Tag Archive: Fiction



Through the Magic SunglassesThrough the Magic Sunglasses by Mariia Manko
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book gives the phrase “looking at the world through rose-colored glasses” a whole new meaning.

I picked up this book for free on Kindle Unlimited because of the blurb. Okay. I’ll share it.

“When Mariia storms out of her boyfriend’s Kyiv apartment forever, she has no idea what is awaiting her. She is handed a pair of ‘magic’ sunglasses by a mysterious cabdriver on her way to Berlin, and what begins as a journey to get over her breakup turns out to be the adventure of her life. The sunglasses become her secret helper, always showing her an escape route as Mariia is chased by a trio of rich, vindictive women who want a compromising flash drive back from her, going from Berlin to Düsseldorf to Paris and then on to Abu Dhabi and Ras Al Khaimah.
Combining urban fiction and self-help with a dashing tale of adventure, Mariia Manko’s Through the Magic Sunglasses is an enchanting story about independence, strength, and believing in yourself.”

And yes, it was an adventure. But the most challenging part for me was how the main character couldn’t stop thinking about her ex and get on with the magic she had been given. I think that was the part that ruined it for me. The rest of the book was fun. And it was upbeat and a bit of a self-help book.

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Apsara by Pearl Whitfield

Apsara by Pearl Whitfield

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I don’t often share the blurb, but since it isn’t on GoodReads, this is the one I found on Amazon:

“Apsara is the story of a young girl in a remote village in 12th century Cambodia who loves to dance. She is chosen to train as an Apsara for King Jayavarman VII. Apsaras dance to bring heaven to earth, blessing the land with prosperity. Bopha walks from her home to Angkor Wat, and begins a life she could never have imagined.”

I was so happy to pick this book up on Kindle Unlimited. That way, I could listen to the story in text-to-speech. As the author was writing it, I heard parts of the story. I often missed the chance to listen to more. That broke my heart. Still, I could hear the author’s voice in my head as I listened to the British representative of TTS. I would love to have this story on Audible so that the pronunciations of non-English words and names would be proper.

The story itself is so riveting. I had a hard time putting it down when it was time to sleep. Ms. Whitfield managed to keep the story interesting while throwing in the history, culture, language, religion, and dance of the people of 12th century Cambodia. I loved the main character, Bopha, and wish there was more. I’d love to know more about the teen twins and the daughter.



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Ashes in the Snow (Movie Tie-In)Ashes in the Snow by Ruta Sepetys
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Though gruesome in content, this was a beautiful book. I love how the author portrayed the main characters and historical content. I must admit to not knowing this part of history at all. This story gave me a better understanding of what happened.

Emily Klein narrated the story flawlessly. She varied the voices enough I knew who was who.

This story is a movie. I plan to watch it soon. Meanwhile, I won’t soon forget this family’s struggle, and no doubt thousands of others went through it. And the messages of what could happen to people when life gets to the point where neighbors are not trusting neighbors. When bigotry gets power, it isn’t good for anyone. And when love is involved, you see that life can be a bit better even in the worst situations.

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State of TerrorState of Terror by Hillary Rodham Clinton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Yikes! This book was so suspenseful I couldn’t get a good night’s sleep until I finished. And even then, it is so easily probable it may prevent sleep for the next decade.

Joan Allen, the narrator, made the story come alive. I think the mixture of a great thriller writer and someone who had been in politics gave the story believability.

I picked up this copy on Libby, the library audio app. I highly recommend this book.

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Les MisérablesLes Misérables by Victor Hugo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Frederick Davidson (Narrator) made this an easier ‘read’ than my last try, the unabridged paperback copy in the 80s. He made the French words sound proper, though I wouldn’t know if they were true French; still, it was far better than my inner voice trying to pronounce them out. He did a great job with different male characters. On the other hand, he did children and female characters appallingly. This book could have used two narrators, a female actress for the children and women, and, sure, Frederick Davidson for the men.

The first time I read it was my intro to all things Les Miserables. I have since learned to play and sing all the music and have watched every version of the story possible. So this listen brought with it layers of meanings and music. At one point, I even put on Pandora on the Les Miserable channel. But it was distracting because it was out of order.

This read also brought a world perspective far different from the 80s. A pandemic and financial life that seems to rival any Victor Hugo had seen and portrayed makes this far less sad. Not everyone has it bad in the book, and the same now. Those with money don’t do so badly, but the majority work hard for low wages and low respect. And we have an illness that threatens the lives of everyone, especially the poor.

Still, I think everyone should read this. Someday I would like to have actual French literacy and a true understanding of France post-Napoleon.

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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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The Sweetness of WaterThe Sweetness of Water by Nathan Harris
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Though this was a well-written story and the narrator, William DeMeritt, did a fantastic job. It is too tough to handle at bedtime. The very things that make this a great book for everyone to read, are what made it hard to swallow when it was time to gentle into sleep. I suggest reading this earlier in the day. The history plays true. The awakening, though fiction, portrays real-life that still plays out in some peoples’ lives. I highly recommend reading this book

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Fire & Blood: 300 Years Before A Game of Thrones (A Targaryen History, #1)Fire & Blood: 300 Years Before A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This is probably one of the worst books ever. It was worse than a history book in that it was fiction. Two things I do say that is the positive things, there are more females listed than in most history books. And the narrator, Simon Vance, did a great job keeping the story interesting in spite of no story to tell.

If you love history books this is a book for you. I’m not at all looking forward to the new show that is supposed to be about the Game of Thrones prior to the series. I just hope the show can bring more individual stories more depth and, geez, let’s enjoy the riding of a dragon here or there!

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LexiconLexicon by Max Barry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m so glad I found this on Libby as an audio recording. The narrators, Heather Corrigan and Zach Appelman, made this story come to life.

At first, the book seemed to have a lot of aspects of things we face today. Not as heavily as the author’s other book I loved Jennifer Government. I highly recommend it also. I am going to need to read his other books now!

Reading this before going to sleep was problematic for sure. First of all, it was hard to put the book aside. Second, some scary concepts can keep you awake.

The most fun concept is the power of words and poets presented here.

This book might be too violent for some. It was for me at times. Still, it keeps you on the edge of your seat as you move through the story. Read if you dare!

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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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