Category: Books



The Mists of Avalon (Avalon, #1)The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

November 8, 2017 –
54.0% “Due to Kindle’s new updates I haven’t been able to read for a week trying to recapture the book I’m reading and figuring out where I left off. Then the text-to-speech stops working and the formats get changed so I can’t even read what to do about it. AMAZON!! DON’T FIX WHAT ISN’T BROKEN!!!! KINDLES ARE FOR READING BOOKS!!!!!”

The above was the first thing I wrote about the book. I tried listening to the Audible version and found the woman’s voice just didn’t work for me. Especially when the older woman voice seemed the same as a male voice. I finally just returned it to Audible thinking I would have better luck with my British text-to-speech voice. And that did help me but as I said above, Kindle itself ruined this experience altogether.

As for the story, there were parts I found interesting but mostly I found that the quote that Tyrion spoke about the gods repeating in my head while reading this book. Neither seemed to care for the women even though the goddess was supposed to be helping the women. Sorry I won’t quote Tyrion here because I don’t want to offend anyone. But those of you who are Game of Thrones fans will remember Lord Varys and Tyrion on the wall talking about the gods.

Maybe had my reading experience been more consistent with books in the past I would have a more favorable review. But I am quite disappointed in the book and with Kindle and Amazon for ruining it for me. I am not at all caring to go read the rest of the series. I’m sorry to everyone that this is how I feel about this book. I have heard so much praise for it over the last few decades that all I can do is shake my head. Please do try it. It’s just me, I’m sure.

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The Organic Artist: Make Your Own Paint, Paper, Pigments, Prints and More from NatureThe Organic Artist: Make Your Own Paint, Paper, Pigments, Prints and More from Nature by Nick Neddo

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Okay. I didn’t read this word for word. It isn’t that kind of book. I doubt I’ll ever read it that way. This is a reference book of how-tos. It is well illustrated and the instructions for each craft is well-written. I loved what I saw here so much that as the book became due back to the library I had to go to Amazon and buy my own copy. By the way, our librarian recommended it to me. Thanks, Julie! I can’t wait to try some of these crafts!

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Today Is MondayToday Is Monday by Eric Carle

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What can I say? It’s Eric Carle!

I picked this up at the library because I wanted art inspiration. I have always thought Mr. Carle’s work visually exciting. From the Hungry Caterpillar and Angry Ladybug, I was in awe of the way Eric could make his own prints and cut them into amazing pictures. The other side of that is his books are so much fun to read aloud to kids.

Having had a few accidents where crepe paper got wet and left an interesting stain behind. (Cleaning said stain wasn’t fun but I loved how the stain looked–though it didn’t belong there.) I realized when I read the first Eric Carle books to my kids that this was crepe paper stains cut and reformed into fantastic illustrations. I have learned since that he uses tissue paper to make his own prints. Makes me want to play with this method.

This book had pictures that looked less like crepe or tissue paper but the visuals didn’t disappoint. The story was rhythmically satisfying. And at the end of the book, the words are placed into a song. I think it would be a fun way to teach a little songwriting or other musical lessons. So with this book, we get so many things to learn.

I didn’t miss how inclusive the author was to minorities and the handicapped. All done in a sneaky way that most children or adults might not notice. But on each reading of this book, the onion can be peeled back to show children new lessons.

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The Land of Lost Things / El Pais de Las Cosas PerdidasThe Land of Lost Things / El Pais de Las Cosas Perdidas by Dina Bursztyn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a fun little book for anyone, young or old, trying to educate themselves in Spanish or English. Timely in my case since I am working with colored pencils. And I seem to lose things. And obviously, I need more work with past tense in Spanish. And–And I see how much more work I need on word order. As if I am good in my own language!

The pictures were wonderful! Imagine a forest of blue pencils! Or an umbrella garden! Very creative! And what if you could look into a hole and see all your lost things? If only most of my lost things didn’t happen during my multiple moves or in that storage unit we gave up on. Still, there are things I think made it here. My old glue gun, my polymer clay? I know I’ve seen them since I moved here. My hands put them away without informing the brain!

Anyway, this is a fun book and it helped me on quite a few levels! And I’m not a kid!

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Forever Road (Peri Jean Mace #1)Forever Road by Catie Rhodes

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book was one of those I could have put away after the first chapter. I didn’t much care for the timid ghost-seer. I cared even less for most everyone in the book except the grandmother. And because of the grandmother, I pushed on. The book took me way longer to read than it should have but I just didn’t want to be reading it.

Here’s the deal. If you see ghosts all your life, I think it would not be so scary. Sure there might be ones that are not so nice. There are live people that are not so nice. But you would learn to filter your reactions so as not to show fear and try to show understanding.

So if you stay with it, you may find that around 70% into the book, it finally got interesting. But suddenly you have names that had been thrown at you over the first half of the book that you can’t remember who they are. Don’t worry, if you forgot as the book goes on you will be reminded.

The book was free. I think it still is. So if you want to read another ghost story, here ya go. But I am still not into the main character enough to pursue the rest of the series. You might just love it, who knows?

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How to Make a Needle Felted StarfishHow to Make a Needle Felted Starfish by Loretta Alvarado

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Of all the Kindle versions of felting books I’ve read, this is the most inspiring. Since I am working on a seahorse, a starfish seems the most logical next project. The pictures were beautiful and well presented so one might not need the words to do the job. The instructions were short and to the point.

If you are thinking of needle felting, this may be a good first project for you. Great job, Loretta Alvarado!

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Though this book had a lot of fun things to make, they were all wet-felted. Worst of all the pictures were not visible in any way. I read it on the PC because it makes the font and pictures bigger than on my Kindle Fires. But this one it didn’t help at all.

Still, the instructions didn’t seem impossible to understand so if you wanted to make the product reading could get you there. This is another one I will revisit next summer when I can handle getting wet. It is almost too cold to do the dishes in our house right now. Sure your hands are warm while in the water but the minute you put the last dish in the drainer your hands are cold. I’ll stick to the less painful, yet occasional prickly needle felting. Weird that I prefer blood to cold.


FELT IT for beginners: 25 PROJECTS FOR DECORATION AND THERAPY (THE CRAFT OF FELTING- FUN AND THERAPY Book 1)

Though this book is about felting, it is more about wet-felting. And though there is a bit of needle felting and some ideas for what to do with defective or broken needles, it wasn’t enough for me and my need to learn about needle felting.

Another cool thing about this book is that it is for parents or teachers/counselors of children with disabilities. I can see how the wet felting could be fun and how it could be a great bonding experience for everyone. And the squishing wonderful feeling of wet felting has to be a lot of fun. Maybe as good as making slime, but you get to keep the item you make, not just clean it up.

But for me, it is getting cold and I just don’t have the room that is warm enough to do wet felting. Maybe next summer I will revisit this book and this part of the craft of felting.


Suicide Queen (Dana McIntyre Must Die #4)Suicide Queen by S.M. Reine

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

For some reason, I thought I had already written this review. Boo Me! This was my favorite Dana story yet! And even that may be a bit of a spoiler! Only for those following this part of the series.

Timeout. I just need to say how much I love the cover pictures of Dana! She is so cool! She isn’t some starved skinny-mini. This gal means business! The story reflects the cover or vice versa. Geez, with all the vampires, Las Vegas will never be the same. But that is why Dana is there, to rid that fine city of those bloodsuckers.

As I’m writing this review, I am having the hardest time making sure not to put out spoilers. Just take it from me, this was a marvelous series and Dana is my favorite of all of Ms. Reine’s characters. So sorry to see this series end. How I hope Sara will bring Dana back again soon!

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The Tea Girl of Hummingbird LaneThe Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I would gladly give this book 5 stars. But making poor people (the Kindle version is $12.99!) and/or those with vision problems to buy the audio-book ($19.99) is just plain greedy! Sure the Audible version helps the reader know how certain words are pronounced. And the narrators are very good. And (although I had to wait until I had a credit over there) it was ‘free’ on Audible. I could have had that Kindle version back to the library earlier had I been able to listen to a Text-to-Speech as I read. All that inconvenience and not being able to save my credit for something else I was planning on, should actually lower my rating. But, doggone it! This was a fantastic book! Please, dear author (Lisa See), since the book is about poor people and their struggles, consider the struggles of those who can’t afford to buy your book and or have vision problems!

Gripe ended. The book was so good that I didn’t want to stop reading it for anything! I loved the amount of research the author put into the whole story. And yet I didn’t feel inundated with information. It all felt quite naturally a part of the tale.

It is told mostly from Li-yan’s point of view in a minority village of China. Later her daughter, Haley’s, point of view as an orphan in Orange County, California. What is genetic, instinct, or just natural curiosity? In a culture discouraging more than one child and girls the least desirable, what are the results on those poor girls sent away? What happens to the country that makes that happen? What are the results for the family or parents that are forced into this kind of situation?

These questions are answered. AND you will learn more about tea than you may ever want to know but find yourself longing to know more!

It has been over a week since I finished reading/listening to this gem. I still miss the characters and wish I knew what happened next. I doubt there is a second book in the making. The book leaves you just wishing for more. If you can get the book or audio recording, I think you will like it! Thank you, Leslie, for recommending it!

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