Tag Archive: strong-fem



So Still the Dawn (Shadow of Mars Book 3)So Still the Dawn by Cidney Swanson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cidney Swanson has me under her spell. I love all her books. I feel so fortunate to be able to be an early reader for her. I am especially giddy when she writes about Mars. This latest series is called Shadow of Mars. This was book three. This one is so new it wasn’t even listed on Amazon or GoodReads when I read it.

Just a quick blurb. Book one was So Dark the Sky, in which our main character Penny Wanjiru, a school teacher, finally gets the chance to go to Mars. But leaving her elderly grandmother makes the decision difficult. Book two was So Bright the Stars, in which Penny is on her way to Mars. This third book is So Still the Dawn, in which Penny is on Mars and wondering if she is going to get to stay.

Anyone who knows me well knows how much I love and have always loved science fiction, especially space travel. Cidney writes to my inner kid. Especially in her Saving Mars series. But this series is aimed toward adults. Even though I would have read it as a youngster. I read too many stories of men getting to go to space. They weren’t kids. They were adults. I wish there had been women in space novels who weren’t eye candy. Ms. Swanson makes you feel more, that the adult in the book isn’t so much a wimpy woman crying for romance but an adult who happens to be a woman who is brilliant in her own way.

Another wonderful thing Cidney does in her books is dive deep into the character’s psychology. All those creeping thoughts we record early in life, that make us feel unworthy or wrong for what good could happen, Cidney brings that forward and helps us to grow with the character. Go Cidney!

Okay, I don’t want to spell it out for you or give you spoilers. I highly recommend reading anything by Ms. Swanson but especially the Shadow of Mars series!

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Cut by Annelie Wendeberg

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I can’t remember how it was I picked up this book and its sequels. Sorry. Even so, this is a fun apocalyptic read about a young woman trying to survive in a dystopian world with pandemics popping up here and there.

Maybe it is a bit more adventure than a person should read just before sleep. But it didn’t affect me too much.

This was a different take on the post-apocalypse world. A young woman finding her way in a world with few rules that all follow. Micka is a well-developed character with a few quirks of her own. She has lexical-gustatory synesthesia. That on top of learning about menstruation and sexual preference while trying to survive makes her a very interesting person to get to know. Just as she is getting to know herself.

Here is Wikipedia’s definition:
Lexical-gustatory synesthesia is a rare form of synesthesia in which spoken and written … Tip of tongue studies have shown that a word’s lemma may be responsible for eliciting a taste sensation, not its phonologic sound or spelling. Further … development and lead to the over-representation of the flavors of childhood foods.

I have known a couple of people who have variations of this. I know I have a mild case and it often helps me remember or recognize certain words or names that might slip my mind otherwise.

This book was a quick read. Now I have committed the second book because one isn’t enough. Give it a try. You might like it, too.



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So Bright the Stars (Shadow of Mars Book 2)So Bright the Stars by Cidney Swanson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Yay! Another well-done sci-fi/Mars book! I would have loved to read this as a teen but love just as much as a septuagenarian. This is the second book in this series. The main character is now on Mars and is trying to fit in with the society that is already there.

Cidney Swanson has researched well to keep the story believable. Without making the story drab. She digs deep into her characters to bring them to life. As I am reading/listening to text-to-speech I find Ms. Swanson has me questioning ‘would I have done that? thought that?’ and the answers are sometimes obvious to the reader but not so much the main character, Penney. Other times the reader is in as much dark as Penney is.

I can’t wait for book three! Meanwhile, I hope you all get a chance to read the first series of Mars, Saving Mars which is more for the young adult, and then this series for adults as the character is an adult. But I see nothing that should keep a younger person from reading anything by Cidney. Enjoy!

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Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader GinsburgNotorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Two days ago I had merely a chapter to go to finished. I feel so bad that I didn’t finish a day earlier. To finish on the day of RBG’s passing is both heartbreaking and yet feels the honor to my heart.

Irin Carmon is one of my favorite commentators on MSNBC. So when she was doing her book tour for this book I knew I would have to read it. It was well-written. So many pictures kept it visually interesting. Irin captured this brave woman’s strength and character. I feel so good to have read this at such an important time in our history.

I highly recommend this book!

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Spirit WarriorSpirit Warrior by Ella J. Smyth
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Of the three books in this series so far, this is my favorite. I’m beginning to warm up to the characters and the story. With all there is going on in the world a nice fantasy can help give you a breather. So rather than making this review longer, I say, try the series. You might like it! By the way, I found these on Kindle Unlimited. Not a bad deal, huh?

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Written in My Own Heart's Blood (Outlander, #8)Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I thought that book 7, Echo In The Bone, was my favorite of the Outlander books. Nope. Written in My Own Heart’s Blood wins. It was fantastic!

Regardless of the time the characters land in they all grow and help us learn the rules of Gabaldon’s Time Travel.

What can I tell you that won’t spoil it for you?

As usual, there is a lot of research evident in the reading and as one supposes, there are instances of poetic license, which Diana Gabaldon admits that she has it framed on her wall.

The most exciting part of the book is as Breanna talks about Doctor Who in a chapter called, Thank You For The Fish. (Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy). Now I really wish I had a TARDIS so I could play in all three universes.

And I wish I could move on to book 9 but my Audible credits don’t come until the middle of the month. A quick note about why I read by Audible most often now. Actual reading is impossible for my eyes. It seems a tracking issue. So I use a lot of Kindle Text-to-Speech. Though TTS works well for most books when there are other languages involved I want to hear the words pronounced correctly. Davina Porter is able to range the language barriers and character ages and sexes with apparent ease. I love listening to her.

If you get the chance, the books are as good if not better than the shows, and the Audible versions are the best of all the worlds. Enjoy!

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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

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–teen 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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Bad to the Crone (A Spell's Angels Mystery, #1)Bad to the Crone by Amanda M. Lee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was fun! I love the main character, Scout, and her sense of humor. Even in the worst of times, when she is trying to save a poor girl who needed to see love for once, that sense of humor plays it out.

There is a near budding romance that seems like it might never happen. But the two are fun characters separately or together.

Scout doesn’t know her own strength and is constantly surprised by what she can do. She just thinks she’s a witch. At other times she surprises everyone else and does what she knows. Most of the time she just tries to exist while trying to make the world a better place.

Okay, this review doesn’t say what I want to say. That is, I enjoyed this book. So much that I have started the second in the series where I am learning more about Scout’s background. Thank you, Kindle Unlimited for letting me read both books.

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Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander, #2)Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If my mind has not been very focused. This book may be the cause. Lack of sleep. Not because of worries. Nope, I just couldn’t stop reading/listening to the book.

I had the Audible Whispersynched with the Kindle version. Davina Porter did a marvelous job of narrating the story. Hers is not the sweet voice of the actress who played Claire Randall in the TV series. But Ms. Porter has the versatility to play all the characters perfectly.

The show did a good job following the books. The only thing I miss in the reading is the music.
That’s okay. I can Sing Me A Song of a Lass That Has Gone…

This story is captivating either way. I love getting involved in the history presented. I wish I were better versed in world history, especially France, and the British Isles. I know the next book will bring me into the founding of the United States of America. So that gives me a timeline I know, somewhat.

Since I read the book after watching the show, I wish I could have read it first. Not that the show is missing anything. I just like visualizing the story for myself. Now the people and places are fixed by the show.

At any rate, it is a good read, even if you’ve seen the show. It will keep you engaged in the story. I can’t wait until I can afford book three.

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The Second Coming: A Mythpunk Urban Fantasy Novel (The Ascension Series Book 8)The Second Coming: A Mythpunk Urban Fantasy Novel by SM Reine
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

OMG! I love Elise Kavanagh and James Faulkner! But this is the best book about them yet! Since they had entered the deity, I had supposed we wouldn’t get the same action-packed story that they used to give us. So wrong! I wish I hadn’t been so sleepy both nights (hot, miserable days can do that to you, and then even once you fall asleep you can’t stay there! Ugh!) I would have finished this one in one night! (Okay, need to put the exclamation point away!.)

Once again, Sara Reine puts the story in the Reno-Tahoe area and so I’m engrossed knowing about where she is describing and how it looks now (or at least the last time I visited last year) and how her goddesses/gods have changed it with each reincarnation of the world. This time into the future.

Though I loved seeing Elise become a human avatar, giving birth, nursing, and attempting motherhood, as I have gone through most of what was described, four times, some might not find that aspect of the book appealing. But stick with it, let it be your reason not to go through it, or learn Elise’s lessons ahead of time (better than Dr. Spock or even Dr. Sears), or see what a woman goes through. Even this goddess found that an arduous path and she’d been through all kinds of pain and suffering. Giving birth is not for sissies! Nursing can be challenging! Mastitis is real and can cause severe illness and hurts like hell! And try all that while being the target for assassination and kidnapping! <—sorry, I can’t help myself. Think of the exclamation point like Elise’s Infernal Sword of emotion!

I love that Ms. Reine included some flashbacks. I’ve read every one of Sara’s books and feel in touch with all the characters, even so, I have my favorites. Elise is one, as is Rylie, and Dana MacIntyre (hope I spelled that right). I thought I knew all Elise had been through, but I’ve forgotten a lot!

It is always hard when writing a review because some of the things I want to say would be spoilers. But there will be friends from the past. There, that did the trick!

Sadly, I have to find something else to read now. Let that be enough for you to know I highly recommend the entire collection of Sara Reine! If you can’t afford it, see if you can get your library to carry the books. Especially those in Reno! Starting with Six Moon Summer and enjoy the rest of her world beyond!

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