Tag Archive: sci-fi



Go Tell the Bees That I Am GoneGo Tell the Bees That I Am Gone by Diana Gabaldon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As much as I love all the Outlanders, this may be my favorite. The sad part is that the next book isn’t ready to read. So now I am floundering with Diana Gabaldon’s novellas. And Davina Porter makes Ms. Gabaldon’s writing shine!

Don’t let it scare you; think honey, not stingers. Bees do play a part in telling this story. My takeaway is to always talk to the bees; they want to know.

As with the rest of the series, this book is educational about the American Revolution. It is inspirational as I long to read and research our history to know more than I learned in school. It proves my point that the student will feel curious if you throw in a bit of magic.

Ah, but, Diana, why did you have to leave this on a cliff? Especially knowing that it would be ages until your perfected sequel (as opposed to the Game of Thrones hurried ending by someone else.) But it wasn’t a high cliff, so I’ll tolerate it knowing our heroes will be safe somehow and once again save the day.

I love, love, love all the lessons the Frasiers and friends have to teach us and can’t wait for more.
If you get the chance, please listen to these books in audio form as Davina Porter brings the story to life.

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Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter, #4)Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Another reread. I needed something while waiting for my next Outlander read. I figured with all the stress of my cataract surgery, I needed something in the fantasy realm.

I did enjoy the book, but I kept remembering the ending and hated reliving it. I don’t think I would have been a good candidate to read this as a kid.

Besides the ending, I had a hard time with this whole series is the lack of good fleshed-out female characters. Hermoine was okay, but there weren’t enough good girls or women. It was very male-heavy.

I may be reading the next one and making it to the series’ end, but it will not be soon.

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Anansi BoysAnansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

NARRATOR OF Anansi Boys

Lenny Henry, narrator made this one of the most fun books I’ve read (listened to) in a long time. There were so many quotes that I wanted to put into my blog. But that would be spoilers. Go to GoodReads and look them up once you’ve read this book. I would be doing my diamond painting and then suddenly I’d have to stop because I would be laughing out loud. I’d have to calm down before trying to place the little gem into the picture.

What can I say about Neil Gaiman that hasn’t been said? His writing and imagination is fantastic.

This is considered book 2 of the American Gods. But I don’t know if you need to read that first. I did read AG a bit ago and loved it, too. But it isn’t necessary to enjoy this shorty but goody. Okay, maybe it isn’t so short. But after the tomes of Outlander this was a nice break.

I only decided to read this because Whoopi Goldberg is going to star in the theatrical version. Now I can hardly wait to see it!

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An Echo in the Bone (Outlander, #7)An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Below is my first review of this Audio version of the book. Nothing has changed. This is still my favorite Outlander book. It was great to read it as this season of Outlander streams. In fact, the scene from a couple of weeks ago I had just read the same day. Claire got sick. I’ll write no more about that without spoilers.

I took longer to read (listen) this time. Instead of knitting, I spend the listening time on Diamond Painting a series of dragons. I can only devote an hour or so to that endeavor. So with the before-bed read and creative pursuits, I couldn’t read straight through. I am already set up to read book 8. It’s like I can’t remember what happened next, yet I kind of remember and can’t wait to revisit it all.

***
This book may be my favorite of all the Outlanders. Maybe because of how I chose to read it nearly 24/7. After all, I had reached the skinny-mini underbelly of all streamings–teens or young people who look like Barbie Dolls going through the samo-samo life issues. Give me some older adults, women of all shapes and colors, real people, not Hollywood mothers, whores, or weaklings. Not enough streaming of strong women holding up half the world. So back to reading the only way I could. Audible.

Also, I was making scrubbies and washcloths while listening. That helped me ‘hear’ better.

By constant reading, I could stay in the story better. And family members came and listened with me on occasion. So it wasn’t a lonely process.

At any rate, I loved watching the cast of the characters struggle with life and time travel issues and historical moments. I especially loved the parts about Brianna and Roger at Lallybroch recovering letters from Claire and Jamie. And though I used to find Willy obnoxious, I think I clicked with him this time. And I grew more in love with John Grey. How nice to see good, honest, quality men portrayed.

I tried to find something else to read last night as my bedtime read but couldn’t resist looking for more Outlander. Now I am listening to book 8, Written In My Own Heart’s Blood.

Time to lower my reading goal as I seem stuck in tome reading. I love it! I hope you get the chance to read these. Oh, and Davina Porter does so many voices so well. I still wish for more actual actors, for sometimes Bri and Claire sound the same, and all the children sound the same, and Roger, even with his sore throat, sounds like other men. Still, for one person covering so many people, Davina is fantastic!

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A Breath of Snow and AshesA Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Below is the review from the last time I read/listened to this book. I have re-rated this and given it five stars. I think this reading corresponds with the newest episodes on the show. The last episode I watched was exactly what I had just listened to that day. I love following both the book and the show and seeing how they translate the written word, especially a long book like this, into a show excellently done.

Though I stay with the thought that the narrator, as excellent as she is, for the most part, had a hard time helping the listener to know who’s point of view she was portraying. Still, I followed better this time than the last read.

I highly recommend these books. Like last time, I have already started book 7. Yay, William as a grown-up!

***

Wow! Am I finally finished with this book? It is the longest book I think I have ever read. I don’t think it needs to be that long, either.

Look. Don’t get me wrong. I still love the story, the characters, and the time travel element concept. I just found the length unbearable with the thousands of books on my TBR shelf.

It is fun to explore the early days in America with the characters. I have to admit that I loved the time in Scotland the most, so this book is missing that aspect.

The other problem with this book is that our magical narrator, Divina Porter, couldn’t handle all the characters. Now that Brea is an adult, she sounds like Clair. Now that Roger is an adult, he sounds like Jamie. All the children sound the same. Maybe if I could read simultaneously as listening, I could sort them out. But that is not possible for me and my eyes.

The last thing I need to point out, in case it counts for your reading the book is that I am already reading book 7, so…

It is worth the read. Stay with it. There are rewards in the story. And in this crazy world, a sweet time-travel romance can calm the worries that like to strike at bedtime.

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The Fiery Cross (Outlander, #5)The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The new season on television prompted a reread of what I hoped was the equivalent of the book series. Except for a couple of scenes, this book was the more the season before. Still, this read raised my rating from four stars to five.

The narrator, Davina Porter, is terrific as she is reading Diana Gabaldon’s outstanding writing. In fact, I have decided that Ms. Gabaldon is one of my favorite authors. And Ms. Porter may be my favorite narrator. I love living in the Outlander world. I not only read at night before sleep, which proves hard to leave the book for but while Diamond Painting or knitting.

I found the same issue with figuring out when the voice is Claire’s or Bree’s, or Jamie’s or Roger’s, but it was easier this time knowing the story from the TV show and having read this before. I have already picked up the next book, A Breath of Snow and Ash. Now I am nearly caught up with the television series. I just wanted to see how the Revolution progressed in the books.

I highly recommend this series and its TV counterpart.

Below is my earlier review.

These are such great books. The story continues. And now I can watch the current series on TV. But…

Until this book, Divina Porter, the narrator of all the Outlander books, was able to change the voices of most of the characters enough that a listener could tell who was talking. With Bree, Roger, and Ian grown, they all sound like Clair and Jamie. If my eyes could handle the tracking, I would try to have the book or Kindle version open to track who is speaking. Instead, I have to back up a bit to see if I can find out. Or I just keep listening, and finally, context will indicate who had just been the speaker. That throws me out of the story.

Is it me, or is this book a little less exciting? I know with Covid19 all around and the stress that has caused us all, it may be playing a part in my attention levels. I may have to reread the series later when life returns us to quieter minds. So I will try not to affect my rating on this issue. I still loved it and have already downloaded the next book. I can’t wait to see how Jamie and his men adjust to the American Revolution. What if you were on the wrong side of history and knew it but couldn’t do much about it as no one but you had access to future history? Yeah. What a conundrum! Excellent writing, Diana Gabaldon!

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Drums of Autumn (Outlander, #4)Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I just finished this second read of the fourth book. I wanted to be ready for the new season on television. I didn’t need to read the whole series, though I watched the whole show from season 1 again. I really love the music by Bear McCreary. I just wanted to refresh myself of the memory of what happens to the Frasers and the rest once they are in America.

I loved the story written, narrated, or acted. Though a little different in each case, it is a fun ride.

Davina Porter narrates with such a varied voice that one always knows whose viewpoint we are hearing. Every now and then, I get confused with Bree and Clair or Roger and Jamie. But it doesn’t take long before a person can know who they are hearing.

I have already started book five as it has more about the American Revolution through the Frasers’ eyes. I can’t wait to see how they do it on the show. I love all the time travel. I love visiting other countries and hearing histories brought forth by Diana Gabaldon, whose research and knowledge as portrayed in the books and show.
***
The following was from my first reading/listen from March 2020.

Oops! I nearly forgot to review this one. I just moved into the next read (a library book).

I really wish I had read this before the series on television. I liked the rhythm of the story better. I like the viewpoints presented here as Clair’s rather than Bree’s as the television series has it. It is different not having the information about the daughter making the voyage back in time and back to America.

I think we got into Roger’s head a little more, too. It doesn’t take away from the show. Interestingly, the directors and actors took the storyline without losing the story.

No spoilers here. Just glad I read (listened to the Audible) it and can’t wait to get into the next one!

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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter, #2)Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is my second reading of the series. I noticed I haven’t changed my star rating. I’m still only giving it three stars. Jim Dale is part of the reason for this rating. His voice is suitable for all the males in the book but is horrid with the females. I do feel the grumpiness of Professor Minerva McGonagall and the hyper-energy of Hermoine. But for the most part, Mister Dale’s females sound demeaning and whiny.

But things I love about the book are the basilisk and the phoenix. These are two very fantastic beasts. Oh, and I love the idea of a diary that talks to you from someone else. I don’t like the Tom Riddle part or Voldemort parts, but I suppose we need the bad guy. I did like getting to know Tom’s back story.

When I read the tome about a decade ago, I thought it was a slower slog. This book was over quickly. And for these stressful days having something I know and enjoy, helps the sleep come faster at night.

I’ve already started book three. And I remember how each book gets darker. Maybe by the end, I won’t use these as bedtime books.

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LexiconLexicon by Max Barry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m so glad I found this on Libby as an audio recording. The narrators, Heather Corrigan and Zach Appelman, made this story come to life.

At first, the book seemed to have a lot of aspects of things we face today. Not as heavily as the author’s other book I loved Jennifer Government. I highly recommend it also. I am going to need to read his other books now!

Reading this before going to sleep was problematic for sure. First of all, it was hard to put the book aside. Second, some scary concepts can keep you awake.

The most fun concept is the power of words and poets presented here.

This book might be too violent for some. It was for me at times. Still, it keeps you on the edge of your seat as you move through the story. Read if you dare!

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The Butchers (Breeders #6)The Butchers by Katie French
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There are many different reviews on this book, low stars and high. I’m giving it five stars as I still care for the characters and the situation enough to make it through the whole series. And I look forward to the new book in a takeaway series in the future but in the same place.

What I hate has nothing to do with this book, except the way books have to be labeled. Yes, it is nice to have a guideline of readability levels. But maybe we need something that says, this is gory and has a lot of killing and blood. There is a romantic element but no sex. There are gender issues addressed in the way of this series’ settings.

But here’s my thing: Why do young adult books have to have young adults? I remember being a young adult and loving science fiction. The more, the better. Those characters were men, not anyone that looked like me. Still, I consumed them. Am I happier to see books that reflect every age of me now? Absolutely! I’m not ever depicted in exciting books, adventures, etc. Auntie is the closest to me. I think all of us need a variety of types of characters to get to know. What we relate to are the places, flaws, ability to rise above, etc. 71 year-olds are people who need all that, too!

The reading level is easily accessible by middle grades though a parent or teacher may want to talk to the child about it. Certainly, children these days watch shows on the media that contain all that is here. And for many, the survival of our characters teaches how one might be to be out in the New Mexico desert with bad guys everywhere out to kill you.

But barring all those elements, this story pulls me in. From the very beginning, The Breeders. I do agree that it is hard to differentiate between characters. Even having the title of the chapter as the heads up for the viewpoint, the character Sounds the same until he/she bring up individualized things. I’m not sure how to fix that confusion that happens if you are reading by listening only to text-to-speech. But I somehow got used to it and felt the new chapter beginning.

All-in-all, I loved these books enough to overcome the issues presented. I’m looking forward to reading more by Katie French.

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