Tag Archive: free-from-author



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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The Road to Helltown (Preternatural Affairs #9)The Road to Helltown by S.M. Reine

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well, Sara Reine has done it again! Prolific equals S. M. Reine. Sorry, I’m late coming around with my review. Since Kindle did a bunch of updates I have had quite a time trying to get back to reading because they messed up the text-to-speech they messed up the backgrounds they messed up the font sizes and hardly ever can save my place in a book. And as much as they want to think of themselves as a tablet, I choose to think of Kindle as a reading apparatus. I don’t read on my tablet I use my tablet for other things.

Enough of my rant. Cèsar Hawke is not my favorite character in Ms. Raines books. I go into those books kicking and screaming. These books are more male-oriented. Cèsar reminds me of the old detective movies, film noir, I think is called. But when we get past that were back in Ms. Raines universe. Regardless of how San Francisco looks now, through her eyes, it isn’t. Same holds true when she incorporates Reno or Las Vegas. It just is more fun reading from her point of view. Cèsar is a witch who is allergic to magic. If you don’t think that puts some complications on things, you’re not paying attention. It takes a lot of magic to fight a demon. Especially a really big one. So in spite of his allergies, Cèsar does the job.

Even though I would give any of the Cèsar books 3 stars, because they’re okay, the overall stories are always superb, exciting, and hard to put down. I can blame these books for nights of lack of sleep. Not because they’re so scary, but because you want to see what happens.

Please come to the Sara Reine universe starting with the Six Moon Summer series and keep going through all the different series that Miss Reine puts out. They’re all good!

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Suicide Queen (Dana McIntyre Must Die #4)Suicide Queen by S.M. Reine

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

For some reason, I thought I had already written this review. Boo Me! This was my favorite Dana story yet! And even that may be a bit of a spoiler! Only for those following this part of the series.

Timeout. I just need to say how much I love the cover pictures of Dana! She is so cool! She isn’t some starved skinny-mini. This gal means business! The story reflects the cover or vice versa. Geez, with all the vampires, Las Vegas will never be the same. But that is why Dana is there, to rid that fine city of those bloodsuckers.

As I’m writing this review, I am having the hardest time making sure not to put out spoilers. Just take it from me, this was a marvelous series and Dana is my favorite of all of Ms. Reine’s characters. So sorry to see this series end. How I hope Sara will bring Dana back again soon!

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Cashing Out: An Urban Fantasy Thriller (Dana McIntyre Must Die Book 3)Cashing Out: An Urban Fantasy Thriller by SM Reine

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Yippee! Another Dana installment! I still don’t like vampires. That may be why I like Dana. She doesn’t either, even when she becomes one.

I’m not lowering my star rating from five to four even though most of the beginning is about Nessa, not Dana. After finishing the read, I saw why that was so. Picture me rubbing my hands together in anticipation. More is to come!!!!

Though not left on a cliffhanger, this book did leave me anxious to read what comes next. More Dana! Please, please, please!

Oh, and though this part of the series(s) is rather stand alone I suggest you all read of the Saraverse from Six Moon Summer on. SM Reine is one of the most prolific writers I know. Her places are alternates of places many have been, just add a were-beings, demons, vampires, fae, etc. thrown in amongst we muggles. And GODS/GODDESS and many layers of heavens and hells Yet if you see her on Instagram, Sara is a fascinating mom person.

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Hop and Chomp: A Caterpillar Story: Children's Books - Picture Books for Kids - Story Books for Children - Beginner Book for Children - Age 3-7Hop and Chomp: A Caterpillar Story: Children’s Books – Picture Books for Kids – Story Books for Children – Beginner Book for Children – Age 3-7 by Gita V. Reddy

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

We live in the desert outback of Oregon. When you picture Oregon, you probably see green trees and oceans. This is mostly sagebrush and sky. I love it. There is room to breathe and did I mention sky? Many of us don’t have grassy lawns, between critters and the amount of water it would take to keep it green, it seems silly to attempt. So instead my family and I have dedicated to saving bees and inviting hummingbirds into our yard. I think because of the heavy snows of the winter we have a lot more vegetation than usual. More butterflies. And just yesterday I saw a Mourning Cloak. I realized I hadn’t seen one of those for decades.

And then this little sweet book comes into my life. How adorable the grasshopper and caterpillar are! I love how the author explains why the caterpillar needs to eat so much and about the pupa stage. The pages are colorful with butterfly backgrounds and the Rangoli designs on each page above the main characters. Those are inspiring me to try my hand at drawing them.

This book is great for the early reader but great fun for a read aloud and learning about everything from caterpillars to India and lots of art to play with. All while learning to read. I would have had a ball reading this with my kids back in the day.

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Kill Game: An Urban Fantasy Thriller (Dana McIntyre Must Die Book 2)Kill Game: An Urban Fantasy Thriller by SM Reine

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love Dana! My first born son and this female powerhouse character that we all met long ago in Sara Reine’s series. In this case, it is the first character I could personally relate to in size and shape. I’m much older but a part of me thinks I looked like her when I was in my forties. I think I had similar beliefs to hers. I don’t know that I hate vampires. But I never saw the craze. Now Ms. Reine has brought me along to expand my imaginary creatures profile.

And Dana isn’t a perfect person in any way. She makes mistakes. She has a mindset that needs taming. But she is lovable and loves deeply. And it is wonderful that she is getting her own series. This was the second book. I think it may read as a stand alone but I love that I have read all the history of these altered Nevada stories from the beginning. Other states are in her other books but most of Sara Reine’s books are in places I have lived or visited enough to know ‘our’ versions. It gives a depth to the books that a made up place never has.

Dana is going through divorce in this series and it is messing with her mind. As it does for most of us. The reasons seem weird to me, but most folks from the outside of the couple going through this might think that, also. But will the ending of this book change that? Gosh, Sara, if you’re going to bring us to this ending can’t you write faster and let us see what happens next?

Okay, I need to clear this up. This is not a cliffhanger. You all know how much I hate those! And I don’t know a more prolific author than S.M. Reine. I just love her books so much I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next. Hey–since I moved from there two years ago, how about another Reno setting? Las Vegas is too busy, too much of a tourist trap–even in the alternate universe. Is there a place for Dana, the vampire-slayer in demon possessed Reno? Or, since I can’t seem to find a way, could you take her to the beaches of California? Orange County, LA County? Mojave Desert?

Okay, I’ll read it no matter where you take us! Can’t wait!!!!

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Which is p and Which is q?Which is p and Which is q? by Gita V. Reddy

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a cute little book for the early reader. The illustrations are fun. The story as imaginative as I expect of Gita V. Reddy.

I actually read this a few days ago and am just now getting around to reviewing but the experience stays clear for me. Mostly because some of my offspring and I are dyslexic. This would have been helpful for all of us as early readers.

Ms. Reddy sent me an email a bit ago offering the read for honest review. I was more than willing as I have loved most of what she has presented to me to read. This was just as fun as the rest. As usual, there is a story, with morals and fun adventures.

As it was for the children, the book was fine. I just wish there were more hints or ideas for parents and teachers. Gita does say that one needs more practice with many letters like M and W. But L and 7 come to mind for me, lower case U and lower case N, lower case Q and lowercase G, lower case B and lower case D, 3 and E. I’m sure there are others that get confused. In fact, most letters can be switched backward or upside down. These were all so confusing to me as a kid and I had to watch my boys go through the same confusion.

Nowadays, while studying German, I am finding my old nemesis ‘I before E…’ coming back at me because in German it is the other way around. So dyslexia still plays havoc in my life. But this book is a start for the new generation of readers to play with.

As for the story and pictures, I love the one where the grandfather is emptying the box of wooden letters on the floor for Minki to play with. Having tactile experiences with the letters is so important for children who are learning about the alphabet.

Great job, Gita. I hope this will spare many children and the parents the confusion of letters that won’t stay in the right directions.

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Drawing Dead: An Urban Fantasy Thriller (Dana McIntyre Must Die Book 1)Drawing Dead: An Urban Fantasy Thriller by S.M. Reine

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

WOW!!!! OMG!!!!! Of all of S.M. Reine’s massive series(s), this is my favorite!!!! I couldn’t stop reading once I started.

I almost missed this one. I had gotten so far behind in my email that I didn’t see the one offering to read/review Drawing Dana. Luckily I was offered a reprieve and allowed to read it even though late. Because since I met Dana McIntyre I have loved her. She is the bitch with a heart of gold. She is strong with the right amount of weakness. She is the vampire slayer who has been bitten. And I love the name of the weapon of choice. Spoilers! Can’t tell you!

Some of the many series(s) are a little dark or ‘demonie’, or too far into fae. And as much as I hate vampire stories, this should have been a non-starter. But it was Dana!!! I knew I couldn’t go wrong.

What I like and have liked about Sara’s writing has been her use of places where I have lived or at least visited. This one takes place in Las Vegas. Never lived there but been there enough to recognize the place. I never saw the vampires there but it is easy to imagine them there. Ms. Reine often writes of Reno. I did live there a while. But my Reno looked nothing like the one in her books, except, they did. Her imagination put beings there that I must have overlooked.

Please, if you get the chance, read this book. It is written so that you can start here. BUT… I suggest you start at the beginning: Six Moon Summer. Watch the world around you change into Reine’s world. So many adventures await, including this one.

I can’t wait for the next book!!!!!!!

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