Category: Books



Occasionally the occupant of this room (me) tries a different occupation. As most of you know, I love loom knitting. But I crocheted most of my life and had learned to knit as a teen. But when I found how little pain I got with the loom as compared to the other hobbies, I stayed with the favored one of my hands.

Today I saw a Youtube that I thought was going to teach me a new pattern for the loom but I was wrong. It was a way to cast on for knitting by using a crochet chain. Best of those two worlds! I couldn’t resist. I had to try. Now On Casted (OC) I’m left with the actual knitting of the thing. Sigh! Let’s hope I don’t have to have occupation therapy for this! By the way, I’ve added this to my projects on Ravelry. I’m darravels over there. Here is the creator’s Ravelry: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/copycat-cc-beanie

Have you watched Blue Planet? It is a favorite for me if I have insomnia. But somehow I needed a background show first to nap, then to attempt this new pattern. BBC was playing Planet Earth II when the nap overtook. Then it changed to Blue Planet. I love the ocean. I had wanted to be a marine biologist at one time but… life.  One can learn a lot when busy doing something else. 🙂

Oh, speaking of watching something. (This is Stream of Consciousness Saturday, right?) Before the nap, my honey and I were watching The Kindness Diaries. My friend recommended it as it is about to be taken off Netflix. Bring your Kleenex, not for the sadness but the overwhelming kindness that is shown. I’m on the last one where Leon is in Hollywood. What a beautiful story!

 

Here is Leon’s site: http://www.leonlogothetis.com/netflix/  And who knew? He has a book!

Needless to say it’s on my wish list.

But if I get as far as Hollywood, I need to see my favorite part of California (Unfortunately, they are the more expensive parts, which is why I don’t live there.)

Santa Barbara, Sunset over the Pacific Ocean at Arroyo Hondo Beach near the city of Goleta in southern California.

And my favorite place to walk:

Near lifeguard station 69 in Newport Beach, California in Orange County (OC)

Okay, Linda G. Hill, do I win?  She brings us both

 

with the prompt of ‘oc’

and

Go over and see how this works. It’s fun and keeps me writing every day. Thanks, Linda!

 

 

 

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Blackbird HouseBlackbird House by Alice Hoffman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Let’s suppose there was a plot of land that was the main character of a book. I would have done better had I known that simple fact. For some reason, the Kindle version did not download properly so I just listened to the Audible version.

I could have done without the first narrator. Oh, goodness what a bombastic voice! The rest of the narrators were great. In fact, it was fun that each chapter, which was each new inhabitant of the property got a new voice many of them were fantastic!

When I finally got my Kindle to download, I did much better as I could read along with the Audible. In fact, it synched perfectly.

Alice Hoffman has become one of my favorite authors. Remember she is the one who wrote Practical Magic. So I had to grab this when it was on special. This one read similarly to the Red Garden. She refers to witches and red shoes and other symbolism that would be fun to discuss in a book group.

I may have to read this again someday as I know there was a lot more there than I absorbed. One of my issues with the book was I wanted more of each resident. I always felt each story too short. Maybe I wanted a series?

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Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and PurposePromise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose by Joe Biden
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I started listening to this book while still reading Fire and Fury. Vice President Biden’s voice was soothing after the paranoia of the other book. It was like my dad was reading to me. He is so calm and self-assured it shows even with all that was going on in his life during the period of his life that this book represents.

It isn’t as though we all weren’t there and saw what happened. But hearing it all from his point of view gave it all a bit of depth. I don’t want to repeat what was there so I will only tell you that I think everyone should read this. If you can it is better with VP Joe Biden’s voice.

Warning, bring your Kleenex.

Oh, the only part I didn’t like was the interview at the end. I don’t think it was needed as it was just a review of what was in the rest of the book. And I think VP Biden’s voice was too tired to continue.

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Saturday is a different animal in the Just Jot It January fun, Saturdays are always, Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Still, both prompts and rules can be found on Linda G. Hill’s website. Come join us with your own versions!

I went to the library today. It is not a thing in other areas I’ve lived in that I get two calls in a week, from the librarian just checking up on me. I had nothing checked out so there was no other reason. So on this second call, I knew I ought to go show my face. I love our little library and the librarian. It is the knowledge center of our tiny community. We have a lot of churches here, but no bars or other places of gathering. The library is it! So after a delightful chat with the few that were there and her majesty Julie, I decided to check out a few picture books and a book that looks like I could read it.

That is the book I reached for to pick the sixth, seventh, and eight word as the prompt suggests. I didn’t want to use the beginning of the book. I just opened where it fell and found on page 133 of Bittersweet by Susan Wittig Albert. The words were: “the sound of”. The next word is gunshots but I thought that would be cheating so I won’t follow that path.

Because the newest Pirates of the Caribbean is on Netflix we are watching our set of four DVDs before watching the new. We have the first three fairly well memorized so I often find I get napful.  So I drifted off to sleep to the sound of “Why is the rum gone?” and the marvelous music by composer Klaus Badelt and producer Hans Zimmer … That is the thing that pulls me in on these films. I love the stories and the actors but the music… It is my music of choice when writing. During NaNo when most things are distractions, especially music with words, I can go to Pandora and put on Pirates or Game of Thrones music and write for hours. It gives me energy and excitement.


Children's book: Laughing eyes: Fun rhyming poems for parents and children about everyday life with beautiful illustrationsChildren’s book: Laughing eyes: Fun rhyming poems for parents and children about everyday life with beautiful illustrations by Haya Magner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love being asked to read and review books that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. After all, my little ones are all grown up. In fact, today is my youngest one’s birthday. Hard to believe it was 36 years ago that miracle came to be! She would have loved this book back in the day.

This was going to be a four-star rating. I’m not crazy about poetry. And there wasn’t text-to-speech or a way to make the text part larger. But I managed. I turned the Kindle sideways just to make it bigger for my eyes.

The illustrations were amazing. That alone should have rated the five stars. It made me want to get out my crayons or pencils and start drawing. I think it would affect a child like that, too.

Let’s not forget the lessons taught in the poems. I love parenting styles that allow a child to learn through their own experiences rather than being forced by the parent to do what they say. The parent lets the child go out in socks rather than wear shoes in the rain. And the rhyming story tells how the child feels about cold, soggy feet.

What put me over to the five stars is that this ought to be several books. I’d love to see some of the stories get their own books. So not only would it take several nights to get through the book but the child could go on and read each one of the over and over.

And what I always love in books is the conversational starters. There are so many in this book. What lessons did we learn? What should the child do? What can his parents do? Why do you suppose the child felt like that? This book brought to mind many talks my kids and I had. And I always made sure they heard the illustrator’s names and the author’s names so they would see what imagination and creativity could bring to a world.

Thank you, Haya Magner, for letting me read your charmer!

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Forest Park: Logan Book 2 (The Logan Series)Forest Park: Logan Book 2 by Valerie Davisson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I finished the Audible version of this a few days ago. I just never got around to reviewing. That and I wasn’t sure what to say.

There are many aspects of this book I dearly love. The author explores education from an angle I was able to be a part of in my past and hope others get the idea to put some of these ideas into action.

I loved the care for homeless and drug abusers. The book makes a person stop and examine their own theories. Also discussed: Racism and gangs and how people’s ideologies are formed and can be changed.

With all of the theories played out in a fictional form, I felt it easier to wrap my mind around them. There is also a murder mystery and a bit of romance. But neither are overpowering. Mostly we get to know the main character as she reacquaints herself with life after death in her life.

This and book one move slowly and seem to lack the tension most people like in their books. But I found it nice to just explore with the main character/ author through fiction.

Oh and since this was the Audible version, I should mention that the reader kept the book interesting. She wasn’t my favorite narrator but did the job.

This series is well worth the read. Curl up with cocoa, tea, or coffee and take the ride.

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Shattered: Logan Book 1Shattered: Logan Book 1 by Valerie Davisson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was an interesting story. I could have done without the mystery, especially the murdery bit. But I kept reading beyond when the book didn’t work for me.

As I have stated before, I have trouble reading tree-books. It has to do with my tracking abilities. But I am a life long reader that doesn’t give up that easily. So I set up my Kindle with black background and largish white font. Then I use the text-to-speech to track with what I do read. I don’t do well with just audio as I tend to ADD away with shiny things. But with both modalities working I can get into stories very deeply.

This version was difficult for me. I don’t know what happened but I couldn’t use the black background/white font. It only wanted white background black font or everything went black. The text-to-speech worked but I couldn’t follow with my eyes. I finally gave up. At about 60%! I do hope the author and or the publisher got that all fixed. Since I was asked to review this book I have to be honest, the font/formatting, was the worst for me.

I let it go for a couple months but the story kept haunting me. I wanted to know what happened. I had loved the research shown about glassblowing. Native American bits. And seeing what seemed to me a realistic look at bereavement. I loved the realism of teaching and use of music. Honestly, I didn’t need the murder bit. I did like the character that did the killing and I thought it gave her a humanity having lupus and all. But I guess some people like to have the tension a good old murder gives a book. Just not me.

Still, I can’t wait to see what happens next. For book two I have the Audible version. I’m getting better at keeping my hands busy doing sudoku, knitting, or drawing. So in the next few days I will review that one, too.

I think others will enjoy this story, too.

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The Witch's Vacuum CleanerThe Witch’s Vacuum Cleaner by Terry Pratchett

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you are looking for a light, funny read, this is your book. It was like watching cartoons or Monty Python. Very bad for a bedtime book for me. I found it hard to stop reading, well, actually, listening to this one. 3:00 came too quickly. So, sorry if this sounds more disjointed than my usual reviews.

Oh, I listened to the Audible using the whispersynch. Julian Rhind-Tutt (Narrator) is facinating! His voice changes with every character. He tells the story with so much gusto that sometimes I think I missed story for enthusiastic energy. Even still, at the end of each story I had that sigh of fulfillment.

The stories themselves are sadly, mostly, male. In fact, the very first one ended with the main character marrying the witch with us hardly knowing a thing about the witch except that she was a witch. I wanted more about her and that parrot. Please forget that you just read the last two sentences if they seem spoilers. After all, the title of the book is The Witch’s Vacuum. Seems like there should be a lot more witch and vacuums than men in the form of police or gnomes. But hey, Mr. Pratchett wrote this when he was a teen and the adage says ‘write what you know’. Sadly, Mr. Pratchett knew nothing about the other half of society then. Later he did write some fun books that did have fems but mostly they are witches. Is it any wonder how the world is now if this is all anyone has read most of their lives?

Still, I have loved Terry Pratchett’s writing, so creative! Magick exists, but sadly without fems. Even colors we have never heard of exists. Don’t get me started! YET, I love his writing. Fun, fun stories!

So take it with a grain of salt that in male authors’ worlds, fems hardly exist. We will try to change that with our own writings and making sure they see us as the other humans. After all the whole language system leaves us behind. Even human. We could be called hu.

But it is for this teeny-tiny problem that I am giving the book four stars instead of five. If you can get the audio version you are in for the best story telling around–save for girls, fe=iron.

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AffinityAffinity by Sarah Waters

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I didn’t actually read the book but rather listened to the Audible version of the book. Juanita McMahon (Narrator) added her talents to the story so well-written by Sarah Waters. Both the story and the actor made this a wonderful experience.

What can I say that won’t spoil the adventure of the moment by moment read? I can’t seem to come up with anything! I went to look at the blurb and I think even that spoils it. Just know that the main character draws you in and you get curious to see what happens next. Her questions become the reader’s questions and you can only hope for the best and dread anything less.

I wish the ending would have been with the main character stronger from her experiences and then a book two for us to follow her travels. I don’t think that is a spoiler as that is me rewriting the ending. Come back to my review when you finish to tell me if you agree or not.

If you get the chance to read or listen to this book I think you will enjoy it,

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Children's book: The Good Hour: A life-changing story for children and their parents with practical tips for better parentingChildren’s book: The Good Hour: A life-changing story for children and their parents with practical tips for better parenting by Doron Erez

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

4.5 stars, really. Mostly because it felt rather preachy at times. But I don’t know how you would avoid it. I often want to get in people’s faces and yell at them for not enjoying their children while being tethered to their cellphones, this is nicely done.

The pictures are adorable. Most of the story, from the child’s point of view, is sweet.

I wish I had a million dollars as I would buy a million of these and give as gifts to cellphone-orphaned children of the world.

I know that we who didn’t have cellphones when our children were young have no right to judge, epecially if you have one of those phone attached jobs, but there needs to be a turn it off time. If you gave birth to a child and want to be part of the raising of said child should, spend the majority of your time with the child WITH THE CHILD. This book is kind and suggests merely an hour. Well, that’s a start.

Okay, my rant aside, this is a fun book and I think it could open communications up for parents and children and everyone will be rewarded by reading it.

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a1000mistakes

Well, I'm dyslexic so writing about something I love: Music, might help but it's most likely just full of mistakes. That title is also lyrics from The Drones song called I Don't Want To Change. Oh, my name is William and thanks for having a look.

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