Category: Books



The Victory GardenThe Victory Garden by Rhys Bowen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I think I’ve read this story before. I know I haven’t. Though I enjoyed it, I found it trite. Again, don’t take this as a dismissal. There are many good qualities here. Young women should read books that speak to women in history. It’s good to see how far we’ve not come while learning what has improved.I

While I can’t rate this five stars, which means I will always remember it and may read it again, it does come up to maybe a 4.5. It was well written. It kept me interested, I wanted to know what happened next.

I love reading stories like this. Women during the world wars and how they had to do the men’s jobs. How stories of witches and unplanned pregnancies could cause gossip but not as often as peacetime.

So, please if you want a good read. Pick this one up. It is free of you have Kindle Unlimited.

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Changing Your Pain Pathways: Ways to cope with pain in daily lifeChanging Your Pain Pathways: Ways to cope with pain in daily life by Bronwen Moore
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have been doing chair-yoga for a while. It is one of the things I do to help become healthier in spite of the pain. One of the YouTube tutorials I follow features the authors of this book. Cara, Sarah, and Bronwen. As they are introduced I tried to decide who was who. Here is the link to the lesson:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMps5…

Now what I had thought was the one in the middle and the one on the right of the screen looked like sisters. Then I thought they might be twins. Thereby I named them Cara and Sarah. The one on the left didn’t look related so I figured she was Bronwen. I went online to see if I could find these teachers’ pictures. Nothing that helped my curiosity. But then I discovered their book. With fibromyalgia and arthritis competing for my full attention, I thought maybe I could find something that would help me become healthier and have less pain. I found the Kindle version was cheaper so bought it. I would suggest if you have the money get the paper book as it is a workbook with pages to fill out as you move along.

The workbook idea is a good one to help you realize your points of pain increases and decreases. It helps you see how your mind can steer you to better health. And even more important how you can help others to see what you are going through and how they can help you. People caught in chronic pain cycles find themselves bullied in every direction.

As it happened I was in the middle of a flare and reading this by text-to-speech helped me reflect on my pain and my methods of relief. I don’t take many drugs for it as I found they made me sicker. The occasional Advil and CBD for sleep. The rest of the time I use distraction therapy. Keep my mind working on interesting projects.

I will be picking up this book again in the near future to do the exercises and journal what I learn as I go. Thank you for the tutorials and this book to all of you involved in it.

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Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African ChildhoodDon’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood by Alexandra Fuller
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Look, I didn’t hate it. It obviously kept my interest until that mild end. Yet, I just didn’t get into it like others I see in the reviews.

As I have said on reviews of other biographies/autobiographies, I don’t feel I can stand in judgment of another’s life and the viewpoints of their life. And this book was another example of a person’s life and perspective.

One of the things I like was the language the author used as she grew up. It was a bit confusing at first, especially on text-to-speech to hear the immature language of the author as a toddler mixed with the language of her area. And as she grew the language grew along with the history and cultural colloquialisms.

I was struck by how normal the author perceived it was to live in war zones or areas of gang wars. I know that must be how it is for anyone in these kinds of situations. That is their ‘normal’. So this was an educational piece for me.

Still, I find I am glad to move on to other books now. Thank you for recommending this to me. I hope everyone likes it better than I did.

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Planetfall (Planetfall, #1)Planetfall by Emma Newman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Darn cliffhangers! I cannot wait until the library can get book two onto my Kindle Fire! That is the only reason I rated it four stars.

If you are a sci-fi fan like me, especially the kind that include space travel or new planets, you’ll love it, too. One of my friends recommended this to me and she is not wrong, this is my kind of book!

Ren is the main character. She has some personal issues but tries to stay professional. We aren’t sure what causes her to be the way she is. But we like her and follow her life on this planet. Other characters aren’t nearly as developed but don’t need to be. There are a couple of them that are not as nice or are too pushy but, hey, in any group of people there are going to be individuals who are not as accessible.

The science used in this book was fascinating. It all seems not only plausible but necessary if we are ever to explore other worlds.

What isn’t often explored in sci-fi are mental issues and how that could affect all on a new planet. And mental issues may not be there at the beginning when being processed towards being an astronaut but that doesn’t mean that issues won’t come about later to trigger individuals.

I love how issues like anxiety and depression and even hoarding are brought up. As we all know, the patient is the one that has to ask for help for help to be most effective. I seem to be making this sound clinical, it isn’t. It is exciting and kept me up reading far longer than I should. The excitement of a new planet and flora and fauna never seen before kept my interest until nearly sunrise a couple of nights.

I highly recommend this book. And as I said, I can’t wait for the next book to become available.

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The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector's StoryThe Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector’s Story by Hyeonseo Lee
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, what a fantastic book! Hyeonseo Lee tells her story in an immaculate way. Her story was so messy yet the writing was well-done and kept my interest all the way through. It is an autobiography. As such we get the inside view of people who live in North Korea and how hard it is to escape and integrate into other countries.

I want to write more but I’m afraid of ruining your reading experience with this book. I wish Ms. Lee continued success and I hope as time goes on more people will break loose and that country will be independent. It does make you want to make sure the things you think of as truth are truth and not something others want you to believe.

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Light from Other StarsLight from Other Stars by Erika Swyler
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Now this is what I’m talking about! This was such a good book I didn’t want to sleep. I wanted to keep reading to see what would happen next!

Even though the story goes back and forward in time I always knew whose point of view it was and when it was. A lot of books don’t make it very clear for those of us who ‘read’ through text-to-speech.

It starts out with the explosion of the Challenger. The main character was 11. Being an astronaut was her life long dream. I was 37. Like everyone else that year, my heart was broken. So to read of a child who shared my dreams and losses I was caught up, hook, line, sinker and all.

There is so much that happens in the book. I could only keep reading to keep the characters alive in my mind. I’m so sad the book is over. I want more! It was a nice ending and I had tears dripping from missing the book already.

I got the book from NetGalley. I am so glad I did. It was a good description that drew me to that book. It didn’t let me down. In fact, I would love to see a book two of this story. Even though it ended quite satisfactorily.

If you get the chance to read it, do so. I’m sure fellow sci-fi fans will love it!

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Pulse (Pulse Effex #1)Pulse by L.R. Burkard
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

What if a solar EMP hit and all electronics, even in cars and landline phones stopped working and it was in the middle of one of our coldest winters? Good plot premise.

Three teen girls from the same clique at school can’t get to each other or school. Written in their points of view in their journals, first person. And not too much teen romantic angst.

Sounds like my kind of book.

If it had stayed with the above status I would have loved it.

It was a political anti-everyone that isn’t them propaganda. Gun carrying prolifers–only ours, no one else’s counts. Judgemental as all get out.

I believe the best Christians are humble and caring for others. No matter whether they think or look like me or not. ‘We are all made in the image of God.’ ‘Judge not lest ye be judged.’ ‘Thou shalt not kill.’ The christians in this book represent a lot of people who pick and choose which verses to preach believing it makes them more holy.

Stepping off my soapbox now. There were plenty of different scenarios in how folks are dealing with this new world. In real life right now, we are going through a very cold snowy winter so a lot is believable.

Hunger is the first and biggest problem in this story as there are no stores or ways to get food. As abhorrent as a lot of the book is, the writing is good and I didn’t throw it across the room because there are all kinds of people in this world and this story is from one kind of view.

Which is why I felt shooting that many people, thinking they were in the right and others who were hungry were wrong… was wrong.

What would I do if I lived through the situation our main characters were in? Is there a way as we prepare for such as this that we try to share our abundance. As we prepare we have to remember that our case of food is kept in our car or home and the catastrophe is an earthquake, volcano, or fire and that case of food is destroyed. When we are prepared but but end up the hungry ones, how would we like to be treated? I have rarely missed a meal. I can’t imagine being that cold, tired, and hungry.

Regardless of politics, I’m glad I read it. I won’t bother with the rest of the series. There are a lot better sci-fi’s to see the post-apocalypse through a more open-minded prep and love.

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The Royal Cleaner: Books 1-3The Royal Cleaner: Books 1-3 by L.C. Mawson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well, this was fun. And different. It is because of the differences that I give it 5 instead of 4 stars.

This was an ARC that I begged to get to review. It didn’t let me down. I don’t know the author so I have nothing forcing the high rating. I liked it. A lot. In fact, I want to read it again. When you read using mostly text-to-speech it is easy to get lost. Luckily, the book was so well written that I wasn’t lost for long. Still, it wasn’t repetitive. Never boring.

There is a lot of magic. Some I wish I knew, including a dream visit situation I don’t want to ruin with spoilers. As if witch and demon relationship isn’t hard enough they are lesbian. Oh, wait, reverse that.

The romance isn’t overdone or overly codependent. What a relief! And though the main characters were fantasy beings their problems seemed human and real.

I loved Coraline but Mina and her daughter grabbed my heart.

Oh, for those that see the title and think it is about house-cleaning. Think Scandal from ABC Thursday line-up. Only not Washington D.C. The kingdom of magic. Kerry Washington would have fainted at the stuff these ladies had to deal with.

If you get the chance read this three in one book. I love reading all straight in a row like that.

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Deception (Southern Comfort #3)Deception by Lisa Clark O’Neill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is book three of the Southern Comfort series. But it isn’t the same people continuing a story but other secondary characters who were in the past books telling their story to continue in time.

There is a bit more romance and it leans on NA rather than YA. The crime was harder to take, too. Still, overall, I liked the story.

If you like crime and suspense stories this series is for you. I have to admit that since I read before sleep, this wasn’t for me. No, I couldn’t just back away and go to sleep. The fears came with me. I couldn’t seem to find a stopping place where I thought the characters would be safe without me.

The writer was excellent in how she kept the reader in the book. Even so, I doubt I will read the rest of the series. Let me know if you do and how you like them.

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Forbidden by Lisa Clark O'Neill

I’m not a person who likes mysteries (they are usually about murder) or crime stories. When you have lost a lot of faith in your fellow humans in society of late, these themes don’t help. I AM a fan of a series of just about anything as I love watching characters grow and plots thickening.

Since I picked up the first of this series for free I grabbed the next two to keep a story going. The first was a little too much for me as was this one. Yet with both books the budding romances with people who seemed to be real enough to enjoy, the suspense was bearable. This one was harder for me with kidnapping involved. Both books made sleep nearly impossible after reading. Just a warning.

STILL, I have book 3 ready to start tonight. What am I in for now?

Oh, I guess I should mention, I felt the author had done a lot of research on crime and the law as it all sounded plausible to me. It kept me on the edge of my nerves hoping for the safety of the characters. The author wrote very well in an ever engaging way. If you like crime and mystery, this may be a good series for you.

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