Tag Archive: free-from-author



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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Hell's Hinges (A Fistful of Daggers #3)Hell’s Hinges by S.M. Reine
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read this a bit ago. I was busy and couldn’t write a review yet. And it wasn’t up to post on yet. So now I can write this.

For anyone who lives in Reno, this is such a fun book! Anyone who has been reading S.M. Reine since Six Moon Summer will love this book. So many old friends come back. Well, not exactly come back. We get to go on another timeline or two and get to visit friends and situations we’ve seen before but new things are done to change things a bit. I love this idea. Let’s not stay on a linear way of life if we are fantasy or sci-fi. Let’s explore every incident and person from many angles. By the way, this doesn’t mean it is all fun. It is exciting and often scary as deities and demons are involved. I hated putting it down so I could get some sleep.

BUT by golly, I love seeing Reno from Ms. Reine’s eyes! Even though I haven’t lived there for three years I still can see the bars and the river and Idywild park. It just makes me happy to see this world.

If you get the chance please read all of Sara’s books!

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Wretched Wicked (Preternatural Affairs #9.5)Wretched Wicked by S.M. Reine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book. I always love me a Sara Reine story. This is the first I was able to finish in one night.

Sadly, it wasn’t about my favorite characters. I know a lot of the reviewer LOVE Cesar Hawke and his boss, Fritz Friederling, they are not the highest on my list. Still, it was a good story and a fast review of Fritz’s life. He hasn’t had top billing in any of these stories. So for those who need a review, or those who want to start somewhere other than Six Moon Summer, hundreds of books ago for SM Reine (or so it seems–she is so prolific!) Wretched Wicked would be a good start.

I did enjoy seeing life from Fritz’s point of view. I think I understand him a lot better. Can’t wait for more from Ms. Reine. Glad I don’t really live in her universe, but happy to meet all who do!

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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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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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The Missing Girl: A Short Chapter BookThe Missing Girl: A Short Chapter Book by Gita V. Reddy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love getting books from my favorite writers for review. It’s the best of both worlds. Getting to see their writing, getting to read new books.

Ms. Gita V. Reddy has created another fun story, mystery(?) for middle grades. I don’t want to give anything away here, but the story didn’t go the way I thought it would. But neither is it as scary as the title might imply. So go ahead and read it. It’s free right now on Amazon.

There is a bonus story in this book. If it wasn’t about a boy, I would have thought that Gita knew me in grade school. Yes, I was the talker that teachers moved around the room trying to find the person that would encourage silence in me. Nope. Didn’t happen. In fact, and I hate to admit this, even in college as a 40 something-year-old adult, even when I sat next to the teacher I found them interesting and willing to share conversation with me. Being social is a good thing and can teach you more than silence. On the other hand, as a teacher, I understand the disruption to the lesson plan. I did see that it can be useful for bringing up questions the class might have been afraid to bring up. I loved the kid of my heart in the second part of the book.

Both stories made for good reading before bed. You or your children might have fun with these, too.

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ShiftShift by M.A. George
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book. How could I resist? I love Ms. George’s writing. The minute I open one of her books I know I am in for a fun ride. Shift is no exception. I added to my sleep deficit by spending too many hours after bedtime looking for a good place to stop reading for the night. But I wanted to know what was going to happen to the characters in this story.

I finished Aqua, which I also loved, a bit ago and couldn’t wait for more. My biggest disappointment was that this book is a stand-alone. I love a long and deep series. But for those that don’t like that this will be more up your alley. Still, I won’t rate this lower than five stars as it kept me going.

I can’t wait for more!

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StumbleStumble by Susana Sparrow
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was quite fun. The young female protagonist goes to visit relatives in Europe. There are language problems for her except for those who do speak English. But the adventure begins when she goes to the cave surrounded by mythology.

I don’t want to give anything away but magic happens. Lots of magic. Some quite dangerous. Remember language issues and trying to remain a good house guest for her relatives. Oh, then add a romance that is quite impossible on so many levels. Yep, now you have a story. I quite enjoyed it and hope everyone gets a chance to read it.

Yeah, I know. I don’t usually like romance. But this one has so many problems most don’t have. And this protagonist is strong and stands for her feminist ideals in spite of all the magic. This kept it interesting for me. I hope it is for you, too.

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Waiting for a Miracle: Historical NovelWaiting for a Miracle: Historical Novel by Helen (Wininger) Livnat
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I finished reading this a few days ago. I hate it when I finish before I am ready to sleep. I start the next book and forget to get back to the last book to review. But this one needs a review!

There cannot be enough books about the Holocaust. We need to look at it from every angle to make sure it doesn’t happen again. This book presented another point of view. It is from paternal journals handed down from the time of the first world war. The great-granddaughter is conveying the story. All the way to her own life.

All in all, it is well told. It doesn’t quite fit into my goal of reading books by strong women with strong women as main characters as Helen (Wininger) Livnat only tells her story at the end and it feels she left much of her own life out to give her forefathers the say of what happened in those horrid times. And that’s fine with me. She includes what is happening to the females at that time as best she can. The stories are coming from journals of the men so she’s telling what she inherited. None of it is fiction. We’ve read the histories, we can see the truth. We need to take warning.

It is always hard to give a rating to someone else’s life. So in that, I’m sticking with the five-star rating. There were errors, grammatical mostly–near the end, a ‘there’ that should have either been ‘they’re’ or ‘their’ (I can’t remember which now) is one example. In fact, the ending could use an editor’s eyes. But it didn’t take away from the truth and horror of the story or the warnings. And I think that there may have been some translation problems in that I think Russian was the first language. But I’m guessing.

Like I said, it is the story that is the important issue here. I think everyone should read this. It is enjoyable watching the families and the sons adjust and still love no matter what the outside world is doing. It is amazing what we can do when we do it for love.

Yes, there are a lot of tears. Even near the beginning. So have your Kleenex handy. But there are big joyous moments as well. Life and love bring us generations of stories and struggles. Well worth the read. But I’m repeating myself. I just want people to pick this up when they can and take it into their souls.

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Children's book: The Good Hour: A life-changing story for children and their parents with practical tips for better parentingChildren’s book: The Good Hour: A life-changing story for children and their parents with practical tips for better parenting by Doron Erez

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

4.5 stars, really. Mostly because it felt rather preachy at times. But I don’t know how you would avoid it. I often want to get in people’s faces and yell at them for not enjoying their children while being tethered to their cellphones, this is nicely done.

The pictures are adorable. Most of the story, from the child’s point of view, is sweet.

I wish I had a million dollars as I would buy a million of these and give as gifts to cellphone-orphaned children of the world.

I know that we who didn’t have cellphones when our children were young have no right to judge, epecially if you have one of those phone attached jobs, but there needs to be a turn it off time. If you gave birth to a child and want to be part of the raising of said child should, spend the majority of your time with the child WITH THE CHILD. This book is kind and suggests merely an hour. Well, that’s a start.

Okay, my rant aside, this is a fun book and I think it could open communications up for parents and children and everyone will be rewarded by reading it.

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