Tag Archive: fav-author



Faerie Knitting: 14 Tales of Love and MagicFaerie Knitting: 14 Tales of Love and Magic by Alice Hoffman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a delightful bedtime book! Especially the Audible version with January LaVoy narrating. The stories are short enough to do one a night. Normally, I don’t like short stories. But after reading Braiding the Sweetgrass, this felt similar enough not to feel a shock but an excellent way to hear stories of love.

AND the book comes with knitting patterns—even the Audible. I picked up the PDFs and printed them to my knitting folders. I can’t wait to try some of these. Although, I think a few are way beyond my abilities. But the way knitting is woven into the stories is captivating. I’m sorry to be finished with the reading.

If you are unaware of Alice Hoffman, she is the author of Practical Magic, among many others. She writes with the pen of a poet. This particular book is co-authored with her sister. What fun that must have been.

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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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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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Drums of Autumn (Outlander, #4)Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I just finished this second read of the fourth book. I wanted to be ready for the new season on television. I didn’t need to read the whole series, though I watched the whole show from season 1 again. I really love the music by Bear McCreary. I just wanted to refresh myself of the memory of what happens to the Frasers and the rest once they are in America.

I loved the story written, narrated, or acted. Though a little different in each case, it is a fun ride.

Davina Porter narrates with such a varied voice that one always knows whose viewpoint we are hearing. Every now and then, I get confused with Bree and Clair or Roger and Jamie. But it doesn’t take long before a person can know who they are hearing.

I have already started book five as it has more about the American Revolution through the Frasers’ eyes. I can’t wait to see how they do it on the show. I love all the time travel. I love visiting other countries and hearing histories brought forth by Diana Gabaldon, whose research and knowledge as portrayed in the books and show.
***
The following was from my first reading/listen from March 2020.

Oops! I nearly forgot to review this one. I just moved into the next read (a library book).

I really wish I had read this before the series on television. I liked the rhythm of the story better. I like the viewpoints presented here as Clair’s rather than Bree’s as the television series has it. It is different not having the information about the daughter making the voyage back in time and back to America.

I think we got into Roger’s head a little more, too. It doesn’t take away from the show. Interestingly, the directors and actors took the storyline without losing the story.

No spoilers here. Just glad I read (listened to the Audible) it and can’t wait to get into the next one!

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The Morning Star: A gripping, emotional and heart-warming story about a mother and child.The Morning Star: A gripping, emotional and heart-warming story about a mother and child. by Gita V. Reddy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Gita V. Reddy is getting better and better at telling a good story, at developing characters full of human emotions. This was probably my favorite of all her books.

In this book, Gita’s main character, Sudha, must take care of a baby while fighting her own demons. Not her baby. And during the pandemic’s early days.

There are so many layers of psychological, cultural, and personal issues brought to the reader. These keep them wondering at the woman’s sanity. Or is this crazy deep, protective love vital for this case?

I love the people that Sudha meets along the way and the friends that become family.

Please send prayers to Gita and her family and all of India as the pandemic continues to ravage that country. I so look forward to the day when the world can go back to health.

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The Boy Who Was Left BehindThe Boy Who Was Left Behind by Gita V. Reddy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Can you remember things that happened in childhood that impacted you? Did you interpret what was said or done around you? I can remember my aunt was trying to get me to eat. I was always a picky eater. Still am. So she pointed down the street of my grandmother’s house toward the dairy, “If you don’t eat, you’ll dry up and fly away, and the cows will eat you!” I ate.

I remember interpreting from a bedtime tale that castles were dragons. The nightmare that night caused me to scream out that there was a castle under my bed. Children can misunderstand words and deeds. The Boy Who Was Left Behind presents that theme. Here’s the blurb on the GoodReads and Amazon pages:

“Vimal lives with his grandmother. His parents, who are NRIs – non-resident Indians – leave him with his grandmother when he is two. Vimal grows up in Jaipur, happy and secure in the loving care of his grandmother. His parents are a blurred memory made up from short visits. When Vimal is eight, a phone call in the night turns his world topsy-turvy. His grandmother leaves him with relatives and goes to London.

Once again, Vimal is left behind – this time with a secret that is too big for a young boy.”

This book would be a great read-aloud for parents/teachers/counselors, and children. It could instigate conversations of help and healing.

Rarely do I share another review. Not because mine is so good, but rather I don’t want to overwhelm myself or others. If I put it out there, the readers would find others to read for themselves if it struck interest. But Grady’s Review on Amazon and GoodReads is super and tells what I feel about the author.

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Rise of Heroes (Artifact Hunters, #3)Rise of Heroes by S.M. Reine
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a fun, fast read! If you have lived in Ms. Reine’s universe since the beginning, Seasons of the Moon, so much is familiar while Shatter Cage is only two books back. So revisiting while going deeper into the squirrel/man was so much fun!

I love when my favorite characters, dead or alive, or deity, make me happy. Dana McIntyre was one of my favorites. And she is mentioned a few times.

The adventure is fantastic. I think I read this in two nights. Thank you for another engrossing read.

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The Last Tea Bowl ThiefThe Last Tea Bowl Thief by Jonelle Patrick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m sorry it took me so long to review this. I read it while deeply into NaNoWriMo, so taking the time from my own writing seemed impossible. But finally, here I am!

I love Jonelle Patrick’s writing. I always find myself drawn in by her characters and the virtual travel to Japan. I am not much into mysteries because most involve murder and finding who did the murdering. This mystery goes histories deep, and it is to find what happened to the tea bowls and the artist who made them. My way of describing this story sounds rather boring. The author makes this an adventure in two parts of Japan’s history. All the characters seem real and in the now with the reader. Best of all, in this book, there is no murder, even though in war times. Meanwhile, we learn a little about modern Japan while being taught about people’s rituals and beliefs from three different generations of Japan.

I was sad to leave the book in the end. As always, I want to know more. Don’t worry. You feel secure by the ending. Our main character, who has had to research the feudal and WWII Japans, grabs your heart as she tries to keep family and soul together.

Great job with something quite different in this genre Ms. Patrick!

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So Bright the Stars (Shadow of Mars Book 2)So Bright the Stars by Cidney Swanson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Yay! Another well-done sci-fi/Mars book! I would have loved to read this as a teen but love just as much as a septuagenarian. This is the second book in this series. The main character is now on Mars and is trying to fit in with the society that is already there.

Cidney Swanson has researched well to keep the story believable. Without making the story drab. She digs deep into her characters to bring them to life. As I am reading/listening to text-to-speech I find Ms. Swanson has me questioning ‘would I have done that? thought that?’ and the answers are sometimes obvious to the reader but not so much the main character, Penney. Other times the reader is in as much dark as Penney is.

I can’t wait for book three! Meanwhile, I hope you all get a chance to read the first series of Mars, Saving Mars which is more for the young adult, and then this series for adults as the character is an adult. But I see nothing that should keep a younger person from reading anything by Cidney. Enjoy!

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The ForetellingThe Foretelling by Alice Hoffman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a fun mythological story to read before bed. I always love an Alice Hoffman tale. I wonder if this could be made into a movie like Practical Magic? A tribe of women living their truth in their own time. And HORSES. Yep! All the fun things a fem could want to read about.

I may have to read this again sometime when escape isn’t my only intent. Or even if it is. I could jump into this world again. Maybe take it slower and absorb it more.

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