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url 2018-06-26 12:12
Affordable Solo Trip to Bali for Women

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review 2018-06-20 02:15
3 Out Of 5 "I wish I could've fully loved this" STARS
The Surviving Trace - Calia Read

 

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~BOOK BLURB~

The Surviving Trace

Calia Read

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Will is my fiancé. The shy man I met years ago in college. The person I’m supposed to spend the rest of my life with. 

 

This is the life I’ve always wanted until finding a picture of four men changes everything… 

 

Étienne says he’s my husband and the year is 1912. He can’t stand the sight of me, but I don’t know why. 

 

Oh, and he’s one of the men from the picture. 

 

I’ve done the impossible and have become trapped in time and I know Étienne is my key to going home. 

 

The more time I spend with Étienne, the further I fall for him until I’m questioning which time I belong in and if the life I left behind is the one I truly desire. 

 

All I know for certain is I need to survive time. 

 

I need to survive love. 

 

And I need to make it out on the other side alive.

 

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~MY QUICKIE REVIEW~

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I know that when it comes to a time-travel romance you have to be able to suspend belief, otherwise it won't work…this may have been asking too much suspension of belief for me.  I feel there were too many plot holes that felt like she was trying to keep you in the dark about what was really going on in 1912, that left me confused, even after I got to the end.  I don't know if it was is an editing thing or what???  I also felt that things were a little too contrived to be palpable.

 

The one aspect of this story that I loved was the romance between Serene and Étienne, their chemistry was quite hot.   I really adored Étienne.  Serene, well, I liked her most of the time, but she had her witchy moments.  But the dynamic of these two, offset by Étienne's siblings, Livingston and Nathalie were what kept me reading despite the issues I had with it. 

 

Apparently, there are more books coming, I'm not sure if it's one or two that will continue the story between Serene and Étienne.  Knowing there are more books helps the ending make a lot more sense, though.  I have a feeling I will read the next one, in hopes that they will help this story come together.

 

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~MY RATING~

3STARS - GRADE=C

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~BREAKDOWN OF RATINGS~

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Plot~ 2.5/5

Main Characters~ 4.2/5

Secondary Characters~ 4/5

The Feels~ 4/5

Pacing~ 3/5

Addictiveness~4.2/5

Theme or Tone~ 3.5/5

Flow (Writing Style)~ 2/5

Backdrop (World Building)~ 2.5/5

Originality~ 3/5

Ending~ 3.5/5 Cliffhanger~ Nope.

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Book Cover~ Beautiful!

Series~ Surviving Time #1

Setting~ 1912 Charleston, SC & 2017 Pennsylvania & Virginia

Source~ Kindle eBook (KU)

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review 2018-06-13 04:06
Drums of Autumn (Outlander #4) (Audiobook)
Drums of Autumn - Geraldine James,Diana Gabaldon

As I mentioned in my review for Outlander, I started this series with the fourth book by accident. I was just out of high school, my mom was having health issues and I was the one who was driving her around to her various appointments and spending a lot of time in waiting rooms. So when I saw this book sitting on the new releases shelf in the bookstore, the only thing I cared about what that it looked interesting and it was thick. It would give me hours and hours and hours of reading time. So I got it, started reading, and got to around a quarter of the way through when I realized this was part of an ongoing series. I kept reading though and enjoyed it. It provided exactly what I needed at the time and even got me to go back and read the first three books.

 

Now, twenty plus years later ... this got annoying. It starts off really slow and rambling. All the books in this series ramble, but it gets worse the longer the series goes on. The first three books at least have obvious plots right off the bat. This one takes over 500 pages to get around to it's main conflict, and up till then it's basically just the four main characters doing stuff. I still really enjoy Claire and Jamie's relationship, but I couldn't give two figs about Briana and Roger's courtship, especially when Roger gets all caveman about it. 

 

I was never a fan of Briana, but wow. For someone so smart, she can be really stupid. Roger's kind of a jerk but he's tolerable. Neither one is prepared for 18th century living, despite both of them being history majors. They not only lie to each other about crucial things, but they make one reckless decision after another. How in the world they survived is beyond me. 

 

Actually, the main conflict isn't exactly what I would call contrived. Considering what Bree's been through and that she just barely met her father, her decisions make sense, even if they're illogical. Given what Lizzy thinks she knows, and what she tells Ian and Jamie, their actions also make sense. What doesn't make sense is

Claire not telling Jamie what Briana told her. She could've done that and kept Bonnet's name out of it.

Also, if you're looking for someone, a physical description usually helps.

Also, both Claire and Briana went by different last names when they went through the stones, so it makes zero sense they wouldn't consider Roger doing the same.

Also, Jamie would've killed Roger based on the info Lizzy told him. But of course he couldn't because the reader - and Bree - wouldn't be able to forgive him if he had.

(spoiler show)

The Big Misunderstanding required these characters who are usually extremely good with communication to be really bad at it.  

 

And it's just a little ridiculous that these characters are all encountering the same villain no matter where they are in the world. 

 

But once I got through all that nonsense and the characters all started to act like their intelligent, rational selves again, it got way better. The last third of the book is definitely the strongest.

 

Not enough Lord John though. 

I hate that he sleeps with one of the slaves. It's not on page, but it's implied. I guess I can have a smidgeon of consolation that John wouldn't have forced himself on anyone unwilling, and he's a pretty perceptive fellow, so he could probably tell if someone was just pretending to be willing. But still. Don't sleep with slaves, John.

(spoiler show)

 

Edit: Oh, and I forgot to mention the narration. Davina Porter does her usual stellar job, but she doesn't even attempt an American accent for Briana. I guess she's the UK's answer to Kevin Costner. ;) But since I'd rather listen to a pleasant British accent than a terrible American (much less Bostonian) one, I wasn't bothered by it too much.

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review 2018-06-13 00:24
A Matter of Time by Michael J. Bowler
A Matter of Time - Michael J. Bowler

This is basically a Titanic story with a vampire and some time travel. For me, it was a very slow start. Set in 1980s California at the beginning, there is lots of college angst and it doesn’t take much angst to wear me out. Jamie is worried about his looks, do the girls like him, do the guys want to be his friend, is he worthy in his chosen field of study, etc. Of course, some of the other students have some of the same angst. Maggie, one of 2 female characters that have names and lines for the entire book, has been dating Jay but she has to admit she has growing feelings for someone else.

I have to mention that there were too many J names in this book. First off, Jamie goes by James, Jimmy, Jack…. and then there’s his friend Jay, who for a time I thought was just another nick name for Jamie. Somewhere along the line we get a John.

Let’s talk vampire! Because I thought it was high time we had a Titanic-time-travel-vampire mash up. I’ve read the original Draculaand an in-depth bio on Bram Stoker so you know I have a fondness for references to the original Dracula. When Jamie starts experiencing symptoms that point directly back to Renfield (a character in the original Dracula), I was finally interested in the story. Jamie has spent some considerable time researching the Titanic so he soon realizes that his symptoms and his dreams and the Titanic are all wrapped up together. Hence, he drags the story out into the middle of the Pacific for the second half of the book and that’s where we get the paranormal transport through time.

Back in 1912, Jamie meets Kate, our second female character for the book. There’s some insta-love, which I rarely like. So, yes, we have Jack (aka Jamie) and Kate (think of Kate Winslett who played Rose in the movie Titanic). Rose’s love interest in the movie was also named Jack. So if you have pined for a sequel to the movie all these years, here it is in book form.

OK, back to the ladies. Why are there only 2? Not realistic. Women are everywhere and in fact actually attended college in California in the 1980s in droves. There’s a few other ladies that pop up here and there and they either have no lines or no names. Kate and Maggie actually get to interact at some point and they do indeed talk about men. Sigh…. I was disappointed in the ladies all around.

OK, so what about that vampire? Well, yes, he is a danger and he must be dealt with but for the most part, he was not memorable. The impending Titanic disaster is much more of a danger to more people. The strain of vampirism in this tale lacked the dark sexuality, mystery, and danger I expected.

I did like that Jamie is faced with some very tough choices once he’s on the Titanic. He wasn’t thinking clearly before his little time trip, but once he’s there, he has to choose whether or not to do his best to avoid or mitigate the disaster. Even after all the big scenes are over, Jamie still has some tough surprises and I really felt for him.

All told, I feel the author tried to pile in too much to one book and therefore all aspects felt a little stretched thin. The love story didn’t work for me. The time travel was by the simplest of mechanisms – a paranormal event. It was a penny tour of the Titanic instead of a deeper historical fiction. The vampire tale was more of a distraction than an added bonus. 3/5 stars.

 

I received a free copy of this book.

The Narration: Aaron Landon did a good job with this story. His voice for the angsty Jamie is perfect. He does a good job with Jamie’s emotions through the story. He also makes a good angry Jay. His female voices are feminine. He also did voices for the elderly well too. I also liked his regional accents. 5/5 stars.

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review 2018-06-10 01:52
Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life
Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life - Herman Melville,John Bryant

While known today for vengeful captain chasing a white whale, Herman Melville’s writing career began with a travelogue of his adventure on the Nuku Hiva and was his most popular work during his life.  Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life is a semi-autographical book that Melville wrote about his approximately 4 week stay that he “expanded” to 4 months in the narrative.

 

Melville begins his narrative when he describes the captain of the “Dolly” deciding to head to the Marqueas Islands and then events surrounding the ship’s arrival at the island as well as the actions of the French who were “taking possession” of it.  Then Melville and a shipmate named Toby decide to ‘runaway’ to the valley of the Happar tribe and execute their plan when they get shore leave.  Climbing the rugged cliffs of the volcanic island, they hide in the thick foliage from any searchers but realize they didn’t have enough food and soon Melville’s leg swells up slowing them down.  Believing they arrived in the valley of the Happar, they make contact only to find themselves with the Typee.  However the tribe embraces the two men and attempt to keep them amongst their number, but first Toby is able to ‘escape’ though Melville can’t help but think he’s been abandoned.  Melville then details his experiences along amongst the cannibalistic tribe before his own escape with assistance of two other natives of the island from other tribes.

 

The mixture of narrative of Melville’s adventures and the anthropological elements he gives of the Typee make for an interesting paced book that is both engaging and dull.  Though Melville’s lively descriptions of the events taking place are engaging, one always wonders if the event actually took place or was embellish or just frankly made up to liven up the overall tale.  The addition of a sequel as an epilogue that described the fate of Toby, which at the time added credibility to Melville’s book, is a nice touch so the reader doesn’t wonder what happened to him.

 

Overall Typee is a nice, relatively quick book to read by one of America’s best known authors.  While not as famous as Melville’s own Moby Dick, it turned out to be a better reading experience as the semi-autographical nature and travelogue nature gave cover for Melville to break into the narrative to relative unique things within the Typee culture.

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