Category: Books



The Girl on the TrainThe Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This audiobook (CD) was in the put-away-bag at the library and I couldn’t resist. I knew it was a fairly recent movie so I couldn’t wait to try it out.

Ah, but I wasn’t crazy for it. You would think it would do it for me. I used to take the train to work every day. I know how that imagination can take you places the train doesn’t. In fact, riding the train was how I wrote my first book. So that part of the first character grabbed me. That she had stories in her head about the people she saw in the homes she passed made her an interesting character to me. But somehow I mostly didn’t like her.

It was when the next character voice came in that I perked up my ears. Her voice reminded me of Gilly, Sam’s crush on Game of Thrones. I guess it is just her accent but having that familiar voice had me listening more closely. And I did like this character.

About the time I got into the story my CD player gave up. I ended up using my credit on Audible to get the audio onto my Kindle. That worked out better.

It has been over a week since I finished this book. Lots of life has happened since. So my memories are eroding. Still, I remember how I stayed up until 3 the last part of the book. It was well written and kept me interested.

The narrators: Clare Corbett, Louise Brealey, India Fisher were fantastic and different enough to keep me from getting the characters confused.

As the librarian had warned me, don’t read the last bit at night before sleep it is a thriller and it will keep you awake. Still, it was a good read. I’m glad I read it.

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Testimony Testimony by Anita Shreve
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Our little library now has books on CDs. I saw them the last time I was there and decided I should grab a couple to encourage this new accommodation.

This was one I remember hearing about so I thought I couldn’t go wrong. The librarian said I shouldn’t read it at night, but that is the only time I can sink my teeth into a book.

I realized early on why I don’t like reading with only the audio version. There is no way to look at words or pages to clarify what I just heard. And this book has many points of view incorporating second-person on a couple of them. It didn’t quite work for me. And the actors playing the different characters weren’t always the best, I didn’t think.

This topic is worth talking about with the ‘Me, too’ movement. It shows the other side of the rape story. I don’t think it should send us back to women not being heard. But to remind us that there are those women who don’t care who they ruin with accusations. The main male character wasn’t on a power trip or trying to hurt someone. This story does need to be told. It needs to be read.

But I don’t have to like it. I didn’t hate it either.

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Lonesome Paladin (A Fistful of Daggers #1)Lonesome Paladin by S.M. Reine
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Though Cèsar and Lincoln are not my favorite characters, this book had me a Reno. I love it when Sara Reine centers her stories in my old haunts. Once I am immersed in the town, I care about what happens there. Who knew there were so many demons, vampires, were-creatures, fae in Reno? I’ve thought I’ve seen a glimmer here and there, but I figured it was a figment of my imagination–or was it?

I started this book around 9 PM last night and couldn’t stop reading until finished a little after midnight. It was a wild ride! While I told you my non-favorite characters, I was excited to know we would get to see Ophelia, Cèsar’s sister. And I enjoyed getting to know Sophie Keyes.

I always enjoy Ms. Reine’s books. That’s why I’m always happy to receive a request to read and review them. Thanks for the opportunity! And I love the side topic Sara was able to present in this book to make an educational moment or two.

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A Sword in Time (Thief in Time Series Book 3)A Sword in Time by Cidney Swanson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I absolutely love this series. Nearly as much as I did Saving Mars. Let’s see, space travel, living on another planet, or Time Travel to ancient Greece? Space Travel. But this runs a close second.

Cidney Swanson writes the way I wish I did. She grabs your attention and won’t let go until the book is finished and then leaves you wishing for more.

Maybe it is from too many nights awake reading this that I got this latest fibro attack? Maybe worth it?

At any rate, this is a must read series! I think you will like it! I can’t wait for more!!!

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StumbleStumble by Susana Sparrow
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was quite fun. The young female protagonist goes to visit relatives in Europe. There are language problems for her except for those who do speak English. But the adventure begins when she goes to the cave surrounded by mythology.

I don’t want to give anything away but magic happens. Lots of magic. Some quite dangerous. Remember language issues and trying to remain a good house guest for her relatives. Oh, then add a romance that is quite impossible on so many levels. Yep, now you have a story. I quite enjoyed it and hope everyone gets a chance to read it.

Yeah, I know. I don’t usually like romance. But this one has so many problems most don’t have. And this protagonist is strong and stands for her feminist ideals in spite of all the magic. This kept it interesting for me. I hope it is for you, too.

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American PandaAmerican Panda by Gloria Chao
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a cute book! What a necessary book. I tagged this story with Feminism because there are cultures who need more individual growth and less tradition. I think everyone should read this book to see where one’s traditions and growth of personhood resides.

The author, Gloria Chao, does a marvelous job bringing us into her world, learning the traditions that she grew up with. It is wonderful seeing that change can happen. That individuals can find their own happiness.

My copy was the Kindle version borrowed from the e-library. If you can you should look it up. It is a light read to have so much to it. I might read it again, someday.

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Almost Missed YouAlmost Missed You by Jessica Strawser
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was an interesting take on the love-at-first-sight theme. What if you don’t act on that sight? What if someone else shows up next?

The story was well-written and kept me reading. I wanted to know what could happen next? There was a lot of suspense and a little romance. I’m not much on romance or murder but these were kept to a minimum as there is so much more to the drama than just those ideas.

I love that there are children involved and beaches. Many layers of what? Why would he do that? What the heck is going on? So I highly recommend this to others looking for a good read. Oh, and I love the grandmother. A wealth of wisdom!

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Debriefing: Collected StoriesDebriefing: Collected Stories by Susan Sontag
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Though I was grateful for the opportunity to read this, I am sorry I couldn’t finish it. I found it stuffy and boring. I don’t like anthologies or short stories. So I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that I couldn’t handle this.

Don’t take my word for it. Read it for yourself as plenty love this book.

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The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard TimesThe Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times by Jennifer Worth
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As an addict of the BBC show, Call the Midwife, I couldn’t resist getting the Kindle and Audible versions of the book. As usual, the book is better than the show, but not by much. Books always give more insight into the thinking of a character, something film cannot capture properly.

Jennifer Worth’s memoir takes us to another time and the way people were then. Science, especially nursing and midwifery were new. Much was done by ‘old wives tales’ in the beginning but as medical science developed, giving birth sometimes took back steps. Ms. Worth shows us the mistakes and the achievements womanhood gained when men took over the most female of jobs.

But these aren’t just about the theories. We learn of Jennifer’s life as a nurse and midwife as she lived in the convent of nuns. The characters of the TV show are there in full glory. My favorite, Chummy, isn’t seen as much as I’d like (neither is Miranda Hart in the show as much as I’d like). But it is comical to watch her learn to be a midwife in her tall, elegant way.

I love how both the show (which seem to stick closely to Worth’s story) carefully lead us through patients lives and how pregnancy and motherhood impacted daily life post-WWII. Jennifer Worth’s writing is impeccable and yet poetic. It is fun to watch as she grows to become a stronger person and midwife as the book progresses.

Oh, and a note for the lovely narrator: Nicola Barber. Though it took me a minute to get used to her, I was so happy I did. She could do the cockney or the more proper British if needed and kept my interest piqued.

I would hope everyone reads and watches these as there is much to learn here. I can’t wait to read the next book.

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Waiting for a Miracle: Historical NovelWaiting for a Miracle: Historical Novel by Helen (Wininger) Livnat
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I finished reading this a few days ago. I hate it when I finish before I am ready to sleep. I start the next book and forget to get back to the last book to review. But this one needs a review!

There cannot be enough books about the Holocaust. We need to look at it from every angle to make sure it doesn’t happen again. This book presented another point of view. It is from paternal journals handed down from the time of the first world war. The great-granddaughter is conveying the story. All the way to her own life.

All in all, it is well told. It doesn’t quite fit into my goal of reading books by strong women with strong women as main characters as Helen (Wininger) Livnat only tells her story at the end and it feels she left much of her own life out to give her forefathers the say of what happened in those horrid times. And that’s fine with me. She includes what is happening to the females at that time as best she can. The stories are coming from journals of the men so she’s telling what she inherited. None of it is fiction. We’ve read the histories, we can see the truth. We need to take warning.

It is always hard to give a rating to someone else’s life. So in that, I’m sticking with the five-star rating. There were errors, grammatical mostly–near the end, a ‘there’ that should have either been ‘they’re’ or ‘their’ (I can’t remember which now) is one example. In fact, the ending could use an editor’s eyes. But it didn’t take away from the truth and horror of the story or the warnings. And I think that there may have been some translation problems in that I think Russian was the first language. But I’m guessing.

Like I said, it is the story that is the important issue here. I think everyone should read this. It is enjoyable watching the families and the sons adjust and still love no matter what the outside world is doing. It is amazing what we can do when we do it for love.

Yes, there are a lot of tears. Even near the beginning. So have your Kleenex handy. But there are big joyous moments as well. Life and love bring us generations of stories and struggles. Well worth the read. But I’m repeating myself. I just want people to pick this up when they can and take it into their souls.

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