The Rule of Three by Eric Walters

The Rule of ThreeThe Rule of Three by Eric Walters
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I liked, but didn’t love this book.

In general, the fact that most dystopian books seems to feature teens as the main protagonists is annoying. I’m a 42-year old woman and frankly, I want to read about my age group. Or at least something closer to it.

Adam, our main character, is 16. Though he acts like no 16-year old I’ve ever encountered. He thinks and acts like a grown man and I had trouble reconciling his supposed age with his behavior. The other main character in this book is the 70-something Herb. A “former government worker” who pretty much pulls all of their asses out of the fire repeatedly.

What attracts me to dystopian fiction is the way characters develop and interact during the types of high level disasters portrayed in the the end of the world as we know it circumstances. Character dynamics are important to me and I was glad to see changes and development in Adam and, to a lesser degree, Herb throughout the book.

Adam’s mother was the police chief but she was portrayed as a figurehead, most of the planning and playbook was developed by Herb. It was disappointing not to see her have a more active role outside of being a uniformed mouthpiece.

There was a slight bit of romance between Adam and classmate Lori that was okay though I could have done without.

The entire concept of creating this secure community of over 1600 people seemed far-fetched to me. Herb’s original plan of taking a few hundred people to a farm on the outskirts of town made more sense. I believe that there was not enough attention paid to the conflict and strife there would have been in trying to organize 1600 people, keep them on the same page and prevent infighting. In fact, there was very little focus on the actual hardships caused by the global blackout. The chaos hardly ever reached the community or the individuals that were featured in the book. While I’m all for outside sources providing most of the conflict it was unrealistic that nearly all the conflict in this scenario was from without and not from within.

It ended on a major cliffhanger which annoyed me and while there are more books in the series I won’t be moving forward. Like I said, I liked it but I didn’t love it.

I’ll continue on my quest for a dystopian tale that hits all my hot buttons.

Or I’ll write it myself.

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Category: 3 Stars, I read too!, Reading A to Z  Comments off

I got an iMac

I’ve been a Windows/Microsoft user in the desktop/laptop department for over 20 years.  In fact, the first desktop I had was built for me by a friend and Windows based.  Yesterday, after a few years with an iPad and an iPhone I made the jump to an iMac.

She’s beautiful! 27-inches, crisp display and no tower to try to find a home for.  Just a huge monitor and a wireless keyboard and mouse.  Both of which (the mouse and keyboard) are taking a bit to get used to.  I’ve always had a number pad on my keyboard.  Even on my laptops.  Most likely because I come from a data entry background and spent hours with a keypad.  It’s always going to be just plain strange to use the numbers at the top of a keyboard.

And this keyboard is smaller. And my fingers are a bit all over the place.  But that’s something I’ll get used to.

And the mouse is….flat.  Which is strange.  And there are no actual buttons.  Also strange.

And I totally had to Google how to right click because I was going nuts.

Overall I love it.  Like really love it.

And then I tried to hook up my iPad, update my books via Calibre and…no joy.  It took some research and trial and error but it seems that Apple/Mavrick/iTunes no longer plays well with others.  I have to get to my Calibre library by opening a Safari window and putting in an IP address and port.  Then it’s all there and when I click “get” I’m given the option to open in iBooks.  And voila – there the book is.  It’s actually a bit cumbersome for me.  I have Calibre set up so I can see right away what books I’ve read already.  And with a library of over 1400 books that’s quite helpful.  In my Safari window I need to click on “details” to find out if I read it.  *shrug*  Just something new to get used to.

Off to read more stuff about being a new Mac owner…

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Lone Survivor – Audio Book

Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10 by Marcus Luttrell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I literally spent the last two hours of this audiobook in tears. Crying out loud, tears.

On Goodreads, I don’t get political. Personally I don’t feel this is the right place for it. While I respect others that might; I simply don’t feel the need to engage in that sort of discussion with pretty much anyone. Because I’ve found that most people’s political (like their religious) beliefs are deeply held and resistant to change. Again, I respect that.

So I won’t engage in a political discussion about this book. I will, however, explain why this book impacted me so deeply.

I hold the United States Military in the highest regard. Government? Politicians? Not so much.

The men and the women who volunteer their lives to protect the country I love? The people who lived their personal and private lives with respect, honor and dignity – I will never speak a bad word against.

My father was a U.S. Marine. My husband served in the U.S. Navy and now serves with honor in the Air Force. My father-in-law, my brother-in-law and my son are all either U.S. Air Force veterans or currently serving. My father-in-law is a veteran of the first Gulf War. My close friends include retired Army Rangers, retired Navy Seals, current Air Force officers and enlisted and even a Coast Guard officer. To say I am pro-military is to make a understatement so great I don’t even have the words to express it.

What this book was to me was a look into the heart and soul of an American hero.

Marcus Luttrell takes us on a winding journey at first; back and forth between present time, his childhood, his Seal training and what was present day. We learn about the heart of a Seal in general, the heart of one Seal in particular. The heart and soul that allow a man to walk deep into hostile, enemy territory because he believes he is doing right and defending his country. The type of heart and soul that keeps a man fighting as his brothers fall and die beside him. The type of heart and soul that helps a man with severe injuries fucking crawl almost 5 miles on an Afghan mountain. The type of heart and soul that I can barely comprehend. That you, if you are honest, can barely comprehend. Or we’d be there too…willing to pay the ultimate price for the United States and her people.

I learned more about terrorism (from a man who has looked terrorists in the eyes) and the history of Afghan tribes from this book than I’ve leaned from the media or politicians since September 11, 2001. I discovered how the media impact warfare. How politicians who have never set foot in a hostile environment influence command and control. I discovered the deep integrity and honor with which some Afghan tribes operate. And the ruthless warfare the Taliban engage in.

Perhaps this book is preaching to the choir, though I wish everyone would read/listen to it.

Because while it is political it is also written to honor the heartfelt sacrifice of the men who perished during Operation Redwing. Men who were husbands, brothers, fathers and sons. Men who decided to risk their lives so that I can be free and safe. Men who deserve to be remembered (as do all of our fallen soldiers) for all eternity for doing so.

While the movie that is based on this book does follow quite well, there is so, so much missing. Much that deserves to be read, understood, pondered.

As I said previously, people hold their political and religious beliefs closely and deeply. It is my hope that they do not hold them ignorantly, taking the word of talking heads in media or government as truth. If I could wish one thing it would be that people would gladly take it upon themselves to be educated in their opinions. Research. Listen to opposing views. Most opinions have a grain of truth and the truth is not always something that we want to hear. However, we as a people, as a nation, need to understand what goes on around us. We need to understand current affairs. We need to understand history. We need to comprehend how it all ties together.

Or it all falls apart.

I highly recommend this book/audiobook to everyone.

P.S. The narrator did a phenomenal job. I’ve seen and heard many interviews with Luttrell and I felt like it was the author himself narrating the book! Well done and bravo! I was mesmerized for over 16-hours.

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Going back to college at 40

I was 17 when I first attended college – right out of high school hoping to become an English teacher.  There was not too much I enjoyed about that experience.  Though my roommate and I had been friends when we decided to room together we had a falling out about half way through the first semester and the room was always tense.  At the time I was engaged to my first husband and he didn’t like that I was away from him (college was about 2 hours away from home).  It was the first time I got a taste of his controlling and possessiveness.  We had quite a few relationship problems through that first semester which caused me untold amounts of stress.

As a high school student I easily coasted through my classes with minimal work and above average grades.  Suddenly having to WORK for my grades totally threw me and I was a very unhappy camper.  Being unhappy with the amount of work I needed to do I decided to stop going to class cause, hey, there was no one there to tell me to get up and go to my 8 am gym class!

In the end I returned home after one semester, encouraged by my boyfriend.  The best thing that happened to me that semester in 1990 was I met my BFF (who I went to Ireland with in October 2012) and she is a true sister of my heart.

A few years later I ended up in business school and successfully obtained a Paralegal Certificate.  Being a bit older I was more disciplined and obtained very good grades.  However I ended up in a catch-22 situation.  In order to obtain a job as a Paralegal I needed to have practical experience as a Paralegal.  That was something I wasn’t able to get because I was working while attending school.  After that I ended up as a clerk in the records department for a large insurance company.

1994 saw me living in the Adirondack mountains with my first husband, working as a nurse’s aid in a local nursing home.  I figured I’d give college a try again, this time to become a Registered Nurse.  Since becoming a nurse’s aid I discovered I really loved taking care of people in that capacity.  I made it through about half a semester before I found out I was pregnant and discovered that being pregnant and dissecting fetal pigs did NOT mix.

That was my last college experience for quite some time.  Being a mother, wife and a full-time employee pretty took up every last second I had.

I was employed by a large insurance company working as a Disability Case Manager.  It was, on paper, an excellent job.  The people I worked with were great.  Overall I enjoyed what my job was supposed to be and I was very, very good at it.  Sadly the job itself was stressful by nature.  Dealing with nearly 100 people who were sick or recovering from surgery or injury and depended on me for a paycheck was difficult.  Throw in the need to work with various doctors offices to obtain medical information, following the contract each employer had with my employer, follow rapidly changing federal and local laws, increasingly high expectations for production from my employer and I was growing more and more unhappy.

My job was glancing off the medical field – I field I had previously enjoyed being involved in.  I started to think about a career change that would require going back to school.  So in 2010 I enrolled full time in my local community college hoping to become a RN.

Now, I have a serious problem with moderation.  Pretty much everything I do is balls-to-the-wall.  This was no exception.  So back to school full time after 20 years away.  While working a very stressful full time job.  My kids were older (the baby was 15) but still needed me and of course I had a husband and a home.

I managed a full year with a 4.0 GPA and I really enjoyed my classes.  I was excited to learn new things and be working towards a long time dream of mine.  However a few weeks into my third semester I hit a wall.  It was hard and it was messy.  I spent two weeks coming home from from class and breaking down in hysterics.  My poor husband spent so much time calming me down.

See, I have a history of depression that had been fairly well controlled.  Increasing job stress and 80-hour weeks wrecked me and I hit an all time low.  Though I didn’t admit it to anyone I was suicidal.  I ended up withdrawing from school to focus on work.

It took me almost two years to recover from what I had done to myself.  Doctor’s appointments, medication changes, therapy, a job change and a decision to quit work.  Finally I was emotionally healthy again.  And ready to go back to school.

January 2013 I returned to college as a full time student with 17.5 credit hours.  I’m the oldest person in all of my classes.  Because I am taking day time rather than night classes I’m with those that are pretty fresh out of high school or transferred in from other colleges.  There are a few returning adult students but so far…yeah…I’m the oldest at 40.

This time around I’m hopeful and I’m focused.  My baby will be graduating June of this year and I’ve already got two kids that are in college full time.  When I go back in August for my next semester four out of our family of five will be full time college students.  Wow.

My two year degree will most like take closer to five years total. I’ve been out of school so long there are quite a few courses I need to take before I can even touch the classes I need for the degree I want.  While I’m still planning on being a RN I’m also open to change.

If you want, you can call this my New Year’s Resolution – finally completing my education.

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Just a Kiss (The Bradfords #5) by Erin Nicholas

Just a Kiss (The Bradfords, #5)Just a Kiss by Erin Nicholas

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What can I say about Just a Kiss?

First I can say that I am a total Erin Nicholas fan girl. Complete with squee and stuff! She is one of my auto buy authors – regardless of subject matter and I have read her entire back list. She is one of those writers that superbly craft character relationships, complete with their ups and downs and that keeps me coming back for more.

Second I can say that I do not want The Bradford series to end. *sob*

Just a Kiss is Kevin’s story. Finally. I’ve been in love with Kevin from the beginning for a few reasons – he’s solid, steady, amazingly generous and a positively portrayed Christian man. That’s something hard to find outside of inspirational romances.

Kevin is strong in his faith and rather than preach and shove things in the faces of those around him, he lives it. He, as his heroine Eve comes to see, walks the walk. He does not judge, offers good advice and is always a supportive shoulder. Someone as wonderful as this totally deserves his HEA, don’t you think?

Eve and Kevin married the day they graduated from high school and spent less than 36 hours together. He thought their marriage had been annulled and whoopsie…nope! Eve never signed the papers.

What follows is explosive sexual chemistry, a brilliant 10-year old half-brother, lies, confusion, longing and some pretty awesome sex. Most of the obstacles in this relationship are emotional and trust issues. There are some outside forces but those are more to amp things up rather than creating the actual problems. I love this in a story.

Both Kevin and Eve grow and progress forward in a realistic manner throughout the book. It really is a joy to watch them rediscover each other – as they are now and not how they were 14-years ago. It is also wonderful to see most of the supporting characters come back to add their two cents and support.

I found every aspect of this story to be plausible – from Kevin’s conversion, Eve’s falling away from the faith, their difficulties with each other and their expectations of one another and their eventual HEA.

Another win for Erin Nicholas as I wait for her next release!

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Night Whispers (ShadowLands, #1) by Alisha Rai

Night Whispers by Alisha Rai

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m an Alisha Rai fan and that’s the only reason I purchased this book. Generally I’m not a fan of anything with Zombies because, well, Zombies don’t say romance for me. In addition to having Alisha Rai on my auto-buy list I also love a good post apocalyptic romance. There is something about people being pushed to reach into themselves to survive that fascinates me. This book hit all the high points for me and was, in my opinion, a raging success!

Set in a world a few years after an Illness spawns Shadows (aka Zombies)and governments have reacted by throwing bombs around Night Whispers is the story of Jules and James. And I love them. Love, love, love them!

Jules is a kick ass heroine, literally. A former gang member and drug addict she has gotten clean and is working for the surviving government in a form of search and rescue. She finds humans who are on their own in a very hostile world and helps get them to various safe zones. In her search and rescue work she also has to kick some Zombie ass! Woot!

For the past year Jules has been working with James, a former CIA analyst who has been hidden safely in an underground bunker. James is a superbly drawn beta hero. Brainy, thoughtful and quite romantic. He has been working with Jules via high tech surveillance equipment for a year. They are able to speak to each other and he can see her surroundings but they have never physically met. He is borderline agoraphobic but his feelings for Jules push him way outside his comfort zone when she is in trouble.

These characters are already in love when we meet them – though neither of them are aware of that fact. Circumstances are such that it is HIGHLY unlikely they will ever physically meet. This makes the relationship quite safe for both of them and their respective neurosis. *grin*

It is awesome to see this beta hero at work. So many times a book with start with a beta and end up with some super alpha hero midway through. Thankfully James stays beautifully true to form – scared, nervous but pushing through to try to take care of his woman. And James is in no way weak, he is flawed. And it’s wonderful!

While Jules is physically capable of taking care of herself she is scared to death of relationships and being dependent on another person. James is perfect for her with his gentle persistence.

In addition to a solid romance, complete with hot sex, Rai also delivers a well developed, interesting world with compelling secondary characters. Several of whom I am looking forward to seeing in future books. It’s indicated that this is a series, however I’m not sure how many are planned. I do know that I will be quickly buying them as soon as they are released.

Well done Alisha Rai! Can’t wait to see what is coming up next!

“You have me. You know I won’t leave you. You know I’ll cross states and territories and I’ll fucking battle monsters just so I can stand by your side. But you’re so scared something will still happen and I’ll leave you one way or the other, so you’re responding by pushing me away first.”

She thought of that burning anger that had fueled her battle against the Shadow the night before. Her anger at James, specifically, though he had never abandoned her, not once. She knew better than anyone how fickle love and loyalty could be. Even if he found her, there was no guarantee he would stand by her side forever. “Shut. Up.”

“No. Not when you’re insisting on using that hero complex of yours to convince yourself that you’re saving me instead of killing us both. Fuck that, Guerrero.”

“Don’t talk to me like that, Bennett. You aren’t my boss here.”

“I was never your boss. I was always your man.” He grabbed hold of her hips and yanked her close, his lips swooping down to capture hers. At the first touch of their flesh, the anger between them shifted to passion. He groaned, his lips and tongue devouring her.

They really shouldn’t do this right now.

Aw, fuck it. Jules responded, kissing him back, rubbing her tongue against his.

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Just for Fun (Bradfords, #4) by Erin Nicholas

Just for Fun (Bradfords, #4)Just for Fun by Erin Nicholas

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am seriously crying right now. Why? Because this book is over. It’s over damnit! Gahhh….. Why do I let Erin Nicholas do this to me? Why do I let her drag me into her world, her character’s lives and then I fall so deep it’s like a slap in the face when it’s over? Ugh.

Let’s see if I can write this review without getting all fangirl. Most likely not.

Doug “Dooley” Miller is the easy going, laid back, sexy paramedic I developed a crush on over the course of the first three Bradford books. Kinda like your older brother’s best friend – he is always in the background and you get used to him being part of the environment but there are these brief moments when he is center stage and you look at him like…wow, there is something more there.

In Just the Way I Like It we get hints that Mr. Easygoing No Relationships has some depth. Some layers that are waiting to be peeled back. We also learn that he is all about relaxed, easy going women that don’t require vast amounts of shine and polish. He wants his dates to like jeans and t-shirts as much as he does. Having them on and off.

The book opens when Dooley’s hook-up from a charity dinner hunts him down at his favorite bar and asks him to go to Chicago with her for 3 days. Gotta love a girl who knows what she wants and why she wants it. Gotta love a guy that hooked-up so well that girl went digging to find him. While Dooley wouldn’t mind a few more trips through the sheets with her he can’t commit to going away from home for that long.

Morgan James is a class act who admits Dooley is the best she’s ever had and she’d like an encore please. She needs him to act as a sexual distraction from her ex during her business trip. Seeing as how is the only man who has ever exceeded her ex’s appeal in bed he is the only man for the job.

The trip goes to prove that they light up all of each other’s bells in bed and have almost nothing in common outside of it. However Morgan wants to keep seeing him and makes a proposition that is as logical as it is offensive. Dooley shoots it down and closes her out of his life.
Not one to take no for an answer Morgan wages her own war to get Dooley back into her life, finally ending up taking matters into her own hands and ending up on his doorstep.

What follows is an odd courtship but one that is perfect for who Dooley and Morgan are.

In typical Erin Nicolas fashion the strength of this book is the intricate, interwoven relationships between all of the characters that get page time. Watching Morgan fall in love with Dooley’s family and friends is as beautiful as watching them fall in love with each other. It’s absolutely refreshing to find that both of these characters are mature, emotionally healthy people. No raging insecurity, no deep dark secrets. Just the beautiful complication called life getting in the way of their relationship.

I love all Erin Nicholas books but so far I’ve loved this the most. Having a favorite supporting character take the lead, seeing the happiness of the couples from the previous books and learning even more about what a wonderful friend Kevin is…this book just totally did it for me.

Can’t wait for Just A Kiss, which is Kevin’s book, due in October. OCTOBER? What’s up with that??? Please write quicker Ms. Nicholas. Please?

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Ain’t Misbehaving by Jennifer Greene

Ain't MisbehavingAin’t Misbehaving by Jennifer Greene
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Books like this are why I fell in love with the romance genre as a teen. Throughout this book there were multiple instances of me catching my breath, sighing, tearing up, laughing, my heart skipping beats and just plan old delight.

That is what this read was…simply delightful.

Mitch and Fay are both believable characters that are richly woven. The supporting cast is also alive and three dimensional. It’s a sweet romance that doesn’t show us behind the bedroom door but the foreplay is breathtaking. And there is a lot of foreplay.

Both the hero and heroine volunteer at a children’s hospital on weekends and run into each other when visiting the same young patient. A kiss in the rain leads to a few sporadic dates and some really hot kisses. Slowly a relationship develops but Fay can’t figure out why Mitch won’t make love to her.

Mitch does not have much experience with women as he spent most of this oat sowing days very ill due to a heart condition. Fay is a sex education teacher that he is sure has so much experience with men he won’t stand a chance.

The relationship is a joy to watch develop. While the main problem in this relationship makes sense I wonder if it’s actually plausible for people in this age group (late 20’s). There wasn’t any need for suspended belief for me but some people might question that.

I wholeheartedly recommend this book for fans of sweet romances, alpha heroes that are rediscovering their alpha-ness, heroines who are not bogged down with self esteem issues and a solid HEA. So glad I took a chance on this book.

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Just the Way I Like It by Erin Nicholas

Just the Way I Like ItJust the Way I Like It by Erin Nicholas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A disclaimer first – I am an Erin Nicholas fan girl. Like *squee* hurrybuyallherbooksnow type of fan girl. 🙂 The fact that she writes wonderful, romantic, sexy character driven romances in a huge bonus for me.

Just the Way I Like It is a nice refresher to the The Bradfords series, not a stand alone book.

Told from many different points of view it gives us an update on all of the Bradford siblings and their spouses. It also bring back Kevin and Dooley and gives us some more insight into their characters.

Dooley seems to have quite a bit going on and I can’t wait to find out more.

I’m very interested in how Nicholas handles Kevin and his faith. It could be done very badly but I trust the author to be respectful as well as sexy and romantic. I really believe it can be done.

Looking forward to the HEA for these two characters and very good to know that the Bradford siblings and their loved ones are doing so well.

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After the Crux (Crux Survivors, #1) by Dani Worth

After the Crux (Crux Survivors, #1)After the Crux by Dani Worth
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is my first Dani Worth read and I will be going back for more of the Crux Survivors.

After the Crux is set seventeen years after a deadly virus swept through America leaving survivors to eek out an existence while being confronted by deadly raiders, lack of provisions and electricity.

This is a novella that I wish was a full length book. The world is intriguing and the brevity of this book left me with more questions than answers. The characters are well fleshed out and the relationships really resonated with me.

I make no secret that I am a huge fan of post-apocalyptic romance. Sadly it’s kinda hard to find a good one. Lots of them involve zombies, of which I am not a fan, other worlds and/or steampunk type stuff.

I’m also a fan of menage when a few criteria are met – no blood relations in the same bed. Brothers as part of a menage give me the willies. Ick! Also there needs to be male/male action. Alone with each other and with the female of the group.

Dani Worth delivered and made me very happy! Thank you!

Ross rescued Jenna and Dorian when he was fourteen and they were nine. It appears they survived together before finding a perfect home in New Mexico which they slowly built up by adding other survivors. While the perfection of the home rang really false to me it wasn’t so much that I was pulled out of the story. The idea of creating a family of survivors that lived together, worked together and relied on each other is very appealing to me.

This story focuses on how Ross moves from protector to lover for Jenna and Dorian. Keeping his attraction to Jenna secret and confused over his attraction to Dorian, on every supply run Ross looks for a female survivor that he can grow to love and call his own. Yet Jenna and Dorian have noticed the longing, lonely looks Ross thinks he is hiding and are determined to bring him into their relationship.

Because of the shortness of the story I think Ross moves from protector to lover way to fast. Doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the fall though. 🙂 Jenna and Dorian are focused and determined and I enjoyed that as well. The sex between the three was sweet and hot at the same time. In my opinion the relationship ended with a HFN rather than a HEA. For those interested it was a M/M/F relationship with some brief M/M interaction as well.

There were several secondary characters introduced that I wanted to know more about. There are relationships there that need to be explored. So I was kind of disappointed to see that the next installment in this series will be about two new characters with appearances from Ross, Jenna and Dorian. *sigh* Hopefully we’ll get glimpses into how everyone else is doing as well.

Again, I enjoyed this book overall. Wish it had been longer and am looking forward to the next Crux Survivors book. Hopefully it will be longer.

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Category: 4 Stars, I read too!, Scraps  Comments off