Archive for March, 2016



Cinderella's EscapeCinderella’s Escape by Gita V. Reddy

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Disclaimer: This ebook was given to me for an honest review.

I wanted to give this book five stars. The idea is superb! Rewriting Cinderella, giving her empowerment is right up my alley. Showing us that the strength we need is within us, that we don’t need to look to someone else to be our savior or fairy godmother is a very important lesson for us all.

And it came across; that idea. BUT. This story needs a better editing job. Besides grammatical mistakes and words that were left out or shortened, there were plotholes that stopped the enjoyment of the story. That is saying a lot, for me. I tend to get lost in a story and don’t notice those things. It is why I still haven’t put my stories out for others to read. AND English is my first language, I have no excuses. I know that English isn’t Gita’s first language yet the past books I have read of hers were amazingly well written.

And those are the mechanical problems. The overall story is hard for me to enjoy. If you like crime tales, this might be good for you. Knowing that you can be taken, kidnapped after an accident with no way out is hard enough for adults to read. I can’t imagine this story being good for children. As a girl, it would have increased my fears, even if the story shows how the main character gain her own smarts and courage to actually get out. The ending didn’t quite satisfy me either. You would think that the girl would understand not to run where she did just from all the reading she had done. And once again it was an accident that ended up saving her. I would have loved if she were able to save herself.

The story that followed about a boy that meets an actual fairy godmother was unique, also. I loved the points it made. But once again, a few plotholes and errors made it difficult to stay in the story. Still, knowing the professional person that Gita V. Reddy is, I see these as being special gems for everyone to read soon. I look forward to reading lots more by this author!

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The Ant Thief (Bed Time Tales, #2)The Ant Thief by Gita V. Reddy

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Disclaimer: I was given this book by the author for an honest review.

This story reminds me of the Grasshopper and the Ant of Aesop Fables fame. But in this case, the lazy one is the ant (no grasshoppers in this story). And the main character is a girl. Yes, girls can be lazy, too! 😉

The artwork is adorable and the story flows quite nicely. I love that the ant has so many expressions!

As a bedtime story, parents and children could discuss laziness, shame, the values of telling the truth, how you can make mistakes and make reparations. And most of all about unconditional love.

As the child learns to love this book it will make a great addition to the young reader’s shelf as well. Or Kindle shelf for the children. It reads nicely on the Kindle so makes a good to-go story.

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Knife and ForkKnife and Fork by Gita V. Reddy

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Disclaimer: I was given this book by the author for an honest review.

CUTE! I loved this little story. It shows us how to try new customs and ideas. I do believe that children would love the story of this cute, curious little monkey that wanders into the city. He learns valuable lessons to share with those around him, humans and other monkeys.

As Bholu, the little monkey, gets to the city he sees that a little girl and her family enjoy eating using a knife and fork. He learns that this is the way of the people and it works for them so he learns to use these tools, too.

The story continues in chapter form each leading to the next nearly seamlessly. As is common the main character (the monkey) bumps into problems and works them out. I believe that young readers will love this story. But I think it would make a nice read-aloud situation, too, as there are many concepts that parents and teachers could help children to absorb. Such as “When in Rome…” Now normally I would agree. In this case, the monkey is back with his friends and finds the knife and fork don’t do well on coconuts. But the conversation should move in both directions. Those berries won’t be so messy with a fork. And I’m sure the humans don’t use those tools to eat cookies.

Maybe a bit could be said for those of us with arthritis who find chops sticks hurt even if they want to do as the Romans (Chinese) do. Or even the forks and knives for some, have to have adaptations so as to get the job done.

Maybe a lesson in manners and why a knife and fork might be more healthy than eating with hands. Or how it might be up to Bholu to teach his friends how wonderful it is to have new skills.

There is so much in this story that leads to conversation. Yet this could be read over and over as one would love to have this monkey visit them for a picnic sometime.

Brilliant work Gita! Thanks for letting me read your books!

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Never EverNever Ever by Gita V. Reddy

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this story! Sure there are other stories featuring the importance of communication in relationships out there even those heading for possible divorce. But this one is unique with the wife being hearing-impaired. And this is an Indian couple trying to cope with modern societal implications.

Letting the reader see the thoughts of both the husband and the wife as the navigated these rough waters gave insight to how both sexes feel once the D-word is mentioned in the home. All the insecurities are brought to light.

I hope this isn’t considered a spoiler but the best concept brought up was how we have blood relatives that we can’t divorce, and how we wouldn’t think of cutting them out of our lives, yet here is someone we have chosen to give our lives to and the Big D comes up? Great concept to include!

A little side: I loved how the author took the time to educate the reader on the Indian words or meals. It was thrown in close to the part of the story it was in so that we weren’t left wondering what was being said.

As often as it is mentioned in this book, I kind of wished that there were recipes at the end of the book of the “daily” foods and preparations. And possibly those that many of the Indian Women freeze.

The acknowledgment of how the stay at home mother is forced to re-think her life choices when faced with divorce was a good thing to mention. It is something all potentially divorced women have been forced to look at. Indian or otherwise. It is sad that the stay at home mother isn’t valued more. But that is a problem modern women face. To find out that all those years doing their best to care for children and home are worthless in their retirement is another slap in the face of the divorced woman.

Anyway, this is a short book and has many gems built in. I almost wish I had been able to read prequels to this story, how they met and their growing relationship and the years after recommitment. That is how well the character development was in this book. I love the couple and want to know more.

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BehaveBehave by Andromeda Romano-Lax

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Disclosure: I was sent this book from NetGalley for an honest review. Thank you.

As of yesterday, I had no feelings for this book. I was at 75% and still didn’t like the characters and felt no real plot. If my HBOGO not crashed, leaving me with nothing to read/listen to (yes, one more binge of Game of Throne in the works to be ready for the next season, soon), I would have tossed the book and moved on to another. I was so bored with this book. It was taking me forever to read it because I just couldn’t relate to the main character. But I needed something to listen to while I crocheted.

Somehow at 80% I engaged with the book and couldn’t stop reading. Looking back, I think it felt like Watson was dying and I was pleased to see his poor wife move on to being an actual person instead of being his wife, read that, less than an assistant. As happens in marriages, even in this day and age, we lose ourselves to the male, to the servitude of the house and children. And Mrs. Watson did just that.

Not that she was intriguing to begin with. I take that back. She did seem to have some spine before she met the already married professor, behaviourist, psychologist, John B. Watson. But then she stopped using her own brain and relied on his.

Okay, that was how it was back then. But she was a college woman and I had hoped for more. And maybe the real Rosalie Rayner had more gumption. But she disappeared into history and so our author, Andromeda Romano-Lax had to pick up the pieces of her documented life and try to make sense of it for us.

Still, when your breast is nearly busting because you need to feed your baby, you choose to serve only the husband’s research rather than relate and feed your baby? Rosalie merely became a clone of the man.

It is interesting how far the pendulum has swung from that brand of parenting to the La Leche League, nature mothering of the 1970s to 1980s when I was raising my children. How many children were ruined by the clinical mothering taught by Watson and Dr. Spock? But then there are those that wonder the same of the spoilage of generation X. Mothers in my generation were taught that spoiled was something left on the shelf too long.

This book did start a dialogue in my head of how generations of people have survived science, how generations of other animals survived us. So regardless of whether I loved the characters or plot it did get me thinking. Not a bad thing, right?

I think, had I known, that this was a loose attempt at a biography, I wouldn’t have wished for a deeper relationship with the main character but accept her for who she seems to be. It is in the author’s notes at the end, that I suddenly felt another feeling for this poor woman. Bravo, Ms. Romano-Lax for trying to get a handle on the forgotten wife, assistant.

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Open Letter to MSNBC


 

Women hold up half the sky give or take a hundred thousand. But who’s counting?
World:
6,895,889,018   3,477,829,638   3,418,059,380
Total                           male                    female

But in the United States we hold up more:
310,383,948         153,139,563         157,244,385
Total                          male                       female
From http://www.geohive.com/earth/pop_gender.aspx

And it seems that might just be part of your target audience. It should be.
Maybe your only demographic is young (30 to 45-year-old) white males. That appears to be who you cater to. Even though I believe there are more baby boomer women around than those spoiled white boys.
I realize 66-year-old white women like me are a minority. Many my age are not computer savvy or politically independent. It is time to speak my mind. I am the parent of three of 30 to 45-year-old white males in your demographic plus a genius daughter who is 34. And they don’t get their news from you. Neither do their friends. The Internet, podcasts, etc. are their choice for news and information. One son does customarily listen to NPR. Take that however you like.
So what is my point? We’ll get there. Patience young Grasshopper.
Here are some names:
Keith Olbermann
Martin Bashir
Krystal Ball
SE Cupp
Abby Huntsman
Touré Neblett
Ari Melber
Edward Schultz
Steve Kornacki
Alex Wagner
Karen Finney
Joy Reid
Oh, and above all Melissa Harris-Perry.
What do they represent? Diversity. Independent thinking. Something I had grown to expect from MSNBC. And all have left or be minimized on what used to be my favorite political news station. And yes, I know many were fired for speaking their minds often given the boot for being exactly who they are. Really? Do you know how angry and insulted your viewers are by this? How much was MSNBC paid by FOX, Drumpf (Thank you, John Oliver, for that affectation. You know who I mean) or some other Republican money bags to lead to this moment?

Oh, I know some of them are still with you, usually only showing their faces too early on the weekend mornings or small bit parts here and there. Some even try to speak on the screaming, yelling ‘Hardball’ with Chris Matthews, who is the rudest to all his correspondents but mostly to those that don’t agree with him (which means you need to say exactly what he wants to hear or he will say it all himself). No, I don’t want him fired either. He just needs to start having manners and letting his guests speak their minds, too.

And don’t even think I want to lose Lawrence O’Donnell, even though I am offended by his constant flirting with younger female guests. I believe his heart is in the right place and his good far outweighs that rudeness. After all, he is a pacifist from California (YAY! Someone not from NY!) Oh, and a Boomer!
And, of course, leave my Rachel Maddow, who is an equal favorite of mine to MHP. And Chris Hayes who feels to me like Rachel’s younger brother must stay. They are respectful, intelligent and creative in their ways to present the news. But those in the above list were all that, too.
What do you have that I hate? ‘Morning Joe.’ It is named for the white male who has a smart woman, Mika Brzezinski, whose name isn’t in the title of the show and is treated with the least amount of respect from the white men. It should be her show or, at least, demonstrate that she is important enough to include her name in the title.
Then there is the cute guy, Thomas Roberts, with the “weather girl.” You deserve recognition that you included someone with his diversity, but still he looks like Ken to the ‘weather girl’s’ Barbie-ness. Frances Rivera. Yes, she is a woman of color. But she is also knowledgeable and deserves her own show or at least allowed at the table because she has a lot to say and her voice is astounding!
If the above is enough to raise my blood pressure to a dangerous level, what is the worst? I said his original name above. I refuse to join in your constant coverage of that name. But let me give you a rundown on how it happened that MSNBC will be blamed for the next Hitler of this country. It started with the grin. Then the secret smile. It ultimately morphed from the “Biggest Clown in the Clown Car” to becoming “Took all the oxygen out of the room.” (Seriously? You couldn’t come up with a better catchphrase than the one FOX used?)

This sensationalism has grown out of proportion, and it is due to YOUR OWN STUPIDITY! Any parent worth their salt knows that attention is attention, good or bad. And the more attention for inappropriate behavior, the more the inappropriate behavior increases.

Using that logic, MSNBC has failed miserably. In worrying about perceived insults from its own family, it lost the voices that were trying to teach about the good people that are running on the Democratic, Progressive, Independent side of this debate. I thought that was who MSNBC was supposed to stand behind. How many of Hillary’s or Bernie’s speeches have been interrupted by the Drumpf show?
Many of those in the list above could have steered the conversation back to the classroom that you should take seriously, as seriously as O’Donnell does his desks. No, this side isn’t as exciting, or funny, or sensational as the clown-car. You could have made information available for the waste of time you’ve presented lately. And we may very well have a Hitler on our hands. And Hitler wasn’t wasn’t taken seriously in the beginning, either. Can you imagine how much worse it all could have been had FOX and MSNBC been in charge in that era of history? You can’t? Well, there’s the proof I needed to show that you don’t listen to the people who used to like your station best.
You have little time but a lot of previous employees who could turn the tide. Let the verbal slights go. There is something far more important at stake. And remember there are still 24 hours in a day and 7 days a week and most everyone has DVR’s. Stop wasting our time with prisons and clowns. And know that more than half of the people that hold up the airwaves watch your station.

 

 

 

 

 

Dar49 Daily


Source: Dar49 Daily


Cast in Angelfire (The Mage Craft Series, #1)Cast in Angelfire by S.M. Reine

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was given this book by the author for an honest review.

I always love it when I can go into the worlds Ms. Reine has built. And I feel exhilarated when I come back to the real world safe and sound. Yes, there will be more to the story but it didn’t leave you on a cliffhanger.

BUT, there is something I wish Sara would do: Please, at the end of the book or the beginning or somewhere on the internet, a cast of characters. Somehow I was under the impression that Marion was Elise’s mother. I did remember she was someone important to Elise. And somehow I had forgotten what had happened to Seth in previous books. Yes, I can understand keeping the history vague due to the fact of Marion’s amnesia but somewhere to be able to look it all up would be great for those of us who have read ALL the books so far and have our own memory problems.

Marion was a growing character in this book and one falls in love with Dr. Luke. And you do feel the connection. You feel that there may be history yet because of the memory lapse on Marion’s side Dr. Luke seems hesitant to do certain things. This ebb and flow of curiosity keeps one moving through the book to find out how and what this connection is, was or is going to be.

As usual, I wish everyone could read all of Ms. Reine’s books starting with Seasons of the Moon. Hard to believe all the characters, beings, and worlds that this prolific writer has brought into being from that young girl, Riley, and to see her make an appearance in this book made it all the better. These worlds and people are as real to me now as they have to be to Sara Reine. Can’t wait for the next one!

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The Summer Before the WarThe Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Thank you, NetGalley.com for allowing me to read this uncorrected proof for free in exchange for an honest review.

First of all, let me tell you how I read most books. I enjoy reading while listening to the Female British voice on Text-to-Speech on my Kindle Fire. In this case, it added a lot to the ambiance of the story. For those who might like Julie Andrews to read a story to you, this method!

Second, I need to tell you what appealed to me when I saw this book. I love historical books about women in the wars that were mostly known for being by and for men and their powers and glories. Yes, I realize that these wars were fought for the freedom for all, but the female half of the world held up the sky while the guys went off to die.

NOW to the review.

Beatrice Nash, the main character represents what I want to see about women of the time. Before the war, she was a Latin teacher. This was shocking in the town where she took that position, as she was not a man. She veers away from the feminine wiles and ways of the times while trying to fit in and earn a living. I admired this character and enjoyed watching her growth during this summer and seeing the support characters grow in response to Beatrice and the coming war and its changes.

The story held together fairly well. But I must admit that I was often bored by the writing. Please don’t think this is a criticism of the writer or the story as I know a lot of people love this kind of story-telling. It just didn’t engage my mind. It was so bad for me that I worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep reading. But I persevered. And I’m glad I did. At about 70% of the book, I found it getting more exciting and I guess I had picked up enough about the characters and the plot that I suddenly found myself quite engrossed in the story. I didn’t stop reading from that point on until the end of the book. By the way, pull out the Kleenex near the end. It wasn’t as depressing as it could be, but a story about war can’t possibly be without loss. Yet the book left me feeling hopeful.

I do believe that my friends who love a good historical fiction with a bit of romance (thank goodness not too much) will love this book. And do try to add the ‘Julie Andrews’ voice. 🙂

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