Tag Archive: not-loanable



The FrescoThe Fresco by Sheri S. Tepper
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I hate it when I do this: read a book, finish before I’m sleepy, start a new book and nearly forget to write my review of the last book! Boo! Me! And this book deserves reviews!!!

My friend, Kay, gave such a marvelous review that I knew I had to read it. I highly recommend it!

It has everything. Aliens, other planets, other points of view. The main character is female, Benita, who finds herself in a bad, abusive marriage. She is looking to get out and not be found.

What finds her is new opportunities the likes no one would expect to happen. That is all I can give you without feeling I’m spoiling it for you.

Needless to say, there is adventures and space travel, and meeting alien beings. Like all good sci-fi, this has a lot of philosophical, political, social, and spiritual commentary. Much of it tongue-in-cheek humor that may cause snorting of the hot tea if not careful.

If you get the chance to read this, you should. I’m sorry that it isn’t loanable. Seems many Benitas out there might not be able to afford it but would benefit from the read. Benitas need humor, escapism, and ideas. In fact, I think everyone could learn something and enjoy this story.

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Betsy-Tacy Treasury (P.S.)Betsy-Tacy Treasury by Maud Hart Lovelace

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Picture me at age 9-12. I was probably the same height as I am now, maybe even an inch taller, as I was the tallest 6th grader at 5’6″. (And I have shrunk and inch.) I can’t remember how old I was when the librarian took me to the Besty-Tacy corner of the library. She was used to me coming in every couple weeks and checking out the limit of 10 books. No, I didn’t read every book. But in that haul, I was guaranteed to find a few treasures. But the Betsy-Tacy became my favorites. I read every single one. I do remember being disappointed that the trio grew up and, yawn, got married. But that didn’t stop me from re-reading my favorites–the ones where the three girls were my age at the time.

Now as an adult, I was a little afraid to read these books. How could the mature (there are those who doubt that–even I doubt that) me enjoy these books as much as I did as a girl? But I did! The difference besides being older, is I have now lived in places that have lots of cold and snow rather than Sunny Southern California I can relate even more to what the children had to deal with. Not only that, now I could understand the adults in the books. I saw how what seemed impossible then, in the story, now seems more like serendipity. And I have had experience with that.

Whether Betsy and Tacy had anything to do with it with their sales of sand, my brother and I used to go door to door to sell rocks. People bought them because well, my brother used his cute right up on these ventures!

What I loved about this treasury was getting to read the four books without stop. Then at the end of the last book, there is a treasury about the author and how Maud Hart Lovelace used many of her own life experiences for Betsy, Tacy, and Tib adventures. There are many photos of the author and her friends that made this book even better.

And speaking of pictures, I always knew I loved the illustrator, Lois Lenski. I was so happy to see her pictures in the picture books I read to my own children. There was a biography of Lois at the end of this book, too! Everything just tied right in for my own life and loves!

Best of all were the forwards to each of the books. One that resonated with me most was that of Judy Blume! I’m glad I am not alone in having such wonderful memories of these books and the memories of my younger years that fit just right.

I think I will try to check more of these out from our e-reader library.

Oh! Just a note. As I started the first book I was disappointed not to have text-to-speech or any audio to help me out. I was able to use Natural Reader to get me through. The rest of the books in the treasury did have text-to-speech making my life a lot easier.

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The Shade of the Moon (The Last Survivors, #4)

Sorry that the following reviews are a little out of order. But maybe you’ll still get the drift.

The Shade of the Moon by Susan Beth Pfeffer

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have really enjoyed this series. That said, it is a toss up between #2 and #4 that I disliked the most. It may actually be this one. If there were a less redeemable character, it would be Miranda’s youngest, spoiled rotten brother, Jon. Alex of #2 was nearly as bad. Still thinking Maybe Alex wins as I think beating your sister or anyone else is unacceptable, I don’t care what your religion or culture says. He never redeemed himself in my eyes. I don’t even know what Miranda saw in him. Even if he were the last guy on earth, he wasn’t worth it.

Jon, on the other hand, saw the error of the ways taught to him. I would have hoped he wouldn’t have internalized that bigotted manner of his new society since his parents had worked so hard to get him to what they considered a safe place. But in the end, I began to be okay with him.

I would have much preferred the story just be about the females. Or just Miranda. She was a normal teen in the first book, but through it all, she grew to be selfless and caring.

Oh, a word of the narration. I loved the voice on #1 and #3. She could act out all the characters with distinction and humor. ButI didn’t buy for this book because I hated the voice on #2. I love a good deep voice. My dad had a bass voice and was a great speaker and reader (and wonderful singer) so it isn’t the depth of the voice. But it didn’t fit for the teen Alex. I rarely return Audibles but I did that one. I preferred my text-to-speech to the actor who emoted so seldom. I didn’t even attempt to buy the one for this #4 book.

Okay. It looks like all I had to say here were complaints. That’s not true. I LOVED the series even the books I didn’t like. I love seeing characters grow. I love watching people survive through the seemingly impossible circumstances. I am sorry to write this possible last review. There are more stories in this one story that I would love to see. It almost seems there should be an in between book just after #3. I would love to see the trek that took Miranda’s family to what they thought would be a sanctuary. I’d like to see one from Mom and Dad’s point of view. I’d like to see a book about the reparations as the country and world heal. Maybe one that includes letters from others on the other side of the world. Still, this fourth book didn’t leave one on a cliff of any kind, it just ended too soon and maybe too pat. I’m sad to see this story end. If you like sci-fi especially dystopian/post-apocalyptic nature, you will love this series.

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From a Distant StarFrom a Distant Star by Karen McQuestion

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a fun ride! I wish I would have noted where I heard about this book. Since it cost $1.99 I would guess someone recommended it to me. Thank you, whoever you are!

This was sci-fi. Not my favorite type which is on other planets or roaming outer space. But it is the next best thing, an alien on this world.

Those who have lost others or have had cancer may find the first part of the book a little triggery as the love interest is dying of cancer. But this holds hope, so stay with it. It gets better.

I was lucky to have a free credit at Audible and could listen to Kate Rudd narrate the story. She is very good at the different character voices. I kind of wish Lucas’s voice was a little more distinct from Scout’s but there wasn’t enough of that voice to worry about. Kate kept the story interesting, I think more interesting than had I read it without Whispersynch.

Get ready because around the middle of the book you won’t want to put it down, it gets more and more exciting. And all threads are neatly tied up at the end. Even so, I miss the characters and wish there were more. Maybe more from the alien planet and what happens next there? And maybe a connection happens between the new friends. Maybe Lucas could develop some sort of ability?

But even as a solo book, it was a lot of fun! I gave up binging on another series (TV) because the book was far more interesting. If you get the chance to read this, you should. I think you’ll like it.

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Life as We Knew It (Last Survivors, #1)Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Every now and then a person needs a good disaster movie or book. I’ve yet to figure out why. I think it is watching how predictable those in charge cause even more problems and how the human spirit can rise to the occasion in spite of everything. By the way, this one doesn’t have zombies. Imagine that!

I bought this Kindle book and its Audible companion quite a few years ago and just forgot about it. I don’t know what brought it to mind now, but I am glad I found it again.

Not only is the story engaging from the very beginning, Emily Bauer’s narration keeps it all alive. I love that this particular disaster stays rather calm in the crises as the mother tries to get her family prepared and she fiercely protects them.

The story starts with a family that is probably as familiar as our own, divorce included. It shows how love is still there even where the living together failed. And the children of this break up are not less well off, just different.

As the world becomes spread out because of the lack of working communication devices, the daughter keeps her diary going. It is through her communications with herself that we learn the story of life after the meteor hit the moon and causes tidal waves, earthquakes, volcanos and more. The global mess becomes personal as this teen tries to adjust from boys and kisses and proms to washing the laundry by hand and staving off hunger.

I highly recommend this book. There was a lot to learn here for all of us.

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Fever 1793Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I finished this masterpiece a couple of days ago. It was part of my anti-depression about my husband being in the hospital while I was home with fibro-flare. In this case, I would say misery loves company. Or… at least things aren’t as bad as it was then.

This was a birthday present from me–to me! I had picked up the whispersync for voice also so I was able to listen to Emily Bergl’s narration. I have to admit she is not my favorite narrator. But once she was into the story I felt drawn in and forgot that there was a narrator.

Laurie Halse Anderson always amazes me with her works. This book is no exception. Wow! The amount of research that she dug through to write this fiction is overwhelming! This is based on a real epidemic that happened just a few years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Yellow Fever takes over. But no one knows yet that it is due to the mosquitoes. Medicine was still in its infancy. Through Ms. Anderson, we get to see what could have happened to a young girl, her family and her community.

Okay. Confession time. I have never been a history buff. I did have a fabulous professor in college that made me appreciate it a bit. That class was when I was in my forties. So imagine how long it was that I hated history. I think with books like this I might have been able to relate to historical events as a middle grader on. This younger generation is so lucky to have such writers as Laurie Halse Anderson!

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The Paying GuestsThe Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I think I have found my favorite author, Sarah Waters. I was so thrilled with Fingersmith that I couldn’t wait to read something else by her. The Paying Guest lived up to my expectations. Too bad Ms. Waters wasn’t one of the required reading homework of my high school. She is a classical writer. I think she could rewrite ANY of the old classics and make them so much more relatable.

Juliet Stevenson narrated this story with class and character. I could listen to her reading forever. She added depth to my experience; giving each character a tone and feel so you knew who was talking or whose point of view you were in.

There is so much intrigue in this book. I couldn’t stop reading. I just wanted to know what happens next. That was why I didn’t do much else yesterday but read. I want to say other things, but I don’t want to be spoiling the story for others. Just amazing! That’s all I can say. Amazing!

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Curve of Her ClawCurve of Her Claw by Margaret McGaffey Fisk

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I wish I could give this story more stars. Especially since, so far, I have loved all of my friend, Margaret McGaffey Fisk’s other stories. This is the first story that I had to read in two sittings. I couldn’t continue reading it as a bedtime book, too gruesome!

At the end of the story is the reason it is so dark. This was a part of a dark fantasy anthology. It needed that darkness. It succeeded! I typed that with a shiver up my spine.

As usual, the writing was spectacular! I just didn’t care for the main character, no matter how hard I tried. I wanted the story to take a different path, but it didn’t. I hope I never meet an elf like this one!

For my braver friends, this may be right up your alley! Try it!

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Pages for YouPages for You by Sylvia Brownrigg

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Some reviews say that this book didn’t have enough character depth. I want to agree with this, yet it feels rather like a real meeting between real people. When you meet someone that has had a few year of experiences and you only know them a short time, you don’t get to know the person as well as you might like. As House used to say, “Everyone lies.” Everyone keeps secrets, too.

My kids used to tell me that I shared too much. That soon became “TMI, Mom!” Even with someone like me, there are secrets. Sometimes you just don’t want to relive certain situations, or risk hurting someone else, or live through yet another lecture, or other personal reasons. That is what happens in this book. We have a short time with these two people and they both have their own secrets. We only get to know what the characters want to share.

And though I couldn’t relate, age-wise with either of the characters, I’ve never had those experiences, and as ‘old’ as the older one was supposed to be, to me, she was just a child, too. But I think everyone could relate to new romance and the complications of that first love. And that is what makes the story come alive. Watching this young girl come to terms with her first crush and her own sexuality. It is fun to travel within the university and then around the US with these two women.

I believe that many high school or college age, female students, might like this book. They could relate much better than this old lady. Just enjoy the ride.

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Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy, #2)Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After a bit of research I realized that I read the first book, A Discovery of Witches, in 2011. That reading was a result of a recommendation by my cousin. I loved that book. Yet, I just took the quiz and found I only got 3 questions right out of 10. So maybe I should have read it again before reading this second book, Shadow of Night. I did feel lost at times, but the story kept me engaged and I didn’t want to leave the past to review the first book. Also, on my research I found that I didn’t have the Kindle version of the first book. I must have borrowed the hardback from the library. But I do have the Audible version of the book that I had listened to alongside the hardback.

With both books of the series, I was delighted by the narrator, Jennifer Ikeda. Her voice is exquisite, I love the way she can vary according to each character. I feel she could read the phonebook and make it exciting. But Deborah Harkness’s writing needs no help. Several times I’d have a sleepless night and want to read. I hated donning my headset just for a few minutes of reading. Those few moments lasted for sometimes hours. So yes, I know how well the writing is. With the duo of writer and narrator this story comes to life. And that is when Elizabeth I is queen.

I love time travel stories, but this was different in that it was due to witchcraft that made it happened. And that by a witch who doesn’t understand her craft. Okay, I won’t tell you any more about the story. Needless to say, it is worth the read. The characters alone can grab you. They are well developed, as is the plot. So much so that I couldn’t wait to get the next book and get involved. I highly recommend this series.

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