Tag Archive: Fiction



The Mother's PromiseThe Mother’s Promise by Sally Hepworth

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Maybe if I don’t write a review, I can hang onto the charms and lessons of this book. No. That’s not right. Others need to read it and the only way to hang on to the knowledge in this book is to read it again.

I finished this book four days ago. That’s how long I had the above conversation with myself.

There is a nice blurb about this book on GoodReads. And the one on NetGalley had me seeking it out. I’m glad they let me read it. But here’s my blurb: A young teen with severe social anxiety only child of a single mother dying of cancer, a social worker who is a victim of abuse, a nurse who is finished with IVF unsuccessfully.

Sally Hepworth pulls these four females into a book that is hard to put down and hard to leave behind. And not only is it a great story, it is full of real life answers to some of the problems these fems deal with.

I want to thank NetGalley for letting me read this, again. I do plan on a second read. Please read it, especially if you have social anxiety, there are some good ideas in here and the author shows she knows how we feel who have it. There are triggers for cancer patients and abuse victims but they are handled well and give each of the other characters more depth.

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The Shadow LandThe Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

THIS is my kind of book! Okay, it isn’t fantasy or sci-fi but the elements I love in those stories are here. Adventure, new horizons, philosophies, some things to learn and think about. Those are all present in this book. I am sad that it has ended and think I may have to read it again sometime with Audible version. The text-to-speech was great but with this taking place in Bulgaria, I needed someone to pronounce words better than the British female robot. Which usually works quite well for me, but there were some names that when I was reading with my eyes too, I could see they were not pronounced anywhere NEAR right.

The main character is well developed, the secondaries not as deeply but the story wasn’t about them so that was okay by me. With the person so developed and the world so real I felt I was watching a movie. In fact, this would make a marvelous movie, there is just so much depth here!

The time of the book moves back and forth from about WWII and now. The political themes presented seem very poignant, and apropos warnings to our current system and how delicate it is.

But my favorite part of the book, though the saddest, was how music played a part in the day to day survival of the musician. I don’t want to expound on this as it would be a spoiler. Needless to say, it gave me the unavoidable courage to face the cold of my studio and play the piano for as long as my fingers could move, and then left me with a fire to get back in there as soon and as often as I can as Spring brings warmer weather.

Oh, how I wish there were a book two. I don’t know how it could be done as none of the situations or people remain in the right places for that. But I did want to see what happens now that the main character has made friends with the musician’s son. What could they give each other? Will they become more than friends? And what about the taxi driver? Is there happiness in his future? What a cool guy he was! Like I said, I am left wanting more and that may have to happen by re-reading with audio.

By the way, I was given this version for review by NetGalley dot com. Please, if you get the chance to read this, do. I hope you love it as I did.

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Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children, #1)Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I don’t know. I guess it kept me interested. But I thought I had the boxed set (I didn’t) on the borrowed library Overdrive version and so I kept trying to find the library Kindle versions to read along. I did end up with the first and the third but by that time I was already used to listening while loom-knitting so as not to be doing something to distract from the story. And I was shocked that the recording ended at the end of book one. It wasn’t a cliff-hanger, but kind of had that feel. But I didn’t care enough to pursue the next books.

By the time I had nearly finished book one I was ready to send the book back to the library. It wasn’t bad. It just wasn’t holding my attention enough to stay with it through a whole series.

I know a lot of people loved this book. I still want to see the movie/television version, but I just didn’t like it all that much. Please try it and see if you like it.

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Greenglass HouseGreenglass House by Kate Milford

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Please check out my friend, Cheryl’s, review on this book as it was what prompted me to go find this at my public e-library.

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show…

That is by far a better-written review than I expect to write today. Fibro has me in its grips so I barely have a brain.

Even so, here are my thoughts. I loved that the parents were a part of this story and adventures still happened. I loved the mixture of very fantasy games and real (though fantasy) life. The book kept me wondering what was happening, what would happen next, how could they solve this or that problem. And I loved the vocabulary, invented or real there was a stretch for the reader to work on. I even had to stop the text-to-speech for a moment to highlight a word or two that were easily found in the online dictionary. (Oh, what a modern miracle that I don’t have to pick up a tome of a book to find a word that sends me on a dictionary search for hours! Online dictionaries start with the most logical definitions and don’t stop the story for long.)

I do want to warn the parents of the future readers to read this first themselves. I can see that an inn that is there for thieves and other not-so-law-abiding customers might not be the greatest of settings. And there is a bit of danger for the family involved that the young reader might need their own guidance understanding. For that, I might recommend late middle grades or young adult. But adults will find this a delight and just as exciting as a child reader.

Now I miss the characters and the story. It ended very nicely, yet I wish we could go back and visit again sometime. I couldn’t sleep after finishing last night. It left me wondering about how this author did that. How did she pull me in so thoroughly? Great writing!

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Version ControlVersion Control by Dexter Palmer

I did not finish this book. Here are my comments at to why:
I must not be in the mind-set for this book. I found the main characters self-involved and boring and just couldn’t get into the story. I kept re-reading whole chapters trying to see what it was I was missing as I wanted to at least like or care for this story. But nope. Meh. Sorry. I know a lot of people loved it so it must just be me. I love time travel and ideas. But this seemed to want to comment about how how horrid the current generation of screen watchers had it all wrong and how previous generations settled. But what is left out is learning to love, even those we settle for. Think of other cultures where a mate is chosen for you. Love can be worked at and developed. That is true regardless of your method of meeting and connecting with people. I met my husband of 20 years online. But we were seeking more than friendships. The rest we worked at and developed. Technology is neither bad or good, nor should we judge those who use or don’t use said tech. It just is. A person is either worth my read or not according to where we are on our paths. And I cannot judge who is ahead on said path.

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Betsy-Tacy Treasury (P.S.)Betsy-Tacy Treasury by Maud Hart Lovelace

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Picture me at age 9-12. I was probably the same height as I am now, maybe even an inch taller, as I was the tallest 6th grader at 5’6″. (And I have shrunk and inch.) I can’t remember how old I was when the librarian took me to the Besty-Tacy corner of the library. She was used to me coming in every couple weeks and checking out the limit of 10 books. No, I didn’t read every book. But in that haul, I was guaranteed to find a few treasures. But the Betsy-Tacy became my favorites. I read every single one. I do remember being disappointed that the trio grew up and, yawn, got married. But that didn’t stop me from re-reading my favorites–the ones where the three girls were my age at the time.

Now as an adult, I was a little afraid to read these books. How could the mature (there are those who doubt that–even I doubt that) me enjoy these books as much as I did as a girl? But I did! The difference besides being older, is I have now lived in places that have lots of cold and snow rather than Sunny Southern California I can relate even more to what the children had to deal with. Not only that, now I could understand the adults in the books. I saw how what seemed impossible then, in the story, now seems more like serendipity. And I have had experience with that.

Whether Betsy and Tacy had anything to do with it with their sales of sand, my brother and I used to go door to door to sell rocks. People bought them because well, my brother used his cute right up on these ventures!

What I loved about this treasury was getting to read the four books without stop. Then at the end of the last book, there is a treasury about the author and how Maud Hart Lovelace used many of her own life experiences for Betsy, Tacy, and Tib adventures. There are many photos of the author and her friends that made this book even better.

And speaking of pictures, I always knew I loved the illustrator, Lois Lenski. I was so happy to see her pictures in the picture books I read to my own children. There was a biography of Lois at the end of this book, too! Everything just tied right in for my own life and loves!

Best of all were the forwards to each of the books. One that resonated with me most was that of Judy Blume! I’m glad I am not alone in having such wonderful memories of these books and the memories of my younger years that fit just right.

I think I will try to check more of these out from our e-reader library.

Oh! Just a note. As I started the first book I was disappointed not to have text-to-speech or any audio to help me out. I was able to use Natural Reader to get me through. The rest of the books in the treasury did have text-to-speech making my life a lot easier.

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Say Goodbye for NowSay Goodbye for Now by Catherine Ryan Hyde

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Do you remember ‘Pay It Forward’? If you live under a rock or somehow never got to see it, I’m about to give a spoiler. Skip to the next paragraph where I will strictly talk about this book. The author, Catherine Ryan Hyde, wrote that book which became the most up-lifting and crash ending movie. I bought the movie because I loved that concept so much. But the ending of the movie, when the main character was killed, keeps me from watching it ever again. Ms. Hyde, though set up the foundation of Pay It Forward which is a marvelous way for folks to live. Maybe I will buck up and give it another try for the meat of the movie (or read the book). I would have loved to know that about the author before I began reading this book. But unfortunately, that information was in the back of the book after the book club questions.

A series of events in the 1950s gives the reader so many character-lines to follow that one wonders where this is leading. A wolf-dog hit by a car. An abused but wiser-than-his-age boy tries to find help for this poor creature. Seem to make it look like a simple book, a boy and his dog, kind of thing. But the story gets deeper and deeper. Some surprises happen as opposed to how the reader may think they would. The story was well-written and draws one in. The characters are deeper than some books offer. Sometimes I wanted more. But I think the author knew how to pull us through.

Yes, there is a bit a romance but it isn’t the leading subject. But neither is the dog. Have I made this vague enough to incite interest? Don’t come into the book thinking, like I did that it was going to be a sweet book about a boy and his dog. This book is worth the read. I wish there was a book two as I already miss these character and wonder what happens next.

By the way, I received this book free of charge from NetGalley. Thank you!

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Review:


All Our Wrong TodaysAll Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It has taken me a long time to read this book. That mostly has to do with the formatting for Kindle/text-to-speech. On almost every page there is a S32 or N33 or words not connected. L ike th at n eeds t o b e f ix ed! By the way, things like f ix get read by text-to-speech as ‘f’ 9.

But I got used to the crazy formatting problems. Most ly. I did have to keep an eye on the text to make sure I understood what was being said. THEN there are several pages of F*ck and Sh*t. I understand that Julie Andrews is a fairly competent cusser along with being a fantastic actress and singer. Since I have my TTS set to be British female who sounds like Julie Andrews, I had to read all those pages to make sure my TTS was really working and not a reincarnation of a bad Mary Poppins. Honestly, that wasn’t needed in the story. Sure the character was angry and in shock but a good writer could have shown it with more class.

This was a good science fiction story. That is why there are three stars and not just one. It was a time travel adventure. And I love the concepts presented, though very slow in the lecture not showing. Still, I forgave that and kept with it. I didn’t like the main character most of the time. I’d give you his name but it changes a lot. Only toward the very end did I feel the character had something redeemable.

Gee, the more I write this the more I feel it should be a two star or less. But I want to encourage the author to clean this up. I am absolutely surprised that this book had as many editors and readers as is indicated in the author’s notes. This coming from a person who cannot edit worth beans. But this story has promise. It could be a fun adventure. But make the main character more real and worthy of the reader’s care. But the subject matter brings the story to–2.5 stars round up.

I picked this copy up from NetGalley. I’m thankful for the opportunity. And I hope others get a chance to read a better copy.

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This World We Live In (Last Survivors, #3)This World We Live In by Susan Beth Pfeffer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This may be my favorite book of the series. I love watching the development of the main character, Miranda. I think the author did a good job giving us a picture of how life could get if anything happened to our neighbor the moon. With tides and volcanic action, the world becomes one that is trying to survive. But with volcanic ash in the sky messing with the weather, and lack of warm sunshine, food, and clean water are a constant struggle to find. Miranda has long since given up on the life of a teen with proms and homework. Now she is just trying to help her family survive.

Though this is my shortest review of the series, you can see what I think of the rest in a bulk review here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show…

I do wish there were more books to this series!

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The Dead and the Gone (Last Survivors, #2)The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Review to follow when I’ve finished #4

******
Okay. Due to what I learned as I wrote the review for #4, this was my least favorite book of the series, with Alex being my least favorite main character. But through his point of view, we learn more about how the world, at least that part of the country is dealing with the problems brought about through the meteor hitting the moon and the changes in gravitational forces on the earth.

Though this book centers on the faith that Alex and his family are devoted to, it was okay as there are a lot of people in the world and how they choose to believe affects how they see the world. But that and the misogynistic viewpoint of this faith and cultural leanings leads us to see a male who feels he must be in charge and has no compunction of hitting his sisters whose only reason to be on this earth was to cook and clean for the male. I just couldn’t abide by how he treated his sisters. I never got to where I liked him much at all. But, it is through his eyes we see what happens to the world as endures more disasters and recovery.

I had to return the Audible version of this book as the narrator’s acting was horrible. The deep gravelly voice didn’t fit the teen, either. I felt my text-to-speech did a better job. I didn’t even attempt to buy the one for #4 for it is the same voice. A younger sounding voice with more pep would have been better.

Even still, this is a great series and I want it to continue from other points of view.

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