Tag Archive: free-for-review



The Payback Letters (Payback Society Book 2)The Payback Letters by Cidney Swanson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book. Gladly. I have loved every book Cidney Swanson has written. I always admit that my favorites were the Saving Mars series. But the time travels, and Ripplers and now the Paybacks have been a delight to read, also.

Cidney has characters that are believable, relatable, even when they seem to be well to do, and going to a rich-kid boarding school. BUT this brain got confused in this book. So a warning: Clair is the main character of the first book and Fiona is of this second book. What kept confusing me (or unconfusing) were that I remembered that Clair’s parents were dead and her brother had helped in significant ways. Fiona’s aunt keeps referring to her parents helping with tuition and her brother being dead. I am horrid at remembering names But relatively good at recognizing certain aspects of a story. I had to go to the book blurbs to understand where I was getting confused. If you read book one, you remember poor Fiona going with the horrid Sly. That should lead you down the trail of the story Ms. Swanson has present us.

After I understood who the star was, I think I love her more than Clair. Yeah, she gets a little gah-gah about a guy, but in the long run, I was rooting for them as much as for Fiona’s future.

Since the Payback series is separate from Ms. Swanson’s other books, you can pick them up and enjoy them now without reading everything else. That said, I hope you read the rest, eventually, as they are all fun adventures. I wish I had someone writing these kinds of books when I was a teen.

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The Payback SocietyThe Payback Society by Cidney Swanson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Once again, Cidney Swanson pulled me in and delivered a good story, one I didn’t like to put down for the night. Cidney knows how to write stories that are believable. The characters and plot are always well developed.

As a young adult, I think I would have loved this even more. The romance is not the most important aspect of the story. Of course, it is there. They are teens. But this story goes deeper. One guy thinks everyone should worship him. When our main character refuses all hell breaks out and payback is required. The reader will feel the need and satisfaction of said payback.

I want to say more but I’m afraid I will end up slipping serious spoilers.

If you get the chance pick up any of Cidney Swanson’s work and you will be on adventures you cannot believe. Of course, my favorite still remains the Saving Mars series. All others are fun, too.

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Happiness is a CollageHappiness is a Collage by Gita V. Reddy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don’t like short stories. Give me a long series any day. But this book was marvelous! It is a collection of stories of women who have paths of their own and how they deal with cultural, spiritual, educational issues and mix that with those mores of American feminism and ‘modern’ ways of life and these stories seem nearly as truth, not fiction.

If there were more story for each told here I would be happy. Nearly any of these stories can be full novels, that I would love reading. I love the education I pick up as I read of each of these life situations.

This wasn’t a long read. I think it was a couple of nights. With text-to-speech it was often hard to know when I had moved into another story, but other than that I enjoyed Gita V. Reddy’s writing. I think others will like it, too.

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The Regrets of Cyrus Dodd (Wyattsville, #4)The Regrets of Cyrus Dodd by Bette Lee Crosby
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book. Sorry, I’m so late in reviewing. I read it quite a while ago. Still, I remember it with fondness.

This is the fourth of this series and I never got book three. I hate reading things out of order. But the book sat on my Kindle shelf so long I decided to give it a try. I’m so glad I did. This was one of the best character development stories I’ve read in a long time.

Bette Lee Crosby can write so well, you feel you are there, smelling, tasting, feeling everything the characters do. Their mental confusions can make you wonder about your own thoughts. The sadness the characters feel draw the Kleenex near. But when things work out you nearly are jumping up and down.

Please give this gem a try. It easily could stand alone. The other books in the series only give you a bit of a back knowledge, not really needed to care about what is happening and to whom. Loved it! I can’t wait to read more of Ms. Crosby’s work!

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Gone: A Girl, a Violin, a Life UnstrungGone: A Girl, a Violin, a Life Unstrung by Min Kym
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Passion.

That is what this book inspired in me. The music major (piano/voice) in me was jumping up and down as I read and listened to this book. By the way, I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book from NetGalley.

As I have often said, it is hard to rate an autobiography. It is their life, their truth. Even so, if you have practiced any instrument for any length of time you feel what the author feels about her violin. Min Kym has written a readable and relatable story. She describes her passion to play the violin in great detail. Stagefright doesn’t seem to enter her world as she is with her best friend at all times. Her life goes downhill when the violin disappears. I won’t give spoilers but that is enough. I have been without my piano (by the way, I have a love/hate with the piano) and worse found times when my voice didn’t work (bronchitis, etc.) and I know I was a mess!

I don’t want to rewrite her book or tell much more. I think musicians will appreciate this book the most but others will enjoy it, too.

The biggest thing that has happened to me since reading this is I want a violin to play with! I’m watching sales hoping. I know I might never get past Twinkle, Twinkle, something I did learn when I tried it a long time ago, but, I want to try!

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Race of Thieves (Artifact Hunters #1)Race of Thieves by S.M. Reine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Not every were is a wolf. In this case, a squirrel who’s pretty feisty and smart is the person Shatter Cage. Sometimes he is not as smart as he thinks he is. Then he finds himself in some pickles. But sometimes that squirrely brain helps him escape.

Okay, it sounds kind of silly. But Sara Reine’s characters are serious beings on the post-apocalyptic side. All her books suck you in and won’t let go until the last page. For those of us lucky enough to get to read for honest reviews it is the very best of worlds! I love all her series-es. Usually, I tell folks to start reading at the Six Summer Moon series and enjoy the ride. But somehow Ms. Reine has been able to write a new series that includes a lot of our old favorites without a newbie feeling lost. There is just enough background to feel informed without overwhelming the reader. So if you are new–start here.

If you follow my reviews you will know that my main objective is female authors writing strong female main characters. I know most people don’t have that aim in their reading/entertainment lives. That’s why I’m giving a four-star where most are giving a five-star review. I haven’t been the biggest of fans of Sara’s male main characters. But Dana is in this book. She’s one of my favorite characters so if I could this would be a four and a half star review.

Thanks for letting me read this. I can’t wait for the next one!

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The Secret of Big A (Embracing the ABC with Love)The Secret of Big A by Ofra Peled
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When I read children’s books I do it with my own children in mind. Now granted, they were kids 40 years ago, so things might be different now. But with that in mind as I read this I found myself a little bored. I know. That is a surprise as this stars reading and beaches. That should have won me over, but I couldn’t see my kids liking it or wanting to read it over and over. There seems to be a lot of positive feedback on this book so it’s just me, I guess. I hope everyone else loves it.

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SpellsmokeSpellsmoke by S.M. Reine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sorry to be late to the party, again. Between computer/internet issues and smoke making my eyes too blurry to get online to write this, I am about a week late for this review.

I am always happy when I get to review yet another of S.M. Reine’s books. She has got a library full of her own writing at this stage. She never stops! So I couldn’t wait to read Spellsmoke. Unfortunately, I seem to have a huge amount of books to read right now and some are waiting for reviews. It’s hard to be fair when you have favorites. Wink, Wink.

When a book starts with Meadowood Mall… I’m hooked. I knew of every aspect of the walk through the mall. Even Dippity Dots Kiosk! And Borders! I love when Sara includes Reno and other places many of us know and love in her stories. Who knew so many demons and vampires walked the Washoe County streets? I wish I would have gotten to know her when I lived there!

Okay, Lincoln Marshall is not my favorite character. He maybe is equal or above Cesar but most people will like them, I think. What I liked was meeting old friends like Rylie and her wolf clan. Which reminds me: Please, if you haven’t started these series’s Start with Six Moon Summer (Seasons of the Moon, #1). That’s when you meet Rylie Gresham for the first time. Lincoln comes later in the series. But recurs often enough you get to like him.

Oh, and we get to see Sophie Keyes the historian again. She’s a little weird, but I like her a lot.

Ms. Reine is bringing up touchy issues in this book but handles them with grace. Thing like racism and abuse. I’m proud of how she presents these and finds ways to explore both sides and introduces other angles not in a dogmatic way but rather in ways we all need to think on.

I can’t wait to read book three in this little series. We weren’t left on a cliff but were given enough to want to continue. I hate putting Sara’s books down and go back to real life!

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Tara and the Giant Queen: A Fantasy in Giant LandTara and the Giant Queen: A Fantasy in Giant Land by Gita V. Reddy
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Thank you, Gita, V. Reddy for letting me read this book. As per our agreement, I am giving my honest review. Sorry it took so long to actually write this. I’ve been very busy and needed a bit of time to think about it.

This didn’t grab me. As I said above, it may be because of summer busy-ness. I just couldn’t get into the story. I found that I couldn’t relate to the main character or the giants. Yet I was constantly remembering BFG (Big Friendly Giant). I kept reading. I hoped that something would pull me in. Maybe bad timing for me to try?

I’d love for others to read this. Maybe if you aren’t reading using text-to-speech you become more part of the story? I don’t know. I will try again later sometime to see if it was just my ADD or circumstances.

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A Crown in Time (Thief in Time Book 4)A Crown in Time by Cidney Swanson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cidney Swanson has done it again! This was a fun time-travel to Elizabethan England from 21st century here in America. It is the perfect ‘what if?’ with a mixture of thrilling moments fighting evil and or impossible situations and sweet moments of love. Imagine you could actually meet THE Queen Elizabeth!

Ms. Swanson presents some of the questions of time-travel and puts her own spin on things. Those crazy questions brought up in the past of seeing one’s self in the past, etc.

Meanwhile, there are three young women, newlyweds with spouses from other times. So well written that I found myself fighting a sore throat when the main character complains of same. Yes, it was coincidence but I worried about hypochondria. But after being out in public I realized it was allergies to certain perfumes had irritated my throat. Hot tea took care of it. But that is scary to think you can be so drawn into the book that you ‘catch’ their disease. Good thing I’m too old to feel the pregnancy symptoms! LOL!

If you get the chance, read this series. Even better start with my favorite series Saving Mars. Cidney Swanson can pull you into her books within a sentence or two and keep you up way past sleep time as you try to find a good stopping place.

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