Category: Books



EmbassytownEmbassytown by China Miéville
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My friend recommended this book. Thanks, Kay!

Libby had this book in the Kindle version, so I picked it up. And though it was text-to-speech enabled, there are many reasons the Audible version is so much better. Susan Duerden (Narrator), for one. Her voice and acting skills made the story come to life. I went ahead and picked up the Audible to Whispersynch. I finally gave up on the Kindle version, as the Audible was all I needed. Still, it was interesting to see how the author stacked the words visually as well as auditorily.

This story is about how language being taught to alien beings could help them and the Terrans to live. But first, the Terrans had to understand the alien language., which seemed non-existent. And when it is to be heard, it is in layers. TTS can’t do that. Somehow the narration system can do it. Fantastic!

If you are a language nut like I am, you will love the vocabulary of this book. I felt my heart race faster as words that weren’t junior high level popped up. So in a sense, I became the alien who loved words.

If you are a sci-fi fan, this book should do the trick!

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The Siren of Sussex (Belles of London, #1)The Siren of Sussex by Mimi Matthews
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

If you like a romantic tale of the victorian era, Mimi Matthews has written one for you. Not for me. And though Lydia Hanman (Narrator) did a good job reading for her part, Vidish Athavale was horrible. I always hate males doing female parts. He didn’t even do well for the male he was supposed to portray. But then he tried to read for his counterpart, which threw the whole story.

It just wasn’t my kind of story. But I thank Libby for letting me read it.

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UnshelteredUnsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve gotten behind on my reviews. But after thinking about this book, I remember a lot more than I thought I did. My first thought was how the teen daughter had so much to say about life here and elsewhere, Cuba, for example.

Then I remember the historical references and am so glad I read this book.

The author narrated it. She did an excellent job keeping the story and characters separated and believable.

I highly recommend reading this book. Since it’s been a while, I will leave you to read other reviews of the book. I still have good feelings about it and wouldn’t mind rereading it. I was able to read it through Libby, the library app.

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Good Old Dog: Expert Advice for Keeping Your Aging Dog Happy, Healthy, and ComfortableGood Old Dog: Expert Advice for Keeping Your Aging Dog Happy, Healthy, and Comfortable by Nicholas Dodman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My dog, Kali, is getting quite old. Her back legs don’t work very well anymore. She can’t get up on furniture or up or down stairs to go outside. She has cataracts, so she can’t see very well. Because of the leg issue, she is incontinent. She was urinating everywhere, even in my bed. She can’t control her bowels well. As much as we love her, this part of her life is difficult for all of us. We finally have a little bed at the end of my bed, so she doesn’t fall. We have wall-to-wall piddle-pads to catch her boo-boos. She gets baths nearly daily as she walks through her boo-boos and gets pooh all over herself and the floor.

I am lucky that there are four of us in this house to watch and care for her and the problems that come up. But we all know what is next in this flow of life. I needed someone to help me know what to do. I’m finding old age is a series of milestones like infancy. Watching the achievements fade is as painful as seeing the accomplishments in the beginning.

But here we are. So this book helped me. A veterinarian writes it, so the advice is given with experience and understanding of what the dog’s parents are going through. I wish we could put diapers on Kali, but she barely puts up with the baths. We need to be patient and give her love while we can. It breaks my heart. I remember when she was too much. Running, jumping, no keeping her quiet. Now it seems we have almost a different dog.

I plan to reread this book as she progresses. It is very useful. Our nearest vet is an hour and a half away, and she can’t handle the trip for little things. It will be the big issue that will take us all over that hill. It will be a very sad drive. Thank you for such a helpful book.

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The Snow Kept on FallingThe Snow Kept on Falling by Kathie McQueary
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Thank you, Cheryl. This was fun. I do have the child’s point of view about snow. I get very excited. And yes, I understand why Gramma said what she said. We have had snow around Halloween. But it never stuck. So when it started snowing on All Saints Day, November 1st, I figured it would melt away. Guess what? It still hasn’t melted a bit. It isn’t as deep as the picture book’s snow. But the snow is still here because we haven’t gotten above freezing for this month, often hitting nearly double minus digits. Sadly, it isn’t that fluffy stuff of the first snow. This is the dangerous to walk or drive on snowy ice. The kind my husband broke his shoulder in a few years ago.

This fun book reminded me of the Henry and Ramona stories I read to my children. I felt the cold and smelled the hot chocolate. As a mother, I relived dressing my kids in the snowsuit on the few snow days we had back then. Over and over, strip, dry, redon the suits, rinse and repeat. It’s worth searching out and reading. In fact, my friend led me to read it on Open Library  . I also found it on LibraryThing  . I must admit that I wouldn’t pay $26 for this book, even if the pictures are retro fun.

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Galway BayGalway Bay by Mary Pat Kelly
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Though I can see that this book was full of history and the overall story felt true, it was long and hard to read, even with text-to-speech. It might have been easier to read than listen to the robot voice trying to pronounce the Irish words. I would have loved this with a narrator who might have known how to say the Gaelic verbiage.

On the other hand, I loved the main character and her family. She painted a realistic picture of 19th-century Ireland during the potato famine. After all the Outlander taught me about Scottish life, this is more of an eye-opener of how the English treated people. It showed that we haven’t grown in any way with how we all treat people, looking for those who represent ‘the other.’

I think I would like to read this again with narration. It might make a good series as we follow this young girl through old age.

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Live Wire: Long-Winded Short StoriesLive Wire: Long-Winded Short Stories by Kelly Ripa
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a fun book. Sure, Kelly comes to our living room before coffee, way overdressed for our sloppy morning PJs. I think she had coffee way earlier than we did. Especially here on the west coast. Just a quick aside: Aren’t you tired of waking up to New York if you live here in the west?

Anyway, back to the book. I had the Audible, and I highly recommend ‘reading’ the book this way. Ms. Ripa narrates with the occasional Mark Consuelos addendum. In his voice. You miss that fun interaction between husband and wife in the paper copy.

Not many books hit on the empty nest issues. When you are young and pregnant, there are times when you are overwhelmed by books about expecting or dealing with kids. But the issues of offspring moving into adulthood and how it affects the people left behind are few.

I love that the story is broken into many little stories rather than a point-by-point history autobiography. I highly recommend this bit of entertainment.

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Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water [Revised and Updated Edition]Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water [Revised and Updated Edition] by Marc Reisner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Joe Spieler (Narrator), and Kate Udall (Narrator) mostly Mr. Spieler, tell the history of water, dams, resources, and politics.

I’d love to say it was exciting. Unfortunately, as informative as it was, it was hard to stay with it. This was a library, Libby, audiobook. I needed to finish as others were waiting for the book so I listened every chance I could. Still, having been married to an employee on the California Aqueduct and lived up and down the state of California, I was able to follow a lot of the history as it unfolded in the way of how politics played into everything.

What I appreciated most was when Kate Udall started reading near the end of the science, ecology, and climate changes play a part in the most important element for life besides air. I feel this is a textbook everyone should take the time for. Whether you agree with it all or not, this is still a lot here to chew on for a while.

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In Falling Snow: A NovelIn Falling Snow: A Novel by Mary-Rose MacColl
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Despite my brain’s inability to go with the author, Mary-Rose MacColl, and Orlah Cassidy (Narrator) between past and present for the characters’ present embodiment, I still loved this book. No matter past or present, the characters were exciting and lovable.

Maybe if you have the written word to look at and help orient whose point of view and when this story
progresses might be more accessible. Ms. Cassidy did vary her voice to inform the listener. Even still, I had managed about 50% of the story when I felt so totally lost that I started over. I found myself confused. But I relaxed, let the story take me where it would, and soon, I found the end. I hated that it was over. I did love the characters and voices so much!

It was interesting to read about the women of the first world war. I highly recommend this read.

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The Book Woman's Daughter (The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, #2)The Book Woman’s Daughter by Kim Michele Richardson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I didn’t realize until the author’s note at the end of this book that this is book two of a series. So it can obviously stand alone. I was lucky to find it on Libby as an audiobook. I don’t know if the book reads with quite the accent of the narrator, Katie Schorr, but I think she adds authenticity to the story.

I don’t usually add the blurb about the book but I don’t think I could do the story justice, so:

In the ruggedness of the beautiful Kentucky mountains, Honey Lovett has always known that the old ways can make a hard life harder. As the daughter of the famed blue-skinned, Troublesome Creek packhorse librarian, Honey and her family have been hiding from the law all her life. But when her mother and father are imprisoned, Honey realizes she must fight to stay free, or risk being sent away for good.

Picking up her mother’s old packhorse library route, Honey begins to deliver books to the remote hollers of Appalachia. Honey is looking to prove that she doesn’t need anyone telling her how to survive. But the route can be treacherous, and some folks aren’t as keen to let a woman pave her own way.

If Honey wants to bring the freedom books provide to the families who need it most, she’s going to have to fight for her place, and along the way, learn that the extraordinary women who run the hills and hollers can make all the difference in the world.

It’s worth the read. May I suggest the possibility of triggers in abusive situations? Serious outcomes. But the strength of the young woman as she learns to stand up for herself is amazing.

It is worth the read. Now I am looking up book 1 and hoping it won’t be difficult to go backward. I’ll let you know later.

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