Tag Archive: text-to-speech-enabled



Through the Magic SunglassesThrough the Magic Sunglasses by Mariia Manko
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book gives the phrase “looking at the world through rose-colored glasses” a whole new meaning.

I picked up this book for free on Kindle Unlimited because of the blurb. Okay. I’ll share it.

“When Mariia storms out of her boyfriend’s Kyiv apartment forever, she has no idea what is awaiting her. She is handed a pair of ‘magic’ sunglasses by a mysterious cabdriver on her way to Berlin, and what begins as a journey to get over her breakup turns out to be the adventure of her life. The sunglasses become her secret helper, always showing her an escape route as Mariia is chased by a trio of rich, vindictive women who want a compromising flash drive back from her, going from Berlin to Düsseldorf to Paris and then on to Abu Dhabi and Ras Al Khaimah.
Combining urban fiction and self-help with a dashing tale of adventure, Mariia Manko’s Through the Magic Sunglasses is an enchanting story about independence, strength, and believing in yourself.”

And yes, it was an adventure. But the most challenging part for me was how the main character couldn’t stop thinking about her ex and get on with the magic she had been given. I think that was the part that ruined it for me. The rest of the book was fun. And it was upbeat and a bit of a self-help book.

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Apsara by Pearl Whitfield

Apsara by Pearl Whitfield

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I don’t often share the blurb, but since it isn’t on GoodReads, this is the one I found on Amazon:

“Apsara is the story of a young girl in a remote village in 12th century Cambodia who loves to dance. She is chosen to train as an Apsara for King Jayavarman VII. Apsaras dance to bring heaven to earth, blessing the land with prosperity. Bopha walks from her home to Angkor Wat, and begins a life she could never have imagined.”

I was so happy to pick this book up on Kindle Unlimited. That way, I could listen to the story in text-to-speech. As the author was writing it, I heard parts of the story. I often missed the chance to listen to more. That broke my heart. Still, I could hear the author’s voice in my head as I listened to the British representative of TTS. I would love to have this story on Audible so that the pronunciations of non-English words and names would be proper.

The story itself is so riveting. I had a hard time putting it down when it was time to sleep. Ms. Whitfield managed to keep the story interesting while throwing in the history, culture, language, religion, and dance of the people of 12th century Cambodia. I loved the main character, Bopha, and wish there was more. I’d love to know more about the teen twins and the daughter.



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A Passage in Time (A Thief in Time #7)A Passage in Time by Cidney Swanson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

How do you prove that your time machine works? Prove something exists, then vanish it by changing events. Then hand over proof. It’s more complicated than it sounds. In this case, no Disneyland is proof the time machine is working.

I love time travel books. They always make you think. Could this work, and what if it could? What would happen if…? This book fulfilled and kept my curiosity going. Because of the Disney monopoly, I had mixed feelings about reading a book about Walt and the beginnings. At the same time, though broke most of my life, our family did have some fun times at Disneyland. I would cry at the end of every Mickey Mouse Club and Wonderful World of Disney as a girl. So Disney impacted my life. Without those memories, how would I know if I didn’t have them? Maybe other memories would be as sweet?

And this book continues the adventures set up in previous A Thief In Time books. So you get to see how old friends are doing.

I highly recommend this and all Cidney Swanson series.

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Yellow CrocusYellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I finished listening to this a few nights ago. I still feel warm and fuzzy from the experience. No, it isn’t all a cozy read. But the author went into the characters’ psychology in a way that women. mothers could feel. Most of us haven’t had to experience this kind of life. But it doesn’t take a lot to feel how it might affect us. And how it could mess up the children.

Bahni Turpin (Narrator) was marvelous. I could listen to her voice all day, especially when she would sing lullabies. She expressed emotions fully. And get ready to be angry, and make sure to bring the Kleenex.

This is a beautiful read. I was able to hear the Audible version. But I could have read the Kindle version as I had it for quite a while.

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Fortune FallsFortune Falls by Jenny Goebel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a fun book! Though aimed at middle grades to young adults, I enjoyed it thoroughly.

My friend and her granddaughter were co-reading this. They shared on a Zoom friends-meet how much they were enjoying it. I started looking around to see if it was on Libby. I couldn’t afford to buy it right now. Thankfully my friend gifted the Kindle version to me. Yay! And thank you!

Imagine a town where superstitions come true. Sadie lived there and was considered unlucky. What an adventure she takes us on while making us question those beliefs!

If you want to take a break from the adult reads, this will fit the bill. I am amazed at the vocabulary and writing. I believe young me or my kids would have enjoyed this even more than I did, which seems an impossible bar to reach!

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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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Girl Love Happens: Season ThreeGirl Love Happens: Season Three by T.B. Markinson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was my favorite of the series so far. The main character is coming into her own emotionally and using wisdom and care with others as she goes through the problems presented in her life. Tegan is far from a perfect person, but her growth is so fun to read about.

I love how T.B. Markinson writes. Her characters, even the secondary ones, all feel real. The situations feel plausible, and she brings wisdom to the story.

I like that we are getting to go through the college scene while Tegan learns about her sexuality. And as she learns how to help her mother adjust to Tegan’s self-discovery.

Though this book didn’t leave me on a cliff-hanger, it indicated that it would continue. I can’t wait to see how Tegan grows.

By the way, the book is free with Kindle Unlimited.

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Girl Love Happens - G&T Lesbian Romance Season TwoGirl Love Happens – G&T Lesbian Romance Season Two by T.B. Markinson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m not too fond of angsty romance, regardless of gender. But most romances are with young people who have little experience or self-esteem to bring to the table. Somehow most of us grow up going through it. It wasn’t fun then, and it is sometimes excruciating to read about. I think I am alone in this thought pattern as romances of all kinds seem to flourish in books and movies. It is just the mechanism of two people learning to live with each other. That part I find interesting. Not the does she, does he love me. But how can I make their life better?

Add in new friends and their traumas or dramas, and the angst grows exponentially. And in this book, two lots of problems start growing. Luckily, I have grown to love the characters and watching their growth. I love hearing the thoughts of what I can do to help them through this from multiple levels.

This was the hardest book of the series for me. But this middle book can’t be skimmed through. In book three, the characters need to learn their lessons and move on to a more adult way of life. Yes, I am already halfway through that book. I am proud that they struggled and matured in book two to set up an even better next book.

I love best how the secondary character calms and reasons with our main character and was a voice of reason for what readers may be going through themselves. She gives such excellent advice and yet helps the love stay in front of all the relationships a person deals with, parents, grandparents, family friends, etc. This book points out how no one is an island. You have to include who raised you and who you’ve become and portray that to others. I don’t know many books that include that kind of wisdom.

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Girl Love Happens - Season OneGirl Love Happens – Season One by T.B. Markinson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

T.B. Markinson writes believable characters. In this book, the fiction felt realistic.

The blurb says it all:
‘Two college roommates are about to discover how awkward and sexy coming out can be.

Colorado, 1992. Tegan entered her freshman year of college with an open mind. As she tries to cope with a long-distance relationship, Tegan realizes it may not be the miles pulling her apart from her boyfriend. It may be her confusing feelings for her new roommate, Gemma. But when an innocent back rub turns into her first girl-on-girl make-out session, she isn’t sure if she’s ready for the world to know she’s attracted to women.

Gemma knows who she is, but she doesn’t expect Tegan to shout from the rooftops about their new relationship status. With the prying eyes of friends and jealous rivals, however, secrets may not stay hidden for long.

If you like tumultuous love stories, simmering chemistry, and colorful casts of characters, then you’ll love this first installment of T.B. Markinson’s smart, sexy series about coming-of-age as a lesbian in the 1990s.’

The book delivered a story I can’t wait to continue in book 2.

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Saving Snow WhiteSaving Snow White by Gita V. Reddy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really needed this story. After the stress of the last book I read, I needed a bit of a child’s adventure, Not that this is a childish story. Adults can appreciate this story, as can middle grades. There is a sweet nod to the Snow White story, but mostly this strong young girl had to figure a way to survive this evil stepmother. This would have been a great book to read to my kids at bedtime. I think there are many points that could have been conversation starters.

What I like best about this tale is how the author chose to let the child/children work out their own answers to their dilemmas. They were in positions where the adults were not to be trusted. It is good to teach your children to think for themselves about what they might do in the worst circumstances. As much as I would love the kind of world where that wouldn’t be needed, not teaching a child to think and act would be a disservice. We need to help our children feel strong enough to handle themselves while remaining respectful and still have the fun of being a kid. We all need that.

When you let yourself imagine yourself like this child, what would you have done? I don’t think I would have had the tools within me to survive much. I was so naive and gullible. I hope I raised mine with more gumption. If you need to set your inner child on a semi-scary adventure, this is one for you and yours.

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