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The Night is Mine (Night Stalkers #1) by M. L. Buchman

The Night is Mine (Night Stalkers #1) by M. L. Buchman

This is the first book in M. L. Buchman’s Night Stalker series. I’ve actually read the whole series, but reviewed very few of the books. The series is based on the best helicopter fighting squad in the Army that runs missions at night in the dangerous Hindu Kush Mountain range on the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan. The information you learn is actually pretty cool, but it is a side benefit of the different story lines.

The book is about the first female in the SOAR program (the helicopter squad that flies at night). Captain Emily Beale grew up in Washington and joined the Army out of college and has been flying ever since. She is the first woman to break into the most elite squad there is. Shortly after she joins this amazing squad, she is pulled out on a secret mission to the White House. Here childhood crush is the current President and she is instructed to look after his wife, the First Lady, as it appears someone is trying to kill her. She is followed by her commanding officer, Major Mark Henderson, known as the Viper for his hard ass skills and amazing flying. The two develop a relationship throughout the story that is both interesting and unique.

This is one of my favorite books in the series. I come back to it again and again when I need something interesting to read. The story line is full of twists, turns, surprises, and emotional drama. However, it’s not the annoying, unnecessary emotional drama that a lot of romance books are filled with. All the emotional turmoil in the book is developed well and makes logical sense. The information you learn about different aspects of the White House, Secret Service, the Army, and helicopter flying are interesting, but I’m sure it’s mostly just basic information that anyone can discover easily. The characters are well-developed and work perfectly with the story. Most of them are easy to image or relate to, which is really great.  Almost all the characters you meet again later on in their own books or novellas of the series.

If you like military romance or romantic suspense this is a great book to go with in order to kick off the series. I’d also recommend it if you like romance, but it definitely isn’t a light-hearted book or an easy read. However, I find it is totally worth the read if you enjoy a good story.

My rating:

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Penelope (Fairweather Sisters #1) by Anya Wylde

Penelope (Fairweather Sisters #1) by Anya Wylde

I picked this book up because it said it was a clean historical romantic comedy, which I am finding I like greatly. I have to say it is exactly as advertised. It takes place in the early 1800s and is a really good historical romance. I have to say it is one of the few books that has made me laugh out loud while I was reading multiple times. I really is worth the read.

The story follows Penelope, a country bumpkin from a small town in the rural country. Penelope’s mother died when she was very young, but not before extracting a promise from a Duchess to look after her daughter. The dowager takes Penelope under her wing and brings Penelope to her son’s,the Duke’s, London home. The hilarity starts as soon as Penelope arrives, hours late, soaking wet, and in the company of her pet goat. Mishap after mistake after accident follow as the young girl tries to bloom into a young woman. She annoys and angers the duke at every turn, embarrasses her friend, and has run-ins with thieves and highwaymen. Throw in a few more interesting characters and you have a wonderful, light-hearted read that is worth the time.

The characters are well-developed and completely relateable. My biggest complaint is the grammar issues, of which there are several. The storyline was smooth and didn’t drag.  It was predictable but definitely has enough twists and turns to keep it interesting. The love story could have used a little more work, but it added to the comedy in places. The length was good and fit well with the story. The story was only told from Penelope’s point of view except for a couple places that are from the Duke’s. Having more of the Duke’s perspective could have helped, but for this story it wasn’t necessary. I highly recommend this to anyone who likes historical romance.

My rating:

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Christmas at Peleliu Cove by M. L. Buchman

Christmas at Peleliu Cove by M. L. Buchman

I bought this book because I loved Christmas at Steele Beach so much. I was kind of surprised I didn’t like this book as much. The book covers the love story of two characters that were present in Christmas at Steele Beach but not really involved.

The story follows Petty Officer Nika Maier, the Loadmaster for Sly’s hovercraft. Nika has a really mottled history of grief and pain and won’t let anyone close. She feels out of touch and detached from her fellow soldiers. The closest she’s gotten to anyone is her present crew. He past relations were short and physical with no emotional connection. In comes Lieutenant Clint Barstowe, an Army Ranger that shakes her world up. His past is barely less filled with pain than hers. A busted marriage has left him as leery of women as Nika is of men. The two start a rocky and emotional relationship that leaves both of them shook up.

I did enjoy the book. It was filled with ups and downs and puts you through a wide spectrum of emotions. I just didn’t seem to connect with the characters as well as I have as I did in other books. Nika is a very hard individual that is trying her best no matter what she does. You learn the most about her when she becomes emotionally vulnerable throughout different incidents in the book. I did like how the author developed the characters and how you could see them changing throughout the book. There was a depth to the Lieutenant that you don’t realize at first as you read through the sections of the book told from his point of view. I would have like to have seen this pulled in to a full length novel. There was definitely areas that could be expanded and the relationship could have developed at a more realistic pace and you could see them settled in the relationship instead of just kind of falling into and then ending. If you are someone who enjoys military romances, this is probably a great book for you to read. It doesn’t connect with the Night Stalker story line much but the characters are present, so if you love the series this could be a good read as well.

My rating:

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Christmas at Steel Beach (Night Stalkers #9) by M. L. Buchman

Christmas at Steel Beach (Night Stalkers #9) by M. L. Buchman

This is actually the second or third time I’ve read this book. It’s more of a novella and an add-on to the Night Stalkers series. I love the Night Stalker series and this book is about people connected to the Night Stalkers and not actually members.

The story follows Chief Steward Gail Miller as she assumes her new post as head chef on the Navy vessel currently housing the SOAR 5D division (though she doesn’t actually know that).The love interest is Chief Petty Officer Sly Stowell who is craftmaster of the ship’s hovercraft. Gail arrives to a kitchen in shambles and ends up in an accidental volunteer position on an active mission. While she is trying re-sort the kitchen, she is forming relationships with Sly and the women of SOAR. Her settling in is upended when she is faced with a man from her past waving an interesting transfer in front of her that may open up new ways to reach a dream she has. In the end, it is up to her whether to take the transfer or stay in her new home.

I love this book. It is short but full of life. The interactions between the characters are so believable and interesting. It is always fun to read how M. L. Buchman develops his characters emotionally. The book isn’t packed full of battle sequences but it definitely feels like everything moves along very well and in a regular speed. Your interest is kept throughout and there isn’t anywhere that it drags along. I highly recommend it for a short military romance read, a must read for anyone who likes the Night Stalkers series, or a fun Christmas read for anyone looking.

My rating:

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Books Over 800 Pages

Since one of my challenges is to read a book over 800 pages, I have compiled a list. I didn’t include listings that were multiple books (such as a trilogy that is over 800 pages). I went from shortest to longest. All page counts are from Goodreads.

Books Set During War Time

Since one of my challenges for this year is to read a novel set during wartime, I put together a list of some of the most recommended books to read that are set during wartime.

Civil War

  • Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
  • North and South by John Jakes
  • Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  • The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
  • The Widow of the South by Robert Hicks
  • Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier

World War I

  • All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
  • A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
  • Regeneration by Pat Barker
  • Birdsong by Sebastian Faulk

World War II

  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusack
  • Night by Elie Wiesel
  • Sophie’s Choice by William Styron.
  • The Boy in the Stripped Pajamas by John Boyne
  • Empire of the Sun by J. G. Ballard
  • Atonement by Ian McEwan
  • Austerlitz by W. G. Sebald
  • Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
  • The Last Train to Istanbul by Ayse Kulin
  • Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
  • Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum

Korean War & Vietnam

  • The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
  • The Quiet American by Graham Greene
  • The Hunters by James Salter
  • MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors by Richard Hooker

Wars in the Middle East

  • A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Housseini
  • The Kite Runner by Khaled Housseini
  • Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain

Other Wars in Europe

  • War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  • For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
  • Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
  • Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell

Cold War

  • The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy

Articles about this:

Books with Unreliable Narrators

So one of the challenges for the 2017 PopSugar Reading Challenge includes reading a book with an unreliable narrator. For some reason I couldn’t think of what that meant. The best definition I could find is: “a character whose telling of the story is not completely accurate or credible“.

Therefore, I have searched and come up with list of the most frequently mentioned books with unreliable narrators.

Here are some articles on the subject: