Tag Archive: relationships



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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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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Taxi - Tactics (Book 7)Taxi – Tactics by Sophia DeLuna

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ulrike, you did WHAT!! Well, what did you have in mind, Carmen? Yeah, that’s what I thought!

There. I’ve summed it up. Would I have done what Ulrike did? Nope. Wouldn’t have had the nerve or the idea. I’m stuck with whatever Carmen would have come up with. Stuttering my way through to absolutely nothing.

What’s this all about? Gosh, I can’t tell you. You have to read it for yourself. I am curious as to how others would handle this situation. What tactics would you use? Remember jobs and reputations are on the line. But it is a situation that comes up on a daily basis. Like I’ve said before, Sophia DeLuna uses realistic problems and handles them through the characters of Ulrike and Carmen. I have to say I was quite surprised with what was done and I have to admit to what I wouldn’t have known what to do. Real life like this scares me. As advanced as we think we all are on LGBTQ issues, this situation still exists.

As I have said before, I love these episodes by Ms. DeLuna. They challenge my mind. They warm my heart. It is a little like watching a soap opera. And at this point I can’t wait until Sophia finishes the next Taxi event! By the way, thank you, Ms. DeLuna for letting me read these last few for free. When I can, I will buy these stories for friends, thereby passing on the kindness.

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Taxi - Tuxedo (Book 6)Taxi – Tuxedo by Sophia DeLuna

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love visiting with my friends, Carmen and Ulrike. In this episode, Carmen has tickets to the opera and as the title suggests a tuxedo is involved. Some of us just can’t do dresses!

Do you want to know why I love these little book events? The writing is so flawless. The dialogue and situations are quite realistic. The troubles this couple encounter are also lifelike. And the way the author handles these situations are sometimes mature and responsible, sometimes not so much, but, real. What couple handle things beautifully every time? Most of us just muddle through our problems. We learn to talk it out, but some of us are better at that communication thing than others.

Most often I relate to Carmen in her ways of dealing with things. But in this chapter I related more to Ulrike. For me that is a grand feeling as I wish I was more like Ulrike and the ways she deals with the world.

Anyway, I highly recommend this series to those who want to read of lesbian relationships. The erotica is minimal, so if that offends, don’t worry. Some of us would like more, but that kind of book is a dime a dozen. These gems are about how this couple navigate being in a relationship. I was fortunate to have received the last few from the author but, when I get a few dollars ahead, I will buy them for others. After all, you can tell the work Sophia DeLuna puts into each and every story. By the way, you can find them on Smashwords. Most are $.99 or less. Check ’em out!

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