Surviving the Fatherland by Annette Oppenlander


Surviving the Fatherland by Annette Oppenlander
Publisher: self
Genre: Historical
Length: Full (355 pgs)
Rating: 5 stars
Review by Rose

Spanning thirteen years from 1940 to 1953, SURVIVING THE FATHERLAND tells the true and heart-wrenching stories of Lilly and Günter struggling with the terror-filled reality of life in the Third Reich, each embarking on their own dangerous path toward survival, freedom, and ultimately each other. Based on the author’s own family and anchored in historical facts, this story celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the strength of war children.

SURVIVING THE FATHERLAND is a sweeping saga of family, love, and betrayal that illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the children’s war.

This historical novel is based on the author’s parents and what they went through as children in Germany during the Second World War. As the wife of a history buff, I’ve seen a great many movies and heard a lot about the soldiers during that war, but except for The Diary of Anne Frank I’m not familiar with what the children had to go through. This book is eye-opening and heartbreaking, and I would recommend it to anyone with the slightest interest in the war.

Lily and Gunter grew up in the same city, but their lives during the war took very different routes. The book is told from each of their points of view- the hardships they had to face and the struggles to stay alive.

My heart broke for Lily as her mother so obviously preferred her younger brother and worked her like a slave, even turning a blind eye to potential dangers to Lily in order to make life more bearable for herself. It’s hard for me, as a mother, to understand Mutti’s reaction to her daughter, which cannot be blamed on the war as she was already disengaged from Lily at the beginning of the story. Her father lied to the family, telling them he had been drafted, but he is full of enthusiasm to do his part in Hitler’s war.

We first meet Gunter as he takes part in the local youth drill that all the young men had to join—training children to one day be soldiers. Once his father is drafted, life is different for him as well as supplies become short, and he is forced to do whatever he can to help keep his family together.

When Lily and Gunter met, the war was over but they each had to deal with the baggage they gathered during it. They fell in love, but the path of true love, in their part, didn’t run smoothly. I enjoyed the way they were together as they each worked through their own demons.

This family saga is wonderfully written and, aside from the emotional ramifications, very easy to read. I stayed up too late a couple of nights reading it. I was really invested in the characters and wondered what was going to happen to them next. Knowing it was based on the author’s parents, it was obvious they would get together at the end, but there were still moments I wasn’t sure how it was going to work out.

I highly recommend this book!

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Out of Bounds by Melissa Klein


Out of Bounds by Melissa Klein
Out of Uniform Series
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (225 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

Avery Madigan lives by a strict code of conduct that’s helped her rise through the ranks of navy pilots. Rule number one—never mix business with pleasure.

Lt. Commander Connor St. James never met a regulation he didn’t want to break, especially if it involves making love to a certain auburn-haired woman who’s starred in his dreams since the Naval Academy.

When their worlds once again collide, the impact is nothing short of incendiary and the rule book is thrown overboard. Can a vacation hookup change the course of their lives, or will competition send their love up in flames?

Lt. Commander Avery “Mad Dog” Madigan, retired Navy and Lt. Commander Connor “Titan” St. James, retired Navy, have been competing with each other for twenty years along with fighting their dangerous attraction to each other. These two make the pages of this novel sizzle every time they get close to each. They send the reader’s heart rate sky high and pump adrenaline full speed ahead.

Now, both of them are struggling to make a success of their civilian jobs in the competitive aviation business. Each of them has family issues that threaten to devastate. Moreover, Avery fears Connor has dealt underhandedly with her—that he stepped out of bounds in order to win a contract she desperately needed to keep her job.

The foreshadowing is a steady undercurrent that flows along with the current happenings of the story. Some of it is foreboding enough to create anxiety and to bring about a thorough dislike for Avery’s ex-husband who has to be one of the most self-centered people around. The author does a super good job of showing the reader who he is, even though we don’t ever really meet him.

The back story is sifted in at just the right times to augment and add special significance to the Avery and Connor’s relationship, to family “almost” wrecks, and to tried-and-true friendships. Also a subtle humor lightens the situations from time to time.

Out of Bounds is a page-turning story that is well-written with characters that seem SO real.

GOOD READING!

Man Down by Tracy Tappan

Man Down by Tracy Tappan
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Contemporary, Action/Adventure
Length: Full (371 pgs)
Heat: Spicy
Rated: 4 stars
Review by Poppy

After being shot down by the Taliban on a Special Operations mission, a Navy pilot and Navy SEAL rescue a beautiful humanitarian doctor. While the three of them evade capture in a race for their lives across northern Pakistan, the two former boyhood friends heal a 10-year breach, and the pilot and doctor find a way to let go of their painful pasts to find love.

Content guidelines: Contains profanity and adult situations. Sensitive readers might find a scene depicting the death of a pet upsetting.

Filled with action, lots of military jargon and enough romance to satisfy, Man Down kept me turning pages from the start.

First, I have to say how grateful I was for the easy to use glossary in the book. One click on an unfamiliar military term took me to the definition, and one more click took me right back to where I was in the story. Loved that feature!

While the book was presented to me as romantic suspense, I’d be more inclined to call it an action novel with romantic elements. Yes, our H/h met near the beginning of the book and there was clearly attraction between them, but not much more than that until nearly the end of the book. And, actually, I didn’t mind that at all. One complaint I often have with fast-paced “thriller” type stories is how the characters manage to take time to heat up the sheets while their lives are on the line. That didn’t happen here, and made things feel more realistic and authentic. When they did finally get physical, though… WHEW! The heat was on for sure!

I’m not typically a fan of stories told through flashbacks, though, and this book is packed with them. I understand what the author was trying to accomplish, and that the information needed to be shared with the reader; the flashbacks were a fantastic way to put the reader in the moment and let us feel what the characters were actually going through (and some of the things that happened were incredibly horrific–note the warning in the blurb), but even so, the time jumps were frequently frustrating for me. Other readers may not have the same trouble with them.

The characters were interesting and well-rounded. I got very invested in them and worried a lot during their trip out of danger. I really enjoyed Farrin and how open and honest and caring she was. It was a little surprising, given her background, and I was pleased to see she hadn’t been permanently scarred by her treatment as a child. I was utterly horrified by Jason’s upbringing, though, and I read one scene right before bed that I couldn’t get out of my mind for some time after.

All-in-all I was impressed by this author. I’ve never read anything by her (and as an aside, this is part of a series, but stands alone just fine) but I fully intend on reading the next book. I have got to know what happens to Shane!

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The Cowboy’s Orphan Bride by Lauri Robinson


The Cowboy’s Orphan Bride by Lauri Robinson
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (288 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Reunited with the cowboy!

Long ago, orphans Bridgette Banks and Garth McCain made a promise to stay together. But it’s been years since they were parted, and Bridgette’s almost given up hope! So when Garth’s cattle trail passes her town, she won’t let him leave her behind again

Sparks fly as they’re reunited especially when the cowboy catches Bridgette telling everyone she’s his bride! Faced with a past he thought he’d lost forever, Garth realizes this impulsive beauty might be the future he never thought he deserved.

Lauri Robinson created a genuine love story between Garth, the hero and Bridgette, the heroine. Garth possessed all the qualities I admire in a hero; strong yet sensitive, smart, thoughtful, honest, hard worker, brave and very handsome. Bridgette complemented Garth quite well. She was his equal in the ways that mattered. I was pleasantly surprised by her skills and talents. The banter between the couple had me cracking up. The chemistry between the two was obvious and on the shy side of being spicy. The fact that they knew each other in the past and have been reunited only leads me to believe that they were truly meant for each other.

The cast of characters were brilliantly developed and implemented throughout the story. They all had a relevant impact on Garth and Bridgette’s relationship as well as on me. I felt a connection with many of the secondary players. There were too many to name but Jo Jo was probably my favorite supporting cast member. I loved his tender heart and willingness to help. My least favorite secondary character was Cecil; however he was nicely redeemed before the story was over.

The plot was captivating and well written. I enjoyed reading a romance that took place in the west during the cattle drives. It’s an era I’ve always been intrigued by. I thoroughly enjoyed the little bits of suspense that was woven throughout the plot in regards to the selling of the cows, the possible dangers involved in cattle drives and the consequences of Bridgette’s not well thought out plans. Some of those not well thought out plans were hilarious. The plot flowed very smooth and made it impossible to put the book down.

I thought The Cowboy’s Orphan Bride was an amazing love story and I highly recommend this book!

Three New Wishes by Sean Michael


Three New Wishes by Sean Michael
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (217 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/M, M/M/M, Ménage, Anal Play, Toys, Fisting, Spanking
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Come to Rainbow Island, where all your sexual fantasies will come true.

James, Guard and Damien continue to grant the sexual fantasies of their clients, but so far have been unable to make Rainbow Island work for their own relationship. Damien misses being home more often with his lovers, though, and Guard has been working on breaking down James’ defences. As the men move from one week to three week stays for their guests, can they finally make their own fantasies come true, too?

As always, three different fantasies are granted through Rainbow Island.

Tim is rich and bored now that he’s sold all his companies. A sometimes sub for the occasional evening, he’s searching for something more. He’s seen ‘lifestyle’ subs who indulge 24/7 and he’s curious to see if it really works. Full time Dom Rainier is brought in to give Tim the experience he’s been looking for. But Rainier has a secret – he’s been watching Tim in the club for years, just waiting for Tim to get serious before making his move. Can these two men find what they need in each other?

Mike has been hired to be a submissive for three weeks. He doesn’t know that much about the lifestyle, but has been assured that he won’t be damaged and that he can stop the proceedings at any time. He figures he can handle it, besides, the payday is too good to give up and will keep him off the street and fed for a long time. Dom Brendan is handsome and confident and the things he shows Mike have Mike more than a little turned on; in fact, they speak to something deep inside him. Could he have found something more than just another job in Brendan?

Angus and Robbie are a committed Dom/sub pair who want to spice things up a little and see if Puppy Play is for them. They’re excited and nervous to learn this new aspect from Sam, the puppy master that Rainbow Island has brought in to show them the ropes. They discover there’s more to puppy play than they’d imagined and not all of it is for them. Can they separate what they need from what they want and come out stronger than ever in the end?

Don’t miss out on these three new fantasies come true.

James, Guard and Damien are a trio who run Rainbow Island and help fulfill their clients’ deepest fantasies. Timothy was utterly bored. He had dabbled in being a submissive and after a very long time was ready to at least try out entering the lifestyle fulltime. Master Rain had been watching Tim, wanting far more than Tim’s usual “single scene and move on” style. So when Rain finds that Tim is willing to have the fantasy of something more lasting, Rain can hardly believe his luck. Mike was dirt poor, so when he was offered the opportunity of three weeks “working” on a private island and to be paid for it, he had no qualms about accepting the job. Mike had zero experience as a sub – barely even knowing what BDSM even really meant – but for three weeks on a sandy beach plus a generous wage, he was willing to take some risks. Brendan’s fantasy is to play with someone completely new to the lifestyle – no artifice, no mind-games, no preconceived notions. Can Brendan entice Mike into the lifestyle? Angus and Robbie had been together for a decade and were blissfully happy. They’ve decided to try out the fantasy of puppy play in the safety of the island. Can they both find satisfaction from this?

While this is the third book in the Rainbow Island series almost all the book is focused on the three different fantasies being fulfilled. In that sense this story is very nearly a stand-alone book and can be read without any prior knowledge of anything. Only the very first few pages – and last few – give some much awaited (by me, at least!) closure for James, Guard and Damien’s ménage. I found it utterly wonderful to finally see the three men work things out. For these few pages readers who haven’t read the previous two books will still be able to understand what is happening – but these scenes will certainly mean a whole lot more to those who have been following the relationship between James, Guard and Damien. I must strongly emphasize though, that this trio – and the story arc over the three Rainbow Island books – is a handful of pages. The vast majority of this story are three stand-alone fantasy-fulfillment stories and can certainly be read without prior knowledge – so I feel readers absolutely shouldn’t be put off by the fact this is “book 3”.

I really loved how while Tim deep down was a submissive, he was a strong willed and deeply intelligent man. At a few points initially Tim didn’t even seem completely certain he was a “real” sub as many of his instincts were to analyse everything, to be in control and to be very intellectual in his approach to things. I felt that Rain was the perfect match for him – willing to be tender and slow – but hot and firm where needed. I felt Tim and Rain were both well matched and not the traditional stereotypes of a Dom and sub pairing. I thought this story was fresh and interesting and a lovely look on how diverse people in the lifestyle can be.

I loved the slow build-up of chemistry between Mike and Brendan. I enjoyed how Mike really only had a lay-person sort of understanding about the BDSM lifestyle, but he wasn’t body-shy or virginal in his reactions to sex. It actually read to me like a refreshing change – Mike was open minded about new experiences and Brendan was happy and eager to teach him new things. Mike and Brendan exploring each other – and learning together sexually – was quite delightful to read.

Angus and Robbie were a wonderful and committed BDSM-lifestyle couple. I’ve not read much about puppy play really, so I was extremely pleased that the scene was moved through slowly. Since Angus and Robbie are new and learning the ropes this made it much easier for me – a novice – to follow along and understand both what puppy play is and how it’s conducted. While I feel certain this type of fantasy and role-play won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, I strongly feel that it was written in a consensual, loving and kind manner. So I think most readers who are either curious – or simply have an open mind – shouldn’t find anything offensive or too strange in here.

There were a few typo’s through the story (a “Rand” instead of a “Rain” and “warm” instead of “warn” etc) and while I did find that a little jarring it wasn’t bad – or frequent – enough to actually drag me out of the story.

Overall this was an excellent read, with three short stories and a lovely bit of closure for Guard, James and Damien. A lovely book and one I will happily reread again in the future.

Man on the Run by Carl Weber


Man on the Run by Carl Weber
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Full Length (320 pgs)
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

It was the night before his wedding, fifteen years ago, that the nightmare began for Jay Crawford–locked up for a crime he never committed. Now, he’s escaped prison and wants nothing more than to clear his name and protect his family. To get justice, he’ll need the help of the three best friends who have always had his back–Wil, Kyle and Allan. But a man on the run requires absolute trust…and Jay may just be setting himself up for the ultimate betrayal.

Jay Crawford has been locked up for ten years for a crime he didn’t commit. He’s recently escaped prison. Will he be able to clear his name as well as prevent the threat bring carried out of something bad happening to one of his children?

This book had me laughing out loud at the facial expressions and verbal conversations that took place. I could actually see the scenes in my mind as I was reading. The scene at the restaurant with Jay dressed as a lady are hilarious. The characters are from previous books by the author. Kyle Richmond is very close with Jay, and then there is Wil and Allen. Their friendship is tested during this book. At the start of the book the men didn’t seem as close but as the story unfolds and events lead to different circumstance and their brotherhood bond gets stronger.

There is suspense, sex and plenty of drama that made this a page-turner for me.

Of course it seems a little unrealistic, a man breaking out of prison and on the run needing his friends to help him for such a long period of time. What I found strange was the author didn’t give any details of how he broke out of prison. Jay Crawford broke out of prison to save his son who he thought was being threaten, but also to clear his name of being convicted of rape. Because of the title, I thought the majority of the plot would be Jay working to prove his innocence but the book consisted of each of the character’s home and work life in addition to their relationship with Jay.

As with the prior novels by the author, it is written in a good writing style, with an entertaining plot. And even though the plot itself was serious, it included humor. I enjoyed the connection between the guys. It went way beyond friendship and more along the lines of a deep brotherhood. The men exemplified true friendship by standing up, believing in and in this case risking their freedom to associate with a friend on the run from the U.S. Marshals. The bond between these four men seems to test the strength of their marriage vows. All that seems good and sturdy turns out to collapse under pressure.

The book has a surprise ending so I can’t really say there is closure. The book is open ended in leaving the story open for continuation. I would definitely make the next book a priority to read, if it is in fact a continuation.

I would recommend to readers that enjoy a fast pace read that has twists and a unpredictable ending.

Shockwave by Sierra Cartwright


Shockwave by Sierra Cartwright
Impulse
Publisher: Totally Bound
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (188 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Anal play, Anal Sex, Toys, Spanking
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Bittersweet

There can only be one victor…

He vows to personally deal with her…

When Master Nathaniel Stratton catches Alani Dane, a professional submissive, yawning during a scene with one of his club’s most prestigious members, he vows to personally deal with her.

In order to claim her…

Nathaniel works to shatter the emotional barriers she’s erected to keep her heart safe and takes the biggest gamble of his life to claim her for his own.

But she’s no man’s submissive…

He alternately thrills and terrifies Alani. Even though she craves the intense release that subspace brings, at heart, she’s no man’s submissive. In this intense battle of wills, dominance and submission, love and commitment, he’s determined to tear down the walls around her heart.

Sierra Carwright is a one-click author for me, and Shockwave, doesn’t disappoint. The story sizzles with passion and heat from the beginning, and even after finishing the novel I’m still daydreaming about the characters’ relationship.

From page one, I was drawn into the world of Alani, a professional submissive who appears to be a little bored with what she does. Furthermore, though she’s a proclaimed masochist she is not by any means a submissive, at least, according to her.

I really liked Alani. Although she was a bit mouthy at times, I enjoyed the way she interacted with Master Nathaniel. The fact that she felt that she wasn’t a perfect submissive, that she didn’t even recognize herself as one, made her feel real. I enjoyed reading her development, not only as a submissive to Master Nathaniel, but as a fierce woman who realizes independence doesn’t necessarily mean going at it alone.

As for Master Nathaniel. Swoon. Could he be any more perfect? I think I fell for his kind of dominance from page one. He was extremely demanding at times, but when he showed his tender side, my own heart pitter-pattered. He gave Alani as much as he took.

As always, Ms. Carwright does a superb job at writing the sex and the BDSM elements within the story. Hot is an understatement regarding Shockwave. Fair warning, I have to admit, that with Alani being a masochist there were a few scenes that made me wince in sympathy (those clamps with weights, and that really big anal plug…). But the care Master Nathaniel showed for her made it worthwhile.

The book is long, but very fast paced and I read it in two days. I’m looking forward to read possible future novels involving Master Braxton and AJ.

All in all, Shockwave was an exquisite, highly recommendable read.

Realm of the Dragon by Cici Cordelia


Realm of the Dragon by Cici Cordelia
The Soul Mate Tree
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (162 pages)
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

An ancient legend spanning eras, continents, and worlds. To some, it’s nothing more than a dream. To others, a pretty fairy tale handed down through the generations.

For those in critical need of their own happy ending, a gift.

For sheltered Lily Kiers, it’s all too real. Her escape from danger, straight into the arms of her destiny.

Thrust into a realm made of fantasy and unbridled passion, Lily faces violent resentment and jealousy from extremely powerful enemies. Amidst fierce creatures whose very existence defy all common sense, Lily pieces together a past she could never have imagined.

Claimed by Kord, Prince of Battle Draconian, their love will not be denied, even as malevolent forces plot to rip them apart.

Chased by a psychopath, Lily runs as hard as she can through the park, trying to outrun her pursuer. Next thing she knew she has fallen as if from a great height, and landed on a dragon!

Kord has his life mate literally drop into his arms.  Unfortunately she’s human and doesn’t know anything about dragons who can change to human shape.

This story is fascinating. It has the action and adventure of dragons who have a peaceful nature until roused. Unfortunately, a female dragon has marked Kord as her own and Lily’s abrupt arrival upsets her plans. With the help of another male she plans to dispose of Lily, take Kord as her own, and kill Kord’s parents to enable him to become King of Battle Draconian.

The plots that interweave in this story make it very exciting and alluring. I read it in one go as I couldn’t put it down, partly due to the fact I love dragon stories. This was not a straightforward “dragons are strong beasts so Lily was bound to fall for Kord” it was about the life of dragons, how they lived and the social mores which kept the three dragon kingdoms apart but in tune with each other. This is very well written and a joy to read.

Spirited Attraction by Ashantay Peters


Spirited Attraction by Ashantay Peters
Warning: Ghosts at Work
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (153 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

Long ago, Julia Wilkinson left home and didn’t look back. Now she’s unwillingly facing her parents’ ghosts—and their plans for her love life.

Sam Bradley has a ghost of his own, his interfering and opinionated deceased father. He’s a parent with definite ideas about whom Sam should date.

Julia and Sam think they’re happy singles and resist their supernatural matchmakers. But when the ghosts combine efforts, all bets are off. Will Julia and Sam heed advice from the other side, or will they go their own way?

Julia has trust issues when it comes to romance. Her friends decide to set her up with a co-worker but Julia feels her klutzy ways will put the man off before the relationship even starts. Little do both of them know that help is on the way…spiritual help.

This book is very funny in places, sad in others and gives a nice cozy, cuddly feeling as well. Then, of course, there’s the spicy bedroom romantic get-together moments. I thought the spiritual assistance of both Julia’s deceased parents and Sam’s father provided comedy and helped the couple overcome their awkwardness and inability to communicate properly.

I smiled, had tears in my eyes and felt compassion all through reading one book. At the end of the novel I sighed, but the author hadn’t finished with her twists to the story. The final page was…well I won’t spoil it for other readers, but I finished reading with another smile.

Bandit by Fiona Roarke


Bandit by Fiona Roarke
Publisher: Nickel Road Publishing
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (178 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Miles Turner, a handler and operative with The Organization, a private security firm, is used to always being the man with the plan, the guy in control of everything around him. He can’t imagine any situation that would get the better of him — until he meets Sophie.
Traveling sales rep Sophie Rayburn has been burned by love before, but she’s determined not to spend Christmas Eve alone. When she spots sexy Miles at a run-down bar in a Podunk New Mexico bar, she decides he’d make the perfect gift to herself. Why shouldn’t she indulge them both with a little holiday cheer between the sheets?
Sensual sparks fly as soon as they come together, like they were made for each other, in bed and out. A kidnapping scheme, a drug scam and a dangerous mole don’t stand a chance.
Sweet, sexy Sophie is enough to make even a good man lose total control. And Miles is not good.
He’s all bad boy.

I started this book on a Saturday morning and finished it that night. It was challenging to read this book with so many chores on my “To- do” list. I’d read as much as I could before the dryer beeped. I never folded my laundry so fast! That was how my day went. My chores were done lightning fast so that I could read a few more chapters. I actually enjoyed my chores thinking about the story. The hero, Miles Turner, and the heroine, Sophie Rayburn, put a bounce in my step and a smile on my face. My husband asked me why I was in such a good mood. I replied because I’m in the middle of reading a really good book.

Honestly, “good book” doesn’t do Bandit justice. It was an excellent book! It was really difficult to put down. The suspense/mystery was riveting, and the relationship between Miles and Sophia was fast, full of passion and completely satisfying. Miles was the sexy operative that worked for a private security firm that I’d love to be rescued by. Sophia was sweet, brave and was a bit of a “TMI” (too much information) sharing kind of lady but Miles wasn’t put off by her honesty at all, which made me love them all the more.

The plot had a good mix of predictable and unpredictable story lines which kept me guessing. The pace was fast and only one of the reasons that made Bandit hard to put down. The writing style was smooth and easy to read. Fiona Roarke sure knows how to write! I felt like I could smell the smoking gun or feel the heat of the hot metal beneath my jaw. I was easily transported into the scene as it evolved – especially the love scenes. Oh boy, the love scenes; Miles was in my dreams that Saturday night! 🙂

I would most definitely recommend this book! Those who know me also know that I love books with a happily ever after and an epilogue. Epilogues to me are like a gift for delaying the end. I absolutely loved this book!