Tag Archive: Fiction



The Walking Dead, Vol. 17: Something to FearThe Walking Dead, Vol. 17: Something to Fear by Robert Kirkman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really wish I could have read this before the television series. I kept relating to a couple of episodes that this issue contains. On the show, this was the hardest one to deal with. As it was, it was pretty horrendous with all the blood and guts, just different.

Negan says the same things and does the same things. Oh, Negan!

What is interesting about this series, either the TV or the comic versions, is seeing how people adapt to a world without society’s rules over the years. Survival looks differently to each individual, and you choose the tribe you feel reflects you and keeps you safe. Watching it through the filter of COVID19 and how that has separated our tribes show that Robert Kirkman understood a lot more than a comic book writer should. The story is great written, drawn, or acted out.

I can’t wait until I can afford my next one.

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The Personal LibrarianThe Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I first started reading, well, listening to this book, I think I would have rated this with three to four stars. Robin Miles, the narrator, presented Belle da Costa Greene as a snooty woman that I couldn’t relate to in any way.

Now, having finished, I am rating it five stars. Stick with it through the whole story. The authors will explain it so that the picture in your mind accepts the things that didn’t quite gel or maybe you didn’t like as you read/heard it.

I like herstorical fiction because I hate history classes. I like learning what could have happened to a woman in our past. From what I learned at the end of this book, much research went into what made a fascinating story of a possible interesting life.

More can be found in the blurb for this book. I highly recommend the read or listen to the book.

The remarkable, little-known story of Belle da Costa Greene, J.P. Morgan’s personal librarian – who became one of the most powerful women in New York despite the dangerous secret she kept in order to make her dreams come true, from ‘New York Times’ best-selling author Marie Benedict and acclaimed author Victoria Christopher Murray.

In her late 20s, Belle da Costa Greene is hired by J.P. Morgan to curate a collection of rare manuscripts, books, and artwork for his newly built Pierpont Morgan Library. Belle becomes a fixture on the New York society scene and one of the most powerful people in the art and book world, known for her impeccable taste and shrewd negotiating for critical works as she helps build a world-class collection.

But Belle has a secret, one she must protect at all costs. She was born not Belle da Costa Greene but Belle Marion Greener. She is the daughter of Richard Greener, the first Black graduate of Harvard and well-known advocate for equality, Belle’s complexion isn’t dark because of her alleged Portuguese heritage that lets her pass as white – her complexion is dark because she is African American.

‘THE PERSONAL LIBRARIAN’ tells the story of an extraordinary woman, famous for her intellect, style, and wit, and shares the lengths to which she must go – for the protection of her family and her legacy – to preserve her carefully crafted white identity in the racist world in which she lives. ”

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Girl Love Happens - G&T Lesbian Romance Season TwoGirl Love Happens – G&T Lesbian Romance Season Two by T.B. Markinson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m not too fond of angsty romance, regardless of gender. But most romances are with young people who have little experience or self-esteem to bring to the table. Somehow most of us grow up going through it. It wasn’t fun then, and it is sometimes excruciating to read about. I think I am alone in this thought pattern as romances of all kinds seem to flourish in books and movies. It is just the mechanism of two people learning to live with each other. That part I find interesting. Not the does she, does he love me. But how can I make their life better?

Add in new friends and their traumas or dramas, and the angst grows exponentially. And in this book, two lots of problems start growing. Luckily, I have grown to love the characters and watching their growth. I love hearing the thoughts of what I can do to help them through this from multiple levels.

This was the hardest book of the series for me. But this middle book can’t be skimmed through. In book three, the characters need to learn their lessons and move on to a more adult way of life. Yes, I am already halfway through that book. I am proud that they struggled and matured in book two to set up an even better next book.

I love best how the secondary character calms and reasons with our main character and was a voice of reason for what readers may be going through themselves. She gives such excellent advice and yet helps the love stay in front of all the relationships a person deals with, parents, grandparents, family friends, etc. This book points out how no one is an island. You have to include who raised you and who you’ve become and portray that to others. I don’t know many books that include that kind of wisdom.

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Girl Love Happens - Season OneGirl Love Happens – Season One by T.B. Markinson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

T.B. Markinson writes believable characters. In this book, the fiction felt realistic.

The blurb says it all:
‘Two college roommates are about to discover how awkward and sexy coming out can be.

Colorado, 1992. Tegan entered her freshman year of college with an open mind. As she tries to cope with a long-distance relationship, Tegan realizes it may not be the miles pulling her apart from her boyfriend. It may be her confusing feelings for her new roommate, Gemma. But when an innocent back rub turns into her first girl-on-girl make-out session, she isn’t sure if she’s ready for the world to know she’s attracted to women.

Gemma knows who she is, but she doesn’t expect Tegan to shout from the rooftops about their new relationship status. With the prying eyes of friends and jealous rivals, however, secrets may not stay hidden for long.

If you like tumultuous love stories, simmering chemistry, and colorful casts of characters, then you’ll love this first installment of T.B. Markinson’s smart, sexy series about coming-of-age as a lesbian in the 1990s.’

The book delivered a story I can’t wait to continue in book 2.

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The Walking Dead, Vol. 16: A Larger WorldThe Walking Dead, Vol. 16: A Larger World by Robert Kirkman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I just finished watching the series, getting ready for season 11 and wasn’t prepared to let the TWD characters go. So I picked up the next in the comic series that I hadn’t read yet. I can’t believe how far behind I am in the reading.

The Kindle version is my favorite, so I can open up each frame, see details, and read the dialogue. Maybe after cataract surgery, I will be able to read books and comic books. Meanwhile, I’m glad this technology is out there for folks like me. And it doesn’t take up room in my already stuffed bookshelves.

This particular volume was about discovering Hilltop and meeting the character Jesus. I know this is the calm before the storm. But it was nice to have the reprieve, even if a little boring. Still, it was great to connect with the TWD family, even if it is different from the show’s characters.

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Antics!Antics! by Cathi Hepworth
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A couple of friends recommended this fun little treat. After their great reviews knew I had to find a copy.

Okay, so it might be a little advanced compared to other alphabet books. Still, the pictures and one word per page make it a quick memorized book. It may be more fun for older siblings to read to younger ones with a more advanced vocabulary. And parents and teachers can find a lot of conversation starters on each page.

First of all, ANTS! Hey, you could obtain a good ant farm for the kids to watch or a walkout to see ants in their true habitats. Hopefully, you haven’t been inundated by the ones that love your kitchen. But, heck, there’s another educational moment for you and the students.

The illustrations are so much fun! Who knew ants could be so expressive? This brings me to the choose your favorite page. My friends chose Deviant and Chant. I do like both of those. But my favorite is a psychological thriller with personal history. Hesitant. I remember graduating to the level of the high dive. I remember the first time actually climbing back down the ladder to my shame and embarrassment. I gave myself speeches for days and was determined to do it the next time. I did get all the way out on the board—no diving for my first few times. Even the first jump, I felt hesitant. I don’t remember ever getting confident on that dive. I preferred the sturdy diving platform, and I could dive from and reach the other end of the pool in one breath.

I think I will donate this to our little library.

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Saving Snow WhiteSaving Snow White by Gita V. Reddy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really needed this story. After the stress of the last book I read, I needed a bit of a child’s adventure, Not that this is a childish story. Adults can appreciate this story, as can middle grades. There is a sweet nod to the Snow White story, but mostly this strong young girl had to figure a way to survive this evil stepmother. This would have been a great book to read to my kids at bedtime. I think there are many points that could have been conversation starters.

What I like best about this tale is how the author chose to let the child/children work out their own answers to their dilemmas. They were in positions where the adults were not to be trusted. It is good to teach your children to think for themselves about what they might do in the worst circumstances. As much as I would love the kind of world where that wouldn’t be needed, not teaching a child to think and act would be a disservice. We need to help our children feel strong enough to handle themselves while remaining respectful and still have the fun of being a kid. We all need that.

When you let yourself imagine yourself like this child, what would you have done? I don’t think I would have had the tools within me to survive much. I was so naive and gullible. I hope I raised mine with more gumption. If you need to set your inner child on a semi-scary adventure, this is one for you and yours.

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Review:


The Carolina Diaries: Belle

by Darlene Winters

The Carolina Diaries: BelleThe Carolina Diaries: Belle by Darlene Winters
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I don’t know. This was hard to read. It is hard to review. It feels autobiographical. Though it–

I don’t do this often as I figure people will go read the blurbs themselves. But this and the reviews make me wonder if I read the same book.

“Her cousin wants to die. She has the whole roadtrip to convince her otherwise.

Darlene only knows of one way to help her cousin Belle after a life of disappointments–go with her on a cross-country road trip, head back to California where Belle was born… and where she intends to die.

But deep family resentments and drama rides with them across the country, shedding light on heavy themes like sexual abuse and depression, as well as religion and politics. Growing up in North Carolina, these cousins have a lot of stories to share: some sad, some comical, and some just down right disturbing.

If you enjoyed Little Miss Sunshine and Girl, Interrupted, you’ll want to read The Carolina Diaries with its unique blend of dark humor and even darker perspectives of life past, present and future; the real take-aways being how to cope and heal.”

I found no humor. I wish I hadn’t picked it up. It was exactly what I don’t want to read before bed. All the reality of our daily news lives during this pandemic. And though I agree with the author on a lot of stances, I couldn’t deal with it in my bedtime fiction.

My fault. I saw road trip, my first name, and didn’t read the description.

Maybe if I read it during the day I could see the humor in a suicidal cutter who had lived with so much abuse, of every kind, during a pandemic during the political turmoil of 2020. No. I don’t think so.

The reason I am not giving this a lower rating is the list of good books and ideas the author presents. Unfortunately, the way it’s presented makes me sure the ones who need the information will not see it. Still, there’s a chance I could be wrong.

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Life in BitsLife in Bits by Harper Bliss
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Mothers and daughters, family relationships, strokes, photography, charity, wealth, and war. These are some of the topics this lesbian May/December romance covers. For the most part I loved the whole story.

However. The grumpy old lady and the perfect ingénue trope was quite upsetting. It seems a dysfunctional relationship in the making.

Still, there is enough meat to the story to keep the reader interested. And the erotica was kept to a minimum just spicy enough to feel real.

I always want to know what happens afterwards. How will they make the relationship work?

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Urban Shaman  (Walker Papers, #1)Urban Shaman by C.E. Murphy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you like urban fantasy, this will do the trick. The main character, Joanne Walker, is tough with faults making her human enough to believe. She pulls from Native American shamanism and mythology to get the spirit world jobs done.

I got a little annoyed with how often she was getting injured in what seemed like hot temper issues or emotions flying. But it was in character with the auto mechanic of the police department. The female cop is not being respected enough to get a beat. Suddenly the shaman in her starts waking, and all hell breaks loose as she tried to solve a string of murders.

It was a good read, and I may read others in the series sometime.

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