Insufficiently Welsh makes my Welsh travels insufficient

Wales is my absolute favorite place on earth, and I thought I had seen quite a large amount of it, but Griff Rhys Jones has proven me wrong. Insufficiently Welsh, the book companion to his BBC television show, explores depths of Wales that even I missed in all my explorations. He has me so curious to see all the teeny, tiny hidden sites that I’ve missed in my travels to Cymru. An example? How did I go to Aberystwyth yet somehow miss a library that holds 6,000,000 books? Yes, you read that correctly. Six million books! I am salivating just thinking of the 118 miles of bookshelves that are needed to accommodate that many tomes. And I how did I, a foodie and lover of just about anything edible that comes out of the sea, miss out on fried cockles? Oh sure, I tried them cold and a wee bit slimy from the market in Swansea, but, as with any food, I am sure adding a crispy fry batter is a 100% improvement. (Dear readers, consider this a public service announcement: If you have not yet tried Welsh laverbread, just skip it. Trust me on this one).

Now since this book is a companion to a show, we readers get to see just how silly and false television is. Rhys Jones is tasked with some absurd challenges, such as finding the Holy Grail in Mid-Wales or having to rappel down a cliff and then do it again so that the camera crew can get shots from all angles. But in between these oddball television requirements, Rhys Jones visits some of Wales’s best gems: the fortified town walls of Conwy, the gorgeous coast and sea life of Angelsey, Hay-on-Wye also known as the town of books (and like Rhys Jones, I also didn’t buy a single book in the entire town, but not for lack of trying!), and many other uniquely Welsh places. Rhys Jones is funny and engaging, and his book is perfect for anyone who loves Wales or traveling or stories about finding one’s heritage.

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J.R. Ward’s The Declawed Kitten, oops, I mean The Beast

Pardon the profanity….

I can’t even be arsed to write a review about Ward’s latest disappointment of a BDB novel, so I’ll just share some thoughts I had while reading The Beast:

If this is how Rhage feels about humans, why in the hell did he marry one of them?

Why does Ward use three phrases in one sentence to describe the same damn thing (hello, redundancy) yet won’t use three words to spell out FFS – which means For Fuck’s Sake for those who haven’t yet unraveled all of Ward’s stupid acronyms.

FFS, Ward, stop using acronyms.

One more idiotic and unnecessary pop culture reference and I am chucking this book at a wall.

THUNK!

Shit, I am going to have patch that wall.

Why am I still reading this series?

Who the fuck are these cellphone-recording humans and why should I care?

Okay, ten pages so far that don’t include the brothers, Rhage, or Mary i.e. ten pages that I don’t have to read.

FFS, die already Xcor. No one fucking cares about you. Except Layla, and she can die too.

OMG, Z has speaking lines in this book!!!

Qhuinn and Blay better have some lines too!

What the hell kind of name is Bitty?

“She’s a special little girl.” Is she? Because, frankly, I find Bitty to be creepy. I just keep envisioning a porcelain doll from a horror movie!

Who the fuck is Assail and why is he taking up so much ink this book? Oh wait, didn’t he try to assassinate Wrath? Or play some part in the assassination? Whatevs.

Well, at least Blay got a line of dialogue, lame as it was.

Woah, look at the lines Qhuinn got. Knock me over with a feather.

So over this ridiculous overprotective male bullshit. Every one of these “warriors” needs to grow a pair.

Huh, I guess Assail’s GF died in a past book? Must have skimmed over that.

Lassiter has become an even more pointless character. I didn’t think that was possible.

I am humming that Mary Poppin’s tune in my head except instead of Chim chiminey, chim chiminey Chim chim cheree, I am singing Skim Skiminey skim skiminey, skim skim skim-meeeeee…

And Ward still hasn’t learned how to use a question mark. Isn’t that first-grade level grammar? See what I did there, Ward? I asked a question and followed it with the correct punctuation. Give it a try sometime.

Some of this dialogue is so unbelievably stupid.

Why does she refuse to acknowledge who is speaking whenever the Brothers are in a group? Dialogue tags that don’t identify the speaker are just author laziness.

Oh, what’s this? Possibly setting up another book about Z? Finally a bit of intrigue….

Assail just became interesting.

All of these stupid flooded bathtub scenes read like author self-indulgence. Ward needs a cutthroat editor. And by that, I mean me!

New York has Zaxby’s??? We don’t even have those here. I bet they don’t have fried pickles at a NY Zaxby’s.

Funny how Rhage’s list of must eat places are all chain restaurants. Does Caldwell not have independently-owned restaurants?

I don’t care how big Rhage is. He would totally be morbidly obese if he actually ate all that.

Vampires will never see a rainbow. (Okay, this life-changing epiphany actually occurred when I saw a rainbow while I was driving around after a rainstorm with The Beast on the front seat of my car)

I would be so on board with that, V, because you and Butch need some bromance scenes.

I was probably wrong about that Z book.

And wrong about Assail’s GF.

Xcor equals snore. Don’t care that he’s the bro of Tohr. Oh look who’s a poet and don’t know it. (Wow, some of my thoughts are as lame as this book’s dialogue!)

This scene would have had more impact from Qhuinn’s POV.

Or Blay’s.

WOAH! That is a hardcore way to attempt suicide.

Z to the rescue!

I’m kind of getting tired of Rhage and Mary.

I feel like this book will never end.

It finally ended.

Managed to be better than The King. That was not much of a compliment!