Tag Archive: San Francisco



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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The Fruit Of The FallenThe Fruit Of The Fallen by J.C. Burnham

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book has taken me a LONG time to read. It was my first experience with Wattpad. Wattpad is a wonderful idea. But for people with eyes like mine, it is very difficult. The font is not adjustable. There is no text-to-speech to help me out. I should have spent the money and read it on Kindle but by the time I knew it was on Amazon I was about halfway through the book.

Then there is the story itself. I loved the nice quiet fun parts in the school. But most of the book was suspenseful and gave me anxiety. It seemed from the beginning to be a paranoia-producing plot. I didn’t know who to trust. Who was the good guy? Who was the bad guys? And there were so many names to keep track of that I felt I needed a program.

But I did like the main character. She was well, developed and had guts. Even as a small child.

Maybe if you read it you won’t have the troubles I had with it. Maybe it was just me. If your eyes can handle it try it on Wattpad as it is a free read. If not, go ahead and read the Kindle version. Maybe as a quicker read it will have more continuity.

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Immutable (Ripple Series Book 5)Immutable by Cidney Swanson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Once again, I am sad. I am nearing the end of a great series. It has been so much fun to read the Rippler series by Cidney Swanson. You may remember her name from the Mars series I went so crazy about.

The Rippler series isn’t space travel but I consider it to be sci-fi rather than fantasy as the condition that causes one to ripple into invisibility is caused by a certain gene, as I understand it. Scientists discover these genes and work with a multitude of medications to control the side effects and or the people that are able to vanish. As in all groups of people there are good scientists and bad/evil scientists. The results push the main characters and plot of this series.

What I don’t yet do like about this series is that even though you have the oldies but goodies from former books, each book or so introduces a new point of view. The reason I like it is because you can travel to new places and see things you might not have had Ms. Swanson kept the same main character for all the adventures. I like getting to know characters in their depth so that is why I don’t like a new character every time. I know, I’m hard to please. 🙂

At any rate, what I am left with is a case of wonderment. What if one could go invisible, hide in walls or in plain sight? What if one could read another’s thoughts? And how fun would it be to hitch a ride in an airplane anywhere in the world by hiding in the wall? And not only can you be invisible, but you can fly! Or you can take a dip in the ocean with a school of dolphins and not get wet or cold. These are just a few adventures the main characters have in this series.

I’d say try either the Rippler series or the Saving Mars series if you want to have some fun.

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Prodigal AngelProdigal Angel by N.R. Champagne

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Disclosure: I was gifted this Kindle version of the book for an honest review.

As for star rating I would have given the story 3 1/2 stars. Not that the story was bad. It could just be me. I am a little over angel and or demon books. That isn’t the author’s fault. It is just what I have spent a lot of time reading for other authors. Luckily, the book doesn’t label the people as angels and demons per se. They are just other beings.

There is a lot of death and destruction that would have had me leaving the book behind, but the main character, Miranda, had won me over. I thought she was well developed. She felt real to me. And I liked her.

Many times the story gets a bit preachy on ecology and global warming. But since I believe we need to wake up and start being stewards of this planet, I didn’t mind. Others might find that off putting.

One of the fun parts of the book is getting to go along for the ride, be it bicycle or trailer truck. Miranda has quite the adventure while staying healthy.

There is a bit of romance, not too much. There are a few triggers for some people. But the bad people get their due.

Give it a try. You may like it. I might like it better if I read it again later.

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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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Review: World After


World After
World After by Susan Ee
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was another book to keep me up until 3 in the morning. This series is so exciting! It involves so much action that from the beginning, in book one, until now the end of book two, one is caught up in the story. Susan Ee’s writing keeps you captured in her world.

It was so long ago that I read the first book that I was a little worried that I would have to go back and read book one again to remember all that had happened but Ms. Ee does a marvelous job reacquainting the reader with ‘World Before’and ‘World During’ that it all flows quite well as we step into ‘World After’.

Book one had us meeting Penryn, her little crippled sister, and their mentally ill mother. The world was hard enough for poor Penryn to live in then the Angels and Demons decided to cause the apocalypse. Survival was the theme in both of these books. But there is a minor (?) romance between Penryn and an angel.

This book continues the survival, fighting, and romance. Penryn is quite the character and struggles to help her family and the other humans to survive. She learns to use the angel’s sword and tries to save everyone. She is quite spunky and able to hold her own no matter what.

I was about a third of the way in the Kindle version of the book when I realized that I had the Audible version of the book that I had purchased a while back. I must admit that the narrator, Caitlin Davies, was able to read the story exactly how I had been hearing it in my head. What is nice about having the audio version is you get to hear how the names should be pronounced. In this case I had been calling Raffe ‘RAF’ with a long ‘A’ sound and silent ‘e’. Apparently it is ‘Rawffa’. Sounds a lot better the right way, I must admit!

Though almost all threads have been tied up, and the ending is sweet, there is enough to let me know there will be more. Yay! I do really enjoy this series. Oh, and those who don’t believe in angels demons or the bible will still enjoy this series as a fantasy. I recommend it to all for a fun adventure.

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Review: Stilettos and Steel


Stilettos and Steel
Stilettos and Steel by Jeri Estes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As a teen of the sixties, I found much I could relate to in the book, especially in the beginning where the location was in Southern California.

In other ways, I couldn’t relate. I don’t remember the laws about gays, but then I was so sheltered and naïve back then. Wish I had known a few people like Jesse. It might have helped me find my authentic self.

I rarely went to San Francisco. I do remember a vacation when my parents finally obliged my brother and me by taking us to Haight and Ashbury. My parents were very afraid. My brother and I were sorely disappointed that there was nothing but a street corner that day. No hippies with flowers in their hair.

I was impressed with Jeri Estes’s writing that was descriptive without weighing the story down. Sometimes I didn’t care what the characters were wearing but I guess it is necessary to keep the characters current or in style for that time. I enjoyed the dropped music references. Ms. Estes pulled off the advice we writers get so often of involving all the senses. Yes, there were a few hot spots 😉 but not so much to be constant erotica.

I see that many reviewers are upset by the misogyny but, um, that was the way it was . That was WHY the woman’s liberation started and many became militant. Younger women seem to think it was silly. They need to keep reading books like this to feel what it could be if women don’t stay active for their own sakes.

The characters in the story were believable to me even when the lifestyle of prostitutes and pimps is foreign to me. I feel I only know through movies and TV what it is like. So how would I know?

Jeri Estes has mentioned that this is being made into a movie. I look forward to seeing it. I wonder if there could be a book two as I want to know what happened next.

Thank you, Jeri, for letting me read your book.

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