Tag Archive: strong-fem



End of Days (Penryn & the End of Days, #3)End of Days by Susan Ee

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m jealous of folks who get to read this series one book after another. It has been so long since I read books one and two that I had sort of forgotten a lot of what happened before. I sort of remembered as I went along but by now the story was so deep and often scary that I just couldn’t handle much of it at all. I know I was charmed by the characters and story the first couple books. A little of that crept through. But in spite of all of that, in spite of a big sister who has grown up with a mental patient for a mother and a disabled sister, and who is in love with an angel, no really! they are all living in a post-apocalyptic mess and this big sister is trying to save the world.

But how again did little sister turn into–um–a demon or locust? I vaguely remember mad scientist types but I read the series too long ago.

Even still I got into this book and didn’t want to stop reading until the world as they knew it was safer.

So if it has been a while since you read the first two, maybe a re-read is better. If you haven’t read any of the books, try to get all three so you can read them in a row and not get lost like I did.

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The Last Chance Matinee (The Hudson Sisters #1)The Last Chance Matinee by Mariah Stewart

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One of the things I noticed as I wished this story hadn’t ended was that it has a series name: The Hudson Sisters #1. Yay! I don’t have to leave my new friends forever! And while I am talking about the ending, relax, it isn’t a cliff-hanger. Everyone is safe. I just miss them.

You can look up the blurb to see what the book is about. I try to concentrate on my feelings about the story. What I noticed most of all, was the lack of conflict and yet I kept wanting to read more. I suppose the conflict is the undertone of how the characters ended up owning a theater. They had to spend the time getting to know each other and see how they fit into the scheme of things. But there was no great adventure, no one is in grave danger. Yet through each of their perspectives, you see their birth order and history.

It was because of the description of the story on the blurb on NetGalley dot com that I picked this up to review. I am so glad I did. It is quite an interesting story. I look forward to book two so I can see these women and watch them remake a theater together.

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Temple Grandin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the WorldTemple Grandin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World by Sy Montgomery

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was lucky enough to pick this up from my local library system through Overdrive. My friend, Cheryl, wrote an intriguing review that had me searching it out. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1…

I had hoped to read while listening but the ebook but it didn’t come to me in time. That was okay. It provided my background entertainment while I worked on the charity hats and dolls. The reader, Meredith Mitchell, kept me involved in the story of Temple Grandin’s life.

I have read other books about and by Ms. Grandin. Though this book is for young people, I found it more thorough than the others in covering the aspects of autism, living with it and knowing someone who has it. The author was able to bring this disorder to the understanding that a young person would need.

Something that I felt when reading this book and others about autism is that I think there are levels of this that many of us have. The sensitivities Temple had to scratchy clothing or loud noises or too many people or strong light I can relate to. The inability to connect to others, especially in a crowded room, I can understand, too. Knowing that Ms. Grandin found ways to make her disability work for her in her life gives us all inspiration to see how we can overcome our own problems.

Though this is for children, it is neither a short book nor pablum for babies. I felt there was a lot of depth to the stories told and much to learn for all of us. Please, seek it out and see how you like it.

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Review: Room by Emma Donoghue


RoomRoom by Emma Donoghue

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! I think this has been the best book I’ve read in a long time! And though I’m sure the writing was spectacular, I believe that Michal Friedman (Narrator), Ellen Archer (Narrator), Robert Petkoff (Narrator), and Suzanne Toren (Narrator) made this story come to life. It was nice to have an actor for each character. No male straining his voice to sound like a woman nor a woman attempting to beat out a bass voice. I do see that Michal Friedman, a woman, played the sweet child, Jack. But she sounded so natural that I think it was a good fit. Just an aside, and I hope it is in error I say this, but I read on the internets in this quick research that Michal Friedman has passed while giving birth to twins. Please let me know if you find out otherwise. I just wanted to finish my review tonight and not get caught up in yet another ‘shiny chicken’ (ADD distraction) moment.

Before you become afraid of sinking into a story about kidnapping and sexual abuse, realize that this book is from the viewpoint of the 5-year-old child who is quite happy in this room with his mother. So he doesn’t see the bad that is happening to his mother. He gives us light to what most children would love to have, their mother’s full-time attention and love. But don’t think this is a child’s book either. This boy is very grown up and super intelligent. Through this boy’s eyes, the author moves the story quickly. In fact, though I thought this was going to be a boring read so as to quickly go to sleep at night, I was still reading at 3 in the morning. And it took me a few days to finish. Lots of story here!

I can’t wait to watch the movie, but I have a feeling this version will be my favorite. Please give it a try, especially if you can get the audio to go with it.

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Legend (Legend, #1)Legend by Marie Lu

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am SO impressed with this series! Especially since I had to read it backward. For the most part, I read it on my local library’s Kindle and listened to the library Overdrive version. This last book, book one, I actually had had the chance to buy the Audible version. I figured I will eventually buy all of this series (Kindle and Audible) so that someday I would read it in the correct order. If it is good and held together reading it the way I did, imagine how good it is reading it the right way!

Spoilers are hard to avoid as I write this. In fact, I thought by knowing what was to come I wouldn’t be able to continue. Then something happened between Metais and Day. Something seemed off as I remembered what was to happen in book two. Luckily, by the end of book one that issue revealed itself properly. Everything else held together very well. Again, I am so impressed with the world, characters and story that Marie Lu (author) built.

In this first book, you get to see how June and Day meet and start falling for each other. I had wondered about that. You get to see how Day meets Tess. You actually meet Day’s family. You meet all the people who play crucial roles later in the series and now you know why (if you read it back to front, that is).

Yesterday, I saw that Legend is on sale on Amazon. It is $3.00. If you can, I suggest you buy it. If I had more than a dollar to my name, I would buy it now. Alas, that will have to wait.

Now a comment on the narration by Mariel Stern and Steven Kaplan who play June and Day respectfully. I don’t know if this is their first narration gig or if they were finding their voices to these characters, but this one felt like they were new. Especially, Mariel Stern, whose voice appeared higher and a little crackly in comparison to the later books. Maybe she was attempting to sound younger? And, of course, if they recorded them in order that would still be the case, right? But as this story continues both voices become stronger and true to the characters. I was often in a situation where wearing headphones and listening were impossible and I had to read the book strictly by sight, and there were times my eyes were tired and I just listened, either and both methods hold up and maintain a fantastic story. An author who writes very well, combined with narrators who read very well, makes a wonderful experience, even in a dystopian world.

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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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A Matter of Faith A Matter of Faith by Sophia DeLuna

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sorry it has taken me so long to review this. I picked this up so long ago that I can’t even remember when or why. But since I was feeling my addiction to Sophia De Luna’s writing, I thought now was the time.

Okay, this was a short story. Not my favorite kind. It was long enough to care about the characters and for a storyline to develop. But, as is my customary response: I wanted more. This could make a marvelous epic fantasy with LBGTQ flavors. Tell me more about the world, the kingdom, the characters and their families. Why doesn’t the secondary character have faith in herself or life itself? How were the talents of healing discovered and are their other talents?

What happens next?

I loved it so far. I want more!

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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 - Talk (Book 5)Taxi – Talk by Sophia DeLuna

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Remember when I read the first four episodes of Taxi? Well, I got a welcome surprise after the review of the fourth one. Ms. Sophia DeLuna, the author of these great stories, sent me a sweet email that included coupons for the next three books in the series. Yay! Thank you so much. With my tight budget, it is often hard to decide if the next dollar is for food or reading. I hate to admit that I don’t look like I would if I chose books more often. Or maybe it is the fact that one can do both eating and reading comfortably at the same time?

At any rate, I got to the reading as soon as I could. And I think that Taxi 5, Talk, is one of my favorites. It is so real and honest. It touched deep emotional threads for me. This book deepens the relationship of Carmen and Ulrike. You see Carmen, still dealing with her bit of PTSD, or maybe there is a deeper issue going on, like social anxiety, depression, or other mental problems. I found I related to Carmen very much, phone phobia, isolation, etc. And Ulrike is fleshed out in how she and Carmen’s cat bond over yogurt, sharing a spoon. Carmen cringed and so did I. But as different as Carmen and Ulrike are, you see them working hard to communicate and deepen their love for each other.

By the way, I just did a review of New Hire: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show…, where my complaint was that the characters weren’t deep at all. In comparison, this Taxi series has what I think give fictional characters real life. In this series, I was surprised at how well I had pictured the two characters. It had to be how the author described them. I went to the author’s website: http://www.sophiadeluna.com/ and under the Taxi category I found the author’s rendition of her characters. I would have known who they were had I met them on the street. That is how good Ms. DeLuna is creating her characters. She’s quite the artist, as well! I can’t wait to read #6!

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Taxi - Timing (Book 4)Taxi – Timing by Sophia DeLuna

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The trauma that started in book/section three continues. It is so bad that it could be the end of the relationship between Carmen and her lover and even plays a part in her relationships with family and friends. But is time on her side? Is there a point where your trauma can isolate you to a point of starvation. Can she find her inner strength before everyone gives up on her?

This may be the most personal of all. If you haven’t lived with trauma that is that debilitating you might not understand what Carmen is going through. But I felt the author, Sophia Deluna, did a marvelous job getting inside the heads of characters of this section. And something I haven’t written about in my reviews of the previous Taxi installments is her writing. I love it! Her descriptions and ability to tell a story, reeling in this reader, hook, line and sinker. All the relationships seem real. I am looking forward to reading the rest of this story.

As with the other few bits of this story, I am most upset by the price per bit. I am now at the end of my budget for the month so I won’t be able to read part five for a month. It is this that is causing the less than five stars for me. At least with Kindle Unlimited I can still read a book when the money runs out. Oh well. I still have a few of Ms. DeLuna’s other stories downloaded to peruse over the next few weeks.

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