Archive for May, 2016



24 Hours Crochet Hacks: 25 Fast and Easy Crochet Hat Patterns for Beginners24 Hours Crochet Hacks: 25 Fast and Easy Crochet Hat Patterns for Beginners by Emily Rohan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Okay, thing is, I didn’t read every word. Thing is, I just leafed through it to see if it had enough patterns to be worth keeping on my Kindle Fire to give me my next hat project.

I don’t know why it is titled with the word Hacks. Simple terms for newer pattern readers maybe, but you wouldn’t be a newbie to make the patterns in this book. You would already know a lot about crocheting. If not there are plenty of YouTubes out there to guide you. I know, I watch YouTubes for everything I want to learn. crocheting, knitting, loom knitting, etc.

But this book compiled a good bunch of hats. Since I belong to a group of wonderful people that are making hats for charity, I am always looking for new patterns and a way to keep the patterns all in one place. I saw several hats in the book I look forward to trying them soon. If they don’t work out, I will come back here and change my review to fewer stars. If I find the patterns to be excellent I will raise the rating.

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Where the Carnies AreWhere the Carnies Are by Kayla Curry

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book came to me as part of a giveaway from another author, Becca Campbell. Thank you!

Different. That is my favorite type of fantasy. It can’t be like all the others. This one fills the bill. The best part is that it is a book about a young woman who isn’t a teen, who grows to be a very strong person very quickly. Wow, I just had to delete a bunch of sentences that became big spoilers. Needless to say, this story is about Olive who stumbles into a life of carnies. But this isn’t Water for Elephants. This is more … well, see there? I can’t compare it to anything else I’ve read.

I would have loved to have read this as a young adult or even new adult. There are no gratuitous sex scenes. There is a lot of adventure and growing characters. It is a fast read and I couldn’t pull away. I wanted to see what happens next.

I think there may be a sequel, I hope so. I like the world and the characters Kayla Curry invented. But no cliffhanger here. Nice ending, just sad to see the story end.

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Where We FallWhere We Fall by Rochelle B. Weinstein

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was another winner that I got for free from NetGalley.com.

Picking up this book was therapy. I felt I could relate with the main character, Abby, who seems beset with depression and anxiety. These are disabilities that pulled me from the workforce and 14 years ago. I’ve been through the medication, and therapy routes. I finally gave up. For the same reasons that Abby did. But watching her try to find answers gave me hope that if I try I might find my own answers.

Mental illness is a tough thing to deal with. To be raised by someone with it and knowing how you have to walk around it, how your childhood is merely survival, how that is the one thing you have in common with the family members and the life with those issues is ALWAYS there. When you wonder if this is the last day for you to live or would your mother actually blow up the house with everyone in it this day. When you are raised like that, it is easy to understand Abby’s daughter, Juliana, and what she is growing up around.

And the husband comes off like a saint. This particular husband, Coach Ryan found and adjusted to this life with a life that was fulfilling. Not often the outcome for spouses of the mentally ill. I don’t think my father ever found a life until my mother was gone. He had work and TV and sleep.

So I know what I am talking about when I say that this book was well done, literally, and psychologically. Either the author was raised with or has lived with mental illness or she did some fantastic research. Her story did not come across as judgemental or preachy. She made the characters very human. I loved the way she told the story through this family’s individual points of view and once established as a part of the history, Abby’s best friend, Lauren’s viewpoint.

While the drama centers around the family and friend of Abby, maybe the character that is most seen and given understanding is depression and its friend, anxiety. Abby’s counselors come across as human and yet wise, asking the right questions and words to cling to as you find yourself sinking. Oops, for Abby, when she would find herself going astray of her healthy choices.

As you can tell, I took a lot of this wisdom to heart. I plan to reread this later, maybe pick up the Audible version as I read a review that praised it highly. I think I need to practice some of the ways Abby learns to deal with her issues. I have to admit that I stuff things down like she did. Most people wouldn’t know I was depressed or anxious as I can hide it from myself and everyone else. But these issues have ways to come to life on their own. I think that is where my Fibromyalgia comes from, stuffing it all down deep into my bones. Now I need to look at what is needing my attention and I will need help dealing with what comes up.

Thank you, Rochelle B. Weinstein, for writing such an insightful book and sharing it with the world.

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Cast in Faefire (The Mage Craft, #3)Cast in Faefire by S.M. Reine

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It is great being a part of the Army of Evil. That’s what Sara Reine calls her team of readers. She gives us a chance to read her books first and often for free, as this one was. I look forward to each and every book.

Yet, this was not my favorite. No, the writing was wonderful as usual. In fact, that was the problem. She kept us all in suspense wondering how Marion could love that Elkonig and ignore, yet again, Seth who is obviously in love with her.

The depth that the characters have reached in my mind. I have felt them all real in spite of the fantasy. I think having the real places (Reno, Las Vegas, etc.) mixed in with the fantasy realm which when I lived in Reno, I almost felt was actually there. The possibility that I might run into some of the characters, find my way into the bar that is the demon hang out–well, of course, I knew it was not real. But–what if?

And so the ley lines lead me back to writing this review. But first, the commercial I put in all the S. M. Reine reviews: Get the books. Start at the very beginning with the Six Moon Summer in the Seasons of the Moon series. Don’t ever expect to be finished with her books as Ms. Reine is far more prolific a writer than anyone could be as a reader. 😉

Okay, that wasn’t the direction I had intended as I sat down to write this. I was going to say more about this particular book. But the more I think about it… I just don’t want to put in spoilers. So let me say, this didn’t end the way I expected it to. No, not a cliffhanger, thank goodness Sara doesn’t do that much. But a huge sense that more is going to happen soon, just breathe and get ready.

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Winter is Coming: The Medieval World of Game of Thrones (20151021)Winter is Coming: The Medieval World of Game of Thrones by Carolyne Larrington

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Disclaimer: I picked this book up from NetGalley.com free for review.

My husband, my friends, and my adult kids and I are fans of GoT (what nerds call Game of Thrones). We are so invested that we read every book and listened to the awful Audible narrator, listened to tons of podcasts (Boiled Leather comes to mind) and we talk about the books and the TV series all the time. I love the series so much that I could have it playing all day long. The music is fantastic! So when I saw this calling to me on NetGalley, I couldn’t resist. And it was a fun, interesting read.

My favorite parts of the book were the direct quotes either from the books or the TV series. My least favorite was that it ended with last season’s stuff. I hope the author comes back to add to it when this season has finished. So many answers have come up, yet more challenges to the authors to bring us something even better! Yes, this challenge is for both George R. R. Martin and the author of this book, Carolyn Larrington.

I loved that she delved deep into history and literary history too so correlations between Westeros and Essos and Europe’s and Asia’s past And I think she was quite inspiring to the person that likes history or literature with her extensive bibliography attached at the end of the book. I am almost tempted to see about reading a couple of the books she mentioned.

I highly suggest this read to those who are fans of Game of Thrones.

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Shipping Container Homes: Beginner's Guide On How To Build A Shipping Container HomeShipping Container Homes: Beginner’s Guide On How To Build A Shipping Container Home by Kevin Knight

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

When a person buys a bit of property a person is curious as to how to improve said property. I do already have a nice mobile home. Yes, it needs work, but it would be nice to have other buildings for storage or living spaces.

And so it was this person looked at this book for ideas.

Now I don’t normally put a book synopsis on my review. I feel people can find those on the book’s site and make up their own minds about whether to read it or not. But here is the one for this book:
I bought shipping container homes. I made mistakes, don’t you make them.

That’s it. No, how to avoid said mistakes, how to actually find or set up said shipping container as a building. Glad this was free. It was shorter than most Reader’s Digest articles.

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Home WorldHome World by Bonnie Milani

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Okay, I like the cover. But it is sci-fi only on Earth. Sure Hawaii is beautiful but we have a whole universe folks!

Other than that. Well. Maybe I should start out with the usual disclaimer: I got this book for free from NetGalley.com for my honest review. Thanks?

I can’t tell you how often I nearly stopped reading this book. It is SO not the kind of sci-fi that I like. Not only is it more spy vs. spy it is all about war. And though it seems the author is female her story was male-heavy and misogynistic. One female lead is the lust interest of two males. One is the computer nerd who becomes the evil antagonist. This sci-fi wasn’t about the wonders of new inventions or new discoveries, it is about all those things gone wrong. Meanwhile, hate and misunderstandings take over the universe.

Let’s throw in werewolves. Yeah, that’ll sell.

Oh, if you have been to Hawaii and were there long enough to pick up some of the lingo this might be a thrill. For the contiguous USA (except a too short cruise in Alaska) reader who needs text-to-speech to help them out, this is the worst. I had to stop and go back and see what that meant. Most of the time there were no explanations as to what was said and what it meant, making this an even harder read with not enough rewards for working through it.

It usually doesn’t take me this long to read a book but I just couldn’t stay interested in it long enough. I even was at the 97% point where one would be drawn to finish but I just put it aside and waited until I had another moment to read. I think part of this was that people died, but didn’t stay dead, and fake people running around, it hurt my brain trying to figure out what is real. It seemed the author didn’t make it clear enough when the dead come back to life how that happened. It seemed she just wanted to make battles and war and shooting scenes. Ugh!

Now my usual line when I write a review of something I didn’t like: Just because I didn’t like it, doesn’t mean it isn’t good. I see a lot of good reviews for this book. There are even some wanting to see it made into a movie. From someone not excited to go see the male-heavy Star Wars movie (WAR is in the name, by the way–no wonder space travel isn’t happening as soon as many of us had wanted) this may be right up your alley.

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Jubilee's Journey (Wyattsville, #2)Jubilee’s Journey by Bette Lee Crosby

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was an interesting story. It is full of emotional moments. And mysteries. But mostly it is about two orphan siblings trying to make it in the world. And we meet characters from Bette Lee Crosby’s other books. I’m reading the series in order to read a freebie given to me for review. I’ve tried reading another from the Memory House series and though it was good, I felt I was missing something. And now I’m glad to be reading all of them. It will take awhile because they do eat into my book budget. But I’ll do them all eventually. The writing is good the characters realistic. I can’t wait until I can sink my teeth I to the next book. You might like these, too.

Sorry to keep this short, but my laptop is overheating so I have to write this on my Fire.

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Spare Change (Wyattsville, #1)Spare Change by Bette Lee Crosby

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Finally, I understand! I have read other books by Bette Lee Crosby but sorely out of order. Not that the books were bad having read them that way, but there were holes of understanding that I couldn’t quite grasp. This book is the first of the series Wyattsville whose characters show up in another series Memory House. Now to fill in those holes better I will try to read both sets in order.

The cover gets to me every time I look at it. And that is the spirit you feel for one of the main characters in the book. Poor kid. But the adults in this book are equally downtrodden and you grow to love a few of them while growing animosity for others.

These books almost seem to be collections of characters and their development. Except they are developing at the same time and living their own lives. Sometimes life crosses their paths and unites people who might not have gotten together. That is what makes these stories believable.

What Ms. Crosby brings out best is how love, expected or not can mend hearts and save lives. I can’t wait to read the rest of these… in order.

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The MartianThe Martian by Andy Weir

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, my goodness! I can’t believe I didn’t write a review for this a couple days ago when I finished it. I’ve done nothing but talk about it and relive it over and over.

THIS is science fiction at it best. You can keep Star Wars and all those warring space epics. I like, I dwell in the books that are about invention, exploration, and survival. And this book took me there. Since Podkayne of Mars by Heinlein, that I read in junior high, I have been crazy about Mars. Great to finally get another Mars fix. I haven’t had one since I finished the Saving Mars series: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show….

One might think that I would be disappointed that this book is written by a male author and stars the same. But I never felt the author being chauvinistic in any way. The stranded astronaut could have easily been a female. In fact, Mr. Weir had one of the leading officers on the mission a female who attempted the impossible to find her missing shipmate. And women play important parts in trying to get the astronaut back home. It is coincidence that the left behind is a brilliant male scientist rather than a brilliant female scientist. So I was right in there relating to the main character and rooting for him the whole way.

As much as I loved the story, I loved the author’s notes at the end of the book. I felt the research that must have gone into this story. Could I prove or disprove any of it? Of course not. It all sounded reasonable. It flowed properly for a science fiction. Sci-fi authors don’t need to have their science perfectly proven. Just get the reader to believe it is possible. That is how many of the inventions we use today got here: sci-fi writers.

I think the hardest part for me to believe is how well the main character held up to being stranded alone for so long. The humor that Andy Weir played out could possibly get a person through it, but how would he be able to keep his spirits up all the time like that? But I suppose Disco and 70s sit-coms could help. At any rate, the main character, Mark Watney, remains the hero of his own life. And became a part of my heart.

I CAN’T WAIT TO WATCH THE MOVIE!!!!!

Oh, shoot! I nearly forgot to include my thoughts of the magnificent narrator, R. C. Bray. Fantastic job!!!!

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