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review 2018-12-10 05:51
Days Without End (Audiobook)
Days Without End - Sebastian Barry,Aidan A. Kelly

Narration: 5 stars

Story: 3.5 stars

Final rating: 4 stars

 

It was my week for strange stories. This isn't even a story in the traditional sense. This reads more like a rambling memoir but with language so intimate and lush that I could easily forget that I was only really getting broad brushstrokes for the bulk of the story. This is mostly a summation of a young man's life as he figures out some hard-won truths.

 

Told from the POV of Thomas McNulty, an Irish immigrant, as we follow him and his friend turned lover John Cole across America in the mid-1800s. Survivors of the famine, they come to America with nothing, practically starved to death, and start to figure out how to survive from one day to the next, whether that's playacting as girls in a stage show or joining the Army to fight in the Indian Wars and eventually the Civil War.

 

This book doesn't shy away from the harsh reality of this time period in American history, nor does it give us safely and comfortably progressive-minded MCs to filter that reality through. Thomas and John Cole might not be outright hateful of anyone but they don't stop to ask why they're being given the orders they're given nor do they spend much time if any contemplating the morality of the slaughter of the First Peoples. Not at first. As Thomas notes at one point, no soldier fully understands the war he fights in; he only knows his one part in it. 

 

I was most interested in Thomas's and John's non-Army days, while they were living together and eventually with their adopted daughter Winona, a Sioux orphan, but those parts were sparse safe harbors in between all the violence and war of those times. The ending, such as it was, is more open-ended than anything else. 

I would have preferred a reunion between Thomas, John and Winona instead of just Thomas looking forward to it.

(spoiler show)

 

The narration by Aiden Kelly was truly amazing. He captures Thomas's bewildered voice perfectly and truly makes this oddly mesmerizing story come to life. 

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review 2018-12-10 04:58
One Night in Boukos
One Night in Boukos - Corinne Demas

This is an odd one. I guess this is historical AU, since it's set in an alternate world, but doesn't have any fantasy elements. The world-building is sprinkled throughout, and is largely accomplished by the culture clash of the Sashian embassy staying in the Pueschaian town of Boukos to open trade routes between the two countries, so it comes across more naturally than the info-dumping one might come across in other AU novels.

 

During a party, the ambassador to Zash goes missing but this isn't noticed until the following morning. His personal secretary Bedar and Bedar's friend Marzana, the captain of the guard, go on a discreet manhunt through Boukous as they try to follow the crumbs of the ambassador's trail after his disappearance. To complicate matters further, the city is preparing for the annual festival to honor their god of debauchery, Psobos, a most un-Sashian ritual. Along the way, they meet a couple of citizens of the town and slowly fall in love over the course of a most unusual night.

 

This is a charming little tale. I had no idea what I was getting into when I picked it for my Prime loan, and that just added to the charm. Despite the urgency of Bedar and Marzana's mission, this story unfolds at a leisurely pace. There's a spattering of humor, a little action, but mostly it's just two men out of their depths as they navigate an unknown city full of people they don't understand only to discover they're not so different after all.

 

I thought I had the endgame figured out at one point, but I was only right about part of it. Chereia and Pheres were a great supporting cast and just as fully fleshed out as Marzana and Bedar. The m/f and m/m couples get equal page time to develop and are respectfully handled in the difficulties that faced both pairings. That makes one a little less satisfying than the other, but certainly still an HFN. (To be clear, this isn't Romance and there's no on-page sex.)

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text 2018-12-09 11:00
Book Tour & Giveaway with Excerpt & Guest Post! Beyond Earth Series (Books 1 & 2) Talia Jager!

 

 

https://www.silverdaggertours.com/

 

 

ABOUT THE BOOKS

 

 

Without Hesitation
Beyond Earth Book 1
by Talia Jager
Genre: NA LGBT SciFi Romance


Without Hesitation is set a thousand years in the future. Earth has become a wasteland. Humans traveled into space to colonize other suitable planets. Labels and stereotypes are a thing of the past and gender and sexual identity are as fluid as love as humans strive to survive. Here we meet Everleigh, the commander of her ship named Nirvana. She is under the control of an evil madman, Caspar, who keeps her family captive. He sends her to Valinor to abduct the Empress Akacia. When she arrives, she is taken back by Akacia’s beauty and when the Empress fights back, Everleigh realizes she has met her match.

 

**This book is an LGBTQ story with a female/female relationship.**


**********

 


Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35453067-without-hesitation

 

BookBub - https://www.bookbub.com/books/without-hesitation-beyond-earth-book-1-by-talia-jager

 

Riffle - https://www.rifflebooks.com/books/1030215

 


!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Painted Skies
Beyond Earth Book 2

 


Akacia and Everleigh have been apart for almost an earthmonth. Both still reeling from recent events, they try to get their lives back on track. They soon find out an evil from their past has resurfaced and their lives and home planet Valinor are in danger. Side-by-side once again, they find themselves fighting for love, peace, and their homes.

 

**This is an LGBT story with a female/female relationship.**


**********

 

 

Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41799195-painted-skies

 

BookBub - https://www.bookbub.com/books/painted-skies-by-talia-jager

 

Riffle - https://www.rifflebooks.com/books/1030216

 

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

AVAILABLE in print or ebook


~Without Hesitation~

 

 

**FREE at all retailers!!**

 

Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/Without-Hesitation-Beyond-Earth-Book-ebook/dp/B071XMZRDL/

 

iBooks - https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/without-hesitation/id1252174162

 

B&N - https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/without-hesitation-talia-jager/1126591740?ean=2940157403355

 

GPlay - https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Talia_Jager_Without_Hesitation?id=DGUoDwAAQBAJ

 

Kobo - https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/without-hesitation-3

 

Smashwords - https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/730727

 


**********

 

~Painted Skies~

 

Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07H5CTN4C

 

iBooks - https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/painted-skies/id1435566995

 

B&N - https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/painted-skies-talia-jager/1129484457?ean=9781725866386

 

GPlay - https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Talia_Jager_Painted_Skies?id=ZnhsDwAAQBAJ

 

Kobo - https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/painted-skies-4

 

Smashwords - https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/894171

 

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

Without Hesitation is in two POVs: Everleigh, Commander of the spacecraft Nirvana, and Akacia, Empress of the planet, Valinor.

 

 

1)
Everleigh’s POV:


My eyes searched the room and when my eyes land on her, my breath caught. She was even more beautiful in this setting. Her blonde hair was braided to the side. A small, delicate crown sat on her head. Those stunning blue eyes of hers were outlined in the same hue as the form-fitting, blue and silver outfit she wore. It seemed to be some sort of armor, but it was one that hugged her every dip, curve, and slope.


Stop thinking of her like that. She was a target. That’s it. That’s all.

 

 

2)
Akacia’s POV:


Without such much as a gasp she sat up with a wild look in her eyes and looked around the room frantically. I stayed in the chair watching as she looked around and then down at her wound. Finally, her golden eyes found mine.


“Empress.”


“I’m here,” I answered, going to her side. “It’s good you’re awake. Are you in any pain?”


Her eyes searched mine, like she was looking for an answer for a question that I didn’t ask. She shook her head. A slight grimace on her face was the only sign she was in pain. “You fixed me.”


“Your injuries weren’t that bad.”


“Thanks.”


“You can thank me by returning me to my planet,” was my firm response.
“I saved your life, too. Shouldn’t we be even?”


She was right, though I wasn’t giving in. I just needed some time to figure out how to get back home. “I am the Empress. My people depend on me.
Can I at least call and tell them I’m alive?”


“Fine, but you cannot tell them where you are.”


“And where am I?”


She held my eyes. “The Nirvana.”


I knew the name, Nirvana. It was a ship of criminals that were wanted by the Authority for a long list of crimes including stealing and murder. I swallowed hard. What in the universe did the Nirvana want with me? My heart pounded, and I took deep breaths to calm myself down. Don’t show fear. Get word to Valinor. Bristow can figure out where I am. “Your reputation precedes you.”


“Then you know just how lethal we are.” She shifted like she was uncomfortable. “Let’s get to the bridge.”


“You should rest.” I didn’t know why I was still concerned about her wellbeing, but I was.

 

 

3)
Akacia’s POV:


“Oh, bugger!” she muttered from her dressing room.


“What?”


“I’m stuck.” She giggled. “I’m going to find the sales lady to help.”


“No! I’ll help. Open your door.”


A few seconds passed before I heard the lock click. She opened the door and I walked in and locked it behind me.


“Zipper’s stuck.” She moved her hair so I could see.


I struggled with the zipper for a minute before working it loose. I pulled it down exposing the intricate tattoos down her back. “Wow…”


Pink flamed her cheeks. “Phases of our moon, Oro.”


I trailed my fingers down her back and she shuddered. It took everything in me not to lean in and kiss her. Our eyes met in the mirror. Her blue eyes were wide with curiosity and bright with anticipation. She tilted her head to the side just enough to expose the long line of her neck and that made my heart speed out of control. I closed the small space between us and let my lips touch her skin. Her breath hitched. She was so warm, so soft, and so perfect.


My lips trailed soft kisses up to her ear, she trembled and let out a low moan. I circled her waist with one arm to steady her. My heart felt like it was going to jump out of my body. Every inch of my skin warmed.


Akacia turned so that we were face to face and her hand came up to cup my cheek. I rested my hands on her waist. Her gaze darted from my eyes to my lips. She muttered something about hesitation and then her soft, supple lips were on mine.


It was my turn to be surprised. Nobody had ever been so bold, but I was only startled for a beat before I seized her lips and deepened the kiss.
When Akacia pulled away the tiniest of moans escaped my mouth. A smile played on her lips that I swear tasted like honey. She tangled her hands in my hair at the back of my neck.


There was a knock on the door. “Do you need help?”


Akacia giggled and I answered, “No. Just another minute.”

 

 

4)
Everleigh’s POV:

 

I stood quietly for a moment just thinking about the kiss that we just shared. She was so beautiful and I felt different when I was with her. So alive. I wanted to hold her and keep her safe. I wanted to get to know who she was and make her happy. Why did it have to be her? The Empress that Caspar wanted so badly. Why did I have to fall for her?


As we walked down the corridor, I asked, “What was that thing you said back in the dressing room?”


Her eyes narrowed for a minute before they widened. “Without hesitation. It’s a motto. To live life without hesitation.”

 

 

5)
Everleigh’s POV:

 

 

The planet got bigger and bigger and we rushed toward it far too quickly. Reality hit me as we entered the planet’s gravitational pull. We were going to crash. I couldn’t land, but I slowed the speed of the ship and brought up our shields hoping they’d protect us a little from the heat of entry, maybe even the crash.


We came in fast and I braced myself against the controls.
As we slammed into the ground, my head hit the control panel and blackness surrounded me.

 

 

6)
Akacia’s POV:

 

Caspar grabbed me and held my head under the water. I thrashed trying to get free. My lungs were burning. I couldn’t breathe.

I sat straight up, gasping for breath.


“You’re safe,” Everleigh said from her crouched position in front of me. “You’re having a nightmare.”


Turning to her, I could see the water in her eyes, shimmering in the moonlight, and my stupid heart clenched, thankful that she was here with me. The fear I felt in my dream didn’t leave me though. My chest tightened, and I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath. I was warm, and my head felt all fuzzy as the fear tightened its hold on me. He’d find me. He’d capture me again. I’d never be safe. My heart took off at a gallop and I yanked on my shirt.


I didn’t realize she wasn’t in front of me anymore until I felt her behind me. She scooted up right against my body and put her arm around me. “I’ve got you. You’re safe.”


I hated that her arms made me feel safe. I hated that my heart slowed the longer she held me. I hated that my eyes closed and I fell back to sleep in her arms.

 


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 


What do you do to unwind and relax?


This happens so rarely, I’m not sure I can answer it. My life is busy. There isn’t much time to relax. Writing is definitely one of the ways I can unwind. Just let my thoughts flow freely out on paper (or screen). It doesn’t have to be the story I’m working on. It can be anything. Also, depending on the mood I’m in when I need to relax affects what I write. When I’m angry, I might calm myself by writing a fight scene. It gets my anger out, I calm down, and relax. If I’m happy, I might write a love scene and find myself dreaming of how it happens.


Other ways I like to calm down are hot showers or sitting in hot tubs, but not a regular tub. For some reason normal baths bore me. Music helps me too. Whether I’m mad and need to play a song really loud and sing at the top of my lungs or just want to chill and listen to something calmer, music feeds my soul and helps me relax.


Of course, I’d be amiss to leave out reading and watching TV. With reading, I enjoy finding myself in another world, pretending to be someone else, and not having any of the worries I usually have. With watching TV, it can be a mindless fun activity to just plop down on the couch and get immersed into a storyline that way.


I enjoy unwinding and relaxing to all these activities, but like I said, it rarely happens for me. Life is busy and I wish I had more time to relax, but it scares me to say that because soon enough I’ll be too old to do anything and I’ll be wishing to be busy again.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

 

$25 Amazon

 

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!

 

https://www.silverdaggertours.com/sdsxx-tours/beyond-earth-series-book-tour-and-giveaway

 


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 


Talia is no stranger to labels and judgment. She has slowly been developing her voice for those who need help speaking up. She believes that someday labels will be a thing of the past, that sexuality will be fluid, love will be love, and mental illness will be handled with love and care. Talia is an author with fifteen books published including: Damaged: Natalie’s Story, Teagan’s Story: Her Battle With Epilepsy, If I Die Young, Secret Bloodline, Lost and Found, The Gifted Teens Series, The Between Worlds Series and The Beyond Earth Series. When she’s not writing, she enjoys hiking red rocks or sitting on the beach with a Kindle in her hands and her toes in the ocean.

 

 

 

Website - http://www.taliajager.com/

 

Blog - http://taliajager.blogspot.com/

 

Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/taliajager

 

Twitter - http://www.twitter.com/taliajager

 

InstaGram - http://www.instagram.com/taliajager

 

Pintrest - http://www.pinterest.com/taliajager

 

Amazon - http://amazon.com/author/taliajager

 

Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/TJager

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

https://www.silverdaggertours.com/

 

 

THANKS FOR VISITING!

 

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review 2018-12-07 05:00
Guardian Spirits (Spirits #3) (Audiobook)
Guardian Spirits - Jordan L. Hawk

The final book in the Spirits trilogy is adequate. This hasn't been my favorite series by Ms. Hawk by a long shot. I never really felt the romance between Henry and Vincent, the ghost adventuring is pretty standard though she does bring a certain flair to it, and the narrator is listenable, but nothing to write home about.

 

The plot here was again predictable and I could see every twist and turn coming from a mile away. While it makes emotional sense that Vincent and Jo would make the incredibly stupid decisions they make, it still felt like all the characters were given a case of the dumb-dumbs in order for the plot to happen, which is why this got downgraded half a star.

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review 2018-12-01 21:17
Playing in the Dark (Glasgow Lads #4)
Playing in the Dark - Avery Cockburn

When this series started, I hated Evan with a passion for hurting Fergus the way he did, skipping off to Belgium to be with some other lover. Only in Play Dead, we learned that things were not as they seemed, and I got instantly way more interested in learning more about him. And about Ben too, I guess. *whispers* I actually forgot who Ben was! shhh!

 

Evan's trying to get his life back together after a horrifying ordeal and when he met Ben in Playing With Fire, he was pretty much resigned to living a lonely life as the bad guy on the team. But he and Ben connected instantly apparently, and they pick up on that attraction here and move incredibly quickly considering the sort of life Evan lives and the secrets he needs to keep and lies he needs to make. (I should do a reread one of these days because I was having trouble keeping a lot of these couples straight ... but not straight-straight. You know what I mean.) 

 

I admit, I started getting a little worried by the halfway point about where this story might go. I don't know why, since Ms. Cockburn has always avoiding cliche pitfalls before, but there's always a first time right? Not here, I'm glad to say. This story was more about two characters learning how to be more fully themselves and realizing that in order to do that they actually had to let go of some of their previous preconceptions of who they were. That didn't stop me wanting to smack them more than a few times when they were making stupid mistakes, and there were a few chapters with a few too many sex scenes too close together at the beginning, but that evened out and we really got to see how they work as a couple and not just in the sack.

 

I did like learning about Ben's Bahá-í faith, which I never knew about before. It did feel a tad on the preachy side a couple of times though. I really would've liked to see some more of Ben's mom and Evan's family. Evan's job with MI-5 was also interesting and well-paced, with a layered quasi-mystery to drive the plot. Evan was a little reckless at times, and this teetered just over the line into unprofessional professional a couple of times, but I could understand why Evan made the decisions he made.

Though it doesn't make much sense why he couldn't tell Ben he'd been in Belfast but he could tell Fergus. I guess because Ben was getting a whole lot more details than Fergus  was.

(spoiler show)

 

I was happy where this book left them though and they're both clearly where they need and want to be by the end of it. I hope we get more of them in later books and novellas.

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