Tag Archive: library-kindle



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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19841984 by George Orwell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is my second reading of this book. It was required reading in high school (about 1967). I remember it being very scary and prayed it would never happen. As the actual year of 1984 flew by many of us began to relax. Maybe the science fictional prophecy was far from ever happening.

Many people have recommended this book again what with rumors of Newspeak/Fake News. The book shows that anyone can be convinced of anything given the right set of circumstances. I believe that to be true, which is why I don’t believe that torture would ever bring out the truth. Many are in jails because the good cop/bad cop or other tricks of coercion have brought the suspect to admit to something they never did do. Much of the book shows how this can happen.

Regardless of which side of the political system you may stand, this set of possibilities should shout at you. You should feel free to tell your truth without worry of being tortured or demeaned in any way. After all your set of circumstances have brought you to your belief. But on the same line, we should have respect for another point of view, even if it seems crazy. If you stop that truth from coming out, you may miss a grain of truth you may need to learn to live more openly.

I relate that to the lowly dandelion and my mother. My mother was anemic and had very bad health in general. But when I was young I would see her out in the lawn digging out the dandelions and tossing them away. Knowing what we know about that so-called weed, this could have been the medicine my mother could have ingested and become much healthier, regardless of the ungroomed lawn. What gems or weeds of health are we missing by calling each other names and not learning someone else’s truth?

On another level… As scary as the world of ‘1984’ is, the misogyny of past sci-fi and fantasy is very clear here. I didn’t notice this when I was a teen. Almost all the books I read were male-heavy. I remember asking about it only once. The answer was we had to have these books because boys have a hard time learning to and then liking reading. Having watched my brothers with that very problem I didn’t think about it again. I had trouble with reading but found ways to get around the problems and I LOVED reading. (Still do.)

In this book the main character’s wife won’t give him a divorce, they had infertility problems. He gets the wet dream fantasy fulfilled in a woman who gives without requiring anything from him, not even or especially not wanting love. Finally, there is the woman out in the yard who sings with clothespins in her mouth and he finds her big hips sexually appealing though in another segment he is reminded how like his mother she is. So beyond sex and birth, it seems this generation of sci-fi writers seemed to have nothing to do with women. That should have been our biggest warning! Of all that happened to this character!!!!! I find myself feeling foolish that it took me until my 60s to figure out how little part women play in most men’s lives. I have a friend that tried to tell me this when I was still into makeup and clothes–and making my own babies. But it is because I decided to make my reading diet be mostly female writers with female main characters, and not in the romantic chic-lit stuff. More along the lines of Bechdel. (Google her) This is also how I choose to watch TV/Movies. Women have to hold up half of the sky of whatever I read or watch. Equally important. That was not the case in this book. And years ago I might not have noticed. Now I am nearly blinded by it. So if you haven’t seen it as strong as I have, try my ‘diet’. Give it a year or so. I especially challenge male to try this. When you notice the lack of human equality in reading or what you watch maybe you will be part of the change? Maybe if women hold their own in a story like ‘1984’ we may find ways to avoid that crazy kind of life.

Do read this. No matter which side of the fence, or gender, there are weeds of health here we all need!

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Gods in AlabamaGods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A friend recommended this a while back. Our library finally had it on Kindle so I could read it. It was a fast read as the author kept me engaged.

On the tags, I have murder-mystery but it really isn’t a mystery. As you read, you may think you know what all happened but so much gets revealed at the end, keep reading!

I love that I got a little road trip from the main characters. But knowing that judgmental possibly bigoted family members wait at the end of the trip. And as we all know, you can never go back home. What you get is a new family with old themes and mysteries of the past that have never resolved.

This is a good read. It would be great for book clubs as there are many topics to be explored here. If you get the chance, read it!

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Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children, #1)Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I don’t know. I guess it kept me interested. But I thought I had the boxed set (I didn’t) on the borrowed library Overdrive version and so I kept trying to find the library Kindle versions to read along. I did end up with the first and the third but by that time I was already used to listening while loom-knitting so as not to be doing something to distract from the story. And I was shocked that the recording ended at the end of book one. It wasn’t a cliff-hanger, but kind of had that feel. But I didn’t care enough to pursue the next books.

By the time I had nearly finished book one I was ready to send the book back to the library. It wasn’t bad. It just wasn’t holding my attention enough to stay with it through a whole series.

I know a lot of people loved this book. I still want to see the movie/television version, but I just didn’t like it all that much. Please try it and see if you like it.

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A Tale for the Time BeingA Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Over a decade ago, I met an online friend that would change or at least, modify my life. I met Judith on LiveJournal, you remember that old site, better than MySpace but not quite as social as FaceBook. Judith was chatting in her journal about Chris Baty and the NaNoWriMo scene (Which resulted in my first novel being written between the Ides of March and the Ides of April. I didn’t finish the novel then as we had to move to a new city and I just couldn’t stay with it. But I added more than enough wordage to that novel in November 2002 to “win”. (First of 10 or 11 novels since.)

The other thing Judith introduced me to was BookCrossing.com. The concept that grabbed me with BC was how my read book could be recycled to others and then the new reader and the old could discuss this story. The book could travel even when I couldn’t, so it felt like a message in a bottle thrown out to sea. It is fun to see where your book could end up and the friendships that develop over said book. I still belong but since my eyes aren’t what they used to be, I am happy for the invention of Kindle and other e-readers. So I release far fewer books nowadays.

Besides Judith, what do the above paragraphs have in common, and what do they have to do with ‘A Tale for the Time Being’? The art of writing and the art of reading. Both concepts play strong in this story. Rather than a message in a bottle, this message floats ashore in a Hello Kitty lunchbox in layers of freezer bags. The writer was in Tokyo, the reader/finder in Canada. Years separate the two. Yet a bond is formed. Oh, yeah, Judith read and reviewed this and hooked me in. I think she didn’t like the Zen parts of the book. I found that part delightful. I have to admit that most of the book is believable whereas the Zen bits are a little more ‘magical’. But the title twinkles with that magic. If you read it right.

Anyway, I HIGHLY recommend this book. I actually read it one and a third times. I borrowed the Kindle version from the library. Between reading it on my Kindle app on my Tablet and listening on my old Kindle text-to-speech, I managed to get to about 36% in. Then I found that my library also had the OverDrive version. So I restarted reading the book with the author’s voice. That pumped up my ratings for this wonderful tale. Each layer of depth into the story has its own built-in amazements. Level one, tree book, and the Kindle version, there are many footnotes and definitions to help with a deeper understanding of that time in history or that country, language. But the narration includes minor helps. Hearing a voice say the Japanese names or words adds to the believability of the whole story. Ms. Ruth Ozeki has an impeccable voice and narration, her variations of voices for each character supreme! I enjoyed rereading the first third with her help. I felt I gained deeper understanding just by hearing her. Please, if you get the chance to pair both versions, go for it!

By the way, I want to thank Jonelle Patrick and her Mysteries and website: http://jonellepatrick.me/ for introducing me to many contemporary Japanese subjects presented in A Tale for the Time Being. At least I was forewarned.

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Tapestry of Fortunes: A Novel
Tapestry of Fortunes: A Novel by Elizabeth Berg
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Road trip!

Look, I see a lot of negative reviews of this book. That’s sad because this one actually met my goal. It is a story about older women (sixty and younger) written by a female author. It was a fun read. A great read for someone who is rather stuck at home during the winter. I got my travel bug up and ready for being a vagabond. At least the older females were thought of!

Could the book have been deeper? Yes. In fact just as it all seemed to be fun the story took a turn and ended. It was as if the author didn’t know what to do with a bunch of women having an adventure. Sure, there was drama, but bits that I wanted to explore got left by the wayside. Too bad. The worst part? When at 50% read the book ended. BOO!

Well, the second book in this bundle was a bit of a surprise. Who expected one more book? Open House wasn’t as good as Tapestry of Fortune. The woman was younger (in her forties). It was an agonizing tale of divorce and all the emotions attached to that. I still found it interesting and found myself rooting for the main character. But this all brings up why I prefer sci-fi and fantasy. If I wanted real life, I’d live it! Oh, wait, I already do! In both of these books I was disturbed by the hokey romantic notions. Can’t a woman just find herself and enjoy all the relationships in her life? Do they have to be looking for the ‘one’? Geez! There is nothing wrong with sex or romance. It just left behind the growth of the woman.

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Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Libraries, bookstores and friends (family) the true gold of this world. At least for me. Family fits in there, too, but to me, they are friends with common DNA. Just like books in the bookstore or library, a friend/family member is there to lend their uniqueness to your life. Gold.

I borrowed this book from the library. I was lucky that they had it in Kindle form and that text-to-speech was enabled. I think I will have to buy this book in Kindle form and see if there is an Audible version. That would make the book even more golden.

Thank you, my good friends, for recommending this book so highly. Though it fits none of my criteria for my reading goals of ‘books by women with strong female protagonist’, it still has a couple women that are smart and goal oriented. Still, it wouldn’t pass the Bechdel Test http://bechdeltest.com/.

Look, for many of you the title will dissuade you from reading the book. It, frankly, sounds dreary! But as I was telling my husband, it feels as intriguing as Da Vinci Code (sorry, I never read that one–not my kind of book). There are codes to solve and mysteries to unravel all against the background of San Francisco and New York. For me, the best part is that there is no blood and guts to worry about. Yet the story keeps you engaged, wondering what is going to happen next.

I would like to read it again. I look forward to the second book.

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Tears of the Giraffe
Tears of the Giraffe by Alexander McCall Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the second book in the series. For my review of the first book go here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/395919607

I didn’t think I would go on and read the next book. But I saw that my library had the Kindle version AND the audio CDs to go along with it. And as luck would have it I was able to check them out at the same time!

I can’t tell you how marvelous it is to listen to the narration of Lisette Lecat and her accent. Yes, I could have read the Kindle version without the text-to-speech and no audio version to help me. After all, I did read three chapters before the CDs showed up for me to check out. But that voice brought a reality to the characters of Botswana’s No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency.

What a beautifully told story! It does stray from my goal of reading books written by females with strong female characters. By the way, that goal is swiftly narrowing down to wanting to read mostly OLDER females. I’m tired of Young Adult books. But, though this is written by a male, I find the older female and her co-characters written so well that I dearly love this series.

I hear that it has been made into HBO series. I can understand why. Yet I can’t imagine it is as wonderful as these books. How can visual arts capture inner thoughts? But I will watch them and give them a chance.

Since I can’t afford to buy this series I will have to take it slowly as the library has the copies of Kindle and audio available.

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Daughter of Smoke & Bone
Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh. My. Gosh! I think this is the best book ever! Thank you to all that recommended it so highly. I, too, now sing its praises!

Laini Taylor is the storyteller’s storyteller. Once I started into the world that she created I didn’t want to leave. In fact, though the copies I had of the hardback and the CDs were borrowed from the library, I couldn’t bear to return them had I not gone ahead and bought the Kindle and Audible versions to read again. And while I was at it I picked up the next in the series.

Oh, and I need to sing a few praises to the narrator, Khristine Hvam. I was caught up in the sound of her voice and her ability to wring out every nuance each word and even syllable the book had to offer.

The main character, Karou, is real, palpable. I could see through her eyes, smell what she smelled, anguish in choices to be made or mistakes that resulted. The cast of characters surrounding her were also real. I keep trying to come up with another word, after all this IS fantasy, but that is all I can come up with, real.

Magic is in abundance in the book, whether it is meant to be or not. Yet it is highly believable. And always leads to hope. Hope is the theme, I think. It made me feel it deep inside in places that haven’t felt it for a while. Hope. How many books give you that? That is a priceless commodity.

Please read this book with the audio along side. It immerses you into this world and you will feel hope, too.

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