Tag Archive: relationships



The Storekeeper A Tale of Small Town Life: A Tale of Small Town LifeThe Storekeeper A Tale of Small Town Life: A Tale of Small Town Life by Pearl Whitfield
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I was young I loved spending the night with friends. I loved seeing how other people lived. I found it interesting how the parents were different from my own, even how the friend became different in their own home than they were at school. I think that is why I love to move to new places. Not traveling, you don’t get the truth by visiting, but sinking into a community. Big cities, small towns, and finally the smallest I have ever lived in. I think those raised and who stayed find fault in the other. Small town people make fun of city-folk, city folks laugh at the country folk. They both have their points and their blindnesses.

Such is reading The Storekeeper. It is a tale about a small town. It takes a few people and follows them as does the main character, Ralph Johnson, widower, sinks in as a storekeeper. As the spiderweb of acquaintances grows we learn about others as he does. We hear the bigotry and the gossip, but we see the mature people that are open to help those in need rather than make fun of something different.

I was not a fan of Ralph. I wished he were female. But of my seventy years, fifty or more was spent reading books about males. When I asked my librarian when I was a kid, then as an adult the only answer was that it was to encourage boys to read. Why didn’t I deserve to be encouraged? Oh, yeah, because they were going to get jobs and needed to be readers to be smarter. And the reasoning loses something for me in that with all my reading I still didn’t get the good jobs my male classmates got for a lot less education. So as an old lady I am more demanding of my main characters, especially those who were created by female authors.

Still, Ralph gave us the insight we needed for the various people we meet in the town. He is kind and tries to give as much as he can to those around him. This is where my interests in the book developed. I loved the females brought into Ralph’s circle. I wanted to know more about the little girl and her mother. I wanted to know more about the woman dying of cancer, I wanted to know more about the love interest.

The book seemed longer than I would have liked, yet in the end, I wanted more. Maybe there is a book two coming that focuses on the other people other than Ralph? As a newbie in a small town, I get lost as to how to negotiate social situations. But that may be my own social anxiety. And fibro that keeps me as unreliable as I stay home when I am in pain to great to be out driving. I have no clue as to how folks move from being the grocery bagger to the big farmer, maybe there is a way besides being born to it? The difference between rich and poor seems far more visible here than in the city.

Anyway, during this pandemic, while everyone is looking for peace, this is a great book to slow it down and sink into another life. This could make a great television series!

By the way, here is the cover as it is on Amazon:

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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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Pulse (Pulse Effex #1)Pulse by L.R. Burkard
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

What if a solar EMP hit and all electronics, even in cars and landline phones stopped working and it was in the middle of one of our coldest winters? Good plot premise.

Three teen girls from the same clique at school can’t get to each other or school. Written in their points of view in their journals, first person. And not too much teen romantic angst.

Sounds like my kind of book.

If it had stayed with the above status I would have loved it.

It was a political anti-everyone that isn’t them propaganda. Gun carrying prolifers–only ours, no one else’s counts. Judgemental as all get out.

I believe the best Christians are humble and caring for others. No matter whether they think or look like me or not. ‘We are all made in the image of God.’ ‘Judge not lest ye be judged.’ ‘Thou shalt not kill.’ The christians in this book represent a lot of people who pick and choose which verses to preach believing it makes them more holy.

Stepping off my soapbox now. There were plenty of different scenarios in how folks are dealing with this new world. In real life right now, we are going through a very cold snowy winter so a lot is believable.

Hunger is the first and biggest problem in this story as there are no stores or ways to get food. As abhorrent as a lot of the book is, the writing is good and I didn’t throw it across the room because there are all kinds of people in this world and this story is from one kind of view.

Which is why I felt shooting that many people, thinking they were in the right and others who were hungry were wrong… was wrong.

What would I do if I lived through the situation our main characters were in? Is there a way as we prepare for such as this that we try to share our abundance. As we prepare we have to remember that our case of food is kept in our car or home and the catastrophe is an earthquake, volcano, or fire and that case of food is destroyed. When we are prepared but but end up the hungry ones, how would we like to be treated? I have rarely missed a meal. I can’t imagine being that cold, tired, and hungry.

Regardless of politics, I’m glad I read it. I won’t bother with the rest of the series. There are a lot better sci-fi’s to see the post-apocalypse through a more open-minded prep and love.

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The Girl on the TrainThe Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This audiobook (CD) was in the put-away-bag at the library and I couldn’t resist. I knew it was a fairly recent movie so I couldn’t wait to try it out.

Ah, but I wasn’t crazy for it. You would think it would do it for me. I used to take the train to work every day. I know how that imagination can take you places the train doesn’t. In fact, riding the train was how I wrote my first book. So that part of the first character grabbed me. That she had stories in her head about the people she saw in the homes she passed made her an interesting character to me. But somehow I mostly didn’t like her.

It was when the next character voice came in that I perked up my ears. Her voice reminded me of Gilly, Sam’s crush on Game of Thrones. I guess it is just her accent but having that familiar voice had me listening more closely. And I did like this character.

About the time I got into the story my CD player gave up. I ended up using my credit on Audible to get the audio onto my Kindle. That worked out better.

It has been over a week since I finished this book. Lots of life has happened since. So my memories are eroding. Still, I remember how I stayed up until 3 the last part of the book. It was well written and kept me interested.

The narrators: Clare Corbett, Louise Brealey, India Fisher were fantastic and different enough to keep me from getting the characters confused.

As the librarian had warned me, don’t read the last bit at night before sleep it is a thriller and it will keep you awake. Still, it was a good read. I’m glad I read it.

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A Different BlueA Different Blue by Amy Harmon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am sad to finish this book. I was lucky to listen to the Audible version. Tavia Gilbert’s narration brought all the characters to life. There is no time that I thought I was hearing all one voice. Each character stood out on their own.

Whoever recommended this book to me, thank you. It was a book that I relished every minute. The main character had that spit fire attitude that I always enjoy. Think Max in Maximum Ride, only maybe even more so.

Though this is called a romance by other reviewers, it isn’t sappy and full of angst like other YA books. In fact, the romance is on the back burner as Blue tries to find her identity.

I even loved the secondary characters. I don’t know if they read as individualistic as the narrator made them sound but they were all lovable.

I almost gave the book four stars as there was a moment I nearly quit reading. It seemed to take Blue into a Jesus saves moment. Not that that is a bad thing in itself. It just didn’t fit with the rest of the story and I thought it was going to stay religious preaching rather than be a story of a person growing. Luckily the author didn’t stay with that theme and allowed Blue to continue life trying to be a good person. Never in a preachy way, just living as life came to her. It almost gave a realness to the story rather than distract. That could happen.

There were points where the book could have ended but the author remembered to cover all the loose thread and tidied up the ending so nicely.

One thing that bothered me is something that always bothers me. Why did Blue stop being herself? Just because a guy finally accepts and love abounds doesn’t mean a woman should become all sweet and pliable. It became too close to the common story of happily ever after and I don’t think that is acceptable now. There should be a part two where Blue realized what all brides need to learn–we have to stay ourselves to make a whole not lose ourselves and become the other person.

I highly recommend this book. Let me know what you think

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Imagine Me GoneImagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A few days ago I came to the conclusion that I couldn’t finish this book. I just couldn’t like the characters or the story. What parts I related to were triggers of my own upbringing and depressions. I figured this wasn’t a good book for me.

After looking at the reviews and realizing a friend had recommended to me, I decided to stick it out. I must admit that the book got a little better but still was not one I will remember in the future. I would normally give this book a single star, but I do think the subject matter needs to be shared with others that may not have had the opportunity to learn about it first hand. And explore why the treatment of depression and other mental health issues don’t get looked at is because many think the patients are needy, attention-getters or otherwise diminish the pain the person is going through. The author gives us a couple glimpses into the minds of severe depression. So I raised the star rating by one.

Since I review and rate for my own future reference I have to leave it at 2 stars. Others love this book and say it is their favorite of the year. So don’t take my word for it. Pick it up and see what you think. Oh, I should mention this was a library Kindle version.

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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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All Good StoriesAll Good Stories by Linda G. Hill

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As an author of a busy, fun blog who is a single mom facing some special needs tests, trials, and triumphs, Linda G. Hill won my admiration long ago. I love reading her blog. I enjoy participating in her challenges. So it is understandable that I had to read her book.

Remember the challenge question in When Harry Met Sally? No. Not the restaurant scene. Wouldn’t we all want what she ordered? No. The question was: Can best friends that are male and female remain friends or is it inevitable that romance would play a part? Sally believed in the friendship as I recall whereas Harry said that friendship can’t stay in that realm. That sex was the most likely outcome.

All Good Stories attempts that question once again. This time it is through a series of smaller stories (started as A-Z challenge on Linda’s blog) that tell of the ebb and flow of friendship of Jupiter and Xavier. I won’t tell you how the story goes. I will merely say that there are topless pirates and bookstores involved. And there are laugh aloud situations. This is worth an evening with popcorn, at least. I enjoyed it and I think you will, too.

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Painted Doll (Only In Tokyo Mystery, #4)Painted Doll by Jonelle Patrick

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love this author’s work. Though I am not a fan of mysteries, I do find that I love how she presents her stories. I always feel like I have been to Japan and visiting with old friends when I read this series. There is just enough education of the culture and a few words to make you feel like you are there. Yet it isn’t over done.

When I finished this book, I didn’t want it to be over so I just left my text-to-speech going as it read all the glossary of Japanese terms and English definitions and then the first chapter of Jonelle’s first book of the series. That made it worse because I already read that and knew how it would turn out. Yet I got to stay with my friends in Japan just a little longer.

Please, if you get the chance, try this series. There is a lot to learn about Japan and about writing from Ms. Patrick.

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Dreams Before the Start of TimeDreams Before the Start of Time by Anne Charnock

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I received this book free of charge from NetGalley.

This story called to me. It is labeled as sci-fi. But mostly it seems a good excuse to do character development stories. It was for that that I kept reading and actually finished the book. In fact, as I was listening and suddenly it was the Acknowledgements. I don’t know what the ending was.

The other thing about the book was it was presenting the idea that shows results of natural pregnancy versus choosing a child gestated out of the womb. Then the story follows the parents and children and grandchildren of these differing beginnings.

But I never got to know anyone enough to care. After just having read something similar and not finishing it, I found myself trying not to give in and toss the book. But I got through it and I am left feeling I wasted time. I know I won’t remember this book. I am only giving 3 stars because I finished. So I guess the stars are for me. Not the book. I am so sorry to feel this way about it. I hope others love the book and maybe I will go back someday and find it wonderful.

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