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D. Roberts "Hadrian12" RSS Feed (Battle Creek, Michigan United States)

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by Clayton Graham
Edition: Paperback
Price: $16.95
11 used & new from $13.66

4.0 out of 5 stars Aussies vs. Aliens!, May 29, 2016
This review is from: milijun (Paperback)
In the 22nd century, a mining astronaut on the moon (Simon) disturbs a cave that holds a nest of hibernating aliens who then proceed from the moon to south Australia. The aliens have no need for spaceships as they're able to fly through space. Insidiously, they're able to combine with human hosts. In effect, they're something like a parasitical species. While this sounds like INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, the difference is that they do not totally take over the human host. Male hosts die when the alien departs, while female hosts stay alive, but they're in a spaced-out state.

The key to engaging the aliens & understanding their nebulous plans lies with a Top Secret military research installation known as Milijun. It is sort of like the Australian counterpart to AREA 51. Unlike the infamous installation in the Nevada desert, Milijun integrates science with New Age type paradigms; it combines physics with metaphysics. The place has access to technology that nobody outside Milijun is aware of ~ not even the rest of the Aussie military.

Caught in the middle of it all are a divorced mother named Laura & her only son, 14 year old Jason. They travel to south Australia for a vacation and end up being in the midst of a First Contact event. Laura wants to wish to go about life-as-normal, but both Milijun and the regular military have an interest in her son precisely because the alien race appears to have an infatuation with him.

Such is the premise of the current book. It is highly recommended for people who have an interest in science fiction ~ especially First Contact story lines. It demonstrates how 2 intelligent species may misunderstand the motives of the other. In short, it is a different "kind" of alien interaction that what we normally find in sci fi. After all, it's science fiction, Aussie style!!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 29, 2016 11:17 AM PDT

Western Romance: Deputy's Bride: MMF, Threesome, menage (Historical West - The Cowboys of Naked Bluff, Texas series Book 3)
Western Romance: Deputy's Bride: MMF, Threesome, menage (Historical West - The Cowboys of Naked Bluff, Texas series Book 3)
Price: $3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars MFM action in the old west!, May 28, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is an erotic tale set in the old west: 19th century Texas. It is actually an erotica / Romance hybrid of two 1/2 brothers (Bo & Chase) who want to share a bride. While she will technically only be married to Bo, for all intents & purposes it will be a plural marriage. Sarah is a damsel in distress who is down on her luck. She was married to an outlaw but now she is a widow. Her only possession is her favorite horse: Prettyboy. She needs a man to protect her. Will 2 men do? At first she is resistant to the idea of being "married" to 2 men instead of 1, but over time her opinion changes on this matter.

That is the backdrop of a woman being seduced, not by 1 man, but by 2. Somewhat surprisingly (especially to her) is that both men fall in love with her. They want to make her happy & protect her as opposed to simply having her on their ranch as some sort of "toy." The sex scenes are explicit, which is a big plus. Slowly but surely, she becomes comfortable being with 2 men @ the same time.

I have read plural marriage stories like this before which have taken the unexpected twist of having guy-on-guy action. Thankfully, that was NOT the case with this book. It is straight heterosexual / voyeuristic fun from the old west. Hence, for those who are worried about Bo & Chase getting frisky with each other, you need not fret. For people who ARE looking for that sort of thing, this book is not for you.

The Men Who Built America [DVD]
The Men Who Built America [DVD]
DVD ~ The History Channel
Price: $8.34
41 used & new from $4.09

4.0 out of 5 stars Revolution of industrialists!, May 27, 2016
This is the story of the giants of the post-civil war industrial revolution: Cornelius Vanderbilt, John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Mogan and Henry Ford. Collectively, these men served as the catalysts or the U.S. economy to shift into the 20th century. This documentary tells the good, the bad & the ugly about all of the industrial titans.

As is always the case, 1 star is deducted from my review score due to the inclusion of Donald J. Trump and Carly Fiorinia as narration contributors. The series would've been well served to omit the commentary of those 2 fakers. Other than that, the CEO types that he documentary invokes are basically credible.

Watching the stories of these business giants reminded me why I'm a liberal. Did they play a huge role in transforming the industry & banking practices of the United States? Absolutely. Did they propel the U.S. economy into the 20th century? Without question. Did they help bring about dramatic changes, such as the advent of electricity and the automobile? Without question. All of that said, these men should not be granted a "free pass" for downright reprehensible behavior. Of all the tycoons studied, only Henry Ford bequeathed to his workers a safe working environment and fair wages. These 3 DVDs underscore why Teddy Roosevelt is my favorite President: he was the 1st one to stand up to their abuse of capitalism. To be clear: I have no problem with the tycoons making a lot of $$. What I do take issue with is how they hoarded their profits.

It was not until the tail end of their lives that Rockefeller and Carnegie used their enormous wealth for the interests of philanthropy. A great many workers for each never benefited from their late change-of-heart. My all-time favorite photograph is of the 1927 Solvay conference. It has, I would argue, the most intellectual firepower ever captured in a single photograph. The nice thing about being a fan of the scientists pictured is that they made their progress in science without having to shaft anyone. They were driven by a curiosity about how the universe works rather than a desire for ever greater profits. I can be a fan of the attendees of the 1927 Solvay conference minus any distaste in my mouth.

The same cannot be said for the life stories that the present DVD set delves into. Were the tycoons great men? Depending on how you define your terms, the answer may be "yes." Were they worthy of our admiration? For the most part, I would say "no." Does recalling their life & times carry with it a lot of unsavory baggage? Absolutely. That's just the way it goes.

Homeland: Season 1
Homeland: Season 1
DVD ~ Claire Danes
Offered by Outlet Promotions
Price: $18.47
55 used & new from $1.61

5.0 out of 5 stars I'm hooked to the HOMELAND!!, May 24, 2016
This review is from: Homeland: Season 1 (DVD)
Well, now I know what all the fuss was about in regards to this series. It certainly is addictive!! Carrie (Claire Danes) is a CIA agent who has always had a penchant for jazz music & being a patriot. Unfortunately, she also suffers from depression; a fact that she hides from her superiors for fear of losing her job. Sergeant Brody (Damian Lewis) is a Marine sniper who was a POW rescued by the Army DELTA FORCE. However, he is an ambiguous character and it's nebulous as to whose side he's on. Such is the backdrop of the present season.

Claire Danes is a lovely women, but her beauty is dumbed down for this role. She finds her niche playing a feisty CIA agent who doesn't always.....ahem.......follow the rules. The performance of Damian Lewis as a conflicted Marine who is suffering from PTSD as well as a sense of abandonment is amazing. He is very believable as a warrior who has been damaged by the horrors of war. Lastly, SUPERGIRL fans may be curious to see the lovely Melissa Benoist minus her cape. IF so, check out episode 2 as she has a topless "interview" to be part of a Sultan's harem.

If military movies & drama are your gig, then you will be hard pressed to top this show. I will be purchasing seasons 2 & 3 very soon.

The Modern Romantic: New Relaxing Classical Piano Music
The Modern Romantic: New Relaxing Classical Piano Music
Price: $9.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Music for the contemplative soul, May 21, 2016
In the tradition of Chopin's NOCTURNES, here are a slew of piano pieces for quiet nights, candlelight dinners and road trips during the dead-of-winter. It is music for somber moments, especially if you're with your loved one. My favorite track is TIMELESS and it reminds me a little bit of Enya. So, if you are in the market for a CD for the special nights in your life, this 1 is for you!

Death Steppe: A World War II Novel
Death Steppe: A World War II Novel
by Judy Bruce
Edition: Paperback
Price: $16.95
18 used & new from $3.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Caught in the middle, May 15, 2016
***Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an objective review.

Friedrich is a German officer who has spoken out against the 3rd Reich in the past. As an architect, he is conscripted by the Nazis to be an officer in the German army. Stationed at Dachau, he is appalled by the atrocities committed by his Nazi brethren. He distances himself from his former outspoken nature as he physically sees what happens to Nazis who speak out against the high command: they are sent to concentration camps, tortured & left to rot. He is so alarmed by what he sees that he requests to be transferred to the front lines of WWII.

Elena is an academic who is pulled from teaching at a university to become a medic for the Soviet Red Army. While she has a seething hatred for the Nazi invaders, suffice to say that she's not a member of uncle Joe Stalin's fan club. After working in a hospital, she is transferred to the air corps to be an aviator who drops bombs on the Nazis.

After Elena's small plane is shot down, she stumbles across Friedrich, whose platoon was wiped out by an air strike. Both are injured and they need each other to survive. They try to heal & recuperate from battle at a remote, abandoned Russian farmhouse. In doing so, they find themselves comitting the #1 no-no for members of the military: aiding and abetting the enemy. In short, they find themselves stuck in the middle.

Neither has a whole lot of faith in the governments of their respective countries. Neither of them wanted a "piece of the action" in WWII. Both have witnessed 1st hand the horrors, atrocities and brutality of the biggest war the world has ever seen. In each other they discover trait that they never thought they'd find in the enemy: humanity.

Such is the backdrop of the current story. It is a fascinating study of what happens to innately good people when they are thrust into desperate & horrific situations. The story resides in the gray area of warfare / combat ~ a subject that is supposed to be entirely black & white.

This is a must-read book for people who are fans of historical fiction, especially in regards to the 2nd World War. In particular, the present novel gives the reader a glimpse into a part of the war which normally does not frequently occupy the thoughts of Americans: the German retreat from the Soviet Union. Optimists may find the present story as challenging to their overall viewpoint of life.

Sassy Aphrodite and her Sweet Dirty Mouth (Blurred Lines Series Book 4)
Sassy Aphrodite and her Sweet Dirty Mouth (Blurred Lines Series Book 4)
Price: $3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars It's complicated...., May 1, 2016
***Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for writing an objective review

In Greek mythology, Aphrodite, the goddess of love, became enamoured with a beautiful youth named Adonis. She handed him off to Persephone for safe keeping, whereby Persephone became enraptured with him as well. When he got into his teen yrs, Aphrodite wanted him back but Persephone wanted to keep him. It was finally decided (some say by Zeus) that Adonis would spend 1/3 of the yr with Persephone, 1/3 of the yr with Aprhodite and 1/3 of the yr with whomever he chose. Hence, he ended up spending 2/3 of the yr with Aphrodite.

Sadly, while still in his teens Adonis was killed by a boar. Aphrodite has such overwhelming grief over the lad's death that white roses turn into red roses; the red depicts both the blood of Adonis as well as Aprhodite's fervent love for him. In the current story, Aphrodite is Tara Lynne, a beautiful, young, naive, gregarious, flakey but highly loveable woman. She finds herself stuck with her "bad boy" boyfriend, Justin. Like so many young women, as her 1st serious relationship was with a bad boy, she assumed that all men were bad boys.

Adonis, meanwhile, is Zack Brannon, a submariner in the Navy. Zach is a large, handsome, muscle-bound "Biff" of a guy who has lousy luck with women. His issue is not getting dates ~ there are no shortage of those as he catches the eye of every woman who sees him on a day-to-day basis. Problem is, the women he hooks up with tend to want to manipulate and control him. All he wants to do is be Zack Brannon.

One weekend in San Diego, Tara & Zack meet up in San Diego and it is a "fantasy weekend" for the both of them. Zack finally finds a woman who stirs his heart & at the same time someone who respects him. Meanwhile, Tara finds a weekend with Zack like Dorothy going into the Technicolor world of OZ after all of the "black & white" time she spent with Justin.

Unfortunately, the pair fall out of touch post-San Diego. To complicate matters, Tara finds that she is carrying Zack's baby. She needs to get away from Justin and she finds a knight-in-shining-armor to help her in the guise of Justin's friend, Matt. To complicate matters further, Matt wants more than a Platonic friendship with her. Matt is a good guy, but Tara is madly in love with Zack......who has since fallen off the grid. Yup, it's complicated.

The weakest part of the book is that there are major discrepancies insofar as its descriptions of the Navy. The most egregious is that Zack is constantly referred to as a "Navy soldier." Having been in the Navy myself, I cringed whenever I read this. If Zack is in the Navy, then he is a sailor. Or, he can be referred to as a submariner as he wears the kissing dolphins. Soldier is used for people in the Army, not the Navy.

Also, Zack's rank is never offered, but he is depicted as being a Gunners Mate / Torpedo (what used to be known as a Torpedoman's Mate). Fair enough. That means he is enlisted. In the story, there is a passage that tells of a junior officer coming up to him and saluting him. That is WAY off the mark. As an enlisted sailor, Zack would be saluting the officer, and even then only if they were outdoors. There is also a passage where Zack complains of diesel fumes. The Navy retired its last diesel sub several decades ago; these days every submarine in the Navy fleet is nuclear powered.

Finally, Zack's former girlfriend ended up being the daughter of his commanding officer. His CO doesn't like Zack and is trying to give him a Dishonorable discharge. This is simply not realistic. Could such a situation make one's career complicated? Certainly. However, not even a CO can arbitrarily try & give someone a Dishonorable discharge. A General discharge or maybe even an Other Than Honorable? Maybe....depending on the circumstances. However, a Dishonorable discharge is always accompanied by a criminal offense, court proceedings and (usually) prison time.

Now, this is not a Tom Clancy novel ~ I get that. However, people who have been in the Navy will not find its unrealistic depiction of a submariner's life appealing. One last topic: Zack is said to be suffering from PTSD. It's unclear why Zack would be suffering from PTSD, given that he is a submariner. Perhaps there was a major crisis on the sub where it almost sunk ~ that could cause it. However, insofar as the war-on-terror is concerned, subs have only been used to launch long-range TOMAHAWK missiles and launch super secret SEAL team incursions. Other than that, subs have not been put in harm's way due to terrorism. Don't get me wrong: it takes plenty of bravery to be on a sub as all your eggs are in one basket should things go kahooey. It's just that it's a separate issue from what other military personnel suffer from after returning from a combat zone.

Obviously, that was a bit of a rant. My apologies. The book does deliver on what it's designed to deliver on, which is being a feel-good, fun little story. As erotic fiction goes, this book is pretty mild. If you're looking for super-heated scenes of erotica, then this novel is not the best for that. Of course, it's not really the "point" as at its base it's about 2 young lovers searching for each other in a world of uncertainty. Oh, and also a world of complications!

Snowfall on Mars
Snowfall on Mars
by Branden Frankel
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.99
17 used & new from $10.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mars in the post apocalypse, May 1, 2016
This review is from: Snowfall on Mars (Paperback)
***Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for writing an objective review for

First the good news: sometime in the 22nd century, mankind has established its first colonies on an alien world: Mars. Now for the bad news: being on Mars is like being trapped on a submarine minus the water; going outside requires wearing a cumbersome space suit and the windows end up being so caked with red Martian clay that they frequently cannot be used for viewing the outside world. An effort to Terraform Mars ended in disaster as all the Terraforming machines were able to do was to create tornadoes, toxic snow and acid rain.

The story is told 1st person through the eyes of the main character: David Adler. David (reluctantly) came to Mars with his parents when he was 7yrs old. His family and so many others resembled 19th century Sooners who traversed the continent west to get cheap land. In this case, instead of securing a homestead, the space age Sooners hope to turn a big profit. The thinking is, they can buy cheap land and then "flip" the property for a healthy profit margin once the Terraforming project is complete. Of course, those plans go by the wayside when the Terraforming project fails utterly.

Some 20yrs before the story begins, there as a nuclear war on Earth, followed by radio silence. In the 19th and 20th century, people such as Percival Lowell and H.G. Wells gazed up @ Mars and wondered whether any life could inhabit the planet. In the 22nd century, colonists on Mars look back at Earth and ask themselves the same question. The young people on Mars are called "Panama boys" as they've never known anything but the harsh living conditions of the Red Planet; for them stories about living on Earth are as remote as the Garden of Eden.

After the nuclear war, all the normal rules of society break down and people go into survival mode. Cliques are formed to substitute for law & order. Religion makes a comeback, but it's a new religion adapted for life in a hostile envioronment as the old world religions (in this case, LITERALLY the old world religions!) no longer cut it. A cult is formed and they seemingly have insidious intentions afoot. The clock is ticking and David must figure out what their plan is before it's too late.

If science fiction adventure stories are in your wheelhouse, then this one is highly recommended. It details just how arduous the colonization of other worlds will be. Once the supply lines from Earth are cut off, the Martian denizens are able to manufacture their own food. It is enough to sustain life, but it tastes awful. The one "luxury" item on Mars is cheap cigarettes that they're able to synthesize. Back on Earth, cigarettes were looked upon as a bad thing because they shorten your life. On Mars they're looked upon as a good thing ~ for precisely the same reason!! Lastly, one of the buildings in the story is named the Leibniz complex and this would appear to be an inside joke (do a web search on Gottfried von Leibniz if you want to get in on the fun!). People who enjoy the present novel may also want to check out MARINER VALLEY by James Crawford. It offers a slightly different vision of what the colonization of Mars would look like.

The Lion Trees: Part Two: Awakening (Volume 2)
The Lion Trees: Part Two: Awakening (Volume 2)
by Owen Thomas
Edition: Paperback
Price: $26.50
25 used & new from $7.96

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reconciliation, April 21, 2016
***Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for writing an objective review

The sequel to Part 1 of THE LION TREES delivers the goods in bringing a compelling story to an end. The tale is of the Johns family, which is a family from Ohio that collectively has a knack for becoming embroiled in convoluted rigmaroles. The most salient boondoggle belongs to David Johns. He has the audacity to teach history @ a high school without omitting the dark details of the subject that most in the mainstream would rather ignore. He defies a community that prefers to have their sons & daughters be giving a pre-packaged brand of history, like a meal from a fast food restaurant. The effrontery!!! {{{gasp}}} The aspect that makes David's story poignant is just how plausible it is. Nearly a century after the Scopes "Monkey trial," people still think it's a good idea to inject religion into the curriculum of what is supposed to be a public school education. For a liberal like me, this is nothing short of horrifying.

Some readers may be a bit perplexed with the book's fixation on the image of aquariums being busted. Ostensibly, this is a metaphor of how the equilibrium of our lives can become unbalanced with different crises. It also suggests how our dreams can become shattered when they come into contact with reality, which dovetails with Tilly's childhood infatuation with wanting to have exotic fish. There are also implications in the book of how the world as a whole resembles a giant fishbowl for those observing it from the outside. For myself, the story as a whole brought to mind the vision of someone breaking an expensive vase into a thousand pieces and then meticulously gluing it back together again.

Ultimately, the mysterious Lion Trees represent the big choices we make in our lives, especially the major mistakes which seem to continue to haunt us for the duration of our sojourn on the planet. It also ties in with the fear of abandonment that all of us share. As such, the journey of the Johns family is universally relatable to anyone who chooses to peruse it. Life is all about choices.

The Lion Trees: Part One: Unraveling
The Lion Trees: Part One: Unraveling
by Owen Thomas
Edition: Paperback
Price: $20.76
27 used & new from $2.44

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More sound & greater fury!, April 3, 2016
People who have read William Faulkner's THE SOUND AND THE FURY will find much that is familiar here. By no means should this dissuade anyone from perusing the current novel, but the inspiration drawn from Faulkner's novel is rather obvious. Like SOUND, this is a tale of a well-to-do family that has fallen on hard times. Instead of taking place in the deep south, this story is in the middle of the heartland: Columbus, Ohio.

Faulkner fans are going to hammer me for saying this, but I found the present novel to be far more accessible, readable and (gasp!) entertaining than THE SOUND AND THE FURY. To be sure, it's A-OK to be hammered by Faulkner fans as they tend to be smarter than I am anyway.

There are 5 main characters in the story:

***Hollis Johns: husband to Susan, father to David, Matilda and Ben. He is a dignified retired banker who has a bit of an aggrandized vision of himself. He longs to have a deeper appreciation from his family (especially his wife) for having been the breadwinner for decades. One of his former business associates is named Charles Compson and there is an allusion to Charles' brother, Quentin Compson. For those who are scoring @ home, this is an obvious allusion to the character from Faulkner's novel.

***Susan Johns: wife to Hollis and mother to David, Matilda and Ben. She resents Hollis' apparent superiority complex and wishes they could live like a "normal" retired couple. Instead, she feels marginalized by a husband who refuses to share what is on his mind. Both Hollis & Susan struggle to cope with being retired and they wish to reclaim their lost youth.

***David Johns: as the eldest son, he was brought up with grandiose expectations which he finds to be difficult to meet. He becomes a victim of a heart wrenching case of the law of unintended consequences.

***Matilda (Tilly) Johns: She once had a close relationship with her father, but that all changed when she went through her rebellious teen phase. Of course, Hollis shares some blame for mishandling the phase & contributing to the fallout. She has bolted to California in hopes of becoming a writer. Instead, she unexpectedly became a minor movie star. {The author's description of this character made me think of Lizzy Caplan repeatedly. Should they ever make these books into a movie, then Lizzy would be the PERFECT choice to play Tilly!}

***Ben Johns: He is the youngest of the 3 children. Like Benji from THE SOUND AND THE FURY, he is mentally handicapped (in his case, he has Downs Syndrome). Unlike Benji, we do not get the story from his point-of-view.

This book does not have a plot so much as the characters just kind of flow along. I do not mean that as a diss: this is one of the most engrossing stories I've read in quite awhile. Like the Faulkner classic, it is told from the point-of-view of each of the main characters, minus Ben.

I have but a few criticisms to offer. First off, there are some mix-ups of the proper use of their vs. they're as well as your vs. you're which are a bit annoying. Also, the city in Michigan is spelled Dearborn as opposed to Deerborn, and the proper spelling of the classical composer mentioned is Haydn, not Hayden. Again, these are minor beefs.

Weather you have ever read Faulkner or not, I would HIGHLY recommend this book. Ohio State fans should be extra enthused to read it as OSU is always lurking in the background. Now, if you will excuse me, it's time for me to begin reading the sequel!

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