Tag Archive: history



A Duel in Time: A Time Travel Romance (Thief in Time Book 5)A Duel in Time: A Time Travel Romance by Cidney Swanson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Inspirational! Who doesn’t enjoy a good time-travel book? This one addresses the subject of the musical Hamilton. What fun! And now I have to go find the books about him and the sheet music to play with, and learn to sing the tunes like I did with Phantom and Les Miz.

But the book isn’t all about the musical. It covered a lot about the history and character of the man, statesman, politician, Alexander Hamilton. And the fictitious twins of this century and their coming of age issues.

I always enjoy books by Cidney Swanson. I always have to say that her Saving Mars series is my favorite but all her work is so fantastic it is only that I have to be the old grown-up with left-over space-travel dreams that I gravitate to those books. But Time-Travel is fun, and educational and inspires me so much! Enjoy! I did!

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Everything My Mother Taught MeEverything My Mother Taught Me by Alice Hoffman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I absolutely love Alice Hoffman’s writing. I couldn’t resist when I saw this for free on Audible. And this did have her great storytelling. The narrator, Brittany Pressley, was superb.

The story kept me interested. But the end came too soon I didn’t realize it was a short story until it ended. And that is my biggest problem with this audiobook. I don’t like short stories. They leave me wanting more. I want to know what happens next.

Still, it was a delicious story.

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The Half-Life of Marie CurieThe Half-Life of Marie Curie by Lauren Gunderson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a quick listen on Audible. It was free. Only an hour and fifteen minutes. Narrators: Kate Mulgrew and Francesca Faridany made you feel you were watching a movie. I’m not sure if it is all factual from Marie Curie’s life but it seemed plausible. I loved the messages for women’s rights given life.

If you get the chance it is a good read/listen.

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Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander, #2)Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If my mind has not been very focused. This book may be the cause. Lack of sleep. Not because of worries. Nope, I just couldn’t stop reading/listening to the book.

I had the Audible Whispersynched with the Kindle version. Davina Porter did a marvelous job of narrating the story. Hers is not the sweet voice of the actress who played Claire Randall in the TV series. But Ms. Porter has the versatility to play all the characters perfectly.

The show did a good job following the books. The only thing I miss in the reading is the music.
That’s okay. I can Sing Me A Song of a Lass That Has Gone…

This story is captivating either way. I love getting involved in the history presented. I wish I were better versed in world history, especially France, and the British Isles. I know the next book will bring me into the founding of the United States of America. So that gives me a timeline I know, somewhat.

Since I read the book after watching the show, I wish I could have read it first. Not that the show is missing anything. I just like visualizing the story for myself. Now the people and places are fixed by the show.

At any rate, it is a good read, even if you’ve seen the show. It will keep you engaged in the story. I can’t wait until I can afford book three.

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WunderlandWunderland by Jennifer Cody Epstein
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This should be required reading for everyone. Especially now.

It was difficult for me at first as I thought maybe I was reading pro-nazi propaganda. But the people who suggested this read for me would never have recommended that kind of book. So I continued reading.

The book was written through differing points of view and differing times. It feels like a memoir at times as it gets quite personal.

Instead of it being propaganda, the author gives us an inside look into how a person/nation becomes less free-thinking, how certain biases become bigotry and hatred. She shows us how group-think and gang-mentality forms, even in the most loving people. Peer pressure and lack of trust promoted by the people in power move all the people into fear. I think that was my take away.

I would have given this book five stars but my experience with text-to-speech with this back and forth in time and differing personalities was difficult to figure out who was talking and when. Without eyes on the text, I would get lost.

If you can, please read this book. I think I may want to read it again and take notes. Maybe I’ll give more stars next time.

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Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World—and Why Things Are Better Than You ThinkFactfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World—and Why Things Are Better Than You Think by Hans Rosling
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love books that make you think. This one certainly does that! It took a while to get through it. As you probably know, my reading is done at bedtime. This was not that kind of book. Though it was nonfiction, a lot of it kept me up at night.

There were eye-opening statistics that one might not have thought of before. Predictive statistics that the book talked about were even more eye-opening. One of the most striking was made clear to me, showed that like the chart of a newborn baby can’t predict with the same growth later in life. We don’t expect a baby to continue to grow as much or as fast as a school child as the newborn. If a person kept that same growth rate we’d all be giants. So predictive charts need to look at other aspects during different times, incomes, health and wealth influences. I know I’m not saying this the way the author did. But the points he made similar to the example I tried to put forth, were equally stunning.

My friend recommended this book and I am glad I followed through. On the other hand, I must admit that I would have gotten a lot more out of the book had I had the paper book. Since I have trouble reading tree-books for the eye-sight and font issue, I listen to the text-to-speech. The problem was that I didn’t take the moment to read the charts and graphs presented to help the reader understand how things really are as opposed to how we think they are.

Even so, I found this a super interesting book that in the future I might just try to find the paper book just for the illustrations. Maybe I don’t agree with all his perspectives, it seems I have read somewhere that statistics are rarely pure. Most are bent to reflect the person’s paid position to research to the paid end. Still closing one’s eyes to the possibilities presented in this book are so much more destructive than paying attention and learning what we can from it all.

Give it a try. I picked my copy from the local e-library.

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The Hollywood DaughterThe Hollywood Daughter by Kate Alcott
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book. Thank you, NetGalley.

This was not one of my favorite books. Yet I couldn’t stop reading it. First of all the writing was well done. Second and more personal, I remember my dad pointing to Ingrid Bergman on the TV and telling me that she was his very favorite actress. I had to agree with him that she was beautiful and I loved how she spoke. I don’t know what the show was. Nor do I remember what she said or wore that impressed me.

I think I may be part of the target audience, Baby Boomer. I may be around the same age as the main character, Jessica Malloy, well, a little younger. I wasn’t born until, what chapter three or four? And I am a Southern California girl so the location references were personal for me.

And I remember an aunt talking to my mother and I like a Dutch uncle about communism. Mom didn’t say much. She usually had plenty to say, so I think this long lecture caught her off-guard.

So it was these personal notes that pulled me in and kept me reading. That and I wrote a teen-meeting-idol book in the sixties about meeting casually the Beatles. So I want to see how it happens to others who have idols in the entertainment industry.

More than that, it was fun watching Jessica grow into a young woman and ridding herself of the demons of growing up.

For me, though, this growing up angst is tiring. Who wants to go back and relive their teens? At least this girl wasn’t gaga about this guy and that. It was more about her family and her self -discovery.

I may have to find an Ingrid Bergman movie or two to complete my experience. Others may love this book. But I stick with my three stars as it is better than some but not as good as others. I may actually forget it soon which is what brings it to a four or five-star rating. Try it. Let me know how you feel about it. Maybe I missed something? I do read using text-to-speech.

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The Hot ZoneThe Hot Zone by Richard Preston

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Do I say “Research?” It is due to the fact that I am writing a fictional ‘zombie’ book for NaNoWriMo that I picked up the Kindle and Audible versions of this book. My zombies are merely sick people. I am not a medical person so I needed some input on how it all starts and how contagious it all is. As it turns out it isn’t as bad as Ebola, but the gore of my book might evolve due to this book.

Meanwhile, this is a book I put off for decades. I remember a guy named Jason at the school I worked at that came up to me with the paperback. He was so excited about it. But the more he talked the squirmier I got. “And it’s a true story!” He exclaimed. I started watching shows like Outbreak. We saw it in the theater. Remember that sneeze? I nearly ran out of there when someone coughed.

I grew–good or bad, I guess that’s for others to judge. But lately, I can watch a disaster movie, or The Walking Dead and notice only the social reaction to the monsters or the disease or the overwhelming snow. So I thought I could now face this book.

Reading happens at bedtime. Bet you can guess how this book blended into dreams. And since I listened as I read the Kindle with the Audible, that voice! Richard M. Davidson’s voice. What a deep bass and excellent for the genre! Creepy and authoritative! Wow!

What I learned is that my characters in my book were dressed properly to deal with their strains of disease. And I learned I never want to be anywhere near someone coughing! If I was a germaphobe before… well, let’s just say there isn’t enough hand sanitizer in the world for me!

Knowing this is nonfiction made this even more frightening. It doesn’t seem like it was that long ago there was an Ebola scare. What a horrid disease! And this author did a poetic job of helping the reader to see it and feel it. If you haven’t read it yet, climb out of your hiding place and give it a try. Forewarned is forearmed as they say. Might as well get the Audible version to make it even more real. I will try to read more of his books now. Time for more vitamin C and Airborne!

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Playing with Fire: The 1968 Election and the Transformation of American PoliticsPlaying with Fire: The 1968 Election and the Transformation of American Politics by Lawrence O’Donnell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I like Lawrence O’Donnell. He’s not my favorite. But I relate to him in that he is about Southern California where others are all in New York. I relate to him because he’s close in age to me. He seems to see things the way I do, most of the time. Not always. So when I had another credit on Audible I decided to grab his book.

It makes me a little embarrassed to admit that this was tough to get through. Not because it was a difficult read or that Mr. O’Donnell is boring. It is just… well… I lived through this history.

1968 is the year I graduated. The draft and Viet Nam were in the news and alive in our school. The boys who graduated the year before us were drafted. By 1968 we lost so many guys that were friends. So this history is painful. Oh, and if we didn’t lose the guys to death they went to Canada and we never saw them again. Or they killed themselves. It was a hard time to be a teen. In our high school, the spirit of our class was depressed. We lost most of the games. The year before and the year after the spirit was normal. But I really feel that that depression that lived in our souls was due to everyone knowing we might not see each other again. So I entered this read with that heavy weight.

Not only was this hard to listen to because of the death of friends, but we’d also lived through Kennedy being assassinated and the disharmonious political life was on the news every day. Listening to the political upheaval again did give me a little understanding as to what happened but it also hurt like reliving it all. As my bedtime book it brought dreams back I never wanted to see again.

On the other hand, if you didn’t graduate that year, especially if you are younger, this is an important look at that history. Lawrence reads and tells this history with reverence and his research was deep. Even if you aren’t his fan, this may give a bit of history to your political understanding. I know I am nowhere near politically adept, I like seeing how others perceived that time. Just like now, our families, friends, churches, and personal experiences color how we see our moment in time. It wasn’t quite such a divided world as it is now, and yet it was. Walter Cronkite helped us get through some of it but I can remember family members arguing about all of it. A Catholic President? Unheard of! The Pope will be running the show. Yep, I heard that said. People who were marching were unAmerican? Really? What about the Tea Party? Anyway, if you get the chance, read or listen to this and see what you can remember way back then.

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The Delany Sisters' Book of Everyday WisdomThe Delany Sisters’ Book of Everyday Wisdom by Sarah L. Delany
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m so behind on my reviews. Sorry. I finished this over a week ago. It was my hardback read. At least it didn’t take nearly a year like my last ‘real’ book. I think the font, paper color, size of page worked out pretty well for my crazy eyes. And I loved the sisters and their stories.

How does one live so long as the Delany Sisters? (Well over the century mark.) They tell us what they think works, at least for them. They even include their favorite recipes from soap to cobblers. Since I don’t like to cook, those weren’t for me but other readers will love that. My favorite parts were reading how the sisters related to each other, their family and the world at large.

Since it was an easy read for me, it will be quite a fast one for those with better eyes. Maybe you’ll glean some good advice for your own life.

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