Tag Archive: book-3



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!


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Ice (1/2986 #3)Ice by Annelie Wendeberg
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This might not have been a good time for me to read this book or series. And especially as a bedtime read. This was incredibly dark and violent. There are actually trigger warnings on the blurb on the GoodReads page. But I don’t think it was triggery for me. Just too much for reading during an uncertain time.

If you are looking for an apocalyptic/dystopian series and can handle dark and violent, this may be for you.

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Spirit WarriorSpirit Warrior by Ella J. Smyth
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Of the three books in this series so far, this is my favorite. I’m beginning to warm up to the characters and the story. With all there is going on in the world a nice fantasy can help give you a breather. So rather than making this review longer, I say, try the series. You might like it! By the way, I found these on Kindle Unlimited. Not a bad deal, huh?

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Voyager (Outlander, #3)Voyager by Diana Gabaldon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Whew! These books are long. But good. This review is for the Audible version. After you get used to her, Davina Porter, narrator, you will find her voice versatile and natural for this story. One of my reasons for using this method to read these books is pronunciation. There are words in Gaelic or French and a couple of other languages that I wouldn’t know how to say, and text-to-speech would garble.

I don’t usually like to read a book after watching the show. I like to form my ideas of the characters before I see a director’s point of view. But so far this series translates nearly directly. It makes me proud of the show and the author of the book. It seems each of the scenes in the show was in the books. The only difference in this one is Gilly (not sure of the spelling–Audible doesn’t have written word.) I won’t spoil it for you. I actually like the book version over the show. But both work.

I can’t wait to listen to book four. And I’m looking forward to the next season of the show.

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Acorna's People (Acorna, #3)Acorna’s People by Anne McCaffrey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

About a decade ago I was lucky to get first editions of a lot of Anne McCaffrey books. I think I’ve read all the dragon books. Now I am trying to get through the Acorna series.

As much as I love McCaffrey’s writing and imagination, I find I am not as excited about this series. I feel let down as the title seems to be that the story should center around the Unicorn Girl. But it seems to be about the bad guys and some of her people. I felt nothing of her or for her. I did like the salvage guy and his cat but that’s all.

Okay, maybe it was because it took me so long to read. My eyes have a hard time with printed material. I can do a little at a time. A page or two. And so it has taken me more than a year and a half to get through it. Still, because I own it and I love the author I kept at it until I actually finished.

I see that other fans loved this series so I blame my eyes. And I have ordered the next in the series so I can collect the whole series.

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The Book of Flora (The Road to Nowhere, #3)The Book of Flora by Meg Elison
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was the Kindle Unlimited version with the accompanying Audible Whispersynched. I’m glad I got to read the final book in the series.

I love the diversity that this series presents in a post-apocalyptic story. This last one gives the LGBTQetc. ignorant a bit of education of differing sexual leanings and desires told through characters who experience life differently than many of us. It gives us insight into how others feel and need to live made ever more complicated by dystopian life.

Etta’s story continued in Flora’s book, making book two have a little better ending. But in many ways, what worked in books one and two didn’t work here as it got far too complex in the many characters and past and present times within journals and now.

The vocal narrator did help by modulating his voice so as to help the reader know who was talking. but there were times even that didn’t help and I had to back up and figure out who’s who and what’s what.

Even though it is a lower rating than I like to give, it seems a good one for others to read and learn from while still being a fictional tale.

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Payback Royale (Payback Society Book 3)Payback Royale by Cidney Swanson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The book was to come live on the 29th. (And Yay! It did!) I finished reading this book four nights ago. I hated finishing it. I always want to know what will happen after I close the book. I enjoyed the book, thoroughly! The most exciting part was about space travel and its purpose. I have to admit to nearly squealing as the main character promotes it.

I know I’m not the target audience missing the ages by five decades or so. Even so, I can remember being a young adult. I can imagine I would have loved, well, everything Miss Swanson writes. Her characters, world’s, and plots are fresh and fun. The books read themselves, okay, with the help of text-to-speech. But I don’t want to put any of them down until the last word! Payback Royale was no different. Loved it!

On the other hand… I hate the antagonist. I don’t see hope for him. Please let’s put an end to his story! Without killing our friends, please!

I can’t wait to read more by Cidney Swanson!

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The Walking Dead Vol. 3: Safety Behind BarsThe Walking Dead Vol. 3: Safety Behind Bars by Robert Kirkman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Younger me would have been appalled at the me that LOVES The Walking Dead. Do I love zombies? Heck no. But like birds and coyotes, they exist in Robert Kirkman’s TWD. Some would understand if I use the words, “puppies and kittens”. Just not so cute. What else exists? As much inclusion as it possible without it being awkward.

Where would you prefer to spend the apocalypse a farm or a prison? A farm would have a good amount of food if you can keep it fresh and healthy. When the zombies stroll all over it and threaten to kill you, then that is not so feasible. No electric fences can keep them out. They only want to eat you. Innocent from their point of view. Hard enough to keep the farm free of pests like mice and coyotes or other predators. Shooting at them will bring more, in hoards!

Seemingly a strange choice is a prison. But with bars and double sets of high fences that normally keep the bad folks in, now becomes the best place of safety. Plus all the food that is still there. Clear away the walking dead and you have a safe place to raise a family. And set up the farm!

And so it is that Rick Grimes and crew end up in the prison. If you watch the show this kind of order happened to our fearless group. They tried camping in volume 1, the farm in volume 2, and finally, in volume 3, they move into the prison. But some people are still with us, others don’t exist. It is fun to compare the writing of both comic and television show. The story remains, for the most part, in spite of the changes needed often for the length of time a show can run, whereas the written one can go on forever if we all want it. (Yes!)

Once, again, I need to say, I prefer the Kindle version to the paperback. Though I would like to collect the comics, I can’t read them without a magnifying glass. The Kindle version allows me to click on the picture and take it frame by frame. Then if a certain frame has a font that is too small I can pinch it bigger. Bravo, technology! I miss the smell and tactile enjoyment of real books, but at my age with my eyes, I’m happy I can still enjoy books and comic books! By the way, the Kindle version is cheaper and it is free with Kindle Unlimited! YAY!

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The Royal Cleaner: Books 1-3The Royal Cleaner: Books 1-3 by L.C. Mawson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well, this was fun. And different. It is because of the differences that I give it 5 instead of 4 stars.

This was an ARC that I begged to get to review. It didn’t let me down. I don’t know the author so I have nothing forcing the high rating. I liked it. A lot. In fact, I want to read it again. When you read using mostly text-to-speech it is easy to get lost. Luckily, the book was so well written that I wasn’t lost for long. Still, it wasn’t repetitive. Never boring.

There is a lot of magic. Some I wish I knew, including a dream visit situation I don’t want to ruin with spoilers. As if witch and demon relationship isn’t hard enough they are lesbian. Oh, wait, reverse that.

The romance isn’t overdone or overly codependent. What a relief! And though the main characters were fantasy beings their problems seemed human and real.

I loved Coraline but Mina and her daughter grabbed my heart.

Oh, for those that see the title and think it is about house-cleaning. Think Scandal from ABC Thursday line-up. Only not Washington D.C. The kingdom of magic. Kerry Washington would have fainted at the stuff these ladies had to deal with.

If you get the chance read this three in one book. I love reading all straight in a row like that.

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Deception (Southern Comfort #3)Deception by Lisa Clark O’Neill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is book three of the Southern Comfort series. But it isn’t the same people continuing a story but other secondary characters who were in the past books telling their story to continue in time.

There is a bit more romance and it leans on NA rather than YA. The crime was harder to take, too. Still, overall, I liked the story.

If you like crime and suspense stories this series is for you. I have to admit that since I read before sleep, this wasn’t for me. No, I couldn’t just back away and go to sleep. The fears came with me. I couldn’t seem to find a stopping place where I thought the characters would be safe without me.

The writer was excellent in how she kept the reader in the book. Even so, I doubt I will read the rest of the series. Let me know if you do and how you like them.

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