Tag Archive: contemporary

BluffBluff by Lenore Skomal
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! Even now, several days later, I have a hard time letting this one go. And still, I can’t think of how to do it justice. I’m giving it 4.75 stars. I can’t even tell you why I don’t want to give it five I will remember it for a long time. No cliffhangers, strong fem main character–though she is in a coma.

It may be the extra people that came in about 50% in. I know their perspectives helped move the plot forward but at times that was jarring. The other thing is something that would be a spoiler that I don’t want to show.

Still, a lot of heavy topics got discussed from differing points of view. None of them are easy topics, no easy answers. The reader may or may not agree with the answers given.

Okay, okay. I’ve decided it is worth the 5 stars. Read the blurb then read the book. Let me know what you think of it.

View all my reviews


Bittersweet (China Bayles, #23)Bittersweet by Susan Wittig Albert
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My librarian suggested this book knowing I wanted to try a ‘real’ book written by and starring a strong female. Now that I am finished with it I can say I did enjoy much of it. (I had to renew it–six weeks!)

“Oh, but here comes her complaints…” I hear some of you saying. And, yes, I do have some negatives.

The very beginning. I think it is highly unnecessary. When you read the Prologue you’re given the answer to the whole mystery. Many call this a cozy mystery. What, I ask you, is cozy about murder? Not just one but TWO? What is cozy about people who think more about money than the environment that we all have to live in humans, fauna, and flora alike?

At least the author uses this as an educational moment. That is what brought it up to four stars. Otherwise, I would have said I was rather bored. Though the excitement of the mystery gets wrapped up, the parts of the book I cared about, the main character’s mother’s husband’s health. It is the cliffhanger of that issue that brings this rating down to a three again. I didn’t like this story where the men of this book were being talked about. If women can grow, let’s show that men can grow, too. Many have been raised with sisters or single moms so they know the issues and don’t need to be cavemen.

I loved learning about the herbs and plants.

I never knew about the shooting-fish-in-the-barrel type hunting and moving the game to places they shouldn’t inhabit and the problems that brings. I will have to look into our area and see if that is here. I don’t have a problem with hunters. I hope we never get desperate enough to look to that as a food source, but if we do I guess I will have to accept it. Plenty of people around here do that for their food source. There are laws to keep it safe and less draining on the environment while filling the freezers with protein for cold winters. I’m a vegetarian because I don’t like the texture of meat, not a preachy one telling others what they should or shouldn’t eat. Anyway, the things I learned here made the rating roundup.

I don’t like to cook. Most of the foods in the recipes here did not appeal to me but I take no points away from the book for these. There are people who will love that aspect. I do appreciate that most of the recipes are at the back of the book where they don’t interrupt the story flow.

One more thing, I did get my eyes checked and will be getting new glasses soon. Meanwhile, I couldn’t read the hardback for very long at a time. Luckily, the Kindle version was available on our e-library to borrow. Once into that version, I was able to immerse in the story and rest my eyes as needed.

Check it out and tell me what you think of this book, regardless of version

View all my reviews

A Different BlueA Different Blue by Amy Harmon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am sad to finish this book. I was lucky to listen to the Audible version. Tavia Gilbert’s narration brought all the characters to life. There is no time that I thought I was hearing all one voice. Each character stood out on their own.

Whoever recommended this book to me, thank you. It was a book that I relished every minute. The main character had that spit fire attitude that I always enjoy. Think Max in Maximum Ride, only maybe even more so.

Though this is called a romance by other reviewers, it isn’t sappy and full of angst like other YA books. In fact, the romance is on the back burner as Blue tries to find her identity.

I even loved the secondary characters. I don’t know if they read as individualistic as the narrator made them sound but they were all lovable.

I almost gave the book four stars as there was a moment I nearly quit reading. It seemed to take Blue into a Jesus saves moment. Not that that is a bad thing in itself. It just didn’t fit with the rest of the story and I thought it was going to stay religious preaching rather than be a story of a person growing. Luckily the author didn’t stay with that theme and allowed Blue to continue life trying to be a good person. Never in a preachy way, just living as life came to her. It almost gave a realness to the story rather than distract. That could happen.

There were points where the book could have ended but the author remembered to cover all the loose thread and tidied up the ending so nicely.

One thing that bothered me is something that always bothers me. Why did Blue stop being herself? Just because a guy finally accepts and love abounds doesn’t mean a woman should become all sweet and pliable. It became too close to the common story of happily ever after and I don’t think that is acceptable now. There should be a part two where Blue realized what all brides need to learn–we have to stay ourselves to make a whole not lose ourselves and become the other person.

I highly recommend this book. Let me know what you think

View all my reviews

Forest Park: Logan Book 2 (The Logan Series)Forest Park: Logan Book 2 by Valerie Davisson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I finished the Audible version of this a few days ago. I just never got around to reviewing. That and I wasn’t sure what to say.

There are many aspects of this book I dearly love. The author explores education from an angle I was able to be a part of in my past and hope others get the idea to put some of these ideas into action.

I loved the care for homeless and drug abusers. The book makes a person stop and examine their own theories. Also discussed: Racism and gangs and how people’s ideologies are formed and can be changed.

With all of the theories played out in a fictional form, I felt it easier to wrap my mind around them. There is also a murder mystery and a bit of romance. But neither are overpowering. Mostly we get to know the main character as she reacquaints herself with life after death in her life.

This and book one move slowly and seem to lack the tension most people like in their books. But I found it nice to just explore with the main character/ author through fiction.

Oh and since this was the Audible version, I should mention that the reader kept the book interesting. She wasn’t my favorite narrator but did the job.

This series is well worth the read. Curl up with cocoa, tea, or coffee and take the ride.

View all my reviews

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.

View all my reviews

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird LaneThe Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I would gladly give this book 5 stars. But making poor people (the Kindle version is $12.99!) and/or those with vision problems to buy the audio-book ($19.99) is just plain greedy! Sure the Audible version helps the reader know how certain words are pronounced. And the narrators are very good. And (although I had to wait until I had a credit over there) it was ‘free’ on Audible. I could have had that Kindle version back to the library earlier had I been able to listen to a Text-to-Speech as I read. All that inconvenience and not being able to save my credit for something else I was planning on, should actually lower my rating. But, doggone it! This was a fantastic book! Please, dear author (Lisa See), since the book is about poor people and their struggles, consider the struggles of those who can’t afford to buy your book and or have vision problems!

Gripe ended. The book was so good that I didn’t want to stop reading it for anything! I loved the amount of research the author put into the whole story. And yet I didn’t feel inundated with information. It all felt quite naturally a part of the tale.

It is told mostly from Li-yan’s point of view in a minority village of China. Later her daughter, Haley’s, point of view as an orphan in Orange County, California. What is genetic, instinct, or just natural curiosity? In a culture discouraging more than one child and girls the least desirable, what are the results on those poor girls sent away? What happens to the country that makes that happen? What are the results for the family or parents that are forced into this kind of situation?

These questions are answered. AND you will learn more about tea than you may ever want to know but find yourself longing to know more!

It has been over a week since I finished reading/listening to this gem. I still miss the characters and wish I knew what happened next. I doubt there is a second book in the making. The book leaves you just wishing for more. If you can get the book or audio recording, I think you will like it! Thank you, Leslie, for recommending it!

View all my reviews

Imagine Me GoneImagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A few days ago I came to the conclusion that I couldn’t finish this book. I just couldn’t like the characters or the story. What parts I related to were triggers of my own upbringing and depressions. I figured this wasn’t a good book for me.

After looking at the reviews and realizing a friend had recommended to me, I decided to stick it out. I must admit that the book got a little better but still was not one I will remember in the future. I would normally give this book a single star, but I do think the subject matter needs to be shared with others that may not have had the opportunity to learn about it first hand. And explore why the treatment of depression and other mental health issues don’t get looked at is because many think the patients are needy, attention-getters or otherwise diminish the pain the person is going through. The author gives us a couple glimpses into the minds of severe depression. So I raised the star rating by one.

Since I review and rate for my own future reference I have to leave it at 2 stars. Others love this book and say it is their favorite of the year. So don’t take my word for it. Pick it up and see what you think. Oh, I should mention this was a library Kindle version.

View all my reviews

An Unnecessary WomanAn Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A friend recommended this book to me. She and I are fascinated by languages. I think that was why she thought I would love this book. She was right.

I went looking for the book on Amazon and found the Kindle version a bit too pricey for my book budget. So I went to Audible and found I had a credit sitting there waiting for me to use. I was so glad I did! Suzanne Toren is a great voice for Aaliya Saleh, the woman living alone in Beirut, Lebanon.

Look, this book wasn’t nail-biting excitement or in anyway stress inducing. But I loved hanging out with Saleh. This is the reason I love books. It is a chance to travel to other places and get inside other people’s heads. This book is a perfect example of both of those. And it left me wanting to start doing my own translations for my own edification. I have plenty of books in other languages. I plan to pull out a notebook and just get busy.

I want to read this again and have the Kindle version to read along with the Audio. It helps me internalize the story better. Even so, the narrator kept the story very interesting and age appropriate. By the way, the fun of this book was it was about an aging woman. Stories of this type are rare! I don’t think it would matter what gender or age you are this story has something for everyone to relate to and learn from. Enjoy.

View all my reviews

Everything I Never Told YouEverything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! Just Wow! An author friend recommended this book stating that it was the best book she’d read in a long time. She was right. It was the best read for me in a long, long time.

There was a drowning. The family responds. That’s the extent of it. BUT we are allowed in all the characters’ heads. What led to the present moment? Who can take the fault? Who might be innocent?

This bit of mystery only leads to the inside of your own head, your own family history. It is amazing how the author does that. How she keeps the story so interesting that I had a hard time putting it down, even when it was 4 AM I couldn’t let it go until the next day.

The most interesting questions the story brought to mind is how many of our goals and passions are leftovers from the previous generation? I made me look at my grandmother and my mother and my own daughter. And even now, I wonder how much of my mother’s pushing of piano practice, for instance, brought about my son’s participation in a band? How do our personal goals affect others around us, from family outward to the occasional associates. This book brought about a strong link between us all that I think we often overlook.

And then let’s add to the story the things that make us unique, our nationality, ethics, religion or politics and we see how we think the other person is wrong. How the tearing down of others is tearing us all down. In this case, the family is half Chinese, half American. They live in a place where they are the only ones of color. Racist slurs are slung at them. When that happens, when we are bullies in any fashion, one has a hard time separating true hate from imagined hate.

As usual, the fictional family reach their own conclusions and don’t communicate with each other. That speaks to me. We often forget to say what we should. We think the other person already knows, or doesn’t need to hear it again, or doesn’t feel taken seriously. Relationships are hard, even the best of them. That’s how our fears and hurts hit as bullets on those we should give our best to.

All of these ideas came to me as I read this book. I bought the Audible version (I had a credit lying around). I know now that I want to read this again. I will have to buy the Kindle version when I get the chance. Oh, and a word about Cassandra Campbell (Narrator). She did a great job acting out the different characters. It was due to her skills that this book came to life for me.

Thank you, Patty B. for the recommendation. I loved it!

View all my reviews

Girl in SnowGirl in Snow by Danya Kukafka

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I want to thank NetGalley for letting me read this book. It did keep my interest.

That said, when you read like I do, using text-to-speech almost exclusively, books like this leave me feeling lost. I feel I may have missed the important sentences as to who-done-it and why. There were a lot of characters and they all sound the same, the writing style of the narrative is the same in the dialogue. That may not mean too much when visually engaged with the story, but I often didn’t know which characters thoughts/memories I was in.

This was an ARC or early read copy so by the time others will read it these other problems may be fixed: Between sections, there is a line ___. Often that stops the TTS. And often the name of the person who is starring in the next section is totally left out with TTS. I assume these are formatting issues that will be solved and others who get to read this with their eyes will be able to stay with the story and find it all pulls together.

Using the thoughts of one who seems autistic or in other ways a little different than the norm, was a nice tool. I found the character Cameron to be very interesting. Others I found harder to understand. Maybe that says more about me than the characters being portrayed?

At any rate, I think others may find this book to be very good. I loved to see your comments. I may have to come back to this book and read again to see if I can find where I turned left when the writer turned right. ???

View all my reviews

Transmundane Press

Join the Community


Love, Life, Feelings, Friendship

Love's Deep Waters

Faithful Wife determined to prove Marriage CAN survive and thrive through the tough times!!

For the Love of Felt

Inside the mind of a fluff addict

Viral In USA

Good Viral in USA - The coolest Technology, Gadgets, Science, Innovations and Design Concept videos EVERY DAY.

Jessica Eise

Author | Researcher


Until The Clock Stops

Double Pi

Fashion Design Creativity


sew, knit, cook, write - enjoy!

InkBlots and IceBergs

musings on life | bits of psychology | attempts at poetry

The Flowers of Art

In the kingdom of life, with the strokes of the brush, the bow and the pen, artists have sowed their hearts to contrive, fields rivalling in beauty the Garden of Eden.

Lucid Science

Ash D Solomon

Vanessa Nichols

Mind Dumping in Yoga Pants

Smart Veg Recipes

Welcome to home made, vegeterian, healthy & kids friendly recipes

%d bloggers like this: