Tag Archive: death



Lichgates (The Grimoire Saga, #1)Lichgates by S.M. Boyce

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When a young distraught young woman finds herself in another dimension her life is forever changed. As long as she becomes what this new reality wants from her.

It was an interesting read but the minute it became like epic fantasy I became bored with it and nearly stopped reading. For those who love those ancient stories, this will be quite pleasing. But I only liked it when the modern woman who has now lost her parents finds herself back and forth in time. I thought it interesting to watch a modern woman adjust to old ways but when the story veers off to the inhabitant of that world, YAWN! Thank goodness it went back to the main character it became more interesting again.

Maybe others will like it better.

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Five Minutes in HeavenFive Minutes in Heaven by Lisa Alther

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a ride! Not exactly rollercoaster, but not merry-go-round either. From the beginning, I like the main character, Jude. She is one who doesn’t belong in the world, but finds her way, anyway. She is flawed and confused, with good reasons. I wanted to root for her to win each of her obstacles.

From Tennessee to New York to France and back, Jude struggles with her demons, longing for love to return to her as pure as she put it out. Rarely does it find her. Mostly because of her own insecurities and lack of role-models, love floats out as a fantasy. Never to be achieved.

I picked this version of the book up from Amazon, Kindle Unlimited (which is in fact limited, as you can only have ten ‘checked out’ at a time). I kind of wished I had the Audible version or the Whispersync to go along, but I managed okay without.

My biggest complaint is the French. Not the people. Just the use of the language with no definitions available to the reader. If you only took Latin, Spanish and German in your language classes, French isn’t a language you even have books for. At least that’s how it is in my house. So I had to ignore the language and hoped to get the gist. I hate when authors do that to the reader. It stinks of a superiority to the reader. It wasn’t necessary. If you are conveying a story to the reader. and most of the book is in English, why not continue in that language in the last third of the book?

And the ending? Wish I had been given a grown up, matured, version of Jude when she comes home at last! The last part ended in the same way, that the other two sections had ended. Wondering what next. Still, it was worth the read.

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Cracks in the Sidewalk Cracks in the Sidewalk by Bette Lee Crosby
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

Okay, maybe 3.5 stars. I know everyone is going to be upset with me about my rating since most of the ratings I see are four and five stars. I suppose if you were healthy enough to read in a paper or hardback book you would see the breaks. But those of us who must use text-to-speech those breaks are not so obvious. I spent most of the early chapters rereading to figure out whose viewpoint I was reading from. And it went from first person to third person at the drop of a hat. A simple *** between these might help a person know what’s coming. Even chapter numbers along with a name would help. Then at about 51% into the book it goes from an inspirational, bittersweet story to Christian fiction. I almost decided not to finish. Luckily the author regains the strength of story she had before and rarely uses the crutch of God to show how human lives affect each other. Not that I have given up on Christian fiction. If I know what it is ahead of time I can adjust. But in this case, the theme is of LOVE and life. It isn’t that God is foreign to this theme. God is Love, ya know. But with all the other problems I had staying with the story, this one jangled the nerves the most. Now for the good news. Even with the daughter dying of a brain tumor, whose husband had become the enemy of the family, the emotions of those two problems didn’t overtake me and leave me feeling depressed or angry. The author managed to keep the story about life and love and gave us hope. Not irrational hope of snake-oil, that the daughter would be magically healed. And please, don’t misunderstand me. I do believe that miracles happen. And I believe that people can change, but I didn’t believe the son-in-law would change. The story gave enough to the reader to know these two factors would remain the same and the story is how everyone dealt with the facts. In the end, I found the inspirational message of how our lives affect those around us and the help we give could just be the help we need.

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Are You My Mother?
Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is on my wishlist to own! Thank you, Washoe County Library System for carrying this book!

It is not an easy book to get through. But if you manage, you find so many diamonds of wisdom to apply to your own life.

Which of us has gotten through childhood unscathed? Which of us, as parents, release healthy, unscathed adults into the world? In Alison Bechdel’s first memoir, Fun Home, Alison addressed her life with her father. In this book, Alison tells of her life with her mother. I was amazed at how well she was able to keep the story on her own interpretation of her own life. She brings in her therapists and friends and lovers in how they help her understand why certain things happened and how she can get over it and become whole.

Though this is done in comic book form it is far from funny. Yet, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, she was able to speak volumes using this method of story telling. It brought my own mother issues to mind while reading this.

A spot of vomit on the floor. Running lines with mom for the next play she’ll be in. The inability to cry properly. Maybe these things wouldn’t cause you cathartic experience, but as you follow Alison’s path, which is also her mother’s path, it is easy to relate to both women. As Alison calls into play the works of Virginia Wolfe and Freude among others to help her understand how it all fits and how we all fit into our mother’s worlds.

This book may have triggers for some people but I think that most people will find if they stick it out there are more answers than questions through Ms. Bechdel’s story. I recommend it highly to everyone.

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Review: Undrawn


Undrawn
Undrawn by Conchie Fernandez
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Disclosure: I received this Kindle version book on an author giveaway day.

Honestly, have you every let something sit on the shelf too long? That is what happened here. I wish I would have read it right away. I usually have an email back up to let me know how I received a book. This time, I only had the tags (shelves on GoodReads) that I set up when I got it. So this review isn’t timely. Sorry.

I have a problem reading contemporary books. They are too real. I like to read to escape everyday situations like family dysfunction and death and how those two problems play out in real life. And though this book is well-written, this is what jumped out at me: dysfunctional, rich family with high expectations. Throw into that a gay son, another son who would rather pursue his art, who won’t be following into law school, who has diabetes (type 1)… bossy oldest brother… Real life. I suppose if you are living in an enchanted land this would be the story for you. For me? Depressing.

The author, Conchie Fernandez, has made the kind of book you don’t want to put down. You want to see what will happen. You want to see if there are any redeemable moments for any of the characters. So I would guess that it is hope that drives the book. Ms. Fernandez’s characters are realistic. Her research seems strong yet subdued. It is a quick read and inspires me want to paint.

As I said before if you are escaping reality, death, cussing, etc. this isn’t for you. If you want to read good writing, great characters, enjoy!

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Review: The Book Thief


The Book Thief
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Death narrates this wonderful story about a young girl in Hitler’s Germany. That is a sentence I never would have thought of writing. But that is part of the many surprises in this story. If you’ve read Terry Pratchett’s Discworld, you have a vision of Death. Though this book is covering more serious matters, the author brings in wit and wisdom, and shows us all how to care, how to love.

Early baby-boomers and their parents know deeply what happened pre and during World War II. Most books covering this era, with anger and depression and rightly so. This book looks at all of that plus teaches a girl to read and write. Okay, now that sounds like elementary school. And though this could be read to a younger audience the subject matter is quite mature. In fact, it is a great way to introduce to younger people how Hitler grew his army and how people learned to blame others for their problems (sounds a lot like what is happening now in many ways).

Right from the start I found I cared for Death and the other characters. But most of all I loved the quirky writing style. I have read in other reviews that the style was distracting, but I found it was necessary. We need to take the subject lighter so that we can live with the girl in her own innocence. The turn of a phrase in this author’s writing kept me highlighting all over the place. Markus Zusak is amazing!

This Kindle version was given to me for a birthday gift from my friend, Yve. Thank you so much! I picked up the audio version from the library, hence breaking up my current reading list. I loved the narrator of the audio, Allan Corduner. He acted the parts and kept me interested. Though this was the library Overdrive version, I think I will use this month’s credit to get the Audible copy. That’s how much I loved the combination. I plan to read this again. As for the movie? I am not sure I want to watch it yet. I am too in love with my own imaginary movie.

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Good Kings Bad Kings
Good Kings Bad Kings by Susan Nussbaum
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! Just Wow! This book was fantastic! Wait… And yet it was not.

Susan Nusabaum has presented us with a microcosm study in her fictional novel of the society of disabled youth in conventional nursing homes. Wow, again, that was a mouthful (keyboard full?)! Sadly, I don’t believe that the truth is far from this depiction.

The individual stories that create the novel outlines the hopeful actuation of each person dealing with their own demons, their own needs, their own striving for romance while being disabled in one way or another.

As many of you know, I read my books on Kindle with text-to-speech. This book has a character that is Puerto Rican but the author did a great job of capturing all accents and individual speaking quirks. These were so well done that my Kindle reader read them perfectly and even if I wasn’t looking at the printed e-pages I still knew who was talking.

The story starts and ends with a wheel-chair bound woman who lands a data-entry job with this nursing home. She is a strong woman who isn’t stuck in the nursing home, but sees what is going on. We see, through her eyes and the eyes of the other characters what it feels like to be collectively warehoused with others of differing disabilities.

This book is an eye-opener for all readers. Hopefully we all come out of the read with a better understanding for our all our fellow citizens. Whoever recommended this book to me, thank you! I now have it on my Amazon wishlist and hope someday to have the Audible version as well. This is well worth a few rereads. I see that there may be a movie of this book. I bet it will be equally wonderful! Kudos Ms. Nusabaum!

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