The Peach Keeper

The Peach Keeper  by  Sarah Addison Allen  description:

It’s the dubious distinction of thirty-year-old Willa Jackson to hail from a fine old Southern family of means that met with financial ruin generations ago. The Blue Ridge Madam—built by Willa’s great-great-grandfather during Walls of Water’s heyday, and once the town’s grandest home—has stood for years as a lonely monument to misfortune and scandal. And Willa herself has long strived to build a life beyond the brooding Jackson family shadow. No easy task in a town shaped by years of tradition and the well-marked boundaries of the haves and have-nots.

But Willa has lately learned that an old classmate—socialite do-gooder Paxton Osgood—of the very prominent Osgood family, has restored the Blue Ridge Madam to her former glory, with plans to open a top-flight inn. Maybe, at last, the troubled past can be laid to rest while something new and wonderful rises from its ashes. But what rises instead is a skeleton, found buried beneath the property’s lone peach tree, and certain to drag up dire consequences along with it.

For the bones—those of charismatic traveling salesman Tucker Devlin, who worked his dark charms on Walls of Water seventy-five years ago—are not all that lay hidden out of sight and mind. Long-kept secrets surrounding the troubling remains have also come to light, seemingly heralded by a spate of sudden strange occurrences throughout the town.

Now, thrust together in an unlikely friendship, united by a full-blooded mystery, Willa and Paxton must confront the dangerous passions and tragic betrayals that once bound their families—and uncover truths of the long-dead that have transcended time and defied the grave to touch the hearts and souls of the living.

The Peach Keeper  5 STARS

This is a wonderfully whimsical story, with a hint of magic that makes anything possible, and a mystery to keep you turning pages late into the night. I loved the balance between Willa and Paxton. Willa is haunted by all the things she’s done in the past, while Paxton lives with the regrets of all the things she hasn’t done. And while this does deal with the two falling in love, this book is more about the power of friendship, about why it’s so important to be their for your friends, and how that relationship never has to fade away. It’s definitely not your average sort of novel. The thing I love most about Allen’s writing is that she doesn’t just give you this one story, she gives you a whole world in this town, but it never gets bogged down. She lets you see all these people and all the things that have led them here, and created them, and it really gets you involved in all of their lives. They become people you feel like you knew, and being from a small town I can definitely relate to this sort of world, though I wish we had the strange occurrences that happen there, would’ve been interesting. And while you don’t need to read Garden Spells before this, because it’s not tied into that series, some of the characters do show up. Which is another thing I love authors to do, to have their books all within this same world, which makes each story you read by them just suck you in even further.

Fire in His Kiss

BOOK 1: Fire in His Blood  by  Ruby Dixon

Fire in His Kiss   description:

Bloodlust and insanity rule my existence. As a fierce drakoni warrior, this strange new world I find myself in eats at my mind until there is nothing left. There is no light or clarity…until she arrives. I save her life, plucking her from the sky.

From that point on, she is mine.

But the human I have chosen for my mate – Sasha – is fragile and wounded. She does not trust me and fears my presence. I will not give up, though. I will do anything to give her my fires and bond us both in body and spirit. How can I convince her that I want nothing more than her happiness if she will not let me touch her?

How does a dragon woo a human?

BOOK 2: Fire in His Kiss  5 STARS

Wow. I’m surprised we got to learn so much about the dragons and their home world so early on, but it does open the doors to the potential of this series. I think that’s what so great about it, is that there’s so much Dixon can do with it, so many places it can go. With Dahk we get a better look into what’s going on with the dragons, but I also loved Sasha and how much she struggled with it all. Having been abused in the After, and then being taken away by the humans’ greatest enemy, she definitely isn’t someone ready to jump into a relationship. She’s just trying to survive, and poor Dahk is so confused over how to woo a woman, and why Sasha reacts the way she does. Mostly though, it’s that Dixon doesn’t wash over the bad. Even as Sasha may know Dahk cares for her, he’s still part of the reason her whole life is destroyed, and yet he’s also a victim of his own insanity, and so there’s this constant struggle for both sides to understand the other. Then with the addition of Emma, who gets to be a part of dealing with them and trying to understand, while of course not being one with a dragon, really helped flesh out the story. The last book we didn’t really get much with Amy or Sasha, so I’m glad we had Emma to give another point of view in this. Altogether it was even better than the first, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Questions I have for Adventure Time

Since Adventure Time is to end in season 9, there are some questions that I’m hoping will be answered. Since we’re only half way through season 8 at the moment there’s a chance some of these are to be answered soon, but if not hopefully they won’t leave anything hanging since they know so early on that they’re finishing. Here are some of my questions, honestly there are more that I have, and more will probably continue to pop up, but these are the main ones for me at the moment.

  1. What is the deal with Gunter’s baby cat? It clearly has powers since it floats and shoots lasers, and since Gunter is technically Orgalorg does that mean the cat is some kind of god-like creature as well?
  2. Why were the Martians fated to meet Jake? They just said that it was foretold, and yet he doesn’t do anything for them. Finn has more influence over events in their life than Jake does, so just why?
  3. What exactly was the Peeper who created Jake? Does it have anything do with Orgalorg considering the similar appearance between the 2?
  4. What exactly is the second coming of GOLB and does Finn have anything to do with him due to the fact of him bouncing off GOLB when leaving Pillow World?
  5. Was Pillow World real then?
  6. Why did GOLB take Margles and will he bring her back?
  7. Will Peace Master ever save his 2 children who have been cursed, and finish seeking revenge on Peppermint Butler?
  8. Why does Peace Master hate Peppermint Butler, considering nobody else knows he’s evil, and even those who know he’s the Dark One don’t seem to mind?
  9. What’s going on with Ancient Psychic Tandem War Elephant and Maja?
  10. What happened to the people from the Mountain of Matthew, and what does its’ destruction mean for his supposed need to restore the world in the future?

Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book

Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book   by  Jennifer Donnelly  description:

An original addition to the beloved Beauty and the Beast fairy tale, Lost in a Book follows the lonely, bookish Belle as she finds an enchanted book in the Beast’s library called Nevermore that carries her into a glittering new world. There, Belle is befriended by a mysterious countess who offers her the life she’s always dreamed of.

But Nevermore is not what it seems, and the more time Belle spends there, the harder it is to leave. Good stories take hold of us and never let us go, and once Belle becomes lost in this book, she may never find her way out again.

This deluxe hardcover novel expands upon the beautiful story and world seen in the new Walt Disney Studios’ film, Beauty and the Beast.

Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book  4 STARS

This was a fun sweet young readers book. While you don’t have to see the new movie to enjoy this book, there were references and things brought up that do come from the movie, so I would recommend doing such. If you have seen the movie, the book mentioned has nothing to do with the book used in the movie, rather this is an adventure that’s right in the middle of the story. You don’t get the story of how Belle ended up there, although it’s brought up, nor do you see how the story ends for Belle and the Beast. This does help you get to know the characters a bit more, but because so much of this story takes place in Nevermore we’re really seeing more of what’s going on with Belle and what’s really keeping her in the castle, and how she feels being pretty much trapped there. However, even as simplistic as this tale is at times, it really does a good job of looking at what real relationships, both romantic and friendly, and how they aren’t always perfect and sparkly, that they have their ups and downs. That’s life and that being there for someone when they’re down is when they tend to need that connection the most, and that’s a pretty good moral for a fairy tale, and definitely makes this worth the read. My one complaint was the number of typos in the book. You’d think a book like this would’ve been edited a bit better.

Beauty and the Beast vs. Stockholm Syndrome and Abusive Relationships

I love Beauty and the Beast. I have since I was little and saw the cartoon version, and I love the live version even more. Perhaps it’s the book nerd in me falling for a guy who gifts a girl a huge library, but there’s always been something about it that I absolutely loved. However, now are the days of questioning every story and trying to find the evil within. Is this the tale of Stockholm syndrome or an abusive relationship that’s going to lead girls to believe they can change their abusive boyfriends/husbands if only they love them enough. I find both ideas utterly ridiculous. Maybe I’m blinded by my love of the tale, but I’m at least going to back up my reasons for why.

First off, it couldn’t possibly be Stockholm syndrome. Stockholm syndrome is described as “positive feelings toward their captors and sympathy for their causes and goals, and negative feelings toward the police or authorities. These feelings, resulting from a bond formed between captor and captives during intimate time spent together, are generally considered irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims. Generally speaking, Stockholm syndrome consists of strong emotional ties that develop between two persons where one person intermittently harasses, beats, threatens, abuses, or intimidates the other.” I stole this from Wikipedia but I’m sure you can find this sort of info from a more reputable site if you’d like.

However, looking at this it doesn’t follow with what happens. First off, Belle chose to stay with the Beast so she wasn’t really taken hostage then. Sure she is being held captive, but it’s not like he went and kidnapped her. During that time the Beast and her barely spend any time together, and when he does act angrily and throws a tantrum, she stands up to him. She doesn’t back down, and while she doesn’t leave, she does move about doing whatever she wants. He yells a lot but all his threats are empty considering she doesn’t stay locked away and she does eat well. And she actually does try to escape, during which the Beast saves her life and when it’s clear she could make a run for it, she once more chooses to stay in order to find out what the curse is all about and to try to help the servants more than she is trying to help the Beast. More so, when the Beast gives Belle the opportunity to leave she does so. She doesn’t wish to remain there, and she doesn’t turn on the townspeople thinking they’re the bad guys. Besides she doesn’t even have rescuers of any sort to think badly of. The townspeople instead ignore her father’s plight and try to have him locked away instead of ever really asking what happened to Belle, and only go to the castle to murder the Beast, because even though they never knew he existed and he’s given them no trouble they’re suddenly afraid of him and decide to hunt him down and kill him in the castle he’s locked himself away in. So not much of her turning on any sort of rescuer, as it is trying to stop them from hurting people who are under a curse. In the end the only reason she shows any softening towards him, is because he finally stops acting so cruel and begins to try and be a decent human being. She also doesn’t fall in love with him until after he’s given her her freedom. In fact if he hadn’t been attacked it’s questionable if she would’ve returned or declared her feelings in time to even save him.

Now, much of this also answers why it’s not about an abusive relationship. Firstly, if you’re building your relationship ideals off Disney then you clearly don’t have any good ones to look upon in real life. Instead of blaming TV maybe we should question why they don’t have people in real life to look up to. Regardless, this isn’t the tale of someone who thinks they can save this cruel man if they just love him enough. Instead, she stands up to him repeatedly showing she isn’t going to bow to his will to just because he yells and demands it of her. While he does tear up a lot of stuff, the Beast never harms Belle or his servants. He clearly isn’t someone who they even fear because they disobey him readily. Showing he’s more bark than bite. Yet, the main thing to note is that it isn’t until he acts better, and shows that he cares, and that he’s trying to be a better man that she actually begins to love him. She isn’t loving him to make him better, she loves him as he becomes better. Once more, only upon him undoing all the wrongs he’d committed against her does she love him. Once he frees her to help save her father, who is only in trouble because of the Beast, and gives up his chance of breaking the curse does she finally let herself fall in love with him. Only once he’s completely turned from all the things that led him to becoming the Beast does Belle actually see him as someone worthy of her love. That is not the description of an abusive relationship. Belle wasn’t trying to save him, instead the Beast was working to become worthy of Belle.

Beauty and the Beast

No surprise if you’ve read anybody’s review, but this movie is amazing. As pointed out by this youtube video, a lot of the silly mistakes made in the cartoon version were fixed or clarified. And yet they still managed to pay homage to them as they kept everything that was so wonderful about the original alive. They didn’t go trying to rewrite it, but instead magnified the magic. If you’ve seen the cartoon then there won’t be any surprises, instead you’ll enjoy getting to fully know the characters. They gave them background stories and fuller lives to help you better understand them. Like why the Beast was so cruel and yet had servants who truly wanted him to be happy, not just to break their curse but because they cared for him. We get to know about Belle’s family more and how they came to be in a town that never really accepted them. The acting was on point with Watson perfectly playing a loving and bookwormish Belle, who also shows plenty of backbone, and Dan Stevens is a gruff and grumpy yet with a dry sense of humor Beast that you can’t help but fall in love with. Not to mention the songs will have you wanting to sing and dance along to them. Altogether, it was a well done movie that I can’t wait to see again.

The Vrai Domicile

BOOK 1: The Sixth Domicile by Courtney Ruggles

The Vrai Domicile  description:

Q437B was ready to die for the Second Revolution. Then she entered the Muertre…
Q and B expected death when the Elders ordered their execution. What they discover instead changes everything they thought they knew about their world. Saved by the mercy of the Elders, they awaken in the Vrai Domicile, a mysterious place hidden below the Sixth Domicile housing hundreds of former rebels.

Except these rebels have been brainwashed, conditioned to be blind followers.

Q quickly learns of the Elders’ new plan for her – she is to become their warrior, to reunite the Vrai and Sixth Domiciles with purity, love, and unwavering faith. But to Q, she’ll be undoing everything she and the rebels fought for.

Now Q and B must fight to survive once more, forced to forge new alliances with strangers who promise nothing is as it seems. But surviving comes with a choice – follow the Elders and quash the Revolution, or defy them and free the people, putting B’s and Grandmother’s lives at risk.

In a place where the fire of rebellion is extinguished at every turn, can Q continue to be the spark that fuels the Revolution?

BOOK 2: The Vrai Domicile  2 STARS

Honestly I think Ruggles should consider just writing erotica. She puts more effort into the love story and sex scenes than any other part of this story. The problem with that is that you’re left with this revolution you came here to read about that’s barely developed, and a “hero” that just comes across as an idiot. I understand wanting your characters to be human. Wanting them to make mistakes and not have all the answers. I don’t understand how Q doesn’t realize that B isn’t  talking master plans or shouting DOWN WITH THE DOMICILE with every breath because they’re in a place where they’re being watched and it’ll just get them killed. You know considering that’s why she’s going along with the Elder’s plan after witnessing them beat her grandmother. She has no clue, no plans, and apparently an inability to pick up on hints, but she’s supposed to be the savior. B could be the hero, but Q just makes me want to punch her in the face for being so dumb. And overall the plot was ludicrous.

Why VA Insurance is a Joke

As you can probably surmise from the title, I’m not a fan of VA insurance. See, me and my husband are both partially disabled veterans, and so we get 100% coverage with VA insurance. That’s right. I get insurance for free, that allows me to go to the doctor for free as much as I want, and yet we choose to pay for insurance that has a nice little deductible just so we can get actual help.

Where I live I don’t have a full VA hospital, just a clinic, which is bad enough on it’s own, but wouldn’t be too bad for the average trip to the doctor. Except like when they don’t ever answer the phone. The first month of me being on VA insurance I called and called and called, and no matter what extension you choose, or how long you let it ring, nobody would pick up. Finally went in in person to get an appointment. After which I did get a call for some survey from VA asking about my visit, once I complained they actually finally started answering phones for a while. But even when you finally do get an appointment it’s definitely no picnic in getting any actual help. First off, they may just cancel your appointment for apparently no reason and not let you know about it. Or the earliest appointment may be 3 months away regardless of how bad off you are.

Then there are things like how I’m no longer on birth control, because my doctor wouldn’t put a prescription in. Right off the bat he told me he didn’t think I could get that, which was strange because the military never had problems getting it for me, and my last VA hospital got it for me, but he couldn’t. And I will say my last VA hospital wasn’t too bad. I’m saying this because I don’t want to claim that all are bad, just like not all of the doctors are bad. But the problem when you have no choice in where you get to go, you’re stuck with whatever crap they give you. Not only didn’t I get birth control, but it was extremely hard for them to even find a lady doctor who could see me for my lady stuff, because there was no way I was letting the sleazy primary care I got stuck with check me out. But even the lady doctor with her repeated confusion over the fact that I had never been pregnant nor had kids, and yes she asked it in about 5 different ways before she finally believed me, was of little help.

But the worst is now. My depression and anxiety have gotten to the point I need help, but no one answers their phone. There’s not even an answer machine to pick up to answer. I actually called the nearest full hospital and nobody was sure who was in and supposedly left a message that they were supposed to call me back to help me, but nobody did. Nobody will call back. Nobody gives a shit if I kill myself or not, because why should they? I’m just a veteran seeking help, and my VA insurance that should give me access to such does nothing, because the option I’m given is a hospital who won’t answer their phone, and doctors and nurses who won’t help you get what meds you need, or information that could help you. So instead I use the insurance I pay for to finally seek real help. And sure it’s no big deal to pay for insurance, just like so many other Americans do. My problem is when the government claims that they’ll take care of veterans, and basically put up some little facade like these hospitals to try and prove that they do, when in reality their help is really no help at all.

Barbarian’s Lady

Due to the number of books in this series I’m just going to add the link to the list of books I’ve reviewed by Ruby Dixon.

Barbarian’s Lady   description:

You’d think a tall woman would fit in on a planet of seven-foot-tall aliens, but even on the ice planet, I’m still a weirdo and an oddity. I’m everything all the other cute, dainty human women aren’t.

One guy in particular – the alien Harrec – is determined to embarrass me by pretending he’s interested. He’s a jokester that flirts like mad and hits on me constantly just to make me feel foolish. He gets under my skin. He makes me so frustrated I want to scream.

When a side-trip to a glacier turns into a nightmare and the two of us are forced to survive alone, I see another side to the enticing blue alien. Even with no one else around, his compliments keep coming and I start wondering if the attraction between us…is real.

BOOK 13: Barbarian’s Lady   4 STARS

I do love the books where the love comes before the resonance, and this was a fun one. Harrec has been a jokester throughout the series, and not someone I’ve really thought twice about. Poor Kate is self conscious about her height and doesn’t realize that Harrec’s teasing is his way of flirting, and that his “insults” are really supposed to be compliments. It’s a real case of miscommunication that just gets funnier the more it happens. I love how each of these books really lets you get to know not only the main characters, but the rest of the tribe better with each page. Understanding them and enjoying this world for all its’ got. My only complaint is how some of the conversations were a bit repetitive, like they didn’t remember they just talked about such. As well as the huge cliffhanger that Dixon just left us with. Like what the heck is going on here, and when will the next book come to soothe my worries?

T&A: Revelations of a Romance Novel Heroine

T&A: Revelations of a Romance Novel Heroine  by  Jill Monroe  description:

The woman who has sworn off romance finds herself trapped inside a romance novel…

Some think their lives are ruled by fate. Others by chance. But Annalise Morrison knows who crafts her destiny – an interfering author hag – and if Annalise ever finds that meddling writer, she is going to shove that keyboard down her throat. No one is going to tell her who to date, but grrr…why does Theo Griffin have to be so hot?

The man who’s only looking for a little T&A finds a whole lot of trouble…

Theo Griffin’s down to play hero to Annalise’s heroine. He’s all in for any kind of action between the sheets this novel requires. That’s what the hero does in these kinds of books, right? But this sexy woman entices him to ditch his plans and tempts him to give more of himself than he ever thought possible. Will he turn his back on love…or surrender?

It’s fun and games until the emotions turn real…

T&A   4 STARS

The first chapter is in Theo’s POV and it starts out a little crass, and had me sure this would be just a quick naughty read. However, once you get to Annalise and her realization she’s in a romance novel you’ll be dying laughing as much as I was. There was just so much to love about this book. First off, Annalise and Theo are both very well developed characters, who have a lot of fun within their parts. From commenting on how chapter headings are now appearing in her life, and how “one week later” leaves her a little fuzzy on what happened during that time, Annalise really helps to analyze a lot of the over used romantic tropes we all know, and that leave us sometimes wondering why the author is falling into the same old routines. Her fighting it and falling victim to it all makes for a rather unique take on the story. I loved how not only does Theo play the guy willing to believe this, but that he jumps right into it with her as well trying to figure out how they can come out of this with a happily ever after. Even Josie and Harper, her friends, are fun influences. Harper bugged me a little with her cynicism, but Josie helped to balance it all out. I honestly hope there are more of these sorts to come from Monroe. There are some typos and story issues like repeating them doing an action they just did, nothing too big and nothing to really distract from the story. My only real complaint is I wish the internal author had a bit more blurbs and part of the story.