Tag Archive: text-to-speech-enabled



The Rules of MagicThe Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

That was fun. I usually love Alice Hoffman books. And though I liked this one and was kind of sad finishing it, it was slow. It was so wordy while not getting anything done or convincing me that anything got fixed.

As the movie, Practical Magic deals with the curse of the family that should never fall in love, that is the theme here, too. And since romance novels bore me I found myself doing other things than reading, so it took longer to finish than it should.

Don’t get me wrong, it is worth picking up and reading. Would be a great vacation read. But if you are like me, the book, the characters, don’t seem to gel until near the end. I must admit to misting up near the end so I must have finally gotten into it.

I wish I knew how to improve this read. Maybe I needed the audio rather than text-to-speech? A real voice or bunch of actors playing the story for me? I do remember pulling out of the book thinking ‘show don’t tell’ but then as I looked at it I couldn’t figure out how that could be done.

Don’t take my word for it. You may love this book. Like is as far as I can reach.

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Everything I Never Told YouEverything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! Just Wow! An author friend recommended this book stating that it was the best book she’d read in a long time. She was right. It was the best read for me in a long, long time.

There was a drowning. The family responds. That’s the extent of it. BUT we are allowed in all the characters’ heads. What led to the present moment? Who can take the fault? Who might be innocent?

This bit of mystery only leads to the inside of your own head, your own family history. It is amazing how the author does that. How she keeps the story so interesting that I had a hard time putting it down, even when it was 4 AM I couldn’t let it go until the next day.

The most interesting questions the story brought to mind is how many of our goals and passions are leftovers from the previous generation? I made me look at my grandmother and my mother and my own daughter. And even now, I wonder how much of my mother’s pushing of piano practice, for instance, brought about my son’s participation in a band? How do our personal goals affect others around us, from family outward to the occasional associates. This book brought about a strong link between us all that I think we often overlook.

And then let’s add to the story the things that make us unique, our nationality, ethics, religion or politics and we see how we think the other person is wrong. How the tearing down of others is tearing us all down. In this case, the family is half Chinese, half American. They live in a place where they are the only ones of color. Racist slurs are slung at them. When that happens, when we are bullies in any fashion, one has a hard time separating true hate from imagined hate.

As usual, the fictional family reach their own conclusions and don’t communicate with each other. That speaks to me. We often forget to say what we should. We think the other person already knows, or doesn’t need to hear it again, or doesn’t feel taken seriously. Relationships are hard, even the best of them. That’s how our fears and hurts hit as bullets on those we should give our best to.

All of these ideas came to me as I read this book. I bought the Audible version (I had a credit lying around). I know now that I want to read this again. I will have to buy the Kindle version when I get the chance. Oh, and a word about Cassandra Campbell (Narrator). She did a great job acting out the different characters. It was due to her skills that this book came to life for me.

Thank you, Patty B. for the recommendation. I loved it!

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Kill Game: An Urban Fantasy Thriller (Dana McIntyre Must Die Book 2)Kill Game: An Urban Fantasy Thriller by SM Reine

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love Dana! My first born son and this female powerhouse character that we all met long ago in Sara Reine’s series. In this case, it is the first character I could personally relate to in size and shape. I’m much older but a part of me thinks I looked like her when I was in my forties. I think I had similar beliefs to hers. I don’t know that I hate vampires. But I never saw the craze. Now Ms. Reine has brought me along to expand my imaginary creatures profile.

And Dana isn’t a perfect person in any way. She makes mistakes. She has a mindset that needs taming. But she is lovable and loves deeply. And it is wonderful that she is getting her own series. This was the second book. I think it may read as a stand alone but I love that I have read all the history of these altered Nevada stories from the beginning. Other states are in her other books but most of Sara Reine’s books are in places I have lived or visited enough to know ‘our’ versions. It gives a depth to the books that a made up place never has.

Dana is going through divorce in this series and it is messing with her mind. As it does for most of us. The reasons seem weird to me, but most folks from the outside of the couple going through this might think that, also. But will the ending of this book change that? Gosh, Sara, if you’re going to bring us to this ending can’t you write faster and let us see what happens next?

Okay, I need to clear this up. This is not a cliffhanger. You all know how much I hate those! And I don’t know a more prolific author than S.M. Reine. I just love her books so much I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next. Hey–since I moved from there two years ago, how about another Reno setting? Las Vegas is too busy, too much of a tourist trap–even in the alternate universe. Is there a place for Dana, the vampire-slayer in demon possessed Reno? Or, since I can’t seem to find a way, could you take her to the beaches of California? Orange County, LA County? Mojave Desert?

Okay, I’ll read it no matter where you take us! Can’t wait!!!!

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A Closed and Common Orbit (Wayfarers, #2)A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Can I give this book 20 stars? This is MY kind of sci-fi! No wars and shooting and one-up-manship. We get to know another social order, the good and bad of it. We watch someone growing up within and without that order. We get to know other beings. We get to travel in space. There just happens to be males and females. In this case, a female lead but it could as easily have been a male. Good choice to have a female to have the adventure. YAY! Male in the story, not necessarily a romantic counter point. A friend. Believe it or not!!!!

Though this is book two in the series it could stand alone. But if you get the chance to read the first book, do so. It was fun, too! You can find my review of the first book in GoodReads under The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet.

What I think I liked best about this book is how the author took us into a young girl’s thoughts without making us feel childish or talking down to us. And how well she matured said girl through the years helping the reader feel that maturity and sense of growth. How a sense of time alone doesn’t become boring as it might if we lived it, but a chance to learn and explore ideas and abilities.

Oh, and one of my favorite reasons for reading sci-fi is to learn new philosophies or enjoy those we might have left behind for a revisit now. I think Becky Chambers may be my new favorite sci-fi author!

This book is now on my gotta buy the Kindle and Audible versions so I can reread it soon!

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A Space Girl from Earth (The Kyroibi Trilogy Book 1)A Space Girl from Earth by Christina McMullen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Maybe it is because I have been reading Sci-fi for so long, but I wasn’t as impressed with this book as I wanted to be. Maybe it is because I have to read using Text-to-Speech and I miss a lot in that process. I just couldn’t get into this book. I didn’t care for this girl raised by a super model. Yawn!

To find out that the daughter is from another planet and possibly a princess? Still didn’t care. I think the only thing I really felt her heart and soul was her feelings for the assassin-bot. But even that didn’t do much for me.

I did like the idea of being able to transport to other places and feel things through the strange ‘freckles’ but once again, I liked the ideas present, still not the characters. Please, why do main characters have to be the most beautiful? Most people aren’t How do you expect regular people to like the character when they can’t relate at all?

I did appreciate the chance to read this.

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Drawing Dead: An Urban Fantasy Thriller (Dana McIntyre Must Die Book 1)Drawing Dead: An Urban Fantasy Thriller by S.M. Reine

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

WOW!!!! OMG!!!!! Of all of S.M. Reine’s massive series(s), this is my favorite!!!! I couldn’t stop reading once I started.

I almost missed this one. I had gotten so far behind in my email that I didn’t see the one offering to read/review Drawing Dana. Luckily I was offered a reprieve and allowed to read it even though late. Because since I met Dana McIntyre I have loved her. She is the bitch with a heart of gold. She is strong with the right amount of weakness. She is the vampire slayer who has been bitten. And I love the name of the weapon of choice. Spoilers! Can’t tell you!

Some of the many series(s) are a little dark or ‘demonie’, or too far into fae. And as much as I hate vampire stories, this should have been a non-starter. But it was Dana!!! I knew I couldn’t go wrong.

What I like and have liked about Sara’s writing has been her use of places where I have lived or at least visited. This one takes place in Las Vegas. Never lived there but been there enough to recognize the place. I never saw the vampires there but it is easy to imagine them there. Ms. Reine often writes of Reno. I did live there a while. But my Reno looked nothing like the one in her books, except, they did. Her imagination put beings there that I must have overlooked.

Please, if you get the chance, read this book. It is written so that you can start here. BUT… I suggest you start at the beginning: Six Moon Summer. Watch the world around you change into Reine’s world. So many adventures await, including this one.

I can’t wait for the next book!!!!!!!

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Girl in SnowGirl in Snow by Danya Kukafka

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I want to thank NetGalley for letting me read this book. It did keep my interest.

That said, when you read like I do, using text-to-speech almost exclusively, books like this leave me feeling lost. I feel I may have missed the important sentences as to who-done-it and why. There were a lot of characters and they all sound the same, the writing style of the narrative is the same in the dialogue. That may not mean too much when visually engaged with the story, but I often didn’t know which characters thoughts/memories I was in.

This was an ARC or early read copy so by the time others will read it these other problems may be fixed: Between sections, there is a line ___. Often that stops the TTS. And often the name of the person who is starring in the next section is totally left out with TTS. I assume these are formatting issues that will be solved and others who get to read this with their eyes will be able to stay with the story and find it all pulls together.

Using the thoughts of one who seems autistic or in other ways a little different than the norm, was a nice tool. I found the character Cameron to be very interesting. Others I found harder to understand. Maybe that says more about me than the characters being portrayed?

At any rate, I think others may find this book to be very good. I loved to see your comments. I may have to come back to this book and read again to see if I can find where I turned left when the writer turned right. ???

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Perennials: A NovelPerennials: A Novel by Mandy Berman

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When I saw this book on NetGalley, I thought it would be a good book about going away to camp. Well, that is there a bit, but mostly it is people coming of age and lots of drama. It was Far more drama and back and forth in time with lots of characters. Maybe that is my own problem with how I have to read using text-to-speech and not so much reading the words. Maybe you won’t have that problem at all but will enjoy a wonderful book full of family and going away to camp.

There was swimming and boating. And that’s as close to the water that I am getting for now. I must find a pool to go swim in!

Please try this to see if it is for you.

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Hold Back the StarsHold Back the Stars by Katie Khan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don’t like romance, well, maybe the occasional You Got Mail or Nottinghill, but mostly I find them boring. I DO love me some space, dystopia, futuristic sci-fi. This book has all four elements. Within the science fiction setting there just happens to be a love story. It was fun!

Spoilers are threatening to spill out of me as I write this and seem to be overwhelming my brain. I seem not to be able to give more of my opinion without them and I refuse to put them here.

I might like to read this again. I can think, if the author would like the suggestion, of a way to make a book two, or at least an alternative ending. As it is I think she did put in two different endings.

If any of my friends read this, and I hope they do, I hope we can have a bit of a discussion about the endings.

This story will stay with me for a while. Think of Gravity the movie mixed with a strange dystopic earth threatened by meteors. SO GOOD!

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Chasing Coyotes: Accounts of Urban CrisesChasing Coyotes: Accounts of Urban Crises by Debora Martin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Less than a decade ago my husband and I were delivering newspapers in Corona California. We were quite surprised by how many coyotes we saw out in these beautiful neighborhoods. We didn’t think of them as more than just nuisances who got into the trash. Turns out this book tell accounts of coyotes in the even bigger cities of Orange County that were around when we lived there and got worse in years since we left.

I think when I saw this book’s description that I was getting some Urban Fantasy about Native American tales of coyotes, the tricksters. At first, I was a bit taken aback. Then I was pleasantly surprised at where these stories took place. Then the book inspired in me a healthier fear that I never had before.

If you live in big cities in Orange County or L.A. County or Riverside County in California, you should read this book. I suggest you get the hardback or paperback so that you can keep the guidelines of how to get rid of coyotes, that could kill your toddlers or grandparents or cat or dog. Use it to get in touch with the people, like the author, who are trying to make your neighborhoods safer.

Look, where I live coyotes walk brazenly down our dirt roads. I live in the country. There are wild rabbits and other creatures that coyotes like to eat. But now I know another reason why my cats and dog are not allowed outside alone in our yard, besides the threat of hawks and eagles, that like small pets. We are trying to find a way to fence in our yard better to keep out coyotes or bigger predators. (The first winter we were here we found antelope footprints right next to our bedroom window. So imagine what could come in.) But we expect these beasts out here. In the cities, I thought our biggest problem were mice, rats, and opossums. But I was wrong.

Please read this book. Be aware so that you can be prepared.

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