How I Found the Best Sex Ever (Sara Strong Mysteries Book 1)

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If there was an award for the most inspidly unoriginal and cliche-ridden story out there, Icewind Dale would get it maybe right up there with the infamous Eye of Argon short story. Also called The Icewind Dreck Trilogy. Every time I think about this series, a horrible taste comes to my mouth. What is that taste? I think it's literary puke. Salvatore has not yet written any fantasy book worth putting on the top lists, people.

The series is the poster boy for fantasy banality -- there is not a single speck of creativity to this series. The same can be said of pretty much all the rest of R. This author has the dubious distinction of getting TWO of his series tossed onto this list. You can literally hear the sound of the dice rolling in the background as you read. Wikipedia defines hack writer as "writers who are paid to churn out sensational, lower-quality "pulp" fiction. Salvatore, with one or two new low-quality fantasy novels coming out each year -- and not a one that has a single iota of originality.

To cover all bases, I'll throw Salvatore's other popular fantasy series in here for good measure, The Dark Elf series. An atrocious mix of bad writing with a not-so-subtle attempt at creating a sympathetic and misunderstood bad-boy character. If there was Twilight for men, The Dark Elf trilogy gets my vote. Salvatore is one of those authors that does a disservice to the rest of the real writers out there. He writes bad popcorn fantasy over and over. Now maybe he's fine with this, and maybe his hordes of fans are fine with reading this stuff too. But really, I can't honestly recommend any of Salvatore's work to any fantasy reader.

To me, that's the same as telling someone to eat fast food instead of something healthy. If you want to read shallow fantasy that offers about as much nutrition as a hastily made McDonald's cheeseburger, then R. Salvatore's works are exactly what you need. For the rest of you who value your time, read something better. If you have to read action heroic fantasy, read David Gemmell or Michael Stackpool -- these writers are many times superior to Salvatore. And what an awful waste of time this book is. The number of stupid characters present in the novel is borderline ridiculous.

There is supposed to be a plot and all, but frankly, it gets lost amid the sappy ham-fisted romance and terrible plot lines. Frankly, I can't remember just how bad the writing was -- probably because the plot was so boring, and the characters so insipid that I was sleeping through most of the book. This book really belongs on the Harlequin romance shelves and NOT the fantasy shelf. Plowing through The Wayfarer Redemption has scared me away from ever touching anything written by an author with the name of Douglass ever again. There is some other sequel or prequel trilogy called The Axis trilogy or something, but frankly, I can't even bring myself to care enough to write something bad about it other than to say: There is no redemption for The Wayfarer Redemption.

These books are going straight to literary hell. This one is pretty close to tying with IceWind Dale for the "most Insipidly Bland" fantasy series ever.

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Oh boy, where do I start with this one? The main character is an utter dolt, the supporting cast cookie-cut out, and the plot There were holes in the plot the size of Australia and characters appear from nowhere only to wander out of the plot just as fast as they were introduced. I'm not even going to get into the characterization -- it was about as laughable as the nonsensical plot threads found in every single one of the books.

David Drake or should I maybe start calling him David Dreck? Ok, that was just mean, I admit Maybe it's not as bad, prose-wise, as some of the other stinkers in the genre, but the fact that Eddings has been re-writing the same story over and over and over and over has earned this book this dubious award.

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The Redemption of Althalus had nothing redeemable about it. The characters were cookie cutouts of bad stereotypes and the plot was boring. God forgive the author for the slaughter of trees involved in producing that crap. I would say that Eddings has his own vanilla style of prose, but then again, vanilla actually has some flavor. Eddings does write some entertaining fantasy for kids, but he's pretty much rewritten his original series four or five times over.

The fantasy world has long since evolved. Ok, I might take a lot of flak for this, but I think she is, in general, a horrific author. Her plots tend to muddle around in never-never-land and characters are flat as a cookie. The only time she manages to crawl her way out of the bowels of mediocrity is on the contrails of more talented coauthors. Not all her books are bad; several books she coauthors with more talented co-authors I might add are actually quite good The Shadow of a Lion. I wish I could say the same about the rest of her books.

Tears of a Heart marks the tale of a young man, Aeden, who unwittingly shapes the world. The writing is beautiful, layered, and timely. Chase Blackwood weaves an intricate tale that hints at so much more.

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And that may be its greatest challenge. Tears of a Heart, the first book in the series, was beautifully written, and interesting. It shows us an amazing world filled with detail and depth, but for a portion of it, just a touch slow. The writing, such beautiful writing, overshadows this, as does the ending. Tower of the Arkein , the next book in the series, is where the story truly begins to unfold, and where Chase Blackwood shines as an author. It is fast paced, full of action, adventure, and love.

A very strong entry in the fantasy genre, and if the next book is equally as good, expect it to make quite a splash. You can buy on Amazon now. There were some initially vague similarities to The Wheel of Time, but that soon changed -- and not for the better. The story started out strong, but somehow everything just grinds to a halt, and I stopped caring about the characters or story. It just sort of dies a slow death, with each of the following books killing the series even more.

The characters were two-dimensional and absolutely do not evolve during the course of the series. The author tries way too hard with his use of similes. After a while, the book felt to me like it was an unfinished Creative Writing project that's been collectively written with the sole intent of coming up with jarring, awkward similes. There's a ton of inconsistency too when it comes to the story elements. Characters actions are inconsistent from moment to moment -- at one point, they are in charge and confident, and at another point, they are dimwit followers who act out of character.

And the Rune Stone, a major plot element, just loses its free will at one point in the story without any reason. It's almost as if the author was suddenly inspired by Edding's The Belgariad and started pumping out characters taken straight from it. Meli is a re-named Polgara, Travis comes off as a less feisty version of Garion, Falken is borrowed from Belgarath, and Beltan is Mandorellan's clone. The world is fairly undefined too. It seems as though the characters just walk and walk around in some vaguely midieval landscape. I have a bit of a problem when, several books into a series, the author suddenly decides to make the main character gay.

Now that's fine if this is the case from the start of the series, but when the author suddenly pulls homesexuality out of a hat way into the novel without warning, well that's not quite fair. Frankly, the author has failed to create a believable world or to create an interesting plot that takes you anywhere, with fully fleshed out characters.

The whole series lacks any sort of soul too it; all in all, everything from the characters to the world and the plot are wafer thin. If mediocrocy could be celebrated, this series would get an award. I can't argue with Card's genius as a writer and the fact that he's usually a great writer, usually. But this book just doesn't merit the sort of praise people seem to give it. Card is a superbly talented writer, creating works of celebrated genius like Ender's Game. However, when he starts bringing his religion into his writing and using his characters and settings to pontificate his strident political views, things take a decided turn for the worse.

That's fine if you are writing a book for Mormons, but alas most of us are not. To really understand anything about this series, you'll need to have read both the Bible and The Book of Mormon. For most of you, climbing Everest would be more appealing. The whole religious thing aside, the story itself and the plot wasn't very interesting. Overall, this whole series was meh, highly overrated and quite boring to read. Epic fantasy that goes bad. In short, I would say the magic system is quite fascinating and unique, almost making up for the fact that everything else is pretty bad.

With the exception of maybe Sanderson's allomancy magic in the Mistborn series, The Rune Lord's magic system just about tops off all the other magic systems out there. Stealing attributes from other people and adding them to your own to gain powers is genius. Keep taking people's abilities and become even more powerful till you achieve something like Godlike superhuman abilities. Everything else about the series comes off as pretty crappy, however.

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The plot -- there is a bad guy to kill and giant cockroaches to stamp out. There's a young prince with some amazing gifts who just might be the one to save the world from evil. The whole plot threads get even more muddled later on in the series when Farland, perhaps to keep the money train flowing his way, starts writing a sequel, turning the whole series into a sort of angels vs. It's pretty clear that this whole good vs evil thing was hastily added to the canon of the world to continually milk the series. The whole thing brings to mind Raymond E. Feist's milking of the Riftwar universe by having the heroes continually struggling against a world-crushing dark god who the heroes conveniently find out by book 10 is the real one pulling the threads behind all the lower bad guy dark lords they keep defeating.

All in all, Farland's writing comes off as tasteless and bland, devoid of any sort of actual style. There's also some pretty big inconsistency between what he's trying to say with his words and what he actually describes. This is even more true in the sections where he's trying to convey something grand and dramatic, but in actuality the whole thing comes off as unintentionally funny because it's so gosh darn corny and badly written. There are certainly worse books out there, and in the epic fantasy category, there's plenty of dreck.

The Rune Lords are not terribly bad, but there is something missing in them. Only read these if you've plowed through everything else that's good. The books are not really bad enough to label as the worst, but I feel I should point them out as books you should try to avoid unless desperate.

Wow, The Belgariad seems to score an impressive 5 out of 6 on our list of "bad fantasy book" categories. Impressive indeed, and made only more impressive by that fact that Eddings strikes again with another entry on the Worst Fantasy Ever list. You have to give the man a clap here -- this is truly an astounding feat, matched only by RA Salvatore who also makes the list twice, but with fewer bad categories applied to his name.

Ok, where to start here. I think we should take the time to use Eddings as a case study along the lines of something like "The Portrait of a Fantasy Hack Writer. I don't know if the wiki writer had Eddings in mind, but he sure fits the bill. I'll throw in a few that are missing: Check, check, and double check. Yup, he's a hack. A big no no. If you can't write well, stick to at least being honest about your lack of writing skills and stick to writing insipid dreck that you are comfortable doing.

Let me put it this way: Hell, he's more than willing to hack write his own hack written stuff that's a hack of a hack of Lord of the Rings. But the level of commercial success Eddings achieved for what amounts to a subpar hackjob is ridiculous. These are books that have not aged well with the evolving conventions of fantasy -- they are highly simplistic. You may enjoy them if they are some of the first fantasy books you've read in the genre, but probably not if you've read some of the much better fantasy on the market.

On the positive side, the books are pretty entertaining for the year-old age range, meaning your kids will enjoy reading them or having you read the books out loud to them. So infamously bad that's its good. This short story has been a running joke for the past several decades and is actually quite infamous at various science fiction conventions and among writers. There's a running debate about whether this is actually a real story written by an eager 16 year old, or if it's a satire on the genre written by a collective group of real, published authors.

The book famously breaks just about every "don't do" literary rule in the book. The sad thing is that there are actually some real writers like Goodkind and Newcomb who come pretty close to actually writing stories that fall pretty close to the level of badness The Eye of Argon evinces. If you're curious, you can read the hilarious annotated online version here: Gets the "Overrated Books With Undeserved Hype" as the book did get more praise than it rightly deserved. I'd also tack on the "Terribly Written Books" category too. However, in this case, she's got fantastic writing skills, but her plot, story, and characters are about as thin as a piece of paper.

This is the one shining example I can give that good fabulous prose doesn't necessarly make a good book -- not by a long shot. Probably the worst example of literary pretentiousness by any author. These books are so thick with forgotten English words that you practically need a thesaurus to translate her works. Hidden among all those self-indulgent, pretentious celtic descriptions, there may be a story somewhere, but if it's there, I haven't found it.

Perhaps I wasn't using the right thesaurus? If an author can have sex with a thesaurus, Celcia Thorn Darton does so with unabated passion.

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Her descriptions border on the raise-your-eyes ridonculous. Not only is she content with plowing through the thesaurus to find the most obscure and forgotten English words-- as if trying to penetrate her opaque prose isn't difficult enough -- but she readily throws in an abundance of made-up words as well. Good luck at trying to guess which ones are made up and which are real! The whole plot grinds to a halt every few pages as the author gets lost in the pleasure of describing What kind of horses to the breed of horse to the type of trees that are in the castle.

Then it was the spoons, the forks, the clothing every character wears, the weather, the varying shades of shadow found in the cracks between cobblestones in a castle, the color of every strange hair on a head. Then the plot continues for a few more pages before grinding to a stop once again while the author goes off on a descriptive tangent, yet again. The sad thing is that at the very beginning of the book, you feel like a new fantasy voice has arrived -- the descriptions are lovely, the story is promising, and the character comes off as potentially interesting.

But then reality quickly sets in as you realize the author is writing her very own mishmash, chick-lit wish-fullfilment, celtic mythology, and her not-so-secret fantasy about male-model loving. Oh man, let's not even get into the actual characterization here. Well, maybe just a little, because it's so god-awfully bad. The main character in the classic cliche wakes up with no memories, has no voice and looks like something dredged up from the set of Tales from the Crypt.

Naturally, what should this heroine do but set out on a wild quest to reclaim what she's lost and discover who she really is. Everyone is mean and vicious to her because she's god-awful uuugly, except for the main love interest who, despite disliking ugly things, somehow still likes her. Of course, being an ugly girl Imrhein spends most of the novel in a sulky state because everyone doesn't appreciate her for her During her quest to regain what she's lost, it becomes sadly apparent that she's more interested in the quest for a pretty face than actually finding her voice; vanity rules the day yet again -- no moral didactic here.

And of course is it shocking that when Imrhein regains what she's lost that she naturally has the face and body of a goddess. I'm not going to dispute that Cecilia Dart-Thornton doesn't write beautifully -- she's got the gift of literary gab and she can write wonderful, beautiful descriptions. But she's way too full of herself and her abuse of the thesaurus comes off as a showy way to impress us all with how talented a writer she just really is. Combine the nearly impenetrable prose with a two-dimensional heroine who's only real goal is to become beautiful again, and a smothering amount of Celtic folklore and you have a very bad book.

Geez, the woman should be arrested for dictionary abuse. You could easily cut out half the book by ripping out the thesauri. A few people love them, but most hate the books -- mainly due to the author's strident views towards women. There's supposed to be a plot to these novels, somewhere. And there is in the first couple of books.

But after, the books turn into thinly veiled misogynistic dreck. The early novels in the series are straight out male-centric adventours in a savage landscape, drawing heavily from the Edgar Rice Burroughs's Mars novels. Decent enough for some light fantasy reading with a bit of kink to it. However, by around book 3 or 4, the true face of Gor and John Norman appears and the books take on a dark, misogynistic view.

Women especially any woman who shows a strong, independent spirit are gleefully forced into slavery where they are tortured and raped until they are broken and learn to "love it. There are over twenty novels in the Gor series and if you continue on reading, most novels basically center on the enslavement and torture of women. We have women beaten, thrown into a pit of rapists, beaten and raped again, and yes, publicly humiliated and forced to crawl around on the ground.

I'm sure you can add a few hundred "let's humiliate women in even more hideous ways" scenerios taken from the books to this list without breaking a sweat. This attitude torwards women goes way past simple chauvinism, and way into pure hostility; Norman's view of women reflects the old American South attitude torward black people, where blacks were held to be inferior and believed to actually like being enslaved to the white masters, because they didn't have to think for themselves. The Banned and the Banished. Way, way too predictable, terribly written with a cast of unrealistic cardboard characters.

These, of course are the standard fare found in bad fantasy. Where James Clemens sets himself apart from the crowd of bad fantasy authors and ends up on this list, however, is that he puts an annoying apostrophe on practically every other word in each sentence. Witch becomes Wit'ch, Elvin as el'vin, ogre as og're.

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He also takes it upon himself to write characters in bad colloquial speech as well. But where things really start to derail, and I started to get a creepy Lolita vibe from the author is when the main character starts falling in love with the prepubescent girl who's the main character, and eventually has relations with her. I don't know if the author is writing his own fantasies into the plot, but it didn't mesh with me.

Clemens tries to give the whole setting a dark edge with some gruesome violence, dark monsters, brutality and sexuality all contrasted with an innocent, virgin year-old girl , but the whole thing just doesn't work. There's a hideous number of positive reviews for the series on Amazon and they all read pretty similarly; I'm suspicious that they may in fact be fake reviews. Stolen from an Amazon reviewer: The View from the Mirror. A terribly written series with book covers that look like they were ripped from a bad graphic artist who was on downers.

I bought the first book, only to give it away a few days later. I think I even paid the guy to take the books, fancy that! Really, the actual prose was offensive to anyone who reads English. The potential of these books might have been there with the plot, but the awful execution killed it. The first book in particular was bad, suffering from terrible writing. It gets a bit better in later books I hear, but the problem is that you've been so damaged by the first book, there's little will left to continue the series.

The author has a couple of other series out there -- I'm not sure if he's redeemed himself in later books. Frankly, I can't stomach reading any of them to find out, after reading the train wreck that was the first book. Supposedly the novel that founded Scientology. Too bad Scientology got off to a bad start -- there couldn't be a worse novel to found your faith on.

Unless it's a Terry Goodkind novel The scary thing is that dude might end up pulling an "L Ron Hubbard" and try starting some creepy Objectivism cult. Ok, Scientology jokes aside, why is Battlefield Earth such dreck? Let's see, aliens manage to easily defeat an entire planet in less than an hour, then brutally enslave the population for over a thousand years.

These slaves rise up and defeat these alien overlords using their own technology against them, despite not being trained to use the technology and living just above the level of primitive savages. Somehow, they are still physically fit enough to win this revolution against their alien masters and while they're at it, manage to destroy the technologically advanced alien home planet with just a single nuclear weapon.

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This sort of broken plot doesn't even merit any more commentary. This is straight-out fantasy masquerading as Sci-Fi. As science fiction novels go, it's a straight-out bad one. Science Fiction without the science in the title. Reading this was like stapling my fingers together -- it bloody well hurt like hell. I can sort of understand why Tom Cruise went crazy on TV -- being forced to read this book would do that to anyone.

Treating it like some sort of Bible, well The man's obsession with young girls' panties is pretty damn disturbing -- a recurring theme in his Xanth novels. His Xanth novels are only surpassed by his personal blog in which he discusses his sordid sex life, bowel movements, and his fantasies. Look, I'll just come out and say it: I think the man is a rancid pervert or at the very least, a very dirty old man with too much time -- and lube -- on his hands. Based on what I've read in his books and about his personal life, I wouldn't at all be surprised to see this author show up on a 'To Catch A Predator' episode.

Based on his bizarre sexual fetish for young, pubecent girls and their underthings, I would avoid these books and anything else written by this man. Fantasy taken to new heights I guess that means BestFanasyBooks. My God, terrible, terrible books. I do like some of Feist's other work, namely his Magician series and his Empire trilogy. But when I was reading this, I had the feeling Feist just gave up halfway through writing the novel, opting to finish it in a couple of nights just to get 'er done.

I'm not quite sure about the reason for such an insult to the written word, produced by a man who should know better; maybe he suffered a crisis. Regardless of the reason, the Betrayal of Krondor was a betrayal to the fantasy genre. One can argue that Krondor was the low point Feist never quite recovered from. All his novels since then have been pretty bad and they are getting worse and worse. Yes, I know he still has oodles of fans, but that doesn't excuse the man for giving up. He actually had some talent.

What really irks me about Feist's Midkemia books is that to continually generate new books I wonder why Feist has sold his soul for money and at this point, he is unable to write anything else other than re-hashed dreck. Let me predict his next book: There will be some dark god or maybe the ultimate dark god machinating yet another "Let's take over the universe" scheme.

There will be a small band of magical heroes who find some magical way of standing up against it. I would not read anything other than his Magican, the sequels, Empire, and his Talon Silverhawk. The rest is dreck. What do you get when you combine Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and a year-old's writing skills?

A heap of trash called Eragon and its sequels. In this novel, the art of Bad Writing is truely mastered and brought to a new level. I admire the kid for writing something, but Eragon was a work best left in the hands of a smiling Grade 7 teacher who would have patted the little Paolini on the head, taken the manuscript home, then quietly burned it. How the heck this unholy mess was picked up by publishers, sold to millions of readers, and made into a terrible movie, is surely one of the great questions of the universe wait, what if his parents had powerful connections to a publishing company and worked in publishing.

Wouldn't that be funny if it is true. I guess that goes to tell you the power of the marketing industry -- if they can sell Eragon to the masses, they can sell anything. The level of commercial success this badly written series has received is nothing short of astounding. The series is a bad copy of copied clichs: Eragon is a mishmash of Lord of the Rings, Dragon Riders of Pern, Dragonlance, and Star Wars; and let me tell you, the force is certainly not with this one.

The only thing exceptionally good about Paolini's stories are when they are over. Im glad the demon birthed by Paolini has finally come to a sordid end. But I toss and turn at night with the knowledge that the former kid writer is cooking up some other sort of literary catastrophe to inflict on the masses. I had Eragon on some of the other lists the Best Children's Fantasy List for one , but I realized just how confusing and senseless that choice really was.

The bottom line is that Eragon is pure drivel and I don't care if it was written by a year-old, it has no business being published or read. I've taken it off all lists. A bad book is a bad book, regardless of what age group it targets. A good book is timeless and appeals to all ages, something Eragon does not do. Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time, there was this vampire with bad hair. There was this awkward girl who didn't fit in. For some absurd reason, this vampire fell in love with the girl. But because of some artificial plot device, they couldn't be together.

Both vampire and girl are unhappy and they proceed to stare ravishingly at each other for thee long and endless books. Yea, that about describes the level of complexity present in Twilight. I'll acknowledge that Twilight fills a romantic need in young adolescents, but how anyone over the age of 14 can think this series is actually "the best books ever" is perhaps the most indicative of just how illiterate our society has become.

For some this is a good book, yes, but for the discerning readers, it's an atrocity to the written word. Please, please, read a real vampire book such as George Martin's Fevre Dream. Rather, what it does excel at being is exceptionally mediocre. The only reason this series was ever successful was there was a teen vampire niche already carved out by the hit TV series, Buffy.

This series is the poster boy that shows society rewards and even celebrates literary banality. I absolutely loved the first book -- I thought it was a vividly realised world with a lot of potential. The magic system was quite interesting and the basic premise demons control the night and hunt humans that are not bound behind protective and magical wards was fascinating, horrific, and so entertaining to read about.

There were a lot of flaws in the novel, but overall it was a great debut with a lot of potential. Read reviews that mention sara strong look forward strong mysteries mahler mystery descriptions adventure beach romp southwest suspense. Showing of 13 reviews. Top Reviews Most recent Top Reviews. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. In Sara Strong, author R.

Mahler gives us a new character to follow in the light-hearted, contemporary, suspense genre. In this series debut Mahler uses extensive personal knowledge of location and place--primarily southern California and desert ed Arizona--to set an enjoyable, summer read. One wonders, is this what a Tracy and Hepburn script would read like in the multi-cultural, globe-hopping, 21st century?

The book has several strengths that set it apart from similar first books: What will she get up to, or what will happen to her, next? To Mahler's credit, one actually wants to know. Why four stars and not five? Maybe I'm a curmudgeon, but I found some of the plot--but not the writing--rather thin and unsatisfying. However, the numerous strengths, scene-setting, dialogue, outlined above, merit readers' serious consideration. This is a fun adventure of a mystery and especially appealing if you know something about the locales mentioned, but if you don't you will get a taste of some wonderfully funky aspects of the southwest.

Great first mystery and I look forward to more. Allusions made to Sara Strong's past only whet the appetite for more! One person found this helpful. Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. If you like your sex hot and steamy, if you like fine Dickensian descriptions of the motley characters that pop in and out of this quirky thriller, then you will like Sara Strong's "Spanglish-filled" adventures and misadventures.

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Since Mahler fails to deliver the hoped-for knockout blow at the end of this saga, I'm knocking one star off the book's rating, but think those who are in the mood for a breezy romp while lolling on the beach will be pleased to spend a few hours with Sara. This was an exciting mystery. I recognized so many of the locations which made it more interesting.

I hope R Mahler writes more Sara Strong mysteries. The book was a fun read. The characters were believable. Descriptions of the Southwest were particularly interesting because of Mahler's knowledge of the area, geography and habitat. The story moved at a fast pace and kept one interested to see what was going to happen next. I am looking forward to his next book in the Sara Strong series. Exciting and full of suspense. I recognized parts of the country which stirred up pleasant memories. Just when I thought I figured out the plot it changed.

I love mystery books and this is one of my favorites. Mahler's How I found the best sex ever. The olfactory descriptions of both the Buffalo Bar and Javelinas were so vivid I could smell them!