Archive for November 22, 2015

Hidden SecretsHidden Secrets by Sophia DeLuna

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

At the end of summer, I got an e-mail from the author, Sophia DeLuna, requesting I read and review Hidden Secrets for her. I was delighted to. And I read it but it was just as the big move was happening in my life so I felt I hadn’t given the story enough of my attention and wanted to be fair. I had read it on my Fire with the text-to-speech set on “Amy” the British English setting I love. It always sounds like Julie Andrews is reading to me. But I had it set on 2x which is a little too fast to catch some things. It’s okay when you want to read a book quickly. But for this task I either needed to slow it up or read it with just my eyes. So I wrote back to Ms. DeLuna explaining all of this and told her I wanted to read it again to be fair to all of us. Not that I thought the story bad, I just wanted to immerse in it a little deeper.

I loved other books by Ms. DeLuna on Smashwords. They often have an LGBT (lesbian) central character or two but they are not erotica which is refreshing. This story is the same, it is a sci-fi/space adventure that happens to include women who love women. I love the sci-fi aspect because there aren’t that many sci-fis with women main characters, much less, lesbians.

The characters are interesting and I liked them. I liked that she had pictures of the characters. That helped somewhat. Though I found that I forgot who was who after a while. I kept the captain in my head. But it seemed that the deeper part of the story didn’t include her so much. What tragedies that do unfold are about other characters. I don’t know how I would have fixed that. It wasn’t bad. I had grown to like those people, too. It just felt like we could have gotten to know them better before it got bad.

What I found interesting was that Hidden Secrets contains elements of the sci-fi series I am still editing from my NaNoWriMos long ago. Spaceship crashes on a planet that has healing elements. I think the name, Haven (my sentient planet’s name), was part of the name of the planet Sophia’s characters were heading toward. So it was almost like reading about my own imaginary friends. 😉

The style of writing was my biggest problem. It is a style I fight in my own writing. Passive voice. For all the flying and meeting aliens and learning about them all… I think it would be better to have a more active voice. Now can I explain how that works? Not so much. Here, let Grammar Girl explain it:…
I will have to review all that as I get away from the writing of my NaNo to the editing.

But honestly, it was still a good story and I found that even with the long period of time between reads, I still remembered quite a bit about it. AND I felt that it may have a sequel in the wings. I would like that!

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Bala-Gala the Brave and DangerousBala-Gala the Brave and Dangerous by Gita V. Reddy

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A few nights ago, I got an e-mail from the author, Gita V. Reddy, asking if I would like to read her children’s story. I always like to read children’s stories. And they are easy to fit in between everything else going on in my life. So I accepted. It was delightful.

When I look at children’s books, I think of the time when my children were little, when we’d get together before bed and read. I think how their response would’ve been to a book that I’m reviewing. And I think we could have had fun with this book. I think a nursery school or kindergarten class would have fun with this book. The pictures and the story make you want to get up and pretend to be the imaginary animal that Ms. Reddy describes. The pictures are fun and different than the ones that I remember my children liking. And I like that they are of a foreign country with foreign animals, at least for us here in the United States. I could see us pulling out maps and looking up the animals, what they really look like, act like and then looking up the cultures where they came from. Aside from being a simple story, there’s a lot of research that could come from reading this book.

Thank you, Ms. Reddy, for letting me read your book.

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Siren SpellSiren Spell by Cidney Swanson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cidney Swanson has done it again! If you aren’t a fan of hers by the time you read the Rippler series or the Saving Mars series, I don’t know what to say. She definitely made it into my favorite authors category by those two series. But this one book stands alone. I don’t think it’s going to be a series. It could be I liked the characters enough. But the ending was too satisfying to need to know more.

Not long ago I read an illustrated children’s book about mermaids. So I was still in the mood to read more about mermaids.This book did not disappoint me. But it wasn’t just about mermaids. It was about family, ballet, Russian immigrants, living with a single mom and a grandmother. It was about two sisters who were teenagers, who are somewhat typical as teens. It is always difficult being a teenager and it is always difficult to have a teenager. Teens need to become their own person and feel the parents are in the way. Parents just tried to guide their children as they always have. And so it is in this book. What I liked about how Cidney Swanson does it, is there seems to be no judgment from the author about either of those parts of a family. And there wasn’t a lot of angsty, teenage romance happening. The adolescent sisters seem to have a bit of common sense in their choosing of friends and boys. It felt more natural to me than a lot of these young adult books do.

It was fun too to notice that this book takes place in Oregon. Is it because I live here now that I notice It more?

If you’re looking for a little bit of fun check out Siren Spell. I loved it!

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