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review 2018-07-12 04:06
The Soldier's Scoundrel (The Turner Series #1) (Audiobook)
The Soldier's Scoundrel - Cat Sebastian

Story: 3.5 stars

Narration: 5 stars

Overall rating: 4.25 stars, rounded down

 

That cover looks like it belongs in a gay Halloween magazine, and it's the main reason I avoided this book for so long, despite everyone telling me that the story hiding beneath that hideously cheesy cover is actually good. And now I can join their number and say that the story is actually really quite good. Brilliant even, and if it were for a couple of my pet peeves that appear here, it would have gotten a higher rating.

 

So let's get the pet peeves out of the way first:

 

~Smexy times after an injury. *sigh* I just went through this with the last book. At least it was more realistic here, being "just" a flesh wound. 

~Gay-okay history. Like many an M/M historical romance, they want all the modern conventions like HEAs but don't want to put up with things like taboos. There is some consideration given to the fact that sodomy was a crime in these days, but that sure didn't stop Jack and Oliver from being reckless at times. But more than that, I would expect more of the side characters to have a more negative reaction to their relationship than they do. Look, people have a hard enough time finding that kind of positive reception in today's world, much less the 1800s. Is it too much to ask for more realistic reactions, even if they would be depressing as hell?

~The term "dating" wasn't coined until 1898 in America. Pretty sure a noblewoman of the early 1800s in London wouldn't be using the term. She would say courting. That one little word really threw me out of the book.

 

Those matters aside, I really enjoyed how Sherlockian this was. Nearly 99% of the mysteries out there involve murder from the get-go - even all those Sherlock knockoffs. But there are just way more mysteries to solve out there than that, and this story has a classic case of stolen letters kept by a married lady from her one-time suitor. 

Why would she have her own letters though? If she mentioned why or how she got them back from her former suitor at some point in the story, I missed it.

(spoiler show)

 

Jack Turner is a rogue, street tough and no-nonsense. He helps women who have no one else to help them (so long as they can afford to pay), and he'll do so by any means necessary, though he does have his limits. He has no time for stuffy aristocrats. Oliver Riverton is the youngest son of an earl just returned from war and desperate for the ordered life of society after the chaos and destruction he witnessed during the war. When he finds out his sister had paid Jack for a job, he's determined to make sure his sister hadn't been taken in by a charlatan. Instead, he gets entangled in Jack's world, in more ways than one.

 

Jack and Oliver are perfectly matched and I enjoyed watching them circle each other as they got to know one another. Lust was pretty immediate, but they don't fall into each other's arms right away. Trust needs to be built, and they need to start seeing each other as people instead of just assumptions based on class, or lack thereof. Jack's determination to keep the upper hand and constantly failing to do so was amusing, and Oliver is just naive enough to be charming but savvy enough to not be annoying, which is not an easy combination to achieve. They've grown up in different worlds that have different laws that govern them, and they actually learn from each other how to see the world in different ways.

 

Gary Furlong, who does the narration, did a fabulous job. He managed to convey the POV switches with ease and kept the MCs voices distinct from each other. I could visualize the story just as easily listening to him as I could have if I'd read it myself. He even managed to make some of the sex scenes fun - though I still thought there were a few too many of those. 

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review 2018-06-23 19:31
Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent by Bill Peet
Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent - Bill Peet

Title:  Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent

Author:  Bill Peet

Genre:  Animals / Children's / Sea / Adventure / Pirates / Traveling


Year Published: 1975


Year Read:  1994

Publisher:  
Houghton Mifflin Company

Source:  Purchased

Content Rating:  Ages 7+  (Some Intense Scenes)

 

 

Sea

“Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent” is an adventurous book from Bill Peet about how a friendly sea serpent who at first wanted to wreck a ship to have fun, ends up trying to protect a ship full of passengers looking for a new land. “Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent” may be tough for smaller children to read but older children would most likely enjoy the adventurous scenes contained in this book. 

Bill Peet’s writing is extremely inventive and exciting as he writes the story about a sea serpent that is willing to risk his life to protect the people on a voyage for a new life. Bill Peet is extremely inventive whenever he uses various words such as “doldrums” and “bedraggled” to make the story more clever and dramatic. Also, the idea that Cyrus is more like a friendly sea serpent rather than a vicious one makes the story more creative as people usually believe that sea monsters are meant to be scary. Bill Peet’s illustrations are beautiful and colorful, especially of the scenes where he illustrates the sea as a calm ocean for the water is beautifully blue and during the storm scenes, he makes the sky dark and the ocean smashing viciously at the Primrose. 

Sea

Parents should know that there are many advanced words in this book and that this book may be a bit too long for younger children to handle. Some of the advanced words mentioned are “pilings,” “doldrums,” and “bedraggled” and young children may not understand what those words mean. Parents should write down the advanced words down on a piece of paper and define them so that the younger children would understand what the word means and therefore, it would make it easier for them to read this book. Also, the length of this book is a bit too long than any normal children’s book and that may be a bit too tiresome for some small children to handle, so parents should read at least a few pages a day so that children would not get too tired of this book. 

“Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent” is a wonderful story about the power of friendship and how it is better to help people rather than be cruel towards them and children would easily enjoy this book for ages. I would recommend this book to children ages seven and up since the advanced words and the length of the book may be a bit too challenging for smaller children.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-06-23 19:23
Encore for Eleanor by Bill Peet
Encore for Eleanor - Bill Peet

Title:  Encore for Eleanor

Author:  Bill Peet

Genre:  Animals / Children's / Circus / Artist


Year Published: 1981


Year Read:  2010

Publisher:  
Houghton Mifflin Company

Source:  Library

Content Rating:  Ages 4+  (Nothing Objectionable)

 

 

Eleanor

“Encore for Eleanor” is a cute story by Bill about an old elephant named Eleanor who was once a great circus performer, but was moved to the zoo when she got too old to play her part. It was then at the zoo that Eleanor learns a new special ability that might jumpstart her career again. “Encore for Eleanor” is a great book for children who want to discover new talents for themselves and realize that everyone is special in their own way.

Eleanor the elephant was once a great circus star who would stand on stilts and impressed the audience to no end. One day however, since Eleanor has been performing in the circus for forty years, Eleanor’s knees were weak and suddenly, she fell off the stilts and landed on the floor with a hard crash! Eleanor began to worry that her boss, Colonel T.J. Tinglehoffer was going to send her away because of her ruining her act by falling off the stilts. Sure enough, Colonel Tinglehoffer did send Eleanor away to the zoo and Eleanor bade a tearful goodbye to her friends at the circus. 
Even though Eleanor had plenty to eat and good home to stay in, she still missed the circus life and was miserable because she felt like she could not do anything extraordinary like she used to do in the circus. One day, however Eleanor awoke to find a teenage girl trying to draw a rhinoceros on her canvas. Of course, when the rhinoceros moved and girl could not draw the rhinoceros, the girl became angry and threw her charcoal to the ground. Eleanor was so interested in what the girl was doing, that she wanted to learn how to draw also. So, when the girl went off to see some ducks in the pond, Eleanor slyly picked up the charcoal and she decided to draw one of the clowns from the circus. However, Eleanor was soon discovered drawing the picture by the teenage girl and the teenage girl was so impressed by the drawing that she decided to show the picture to everyone. Everyone was impressed except for Mr. McJunkens, who did not believe that Eleanor drew the clown. Eleanor was so mad that she grabbed the charcoal and… 

What does Eleanor draw and will she able to convince Mr. McJunkens that she can really draw? 

Read the rest of the book to find out! 


Bill Peet’s story of an old elephant who wants to be special again is extremely cute and brilliant for children to read. The scene that stood out the most for me was the scene where Eleanor learns how to draw after she witnesses the teenage girl drawing the rhinoceros. That scene was so amazing because you would have never imagined an elephant drawing such a great picture and drew the picture in a matter of seconds. Bill Peet’s illustrations are beautiful and detailed, especially of the image of Eleanor herself as she looks beautiful in her circus outfit and yet, she maintains wise appearance throughout the story telling the audience that she has indeed aged after performing in the circus for forty years.

“Encore for Eleanor” is a great book about the importance of trying out new activities in life to keep your life going and will surely encourage many children to follow what they believe in and do many new things in their lives. I would recommend this book to children ages four and up since there is nothing inappropriate in this book.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-06-23 19:13
The Spooky Tail of Prewitt Peacock by Bill Peet
The Spooky Tail of Prewitt Peacock - Bill Peet

Title:  The Spooky Tail of Prewitt Peacock

Author:  Bill Peet

Genre:  Animals / Bullying / Children's / Individuality


Year Published: 1973


Year Read:  2009

Publisher:  
Houghton Mifflin Company

Source:  Library

Content Rating:  Ages 6+  (Bullying)

 

 

Peacock

“The Spooky Tail of Prewitt Peacock” is a children’s book about self-confidence from the popular children’s author, Bill Peet. This book details Prewitt’s, a peacock, dilemma when his tail, at first was scrawny, becomes a horrifying looking tail over a matter of days! This children’s book is truly a unique treat to read as you would never imagine a tail forming into a scary face over time and that will definitely catch any child’s attention. 

Bill Peet does an excellent job with both the illustrations and the writing for the story. Bill Peet’s illustrations are vibrant and beautiful as he effectively draws the trees in the jungle in a scraggly way. The image that is the highlight in this book is the image of Prewitt’s tail. Prewitt’s tail is certainly a sight to see as Bill Peet draws Prewitt’s tail with two angry looking blue eyes and a frightening looking jagged mouth with sharp looking greenish teeth. Also, I thought that the clutching feathery claws added an even spookier effect as they really look like they are going to grab you real quick. Bill Peet’s writing is excellent as he tells the story of a peacock named Prewitt who at first lost confidence in himself because of his tail, but then gains it back when he realizes that his scary looking tail makes him unique from the other peacocks. I also loved the way that Prewitt defended his tail against the other peacocks stating that he would rather have a tai that is scary-looking than to have no tail. 

Peacock

Parents should know that the way that the other peacocks mistreated Prewitt because of his tail might concern young children. Even after Prewitt’s tail had grown, the other peacocks still mistreated Prewitt because his tail was different from the others. But, the story does have a happy ending as the other peacocks learn to accept Prewitt’s “special” tail after it saves their lives. Parents should discuss to their children about the importance of individuality as Prewitt expresses his individuality by standing up for his tail.

“The Spooky Tail of Prewitt Peacock” is probably one of Bill Peet’s most lovable books as it expresses the value of individuality. I would recommend this book to children ages six and up since this book would be a tad bit too long for smaller children to get through.


Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2018-06-20 15:32
Murder on the Links
Murder on the Links - Agatha Christie,John Moffatt

This was an interesting story but Hastings really proved himself to be a huge boob.  I cannot believe he didn't get run out of the place.  It wasn't until near the end that I was sure who the murderer was.  Does Poirot really keep him around after this story?  I am sure he is in the whole series but why I don't know.  I also found it really irritating that they decided the murderer had to be a man because a woman couldn't have dug the shallow grave. 

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