The Nameless City

The Nameless City  by  H.P. Lovecraft

“The Nameless City” is a horror story written by H. P. Lovecraft in January 1921 and first published in the November 1921 issue of the amateur press journal The Wolverine. It is often considered the first Cthulhu Mythos story.

The Nameless City of the story’s title is an ancient ruin located somewhere in the deserts of the Arabian Peninsula and is older than any human civilization.

The Nameless City   2 STARS

This is an extremely short story. It is also the first story I’ve read by Lovecraft. Perhaps because I’ve read so much about him and know his stories are about the strange unknown horrible things that lurk in the night I wasn’t surprised by how this went about. The main character seems to have held onto denial a bit too much, but I do understand that sense of adventure and need to know that can drive a person into places they know they shouldn’t go. It’s that foolhardy idiocy of sensing something in the dark, being afraid it’s probably there to kill you, but having to know exactly what it is before you die. That wanting to know the truth of the abyss is the driving force of this story, which it does well, but it fails in any real sense of horror since it is so obvious from the get go. And I honestly don’t get why this is considered the first of the Cthulhu stories, It really doesn’t seem to have anything to do with Cthulhu as much as some other creepy crawlies.

Love in the Afternoon

BOOK 1: Mine Till Midnight  by  Lisa Kleypas

BOOK 2: Seduce Me at Sunrise

BOOK 3: Tempt Me at Twilight

BOOK 4: Married by Morning

Love in the Afternoon   description:

As a lover of animals and nature, Beatrix Hathaway has always been more comfortable outdoors than in the ballroom. Even though she participated in the London season in the past, the classic beauty and free-spirited Beatrix has never been swept away or seriously courted… and she has resigned herself to the fate of never finding love. Has the time come for the most unconventional of the Hathaway sisters to settle for an ordinary man—just to avoid spinsterhood?

Captain Christopher Phelan is a handsome, daring soldier who plans to marry Beatrix’s friend, the vivacious flirt Prudence Mercer, when he returns from fighting abroad. But, as he explains in his letters to Pru, life on the battlefield has darkened his soul—and it’s becoming clear that Christopher won’t come back as the same man. When Beatrix learns of Pru’s disappointment, she decides to help by concocting Pru’s letters to Christopher for her. Soon the correspondence between Beatrix and Christopher develops into something fulfilling and deep… and when Christopher comes home, he’s determined to claim the woman he loves. What began as Beatrix’s innocent deception has resulted in the agony of unfulfilled love—and a passion that can’t be denied.

BOOK 5: Love in the Afternoon   5 STARS

I have to say, my only complaint about the book is that it could’ve been named something like Amour/Amore in the Afternoon, or something to keep the double letter going like the other books. Other than that, this book is just as wonderful as the rest of the series and then some. Beatrix has always been my favorite. Her patience with people and their quirks, her understanding of relationships and seeing things in people no one else does, and of course her love of all animals that she wants to take in, make her such a fun character. It was wonderful to have a book all about her. While of course the rest of the Hathaways and their spouses do make appearances here or there, none of them are that big of a part of the book, other than being outsiders speculating on what is going on with their innocent Beatrix and that troubled Captain Phelan. Now Christopher was surprising choice for a suitor, and yet now it’s so obviously perfect. I’m also glad Kleypas didn’t brush over the struggles returning soldiers can have integrating back into society. As terrible as it is to have PTSD now, it’s worse to imagine it during a time when no one understood such, and it was taboo to even discuss the struggles one was going through. But I truly liked how the relationship began between the two, there’s something so romantic about writing letters, I wish people still did so. Yet, it was even more curious to see how Christopher viewed her when he got back not knowing that this was the actual woman whose letters he’d fallen in love with. Altogether it was a wonderful book, and I’m sad to see this series end.

Married by Morning

BOOK 1: Mine Till Midnight by Lisa Kleypas

BOOK 2: Seduce Me at Sunrise

BOOK 3: Tempt Me at Twilight

Married by Morning  description:

For two years, Catherine Marks has been a paid companion to the Hathaway sisters—a pleasant position, with one caveat. Her charges’ older brother, Leo Hathaway, is thoroughly exasperating. Cat can hardly believe that their constant arguing could mask a mutual attraction. But when one quarrel ends in a sudden kiss, Cat is shocked at her powerful response—and even more so when Leo proposes a dangerous liaison.

Leo must marry and produce an heir within a year to save his family home. Catherine’s respectable demeanor hides a secret that would utterly destroy her. But to Leo, Cat is intriguing and infernally tempting, even to a man resolved never to love again. The danger Cat tried to outrun is about to separate them forever—unless two wary lovers can find a way to banish the shadows and give in to their desires…

BOOK 4: Married by Morning  5 STARS

I love how it’s been building to this since book 2. Leo’s constant need to find Marks, as he calls her, to nettle her, and his drive to find out everything about her has really given this relationship an interesting foundation. It was definitely no love at first sight, as they seemed to drive each other crazy, and so how they went from thinking they hated each other to realizing they loved each other was a sweet and rather humorous journey. However, as funny as this book is, Kleypas does give this story a dark side when it comes to finding out the truth about Cat. It’s a serious subject that the author does not make light of, and it gives the plot a lot of depth and emotion. Just like the rest of the books in this series, it’s fast paced and you’ll be done before you know it. As usual we have all the Hathaway family back, being their usual selves, full of love and understanding and hope that make them so great to read about. Yet, it’s really Dodger who is the best little helper in driving people together. I can’t tell if he’s a guardian angel or a mischievous little devil, but I hope ferrets really are as adorable as he is.

Tempt Me at Twilight

BOOK 1: Mine Till Midnight  by  Lisa Kleypas

BOOK 2: Seduce Me at Sunrise

Tempt Me at Twilight  description:

Poppy Hathaway loves her unconventional family, though she longs for normalcy. Then fate leads to a meeting with Harry Rutledge, an enigmatic hotel owner and inventor with wealth, power, and a dangerous hidden life. When their flirtation compromises her own reputation, Poppy shocks everyone by accepting his proposal—only to find that her new husband offers his passion, but not his trust.

Harry was willing to do anything to win Poppy—except to open his heart. All his life, he has held the world at arm’s length…but the sharp, beguiling Poppy demands to be his wife in every way that matters. Still, as desire grows between them, an enemy lurks in the shadows. Now if Harry wants to keep Poppy by his side, he must forge a true union of body and soul, once and for all…

BOOK 3: Tempt Me at Twilight   4 STARS

Harry, as he himself puts it, is the villain of the story. Honestly, if the point of view was different you might have been rooting for Michael, the good viscount that Poppy is in love with, who’s being kept from his love by his father and his relationship is destroyed by Harry. However, while Harry is definitely no knight in shining armor, and his view of the world is definitely not a forgiving one, there’s something to be said for a man who doesn’t let anything get in his way, especially when going after the woman he desires. And it’s a fine line between villainous and love struck, and Kleypas does a great job of walking it with this character. Of course, by now we have a good basis of the amusing antics of the Hathaway family. Poppy is someone who knows her family will back her no matter what, although they’re all against her marrying Harry out of obligation, and so it sets an interesting tone for this relationship from the get go. Honestly, my favorite person is Beatrix, with her innocent but wise observations of people, and understanding why 2 people might work out perfectly well even when nobody else can understand it. And this book really makes me want a happy ending for Leo, because as much as he still tries to come off as uncaring and tends to do as he pleases, he does everything he can for his sisters, and his view of the world is just too amusing. Really it’s something I like about series like these, where you’re dealing with mostly the same group of folks, and so one book bleeds into the next, and it really helps to create a well rounded cast of characters of both those that we’ve already met as well as new ones that get introduced within this world, and it’s why I can’t help but speed right through to the end to know how it all ends for each of them.

The Beast of Talesend

The Beast of Talesend  by  Kyle Robert Shultz  description:

Private eye Nick Beasley lives in a world where fairy tales ended a long time ago – where zeppelins now soar the skies instead of dragons, and where the first automobiles have taken the place of flying carpets. He’s made a name for himself across the Afterlands by debunking fake magicians and exposing fraudulent monsters. This is the modern age, after all. Magic and monsters are long gone.

At least, that’s what Nick believes. Until he gets magically transformed into a monster, that is.

The only person who may be able to help Nick is Lady Cordelia Beaumont, one of the last enchantresses in the Afterlands. But in order for her to cure him, they’ll have to retrieve a powerful artifact from a ruthless crime lord – who is also Cordelia’s father.

The fate of the Afterlands lies in the hands of a runaway enchantress and a monstrous ex-detective. What could possibly go wrong?

BOOK 1: The Beast of Talesend  4 STARS

This is like a hard boiled detective got tossed into the darkest and bloodest of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales, then made it darker and more horrifying, and then someone decided it should be a comedy. Surprisingly it works. Honestly the twists Shultz has taken on the fairy tales was rather surprising and far different than anything I’ve read before, and I’ve read my fair share of retellings. I would love it if he would go back and write books on the stories they talk about in here as their history. Because while this is obviously a Beauty and the Beast retelling, since it’s a land of fairy tales, they’re all mixed in in varying ways, and the truth about Snow White honestly made a lot more sense than a lot of the other reasons for why the step mom would want her heart. Like I said, it’s dark, but the humor brought to it by the characters going through this, and Nick and Cordelia’s banter help really lighten it over all, even while they’re fighting evil and saving the world from darkness and destruction. Though it did start out a bit overly goofy in the beginning, once you really get into it, the tale does find a good balance and you get taken on quite an adventure. I even rather enjoyed Crispin’s involvement, as Nick’s little brother, there’s a lot going on there that I’d love to see developed and to find out more about their past. But it was the last line of this book that sealed the deal on me snatching up the next as soon as I can. I don’t want to spoil it, but I liked how Shultz got there and then left you hanging with that OMG moment. There’s just so many ways this series can go from here, and I look forward to the journey ahead.

Seduce Me at Sunrise

BOOK 1: Mine Till Midnight  by  Lisa Kleypas

Seduce Me at Sunrise   description:

Kev Merripen has longed for the beautiful, well-bred Winnifred Hathaway ever since her family rescued him from the brink of death when he was just a boy. But this handsome Gypsy is a man of mysterious origins—and he fears that the darkness of his past could crush delicate, luminous Win. So Kev refuses to submit to temptation… and before long Win is torn from him by a devastating twist of fate.

Then, Win returns to England… only to find that Kev has hardened into a man who will deny love at all costs. Meantime, an attractive, seductive suitor has set his sights on Win. It’s now or never for Kev to make his move. But first, he must confront a dangerous secret about his destiny—or risk losing the only woman he has lived for…

BOOK 2: Seduce Me at Sunrise   4 STARS

This was such a heartbreaking story. We learn about Merripen’s past, what led him to the Hathaways and what brought him to stay with them, which unsurprisingly was Win. Although I have to say I hate the guy that pushes a girl away but then keeps everyone else away from her as well. Merripen was a sympathetic character, as the reader knowing what all he was going through, but I really hated what all he was putting everyone else through. Now Win was a lot of fun in this book. It was great seeing how surprised her family was by how much she had changed now that she wasn’t an invalid. She comes back with the ability to live her life and she doesn’t plan on going about it shyly which was a real change from her character in the last book, but she was still the loving Win that we’ve come to care about. And talking of changes, Leo has grown a lot, and his little quips in there now bring a lot of good humor rather than frustration. A lot of new characters were brought in as well which really continues to grow this world, and set this series up for later books, which I like when you can tell an author is forward thinking with such. As well as the added plot of Harrow, a potential suitor, and trying to figure out if he’s a bad guy or just a cold guy, gave this story a nice edge to it. It was wonderful to read again and will probably reread many more times.

Mine Till Midnight

Mine Till Midnight  by  Lisa Kleypas  description:

When an unexpected inheritance elevates her family to the ranks of the aristocracy, Amelia Hathaway discovers that tending to her younger sisters and wayward brother was easy compared to navigating the intricacies of the ton. Even more challenging: the attraction she feels for the tall, dark, and dangerously handsome Cam Rohan.

Wealthy beyond most men’s dreams, Cam has tired of society’s petty restrictions and longs to return to his “uncivilized” Gypsy roots. When the delectable Amelia appeals to him for help, he intends to offer only friendship—but intentions are no match for the desire that blindsides them both. But can a man who spurns tradition be tempted into that most time-honored arrangement: marriage? Life in London society is about to get a whole lot hotter…

BOOK 1: Mine Till Midnight   4 STARS

The first time I read this book it was actually one of the last book in the series that I read, and it didn’t really seem to matter since each book is about a different couple, but I apparently enjoyed it more this time that I’m reading the series in the right order. I have the same complaint both times, and that’s Leo. Knowing how he does later on, it still doesn’t help you care for him any more in this book, and honestly it bothers me how the rest of the family just tiptoes around him at times, or just covers for him. Of course in that time, and the fact they all rely on him for the title he inherited it’s understandable, but every time he shows up it’s extremely off putting. However, I love the rest of the people. Amelia is trying to keep her family together when it seems like they have nothing but bad luck that keeps getting them further and further in trouble. She’s a loving sister, and is trying to figure out how to fit into a world that none of them ever though they’d be a part of. While Rohan is a fun character to read about, he’s rich and he hates it. As a Roma the idea of being wealthy and gentrified as he’s become is distasteful and yet no matter what he does it seems to come back even better for him, and it makes for some humorous discussions in trying to understand the culture of the Gypsies, and why he doesn’t fit in there or with the gadjo (non-romany) making him a rather different sort of hero for a book like this. But it’s really the little sisters, and the other Lord’s and Ladies that make a wonderful group of people that you just want to get to know better. I really can’t wait to read through this whole series again.

Prison Planet Barbarian

Prison Planet Barbarian   description:

Being kidnapped by aliens is one thing. Being kidnapped by aliens and then sent to a prison planet is something infinitely worse.

Here in Haven’s prison system, I’m stranded among strangers, enemies, and the most ruthless criminals in the galaxy. There’s no safety for a human woman here, especially not one branded as a murderer. I’m doomed to a fate worse than death.

Then…he decides I should be his. His name’s Jutari. He’s seven feet tall, blue, and horned. He’s an assassin and one of the most dangerous prisoners here. He’s like no one I’ve ever met before…and he might be my only chance.

This story stands completely alone and is only marginally connected to the Ice Planet Barbarians series. You do not need to read those books in order to follow this one.

Prison Planet Barbarian  3 STARS

This book is definitely separate from the Ice Planet Barbarians series. However, if you are reading the series I wouldn’t check this out until you’ve read Barbarian’s Lady, because you do get a mention of Chloe and her connection to the women there. This was a fun look into the rest of the galaxy, seeing more species and how things are ran, and their view on humans and knowledge of them. I really enjoyed this book, and having read Dixon’s other series, it was fun seeing the connections of the different aliens and the galaxy out there, and it’d be great to see how far she can take all of this. I just didn’t like that for once we could see a relationship form between a messakh and a human outside of the influence of a khui, or even the tribe that survives off such pairings, and actually see how they might come together, but instead we get Jutari being influenced by a primal urge. There is no real relationship other than Jutari wanting Chloe, and deciding she is his, and Chloe needing him for protection. Even within the Ice Planet series you’d get more development between the couples that show why they’re a good match, and this just felt too rushed through.

Bride of the Dragons

Bride of the Dragons  by  Selina Coffey  description:

Elokon and Siron have yet to find a mate.
Elokon became the alpha of his tribe three months ago, and since then, the human towns nearby have sent a dozen women in tribute, and even the women of nearby dragon tribes have sought them out. Elokon’s tribe is powerful and any dragon would be pleased to bear a child of his bloodline.

But neither he nor Siron has seen a single woman that awakens the mating instinct. At long last, the High Dragon has passed down an edict: find a mate, or Elokon will be stripped of his power and banished. There is no place in the Dragonlands for an alpha who will not carry on the old bloodlines.

As the third daughter of an impoverished Earl, Adelina has no dowry and no prospects.
Desperate not to become a priestess, she makes a plan: when the High Dragon’s court comes for their historic meeting with the human king, she will be so alluring that she can steal the heart of one of the richest noblemen at court. She has worked late into the night, sewing herself a dress that will catch anyone’s eye.

During the festivities, she knows she can tempt someone into an indiscretion…
But much to her shock, that someone isn’t human. Furthermore, it’s not one someone, but two. And now that they’ve found their mate, Elokon and Siron aren’t planning to let her go.

Bride of the Dragons   3 STARS

It was like Coffey wasn’t sure if she was writing a novel or a short story. This is more than just a fluff story about Elokon, Siron, and Adelina, but even with a whole world of dragons, Naga, and a war brewing between the 2, this story was very underdeveloped. Everything was rushed and just happened in the style that short stories like these do, but for how much you invest into the story and all that’s going on it just ends up leaving you wanting more, and not in a good way. With the 3 you get them meeting, marrying, and Adelina having a baby before you’re more than a few chapters in. While I get the rush of the marriage due to Adelina’s situation and the dragons traditions, but afterwards it would’ve been nice to see how they got to actually know each other, and Adelina learning how to fit in with the dragons once she’s in their kingdom. Even the war was rushed, regardless of what a formidable foe the Naga were built up as. She had this whole world that we’re introduced too, but we never really see the full breadth of it. Honestly this is the sort of story that could go on into a series, which would be helpful to then see where this all leads too, not just with these characters, but other dragons and dragonflights. If so I’d definitely be willing to check it out.

Also I hate it when the covers don’t even try to represent the characters. Not that that affected this review, it’s just a side note.

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.