Tag Archive: america



The Book Woman of Troublesome CreekThe Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Quite an interesting read. Even though I read these out of sequence, reading book two first, I found I like both stories. They were very similar, and with the same narrator, Katie Schorr, I felt both main characters were the same. Still, when I took a moment, I found my way back to the current person. Her voice fits the characters and keeps the story going.

Until these stories, I don’t think I remember hearing about the blue-skinned people of Kentucky until these books. But what doesn’t surprise me is the bigotry of the willfully ignorant. Though the main character does everything in her power to help others, some see a minor issue as something to hate a person for.

What is fun is watching the main characters of the two books grow in their abilities as librarians, teachers, women, and riders of an onery mule.

This story is worth reading, even if you have to read this out of order.

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Go Tell the Bees That I Am GoneGo Tell the Bees That I Am Gone by Diana Gabaldon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As much as I love all the Outlanders, this may be my favorite. The sad part is that the next book isn’t ready to read. So now I am floundering with Diana Gabaldon’s novellas. And Davina Porter makes Ms. Gabaldon’s writing shine!

Don’t let it scare you; think honey, not stingers. Bees do play a part in telling this story. My takeaway is to always talk to the bees; they want to know.

As with the rest of the series, this book is educational about the American Revolution. It is inspirational as I long to read and research our history to know more than I learned in school. It proves my point that the student will feel curious if you throw in a bit of magic.

Ah, but, Diana, why did you have to leave this on a cliff? Especially knowing that it would be ages until your perfected sequel (as opposed to the Game of Thrones hurried ending by someone else.) But it wasn’t a high cliff, so I’ll tolerate it knowing our heroes will be safe somehow and once again save the day.

I love, love, love all the lessons the Frasiers and friends have to teach us and can’t wait for more.
If you get the chance, please listen to these books in audio form as Davina Porter brings the story to life.

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Midnight in Washington: How We Almost Lost Our Democracy and Still CouldMidnight in Washington: How We Almost Lost Our Democracy and Still Could by Adam Schiff
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Midnight in Washington was not a good book to read before going to sleep. It was a Libby (library) audio in the author’s voice, so I wanted to neither keep myself awake on reliving the horror of January 6th or miss parts of the story by falling asleep as the recording continued. So I settled on listening while busy with my hobbies, keeping my hands busy but my mind engaged in the reading.

I saw the author, Adam Schiff, on several talk shows and knew I wanted to hear his account of what had happened. I was surprised and pleased to see he included an autobiography. Meaning you were seeing what happened from his point of view.

I felt the book was honest and fair to others as it occurred to the author.

It is interesting having read this before the hearings we are listening to today. I feel more engaged and understand more. I highly recommend this book, especially in Adam Schiff’s calming voice.

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Written in My Own Heart's Blood (Outlander, #8)Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Yes, I reread it. And I still say the same things about it being my favorite Outlander so far. Do you want to know why? Okay, beyond Diana Gabaldon’s writing and research and Davina Porter’s voice acting, this character and scenes list goes beyond the first review I wrote below.

Characters: Jamie Fraser, Brianna Randall, Roger MacKenzie, Jeremiah MacKenzie, Fergus Fraser, Marsali Fraser, Germain Fraser, Ian Murray, Lord John Grey, Benedict Arnold, Claire Randall Fraser, Jonathan Randall, Dougal MacKenzie, Geillis Duncan, Jenny Murray, Young Ian Murray, William Ransom, Rachel Hunter, Denzell Hunter, William Buccleigh MacKenzie, Amanda MacKenzie, Harold, Duke of Pardloe, Henri-Christian Fraser, Brian Fraser, Jane Pocock, Frances Pocock, Dorothea Grey, Jerry MacKenzie, George Washington.

Settings: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1778 (United States)
Lallybroch, Scotland, 1980 (United Kingdom)
Lallybroch, Scotland, 1739 (United Kingdom)
Savannah, Georgia, 1779 (United States)
North Carolina, 1779 (United States)
Fraser’s Ridge, North Carolina, 1779 (United States)

***

I thought that book 7, Echo In The Bone, was my favorite of the Outlander books. Nope. Written in My Own Heart’s Blood wins. It was fantastic!

Regardless of the time the characters land in, they all grow and help us learn the rules of Gabaldon’s Time Travel.

What can I tell you that won’t spoil it for you?

As usual, there is a lot of research evident in the reading, and as one supposes, there are instances of poetic license, which Diana Gabaldon admits she has it framed on her wall.

The most exciting part of the book is as Breanna talks about Doctor Who in a chapter called, Thank You For The Fish. (Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy). Now I really wish I had a TARDIS so that I could play in all three universes.

And I wish I could move on to book 9, but my Audible credits don’t come until the middle of the month. A quick note about why I read by Audible most often now: actual reading is impossible for my eyes. It seems to be a tracking issue. So I use a lot of Kindle Text-to-Speech. Though TTS works well for most books, I want to hear the words pronounced correctly when there are other languages involved. Davina Porter is able to range the language barriers and character ages and sexes with apparent ease. I love listening to her.

If you get the chance, the books are as good if not better than the shows, and the Audible versions are the best of all the worlds. Enjoy!

***
By the way, since the first reading and the need for Audible, I have had cataract surgery and hope that soon I can read paper books. But for books like this with many foreign languages I don’t know how to pronounce, I’ll stick with Audible.

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An Echo in the Bone (Outlander, #7)An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Below is my first review of this Audio version of the book. Nothing has changed. This is still my favorite Outlander book. It was great to read it as this season of Outlander streams. In fact, the scene from a couple of weeks ago I had just read the same day. Claire got sick. I’ll write no more about that without spoilers.

I took longer to read (listen) this time. Instead of knitting, I spend the listening time on Diamond Painting a series of dragons. I can only devote an hour or so to that endeavor. So with the before-bed read and creative pursuits, I couldn’t read straight through. I am already set up to read book 8. It’s like I can’t remember what happened next, yet I kind of remember and can’t wait to revisit it all.

***
This book may be my favorite of all the Outlanders. Maybe because of how I chose to read it nearly 24/7. After all, I had reached the skinny-mini underbelly of all streamings–teens or young people who look like Barbie Dolls going through the samo-samo life issues. Give me some older adults, women of all shapes and colors, real people, not Hollywood mothers, whores, or weaklings. Not enough streaming of strong women holding up half the world. So back to reading the only way I could. Audible.

Also, I was making scrubbies and washcloths while listening. That helped me ‘hear’ better.

By constant reading, I could stay in the story better. And family members came and listened with me on occasion. So it wasn’t a lonely process.

At any rate, I loved watching the cast of the characters struggle with life and time travel issues and historical moments. I especially loved the parts about Brianna and Roger at Lallybroch recovering letters from Claire and Jamie. And though I used to find Willy obnoxious, I think I clicked with him this time. And I grew more in love with John Grey. How nice to see good, honest, quality men portrayed.

I tried to find something else to read last night as my bedtime read but couldn’t resist looking for more Outlander. Now I am listening to book 8, Written In My Own Heart’s Blood.

Time to lower my reading goal as I seem stuck in tome reading. I love it! I hope you get the chance to read these. Oh, and Davina Porter does so many voices so well. I still wish for more actual actors, for sometimes Bri and Claire sound the same, and all the children sound the same, and Roger, even with his sore throat, sounds like other men. Still, for one person covering so many people, Davina is fantastic!

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Drums of Autumn (Outlander, #4)Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I just finished this second read of the fourth book. I wanted to be ready for the new season on television. I didn’t need to read the whole series, though I watched the whole show from season 1 again. I really love the music by Bear McCreary. I just wanted to refresh myself of the memory of what happens to the Frasers and the rest once they are in America.

I loved the story written, narrated, or acted. Though a little different in each case, it is a fun ride.

Davina Porter narrates with such a varied voice that one always knows whose viewpoint we are hearing. Every now and then, I get confused with Bree and Clair or Roger and Jamie. But it doesn’t take long before a person can know who they are hearing.

I have already started book five as it has more about the American Revolution through the Frasers’ eyes. I can’t wait to see how they do it on the show. I love all the time travel. I love visiting other countries and hearing histories brought forth by Diana Gabaldon, whose research and knowledge as portrayed in the books and show.
***
The following was from my first reading/listen from March 2020.

Oops! I nearly forgot to review this one. I just moved into the next read (a library book).

I really wish I had read this before the series on television. I liked the rhythm of the story better. I like the viewpoints presented here as Clair’s rather than Bree’s as the television series has it. It is different not having the information about the daughter making the voyage back in time and back to America.

I think we got into Roger’s head a little more, too. It doesn’t take away from the show. Interestingly, the directors and actors took the storyline without losing the story.

No spoilers here. Just glad I read (listened to the Audible) it and can’t wait to get into the next one!

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State of TerrorState of Terror by Hillary Rodham Clinton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Yikes! This book was so suspenseful I couldn’t get a good night’s sleep until I finished. And even then, it is so easily probable it may prevent sleep for the next decade.

Joan Allen, the narrator, made the story come alive. I think the mixture of a great thriller writer and someone who had been in politics gave the story believability.

I picked up this copy on Libby, the library audio app. I highly recommend this book.

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Yellow CrocusYellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I finished listening to this a few nights ago. I still feel warm and fuzzy from the experience. No, it isn’t all a cozy read. But the author went into the characters’ psychology in a way that women. mothers could feel. Most of us haven’t had to experience this kind of life. But it doesn’t take a lot to feel how it might affect us. And how it could mess up the children.

Bahni Turpin (Narrator) was marvelous. I could listen to her voice all day, especially when she would sing lullabies. She expressed emotions fully. And get ready to be angry, and make sure to bring the Kleenex.

This is a beautiful read. I was able to hear the Audible version. But I could have read the Kindle version as I had it for quite a while.

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Caste: The Origins of Our DiscontentsCaste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The bestselling list on CBS Sunday Morning today put Caste at #3 of non-fiction books. I usually don’t end up reading things that are on those lists. But a couple of months ago during the Unitarian Universalist Zoom worship service, this book was highly praised and gently assigned as homework for the congregation. I found it on Audible and had a free credit so went for it.

Robin Miles narrates beautifully. Her voice and acting help keep the listener engaged. Even though this was one of the longest ‘reads’ I have indulged in of late. It has taken me several weeks to get through. For some books, I set the speed faster than normal and can follow a story quite well, but I loved Ms. Miles’s voice and found myself deeply involved in the caste education Isabel Wilkerson had presented so well that I left it at normal speed.

I highly recommend this book to everyone. If you feel ‘woke’ enough that you feel this will be elementary, you will find depths of information you may have not thought of. I remember as a child at church excitedly singing “Jesus Loves the Little Children, all the children of the world; Red and yellow, black or white, they are precious in His sight…” Yet hearing we couldn’t go to a certain park because the blacks were taking over. In a child’s mind, that seemed strange and I couldn’t believe that would stop us from going to the park. We lived in a very white area. There were few kids of color in school. As a kid, I didn’t think of what that meant. As a newlywed, my husband and I made friends with a mixed couple. Through them, we attended a dance and a big picnic where there were only three whites. Us. The dance was amazing until they invited me to dance. My shyness took over big-time. I can’t dance and it was obvious that our new friends were experts. The picnic was more intimate. A couple of women had beautiful cornrows. As a cosmetologist, I was fascinated with how they did that. We weren’t taught black hairstyles in my school. These gracious ladies laid down in the grass with me and showed me how to braid grass. It still amazes me that they could get the grass to stay braided. It was so short! No, I never did get good at braiding.

Anyway, I went into this book with these life experiences behind me and hearing that song worming its way through my head wondering how people have been treated so poorly by folks that claim to be Christians. I do remember learning about India’s caste system as a young adult and thought how it seemed we weren’t far from that here. But this takes all that to such depths of understanding I was wowed every night I was involved in the book.

Please if you get the chance, give this one a read.

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This is my second reading of the first book of this box-set Find my first review here.

This reading, I was surprised at how current this dystopian story feels. It was only a year ago that I read the first book. Yet now, this seems so scarily close. The author died in 2009, so it was before all of this. How prescient!

As I mentioned in the previous review, I didn’t know what happened after the end of the first book. The second fills in the holes of what happened with the daughter.

At the same time, I wasn’t happy with how the story goes back and forth in person and times, beginning with that second book. I think it is more noticeable when you listen to your books on text-to-speech. I think my eyes might have noticed subtle changes. But that was such a little thing that it didn’t lower my rating.

I cried at the end of the book. I felt I wanted more. I wanted to be with Lauren and everyone in the story longer. The author was excellent in how she created a religion and gave us the ways it grew. How she drew the reader in to know the main character so profoundly was amazing. Now I want to read all her books! I am a fan!!!!

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