Tag Archive: fantasy



Improbable Magic for Cynical WitchesImprobable Magic for Cynical Witches by Kate Scelsa
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don’t know who recommended this, but it was an insightful read. Kate uses Tarot Major Arcana to tell a piece of a teen’s confusing life. I love how we learn the cards as a story unto themselves and how it applies to Elenor’s past.

Kate Sclesa is a young adult novel, and the romances cause angst. But I loved climbing into Elenor’s thoughts and seeing how she caused her worries to grow.

Stacey Glemboski (Narrator) brought this Audible version alive with her voice acting.

Quite an enjoyable and inspiring read.

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Record of a Spaceborn Few (Wayfarers, #3)Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

THIS is my favorite kind of science fiction! So may questions about what might happen if we were to get out among the stars! Patricia Rodríguez (Narrator) made the story even better! Becky Chambers writes such different and intriguing books!

I am still feeling the charm, so I have downloaded the first two books to read again. I just didn’t want to leave Ms. Chambers’s universes.

What if we left Earth. What if it were doable to save as many as possible and fly through space. What if other worlds were found? What if other beings were found and able to learn from us and vice versa? What if whole generations lived, died, and were born on a spaceship of some kind? How do we deal with the dead? How do we document life and death to make it understandable for us and others? How do religion and politics play a part? Sexuality? So many questions!

So many characters. A friend mentioned keeping track of the characters. I may need to do that on the next read. I think I’ll need to dedicate a whole notebook for this next read!

Don’t worry. No matter that you don’t know who or what is speaking, it all works out that you realize you did follow it and are so happy to have been there with the author in the end.

I can’t wait to start again!

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The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels (Dangerous Damsels, #1)The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels by India Holton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don’t do this often, but I think I should include the blurb from the GoodReads page.

“A prim and proper lady thief must save her aunt from a crazed pirate and his dangerously charming henchman in this fantastical historical romance.

Cecilia Bassingwaite is the ideal Victorian lady. She’s also a thief. Like the other members of the Wisteria Society crime sorority, she flies around England drinking tea, blackmailing friends, and acquiring treasure by interesting means. Sure, she has a dark and traumatic past and an overbearing aunt, but all things considered, it’s a pleasant existence. Until the men show up.

Ned Lightbourne is a sometimes assassin who is smitten with Cecilia from the moment they meet. Unfortunately, that happens to be while he’s under direct orders to kill her. His employer, Captain Morvath, who possesses a gothic abbey bristling with cannons and an unbridled hate for the world, intends to rid England of all its presumptuous women, starting with the Wisteria Society. Ned has plans of his own. But both men have made one grave mistake. Never underestimate a woman.

When Morvath imperils the Wisteria Society, Cecilia is forced to team up with her handsome would-be assassin to save the women who raised her–hopefully proving, once and for all, that she’s as much of a scoundrel as the rest of them.”

My friend, a Pirates of the Caribbean fan like me, suggested this for fun. Her book club had just enjoyed it.

But after the serious reading I had been doing of late, this was just not my cup of tea. At least at first. By the end, my sense of humor came back, and I had a hard time reading it before bed without letting Laugh out Loud moments escape me.

My copy came from the library on the Libby app. It was the audio version and the narrator, Elizabeth Knoweldon, was a hoot to listen to. I loved her accent and how she adjusted her voice according to the character.

If you are looking for a fun summer read, this might do the trick!

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Wind and SilkWind and Silk by Alice Ivinya
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My friend wrote a lovely review of this book. I went to Amazon and saw the Kindle version was only $.99, so I picked it up. Today I found myself in need of a distraction. We were on a bus on the way to the ophthalmologist. Though the drive isn’t as bad for me as it used to be, this bus was killing me. This bus enhanced every bump in the road. So I went looking for a distraction. Since I didn’t have Kindle downloaded on my phone, I found my music on Spotify to get me by. I downloaded the Kindle at the next wifi spot so I would have something to read on the way home.

I found listening difficult with the bus noise, so I hoped reading would work for my newly decataracted eyes. Guess what? I read a whole book without text-to-speech or Audible! Okay, it isn’t very long. I finished it on the way home (less than two hours).

So I got to go to the land of dragons. I assume it was Japan. The main character was being married off for family prestige in the way it used to be, and let’s hope not coming back around. But will Fangying’s disabilities hold her back? Will her new husband beat her?

The story is gracefully told. I found it just what I needed for the painful drive. And I am so happy to have read, with my eyes, a whole book! Fantastic magic and dragons, too!

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A Plague of ZombiesA Plague of Zombies by Diana Gabaldon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am going to give this another listen later. I feel I lost something or that it ended far too soon.

I love reading about Lord John. His sense of morality, committed to doing the right thing, propels him more than other men you might read about. He cares deeply and wants to save lives and hearts/

The narrator isn’t as fun as Davina Porter and I think she could have done this book. But Jeff Woodman does a good job keeping the story going.

If you are on an Outlander binge you can’t quit, here is one to help give you your fix.

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Virgins (Outlander, #0.5)Virgins by Diana Gabaldon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In my attempts to soothe my addiction to all books Gabaldon, I found this, a short story sequel. Thank goodness I found it on Libby as I would have been very disappointed to have spent any money on it.

I was so used to Davina Porter’s voice that this new narrator was harsh and not as easy to follow. I could not tell who was who. Allan Scott-Douglas has a great accent to help make the story feel Scottish. And though having a male voice for the males, I think Davina could have done this better.

The story is quite forgettable. I had hoped for more about how Ian lost his leg, but it was even before that happened. I don’t know that we gained anything about the characters that we didn’t already know.

Please don’t take it from me, there are lots of five-star ratings for this book, so I don’t want to discourage you from trying it out for yourself. It could just be a moment in my life that didn’t fulfill me as I hoped.

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The Novice (Summoner, #1)The Novice by Taran Matharu
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This book was not my cup of tea. One of my best friends loved it, so don’t take this review to heart.

If you loved Wheel of Time, Lord of the Rings, etc. This book is for you. Those and this are too male-heavy and too similar that I just got bored. I never got into the main character. I never felt anything about him was worth my time.

But, please don’t take my word for it. It was a quick read that I borrowed from the Libby library app. The text-to-speech was enabled for those who like to listen to books as they do other things like artwork with their hands. So it was painless. Still, when it got to the preview of the next book, I didn’t care if the MC was alive or dead. I was ready to move on to a series more to my liking.

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Go Tell the Bees That I Am GoneGo Tell the Bees That I Am Gone by Diana Gabaldon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As much as I love all the Outlanders, this may be my favorite. The sad part is that the next book isn’t ready to read. So now I am floundering with Diana Gabaldon’s novellas. And Davina Porter makes Ms. Gabaldon’s writing shine!

Don’t let it scare you; think honey, not stingers. Bees do play a part in telling this story. My takeaway is to always talk to the bees; they want to know.

As with the rest of the series, this book is educational about the American Revolution. It is inspirational as I long to read and research our history to know more than I learned in school. It proves my point that the student will feel curious if you throw in a bit of magic.

Ah, but, Diana, why did you have to leave this on a cliff? Especially knowing that it would be ages until your perfected sequel (as opposed to the Game of Thrones hurried ending by someone else.) But it wasn’t a high cliff, so I’ll tolerate it knowing our heroes will be safe somehow and once again save the day.

I love, love, love all the lessons the Frasiers and friends have to teach us and can’t wait for more.
If you get the chance, please listen to these books in audio form as Davina Porter brings the story to life.

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Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter, #4)Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Another reread. I needed something while waiting for my next Outlander read. I figured with all the stress of my cataract surgery, I needed something in the fantasy realm.

I did enjoy the book, but I kept remembering the ending and hated reliving it. I don’t think I would have been a good candidate to read this as a kid.

Besides the ending, I had a hard time with this whole series is the lack of good fleshed-out female characters. Hermoine was okay, but there weren’t enough good girls or women. It was very male-heavy.

I may be reading the next one and making it to the series’ end, but it will not be soon.

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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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