Archive for April, 2016

A Spiritual JourneyA Spiritual Journey by Susan Kapatoes

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Disclosure: I was given this ebook by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This was a short but sweet, autobiographical, metaphysical book telling of the author’s ‘spiritual journey’. That is what I liked best. This wasn’t a book telling you how your spiritual journey should be and how if yours isn’t like the author’s it’s wrong, rather, we just follow how the author works it out on her own, in her own way. Because of that, it was very beautiful!

Want to know what? This author actually acknowledges her own dark and doubting days. It isn’t just forced on the reader that a positive outlook will bring the heart’s desires as many of the ‘New Age’ books seem to imply.

If you want to spend a few minutes on the metaphysical side, here is a place to gentle in.

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The Last OneThe Last One by Alexandra Oliva

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Disclosure: I was gifted this book by NetGalley for an honest review.

WHAT IF… You were a contestant on a reality survival show and while you were busy learning to survive somewhere away from civilization the general population got sick and most of them died? That is the premise of the story. And the story is told from different points of view. The first is from the makers of the program. Then we see what is happening on the show and behind the scenes of the show, Then we get the comments from the show’s website. And of course, we see it from the main character eyes. All points of view deepen the reader’s experience.

I hated putting this book down. The suspense kept me going. What was going to happen next. What if’s popped up in my head and kept me wishing I could speed-read to learn what happens next. Some would call this a psychological thriller, but I don’t this that’s true. Murder mysteries with the psychopath working his own end, that to me is psychological thriller. This is suspenseful, though, and it messes with your mind as you try to understand what is real. We all know reality show aren’t. But the author lays down a fine line and blurs it for all but her own purposes.

Ms. Alexandra Oliva, also, develops believable characters even though the names I remember are Zoo and Tracker. The intrigue is trying to see how it all will fit together and hoping it will all work out.

If you are looking for a book about survival, similar to Wild but not, this is for you! I loved this book and hope to see it made into a movie! And I’d love to see what happens next. No, no cliffhanger, no indicators that it even needs a part two. But I’d love to see how many people we can find and what their stories were. Please pick up this book. I think you will enjoy it!

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Super-Duper MontySuper-Duper Monty by Gita V. Reddy

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Did you ever have that niggling feeling that you had forgotten something? I kept forgetting that I had read this book recently and hadn’t written a review. If I hadn’t been given the book for that very reason, I wouldn’t have felt so badly when I did remember. Sorry it took me so long, Gita.

AND my memory of the book was gone. Part of it is my fibro fog is in full flare. Though I could remember that the book was cute, I know that Ms. Reddy tries to get a few lessons in there for the reader. I wanted to make sure I got it so I went back and read it again. It only took a few minutes. It was worth the re-read. Which proved to me that a child will want to return to this book often.

First, the illustrations are absolutely adorable! Abira Das (Illustrator) did a fantastic job! Second, the lessons were there. Here is a frog who is too happy-go-lucky for his own good. A lesson I tried to teach my own children was that if they wanted to wander beyond our yard they needed to have a sibling or two with them for the safety in numbers. So this educational moment would start a lot of conversations between parents and children. Or even students and teachers.

Then one could study amphibians, frogs in particular. Heck, one could even adopt a pet frog for a while learn about their growth, food, and other needs. And then make sure the children understand how important the proper environment and care is for any animal.

Last, it is a great early reader, one a parent could read aloud but the child could grow to read it independently all the while enjoying the fun pictures.

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Theft at the Fair and Other Stories (It's a Mystery)Theft at the Fair and Other Stories by Gita V. Reddy

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Disclosure: I was given this book for an honest review.

Gita V. Reddy, the author, lives in India. Her books take place in India. So, I suggest that this presents an educational opportunity for parents and teachers. Pull out the encyclopedias, books about India, and/or make sure Google is available. Though Gita takes the time to explain terms or words within the story that are regional, it would stop the flow of the story to explain everything India. And this set of stories keeps you reading, even as an adult.

The mysteries are right up front. I love that they help the reader to learn to use their powers of observation. That was the only super-power I would allow my children to use. (Otherwise, with cape flowing they would have jumped from second story windows. So no capes or pretending other powers.)

Since I should have written this yesterday, I can’t remember exactly, but I think each of the stories was about some kind of theft. (Well, duh! it is there in the title of the book! **wink, wink**) I did wonder if there was a higher incidence in India than America. But realized that it could be localized here, also. I live in a small town (population approximately one thousand) and I assume we have as much crime here, per capita as L.A. usually drug related. So India is probably comparable. AND I prefer a mystery that has to do with theft over kidnapping or murder. And in this case, it is the smart children that figure it out. Hopefully, that comes with the conversation that kids who see something should say something to parents, teachers, authorities, etc. So this book is valuable for all that the reader puts into it.

The author mentions money statements. Another Google shows us what that means and how it translates to American money. But more than anything else, these stories are fun and show us how much we have in common and teach us about other people, respecting others and their properties. And did I mention, these stories are fun?

I highly recommend this book to everyone, especially parents and teachers to facilitate a great learning experience.

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North of HereNorth of Here by Laurel Saville

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Disclosure: I was given this book from for an honest review.

This book seems to get a variety of reviews. Some people hate it and some people love it. I seem to have fallen in the middle. The parts I didn’t like are about certain types of people or situations they get themselves into. The parts I like were the ones where I got to know the characters who grew deeper.

I live in the country now. I know about the grapevine. But I think the characters didn’t take stock in the stories that surrounded them. I liked Dix because he didn’t let anything affect him. He was steady.

Poor little rich people! GAWD! The main character, Miranda, was the poor little rich girl. Her mother was AWFUL! If that woman were poor, she wouldn’t have been able to crawl into bed and feel sorry for herself for so long. Poor people have to get up and go to work to be able to eat and keep a roof over their heads. A twenty-something daughter who has been raised by rich people was equally crippled. Why did it take her so long to take care of business? Because it had always been done for her. No poor adult could have lasted doing nothing. So I didn’t like her very much but I held out hope. Maybe Dax could help her.

I found myself confused as to why we brought up David who is Darius later. He seemed to have some good goals that went astray. Many have a hard time with the idea of the commune. I think there is a place for that type of living. Many who were raised poor learned about bartering services and stuff. Having lived in a large family I see the benefits of having many people and points of view around to make a rounded person. But in this case, I expected Manson would emerge from this kind of twisted thinking.

How to not put in spoilers here? I was shocked by what happened. Seems an educated woman would have been able to see through the garbage. But she missed out on the poor people’s common sense. Too bad.

The ending was great. I was surprised by the new partnership. We didn’t get enough of… um… trying not to spoil… the person who stars at the end next to Dax. We should have been given more of that point of view so the surprise wouldn’t have been so great.

I am curious as to what happened next. Letting properties decay sounds like a rich person answer. There are homeless people even in small towns. How about using these building for something useful?

There. I think I said everything and didn’t give away much.

This will not go down as one of my favorites, but I think I will remember it. Thank you, NetGalley for letting me read it.

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Cast in Hellfire (Mage Craft, #2)Cast in Hellfire by S.M. Reine

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Disclosure: I was given this ebook for an honest review.

S.M. Reine has done it again! I can’t believe how prolific she is! I feel I have climbed into her world and each book takes me deeper. Okay, it isn’t a foreign world. It is our world with changes brought about by a lot of factors, gods goddesses, angels, demons, fae, magick and so much more. Just when you think she has introduced all the imaginary creatures available, there are more. And yet, these places are all close at hand. I miss living in Reno just because her books often take you downtown to bars that we humans usually overlook. But her characters can be found in other geographical sites: LA, Las Vegas, Canada, many places. Then you find yourself in heaven, hell and places I had never heard of. Yet it all weaves into a never ending story that feels like you are living another life than we mudbloods usually live.

This is the second book in this new sub-series called, “Mage Craft”. It centers around Marion Garin, daughter of the former Voice of God Metaraon and Seth Wilder, yes, the one we met way back in Ms. Reine’s first of all these ‘serieses’ the ‘Seasons of the Moon’ books. When the apocalypse happened I think Ms. Reine calls it ‘Genisis’, an already distorted earth/heaven/hell brings about changes in everything and everyone. And so it is that Marion is still on a quest to get her memories back. And Seth needs her to find answers for himself.

Although these books are full of excitement that read very fast once you get into them, I still feel the need at this point for references. My memories must be locked up in some canope somewhere, too. I almost think we need a running cast of characters and refer back to when they showed up and how they were affected and caused effects in the Reine-worlds.

And though the story leads to the next book, Sarah Reine didn’t leave us on a cliff. Things were left cleaned up but there are so many more questions we need answers to. I can hardly wait to read the next book in the series! Thank you for continuing the story and letting me read it!

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The Way Back from BrokenThe Way Back from Broken by Amber J. Keyser

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Yay! I won this book in a contest by Cidney Swanson. Here is her page:…

I think I would have finished this book a long time ago had it been in Kindle format. But this way I will be able to share not only the signed book but the swag of postcards that came with it. I’ll add the BookCrossing BCID at the bottom of this review.

This book addresses the children of families that have lost babies, either pre or post birth. It may seem silly that we leave the siblings out of the grieving process for these situations but this shows the depth that kids of all ages feel for their departed loved ones. And though ‘lost infants’ is the focus of the mourning process, and though the book is aimed at children or young adults, I think this might be a great book for other ages and other types of losses.

With the topic that is so sad and frustrating for the young characters in the book, I found the book slow for me. But for those whose eyes can handle the font, this might read faster. Still, I felt the author said what needed to be said for the reader, and the characters. And please don’t give up if it doesn’t move along fast enough. It will pick up toward the end and you will be so happy that you stayed with it.

I finished reading the book a couple days ago. I just didn’t want to let go of the characters or adventure that they find themselves a part of. I miss all of it. I miss them. I want to know more of what happens next. I don’t know if the author plans a sequel. The reader isn’t left on any cliff. But I would love to see the story continue.

Congratulations, Amber J. Keyser, on a book well done and on a subject matter not covered very often.

Here is the BCID: 118-13963555

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IMG_20160319_1641264_rewind_kindlephoto-25090135 IMG_20160327_1238142_rewind_kindlephoto-521020 IMG_20160327_1242586_rewind_kindlephoto-811407Source: Ravelry: Darravels’ Projects

These are just a few of the hats I have been making. My project page listed above will show more of the projects I’ve been busy with over the winter. Once on Ravelry you can click on the project to see my blogging about each one.

IMG_20160406_1506303_rewindSource: Ravelry: Darravels’ Flower Power and Denim Fuzzies


For those wondering what I’ve been doing. Here is just one page of projects I’ve been hyperfocused on.

A few weeks ago I had a bit of a blip in the stats. Both visitors and views went up to several times the usual numbers. I was curious, especially as there hadn’t been anything of exceptional …

Source: 7 really useful ‘How To’ articles – Getting the word out on WordPress


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