Tag Archive: England



London Holiday (Americans Abroad, #5)London Holiday by Miranda MacLeod
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a fun little book! Need a beach read or a nod to fairy tales with a twist? This is it. Though it was a little predictable, I still couldn’t go to sleep until 3:00 in the morning as I wanted to see what would happen.

In our crazy cyber-gossipy world, a princess and a journalist fall in love, quite by accident. Fun and adventure happen, lots of London is explored.

Beyond these words, I am afraid I will ruin your discovery of this gem if I tell you more. This book was just a lightweight read to fill the moments between heavier books. I probably won’t read it again but I am now a fan of this author and will read more by her. Enjoy!

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Mary Poppins: 80th Anniversary CollectionMary Poppins: 80th Anniversary Collection by P.L. Travers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I was in fifth grade, I was a library regular. I would check out the limit of ten books at a time. Mary Poppins was a series I got into and read all of them. I never had seen Julie Andrews version. We weren’t allowed to go to movies in my family. Maybe that’s the reason I am so into movies now?

Anyway, I wasn’t a fan of the illustrations, still don’t care for them. I got irritated with Michael getting so much attention. I felt that this read through, too.

Something that I noticed that I don’t remember my childhood thoughts on. How prideful Mary Poppins was, and how grumpy/bossy she was. But now that it’s been a couple days since I finished this quartet of books I think I’m glad she was that way. She didn’t feel she needed to tell the family when she’d be leaving. She rarely admitted to the kids about her friends or her habits with them. It was like she had her own life apart from the wards of her job. I think she shows women and girls that they don’t have to tell everything and they can be independent.

Since I read these four books in a row using text-to-speech, I didn’t notice where one book ended and another began–except when she left and said she wasn’t coming back–but then she came back.

I don’t remember finding the adventures tedious as a child. But as an adult, I see they are far too similar and I lost interest sometimes.

Particular to this version, the Audible available as whispersynch to this book was just for the first book. Most folks would probably read on without a problem. I need the text-to-speech to take over and it was hard to make my Fire understand that. The good news was that I called Amazon and they made it all good. I had loved the Audible narration. I just didn’t have the money to get the rest of the books at that time. They let me remove it and then my text-to-speech with the British voice that always sounds like Julie Andrews got me through the rest of the books.

Now I feel ready to watch the new Mary Poppins movie.

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A Crown in Time (Thief in Time Book 4)A Crown in Time by Cidney Swanson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cidney Swanson has done it again! This was a fun time-travel to Elizabethan England from 21st century here in America. It is the perfect ‘what if?’ with a mixture of thrilling moments fighting evil and or impossible situations and sweet moments of love. Imagine you could actually meet THE Queen Elizabeth!

Ms. Swanson presents some of the questions of time-travel and puts her own spin on things. Those crazy questions brought up in the past of seeing one’s self in the past, etc.

Meanwhile, there are three young women, newlyweds with spouses from other times. So well written that I found myself fighting a sore throat when the main character complains of same. Yes, it was coincidence but I worried about hypochondria. But after being out in public I realized it was allergies to certain perfumes had irritated my throat. Hot tea took care of it. But that is scary to think you can be so drawn into the book that you ‘catch’ their disease. Good thing I’m too old to feel the pregnancy symptoms! LOL!

If you get the chance, read this series. Even better start with my favorite series Saving Mars. Cidney Swanson can pull you into her books within a sentence or two and keep you up way past sleep time as you try to find a good stopping place.

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The Girl on the TrainThe Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This audiobook (CD) was in the put-away-bag at the library and I couldn’t resist. I knew it was a fairly recent movie so I couldn’t wait to try it out.

Ah, but I wasn’t crazy for it. You would think it would do it for me. I used to take the train to work every day. I know how that imagination can take you places the train doesn’t. In fact, riding the train was how I wrote my first book. So that part of the first character grabbed me. That she had stories in her head about the people she saw in the homes she passed made her an interesting character to me. But somehow I mostly didn’t like her.

It was when the next character voice came in that I perked up my ears. Her voice reminded me of Gilly, Sam’s crush on Game of Thrones. I guess it is just her accent but having that familiar voice had me listening more closely. And I did like this character.

About the time I got into the story my CD player gave up. I ended up using my credit on Audible to get the audio onto my Kindle. That worked out better.

It has been over a week since I finished this book. Lots of life has happened since. So my memories are eroding. Still, I remember how I stayed up until 3 the last part of the book. It was well written and kept me interested.

The narrators: Clare Corbett, Louise Brealey, India Fisher were fantastic and different enough to keep me from getting the characters confused.

As the librarian had warned me, don’t read the last bit at night before sleep it is a thriller and it will keep you awake. Still, it was a good read. I’m glad I read it.

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The Witch's Vacuum CleanerThe Witch’s Vacuum Cleaner by Terry Pratchett

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you are looking for a light, funny read, this is your book. It was like watching cartoons or Monty Python. Very bad for a bedtime book for me. I found it hard to stop reading, well, actually, listening to this one. 3:00 came too quickly. So, sorry if this sounds more disjointed than my usual reviews.

Oh, I listened to the Audible using the whispersynch. Julian Rhind-Tutt (Narrator) is facinating! His voice changes with every character. He tells the story with so much gusto that sometimes I think I missed story for enthusiastic energy. Even still, at the end of each story I had that sigh of fulfillment.

The stories themselves are sadly, mostly, male. In fact, the very first one ended with the main character marrying the witch with us hardly knowing a thing about the witch except that she was a witch. I wanted more about her and that parrot. Please forget that you just read the last two sentences if they seem spoilers. After all, the title of the book is The Witch’s Vacuum. Seems like there should be a lot more witch and vacuums than men in the form of police or gnomes. But hey, Mr. Pratchett wrote this when he was a teen and the adage says ‘write what you know’. Sadly, Mr. Pratchett knew nothing about the other half of society then. Later he did write some fun books that did have fems but mostly they are witches. Is it any wonder how the world is now if this is all anyone has read most of their lives?

Still, I have loved Terry Pratchett’s writing, so creative! Magick exists, but sadly without fems. Even colors we have never heard of exists. Don’t get me started! YET, I love his writing. Fun, fun stories!

So take it with a grain of salt that in male authors’ worlds, fems hardly exist. We will try to change that with our own writings and making sure they see us as the other humans. After all the whole language system leaves us behind. Even human. We could be called hu.

But it is for this teeny-tiny problem that I am giving the book four stars instead of five. If you can get the audio version you are in for the best story telling around–save for girls, fe=iron.

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The Witchfinder's SisterThe Witchfinder’s Sister by Beth Underdown

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I want to thank NetGalley for letting me read this book. It was one of those books I think everyone should read.

We know what happened, Salem Witch Trials and all. As a human being, this topic should make you sick. As a woman, you should see all the warnings of letting anyone think they know better for you than you know for yourself. As a religious person, you should be wary of folks that don’t read the whole book and think they are hand in hand with the deities. This whole subject screams that scripture that should most be used “Judge not lest Ye be judged.” And in the case of most of these thumpers of parts and not other parts of the Holy book, my dad quoted better than anyone. ‘The Bible is God’s Word. SO “Judas hung himself.” “Go Ye and do likewise.”‘ Too bad he wasn’t around to speak his mind to people like the brother in this book.

As much as I think this is a good book for everyone to read, it is so HARD to read. It wasn’t the fault of the author. She did a fine job with her research on the subject and kept the story moving. I loved her ability to give the old English feel to the story without making it boring. You knew what was going to happen virtually hiding your eyes because you don’t want to see, but still wanted to see how the author was going to pull it off. She didn’t disappoint.

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The ShipThe Ship by Antonia Honeywell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Great idea for a story. Irritating main character.

I was lucky to get this book free from NetGalley. Thank you! It was well worth the read.

London is now part of a dystopian world and survival seems near impossible for this family, even though it is a well to do family. Must really suck for those with less.

But the spoiled daughter of these particular parents has no clue what is happening in the real world outside her house. They have tried to spare their child the worst of it. That seems a big mistake as this poor girl just doesn’t know how to live once she isn’t in her sheltered life.

Father, in hopes of saving many people, has obtained a ship. Eventually, the small family must join the rest of the people he has attempted to save.

The process of the story before the ship is interesting. But gets quite exciting when they move aboard. I don’t want to put in any spoilers so I won’t tell you any more of the plot. But I would assume one could call this a coming of age for this main character–I hope so. I didn’t see enough growth in her by the end of the book to make me want to read anymore. She moans, complains and mourns the whole book. Yet her father and everyone onboard try their best to help her.

Maybe it is because I am not the target audience for this book, but I do love a good dystopia, and those elements are there. Maybe resolve is coming as this was only book one. I might want to read the next. Not sure if I want to put up with the brat anymore.

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Victoria: From the creator of the ITV television seriesVictoria: From the creator of the ITV television series by Daisy Goodwin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received this edition from NetGalley to read and review. It is an Uncorrected Digital Galley copy. Yet, these eyes didn’t see any mistakes.

This was very interesting. I thought at first that I wouldn’t like it. I neither like history books nor Romance novels. There is both ‘herstory’ and romance in this book. But not a lot. This is more a queen’s coming of age story. In that, I thought it well done and an interesting read.

I loved watching this young person, in her teens, deal with the angst we all have gone through with our parents and breaking out into our own lives. Except, most of us don’t have to assume the responsibilities of the throne and a whole nation while going through these growing pains.

In the acknowledgments at the end of the book, the author mentions she wrote this while making the television (I think it was) show. I will be looking it up to see it. I think it could be done well.

Though not the best book I’ve read, I think you will find this an interesting read.

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Simon Ships Out A heroic cat at sea. Based on a true storySimon Ships Out A heroic cat at sea. Based on a true story by Jacky Donovan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It hasn’t been that long ago that I got a phone call while I was at my writers’ meeting that my Panda, a beautiful tuxedo cat, had passed away while playing with his cat mate. Must have been a heart attack, we had decided, but we miss him lots. So when I saw the cover of this book with a near twin to Panda, I had to pick it up. It didn’t hurt that it was free. (Now it is $3.99)

What a great way to teach a historical event, through the eyes of the cat, and sometimes the dog. These two pets are on a ship that is in the war. This is not from an American point of view but rather from the British side. That is a part of history not taught in our US schools so this is a cool way to teach about ship and the war and how it might have felt to be a cat with bombs and guns going off. Poor little creatures can’t understand yet they do their best for the nice people who take care of them.

Often I found the narrative from the cat’s mind seemed either too smart or not smart enough. In other words, in my life with cats this point of view often didn’t ring true. But then again, who knows what those furry friends think anyway? It’s worth the read, and I think sailors would love it even more.

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Three Sisters (Emily Castles Mysteries)Three Sisters by Helen Smith

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Disclaimer: I was given this book for an honest review.

I started reading this just before going to sleep. I finished at a decent bedtime. I had to read it with the text-to-speech turned on as I found it going rather slowly. I didn’t care for Emily, the main character. She seemed like a nosey neighbor more than anything.

Beware of the spoiler, the title of the book. That took all the mystery out of the story. Most of the time I found I was feeling left out. That the author just gave it all to me. And yet… Would you believe it? I still have no real idea whodunit. Since I don’t like short stories, and I don’t much like mysteries, this didn’t feed me anything. Even the chance that I could travel to England and learn something new about the country or her people, fell flat.

Okay, there seems to be a lot of higher star ratings, so it may just be me. I don’t feel at all compelled to see what happens to Emily next. But I wish the author well and that you all will find me wrong.

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