Tag Archive: california



Parable of the Sower (Earthseed, #1)

Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What an adventure!

Fledgling was the last book I read by Octavia E. Butler. I liked that it had a different take and more diversity than many other ‘vampire’ book. So I wanted to see more by this author.

This book takes the apocalyptic point of view from the beginning of the end. Our main character is the daughter of a preacher. She is black but the color of her skin is not the point. She is a teenager in a protected community that suddenly isn’t. As a teen, she sees things her own way, not like her parents or anyone else. So it is a story of growing up in social, physical, and psychological chaos.

I have to admit to loving the story. I did get tired of the God Seed of her making against the biblical verses of her father. But it was her experience so I accepted it as the character point of view not preaching to the reader. This blended with her bringing together a group of people wandering up the California highway and byways while protecting each other and defending their rights to live in this new world.

Though the story leaves the reader in a safe place, not a cliffhanger, I feel the need to read the next and see what happens now that they have settled. My e-library had this one but not the next so I requested they get it.

It must be nice for black readers to have stories that reflect them. I’m not black but I would love to see diversity more often. As much as I am loving seeing female authors writing strong female characters, let’s see more of the female experience in other races and experiences. Maybe our future generations of people will have books written from all points of view encouraging the reading experience by all society! I’d love to read more about women who are in their sixties and seventies and older! Let’s make sure everyone gets to see the world from characters like them!

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If you read the above you will notice I used the prompt word ‘social’ a couple times. I was going to do two separate posts but computer issues prevented it. So this is a combo of Review and Stream of Consciousness Saturday.


Shattered: Logan Book 1Shattered: Logan Book 1 by Valerie Davisson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was an interesting story. I could have done without the mystery, especially the murdery bit. But I kept reading beyond when the book didn’t work for me.

As I have stated before, I have trouble reading tree-books. It has to do with my tracking abilities. But I am a life long reader that doesn’t give up that easily. So I set up my Kindle with black background and largish white font. Then I use the text-to-speech to track with what I do read. I don’t do well with just audio as I tend to ADD away with shiny things. But with both modalities working I can get into stories very deeply.

This version was difficult for me. I don’t know what happened but I couldn’t use the black background/white font. It only wanted white background black font or everything went black. The text-to-speech worked but I couldn’t follow with my eyes. I finally gave up. At about 60%! I do hope the author and or the publisher got that all fixed. Since I was asked to review this book I have to be honest, the font/formatting, was the worst for me.

I let it go for a couple months but the story kept haunting me. I wanted to know what happened. I had loved the research shown about glassblowing. Native American bits. And seeing what seemed to me a realistic look at bereavement. I loved the realism of teaching and use of music. Honestly, I didn’t need the murder bit. I did like the character that did the killing and I thought it gave her a humanity having lupus and all. But I guess some people like to have the tension a good old murder gives a book. Just not me.

Still, I can’t wait to see what happens next. For book two I have the Audible version. I’m getting better at keeping my hands busy doing sudoku, knitting, or drawing. So in the next few days I will review that one, too.

I think others will enjoy this story, too.

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Chasing Coyotes: Accounts of Urban CrisesChasing Coyotes: Accounts of Urban Crises by Debora Martin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Less than a decade ago my husband and I were delivering newspapers in Corona California. We were quite surprised by how many coyotes we saw out in these beautiful neighborhoods. We didn’t think of them as more than just nuisances who got into the trash. Turns out this book tell accounts of coyotes in the even bigger cities of Orange County that were around when we lived there and got worse in years since we left.

I think when I saw this book’s description that I was getting some Urban Fantasy about Native American tales of coyotes, the tricksters. At first, I was a bit taken aback. Then I was pleasantly surprised at where these stories took place. Then the book inspired in me a healthier fear that I never had before.

If you live in big cities in Orange County or L.A. County or Riverside County in California, you should read this book. I suggest you get the hardback or paperback so that you can keep the guidelines of how to get rid of coyotes, that could kill your toddlers or grandparents or cat or dog. Use it to get in touch with the people, like the author, who are trying to make your neighborhoods safer.

Look, where I live coyotes walk brazenly down our dirt roads. I live in the country. There are wild rabbits and other creatures that coyotes like to eat. But now I know another reason why my cats and dog are not allowed outside alone in our yard, besides the threat of hawks and eagles, that like small pets. We are trying to find a way to fence in our yard better to keep out coyotes or bigger predators. (The first winter we were here we found antelope footprints right next to our bedroom window. So imagine what could come in.) But we expect these beasts out here. In the cities, I thought our biggest problem were mice, rats, and opossums. But I was wrong.

Please read this book. Be aware so that you can be prepared.

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A Tale for the Time BeingA Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Over a decade ago, I met an online friend that would change or at least, modify my life. I met Judith on LiveJournal, you remember that old site, better than MySpace but not quite as social as FaceBook. Judith was chatting in her journal about Chris Baty and the NaNoWriMo scene (Which resulted in my first novel being written between the Ides of March and the Ides of April. I didn’t finish the novel then as we had to move to a new city and I just couldn’t stay with it. But I added more than enough wordage to that novel in November 2002 to “win”. (First of 10 or 11 novels since.)

The other thing Judith introduced me to was BookCrossing.com. The concept that grabbed me with BC was how my read book could be recycled to others and then the new reader and the old could discuss this story. The book could travel even when I couldn’t, so it felt like a message in a bottle thrown out to sea. It is fun to see where your book could end up and the friendships that develop over said book. I still belong but since my eyes aren’t what they used to be, I am happy for the invention of Kindle and other e-readers. So I release far fewer books nowadays.

Besides Judith, what do the above paragraphs have in common, and what do they have to do with ‘A Tale for the Time Being’? The art of writing and the art of reading. Both concepts play strong in this story. Rather than a message in a bottle, this message floats ashore in a Hello Kitty lunchbox in layers of freezer bags. The writer was in Tokyo, the reader/finder in Canada. Years separate the two. Yet a bond is formed. Oh, yeah, Judith read and reviewed this and hooked me in. I think she didn’t like the Zen parts of the book. I found that part delightful. I have to admit that most of the book is believable whereas the Zen bits are a little more ‘magical’. But the title twinkles with that magic. If you read it right.

Anyway, I HIGHLY recommend this book. I actually read it one and a third times. I borrowed the Kindle version from the library. Between reading it on my Kindle app on my Tablet and listening on my old Kindle text-to-speech, I managed to get to about 36% in. Then I found that my library also had the OverDrive version. So I restarted reading the book with the author’s voice. That pumped up my ratings for this wonderful tale. Each layer of depth into the story has its own built-in amazements. Level one, tree book, and the Kindle version, there are many footnotes and definitions to help with a deeper understanding of that time in history or that country, language. But the narration includes minor helps. Hearing a voice say the Japanese names or words adds to the believability of the whole story. Ms. Ruth Ozeki has an impeccable voice and narration, her variations of voices for each character supreme! I enjoyed rereading the first third with her help. I felt I gained deeper understanding just by hearing her. Please, if you get the chance to pair both versions, go for it!

By the way, I want to thank Jonelle Patrick and her Mysteries and website: http://jonellepatrick.me/ for introducing me to many contemporary Japanese subjects presented in A Tale for the Time Being. At least I was forewarned.

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Outsider: The Flawed Series Book TwoOutsider: The Flawed Series Book Two by Becca J. Campbell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was given the ARC by the author for an honest review. Because of it being an ARC, I will not count into this review any of the editing errors that I did pick up. In fact, the story caught me up so firmly that I hardly noticed these oopsies.

About that story! Wow! Told from the viewpoints of the main character, Josh, and his female interest, Alex, and their nemesis, Nic who is out to kill Alex. I like that you can get into the heads of each of these people. Sure, one could guess at the insecurities young people have about starting a new relationship, but Ms. Becca Campbell (author) gives us deeper insights than those surface issues. Put into that mix suddenly awakening abilities and one can understand the deep confusion. And seeing what was motivating the bad guy was ingenious!

This series is so much fun! It keeps one on the edge of one’s seat wondering what is going to happen? How will they get out of this one? Try to read this one so that the last half is long before bedtime. I was lucky that I was able to finish long before sleep. There are nightmare elements that I didn’t want to have entering my subconscious. (Course the next book I picked up then was by Neil Gaiman, gulp!)

It had been a long time since I read the first of the Flawed series, Flawed. Even so I found a reread wasn’t necessary. Enough review is set up in this book two that one wouldn’t feel lost. In fact, one could read this without having read the first book. But the depth you would have from reading the series in order is unbeatable. I highly recommend reading this series if you are inclined to read fantasy books about new or young adults. This one was more contemporary than other fantasies. In that way, it is fun to visit Colorado and California as they are.

I can’t wait to read the next in the series!

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Review: Champion by Marie Lu


ChampionChampion by Marie Lu

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Five stars! And that’s with me starting to read it on book three! I never do that. I like to start at the beginning and read a long series to the end. Starting in the middle or later can be chancy at best. But there was no choice. I saw such high ratings and I think a GoodReads friend recommended it. So I jumped over to Amazon. WAY too expensive for me right now. So I went over to my library website to see if they had it. The had the regular version of book two and this third book. BUT with this large print book I was able to land the audio-CDs. How lucky was that?

Let me take a moment out for a font complaint. Why is it that large print versions don’t give spaces between lines? Even with the larger font I still couldn’t read it straight through. I needed to use my trusty dusty bookmark to keep track, like a first grader! Old eyes, what can I say?

What kept me going, though, was the audio version. The voices of June and Day were read by Mariel Stern and Steven Kaplan respectively. They were wonderful narrators! I must make sure when I finally get this series for myself that I get the Audible Whispersync with the Kindle version.

I must marvel at the writing of Marie Lu. That I can come into the story this late in the game and not feel lost is to her credit. Sure, I felt like I was missing a little background on how it all started and how relationships grew, or didn’t, but I felt I already knew, somehow. There wasn’t a lot of background descriptors dragging the story out, so I assume Ms. Lu snuck it all in there somehow. Magic!

And I am surprised that coming out of the book I have a hunger to read the entire series, real soon! I put all the books on all my wishlists. Just reading a book three should have had me feel I was finished, ya know?

Oh, and if you read this one, have some Kleenex on hand near the end. It’s not horrid, but I haven’t cried like that near the end of a book for a long time. But that shows the amount of truth that this story held for me. No, I am far from being a teen–65, but I could still relate to all that was going on with these characters.

Oh, and this is the first book in a long time that felt that either guys or girls could read it with equal fervor. Each chapter is either June or Day (Daniel) and both are tough but caring human beings.

As I have said before, where were authors like Marie Lu when I was a teen? This book kept my interest from beginning to end. And I think that if you are unlucky enough to not get the first two books you can start here and still have an active adventure!

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A Witch's Magic: A Love Triangle With a Magical Twist (Heart of a Witch Book 2)A Witch’s Magic: A Love Triangle With a Magical Twist by H.T. Night

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Can I give a three and a half star rating? I loved the first book, but this one so left me flat. The first dealt with the power of a blooming witch trying to decide between good and black magic and the decision that needed to be made between her two great guys. Unfortunately, book two was more of the same angst. Nothing got resolved.

I was happy to hang out with old friends. I had grown to really like the characters, even the not so good ones. But I got very frustrated without any progress being made in this book. In the first book, there were even bits of seemingly real information about how to find your center and power. Not much was in this one.

AND I might have been happy just hanging with the friends as I mentioned before, but the book needed more editing. There were places I had to reread sentences to make sense of things. A word left out or not the right word. A sentence of present tense mixed in with mostly past.

Even still, I can’t wait to read the next book.

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Witch to ChooseWitch to Choose by H.T. Night

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I just had to slap my hands and get tough with myself. I am three reviews behind my reading! The problem right now is that I already had book two of this series and I didn’t stop reading to do my own writing. Bad Dar, bad Dar!

And look at this! I didn’t know that this author was a male! So I have to give kudos fo his writing. With my goal of the last couple years to read mostly books written by women with strong female main characters, and aiming for the Bechdel test awareness, this book nearly slid right by. I think it was around the third chapter that I had to stop and look up this author. Women talking to each other and not about the male characters, realistic feelings coming from all of the people in the story. Men who cry. Women with power! Wow! H.T. Night, I am proud of you! And I plan to read more by you.

Oh, and look at this: NO CLIFFHANGER! It ended nicely yet I just wanted to see what happened next.

Now I am not a Wiccan and have only studied a tiny amount. So it felt believable…all except the person who is a warlock. I have heard that men are witches, too. Aren’t warlocks dark magicks? If anyone wants to educate me on that I would be happy to know.

For what it’s worth, Mr. Night has a plethora of books out there with vampires and wolves and all. I may have to stretch our my reading chops and finally include those bitie creatures. Now more reviews to do before I can read more!

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Immutable (Ripple Series Book 5)Immutable by Cidney Swanson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Once again, I am sad. I am nearing the end of a great series. It has been so much fun to read the Rippler series by Cidney Swanson. You may remember her name from the Mars series I went so crazy about.

The Rippler series isn’t space travel but I consider it to be sci-fi rather than fantasy as the condition that causes one to ripple into invisibility is caused by a certain gene, as I understand it. Scientists discover these genes and work with a multitude of medications to control the side effects and or the people that are able to vanish. As in all groups of people there are good scientists and bad/evil scientists. The results push the main characters and plot of this series.

What I don’t yet do like about this series is that even though you have the oldies but goodies from former books, each book or so introduces a new point of view. The reason I like it is because you can travel to new places and see things you might not have had Ms. Swanson kept the same main character for all the adventures. I like getting to know characters in their depth so that is why I don’t like a new character every time. I know, I’m hard to please. 🙂

At any rate, what I am left with is a case of wonderment. What if one could go invisible, hide in walls or in plain sight? What if one could read another’s thoughts? And how fun would it be to hitch a ride in an airplane anywhere in the world by hiding in the wall? And not only can you be invisible, but you can fly! Or you can take a dip in the ocean with a school of dolphins and not get wet or cold. These are just a few adventures the main characters have in this series.

I’d say try either the Rippler series or the Saving Mars series if you want to have some fun.

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Prodigal AngelProdigal Angel by N.R. Champagne

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Disclosure: I was gifted this Kindle version of the book for an honest review.

As for star rating I would have given the story 3 1/2 stars. Not that the story was bad. It could just be me. I am a little over angel and or demon books. That isn’t the author’s fault. It is just what I have spent a lot of time reading for other authors. Luckily, the book doesn’t label the people as angels and demons per se. They are just other beings.

There is a lot of death and destruction that would have had me leaving the book behind, but the main character, Miranda, had won me over. I thought she was well developed. She felt real to me. And I liked her.

Many times the story gets a bit preachy on ecology and global warming. But since I believe we need to wake up and start being stewards of this planet, I didn’t mind. Others might find that off putting.

One of the fun parts of the book is getting to go along for the ride, be it bicycle or trailer truck. Miranda has quite the adventure while staying healthy.

There is a bit of romance, not too much. There are a few triggers for some people. But the bad people get their due.

Give it a try. You may like it. I might like it better if I read it again later.

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