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Cast in Balefire (Mage Craft, #4)Cast in Balefire by S.M. Reine

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am so sorry that it took me so long first to read the book and then to review it. Life. That’s all I can account for.

Marion is still an amnesiac. I have to admit that this has gotten boring to me. Now that the world has changed so it makes it even harder to understand who is who and what position are they at now. Ms. Reine’s universe has gotten quite complicated and there really needs to be a glossary in the back or front of the book to look up the characters and where they are now.

The strange affliction has Marion married while in love with someone/something else. I just find myself confused and somewhat bored. I’m giving this 3.5 stars rounding up to 4 as I do enjoy seeing the old gang of wolves, etc. But this new world is just not as fun for me. Thanks for letting me read this book. I look forward to a satisfying end to this part of the story (…fire books).

Still, I think everyone could love SM Reine’s stories starting with the Six Moon Summer. This author is so prolific that one could read forever and not catch up. A clinker or two is just fine as it moves the reader to the next book in the series(s). (How does one pluralize more than one series?) Still, Enjoy!

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Victoria: From the creator of the ITV television seriesVictoria: From the creator of the ITV television series by Daisy Goodwin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received this edition from NetGalley to read and review. It is an Uncorrected Digital Galley copy. Yet, these eyes didn’t see any mistakes.

This was very interesting. I thought at first that I wouldn’t like it. I neither like history books nor Romance novels. There is both ‘herstory’ and romance in this book. But not a lot. This is more a queen’s coming of age story. In that, I thought it well done and an interesting read.

I loved watching this young person, in her teens, deal with the angst we all have gone through with our parents and breaking out into our own lives. Except, most of us don’t have to assume the responsibilities of the throne and a whole nation while going through these growing pains.

In the acknowledgments at the end of the book, the author mentions she wrote this while making the television (I think it was) show. I will be looking it up to see it. I think it could be done well.

Though not the best book I’ve read, I think you will find this an interesting read.

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The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1)The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Because of this review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show… by my friend, Cheryl, I couldn’t wait to read this book! And it was everything she said it was and more!

I picked up the Kindle copy from Amazon and the Audible version to go with it. It made a perfect go to sleep book at night. I was able to have my girl dreams of space travel and meeting new creatures. Oops! If there’s one thing I learned from this book is that we don’t consider the aliens creatures. They are just beings that are different than us. Often in many ways, they are superior to us that we should expect that. But as the author points out just because beings that look like, maybe, um, a giraffe from earth, doesn’t mean it has the intelligence of a giraffe from earth. It may actually have the abilities to move back and forth in time or travel in a different dimension. This was a good lesson for me as I like to write science fiction about other beings on other planets.

The narrator, Rachel Dulude, brought this book to life in ways I don’t think could have been possible to just read or even with the text-to-speech. She was able to separate the characters and beautiful ways, so you knew exactly who is talking without even reading it.

I do want to read this book again. Maybe when I’m more awake, to see how it is she actually built these characters and her plot and her worlds. It was very well written! And I can hardly wait to be able to afford and read her next book in the series!

If you like science fiction that isn’t all men and war. If you like science fiction that uses imagination with science possibilities, this book is for you! Well done, Becky Chambers!

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Loom Knitting A Tiny DollLoom Knitting A Tiny Doll by Denise M Canela

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

These cute little guys and the comfort dolls also by Denise M Canela are the reason I haven’t gotten very little of anything else done in my life. (Sorry this is a bit of a repeat from the review for the comfort dolls)

This is November! That means NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month. By now I should be almost finished with my novel for this year. But I’m only a third of the way into it.

These dolls are so much fun! And I keep thinking about the recipients, be they tiny little kids or adults who just need comfort, and I hope these little guys will do the trick. In case you’re curious as to my little guys: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/Darra… these are just a few I’ll be adding more as I finish up. I seem to have several projects going at the same time: a hat and two or three dolls. I try to make a little kid hat with each of the dolls I don’t know if they’re going to end up that way but it seems to me a nice thing to give the kid who might get the doll a little hat or maybe big sibling gets the doll or hat, or maybe they go to both to a newborn baby or something. By having the dolls and the hats in different stages, my hands don’t get tired doing the same thing over and over. And I’m not fond of sewing. But so happy with the results when I’m finished!

About the book, I read this and the comfort doll book and I couldn’t seem to get it right just by following the book. Luckily, Denise has videos attached in YouTube that you can watch. I watch them over and over and finally took the book, made notes from the book so that I’d have one piece of paper to look at and wouldn’t have to turn on something electronic just to recall the steps and how many stitches. And now I think I’m at the point where I don’t need to look at anything to remember how to make them. I don’t think I can blame the book. I blame me. I just have a hard time with written instructions and I do so much better when somebody shows me how to do it. So may I suggest that you get the books, read through, watch the YouTubes, and enjoy making the dolls!

Thank you, Denise M Canela, for all your books and instructions to making fun things for charity.

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Loom Knitting Comfort DollsLoom Knitting Comfort Dolls by Denise M Canela

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

These cute little guys and the tiny dolls also by Denise M Canela are the reason I haven’t gotten very little of anything else done in my life.

This is November! That means NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month. By now I should be almost finished with my novel for this year. But I’m only a third of the way into it.

These dolls are so much fun! And I keep thinking about the recipients, be they tiny little kids or adults who just need comfort, and I hope these little guys will do the trick. In case you’re curious as to my little guys: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/Darra… these are just a few I’ll be adding more as I finish up. I seem to have several projects going at the same time: a hat and two or three dolls. I try to make a little kid hat with each of the dolls I don’t know if they’re going to end up that way but it seems to me a nice thing to give the kid who might get the doll a little hat or maybe big sibling gets the doll or hat, or maybe they go to both to a newborn baby or something. By having the dolls and the hats in different stages, my hands don’t get tired doing the same thing over and over. And I’m not fond of sewing. But so happy with the results when I’m finished!

About the book, I read this and the tiny doll book and I couldn’t seem to get it right just by following the book. Luckily, Denise has videos attached in YouTube that you can watch. I watch them over and over and finally took the book, made notes from the book so that I’d have one piece of paper to look at and wouldn’t have to turn on something electronic just to recall the steps and how many stitches. And now I think I’m at the point where I don’t need to look at anything to remember how to make them. I don’t think I can blame the book. I blame me. I just have a hard time with written instructions and I do so much better when somebody shows me how to do it. So may I suggest that you get the books, read through, watch the YouTubes, and enjoy making the dolls!

Thank you, Denise M Canela, for all your books and instructions to making fun things for charity.

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The Girl BeforeThe Girl Before by J.P. Delaney

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Thank you, NetGalley for letting me read this in exchange for a review.

This book takes the concept of perfection into the realm of scary and bloody. Take that as my word of warning. Do you read a lot of books about clutter and minimalism? Well, the home in this story is dedicated to that kind of lifestyle. But in the end, it does get messy. No, I will say no more. Spoilers!

I shouldn’t have pushed myself to read the last part of the book before trying to go to sleep. I don’t like mysteries, or suspense or thrillers. Still, the concepts presented in the book blurb had me curious.

The main characters are the renters of this special house broken into chapters that are titled: Then: Emma and Now: Jane. Then wasn’t that long ago as they had cell phones. That gives a clue to the reader. We are given the opportunity to live through each point of view. The characters are well-developed and I found myself SEEING everything that was happening. The author was great at describing everything. I nearly found myself huffing and puffing as the characters climbed the stairs or clean the home to perfection as per agreement.

I am giving this four stars. Not because I liked it so much, but because I don’t think I will ever forget it. I think that means the author did her job well. If you like thrillers, this one is for you!

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An introduction to take Body MeasurementAn introduction to take Body Measurement by Moyo Abikoye

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I nearly forgot to make a review of this book. It is a very quick read but a marvelous reference if you are a sewer and like to make your own clothes. I did learn about things I often forget to measure when buying a pattern or even making my own patterns. I will be keeping this handy when I get back into sewing again.

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A Looming LadyA Looming Lady by Pamela Murrey

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I belong to a wonderful little group who makes hats for cancer patients, preemies, the homeless, and many other who need warmth and comfort. Before I started with the group I could crochet fairly well and had knitted a few scarves and slippers. I had bought the Knifty Knitter sets when I worked at JoAnn’s a while back. But I didn’t know how to use them. Carol, the chairman of our group, taught me how to use the knitting looms and I have become addicted to loom knitting. I scour the internet for new patterns.

That is how I found this gem. Most of the patterns in this book are easy beginner projects that didn’t fit what I want to make but I think novice knitters would like to try some of these. Notice I didn’t say women. Many men are finding the joy of making things with these looms. In fact, we have a guy in our group who makes many hats and gives us advice in our knitting pursuits. He is also a liaison to vets in need.

But this book is better than just a pattern book. It is a story of a homeless person who learned to use the looms. If you are involved in helping by making hats, this book personalizes recipients. Many people see the homeless as takers and leeches on society. They think that all homeless are out for drugs, in general, worthless beings. For those of us who have known folks who have been there, or almost were there, we know misfortune can happen to anyone and those without connections to help out of their plight are the most susceptible. This story gives us one example of a person as she tries to find her way out. Not everyone is as lucky as she becomes, even though that luck doesn’t seem good to her in any way. We get to see her growth. I loved the story.

Though I am on SS myself, the donated yarn gives me a chance to learn more about my obsession, while making comfort items for folks who need them. If you have the same obsession, this book may ring true for you. Even if you haven’t found your way to actually making loom hats, this story may open your eyes to the plights of the homeless.

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Forgotten WomenForgotten Women by Freda Lightfoot

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I received this book free of charge from NetGalley.

Historical fiction is usually the best way for me to pay attention to history. Take a historical event and make it more real by putting characters I like into the story. That is not to say there weren’t real characters I would care for in the real event. But since I wasn’t there then, I don’t know characters who were.

In this case, I have to admit to not having a clue about the involvement of the British helping in Spain. Most of the history given to US students in my day was about dates and famous men. Yawn. Maybe teachers should take note to Freda Lightfoot’s method of letting us know about the women who helped all the people regardless of politics.

My only problem was that I didn’t care much for most of the characters until near the end. There wasn’t a strong urge to see how the painting had anything to do with the rich lady or the crazy hormones floating around the young people who started out with only the desire to help.

Still, there was enough story, or draw, that I kept reading. I remember! It was the feminist thread. It was nice to see that there were some who thought women could do anything that men could do. That women artist could paint as well as their male counterpart, etc.

I just couldn’t fall in love with the characters. Hopefully, other readers will like it more.

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Elphie Goes Trick or Treating (Elphie Books Book 3)Elphie Goes Trick or Treating by Hagit R. Oron

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received this book free of charge from the author. Thank you!

Do you have a child that is afraid of masks or other aspects of Halloween? I remember when my first was afraid of masks. The one that frightened him was made of rubber. I turned it inside out and said it was made of rubber. Then I picked up other things around the house made of the same substance. I don’t think it helped at all. This little story might have helped.

I loved how the parent let the little guy go out without his mask just so he could still have fun wth his friend. When the child got used to how everyone responds to the fun of the evening he decides for himself that wearing a mask is okay. It is always better to let the child come to his or her own healthy conclusions than forcing an issue. Wise messages are here.

I think that the only problem I had with the book was that it was written in first-person. For some reason that was jarring. I tried to imagine reading this story to a child reading the “I” statements would seem to take a child out of the story. If it is meant to be an early reader that might work. But books like this I would want to read aloud to my children long before they learned to read so we could talk about the subject matter.

Still, I do think this is a cute book. I love the little elephant, Elphie.

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