Tag Archive: kindle-wishlist



An Unnecessary WomanAn Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A friend recommended this book to me. She and I are fascinated by languages. I think that was why she thought I would love this book. She was right.

I went looking for the book on Amazon and found the Kindle version a bit too pricey for my book budget. So I went to Audible and found I had a credit sitting there waiting for me to use. I was so glad I did! Suzanne Toren is a great voice for Aaliya Saleh, the woman living alone in Beirut, Lebanon.

Look, this book wasn’t nail-biting excitement or in anyway stress inducing. But I loved hanging out with Saleh. This is the reason I love books. It is a chance to travel to other places and get inside other people’s heads. This book is a perfect example of both of those. And it left me wanting to start doing my own translations for my own edification. I have plenty of books in other languages. I plan to pull out a notebook and just get busy.

I want to read this again and have the Kindle version to read along with the Audio. It helps me internalize the story better. Even so, the narrator kept the story very interesting and age appropriate. By the way, the fun of this book was it was about an aging woman. Stories of this type are rare! I don’t think it would matter what gender or age you are this story has something for everyone to relate to and learn from. Enjoy.

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Everything I Never Told YouEverything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! Just Wow! An author friend recommended this book stating that it was the best book she’d read in a long time. She was right. It was the best read for me in a long, long time.

There was a drowning. The family responds. That’s the extent of it. BUT we are allowed in all the characters’ heads. What led to the present moment? Who can take the fault? Who might be innocent?

This bit of mystery only leads to the inside of your own head, your own family history. It is amazing how the author does that. How she keeps the story so interesting that I had a hard time putting it down, even when it was 4 AM I couldn’t let it go until the next day.

The most interesting questions the story brought to mind is how many of our goals and passions are leftovers from the previous generation? I made me look at my grandmother and my mother and my own daughter. And even now, I wonder how much of my mother’s pushing of piano practice, for instance, brought about my son’s participation in a band? How do our personal goals affect others around us, from family outward to the occasional associates. This book brought about a strong link between us all that I think we often overlook.

And then let’s add to the story the things that make us unique, our nationality, ethics, religion or politics and we see how we think the other person is wrong. How the tearing down of others is tearing us all down. In this case, the family is half Chinese, half American. They live in a place where they are the only ones of color. Racist slurs are slung at them. When that happens, when we are bullies in any fashion, one has a hard time separating true hate from imagined hate.

As usual, the fictional family reach their own conclusions and don’t communicate with each other. That speaks to me. We often forget to say what we should. We think the other person already knows, or doesn’t need to hear it again, or doesn’t feel taken seriously. Relationships are hard, even the best of them. That’s how our fears and hurts hit as bullets on those we should give our best to.

All of these ideas came to me as I read this book. I bought the Audible version (I had a credit lying around). I know now that I want to read this again. I will have to buy the Kindle version when I get the chance. Oh, and a word about Cassandra Campbell (Narrator). She did a great job acting out the different characters. It was due to her skills that this book came to life for me.

Thank you, Patty B. for the recommendation. I loved it!

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A Closed and Common Orbit (Wayfarers, #2)A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Can I give this book 20 stars? This is MY kind of sci-fi! No wars and shooting and one-up-manship. We get to know another social order, the good and bad of it. We watch someone growing up within and without that order. We get to know other beings. We get to travel in space. There just happens to be males and females. In this case, a female lead but it could as easily have been a male. Good choice to have a female to have the adventure. YAY! Male in the story, not necessarily a romantic counter point. A friend. Believe it or not!!!!

Though this is book two in the series it could stand alone. But if you get the chance to read the first book, do so. It was fun, too! You can find my review of the first book in GoodReads under The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet.

What I think I liked best about this book is how the author took us into a young girl’s thoughts without making us feel childish or talking down to us. And how well she matured said girl through the years helping the reader feel that maturity and sense of growth. How a sense of time alone doesn’t become boring as it might if we lived it, but a chance to learn and explore ideas and abilities.

Oh, and one of my favorite reasons for reading sci-fi is to learn new philosophies or enjoy those we might have left behind for a revisit now. I think Becky Chambers may be my new favorite sci-fi author!

This book is now on my gotta buy the Kindle and Audible versions so I can reread it soon!

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Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear SugarTiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One day, in the last couple of months, my daughter kidnapped me so I could spend a week back in Reno. It was one of those serendipitous things that made me very happy. I got to spend time with her and with other family and friends.

My daughter loves to listen to podcasts on long trips. When she learned that I had read and watched Wild, by Cheryl Strayed, she pulled up the Dear Sugar podcasts and we enjoyed a long listen.

Once back at home I found the Dear Sugar websites and other books by Cheryl Strayed. I looked at the eBook/Overdrive local library copies. I found this copy but it was just an eBook with no text-to-speech and no audio version. I tried very hard to enjoy the book. There was wonderful advice given here.

I wanted to keep reading past the mid-point that I thought I got to, but with no way to listen it was hard to read. I will try to keep an eye out for the Audible or Kindle with TTS to read later. Besides, most of it was written for younger people. I played the kind of game I used to play with the Dear Abby advice column, see if I can give the same advice the writer does. I was pleasantly surprised that Ms. Strayed gave more personal answers and helped in deeper ways than Abby or her sister Ann Landers ever did.

I think this is a wonderful book for young people to have. I think Dear Sugar is a good podcast for those under forty. I hope to find this book again in an easier form for me to read.

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Legend (Legend, #1)Legend by Marie Lu

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am SO impressed with this series! Especially since I had to read it backward. For the most part, I read it on my local library’s Kindle and listened to the library Overdrive version. This last book, book one, I actually had had the chance to buy the Audible version. I figured I will eventually buy all of this series (Kindle and Audible) so that someday I would read it in the correct order. If it is good and held together reading it the way I did, imagine how good it is reading it the right way!

Spoilers are hard to avoid as I write this. In fact, I thought by knowing what was to come I wouldn’t be able to continue. Then something happened between Metais and Day. Something seemed off as I remembered what was to happen in book two. Luckily, by the end of book one that issue revealed itself properly. Everything else held together very well. Again, I am so impressed with the world, characters and story that Marie Lu (author) built.

In this first book, you get to see how June and Day meet and start falling for each other. I had wondered about that. You get to see how Day meets Tess. You actually meet Day’s family. You meet all the people who play crucial roles later in the series and now you know why (if you read it back to front, that is).

Yesterday, I saw that Legend is on sale on Amazon. It is $3.00. If you can, I suggest you buy it. If I had more than a dollar to my name, I would buy it now. Alas, that will have to wait.

Now a comment on the narration by Mariel Stern and Steven Kaplan who play June and Day respectfully. I don’t know if this is their first narration gig or if they were finding their voices to these characters, but this one felt like they were new. Especially, Mariel Stern, whose voice appeared higher and a little crackly in comparison to the later books. Maybe she was attempting to sound younger? And, of course, if they recorded them in order that would still be the case, right? But as this story continues both voices become stronger and true to the characters. I was often in a situation where wearing headphones and listening were impossible and I had to read the book strictly by sight, and there were times my eyes were tired and I just listened, either and both methods hold up and maintain a fantastic story. An author who writes very well, combined with narrators who read very well, makes a wonderful experience, even in a dystopian world.

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Review: Prodigy by Marie Lu


Prodigy (Legend, #2)Prodigy by Marie Lu

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have never read a series of books so out of order as I have had to with this series. It was too expensive to buy each of the three books so I consulted the library. They had the large print hardback book and the CDs to listen to available right away. They didn’t have the first book and the second was already borrowed. So I read/heard book three first. I was very impressed with the author that the story line and characters held together without the background of the first two books. Soon the second book became available in only the OverDrive (audio) version. So I took my chances.

Once again, I am impressed with how well the story holds together even reading it so out of order. As with book three the narrators: Mariel Stern (June), Steven Kaplan (Day) keep the story moving from within the characters’ points of view. Though the ending of book two felt like the narrators were hitting their stride, the beginning felt a little unrehearsed. Still, I think this is a great way to tell a story from the male and female viewpoints. I think it makes the book more accessible to both genders. That’s my guess. I wonder how males react to this way of telling a story. Both June and Day are fearless and human and show they deeply care for each other and their people. Both are trying to make a dystopian world a little more livable for all. I imagine that the audio versions of this story add so many more layers of believability to the story.

This was the first book I have had to rely strictly on the audio version. There was no Kindle or tree-book available to read along on. With my ADD that made it hard to stay within the story. But I limited my visual stimuli to crocheting a mundane pattern or closing my eyes. I think if I had a car, this would be a great ride along story. It isn’t so exciting as to make the drive dangerous, but it keeps your attention.

Now that I know how the story ends, and how the middle is told, I will have to read the first part. I found I had one credit on Audible so as to ‘buy’ book one. Once my finances are better I will grab the Kindle version to go with it. I may eventually reread the story in the right order to see how much different it comes across. I highly recommend these books for young adults and older. The romance isn’t horrible sticky. Rather it adds another layer of depth to the story. Enjoy!

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Zentangle Basics: Easy to Learn Zentangle Method. 12 Basic Elements of Fine Tangling Process and Art Mediation (Zentangle books, Zentangle basics books, Zentangle basics featuring ideas books,)Zentangle Basics: Easy to Learn Zentangle Method. 12 Basic Elements of Fine Tangling Process and Art Mediation by Leroy Barnes

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have to admit that I have a bit of confusion going on here. I picked up two Zentangle books at the same time. One because it was free and the other because I could get it for free with Kindle Unlimited. This one was $2.99 last I looked. Though I got it for free through Kindle Unlimited. Now do I have you confused, too?

Either book is a good starting point for learning about the good that doing a bit of Zentangling can do for you. Both have written instructions for getting started. This one had fewer illustrations. Just as a hint of the type of designs that one can do simply even if you are not an artist. In fact, that is a point made in both books.

Both books are quick reads, even without pictures. And so I read them both yesterday one after the other.

Which one is best? The one with more pictures. But only because of that. I wish either of them had more visual instructions. Can you imagine being taught to draw without anything to look at to compare to? Yeah. Oh, some are upset about the size of the pictures. I found if I clicked on the tiny picture I can enlarge it to a satisfying size.

My advice? If you see these for free, grab ’em and read ’em. After that head over to Zentangle.com and play around that site. Then go check out the Youtubes that the site recommends. Pick up a Zentangle kit. I did and have loved working with it. One of these days, I will post some of my resulting tangles on my website: darsword.wordpress.com.

Now I am going to copy and paste this review into the other books review changing only the price range and a word or two here or there. Try Zentangling!

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Review: Champion by Marie Lu


ChampionChampion by Marie Lu

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Five stars! And that’s with me starting to read it on book three! I never do that. I like to start at the beginning and read a long series to the end. Starting in the middle or later can be chancy at best. But there was no choice. I saw such high ratings and I think a GoodReads friend recommended it. So I jumped over to Amazon. WAY too expensive for me right now. So I went over to my library website to see if they had it. The had the regular version of book two and this third book. BUT with this large print book I was able to land the audio-CDs. How lucky was that?

Let me take a moment out for a font complaint. Why is it that large print versions don’t give spaces between lines? Even with the larger font I still couldn’t read it straight through. I needed to use my trusty dusty bookmark to keep track, like a first grader! Old eyes, what can I say?

What kept me going, though, was the audio version. The voices of June and Day were read by Mariel Stern and Steven Kaplan respectively. They were wonderful narrators! I must make sure when I finally get this series for myself that I get the Audible Whispersync with the Kindle version.

I must marvel at the writing of Marie Lu. That I can come into the story this late in the game and not feel lost is to her credit. Sure, I felt like I was missing a little background on how it all started and how relationships grew, or didn’t, but I felt I already knew, somehow. There wasn’t a lot of background descriptors dragging the story out, so I assume Ms. Lu snuck it all in there somehow. Magic!

And I am surprised that coming out of the book I have a hunger to read the entire series, real soon! I put all the books on all my wishlists. Just reading a book three should have had me feel I was finished, ya know?

Oh, and if you read this one, have some Kleenex on hand near the end. It’s not horrid, but I haven’t cried like that near the end of a book for a long time. But that shows the amount of truth that this story held for me. No, I am far from being a teen–65, but I could still relate to all that was going on with these characters.

Oh, and this is the first book in a long time that felt that either guys or girls could read it with equal fervor. Each chapter is either June or Day (Daniel) and both are tough but caring human beings.

As I have said before, where were authors like Marie Lu when I was a teen? This book kept my interest from beginning to end. And I think that if you are unlucky enough to not get the first two books you can start here and still have an active adventure!

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My Melancholic DiaryMy Melancholic Diary by Iva Kenaz

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I want to thank my GoodReads friend, A.S. Johnson for recommending this treasure to me. She was right, I did love it!

Once I got the recommendation I found that I could get it through Kindle Unlimited so I set about getting it right away. I already had tons of books ahead of it on my ‘currently reading shelf’, but I got around to it finally. So glad I did!

Where was this book when I was growing up? Oh, yeah, the author probably wasn’t born yet. What a great way to learn how fanciful a diary could be! When I was a young teen I had one of those diaries that had a little lock on it. Why I needed a lock always made me laugh. I rarely wrote anything in it beyond “I breathed in and out today.”

That a person in grade school chose to stay the last year of grade school with her eccentric father in the countryside near Prague in the Czech Republic so that she and he could iron out their differences, shows the maturity of the main character, Lisa, who is 14 nearly 15. But the book is full of mature themes but not in a preachy way. I think there is so much depth in this book that anyone of any age would find something to glean from it.

Lisa, the diary writer, the main character, of course, has a romantic heart and the adolescent inadequate self-esteem. Not too different from most people her age, but when you are that age, you don’t realize that. In fact, I wonder how many people outgrow that?

So seeing Lisa’s musings of her life and loves didn’t feel far from most people I know. Except for the fictional character that becomes alive for her. At first, that is shocking in such a mature girl, but as you watch the rest of her life you see that this ghost from another book guides her as much as she guides him. It is the one relationship that is working for her. What a grand idea! We should all have our own fictional hero/heroine who can speak to us while we write out the character’s destiny. Oh, yeah, we who write do just that! That is if we are writing daily. Gulp. We should be writing daily. Note to self…

Anyway, I highly recommend this book to everyone. I think even males will like it.

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Witch to ChooseWitch to Choose by H.T. Night

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I just had to slap my hands and get tough with myself. I am three reviews behind my reading! The problem right now is that I already had book two of this series and I didn’t stop reading to do my own writing. Bad Dar, bad Dar!

And look at this! I didn’t know that this author was a male! So I have to give kudos fo his writing. With my goal of the last couple years to read mostly books written by women with strong female main characters, and aiming for the Bechdel test awareness, this book nearly slid right by. I think it was around the third chapter that I had to stop and look up this author. Women talking to each other and not about the male characters, realistic feelings coming from all of the people in the story. Men who cry. Women with power! Wow! H.T. Night, I am proud of you! And I plan to read more by you.

Oh, and look at this: NO CLIFFHANGER! It ended nicely yet I just wanted to see what happened next.

Now I am not a Wiccan and have only studied a tiny amount. So it felt believable…all except the person who is a warlock. I have heard that men are witches, too. Aren’t warlocks dark magicks? If anyone wants to educate me on that I would be happy to know.

For what it’s worth, Mr. Night has a plethora of books out there with vampires and wolves and all. I may have to stretch our my reading chops and finally include those bitie creatures. Now more reviews to do before I can read more!

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