, even as it gets really dark with adult themes. By far my favorite character is Markessa, a quick-witted, intelligent, sharp-tongued woman who, I must say, I am a little concerned for considering how like Game of Thrones this book can be.

In general, this is a good start to what will obviously have a sequel. The world building doesn’t get too dragged down with exposition, the characters are flawed and nuanced enough so they don’t feel like props, and the action scenes are vividly written. There is some sexual content of both the consensual and non-consensual nature so be aware if those things are a deal breaker. Also, there is some unintentionally hilarious world specific dialog. I look forward to reading the next one.

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Lenni Reviews: “Escape from Altera” by Steven Gordon

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

League pilot Idaho Took is captured by the Slurian Union. Thought to be a spy, he is sentenced to a death camp on the frozen planet of Altera. Barely surviving the deadly cold, sadistic guards, desperate prisoners and crippling starvation, Idaho battles for the hope of escaping the inescapable. The entire cast of misfits in this book work off one another really well, whether friend or foe and even the briefest of encounters is told with the same detail as longer attachments.

It’s easy to empathize with the cold, hunger, and brutality the prisoners must endure and it is horrifying and heartbreaking to see what people are willing to do to survive. Despite being set in a space opera setting, this is a harrowing and tense depiction of life in a forced labor camp. It’s merciless but a page turner as Idaho is a resourceful and interesting character to follow. The title implies further adventures with him and if they’re as good as this one, I’d like to read them.

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Zombies, Run! Halloween Virtual Race 2018: Tomorrow Island.

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Despite how flaky I’ve been about my blog I’ve been lately, I have been keeping up fairly well with my running. I even started the Couch to 10k program so I can go longer distances.

I did this run on the treadmill and good thing too because there were points around the 2-mile mark where I felt like I was gonna pass out. I chalk it up to just having a whole wheat waffle with some peanut butter on it for breakfast. I usually have eggs or something.

I’ll get back to posting regularly about the 10k training since I didn’t wanna post about it then end up giving up. I start week 8 next week so I’ve obviously committed to it.

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October Writing Update!

I’ve been good and not started any other new projects. Currently, First Brood 4 and the next episode of Fruit of the Dead are in progress but I can’t tell you when they’ll be done. It’s fits and starts, really. But I can say this:

  1. Fruit of the Dead is going to get progressively more dark. I’d like this series to have more horror elements but there will be some humor dotted here and there.
  2. Emma’s book is looking like it will be MUCH shorter than I’d originally thought. I’m not a fan of padding but I will post excerpts over on my Patreon.
  3. Speaking of Patreon, I’ve altered the rewards. I took off the handmade one and replaced it with an ARC team tier! This level gets you early copies of the book to review and give feedback.

That’s about it for this month, everyone! More reviews are forthcoming!

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Lenni Reviews: “The Obsidian Temple” (Desert Rising 2) by Kelley Grant

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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 the sequel to Desert Rising, Sulis travels to the Obsidian Temple to fulfill her destiny as part of a group charged with rejoining the gods with The One. Along with her friend Ava, she must learn the complicated moves and energy work to perform the ritual. Meanwhile, her twin brother, Kadar, is drawn up in a revolution as the Forsaken cast is fed up with being treated like slaves or worse. But the gods are not willing to let the Forsaken go or give up their power and are willing to wage war to keep what’s theirs.

Sulis continues to be a strong character but to be honest, this book spent too much time on the training parts only to get to the good stuff towards the ending. I understand this was meant to be a trilogy and plot-wise, it is more realistic for the chosen ones to need to practice rather than to just be perfect from the beginning; but it made for a slow read. The inter-cutting of the Forsaken rebellion did bring up the pace, however.

Overall a great read. I’m ready to jump right into the next one. 4 out of 5.

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