Category: Reading



The Great AloneThe Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Since our cruise to the inner passages of Alaska, I have been a fan of all things the ‘last frontier.’ Yes, the Kilchers show is a part of my adventures. So when this story made its way to my attention, I had to partake.

Julia Whelan, the narrator, pulled me in. She was able to act the various characters well enough to distinguish them from each other. Her males are a little stilted, but, as I said, she made it clear who was speaking.

The author writes a many-layered tale, with a bit of education mixed in with some ‘bring your Kleenex’ moments. She captures the feeling of living in a place of long summer days and a never-ending night of winter, learning to live off the land, living in a small community, being the child of an abusive parent, so many levels of the life of this young teen in Alaska. I couldn’t stop listening. This book is the reason for sleep deprivation of the week. I just couldn’t put it down.

I know I will look out for more books written by Kristen Hannah, narrated by Julia Whelan.

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The Sweetness of WaterThe Sweetness of Water by Nathan Harris
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Though this was a well-written story and the narrator, William DeMeritt, did a fantastic job. It is too tough to handle at bedtime. The very things that make this a great book for everyone to read, are what made it hard to swallow when it was time to gentle into sleep. I suggest reading this earlier in the day. The history plays true. The awakening, though fiction, portrays real-life that still plays out in some peoples’ lives. I highly recommend reading this book

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Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of LifeWhy Fish Don’t Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life by Lulu Miller
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a lot more fun than the last book I read. I really enjoyed hearing Lulu Miller tell her story and someone else’s while showing what had influenced her life.

I wanted to be a marine biologist in my way younger days. So this book was up my alley in many ways. Of course, that only lasted for ninth grade, and I learned that math was required for that and being an astronaut. Still, the love of the non-existent fish (and space travel) lingers in my life.

My friend recommended this, and I was able to find it on Libby. I didn’t want to do anything but listen to this story, so I got it done far quicker than most books. Lulu Miller did a great job weaving her life with one she admired. I felt like I was with her experiencing everything with her.

If you get the chance to read/listen to this book, I highly recommend it!

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The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great MigrationThe Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book and the narrator, Robin Miles, were excellent. It is a biography of a few people told like a novel and captivating from the beginning. Ms. Miles was able to act out all the characters so one could identify who was who.

I have two hours left in the book, but I took a break to write this. I spent today with Pandora playing ‘classical study music’ quietly in the background so I could use the whole day to listen to this book without distractions. I wouldn’t have been able to handle it if it were boring. ADD would have sent me away from the book and into other ventures. That gives you a clue of how good this book is.

The other reason I spent the day reading (listening) to this book is that it is a Libby library copy that is due soon, and I have a lineup of books to read that I have already checked out. You know how that is. With some books, I would let it go. Return the book unfinished. But I want to know how it ends. Besides, I have never heard so many facts and insights before, and I feel I am somewhat ‘woke.’ This is a history not told in history classes when I was a student. I hope this book is used in the classroom now.

I highly recommend this and Isabel Wilkerson’s other book, Caste.

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LexiconLexicon by Max Barry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m so glad I found this on Libby as an audio recording. The narrators, Heather Corrigan and Zach Appelman, made this story come to life.

At first, the book seemed to have a lot of aspects of things we face today. Not as heavily as the author’s other book I loved Jennifer Government. I highly recommend it also. I am going to need to read his other books now!

Reading this before going to sleep was problematic for sure. First of all, it was hard to put the book aside. Second, some scary concepts can keep you awake.

The most fun concept is the power of words and poets presented here.

This book might be too violent for some. It was for me at times. Still, it keeps you on the edge of your seat as you move through the story. Read if you dare!

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Making Monday


As I sit here in the parking lot awaiting my husband’s colonoscopy to be done, I have lots to keep myself occupied.

There’s a bluish hat starting. Or the second red sock to reach 8 inches like its left-at-home mate. Or should I shut the window and play a tune?

While knitting I plan to listen on Libby to this:

I’m never bored!

What are you making?


Fortune FallsFortune Falls by Jenny Goebel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a fun book! Though aimed at middle grades to young adults, I enjoyed it thoroughly.

My friend and her granddaughter were co-reading this. They shared on a Zoom friends-meet how much they were enjoying it. I started looking around to see if it was on Libby. I couldn’t afford to buy it right now. Thankfully my friend gifted the Kindle version to me. Yay! And thank you!

Imagine a town where superstitions come true. Sadie lived there and was considered unlucky. What an adventure she takes us on while making us question those beliefs!

If you want to take a break from the adult reads, this will fit the bill. I am amazed at the vocabulary and writing. I believe young me or my kids would have enjoyed this even more than I did, which seems an impossible bar to reach!

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The Butchers (Breeders #6)The Butchers by Katie French
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There are many different reviews on this book, low stars and high. I’m giving it five stars as I still care for the characters and the situation enough to make it through the whole series. And I look forward to the new book in a takeaway series in the future but in the same place.

What I hate has nothing to do with this book, except the way books have to be labeled. Yes, it is nice to have a guideline of readability levels. But maybe we need something that says, this is gory and has a lot of killing and blood. There is a romantic element but no sex. There are gender issues addressed in the way of this series’ settings.

But here’s my thing: Why do young adult books have to have young adults? I remember being a young adult and loving science fiction. The more, the better. Those characters were men, not anyone that looked like me. Still, I consumed them. Am I happier to see books that reflect every age of me now? Absolutely! I’m not ever depicted in exciting books, adventures, etc. Auntie is the closest to me. I think all of us need a variety of types of characters to get to know. What we relate to are the places, flaws, ability to rise above, etc. 71 year-olds are people who need all that, too!

The reading level is easily accessible by middle grades though a parent or teacher may want to talk to the child about it. Certainly, children these days watch shows on the media that contain all that is here. And for many, the survival of our characters teaches how one might be to be out in the New Mexico desert with bad guys everywhere out to kill you.

But barring all those elements, this story pulls me in. From the very beginning, The Breeders. I do agree that it is hard to differentiate between characters. Even having the title of the chapter as the heads up for the viewpoint, the character Sounds the same until he/she bring up individualized things. I’m not sure how to fix that confusion that happens if you are reading by listening only to text-to-speech. But I somehow got used to it and felt the new chapter beginning.

All-in-all, I loved these books enough to overcome the issues presented. I’m looking forward to reading more by Katie French.

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The Walking Dead, Vol. 17: Something to FearThe Walking Dead, Vol. 17: Something to Fear by Robert Kirkman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really wish I could have read this before the television series. I kept relating to a couple of episodes that this issue contains. On the show, this was the hardest one to deal with. As it was, it was pretty horrendous with all the blood and guts, just different.

Negan says the same things and does the same things. Oh, Negan!

What is interesting about this series, either the TV or the comic versions, is seeing how people adapt to a world without society’s rules over the years. Survival looks differently to each individual, and you choose the tribe you feel reflects you and keeps you safe. Watching it through the filter of COVID19 and how that has separated our tribes show that Robert Kirkman understood a lot more than a comic book writer should. The story is great written, drawn, or acted out.

I can’t wait until I can afford my next one.

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The Personal LibrarianThe Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I first started reading, well, listening to this book, I think I would have rated this with three to four stars. Robin Miles, the narrator, presented Belle da Costa Greene as a snooty woman that I couldn’t relate to in any way.

Now, having finished, I am rating it five stars. Stick with it through the whole story. The authors will explain it so that the picture in your mind accepts the things that didn’t quite gel or maybe you didn’t like as you read/heard it.

I like herstorical fiction because I hate history classes. I like learning what could have happened to a woman in our past. From what I learned at the end of this book, much research went into what made a fascinating story of a possible interesting life.

More can be found in the blurb for this book. I highly recommend the read or listen to the book.

The remarkable, little-known story of Belle da Costa Greene, J.P. Morgan’s personal librarian – who became one of the most powerful women in New York despite the dangerous secret she kept in order to make her dreams come true, from ‘New York Times’ best-selling author Marie Benedict and acclaimed author Victoria Christopher Murray.

In her late 20s, Belle da Costa Greene is hired by J.P. Morgan to curate a collection of rare manuscripts, books, and artwork for his newly built Pierpont Morgan Library. Belle becomes a fixture on the New York society scene and one of the most powerful people in the art and book world, known for her impeccable taste and shrewd negotiating for critical works as she helps build a world-class collection.

But Belle has a secret, one she must protect at all costs. She was born not Belle da Costa Greene but Belle Marion Greener. She is the daughter of Richard Greener, the first Black graduate of Harvard and well-known advocate for equality, Belle’s complexion isn’t dark because of her alleged Portuguese heritage that lets her pass as white – her complexion is dark because she is African American.

‘THE PERSONAL LIBRARIAN’ tells the story of an extraordinary woman, famous for her intellect, style, and wit, and shares the lengths to which she must go – for the protection of her family and her legacy – to preserve her carefully crafted white identity in the racist world in which she lives. ”

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