How To Lose An Alien in 10 Days by Fiona Roarke

How To Lose An Alien in 10 Days by Fiona Roarke
Alienn, Arkansas 2

Publisher: Nickel Road Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (698 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

Alexandria Latham Borne is supposed to marry into one of Alpha-Prime’s most prestigious families. Her unwanted future fiancé has wealth, breeding, social status … and that’s about it. She is less than wowed during their luxury get-to-know-you journey to Earth. Once the spaceship docks in Alienn, Arkansas, Ria jumps at the chance to jump ship and explore the colony of extraterrestrials hiding in plain sight. Cam Grey takes his job as chief of security at the galactic way station and the Big Bang Truck Stop operated by his family very seriously, but even he needs a break. No one suspects the by-the-book enforcer’s secret refuge is the karaoke bar just over the county line from Alienn, Arkansas. It starts out as just another night of uncomplicated amusement. But no one is more surprised than the jaded Alpha when the gorgeous woman with blue-streaked hair sings her way into his bed — and his heart. When he learns his sexy karaoke singer has defied colony rules, putting them all at risk of discovery by the unsuspecting earthlings, he knows his duty. What he should do is lock her in the brig. What he does do is ignore all the rules he’s spent his career upholding. Cam’s also been burned by love before, but his mischievous Ria is a rule-breaker he can’t resist. Is she a heartbreaker, too?

Alienn, Arkansas is an alien base hiding in plain sight. Cam and his family, including many, many brothers, run the Big Bang Truck Stop, but below is a way station for alien spacecraft. Now there is a passenger missing from a luxury liner and it’s Cam’s job to find her. He has a problem because he’s just found the love of his life and doesn’t want to leave her to some spoil​ed​ space brat.

This book has comical overtones, with the brothers sparking off one another, and Ria – the love interest – having a secret of her own. I have to admit I thoroughly enjoyed reading about their antics and wondering how they ​could ​get round the problems that ar​o​se from being an alien on earth. To top up his problems his Aunt Dixie and her friend go missing and he’s tempted to walk away from his responsibilities and spend time with Ria instead of doing his job.

A really good book with love, humor and a very enjoyable plot to hold everything together.

Chesapeake Crimes : Fur, Feathers, and Felonies by/edited by Donna Andrews, Bob Goffman, and Marcia Talley

Chesapeake Crimes : Fur, Feathers, and Felonies by/edited by Donna Andrews, Bob Goffman, and Marcia Talley
Publisher: Wildside Press
Genre: Mystery/Suspense, Contemporary
Length: Full length (206 pages)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Snowdrop

Thirteen members of the Chesapeake Chapter of Sisters in Crime spin tales crime around the theme of animals. A pet groomer. A pet crow. A dog named Rasputin. Exploding cattle. Even an octopus figures in a mystery. Contributors include: Chris Grabenstein (Introduction), Shari Randall, Carla Coupe, KM Rockwood, Alan Orloff, Eleanor Cawood Jones, Robin Templeton, Barb Goffman, Marianne Wilski Strong, Linda Lombardi, Josh Pachter, Joanna Campbell Slan, Cathy Wiley, and Karen Cantwell.

I am not normally a lover of short stories but these were so fun. Each story was long enough to have a plot, yet all were cute and easy to read. Even the table of contents page containing the title of each story was interesting enough to make you want to read them and at least give you a giggle. This is the perfect book to sit on your bedside table, or read on a short commute, or for a lunch break or stuck in with your books when you are supposed to be working on something.

These are all mysteries of a sort and yet each story has its own personality. Each story was complete with different “characters”, quite interesting characters at that. One aspect of this set of short stories is that while each story was complete in and of itself, the flow of the stories in the book was fluid. Nothing ever seemed jarring. It’s as if they are in the perfect order. I have often said I was jealous of an author’s ability to put their thoughts all in order to create a book. This has occurred here even in a book of short stories. I hope this will seem a compliment to both the editors and writers as that is how it is meant.

I’m sure these editors have more compilations in this “Chesapeake Crime” series and I think they are definitely worth checking out.

Eight Simple Rules for Dating a Dragon by Kerrelyn Sparks

Eight Simple Rules for Dating a Dragon by Kerrelyn Sparks
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full length (320 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum


Gwennore is an Elf able to track down the cause of a certain illness and heal it―a valuable asset to her people. But when she is thrust into the realm of the dragons, she discovers a haunted place of power, passion, and magic―one that is plagued by an ancient curse. When she meets the smoldering General Silas Dravenko, Gwen knows she’s entered a whole new world of trouble. She’s been raised never to trust a dragon. So why does making a deal with the devil feel so good?

Silas has no way of saving the royal family he’s served for years. But when a beautiful, innocent elf comes bursting into his world, Silas is awakened to desire in a way he’s never felt before. But how can he trust a sworn enemy. . .and how can he live without her, in Eight Simple Rules for Dating a Dragon by New York Times bestselling author Kerrelyn Sparks.

Ooh, I love me some dragons so I had to read this newest book by Ms. Sparks. I knew to expect a wonderful romance and I was not disappointed. What I didn’t expect was to giggle so much about a dragon named Puff.

Once I met General Gorgeous, I was completely hooked. I had a riot of a time watching the interaction between Silas, Gwennore, Dimitri and Aleksi. I was happy to see Brody is in this novel as well. He plays a strong role for a secondary character and he is almost like plot glue. His services and skills were integral in the past two books in the series and he once again helps out in Eight Simple Rules for Dating a Dragon. This time it’s Silas and Gwennore who have to figure out how the Chameleon is causing mayhem and stop him. Brody’s nose is very welcomed.

Speaking of the Chameleon, Ms. Sparks has created more mystery and questions because there’s a new revelation in this story. The villain isn’t alone and the external conflict has hints of being more diabolical than anyone knew. Fascinating stuff!

On top of that trouble, Gwennore figured out something scary about the curse that has plagued the kingdom for centuries and it’s not a simple thing. Her bravery is commendable because she still is willing to help even after what she was put through in the first couple of chapters.

As with the two previous books in the series, the heroine eventually finds out a bit of where she came from and who her parents might have been. I figured out one possibility but the second not only blew me away but stunned many of her new circle of close friends in Norveshka.

My favorite parts were when Gwennore didn’t realize Silas could hear her thoughts. Those were the funniest scenes in the novel. Another thing I enjoyed was the ribbing and jesting between Silas, Dimitri and Aleksi. The author made it clear that they were best friends and very loyal to each other. I loved seeing that level of heart, emotion and trust.

Of course all of the trials, tribulations, adventures and suspense wouldn’t be worth it if the romance wasn’t equally as wonderful and satisfying. Indeed, watching Silas and Gwennore fall in love was everything I hoped it would be; fun, sensual and spicy, and of course, romantic. I am glad that the epilogue tied up the happy ever after just the way I like it. Of course, there leaves the question as to which sister is next in finding her other half. I came to the end of the novel with the distinct opinion of who it might be. I can’t wait to find out!

Eight Simple Rules for Dating a Dragon has a great title but the book is even better. I am pretty sure that this novel is best read after the other two although if a new reader doesn’t mind a varied and busy cast they might do okay. But seriously, understanding how evil the Chameleon can be and why Brody is integral to the safety of the sisters of the Isle of Moon can only be appreciated by seeing what came before. Read them all. It’s a great experience and not to be missed. Ms. Sparks is amazing!

Too Damn Nice by Kathryn Freeman

Too Damn Nice by Kathryn Freeman
Publisher: Choc Lit
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full length (288)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Quince

Do nice guys stand a chance?
Lizzie Donavue went from being the sister of his best friend to the girl Nick Templeton most wants to kiss. On her birthday, he finally summons up the courage to make his move. But it looks like Nick’s missed his chance when he discovers that Lizzie has been offered a modelling contract, which will take her away to the glamorous fashion scenes of New York and Los Angeles.

Nick is forced to watch from the sidelines as the gawky teenager he knew is transformed into Elizabeth Donavue: top model and ultimate English rose pin-up, forever caught in a whirlwind of celebrity parties with the next up-and-coming Hollywood bad boy by her side.

But then Lizzie’s star-studded life comes crashing down around her, and a guy like Nick could be just what she needs. Will she take a chance on him? Or is he just too damn nice?

I have to admit that the “friends to lovers” plotline is not my favorite, but there was something fascinating in the synopsis of Too Damn Nice so I decided to give this story a try. Furthermore, the blurb seemed more like a good chick-lit than a romance novel and I wanted to read a chick-lit. I am glad that I decided to read this story even though it’s far, far away from being chick-lit. I can say that I got way more than I expected.

Too Damn Nice is story about how two friends, who loved one another for a long time, finally get together. That is just a part of it. After they got together they broke up, only to find another way to true happiness. This is not a funny or a cheerful story but it’s truly not depressing either. On top of that are all the misunderstandings between Lizzie Donavue and Nick Templeton which push the story into sad territory.

Lizzie and Nick are complex characters. They both have their own deep insecurities. Nick thinks that because he is a boring accountant, Lizzie does not care about him. While Lizzie thinks that because she did something wrong in the past, she does not deserve Nick. Sometimes they are so rude to one another. But, there are times when Nick does not act like such a darn nice guy, and Lizzie is not full of guilt. That’s really good because if the characters had stayed in their predefined roles the whole time, the story would not be so darned good. I refer especially to Nick’s character. If he’d been nice all the time it would have been just too much.

I applaud the author. Kathryn Freeman did a wonderful job of keeping the story interesting and on a high emotional level the whole time. In the first part of the book she balances very well the subtle balance in Nick and Lizzie’s relationship. It’s a relationship in which both of them wanted to cross that line of friendship and enter the lover’s territory, but they just didn’t dare. Each time when they were on the verge of becoming a lovers another unexpected twist happened. Later on when the line is finally crossed, the author again did great work in focusing on their doubts and fears. By resolving them the path to their HEA was finally open. There are so many places in the story where the author could have fallen in the trap of cliche, but she successfully avoided it. So once again, I applaud the author.

Too Damn Nice was my first hidden gem this year. This highly sensual and deeply emotional story was a great read. I am definitely putting Kathryn Freeman on my ‘to read list’. If you like contemporary romance featuring friends to lovers and opposite attracts, I highly recommend this story.

No Getting Over You by Cerise Deland

No Getting Over You by Cerise Deland
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full length (151 pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Viv LaClare is so over being the matron…the widow. She wants to live again, laugh, maybe even dabble in a little affair…if she can find the right guy. Enter the studly Navy SEAL designated to drive her around town on wedding errands. She’s hot for his body, but when her newly healed heart gets ideas, she’s not sure she can risk it on a man with one of the deadliest jobs in the world.

Britt Ackermann is done with one-night stands and women who party with a SEAL for bragging rights. He wants a lady with guts, sass, and more than a lick of sense. He has doubts a woman like that exists. So when he meets the Matron of Honor at his teammate’s wedding, she hooks him at ‘hello.’ He wants all the nights she’ll give him even if he can’t promise her tomorrow.

Viv has been taking on more work and more responsibility in her job and while she’s truly delighted her co-worker and best friend, Abby, has found the Navy SEAL of her dreams, it makes her feel a little tired and lonely to see Abby so blissful. When Britt knocked on Viv’s door to help her with all the last minute running around for Abby’s wedding he had no idea how much his life would change. Wounded in combat with his fellow Navy SEALs Britt is determined to get through his duties as best man then carve out a new life for himself. While he hadn’t been looking, after meeting Viv he knows he wants to include her in all his future plans.

I found this to be a lovely, slow-burning style of love story. While there are a few steamy sex scenes, I feel most traditional romance readers should find this a good, slow-paced style of story and not find the descriptive sex too overpowering. Almost the whole story revolves around Viv and Britt and their helping their friends, Abby and Nick, throughout their wedding. The pace is easy enough I found myself half way through almost wishing for the wedding to be over so I could see how Viv and Britt dealt with reality and “normal” life – not while they were constantly thrown together with the million and one pre-wedding duties they both needed to do as Best Man and Matron of Honor. While the preparations and wedding itself only took a few days it really felt to me a bit like a soap bubble out of time and each of their real life, so while their attraction and connection during this intense time together was great, it didn’t give me a lot of confidence of how they would build a solid and lasting relationship that would remain steady outside of this small space of time.

The characters of Viv and Britt were interesting and had a number of complex layers that I really liked. I also loved the strong cast of secondary characters, Abby and Nick, their team-mates and family. I could easily see a number of future characters for follow-up stories down the line and wouldn’t be surprised if there are more of these to come. While the sex was graphic I didn’t feel like it over-shadowed the story itself. There was a lot of story both before and after the main intimacy and this helped it feel a lot better rounded as a story to me.

While I would have preferred to see Viv and Britt develop their relationship a bit more outside of the wedding setting, this was otherwise a great, slow-burning and character-centric story that was both sweet and spicy. I feel it should appeal to a wide range and readers and I’ll be interested in further stories to see some of the strong secondary characters develop.

The Bachelor’s Unexpected Family by Lisa Carter

The Bachelor’s Unexpected Family by Lisa Carter
Publisher: Harlequin Love Inspired
Genre: Contemporary, Inspirational
Length: Full length (220 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Second Chance Family

Young widow Kristina Montgomery moves to Kiptohanock, Virginia, hoping it will give her and her teenage son, Gray, a fresh start. She longs for the peace and quiet only a small town can provide. But her plans are thwarted by her new neighbor, Canyon Collier, a former Coast Guard pilot and a crop duster. Gray is instantly drawn to the pilot and his teenage niece, Jade—and Kristina’s not far behind. She and Canyon are soon bonding over parenting their charges and their spark becomes undeniable. Could it be that the spirited pilot is just what Kristina needs to teach her heart to soar again?

Love is being thwarted by the past; a widow’s grief and guilt, and a man’s burden from his family’s reputation. One needs to let go and the other needs to believe he’s not defined by the choices of others. The thread woven throughout The Bachelor’s Unexpected Family is faith. Faith in dreams, in neighbors, in love and in God, can work miracles even when they are no bigger than a bouquet of flowers.

This is a very sweet romance between Kristina and Canyon. I enjoyed watching them when they were together. When it was just them away from everything else; when they forgot about their hang-ups, worries and their tendency to overthink things; I got the solid sense that they truly would be perfect and wonderful for each other. Their easy camaraderie and playful banter was engaging.

I liked how Canyon took to the role of being a parent and how Kristina’s son, Gray, made her realize the rut she had gotten them both in. Jade, Canyon’s niece, and Gray are great secondary characters. As for the hero and heroine, they each had a gaping hole in their hearts that needed healing. The heroine lost her first husband and couldn’t find a reason to move forward, and Canyon never had a healthy family role model so it left him feeling like he was on the outside looking in. How could he be a good father figure to Jade? After seeing the love of a mother for her son, as Kris is to Gray, he felt his insecurity more keenly. Those levels of heartache aren’t a good thing and the author made that very clear. Ms. Carter also made it quite apparent that God has some definite plans and he is working through the townspeople of Kiptohanock. There were some wonderful people there including Kris’s brother, but Margaret especially so.

The one moment where I felt the book didn’t reach me is the moment supposedly where Kris has this great epiphany. It sounded so powerful and firm, and there was this great moment of opportunity, and then … dud. Seriously? She choked? All that and she couldn’t say the words? Grrrr. It’s a good thing there was at least one little kiss in the story that showed me that the chemistry is strong enough to stir their passions so they’d work harder at getting together.

There’s a little drama to spice things up; again showcasing the strong points in each of the main characters as they face their worst fears. It was a relatable plot conflict because high school kids do get into that type of trouble. It was well written and effective.

I’m quite satisfied with the story, the romance and the happily ever after that I found within the pages of The Bachelor’s Unexpected Family. I liked that all the plot threads were tied up, and Kris finally got to touch Canyon’s hair as she’d been wanting to all through the book. Heck, I actually had the itch to do that myself, the writing was that convincing. All in all, this is a really nice romance to spend an afternoon with.

The Viscount and the Vicar’s Daughter by Mimi Matthews

The Viscount and the Vicar’s Daughter by Mimi Matthews
Publisher: Perfectly Proper Press
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (241 pgs)
Heat Level: sweet
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Snapdragon

England, 1861. A world-weary rake and a prim vicar’s daughter are thrown together during a holiday house party. Will they discover there’s more to each other than meets the eye? Or will revelations from the past end their fragile romance before it begins?

After years of unbridled debauchery, Tristan Sinclair, Viscount St. Ashton has hit proverbial rock bottom. Seeking to escape his melancholy, he takes refuge at one of Victorian society’s most notorious house parties. As the Christmas season approaches, he prepares to settle in for a month of heavy drinking…until an unexpected encounter changes his plans–and threatens his heart.

Valentine March is not the drab little spinster she appears to be. When her new job as a lady’s companion lands her smack in the middle of Yorkshire with England’s most infamous rake, she resolves to keep her head down and her eyes fixed firmly on her future–a future which most definitely does not include a sinfully handsome viscount.

A friendship is impossible. An affair out of the question. But when one reckless act binds them together, will two star-crossed souls discover there’s more to each other than meets the eye? Or will revelations from the past end their fragile romance before it begins?

Unexpected and enthralling are the best words to describe Mimi Matthews’ romance, The Viscount and the Vicar’s Daughter. Its hard to know where to begin… perhaps with a word about characters, as they are first and foremost. The mostly no good young viscount Tristan is unexpectedly sympathetic; the dear, unattached lady, Valentine, is equally unexpected, as her artistic proclivities are closer to her heart than making the required match…

No spoilers here! Suffice to say, we kick off with two likeable main characters, quickly realize that some of the lesser are also Very Much Not the required respectable Victorian types, and the unexpected is only compounded. Well before the house party kicks off, I was completely enthralled.

I can’t fault this one: it’s the best romance I have read in ages.

Tempest by Beverly Jenkins

Tempest by Beverly Jenkins
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Action/Adventure, Historical
Length: Full length (346 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Aloe

What kind of mail-order bride greets her intended with a bullet instead of a kiss? One like Regan Carmichael—an independent spirit equally at home in denims and dresses. Shooting Dr. Colton Lee in the shoulder is an honest error, but soon Regan wonders if her entire plan to marry a man she’s never met is a mistake. Colton, who buried his heart along with his first wife, insists he only wants someone to care for his daughter. Yet Regan is drawn to the unmistakable desire in his gaze.

Regan’s far from the docile bride Colton was expecting. Still, few women would brave the wilds of Wyoming Territory for an uncertain future with a widower and his child. The thought of having a bold, forthright woman like Regan in his life—and in his arms—begins to inspire a new dream. And despite his family’s disapproval and an unseen enemy, he’ll risk all to make this match a real union of body and soul.

Regan is a mail order bride. She and the doctor have written several letters to each other. He’s looking for a mother for his child. She’s looking for adventure and figures Wyoming will provide it. But their first meeting didn’t go well. After the stage was set upon by robbers, she got out her rifle and took care of them. When she sees more riders coming she shoots at them, too. Unfortunately, the man she hit was her intended…

Ms. Jenkins always writes a good story and this one is no exception. Her words flow well and she creates conflict as well as love in her stories.

The doctor was expecting a lady from back east. She was hoping for a love match. No one lied in their letters but meeting each other changes expectations. He has no interest in love. She wears denims and can do much more than household duties. Even worse, she has her own money.

Her husband’s mother-in-law hates her and has browbeat the young daughter. Another woman in town wanted him for herself and she’s very critical of Regan. But Regan can hold her own.

One of my favorite lines was when the girl asks her new momma if she and daddy were going to jump around on the bed like her friend’s parents did. Sure, that’s what they were doing…

With lots of odd relatives and friends, the two grow closer together. It’s great fun to watch how they respond to the challenges.

This was a very good read.

Forbidden Song by Brooklyn Ann

Forbidden Song by Brooklyn Ann
Publisher: Boroughs Publishing Group
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (236 pgs)
Heat: Spicy
Rated: 4 stars
Review by Rose

After having one of the worst experiences a young teenager could endure at the hands of cruel musicians, Christine Mayne’s rock star brother Quinn tried to lock her away from the world. She had to fight to live her life, go to college, get her master’s and enter her PhD program. Now, she’s determined to complete her research on group dynamics by touring with Bleeding Vengeance, even it means deceiving her brother and lying to the band’s fabulous lead singer, Cliff Tracey.

Cliff Tracey hates being manipulated, lied to and deceived. He’d know, having gone through a string of exes who had done just that. When he thinks he’s found a kindred spirit, and a beautiful babe to boot, imagine his surprise – and disappointment – when he learns she played him so she can tour with his band to complete her PhD. When he finds out why, he knows he’s in double trouble because Quinn Mayne will kill anyone who touches his sister, and Cliff Tracey has all sorts of plans for Christine Mayne that involves more than either of them ever expected.

This is the fifth book in the series, but it can definitely be read as a standalone. I’ve not read the earlier books, but never felt lost or confused. And, after this, I’m going to be picking up Brooklyn Ann’s earlier books.

I’m not a huge metal lover either, so don’t let that hold you back. This isn’t a book about metal music so much as it is about people. It was interesting getting a glimpse into the music scene itself and, if you like getting to know characters in a book, I think you’ll like this one. Because the author does a wonderful job in letting you feel what the characters are feeling.

Christine is smart and believes in going after what she wants…and what she wants right now is a way to break away from her brother’s overprotectiveness and work on the research for her dissertation. This really conflicts with her other want… Cliff.

Cliff is the womanizer of the band.. unabashed and unashamed. In fact, another character called him “slutty.” But when he’s around Christine and really gets to know her, he finds that other women in his bed does not appeal to him as much.

The romance between the two is slow moving, which adds to the pleasure for me. It grows as they get to know each other … which is something I love. Not a huge fan of the “love at first sight” trope. But this is a sweet and tender growth between two people who have been looking for something.

The other characters are just as well drawn as Christine and Cliff, but it is very much their story. Kudos, Brooklyn Ann…you’ve won yourself a fan.

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Legends of Persia by Jennifer Macaire

Legends of Persia by Jennifer Macaire
Book Two – Time for Alexander series

Publisher: Accent Press Ltd.
Genre: Historical, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full length (280 pages)
Heat level: Hot
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Lavender

When Ashley Riveraine jumped at the chance to travel back in time to meet her hero Alexander the Great, she never thought she would end up staying there…

Following Alexander the Great’s army on its journey across Persia, Ashley is walking the knife edge of history. As a presumed goddess, Ashley is expected to bless crops, make sure battles are won and somehow keep herself out of the history books.

Can Ashley avoid the wrath of the Time Institute while keeping the man she loves alive?

A major road trip adventure, this story does a fine job displaying quirky people and the problems they encounter in their epic quest across an ancient land. Modern-day Ashley goes back in time and is married to her hero, Alexander the Great. What could possibly happen here?

Legends of Persia is the second in this series, continuing the story of Alexander expanding his kingdom while searching for his and Ashley’s kidnapped son. What a man won’t go through to save his boy. Because there are many battles to go through over the years, Alexander gets seriously hurt, more than once. His recovery, and Ashley’s responses, are one of many good ways a reader gets to know them better. However, serious injuries are only one way we get to know them and their friends and enemies. The human relationships between exotic characters bring interesting scenarios to light. Ashley has to face her husband taking yet another wife because history says he married this other woman and fathered her children—to interfere could get Ashley eliminated from time as a punishment. What does she think as she stands and watches this wedding? What does Alexander think? The unrolling of episodes such as this is woven skillfully through the story.

This is not technically a romance. True, Ashley and Alexander are married and in love, and they act like it, but they are not alone in the relationship. He has other wives, and she has another lover. There is jealousy but not enough to destroy the main relationship. This novel is also very spicy, with unconventional and very hot love scenes. If one is offended by non-traditional “love scenes”, this would not be the book to read. If a reader doesn’t mind this or can get past it, then it becomes obvious that the scenes either develop the plot or the characters or simply just show life as it was thousands of years ago, with different human values.

Customs and values change, but human emotions are the same, and this comes out. Though, those human emotions go through the filter of a different culture and time and can inspire eye-opening revelations.

At first, I found myself wondering at times if what happened in the book was good for the characters, but the way these types of scenes are written, it becomes clear that they are appropriate for the setting and the characters. Put in this context, our concepts of feelings such a love may widen upon reading about these complex love relationships.

Mundane details like meals are delightful for putting us in average scenes, making them more realistic. There are good details about different types of festivals with one memorable and spicy festival in particular—not for the squeamish. Other scenes, like a rape, are offensive in themselves, but how do the characters handle them? A reader will keep turning pages to find out.

Deep ponderings come up. Alexander talks about descendants and ancestors—food for thought. Even though this is a road trip, with battles and big things happening around the interesting details of everyday life, in the background there is a sense of urgency behind this story. Ashley knows that Alexander dies young, and she knows when. As each passing year happens, she feels fate pushing down upon them.

This story will have a reader reconsidering conceptions of several things. It ends on a calm note with the promise of great adventure ahead. I would recommend this story to anyone who would enjoy unconventional but deep love with some violence mixed in, with a story that does a good job with character development and world-building.