Tag Archive: family



Dava Shastri's Last DayDava Shastri’s Last Day by Kirthana Ramisetti
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I spent the first half of this book wanting to throw it across the room or just quit reading. The main character was interesting, and I wanted to get more into her head. But her offspring were horrid. They were supposed to be attending to their mother’s deathbed, but all they could do was fight and be hateful.

I guess that is credit to the author to have written such strong characters. Soneela Nankani (Narrator) was fun to listen to, her acting chops showing regardless of which person she was playing.

In the end, I found I liked the book and was happy to read it. And redeeming of beings took place.

I learned about this book on Good Morning America one day. At first, I couldn’t see how it even got featured. But soon, I could see a lot of lessons to be learned with a deeper reading, like in a book club. It was nice to read about a strong woman who obtained everything in the end. But that was at the beginning of the book. It is very worth the read!

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I brought my little kit with me. My friend and I sat and DPed while watching The Umbrella Academy.

It’s been in the 100s so sitting around in the cool house made for quieter fun.

Here’s what I got done so far.

Bits of the kit. How the moon looked before the diamonds.
First side finished yesterday.

Back side finished today. I still have a couple more forms to work on. This kit is portable and easy to do in small bits.

I’ve got a pair of socks going, too.

Just a couple of rows and it’ll be time for the heels. This yarn is soft. It’s charity yarn so these will go to the giveaway bag. I need to take the bag to the charity. It’s getting full!

We took a little trip to see our friend. It was good to see her healthy. We laughed and enjoyed each other’s company at a park. Starting the visit with a COVID test to make sure the exposure she had from a previous meeting was negative is a weird way to start a visit. But we are rather in that vulnerable population so we have to be careful. She was negative. So we celebrated life.

I’m having a blast this week. Friends and my adult children on long visits are building my memory banks with love.

Family Fun


I got to road trip then spend time with my son and daughter. And SO daughter. We had a lot of fun. It was HOT so we couldn’t do much and stay COVID safe but we managed.

Now I get to visit friends.

Why do I turn into a crybaby when I have to leave?


The Lost and Found BookshopThe Lost and Found Bookshop by Susan Wiggs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book would have been a perfect read if I only had a beach. Even so, it felt like You’ve Got Mail in a way. But the list of books mentioned throughout the book to check out was longer. The book series that contained Ballet Shoes wasn’t even mentioned.

What I loved was the multiple generations not just mentioned but given problems seen from both sides of the issues. And the story goes back generations and includes historical events of their times that affected the outcomes of the current characters.

I love how often San Francisco played in the story. I felt I got to travel just the tiniest bit.

The writing was fun, and the narrator, Emily Rankin, was great.

This is a book that I recommend for fun and leisure. Go for it!!!

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Written in My Own Heart's Blood (Outlander, #8)Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Yes, I reread it. And I still say the same things about it being my favorite Outlander so far. Do you want to know why? Okay, beyond Diana Gabaldon’s writing and research and Davina Porter’s voice acting, this character and scenes list goes beyond the first review I wrote below.

Characters: Jamie Fraser, Brianna Randall, Roger MacKenzie, Jeremiah MacKenzie, Fergus Fraser, Marsali Fraser, Germain Fraser, Ian Murray, Lord John Grey, Benedict Arnold, Claire Randall Fraser, Jonathan Randall, Dougal MacKenzie, Geillis Duncan, Jenny Murray, Young Ian Murray, William Ransom, Rachel Hunter, Denzell Hunter, William Buccleigh MacKenzie, Amanda MacKenzie, Harold, Duke of Pardloe, Henri-Christian Fraser, Brian Fraser, Jane Pocock, Frances Pocock, Dorothea Grey, Jerry MacKenzie, George Washington.

Settings: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1778 (United States)
Lallybroch, Scotland, 1980 (United Kingdom)
Lallybroch, Scotland, 1739 (United Kingdom)
Savannah, Georgia, 1779 (United States)
North Carolina, 1779 (United States)
Fraser’s Ridge, North Carolina, 1779 (United States)

***

I thought that book 7, Echo In The Bone, was my favorite of the Outlander books. Nope. Written in My Own Heart’s Blood wins. It was fantastic!

Regardless of the time the characters land in, they all grow and help us learn the rules of Gabaldon’s Time Travel.

What can I tell you that won’t spoil it for you?

As usual, there is a lot of research evident in the reading, and as one supposes, there are instances of poetic license, which Diana Gabaldon admits she has it framed on her wall.

The most exciting part of the book is as Breanna talks about Doctor Who in a chapter called, Thank You For The Fish. (Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy). Now I really wish I had a TARDIS so that I could play in all three universes.

And I wish I could move on to book 9, but my Audible credits don’t come until the middle of the month. A quick note about why I read by Audible most often now: actual reading is impossible for my eyes. It seems to be a tracking issue. So I use a lot of Kindle Text-to-Speech. Though TTS works well for most books, I want to hear the words pronounced correctly when there are other languages involved. Davina Porter is able to range the language barriers and character ages and sexes with apparent ease. I love listening to her.

If you get the chance, the books are as good if not better than the shows, and the Audible versions are the best of all the worlds. Enjoy!

***
By the way, since the first reading and the need for Audible, I have had cataract surgery and hope that soon I can read paper books. But for books like this with many foreign languages I don’t know how to pronounce, I’ll stick with Audible.

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An Echo in the Bone (Outlander, #7)An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Below is my first review of this Audio version of the book. Nothing has changed. This is still my favorite Outlander book. It was great to read it as this season of Outlander streams. In fact, the scene from a couple of weeks ago I had just read the same day. Claire got sick. I’ll write no more about that without spoilers.

I took longer to read (listen) this time. Instead of knitting, I spend the listening time on Diamond Painting a series of dragons. I can only devote an hour or so to that endeavor. So with the before-bed read and creative pursuits, I couldn’t read straight through. I am already set up to read book 8. It’s like I can’t remember what happened next, yet I kind of remember and can’t wait to revisit it all.

***
This book may be my favorite of all the Outlanders. Maybe because of how I chose to read it nearly 24/7. After all, I had reached the skinny-mini underbelly of all streamings–teens or young people who look like Barbie Dolls going through the samo-samo life issues. Give me some older adults, women of all shapes and colors, real people, not Hollywood mothers, whores, or weaklings. Not enough streaming of strong women holding up half the world. So back to reading the only way I could. Audible.

Also, I was making scrubbies and washcloths while listening. That helped me ‘hear’ better.

By constant reading, I could stay in the story better. And family members came and listened with me on occasion. So it wasn’t a lonely process.

At any rate, I loved watching the cast of the characters struggle with life and time travel issues and historical moments. I especially loved the parts about Brianna and Roger at Lallybroch recovering letters from Claire and Jamie. And though I used to find Willy obnoxious, I think I clicked with him this time. And I grew more in love with John Grey. How nice to see good, honest, quality men portrayed.

I tried to find something else to read last night as my bedtime read but couldn’t resist looking for more Outlander. Now I am listening to book 8, Written In My Own Heart’s Blood.

Time to lower my reading goal as I seem stuck in tome reading. I love it! I hope you get the chance to read these. Oh, and Davina Porter does so many voices so well. I still wish for more actual actors, for sometimes Bri and Claire sound the same, and all the children sound the same, and Roger, even with his sore throat, sounds like other men. Still, for one person covering so many people, Davina is fantastic!

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The Five WoundsThe Five Wounds by Kirstin Valdez Quade
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Libby, the library app, recommended this book as a social read for all. My friends and I all got the notification for it simultaneously. Since we all saw it, we ordered and tried to read it at the same time so we could discuss it later.

It was a challenging read. The writing was okay. But the topic was complex. So how is it I give it four stars?

The book gives five characters a chance to share their point of view. Each has damage to overcome. But, we’ve all seen people that refuse to grow up and accept responsibility. It seems, sometimes, that the pregnant teen is more mature than the rest of the cast. It is through her eyes I could tolerate this story. She gets it and is working hard. Ugh. Until she doesn’t. But she’s human. Right?

The author portrays the story through the LatinX culture in New Mexico. It is also slanted Catholic. Being raised in Southern California, I knew and loved friends of Mexican or Spanish heritage. And though I was raised protestant, many of my friends were Catholic, so I had a bit of an understanding. If you didn’t have a religious background or never participated, this might lose the reader.

If the book doesn’t get you culturally or religiously next, it might generationally. It centers on a family led by the matriarch, soon-to-be great Abuela, two offspring, a granddaughter, and finally, the new baby. I think the author does a good job stepping into each character. They are full of faults and virtues. And each is conflicted due to their past and family.

I must say, some might give up. I almost did several times as it is too real. But stick with it, and you will be rewarded in the end.

Gary Tiedemann (Narrator) did a flawless job. What I mean is that he read females and males with equal grace. I never felt the narrator mocking any of the characters in his voice. Yet, there was a change in characters, so you never feel lost about who is telling their story.

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The Great AloneThe Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Since our cruise to the inner passages of Alaska, I have been a fan of all things the ‘last frontier.’ Yes, the Kilchers show is a part of my adventures. So when this story made its way to my attention, I had to partake.

Julia Whelan, the narrator, pulled me in. She was able to act the various characters well enough to distinguish them from each other. Her males are a little stilted, but, as I said, she made it clear who was speaking.

The author writes a many-layered tale, with a bit of education mixed in with some ‘bring your Kleenex’ moments. She captures the feeling of living in a place of long summer days and a never-ending night of winter, learning to live off the land, living in a small community, being the child of an abusive parent, so many levels of the life of this young teen in Alaska. I couldn’t stop listening. This book is the reason for sleep deprivation of the week. I just couldn’t put it down.

I know I will look out for more books written by Kristen Hannah, narrated by Julia Whelan.

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Happy Thanksgiving


I couldn’t decide which Bitmoji said it best. So enjoy. By the way, I’m actually making and eating instapot turkey first turkey I’ve had in decades. Looking forward to Zoom time with family.

The only thing I won’t be eating.

Fortune FallsFortune Falls by Jenny Goebel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a fun book! Though aimed at middle grades to young adults, I enjoyed it thoroughly.

My friend and her granddaughter were co-reading this. They shared on a Zoom friends-meet how much they were enjoying it. I started looking around to see if it was on Libby. I couldn’t afford to buy it right now. Thankfully my friend gifted the Kindle version to me. Yay! And thank you!

Imagine a town where superstitions come true. Sadie lived there and was considered unlucky. What an adventure she takes us on while making us question those beliefs!

If you want to take a break from the adult reads, this will fit the bill. I am amazed at the vocabulary and writing. I believe young me or my kids would have enjoyed this even more than I did, which seems an impossible bar to reach!

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