3.5-4 starsYeah, I know... most people love, love, love this book and don't like book 5 as much. For me, it was the opposite. Book 5 spoke to me, loud and clear; the theme came through to me - or at least the theme that I got from it: You can't live in your head or your dreams; you have to ASK or TAKE what you want to make it happen and DO what you need to do to make it happen. For someone who lives a lot of time in her head, well... it grabbed me. All 3 of those storylines, IMO, showed that theme.This book, to me, is the resolution of what started in book 5. Mary Lou is on the run because the terrorist who used her in book 5 has found her and killed her sister; as a result of this book, she also brings closure to her marriage with Sam and her love for Ihbraham. Sam's trying to bring closure to his marriage and figure out how to get on with his life and be around his daughter; as a matter of this book, he has the opportunity to also bring closure to his obsession/relationship/love with Alyssa. Max finds closure with Alyssa and opens it all back up again with Gina... which means that we'll see that resolved later - book 9?What got me and still confuses me is that IT'S BEEN 6 MONTHS since the end of the last book when this book starts. And it's JUST NOW that ML's fingerprints are coming up? It's JUST NOW that the whole weapons/treason thing is coming up for Tom P? Sam was served with divorce papers 6 months ago; did it really take THAT LONG for the details to be worked out? Putting that aside... it's obvious that Mary Lou's done some growing up or some "finding" herself or something. I guess finding a real love with Ihbraham and being scared witless does that to a gal. I was surprised and pleased with who and what she's become. I hope that she doesn't completely fade to black with the ending of this book. And I hope that she finally reaches out and finds GIRL FRIENDS, too. Too bad she'll likely move back to SD, since Whitney could really use ML around.Sam... well, I was angry with him after the last book. I know, it was ML's POV and bound to be in her favor. But Sam just checked-out of his marriage and even of his home life around Haley. And I was glad to see him acknowledge and embrace that in this book. I was glad to see him realize that "doing the right thing" isn't always what you think it is - not always the easy answer. And yes, I saw that ML wasn't really trying, either, in a lot of ways; that she rebuffed Sam's initial half-hearted tries because of her own prejudices and inability to see past her "vision" of what her life should be like.Noah, Claire, Walter, and Dot - such revelations! Such a breath of fresh air! The flashback/WWII stuff was done differently this time. I'm not sure if it worked completely, because it was so integrated with the rest of the content that you daren't skim anything or miss it. The revelation about how Sam is related to all of them is... wow. It's an amazing story and heart-warming; but in some ways, it's almost hoky and too neat. But it explains a LOT about all of Sam's names.Alyssa... again, I wasn't sure. I really wanted to see Sam and Alyssa together, but I had no idea how that could ever come about. Not with Max in the picture and all the baggage between Sam and Alyssa. And especially not with the way that Sam-Alyssa related to one another. They always have to get through so many layers and defenses that the other puts up to keep folks from getting close, that it's a wonder they can have anything besides mind-blowing sex. But I was glad to see a softer, gentler side to Alyssa. And I hope for the best for them.Donny... poor guy! And Joan's and Mike Muldoon's part in that was really downplayed, which disappointed me. We, the readers, knew all along that Donny had the right idea with his "alien" and expressed it as best he could in his own way. Too bad it's too easy to write someone like Donny off and not pay attention. But I loved how Sam ended up over at Donny's watching games on TV.Kelly - good to see her again! She proved, once again, that she's a go-get-'em kinda girl. If not for Kelly, the pieces would never have fit once they had them. And I doubt we'd have had a good conclusion to this story. Can't believe she actually went through with it! And she's obviously mostly responsible for what Tom does next. Yay, Kelly!Tom - that was such a shock! Figured that Tucker would continue to dog Paoletti, but I never expected this. But once again - WTH? It's been 6 freaking months! Cosmo - can't wait for his story, since this guy is such an enigma. But his little cameos are so filled with... nuance. Hope to really get to know this guy.