Monday, March 25, 2024

Reading Update: Page 1


It's a snow day Monday for me! Obviously, calls for soup and a book. 

Historical fiction, Greek mythology to start the week off.  

Orphia's a warrior who dreams of poetry and when a chance meeting with Eurydicius, a shield maker, gives her the courage to defy her father, it changes the course of history. 

Argonauts on quests, angry Gods, dragons, and fighting for love. I love a retelling, reimagining of an adventure tale! 

Review: The Emperor and the Endless Palace

The Emperor and the Endless Palace The Emperor and the Endless Palace by Justinian Huang
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I received this book for free, this does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review 

No, the question is not whether fox spirits exist. The question is: If one comes for you, can you resist it? 

The Emperor and the Endless Palace was a drug and sex fueled Cloud Atlas like story woven from Chinese fables, mythology, and historical fiction. Following three timelines from individual point-of-views, Dong Xian 4 BCE, He Shican 1740, and River Present day, the reader is taken on a reincarnation journey as three souls are forever intertwined. 

“To put it as simply as possible, our souls are caught in an endless loop. No matter how many lifetimes we endure, we will not be released from an ancient curse. And once upon a lifetime, I made a promise to you that I would break it.” 

As the reader travels in and out of each time period, commonalities are revealed and a picture of tangled love and a magical force working to interfere becomes apparent. What is not always so apparent is which reincarnated soul belongs to whom and who are the souls that truly belong together. There's some initial good vs. evil going on but I liked how as the story went on, it does murky up some of that conventional thinking and shows the battles of temptations and freedom of will playing their part. 

Dong Xian, this whole time you thought that you were playing the game, only to realize you are the game. 

Each timeline, whether it was Dong trying to strategize for power and influence in the Emperor's Palace against the Emperor's grandmother and cousin, He Shican trying to find where he fits in life and escaping his father's disappointment and unrequited from a doctor who took care of him, or River exploring his sexuality and living out for the first time, provided inner workings and deeper layers into these souls. I thought Dong Xian's timeline was the most thought out and worked the best, He Shican's was the most fantastical and River's looped and jumped around a bit too much creating a “does this all make sense?”. 

And I don’t know how else to describe a bittersweet feeling inside me— in this moment that I meet him, I realize I might be lonely for the rest of my life. 
His name is Joey. 

I would consider this at least straddling the erotic line, sex, and drugs, are constantly playing their part. I don't think I could say I felt the, modern conventional, love between the souls but the endlessly drawn to feeling came through. The writing created an easy pace, if not the story always being clear, and I flew through this. If looking for a reincarnation story that plays with temptations and freedom of will, the setting and influence of Chinese fantasy and historical fiction make this an interesting one to pickup.

Friday, March 22, 2024

Reading Update: Page 1


What a busy week! I'm looking forward to snuggling inside reading and eating as a snow storm hits this weekend. 

Following three different timelines, 4 BCE, 1740, and present day, two men are reborn, lifetime after lifetime. 

Twist and turns as their timelines are woven together with treachery and love. They're drawn together and constantly tested. 

How fascinating does this sound!?! I'm thinking of a kind of Cloud Atlas? Can't wait to dive in! 

#TRBChallenge Review: Ice Planet Barbarians

Ice Planet Barbarians Ice Planet Barbarians by Ruby Dixon
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

*This is a #TBRChallenge review, there will be spoilers, I don't spoil everything but enough, because I treat these reviews as a bookclub discussion. 

This months #TBRChallenge theme was Not in Kansas Anymore, Ice Planet Barbarians immediately came to my mind. The female main character in this is abducted by aliens and then crash lands on another alien planet and since this is erotic and she ends up going to town with an alien, it's a subgenre of romance that I don't frequently dabble in. The heroine and I, Not in Kansas Anymore! 

First off, just let me say this: 
Y'all. Wut. 

That off my chest... 

It wasn’t a monster come to eat me. It was this monster. Who’s come to eat me out. 

Georgie wakes up groggy and confused, only to find out that she has been abducted by aliens. She's on a space ship in a holding cell with other young women and talking with one named Liz, she learns they are all young, healthy, and women who don't have any close familial ties from earth. The women in the holding cell seem to be “extras” as there are other women unconscious in pods. 

Ok, I'm with you. 

Then when another woman wakes up, she starts screaming, causing the other women to try and quiet her down, they're scared. The abducting aliens come into the room and grab the screaming woman and proceed to rape her repeatedly in the room in front of the other women. It's a very early scene and incredibly cringe worthy as the tone of this scene of rape did not fit in with what turns out to be a romance – erotic story; the way the whole thing was treated created a wonky vibe for me. 

Georgie is an intrepid heroine, she sets a plan to get the aliens to come into the holding cell and then the women will attack and, I guess, try to take over the ship (??). The plan involves throwing the women's poop and pee bucket on the alien coming into the cell to stun it and then attack. The pee and poop gets thrown, covering Georige too, but as she's trying to battle the alien, the women abandon her in fear and don't help. Fortunately, the ship gets some problem with it at that moment and the aliens decide to ditch the prisoner pod and Georgie and the other women are now crash landed on an alien planet. 

A lot of the women survive the crash but they're weak, cold, and starting to starve. One of the women was tagged with an interpreter sort of device to her ear (convenient!) and she heard the aliens say they were dumping them but going to come back for them with another ship. So pee and poop (I'm going to keep bringing this up) covered Georgie is sort of volunteered and picked to leave the ship to search for help. The world is close enough to Earth that Georgie can breath the air but it's temp is extremely cold. Just when she thinks she's going to freeze to death, she gets caught in a snare and a ribbed for her pleasure alien comes to the rescue. 

We do get Vektal's pov, which I liked and helped to add to the humorous, winking at the reader that this is kind of ridiculous, tone of the story. On Vektal's planet, you need to accept a worm like thing into your body, or you'll die from the atmosphere and this worm like thing makes your eyes glow and picks out your soulmate for you (convenient!). It starts rattling/purring at the first sight of Georgie. So, naturally, Vektal begins eating out Georgie (who is covered in pee and poop) as she's still passed out from being in the snare. Georgie wakes up to what Vektal is doing to her and we get this line: “It’s ticklish and it makes me squirm and I should be screaming no, help, rape and instead, I have the giggles.” 

Ok, I'm not really with you anymore. 
Do you all see what I mean about cringing and wonky vibes in a winking humor, romance – erotic tone story delivering this line? 

Georige's intrepid and smart (and still covered in pee and poop) and decides that Vektal is her best bet. They have a language barrier but kind of communicate enough to get some things across. Vektal's driving need is to feed and take care of Georgie, who he sees as his soulmate, while Georgie is trying to just not anger him and get him to go back up the mountain to help rescue the other women. Georgie bathes off the pee and poop! (I'm sorry, but I could not forget this and it ruined any chance I had of getting into the story up to this point until it was dealt with) 

Vektal's dick is basically a Rabbit 7000 and after some sex, Georgie's starting to get attached to the big blue horned, tailed guy. A snow storm has them going to “The Cave of the Elders” which turns out to be a space ship that wrecked centuries ago and stranded Vektal's people on the plant. Georgie learns this because she some how activates the ship's computer who tells her all this and uploads Vektal's language to her brain so she can communicate with him (convenient!). 

When Georgie is now able to tell Vektal about the other women, he is ecstatic, his people are dying because lack of available females. However, Georgie makes him promise that the women will have a choice in accepting their “soulmates” or not and since Vektal is the chief of their group (convenient!), he agrees. They go to Vektal's home to pick up more guys and then go to rescue the women. 

At the crashed spaceship they deal with the abductor aliens coming back and then decide if they're going to stay on this planet, accept the worm like thing, or fly?? Vektal's cave of elders space ship back to Earth???? Staying, is obviously, the more convenient choice. The story leaves with someone else being a soulmate and ample women and big blue guys to eventually soulmate up for future books in the series. Vektal and Georgie's relationship is sort of there if you want sex and a little bit of friendship connection and the worldbuilding is sort of there if you want a couple paragraphs of alien lore. I would have rated this higher as a romance erotic story, it's quick and gets the job done but that rape scene and Georgie's thoughts, really jarred that feeling for me (not to mention the continued existence of Georgie covered in pee and poop).

Saturday, March 16, 2024

Review: Sleeping Beauty

Sleeping Beauty Sleeping Beauty by Judith Ivory
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4.5 stars 

This will always be the HE BROKE DOWN THE DAMN DOOR TO GET TO HER book to me. 

An older former courtesan/mistress and the up and coming scholar that refuses to go away, fall in love despite the challenges. 

Beginning has a vague vibe of screwball comedy, the middle has hot chemistry/building friendship, later second half has a villain trying to mess things up for them, and then the ending returns to some screwball comedy vibes to deliver the HEA. 

I buddy read this so for my thoughts and comments on it Sleeping Beauty buddy read This author always gets me talking, she's so good at depicting love in all it's highs and lows and never fails at the emotion. 

The pacing did feel off in the later second half but this is a rich story if you like the plot working to enrich the romance, which did make some moments feel a little slow. 

Read this solely for their first sex scene but stick around for all those little emotional moments that can hit you right in the heart. Then go to the buddy read and talk about it with me because I'll never tire of discussing this!

Review: The Enemy at Home

The Enemy at Home The Enemy at Home by Kevin O'Brien
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 stars 

I received this book for free, this does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review 

The Enemy at Home was a World War II story that took a popular historical fiction time period but placed readers in a nontypical place. The story centers Nora, a late thirties woman living in Seattle taking care of her teenager son, preteen daughter, and starting a job at a Boeing B-17 plant. Her husband is a doctor in the military and somewhere in Northern Africa and she has a brother in the Navy currently recovering from an injury in San Diego. The story divulges Nora's background through her povs, thinking about her mother's mental illness, having to be raised by her grandparents, and then feeling guilty for leaving her younger brother when she got married and moved away. Nora seems an average woman of her time, dealing with ration cards, racism from having to do with a Japanese-American couple she rented a garage apartment to, single mother, and sexism in the workplace. An new fear gets added when a serial killer seems to be attacking and killing woman plant workers. 

It was interesting to read a home front WWII story and the author did a good job of including all those specific big and small time period additives, especially Japanese-American interment camps. The first half was more about getting readers into Nora's life and introducing characters. There were povs from the victims of the serial killer, to bring in that ominous threat, when in the second half it becomes the main storyline. 

The author did a credible job of supplying redherrings to keep readers guessing and looking for clues, it doesn't become crystal clear who the serial killer is until the latter second half, even though you will have some guesses. Nora's strained relationship with her son is a big worry for her and I thought in favor of keeping this vibe, the character of the son was left too broadstrokes. Other secondary characters did their part with adding but not distracting to the world and story. The ending delivered a bit too perfect stars aligning to have things work out a certain way and took away from some of it's impact, a decrescendo of, well, life goes on. If you were looking for a homefront WWII, this would deliver on setting and atmosphere, with an added bonus of serial killer mystery plot.

Sunday, March 10, 2024


Excuse me, but why are we not always and forever talking about their first sex scene in this???


Anyway, the Sleeping Beauty BR continues on GRs, and you can all tell that I'm having a total normal one with it.

Friday, March 8, 2024

GRs Buddy Reading Update: 15%

She looked away finally, not sure whether to laugh or cry. Dear God. At least seven, perhaps more, years her junior. A proper knight and blessed hero of the realm, for goodnessakes. Who hadn't an ounce of reason in his head… chasing after her, of all people.

She's 37 and she's older than him! 

This kind of has a 1920s/30s screwball comedy beat to it? Not like goofy humor but the beat?

Anyway, he's getting frustrated becomes she's not taking him seriously and I'm so ready for that dynamic. 

Also, did chapter four end with him having a wet dream??? 😭

Sound like an intriguing story? Come read along and chat it up with us on GoodReads!

Thursday, March 7, 2024

Reading Update: Page 1


Taco Thursday with some historical fiction! 

It's WWII, but while the time period may be common in historical fiction, the setting is not. Seattle, 1943, and Nora works at the Boeing B-17 plant while her husband is a doctor stationed in North Africa. A change from being a comfortable housewife, she now works on an assembly line and discovering the terrifying pattern of her female co-workers being targeted by what looks to be a serial killer. 

WWII but Seattle and a serial killer? Sounds intriguing 

Pretty easy for a lazy day

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Reading Update: 20%

This is quite the enterprise you have here, Miss Dearing.”
She preened. “Thank you.” 
He lazily sorted through a rack of costumes she kept on hand. “I think you must be very passionate about photography.” 
“I am.” There was no question of that. She loved everything about the process—posing the subject, picking props and costumes, developing the image—all of it fascinated her. 
Saint’s dark gaze was bright as it met hers. “I am beginning to suspect you are passionate by nature.” 
She thrilled—just a little. “I am beginning to think you are a terrible flirt, Mr. Saint.” 
“How many times must I beg you to not call me ‘mister’? It annoys me.” 
He sounded so put upon she couldn’t help but chuckle. He had no objection to being called a flirt, only to being called mister.