Category: Reading



Cidney Swanson has me under her spell. I love all her books. I feel so fortunate to be able to be an early reader for her. I am especially giddy when she writes about Mars. This latest series is called Shadow of Mars. This was book three. This one is so new it isn’t even listed on Amazon or GoodReads yet. When it is, I will copy from here the parts about her book and paste them there. Usually, it is the other way around. I write the review on GoodReads, then copy to Amazon, and then here on WordPress.

I want to put the picture up here, too. But I don’t know if that is even okay yet. So I’ll do the best I can with my words.

Just a quick blurb, since there isn’t one to grab out there, I’ll see if I can give you a bit of what has happened and what this book is about. Book one was So Dark the Sky, in which our main character Penny Wanjiru, a school teacher, finally gets the chance to go to Mars. But leaving her elderly grandmother makes the decision difficult. Book two was So Bright the Stars, in which Penny is on her way to Mars. This third book is So Still the Dawn, in which Penny is on Mars and wondering if she is going to get to stay.

Anyone who knows me well knows how much I love and have loved science fiction, especially space travel. Cidney writes to my inner kid to teen. Especially in her Saving Mars series. But this series is aimed toward adults. Even though I would have read it as a youngster. I read too many of men getting to go to space. They were kids. They were adults. I wish there had been women in space novels who weren’t eye candy. Ms. Swanson makes you feel more that the adult in the book isn’t so much a wimpy woman crying for romance but an adult who happens to be a woman who is brilliant in her own way.

Another wonderful thing Cidney does in her books is dive deep into the character’s psychology. All those creeping thoughts we record early in life that make us feel unworthy or wrong for what good could happen. Cidney brings that forward and helps us to grow with the character. Go Cidney!

Okay, I don’t want to spell it out for you or give you spoilers. As soon as the book goes ‘live’, I will make sure you can go get it. I highly recommend it!


Per Linda:

Here are the JusJoJan Rules:

1. Just Jot It January starts January 1st, but it’s never too late to join in! Here, we run on the honour system; the “jot it” part of JusJoJan means that anything you jot down, anywhere (it doesn’t have to be a post, it can even be a grocery list), counts as a “jot.” If it makes it to your blog that day, great! If it waits a week to get from a sticky note to your screen, no problem!

2. I’ll post prompts at 2am my time (GMT -5). The prompt will be the word in quotation marks in the title of my 2am post. You don’t have to follow the prompt every day, but that will be where you leave your link for others to see. You’ll get a prompt for every day except Wednesday, when the prompt is simply my One-Liner Wednesday and on Saturday, when your prompt will be the Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS, which will appear at about 9:30am Friday. Each prompt post will include the rules.

3. Please ping back or link to the daily prompt. To ping back, just copy the URL from the daily prompt post, and paste it anywhere in your post. Check to make sure your link shows up where you want it to, and go back occasionally to see other bloggers’ entries – the more you visit others, the more they’ll visit you! Note: A) The newest pingbacks will be at the top of the comments section. B) Ping backs only work if you’re blogging on WordPress. Everyone else must paste a link manually.

4. Tag your post JusJoJan and/or #JusJoJan.

5. Write anything! Any length will do! It can even be a photo or a drawing – you’re going to title it, right? There’s your jot!

6. If your post is NSFW, do not ping back. Please leave your link in the comments with a warning.

7. If you’d like to, use the JusJoJan badge so that others can find your post more easily.

8. Have fun!


Ready Player Two (Ready Player One, #2)Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I thought I loved book number one. But this one was even better. And I am not a gamer from the 80s. But my adult kids were. They met most of their friends in their games. I think they would like this. But then again, I remember enough of their games and terminology that this was serendipitous for me.

If you read the first book (or even saw the movie), you will remember that the story started fast and nearly left you breathless. This book started lots slower. Video/computer game nostalgia and reconnecting with the main characters keep that slower first part moving and interesting. But you will be left not sleeping and breathless by the end of this book.

Though I bought the Kindle version of the book and then the Audible to Whispersynch both versions. I just liked the way Wil Wheaton acted the story that I gave up reading and just listened.

I can’t wait to reread this. And wow! If there is going to be one, the movie will be even better than book number one! I hope you check it out!

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Here are the JusJoJan Rules:

1. Just Jot It January starts January 1st, but it’s never too late to join in! Here, we run on the honour system; the “jot it” part of JusJoJan means that anything you jot down, anywhere (it doesn’t have to be a post, it can even be a grocery list), counts as a “jot.” If it makes it to your blog that day, great! If it waits a week to get from a sticky note to your screen, no problem!

2. I’ll post prompts at 2am my time (GMT -5). The prompt will be the word in quotation marks in the title of my 2am post. You don’t have to follow the prompt every day, but that will be where you leave your link for others to see. You’ll get a prompt for every day except Wednesday, when the prompt is simply my One-Liner Wednesday and on Saturday, when your prompt will be the Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS, which will appear at about 9:30am Friday. Each prompt post will include the rules.

3. Please ping back or link to the daily prompt. To ping back, just copy the URL from the daily prompt post, and paste it anywhere in your post. Check to make sure your link shows up where you want it to, and go back occasionally to see other bloggers’ entries – the more you visit others, the more they’ll visit you! Note: A) The newest pingbacks will be at the top of the comments section. B) Ping backs only work if you’re blogging on WordPress. Everyone else must paste a link manually.

4. Tag your post JusJoJan and/or #JusJoJan.

5. Write anything! Any length will do! It can even be a photo or a drawing – you’re going to title it, right? There’s your jot!

6. If your post is NSFW, do not ping back. Please leave your link in the comments with a warning.

7. If you’d like to, use the JusJoJan badge so that others can find your post more easily.

8. Have fun!


A Window to Another Dimension: The art of Orna Ben-ShoshanA Window to Another Dimension: The art of Orna Ben-Shoshan by Orna Ben-Shoshan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

There seem to be a lot of positive reviews on this book. Maybe it is my eyes or this time in our lives but it did nothing for me one way or another. I did appreciate the philosophy and the work put into the book.

Give the book a chance it might hit you as a winner. Maybe sometime I will pull it out and find it the greatest thing since a new paintbox, but for now, not so much.

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Intermittent Fasting for Women Over 50: The Essential Guide to Get a Healthy Life and Lose Weight. Learn How to Detox Your Body, Support Your Hormones, and Increase Your Energy with Great Meal Prep.Intermittent Fasting for Women Over 50: The Essential Guide to Get a Healthy Life and Lose Weight. Learn How to Detox Your Body, Support Your Hormones, and Increase Your Energy with Great Meal Prep. by Jason Watchers
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

My son (45) was told his cholesterol was high. He is thin and seemingly strong and healthy. He decided to go on an Intermittent Fasting diet. It seems to be helping him get even healthier. So I have thought I could do this kind of lifestyle change without too much trouble.

I found this book was Kindle Unlimited, so I picked it up. I read it in a day. Well, not all the recipes. I don’t cook, so I will have to wing a lot of this. But I have found that rescheduling when I eat and when I fast to be the easiest thing. I make sure not to eat after 8 PM and then start eating again after noon. During the eating parts, I try to eat as healthy as I can and watch my portions. Seems easy so far. The hardest is that my body is used to eating breakfast after years of hearing that it was my main meal, etc. But two days in and I don’t miss it. I know. There is a lot more to it. But this book is a start. I will be referring back to it again and again.

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Green LakeGreen Lake by S.K. Epperson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! For a free book, this was great! It’s still free; you should try it.

The main characters were unusual, and the main two, quite likable. I can’t say that for the rest of the town. Even the relatives are obnoxious. But they made the story more interesting.

The author kept me going. Gripping is the word that comes to mind. I had a hard time putting the book down. Once again, not the best book to help put you to sleep.

I decided to read this as a friend noticed it in my ‘to read’ shelf on GoodReads and hit ‘like.’ That made me notice it and decide to read it right away. I’m glad I did.

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Reservations of the HeartReservations of the Heart by T.B. Markinson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This wasn’t a favorite book for me. I was not fond of the characters all that much. I had hoped for more medical and less romantic angst. The erotica scenes were okay. They were necessary for the plot to move along.

I did find it interesting to watch how jealousy and trust issues played the same as they do in straight books and see some of the reasons they exist in the first case.

It may be me or this time in our lives that the book didn’t work for me. Maybe you will read it and love it. I do like how T.B. Markinson writes her stories. Regardless of how invested I am, I find I must read to the end to see what happens. This one did end nicely.

Oh, and I got this on Kindle Unlimited, so free-ish!

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How to Draw Cute Stuff for Kids: A step by step Drawing Guide for Kids to Learn How to Draw 180 Cutie Stuff in 4 Easy StepsHow to Draw Cute Stuff for Kids: A step by step Drawing Guide for Kids to Learn How to Draw 180 Cutie Stuff in 4 Easy Steps by JAY T
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This a how to draw for children. Yet I learned that drawing things from memory is helpful as we age. It was one of the things tested on the brain-age app on the Game Boy. I found that when I was tired my drawings of the test didn’t fair well. So a little practice book like this can be helpful to everyone. I might look up other books by JAY T to find cute drawings to play with.

You can find a book or two on Amazon but this on isn’t currently available. Any would be great for step by step drawing instructions. And this one was free.

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The Moonlight ChildThe Moonlight Child by Karen McQuestion
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sleep deprivation. I blame that if this review doesn’t turn out to make sense. Since I started reading this, I have been unable to stop reading to go to sleep. This morning, yeah, Christmas morning! I finished the book at 6 AM!

Mysteries are hard for me. They are mostly about murder. As if life wasn’t bad enough, why read about the bad people and the results of killing and lying. But this book wasn’t about murder. Okay, there is one, but it isn’t the focus and seems secondary to everything else.

One of the best things about this book is kindness. I loved all the characters, even the antagonist. And kindness is something each has as a factor in their part of the plot. I was sad to see the book end. It was satisfying, but I’m left wishing I could spend more time in the story and see what happened to each of them after.

This book is available on Kindle Unlimited, but after reading the blurb and wanting to read it, I found I already had 10 books in my KU account, so I bought the book. Well worth it! I may reread it sometime!

By the way, Merry Christmas!

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The Brothers (Breeders, #4)The Brothers by Katie French
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is the fourth book in the Breeders series. I almost didn’t read it, but curiosity led me to see what happened to the characters. I have to admit that it was depressing. It is a dystopia, after all. I don’t know what I was expecting in that there are a few more books in the series. (sarcasm) The characters and their family and friends probably have a lot more hardships to go through.

I didn’t hate the book. It was just too depressing to continue. Even so, I will return this one to Kindle Unlimited and get the next one. I’ll catch up on other reading until I am ready to try the rest of the series.

Still, if you like dystopian stories, this series draws you in. By the way, this book didn’t have an Audible version, so I read it with text-to-speech.

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The Benders (Breeders, #3)The Benders by Katie French
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book three and aiming to get the next book? I guess I liked it! I am growing to like the characters. Even if the world is dark and they keep finding themself in dangerous places being experimented on or enslaved and lots of running and hiding.

I’ve been listening to the book on Kindle Unlimited. In this case, Audible, narrated by Carla Mercer-Meyer. I love how well she acts out the characters.

This is a dark dystopian series. Yeah, I don’t know why in the darkness of 2020 I choose to read these, but I guess it has kept me more optimistic than others as I know it could get worse. Let’s read these and prevent this from happening!

Now on to number four!

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