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Rawrr RSS Feed (southern california)

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Discount Armageddon: Book One of InCryptid
Discount Armageddon: Book One of InCryptid
Offered by Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Price: $5.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Not for me., February 12, 2015
Aspiring ballroom dancer/cryptozoologist, Verity Price, teams up with a hot (but totally forbidden and uptight) Convenant dude to protect NYC's "crypteds."

I thought this would be right up my alley based on what all the reviews were screaming (apparently, many people found this to be amazing UF) but I guess it's too light-hearted for my tastes. I swear, everything this woman writes instantly gets high marks from everyone (even the professional reviewers rave about her) but for me, Seanan McGuire can sometimes be hit or miss; I hated the first 3 books in the October Daye series but loved it after book 4. I really liked Feed (and found it less predictable than this book) but I never bothered to read the rest of that series.

From all the reviews, I expected something groundbreaking here but Verity Price is not much different from any other UF heroine and neither is her world. She basically sees herself as the protector of all things supernatural in her city and her plot and motives all revolve around her protecting an saving them despite the fact that she's not a supe herself and most of them don't care for her.

It's the kind of book though, where anything goes (plot holes and previously established characterizations be damned) so nothing really matters. Some of it was funny but most of the time I was just bored---which is a big reason why it only got 2 stars from me. For instance, Verity has been in--and is still supposedly in hiding due to the fact that her family is supposed to be super infamous for their dealings with the supernaturals (or "crypteds," as they're called here) and the genocidal "Covenant" (i.e. the bad guys) that hunts them. Verity mentions over and over that both the crypteds and the Covenant could be after her just for who she is, yet everyone and their mom seems to know exactly who Verity is (she also introduces herself by her real name all the time). Since her whole history and personality are built around the fact that she and her siblings were raised in hiding and are still hiding (and hence, they supposedly don't have the option to not be superhero cyrptozoologists) I couldn't really take it seriously. And I see no reason why the supes can't take care of themselves considering they're the ones with supernatural abilities. I guess that explains why every other review here warns that you can't take anything in this book seriously. Wish I'd payed attention to that.

Edged Blade (Colbana Files Series)
Edged Blade (Colbana Files Series)
Price: $4.49

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Could've been better than that last one, but..., February 9, 2015
Kit's finally moving on and working odd "jobs" that seem to involve murder and stealth when Justin comes to her with a case of supes (or NHs) that have mysteriously gone missing.

It's nice to see that Kit is moving on but I'm starting to wonder whether I actually care anymore. Harsh, I know, but I kept getting the overwhelming urge to skim most of this book as the mystery here was convoluted to the point of being nonsensical (to me, at least) and the writing was definitely not the author's best. Also, I rarely comment on issues like this (because mistakes happen people), but this book was rife with spelling and grammar errors to the point where I felt like it was actually getting in the way of the story for me. And I didn't read this one on kindle so I don't think it was a formatting issue.

As another review mentioned, the writing is extremely choppy--and by that I mean that the transitions between chapters and even just paragraphs was really sloppy sometimes (as in there were often none), making it disorienting and confusing. One minute Kit's dressed like Tinker Bell and longing to go home and get it on with Damon, and the next page, it's like suddenly 3 weeks later and she's winding down from some vague "job" that involved murdering some serial killer dude. One second she's standing by the car with a death grip on her sword and like a sentence later she's suddenly in the middle of her apartment. I mean, wtf? Give me a little warning.

And speaking of inconsistencies, didn't the last book end with Kit going on some quest to kill the were-dude that abused and maimed TJ? What ever happened to that? And why has Kit suddenly shrunk down to only 5 feet tall? Why does this new pint-sized Kit suddenly have the nose of a freaking bloodhound? She was 5'5 and not gifted with shifter abilities in the first books.

This author's style (at least in this series) has always been concise and economical (pithy?)--and I used to like it that way--but I dunno...I thought the writing here fell short in a bad bad way. It was sparse to the point of being vague and downright confusing at times. So many times it seemed like there was supposed to be some sort of subtext to a certain scene or conversation between the characters that I just didn't get--no matter how many times I stopped to read it over again. More than a few times, I didn't get why the characters were reacting to things the way they were (don't even get me started on how they're all trailing off into ellipses now!). For instance, a number of times Kit experiences a sudden "clawing of fear" up her spine, sometimes for understandable reasons, but at other times, for no apparent reason. At another point, I kept reading a paragraph over and over as I tried to figure out why Kit was stopping to describe the feel and look of a hook in her hand in the middle of an action scene (from the way it was written it seemed like it was supposed to be significant). Not to mention, the action scenes in general were often confusing and impossible to picture.

I thought this book had the potential to be more entertaining than the last one but ultimately, it only earned 2 stars due to the nonsensical plot and writing. I know from reading the other books in this series that the author can do way better. I really wish she'd go back to developing the interesting plotlines--like the ones that involved Kit's evil grandma or hey, maybe Kit could get back her ability to call her stupid sword already but nope, we're still stuck on the boring ones.

Price: $10.34
24 used & new from $8.88

2.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't turn smoothly, January 29, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: LEATHER JUMP ROPE 9.5' (Sports)
I seem to wear out jump ropes like crazy, probably because I use one almost every day on concrete. I ordered this one cause it was cheap and I was hoping a leather rope would hold up better than a plastic one. My mistake. I've only been using it for like, 3 days and I can already see the leather is wearing away where it scrapes against the ground--:(

Initially, I gave this rope 3 stars cause I figured it was my fault for using it on concrete--but then I realized that it doesn't turn smoothly. Also, be forewarned it is only going to be adjustable once or twice bc you have to adjust it by crimping a metal crimp on the end of the rope (crimp and uncrimp that thing too much and it'll no longer hold).

I was surprised that it's also a bit harder to use since it doesn't seem much lighter than my older plastic speed rope Nike Speed Rope (which is sadly, held together by duck tape) but then that's a good thing right? I can't jump nearly as fast but I DO seem to get a slightly better work out (seems like my upper body has to work slightly harder with this one). When it wears out I guess I'll have to try one of those awful beaded ropes next (I'm already dreading the noise it'll make).

Blood Shadows (Blackthorn Book 1)
Blood Shadows (Blackthorn Book 1)
Price: $2.99

2.0 out of 5 stars New adult PNR, January 27, 2015
23 yr old Caitlin is a secret agent and the most powerful "shadow reader" at work. She's hoping that bringing in the notorious vampire Kane will boost her career.

I really wish someone had told me this was a NA PNR. Caitlin is supposed to be a powerful top secret agent at the age of only 23 and I just couldn't take her seriously. It did read like a standard PNR but I wasn't impressed with any of the characters and world building here, (though for reference, I never liked BDB so my tastes could differ from yours).

Also, FYI the audiobook version is pretty bad. For whatever reason, they've got some old lady with a god awful English accent narrating. This poor old lady sounds like she's talking with her mouth so full marbles that she can barely get anything intelligible out. I don't understand why anyone would pick such a voice to narrate a PNR but there you go.

Fitbit Charge Wireless Activity Wristband, Black, Large
Fitbit Charge Wireless Activity Wristband, Black, Large
Price: Click here to see our price
35 used & new from $110.77

2.0 out of 5 stars Great website but I didn't like the device..., January 21, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I've had rotten luck with activity bands so far but after trying both the Garmin Vivosmart - Berry (Small) and the Garmin Vivofit Fitness Band - Black, I decided this band had to be the one cause I'm sick of having to return them. The fitbit dashboard was more detailed and easier to understand than Garmin's and I liked it, but the actual device was really inaccurate to the point where I had to return it. I had similar issues with both the vivosmart and the vivofit, but I swear, it's not me!

To be specific, the pedometer seemed accurate but the device was also claiming I'd climbed 120+ flights of stairs and because of this it estimated that I'd burned 1500 calories by 11am (ha I wish!). I had been wondering why it claimed I'd burned something like 2100 calories the day before when I knew there was no way that could've been true. I'm still not sure whether the device was actually defective or if this is just how it operates (i did exercise and walk on an incline but 1500 calories and 120 flights of stairs worth? And all before noon?! I don't think so.).

--You can set multiple alarms. I really liked this feature.

--It is supposed to automatically count the flights of stairs you climb (to be honest, I could care less how many flights I've climbed but if you do: here you go. I hope it works out better for you than it did for me).

--It goes into Sleep mode automatically. The website also has a bazillion graphs and estimates how much of the time you were *really* sleeping based on movement and how much and how well you've slept over months or weeks. I thought this was awesome. Garmin doesn't have that.

--it has a stopwatch and the website also allows you to enter various activities (some are already listed but you can make up your own along with your own calculations if you need to).

--The website has a graph that shows you the times of day you are most active and least active. Garmin doesn't have that either.

--hooks up with your phone, but then so does the vivosmart (i like the vivosmart way better).

--for $120 this thing looks incredibly flimsy and cheap! And it's not as discreet as I'd thought it would be (I have small wrists though, so maybe that was a why it looked so bulky and ugly?). I just kept seeing it throughout the day thinking, seriously? $120 and this was the best they could come up with? Ugh, it looks so cheap and plastic and the actual face is so tiny and primitive... I actually couldn't bear the thought of wearing this thing every day.

--it stays blank and dark unless you tap it (and often when I tapped it took me numerous times to get a response). I definitely prefer the vivosmart's swiping function for navigation to this.

--doesn't autosync--or it didn't for me.

--no inactivity alerts. According to the news, sitting has become the new McDonalds. It's downright deadly these days but don't expect any help from this thing.

--no band to secure the band, though to be fair it stayed securely clasped the entire time i wore it.

Burned: Fever Series Book 7
Burned: Fever Series Book 7
Offered by Random House LLC
Price: $11.84

15 of 29 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3 stars (tempted to downgrade to 2 upon later reflection)., January 21, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Dani goes missing but Mac is back! Unfortunately, her personal drama with Barrons and a past betrayal as well as her internal struggle to keep a lid on the book inside her somehow relegates her to a passive character as she watches various factions (Unseelie, Seelie, sidhe-seers, the 9 etc) vie for control of Dublin and the world beyond. The one thing that brings everyone together is rescuing Christian but it's a rushed affair.

I really love this series. It's probably why I found this book entertaining yet incredibly frustrating and a little disappointing. Too many revelations passed in the blink of an eye and too many things seemed to be glossed over. I didn't mind the shifting POVs (i actually like the multiple POVs in this series), but at the same time, I felt like there were so many new plot lines being crammed in there that the author was forced to sacrifice the resolution of the ones that were already going on. I've read in other reviews that the author initially planned for this series to have more books but wasn't able to get the green light for that. This explains a lot.

I was excited when I read that the author was bringing Mac back, but this didn't seem like Mac... Caught in a passive state of indecision and fear, Mac basically serves as an observer while she narrates a good portion of the book. Her internal struggle with the Sinsar Dubh irritated me bc we've already been there and done that; it's time for Mac to grow into her power already. Why is she still struggling with the same old problems? I can see no reason for why the author wasn't able to at least advance this plotline. I mean, why give the girl a book if you're not gonna, you know, let her BE IN IT?

That's another thing because most of the time I got the feeling that the author wanted this book to be about Dani. I would've been okay with that (more than okay with that; I liked Dani!) but instead you only get to see Dani and her story (or what little she reveals of it--which is precious little) through Mac's eyes. All I can say is there was a plot development here that totally shocked me even though I totally expected to happen at some point. I ended up disappointed though. I really wish the author would've waited until she could either give Dani her own book for this or just made this Dani's book instead of pretending it was Mac's because I would've preferred to see this through Dani's POV. As it is, I feel like one of my favorite characters was killed off.

Garmin Vivofit Fitness Band - Purple
Garmin Vivofit Fitness Band - Purple
Price: Click here to see our price
92 used & new from $70.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unreliable and they have a shoddy website...., January 15, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The first several times I tried "pair" this thing with my phone it refused to work. Eventually, I finally got my Macbook to pair (manually) but half the time I successfully sync this baby their freaking website doesn't work! If it's not one thing with Garmin, it's another. In fact, every single time I've logged onto Garmin's site for the past couple weeks there has been a "Sorry, we're experiencing issues" type banner on it. In addition:

-- This thing is painful to wear! I also find it really difficult to put on.

--The sleep tracker isn't automatic and this thing doesn't have a light--it's also only got 1 button, so it's a total hassle to activate the sleep function. On top of this, it only tracks how long you sleep and just gives you a squiggly graph with no explanation as to what it means. Also, have I mentioned it HURTS to wear? Because it does.


--it's not very sensitive and probably underestimates steps (in fact I know it does).. Usually I'd consider that a plus but it annoys me that I have that red bar going on ALL DAY even when I'm walking around! This was one of the features that I bought it for. I'm already in shape but even I have moments of sloth and I really like the idea of being reminded to get off my ass.

BTW I had vivosmart watch before this (had to return that one too) and it did the exact same thing (that one overcounted and yet it constantly vibrated to tell me to "move" even when I WAS moving).

---No light. Okay I knew that when I bought it but I didn't realize how annoying this was until I was trying to use it. Why does this thing still not have a backlight anyways? I see people justifying the lack of light due to the 1-yr battery but come on people, my 3 yr old $15 Casio has a stopwatch AND a backlight! This thing's $80 and doesn't have either.

Again, this is the second activity monitor I've bought and subsequently had to return from this brand. I definitely prefer the vivosmart watch to this one because it was comfortable, lit up, and had a stopwatch (i run), and didn't look like a prehistoric piece of crap, but then again, I can't really justify the price of either of these products seeing as their website sucks and no matter the model their products got syncing issues.

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass series Book 1)
Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass series Book 1)
Price: $6.71

3.0 out of 5 stars Really over the top but still entertaining, January 7, 2015
18 yr old Celaena Sardothien, "the greatest assassin in the world," is pulled from a notorious slave labor camp by the Crown Prince Dorien to compete in an absurd competition to win her freedom and become the King's Champion assassin.

This book reads like it was written years ago (possibly when the author was a teenager herself) but has since gone through way too many revisions. The characterizations are inconsistent throughout the series but they are even more so in this first book.

At first, the author wants us to believe that Celaena is just a cheery ray of sunshine despite her (completely over the top) tragic past and the fact that she's just spent a year being whipped and beaten in a slave labor camp and now must compete to work for the family and the king that she has hated and feared her whole life. Despite everything, this super deadly and dangerously beautiful assassin has a heart of gold beneath all her bravado and cutesy petulance; she's all smiles and witty banter with only hints of "darkness" and sorrow when the Crown Prince or his Captain of the Guard happen to catch her glancing at windows or stars. Thankfully, the author turns it down halfway through the book bc Celaena starts behaving more like a normal person.

I'm not sure what this author thinks she's doing with the love triangle, but I did find it entertaining (i usually like love triangles). The romance progresses oddly because it's as if the author originally planned to have Celaena end up with the other guy (the romance progresses nicely with the initial dude) only she must've changed her mind years (or drafts) later and then decided to have Celaena pick the other guy. The result is that throughout the book we have Celaena having a romance with the Crown Prince with some weird jarring moments where Celaena and Chaol, his Captain of the Guard, are inexplicably regarding eachother as soulmates. It seemed so clumsily done, as if the author went back and just tacked on these stray thoughts in an attempt to convince us that Celaena was actually falling in love with this other guy. I certainly didn't fall in love with him and their whole relationship seems so 1 dimensional (haha i'm still hoping this dude will die at some point).

Plot holes abound and nobody's motivations ever add up in this series so it's the kind of book where you just have to turn off your brain for it to make sense. Because it totally doesn't... For instance, the reason for this whole competition? It makes no sense; the king has already chosen his champion and he's not even there to watch it most of the time. And if Celaena's the "greatest assassin ever" (and in this book that entails having all sorts of ninja skills) she should've escaped a long time ago--certainly they shouldn't be able to hold her now. It's implied that she wants to clear her name but come on, she has no reason whatsoever to stay in this country--especially considering what's going on there (she has SO MANY reasons to leave), yet here she is, trying to become the Champion of a man she hates? The "mystery" in this book was also laughable and it felt forced the way the author kept having Celaena consider all the suspects (the fact that she obsesses about Elena's "agenda" is completely nonsensical).

Anyways, I am ashamed to admit that this series became a guilty pleasure for me by the end of this first book, but the over the topness and uneven characterization remains strong throughout this series so if you don't like this book chances are you're not going to enjoy the rest of the series.

Balanced on the Blade's Edge (Dragon Blood Book 1)
Balanced on the Blade's Edge (Dragon Blood Book 1)
Price: $2.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Reads like a romance novella..., January 5, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Sardelle, a warrior/healer mage, wakes up in a bomb shelter (in a vaguely steampunk setting) and discovers that she's the last of her people and has been in stasis for the past 300 years. Her powerful magic sword ("soulblade") is buried deep within the mountain and she's determined to get it. Meanwhile, legendary fighter pilot Colonial Ridge Zirkander has been demoted from being a fighter pilot to managing a remote prison/mine---the same mine that Sardelle has just woken up in and he's determined to do what he can to get to the bottom of her story.

This book (and apparently the whole series) definitely has more of a romantic slant to it than the Emperor's Edge series. It even follows the romance format of providing his and hers POVs. From what I can tell each book in the series seems to be following a new couple.

I liked Sardelle and Ridge because they weren't the cookie cutter type characters that you usually find in stories like this (Sardelle isn't obnoxiously stubborn and Ridge isn't an a-hole) but the actual story felt a little shallow and rushed. I felt like the author only skimmed the surface of what she could've done with this story and the characters because it seemed like a lot was left unaddressed and/or underdeveloped.

The result was that when I got to the end of the book (and it isn't a cliffhanger, mind you) I was like what? Where's the rest? That's seriously where you're ending their story? This book felt like the introduction to a new series (novella style) and I was actually looking forward to reading the rest of Sardelle and Ridge's story until I realized that the next book features a different couple.

I believe the author does come back to these characters in this series at some point but I have a feeling that a lot of the things I want to read about (like how Ridge can keep his job and be with Sardelle) will just be glossed over in the name of action, the same way everything seemed to be glossed over at the end of this book. Sure we might find out later but probably in the second-hand exposition sort of way. It's hard to complain considering it was free but I don't rate books based on price.

Fortune's Pawn (Paradox Book 1)
Fortune's Pawn (Paradox Book 1)
Offered by Hachette Book Group
Price: $9.74

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Cringeworthy, December 31, 2014
Super star military woman quits the military and joins a trader ship with nonstop back to back action packed results on her quest to win glory and become a "Destroyer."

I didn't like this book but don't let that bother you because I am obviously in the minority here. The review on the front that proclaimed this book as "Kate Daniels meets Aliens" immediately convinced me to check it out.

Unfortunately, I think that comparison was totally off the mark. I guess Devi might technically be a "merc" but she is no Kate Daniels! Still, I could deal with Devi not being Kate Daniels if not for the fact that I couldn't stand Devi herself. This chick is a career military soldier with a suit of armor who believes in the chain of command, following orders, and calling her superiors "sir." Her armor enables her to become Superman, always stomping around and saving the day. I found her personality pretty off-putting. I could not stand how smug and sure of herself she was; I like my characters to be like real people with real feelings and vulnerabilities.

I felt like this chick was all cheesy bravado, an over the top commando hero, always showing off and bouncing right back from any problems as if they didn't even happen. The aliens were all token characters (caricatures is more like it) and I definitely wasn't feeling the attraction this girl had for her love interest, not even a little sense of romance (I couldn't stand the way she kept drooling over this guy and trying to come on to him). I didn't find this girl "snarky"; I found her cringeworthy. And I know space opera can be cheesy, but honestly, this book seemed unforgivably lame at times!

Also, I listened to some of this book on audio but eventually had to stop and switch to print bc I just couldn't stand the narrator. She makes Devi sound 10x more obnoxious and smug and for whatever reason, she often slips into a southern accent (I don't believe it was intentional and it totally ruined the atmosphere for me). For inexplicable reasons, she's also throwing around some terrible Jersey accents too. Then again, if you like Devi and her lame crew maybe you'll think the narrator makes them all sound 10x better.

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