Category: Reviews



FireFire by L.B. Gilbert
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Is it the pandemic or what? I think I would have loved this book before but…

Tanya Eby, narrator, was quite good at the many voices it took to tell the story. I tried just using the text-to-speech and found that dull. Maybe if my eyes were good enough to follow along I would like it more. I would have been able to get deeper into the story. Ms. Eby’s voice brought me into the world of the fire elemental.

I must have enjoyed it because I listened to the end. I did like the main character. But often I tired. I honestly don’t think it was the writing or character development. I really think this could have been the most exciting book ever. It was just my inability to concentrate. So don’t take my word for it. Check it out. Maybe when life settles I’ll try it again and see if I don’t actually love it.

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The Storekeeper A Tale of Small Town Life: A Tale of Small Town LifeThe Storekeeper A Tale of Small Town Life: A Tale of Small Town Life by Pearl Whitfield
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I was young I loved spending the night with friends. I loved seeing how other people lived. I found it interesting how the parents were different from my own, even how the friend became different in their own home than they were at school. I think that is why I love to move to new places. Not traveling, you don’t get the truth by visiting, but sinking into a community. Big cities, small towns, and finally the smallest I have ever lived in. I think those raised and who stayed find fault in the other. Small town people make fun of city-folk, city folks laugh at the country folk. They both have their points and their blindnesses.

Such is reading The Storekeeper. It is a tale about a small town. It takes a few people and follows them as does the main character, Ralph Johnson, widower, sinks in as a storekeeper. As the spiderweb of acquaintances grows we learn about others as he does. We hear the bigotry and the gossip, but we see the mature people that are open to help those in need rather than make fun of something different.

I was not a fan of Ralph. I wished he were female. But of my seventy years, fifty or more was spent reading books about males. When I asked my librarian when I was a kid, then as an adult the only answer was that it was to encourage boys to read. Why didn’t I deserve to be encouraged? Oh, yeah, because they were going to get jobs and needed to be readers to be smarter. And the reasoning loses something for me in that with all my reading I still didn’t get the good jobs my male classmates got for a lot less education. So as an old lady I am more demanding of my main characters, especially those who were created by female authors.

Still, Ralph gave us the insight we needed for the various people we meet in the town. He is kind and tries to give as much as he can to those around him. This is where my interests in the book developed. I loved the females brought into Ralph’s circle. I wanted to know more about the little girl and her mother. I wanted to know more about the woman dying of cancer, I wanted to know more about the love interest.

The book seemed longer than I would have liked, yet in the end, I wanted more. Maybe there is a book two coming that focuses on the other people other than Ralph? As a newbie in a small town, I get lost as to how to negotiate social situations. But that may be my own social anxiety. And fibro that keeps me as unreliable as I stay home when I am in pain to great to be out driving. I have no clue as to how folks move from being the grocery bagger to the big farmer, maybe there is a way besides being born to it? The difference between rich and poor seems far more visible here than in the city.

Anyway, during this pandemic, while everyone is looking for peace, this is a great book to slow it down and sink into another life. This could make a great television series!

By the way, here is the cover as it is on Amazon:

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Reign of Monsters (Artifact Hunters, #2)Reign of Monsters by S.M. Reine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Who doesn’t enjoy a were-squirrel? Shatter Cage is one of the most fun characters in Sara Reine’s worlds. He is determined. His heart seems in the right place, for a thief. And he seems to have more energy than most folks.

With all that is going on, it was a nice fantasy to get lost in. We visit other places and characters from Reine universes. The setting of this one wasn’t Reno like a lot of them but it is a place we recognize. I don’t want to give much away but I think many will love the world-making and character depth that Ms. Reine puts into all of her beings. Again, she is the most prolific author I know of!

If you like fantasy especially urban fantasy that uses real places and remade to her characters’ purposes. Though this is the second book with Shatter, I find that by having read all the books from the beginning, Seasons of the Moon series starting with Six Moon Summer. In fact, this book gave us a nod or two to that beginning. Please enjoy!

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Hello LoveHello Love by Karen McQuestion
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After spending so long time traveling with the Outlander, I needed a light read. This one was free on Kindle Unlimited. And I used a credit to get the Audible because I needed to just relax and listen to the story.

If you are looking for something light, this is for you. It was enjoyable. Karen McQuestion’s writing made a nice story with plenty of character development. It is both a believable story and not. But with all that is going on in the world right now, I needed a bit of fiction to help me sleep. If you have a dog or love dogs, the story plays out even deeper.

Just one little problem. Dan John Miller, the narrator does a good job playing the male main character but like all male narrators, in my estimation, all the woman voices sounded like a male making fun of women. But I think he did his best and he did keep the reader’s interest. Give it a try if you get the chance.

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The Fiery Cross (Outlander, #5)The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

These are such great books. The story continues. And now I can watch the current series on TV. But…

Until this book, Divina Porter, the narrator of all the Outlander books, was able to change the voices for most of the characters enough that a listener could tell who was talking. Now with Bree and Roger and Ian grown, they all sound like Clair and Jamie. If my eyes could handle the tracking I would try to have the book or Kindle version open to track who is speaking. Instead, I have to back up a bit to see if I can find out. Or I just keep listening and finally, context will indicate who had just been the speaker. That throws me out of the story.

Is it me, or is this book a little less exciting? I know with Covid19 all around and the stress that has caused us all, it may be playing a part in my attention levels. I may have to reread the series later when life returns us to quieter minds. So I will try not to affect my rating on this issue. I still loved it and have already downloaded the next book. I can’t wait to see how Jamie and his men adjust to the American Revolution. What if you were on the wrong side of history and knew it but couldn’t do much about it as no one but you had access to future history? Yeah. What a conundrum! Great writing, Diana Gabaldon!

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Going BovineGoing Bovine by Libba Bray
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was recommended to me by a very good friend. I couldn’t afford to buy it at the time. Luckily the library had the Kindle and Overdrive versions. I seemed to like listening to the audio more than trying to track the Kindle.

Guys doing girl or women’s voices as it always sounds condescending, to me, but Erik Davies (Narrator), kept my interest and I soon lost the distraction of his female voice.

Though a serious subject matter, this story has you wondering what is happening and nearly breathlessly following the characters on their adventures to save the world and the main character, Cameron’s life.

It has been labeled “Quirky”. I agree! It is certainly worth the read.

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Review: Becoming by Michelle Obama


BecomingBecoming by Michelle Obama
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, how I miss proper English. Oh, how I miss people who care for others and not just themselves. That is what I found in this audiobook. A person who can read their own words in a book with such elegance was so beautiful I didn’t want to stop reading. I was awake until four in the morning two or three nights.

It wasn’t as if most of the story was new. We all lived through those eight years. I didn’t know about much of Ms. Obama’s life before the White House. So that was interesting.

When I was young, I loved spending the night with friends or cousins. It was fun to see how other people live their lives. I think that is why I like honest memoirs like this one. Michelle didn’t try to pretty it up and sweep the bad parts under the carpet. This was her life. Period.

Most of the story was pre-election, before children. She is a confident woman. Her parents’ influence was the basis of her life along with extended family. The love she felt for and from family gave her the strength to be herself. Being raised financially challenged gave her the wisdom to deal with money properly. Knowing that politics was the least of her aims in life, makes her all the more interesting.

I think it was that deep love that she got as a child that made her the loving adult she became. It was evident in how she treated people of all ilk. I am so interested in what Michelle Obama becomes now that her life is closer to what is her kind of life.

This is a book I highly recommend as an audiobook. Her voice is rich and brings the words to life.

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Julianne's Wish (Magically Ever After Series Book 1)Julianne’s Wish by Marie Navarro
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was lucky to get the sign paperback version of this book. I have loved the author’s other young adult fae stories. And I can say that now, having finished this book, I like it an look forward to what will happen in the series.

BUT that is not how I felt as I read it. At first, I only had the paperback. I had to use a magnifying piece of plastic to read it. The font was too small for my eyes. I finally ordered the Kindle version so I could listen to the text-to-speech.

That wasn’t the only problem I had with the book. Oh, sure, it was written well. Like I said I love Marie’s writing. And had this been written 20 years ago, not only would I be open to the amount of erotica and romance that plays around within the story, the ‘Me, too’ movement hadn’t been as strong. Though not triggery to me, there were parts that others might have a problem with.

Had this not been the product of a person I like and whose previous books I liked, I might have put the book away. But that is where I was lucky. I knew there would be something to make this story take off. Sure enough toward the end, I found that nugget. Yes! Now I cared about the characters and why they were the way they were.

Let that be the lesson you learn here. Take your time. Read it all. I think in the end you will be happy you did. Some adventures are difficult. But isn’t that what makes the adventure? Not only can you not judge a book by the covers, don’t judge the characters in the book by their strange actions. Guess that could be applied to people we meet in real life. Not everyone is exciting or understandable.

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A Duel in Time: A Time Travel Romance (Thief in Time Book 5)A Duel in Time: A Time Travel Romance by Cidney Swanson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Inspirational! Who doesn’t enjoy a good time-travel book? This one addresses the subject of the musical Hamilton. What fun! And now I have to go find the books about him and the sheet music to play with, and learn to sing the tunes like I did with Phantom and Les Miz.

But the book isn’t all about the musical. It covered a lot about the history and character of the man, statesman, politician, Alexander Hamilton. And the fictitious twins of this century and their coming of age issues.

I always enjoy books by Cidney Swanson. I always have to say that her Saving Mars series is my favorite but all her work is so fantastic it is only that I have to be the old grown-up with left-over space-travel dreams that I gravitate to those books. But Time-Travel is fun, and educational and inspires me so much! Enjoy! I did!

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Everything My Mother Taught MeEverything My Mother Taught Me by Alice Hoffman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I absolutely love Alice Hoffman’s writing. I couldn’t resist when I saw this for free on Audible. And this did have her great storytelling. The narrator, Brittany Pressley, was superb.

The story kept me interested. But the end came too soon I didn’t realize it was a short story until it ended. And that is my biggest problem with this audiobook. I don’t like short stories. They leave me wanting more. I want to know what happens next.

Still, it was a delicious story.

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