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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Empire of Ants: The Hidden Worlds and Extraordinary Lives of Earth's Tiny ConquerorsEmpire of Ants: The Hidden Worlds and Extraordinary Lives of Earth's Tiny Conquerors by Susanne Foitzik
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Every once a while, a good nature book hits the spot. Empire of Ants shines a pretty great spotlight on one of nature's real powerhouses.

Me, I'm truly fascinated by super-colonies, but this one does a great job with an overview, different types, how the different species ARE different. But I personally love the truly weird stuff like longevity-granting tapeworms and the fun fungi infestations.

We do get a little of everything.

Definitely worth the read.

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Saturday, July 13, 2024

Oogami-san, Dadamore Desu vol. 3 (大上さん、だだ漏れです。, #3)Oogami-san, Dadamore Desu vol. 3 by Yuu Yoshidamaru
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

We're in full rom-com territory now. A few snags, miscommunication, and challenges. It's still sweet and I think these goofballs need to get it together already.

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Oogami-san, Dadamore Desu vol. 2 (大上さん、だだ漏れです。, #2)Oogami-san, Dadamore Desu vol. 2 by Yuu Yoshidamaru
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Cuteness continues. Having an MC that makes anyone say what is really on their minds is perfect for humorous teen drama. :)

WHAT? TELL THE TRUTH? NEVER!

Fun stuff.

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Slayers (Buffyverse)Slayers by Amber Benson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm not usually one to pick up and enjoy franchise novels, but this one was special. Indeed, it was a labor of love. Most of the original cast got on board and it was Amber Benson (Tara, herself) and Christopher Golden who wrote it -- and if that isn't enough, the audio was spectacular.

It was quirky, fun, and perfectly in line with all the goofy things the original series was known for. Alternate universes were a thing, after all. And we get lots of Dru, Anya, Spike, and Rupert -- as well as a new Slayer (among many), to keep it fresh.

To be entirely honest, I'd love to see this done and continued for a while -- maybe even as an animation so we can get all the fights and magic and special effects while also bringing in all the originals for their voices. I'd watch the hell out of it.

But that's neither here not there. This novel was a genuine pleasure. Let the nostalgia roll with an all new tale!

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Oogami-san, Dadamore Desu vol. 1 (大上さん、だだ漏れです。, #1)Oogami-san, Dadamore Desu vol. 1 by Yuu Yoshidamaru
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I saw a recommendation for this, with a panel out of context, I thought for sure this would be ecchi. Weirdly, while it does dance around ecchi, it's certainly not focused on it.

It's oddly wholesome, about making and keeping friends when you feel like an outcast and try to avoid others. In other words, it's pretty damn sweet. I had quite a few awww moments.

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Friday, July 12, 2024

How to Become the Dark Lord and Die Trying (Dark Lord Davi, #1)How to Become the Dark Lord and Die Trying by Django Wexler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Color me surprised to learn that Django Wexler is writing an Isekai!

I've been loving the genre for years now, right alongside its idiot twin, LitRPG, but I never really considered this kind of thing anything more than plain fun popcorn fiction -- and that's exactly what Django Wexler delivered.

We've got ourselves a Groundhog Day scenario in another world, where Davi had died for like a thousand years trying out every little thing this kingdom can offer, but when a big change comes -- and Davi is meant to become the Dark Lord, it all becomes a cool little adventure to get all the monsters together, build a hoard, have a lot of sex, and go through the trials set up by the Old Ones to officially become THE DARK LORD.

It's silly fun. Worth it.

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Tuesday, July 9, 2024

I'm Starting to Worry About This Black Box of DoomI'm Starting to Worry About This Black Box of Doom by Jason Pargin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First of all, if you love roadtrip novels, then perk your ear up.

The black box of doom needs a little road-time.

Of course, exactly WHAT that black box of doom is will be a major bone of contention throughout the novel, but it should be safe to say that there are several.

Probably, the more interesting black box of doom is the author's willingness to let it all hang out. We've all had some seriously hard years, be it with societal craziness, fractured people, loneliness, online echo chambers, and, let's face it, FEAR and the greater uneasiness we all have about opening up to others.

After a fairly delightful meet-cute involving a bit of kidnapping (honestly probably the only way this basement-dwelling dude might have agreed to this bit of wildness), this novel doesn't hesitate to jump right in and say the things that might start tons of arguments.

Oddly, however, there's a bit of interesting open-mindedness, which was pretty delightful, even if it didn't go overboard.

The rest of the novel was almost slapstick in how the Reddit boards went cuckoo or how conspiracy nutters became weekend warriors. It was pretty funny.

It may not be my favorite of Mr. Pargin's, but I do appreciate the courage to put these other ideas out there and treat them with a little respect even if they may be a sore point for many. (Think any of the contentious things that are on Reddit, and you'll get the idea.)

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