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.

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Alien Former continued…

Book 1: Alien Former  by  Ashley L. Hunt

Alien Former Collection description:

Joanna Angeles is ready for anything. She has been dispatched to a frozen planet at the back end of nowhere, accompanied only by an advanced Artificial Intelligence known as Barbas. Her mission: to transform an unliveable frozen wasteland into a home for over a hundred-thousand colonists within ten years. Unbeknownst to her, the brutal glacier world is not as lifeless as she thought. When her planetfall is mistaken for the coming of a deity by a local ranger, Volistad, Joanna finds herself embroiled in an ancient war.

Can Joanna and Volistad find common ground, despite their vast differences?
Can they forge a connection to unite their two peoples? Or will the ice-bound world of Chalice claim them all?

Join Joanna & Bardas in their mission to survive to this exotic and new harsh planet…

alien-formerBOOK 1-5: Alien Former   4 STARS

So I bought the complete collection, which is supposed to be books 1-5, and as you can see I already read book 1 and wrote a review for it, but this collection just has it as one whole book, nothing separating out the different stories that can be bought, which makes me think it was previously just chopped up and never meant to really be 5 separate books. I hate it when authors do that, but since it is being sold all together for just 99cents, I’m not going to dock it for having done such. Just give you a heads up, you might as well just go for the complete collection.

Continuing from the first review I did of just book 1, this does continue to develop the characters very well. I feel like I finally got a good picture of Joanna, and really like her character and who she becomes. Understanding the gods that are trapped beneath the surface, and the history of what they were and how they came to be there, was actually a really interesting look at human nature, and a great sci-fi tell all around. Volistad and his people dealing with the upheaval of their beliefs was really well done, and helped show how hard people want to cling to their faith but also the power they may have built upon it. Honestly, even though it’s marked as sci-fi romance, the romance part doesn’t overshadow the plot, and anyone who likes alien adventures would enjoy this. My main problem with the book is it really needs better editing. I almost knocked it down to 3 STARS because of it, but the rest of it was so good I didn’t want to do such. But there are a lot of typos, as well as repetitiveness, which is  a pet peeve of mine. Like yes we get that Barbas’ presence feels like someone reading over your shoulder, and other such description that she got stuck on and felt the need to repeat over and over.

 

Barbarian’s Choice

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 Choice   description:

I might be the only unmated female in my tribe, but it doesn’t mean I’ve given my heart. I’m waiting. I want resonance, and I won’t settle for anything less.

But when an alien ship lands and a handsome stranger steps out, I know he’s the one. His name’s Mardok and he’s fascinatingly different – and distractingly appealing. But Mardok can’t stay on the ice planet, and he says he can take me with him.

Now, I must make a choice. Do I stay and lose my mate forever? Or do I follow him to the stars and leave behind everything I know?

barbarians-choiceBOOK 11: Barbarian’s Choice   5 STARS

All my questions were finally answered. How long have the Sa-Khui been there? How would their computer know English resembling anything we speak today? What is the spur for? And Dixon answered them all perfectly. As someone who majored in English and studied the way language evolves over time, I particularly liked that the new messakh that land aren’t speaking the same language, and what the Sa-Khui speak is called Old Sakh and is probably as understandable as Old English is to us. But mostly, I liked that with the arrival of a space ship that is more than capable of taking everyone away, we get to experience the dilemma of people who have never had a choice of being here, finally getting to decide if this is truly the place they want to call home. And I was on the edge of my seat wanting to know how it would all turn out. Of course I’ve always loved Farli, she’s always a delight, and now seeing her all grown up was so much fun. Especially considering this is the first view through an unmated female Sa-Khui, and it was kind of hilarious with her very straight forward approach to love when it comes to making the moves on Mardok.However, Mardok was really the interesting POV, with his interactions with his crew and the build up of whether they are there to truly help or will they end up betraying the tribe for their own gain? Altogether, this book might be the most satisfying of all the stories, in that instead of adding more questions, we finally get the full truth about these aliens, even if we are left with a cliffhanger that makes you really wonder how Dixon will handle the next book.

The Diary of an Immortal

The Diary of an Immortal  by  David J. Castello  description:

THE DIARY OF AN IMMORTAL (1945–1959) is the story of twenty-one-year-old U.S. Army combat medic Steven Ronson, a man who escapes the constant inundation and threat of death in World War Two after he discovers an immortality formula designed for Adolf Hitler during the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp in April of 1945.

Steven begins consuming the immortality formula and, after realizing that aging and death no longer control his life, travels to Manhattan to realize his childhood dream of becoming a jazz saxophonist on 52nd Street. The immortality formula gives him supernatural powers and fantastic musical abilities. His performance catches the attention of a disgraced British missionary and his adopted niece who knew the Buddhist monks in China that have guarded the original formula for thousands of years.

After a series of disturbing and prophetic visions, Steven accepts an invitation from the ex-missionary to journey to Xian. In a mountain monastery outside of the city, Steven discovers the incredible truth about the formula and the monks, and the interstellar origins of Jesus Christ and the human race. But time is running out−the German occultists who helped bring Hitler to power in the 1930s have selected another Aryan messiah, and this time he has the formula. Steven cannot allow the nightmare he experienced in Germany to happen again.

thediaryofanimmortal-frontcoverThe Diary of an Immortal   4 STARS

The book description I originally read didn’t mention “the interstellar origins of Jesus”, and so I was a little upset by that discovery. If someone messing with the truth of your religion bothers you, then I wouldn’t recommend this book. It was especially frustrating considering it had no purpose within the plot, when everything else is tied together so perfectly. However, before then it was a good book that I did enjoy, and after it was a challenge for me, but I decided I did want to see it through to the end for this review. Beyond that, I liked Castello’s approach to immortality, with it being basically a virus always at war with your mortal views on life and emotion. Changing how the person approaches everything around them now that life has no constraints on them. Plus, the way he used actual events in history, and built upon the cult following of the book The Coming Race during WWII by groups of Nazis, was truly fascinating. Not only are you entertained, but you learn a lot of about history, got to give Castello credit for that. Steven was also a very interesting character, and the way he viewed the world and the reason behind his choosing to be immortal and attempting to live that life all felt so real. More so, because he’s not the only immortal out there, and learning the truth about the pills, and seeing how it has affected others, was just so captivating. I loved the world, and the people, and his style of writing was very thorough so that you get the full view, but don’t feel like you’re bogged down in too much description or facts. Altogether, it was worth the read, even if I can’t get above my raising and hate the screwing with my beliefs bit.

Just a Kiss

BOOK 1: Falling Like Snowflakes  by Denise Hunter

BOOK 2: The Goodbye Bride

Just a Kiss   description:

Riley Callahan’s plans to reveal his secret feelings for his best friend are derailed when his life is drastically altered in Afghanistan.

Watching the love of his life fall for his brother was enough to send Riley straight to boot camp. But over a year later, he’s officially a marine, and Beau and Paige are no longer an item. When Riley’s tour in Afghanistan is up, he intends to confess his feelings to Paige and win his best friend’s heart once and for all.

But all that changes when an IED takes the life of a comrade and leaves Riley an amputee. Now he’s heading home, injured and troubled. His plans to win Paige are a distant dream. She deserves so much more than the man that’s left. All he can do now is put some healthy distance between them. But upon his return he discovers his family has arranged for him to stay with Paige.

Paige is a nurturer at heart and happy to take care of her best buddy. By all appearances Riley is adjusting miraculously well to his disability. But as the days pass, Paige begins to see that the smiles and laughter are just a mask for the pain he’s hiding. To make matters worse, her job is in serious jeopardy. The animal shelter that she’s poured her heart into has lost its funding, and she has three months to come up with the money needed to save it.

As the weeks wear on, Paige’s feelings for Riley begin to shift into uncharted territory. Why is she suddenly noticing his arm muscles and the way his lips curl at the corners? Will she be able to deny her feelings for another Callahan brother? And will Riley let his heart heal so he can let Paige in?

kissBOOK 3: Just a Kiss   4 STARS

This book was a lot more about the romance than the other 2 books. No woman on the run or woman with amnesia, just 2 people trying to figure out how to make the love thing work. Though, it always irritates me when people act like it’s crazy for best friends to fall in love, like you love spending all your time with the one person who understands you better than anyone else in the world, and yet you don’t think a relationship would work? Doesn’t make sense. Regardless of that, I think Hunter did a good job of capturing the struggles Riley was going through after not only losing his leg, but also seeing the horrors of war. His character really felt rounded out, and the journey was a good one that focused on a lot of different things a person like that may need to go through when they come home. However, Paige felt a bit repetitive at times, and the whole Darleen scene felt a little too contrived even for a romance novel. Paige did feel realistic, it’s just that I think Hunter could’ve found different ways of approaching her issues or have her deal with them, honestly there did feel like the book might have needed one more read through on the editing end. In the end, though, this book did a great job of rounding out the series, and I’d love to find more by her.

Lastly, and it’s not a knock against the book exactly, it did bother me that the fact that Riley came out of the military disabled, and yet none of his benefits were mentioned. Like getting disability or the GI Bill, which would’ve helped with some of the complaints he had when trying to readjust to the civilian life. Like needing money, and not having a degree. Then again, even some veterans don’t take advantage of these benefits, or even seem to realize they’re available, so I can’t completely fault Hunter for not mentioning these facts.

The Target

BOOK 1: The Innocent  by  David Baldacci

BOOK 2: The Hit

The Target  description:

The President knows it’s a perilous, high-risk assignment. If he gives the order, he has the opportunity to take down a global menace, once and for all. If the mission fails, he would face certain impeachment, and the threats against the nation would multiply. So the president turns to the one team that can pull off the impossible: Will Robie and his partner, Jessica Reel.

Together, Robie and Reel’s talents as assassins are unmatched. But there are some in power who don’t trust the pair. They doubt their willingness to follow orders. And they will do anything to see that the two assassins succeed, but that they do not survive.

As they prepare for their mission, Reel faces a personal crisis that could well lead old enemies right to her doorstep, resurrecting the ghosts of her earlier life and bringing stark danger to all those close to her. And all the while, Robie and Reel are stalked by a new adversary: an unknown and unlikely assassin, a woman who has trained her entire life to kill, and who has her own list of targets–a list that includes Will Robie and Jessica Reel.

targetBOOK 3: The Target  4 STARS

While this series is called the Will Robie series, it’s now being a bit taken over by Jessica Reel, but Chung-Cha ultimately stole the show. I understand somewhat why some people said there was too much going on in here, there really was 2 different stories going on. However, Baldacci does a great job of balancing both tales, and having them flow together so that neither end was left for too long so it kept the story moving along well and coherently. Also, it was great to get a better understanding of Reel, and really see her grow and change through this story. Just hoping they’ll do the same thing for Robie. But like I said, Chung-Cha just goes to show what a great writer Baladacci is. Someone so cold and uncaring, who kills people without a thought for a government she doesn’t even like should’ve came across as sadistic and evil as the tyranny that created her. Instead you spend the whole book hoping someone will save her from that life somehow. Although, the Nazis that pop up will feel your quota of pure evil enough for any book. As much as the spy work and intense situations that keep popping up through these stories help keep you turning pages, it was really the character growth and their own personal journy that made me love this book so much.

The Dark Hills Divide

The Dark Hills Divide  by  Patrick Carman   description:

The Dark Hills Divide introduces readers to Alexa Daley, who annually visits the town of Bridewell. Alexa is curious about what lies beyond the massive ramparts that surround the city and the walled roads that link Bridewell to nearby towns; soon after town leader Thomas Warvold passes away, Alexa finds herself outside the walls, acquires a stone with remarkable powers, and discovers that she’s meant to stop a potential war from occurring.

dark hillsBOOK 1: The Dark Hills Divide    4 STARS

I can’t help that sometimes I like these sort of books because it’s just all about the adventure. A simple and fun adventure of a girl who wants to know what’s beyond the walls, and is clever enough to figure out how to escape. My one problem with the book is that everyone talks about how much Warvold meant to everyone, and Alexa loved him and was close to him, and yet there was no real grieving from anyone. I understand that  might have been a bit too serious for this book and that’s why Carman moved on quickly from it, but it felt a bit unbelievable how quickly it all moved on. However, once you get on past that there’s a lot of fun for a young reader to find, and I liked seeing how Alexa grew and matured through the story in figuring out who to trust, and when to tell people about what was going on. There might have been a few things I found a bit of a stretch, but I feel it’s more because I’m an adult and this isn’t aimed at me. This is for kids, who just want to enjoy the tales of a girl who gains the ability to talk to animals and learns of dangers that are threatening everything she loves.

Sexism vs. Realism

I just finished There Will Be Dragons by John Ringo, a book I absolutely loved. After writing up my own review I couldn’t help but see what others had said, and to my surprise many hated it, mostly because many deemed it sexist. At first I was very worried. Had I missed something? Am I one of those women that somehow brush such offenses under the rug as just how things are? I would surely hate to think so. After all, I’m a woman who was a mechanic in the Air Force, not exactly a stereotype of what’s expected of women. I’m all for women being brave and strong, of pursuing whatever dream they have. Whether that’s being a warrior or a stay at home mom. But that’s the problem isn’t it. Too often we expect for women in literature to play the roles that have so often been designated for men in order to prove our equality. Having the women work in the kitchen and the men going to battle is just sexist right? Does it matter if in reality that is how things might would be, we’re not talking about reality, we’re talking about how things should be. This is our battle cry that women can do anything a man can do, heck we can do it better. But really? Is this true? Is it fair?

In the book the world had come to a virtual utopia. People could literally be anything they want to be. I’m talking from mermaids to unicorns. They could play anywhere all over there world, they could pretend to exist in any time, and some picked up hobbies like farming and welding and mining like dwarves if they wanted too. But more so most partied and just enjoyed life. Then a war breaks out and the power that controlled these things that allowed them to live the perfect life went offline throwing them back to basically medieval times. They have to build their society from the ground up, and protect their homes with what they can, usually meaning swords and lances. This leads to what several people are upset over, mostly there are men fighting the wars, and the women fall to cooking and weaving, though they seem to overlook the fact they’re the doctors also. They see this as sexist, but it’s realistic.

Right now a woman can do whatever she wants, and yet a very small percentage chooses to go into the military. Is that bad? Should we demand that more women go in, or should we just accept that that life isn’t for everyone? But once more, we’re talking about characters that suddenly have none of the comforts we do so right now, such as birth control. Many women ended up pregnant before they realized the technology that was keeping them from getting knocked up isn’t working. And even those that weren’t yet knew that if they didn’t abstain they’d end up pregnant, and while pregnant women work in our military, that’s not very feasible for people who are marching across undeveloped terrain to fight in a bloody war. Even so there were those in the book that chose to join the military. That wanted to prove they were just as tough as anyone else, and they fought in the battles and some even led the troops. And the percentage added up to about the same as what currently exists in our own world.

More so, for a group of people who were used to relaxing and having fun, how many would want to pick up the harder tasks, and how many would have the skills to do so? And someone has to do the weaving and the cooking. People act like the women are shunted off to do woman’s work, but keeping people fed and clothed is just as vital if not more than protecting them from possible attack. Because the attack may or may not come, but everyone gets hungry and cold every day. Besides, no matter which a way you slice it, only women have babies, and only women can breast feed a baby when there’s no such things a formula any more. So if that’s the case for a people to thrive and grow women have to be able to be in a situation to have children and care for them. That’s not sexist, that’s reasonable. They’re precious and need to be protected. We live in a world now that is set up for women to have kids and work. We have daycares, and baby formula, and so many things that make such easier. But if such things weren’t available, would we still expect women to go and work and do the same things men do while also at the same time having kids and care for them? That’s unreasonable and putting way more work on women than men.

In the end my point is that sometimes we’re too hasty to call things sexist. That equality doesn’t mean everything is perfectly 50/50. In the book everyone went through the same training program and everyone made their choices, which seems pretty equal to me. But also, you shouldn’t hold a group of people against our own standards when their own situation is so vastly different than ours. While fiction is there to push the boundaries and dream up new possibilities, it should also hold onto a bit of realism to ground it. It has to make sense, whether it seems fair or not.

There Will Be Dragons

There Will Be Dragons  by  John Ringo  description:

In the future there is no want, no war, no disease nor ill-timed death. The world is a paradise-and then, in a moment, it ends. The council that controls the Net falls out and goes to war. Everywhere people who have never known a moment of want or pain are left wondering how to survive. But scattered across the face of the earth are communities which have returned to the natural life of soil and small farm. In the village of Raven’s Mill, Edmund Talbot, master smith and unassuming historian, finds that all the problems of the world are falling in his lap. Refugees are flooding in, bandits are roaming the woods, and his former lover and his only daughter struggle through the Fallen landscape. Enemies, new and old, gather like jackals around a wounded lion. But what the jackals do not know is that while old he may be, this lion is far from death. And hidden in the past is a mystery that has waited until this time to be revealed. You cross Edmund Talbot at your peril, for a smith is not “all” he once was. . . 

dragonsBOOK 1: There Will Be Dragons   5 STARS

For the first time, 5 STARS does not feel like enough, this was a perfect 10. It was an unparalleled blending of science fiction, fantasy, and a history text book all rolled into one. And yes, a lot of real history is used as the basis for this book on which these people are trying to rebuild their world. Ringo also proves that all magic is science we have yet to explain, but even as it is explained how elves, dragons, and talking rabbits can exist it’s no less magical or intriguing. However, it’s more than just some futuristic adventure, the complex building of this world, and the bringing of each character to life and showing their growth and change after their entire world is thrown into upheaval is truly the best writing I’ve ever come across. I’ve read similar sort of stories, but they usually get bogged down in too much going on, and the characters never quite feel real. Ringo flows through all of this so well that each character has enough time to truly show who they are and you feel for them, and they’re so realistic in their choices and actions that it feels like this could really happen to ourselves. Plus, the fact that he could include so much history and details into why they choose the path they did, and how this may be better than that, and still make it interesting and have you turning page after page wanting to know what happens next just proves how well written it all was. This book could really be considered an incredible look at how humans react in various situations, and how it leads so often to history repeating itself. I don’t care what kind of books you like, everyone should read this.

Winter… The Lunar Chronicles

BOOK 1: Cinder  by  Marissa Meyer

BOOK 2: Scarlet

BOOK 3: Cress

Winter   description:

Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend—the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.

Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters?

winterBOOK 4: Winter   5 STARS

This book was so much more than I was expecting. An amazing end to an incredible series that I hate to see end, but that did end perfectly. It’s wonderful how Meyer continues to be able to weave in the fairy tale elements in a believable way, that still catches you for that moment and reminds you of the old tales, that bit of magic wrapped up in this science fiction world. All the characters are as alive as ever as we see the qualities we love in each of them, but also their growth through out that has been undergoing through out the series. We finally get to really know Winter of course, and she’s crazy, but endearing as we watch her struggle to be good and the consequences she must suffer for that choice. More so, this truly is a war. No glossing over it, no sweet clean go of it, it’s bloody and terrible, and you see how it pushes everyone to their best and worst. Also we get a lot of good answers, some to questions we didn’t even know we should be asking. Honestly, of these sorts of books, these are definitely the best I’ve ever come across. It’s a series you don’t want to miss out on.