Tag Archive: text-to-speech-enabled



Bittersweet (China Bayles, #23)Bittersweet by Susan Wittig Albert
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My librarian suggested this book knowing I wanted to try a ‘real’ book written by and starring a strong female. Now that I am finished with it I can say I did enjoy much of it. (I had to renew it–six weeks!)

“Oh, but here comes her complaints…” I hear some of you saying. And, yes, I do have some negatives.

The very beginning. I think it is highly unnecessary. When you read the Prologue you’re given the answer to the whole mystery. Many call this a cozy mystery. What, I ask you, is cozy about murder? Not just one but TWO? What is cozy about people who think more about money than the environment that we all have to live in humans, fauna, and flora alike?

At least the author uses this as an educational moment. That is what brought it up to four stars. Otherwise, I would have said I was rather bored. Though the excitement of the mystery gets wrapped up, the parts of the book I cared about, the main character’s mother’s husband’s health. It is the cliffhanger of that issue that brings this rating down to a three again. I didn’t like this story where the men of this book were being talked about. If women can grow, let’s show that men can grow, too. Many have been raised with sisters or single moms so they know the issues and don’t need to be cavemen.

I loved learning about the herbs and plants.

I never knew about the shooting-fish-in-the-barrel type hunting and moving the game to places they shouldn’t inhabit and the problems that brings. I will have to look into our area and see if that is here. I don’t have a problem with hunters. I hope we never get desperate enough to look to that as a food source, but if we do I guess I will have to accept it. Plenty of people around here do that for their food source. There are laws to keep it safe and less draining on the environment while filling the freezers with protein for cold winters. I’m a vegetarian because I don’t like the texture of meat, not a preachy one telling others what they should or shouldn’t eat. Anyway, the things I learned here made the rating roundup.

I don’t like to cook. Most of the foods in the recipes here did not appeal to me but I take no points away from the book for these. There are people who will love that aspect. I do appreciate that most of the recipes are at the back of the book where they don’t interrupt the story flow.

One more thing, I did get my eyes checked and will be getting new glasses soon. Meanwhile, I couldn’t read the hardback for very long at a time. Luckily, the Kindle version was available on our e-library to borrow. Once into that version, I was able to immerse in the story and rest my eyes as needed.

Check it out and tell me what you think of this book, regardless of version

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The Witch's Vacuum CleanerThe Witch’s Vacuum Cleaner by Terry Pratchett

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you are looking for a light, funny read, this is your book. It was like watching cartoons or Monty Python. Very bad for a bedtime book for me. I found it hard to stop reading, well, actually, listening to this one. 3:00 came too quickly. So, sorry if this sounds more disjointed than my usual reviews.

Oh, I listened to the Audible using the whispersynch. Julian Rhind-Tutt (Narrator) is facinating! His voice changes with every character. He tells the story with so much gusto that sometimes I think I missed story for enthusiastic energy. Even still, at the end of each story I had that sigh of fulfillment.

The stories themselves are sadly, mostly, male. In fact, the very first one ended with the main character marrying the witch with us hardly knowing a thing about the witch except that she was a witch. I wanted more about her and that parrot. Please forget that you just read the last two sentences if they seem spoilers. After all, the title of the book is The Witch’s Vacuum. Seems like there should be a lot more witch and vacuums than men in the form of police or gnomes. But hey, Mr. Pratchett wrote this when he was a teen and the adage says ‘write what you know’. Sadly, Mr. Pratchett knew nothing about the other half of society then. Later he did write some fun books that did have fems but mostly they are witches. Is it any wonder how the world is now if this is all anyone has read most of their lives?

Still, I have loved Terry Pratchett’s writing, so creative! Magick exists, but sadly without fems. Even colors we have never heard of exists. Don’t get me started! YET, I love his writing. Fun, fun stories!

So take it with a grain of salt that in male authors’ worlds, fems hardly exist. We will try to change that with our own writings and making sure they see us as the other humans. After all the whole language system leaves us behind. Even human. We could be called hu.

But it is for this teeny-tiny problem that I am giving the book four stars instead of five. If you can get the audio version you are in for the best story telling around–save for girls, fe=iron.

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Animal Books: Hummingbirds: All About Hummingbirds, A Kids Introduction - Fun Facts & Pictures About the Smallest Birds: Children's Picture Book,Perfect for Bedtime & Young Readers, 6-12 Years OldAnimal Books: Hummingbirds: All About Hummingbirds, A Kids Introduction – Fun Facts & Pictures About the Smallest Birds: Children’s Picture Book,Perfect for Bedtime & Young Readers, 6-12 Years Old by Susan G. Charles

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a fun little book. I have to admit to not reading it word for word but rather a intense skimming. I think I wanted more photos of the little beauties. I had a hard time with the labels of each bird, not sure they lined up right. I think the label belonged to the previous picture. That is the problem of reading on Kindle. This might be a nice tree book for kids.

As for it being a bedtime read aloud–no. Much better for daytime when you can go out and look for your own hummers.

Once again, the pictures made it worth all those many words! I’d recommend it for middle grade readers. Homeschooled and younger readers or non-readers will still enjoy the book.

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1,2,3, Red, Blue, Green Bilingual (English - Japanese) 1,2,3, あか、あお、みどり バイリンガル(英語 - 日本語)1,2,3, Red, Blue, Green Bilingual (English – Japanese) 1,2,3, あか、あお、みどり バイリンガル(英語 – 日本語) by Yael Manor

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As many of you know I have been learning languages from Duolingo. Japanese is one of them. I find it to be the hardest of the four I’m working with. German, Spanish, Esperanto are the others but I feel more confident with those three. (Not conversant but able to read it a little.)

I like to get children’s picture books to help me. I figure if it helps a kid to learn, it may help me. Not sure there is hope in this case. Yes, Duo has covered primary colors and primary numbers. But when I try to follow the written language I am totally lost. I do find a couple words here and there that I recognize but most of it is still squiggles to my eyes. The worst part, for me, is trying to get word order. That is true of all these languages.

That isn’t a slam on this book. Even if you weren’t trying to learn Japanese, this would be a fun book. The little story is fun and would make a fun read aloud. It might also be fun to string balls with the children in the book.

I think if you had a child who only spoke Japanese, this would be a fun one to learn the English from. So it is fun from every angle. I just wish there were a small section in the back helping with word order. Very educational and re-readable for everyone.

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How To Color With Colored Pencils: The Complete Step-By-Step Beginners Guide To Color Palettes And Coloring Techniques For AdultsHow To Color With Colored Pencils: The Complete Step-By-Step Beginners Guide To Color Palettes And Coloring Techniques For Adults by Margaret Fox

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well, while preparing to write this review I couldn’t find a page on Amazon to read stats and reviews about the book. I did find a place from a link in Margaret Fox’s book to place a review so I will copy this there next.

I read this a couple nights ago when I was between fiction books and not ready to get involved in a deeper story. It fit the bill. It inspired me to get out my pencils and start playing again. As much as I love my coloring books, though, I am not enjoying ‘coloring’ with the pencils. I think I’ll start trying sketching and coloring in my own work so as to really experiment, and pull out my Crayola (not some cheap knockoff that is always way too waxy) and work in my coloring books that way.

Does anyone find themselves over-inspired most of the time? I’m planning out my NaNo for this year–hey, I have one character–that makes it less ‘seat of the pants’ than former years. I don’t like my stories when I pants it. I continue loom-knitting toys and comfort items for charities. I have started working on needle felting. I still think about and sometimes get in and spend time at the piano or singing, or just listening to music to keep my musical brain happy. I still try to work on Japanese, Esperanto, Spanish, and German on DuoLingo daily. So when I find a book that inspires me to action I have to weigh what to give up or lessen to have time to devote to the new creative avenue. So much fun to try and so little time!!!!

Anyway, this book did the job. And, of course, I learned of new items I will have to buy to try some of the technics I learned in Ms. Fox’s book. But there are plenty of endeavors I can try with what I have. I think I will use colored pencils to draw my characters as they develop.

I hope this book will be available for others to try soon. It is a good beginner’s book or one to inspire and get you started playing again.

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Suicide Queen (Dana McIntyre Must Die #4)Suicide Queen by S.M. Reine

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

For some reason, I thought I had already written this review. Boo Me! This was my favorite Dana story yet! And even that may be a bit of a spoiler! Only for those following this part of the series.

Timeout. I just need to say how much I love the cover pictures of Dana! She is so cool! She isn’t some starved skinny-mini. This gal means business! The story reflects the cover or vice versa. Geez, with all the vampires, Las Vegas will never be the same. But that is why Dana is there, to rid that fine city of those bloodsuckers.

As I’m writing this review, I am having the hardest time making sure not to put out spoilers. Just take it from me, this was a marvelous series and Dana is my favorite of all of Ms. Reine’s characters. So sorry to see this series end. How I hope Sara will bring Dana back again soon!

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Imagine Me GoneImagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A few days ago I came to the conclusion that I couldn’t finish this book. I just couldn’t like the characters or the story. What parts I related to were triggers of my own upbringing and depressions. I figured this wasn’t a good book for me.

After looking at the reviews and realizing a friend had recommended to me, I decided to stick it out. I must admit that the book got a little better but still was not one I will remember in the future. I would normally give this book a single star, but I do think the subject matter needs to be shared with others that may not have had the opportunity to learn about it first hand. And explore why the treatment of depression and other mental health issues don’t get looked at is because many think the patients are needy, attention-getters or otherwise diminish the pain the person is going through. The author gives us a couple glimpses into the minds of severe depression. So I raised the star rating by one.

Since I review and rate for my own future reference I have to leave it at 2 stars. Others love this book and say it is their favorite of the year. So don’t take my word for it. Pick it up and see what you think. Oh, I should mention this was a library Kindle version.

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Review: 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami


1Q841Q84 by Haruki Murakami

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fulfilling. That what I think describes finishing this book. It kept me going. I wondered what would happen next. With fantasy, anything is possible, even if it is in 1984.

And that brings me to the next thought. We didn’t have cell phones and internet access the way we do now. Often I would think, check your cell and realize that couldn’t happen then. They had pay phones and word processors. If a person had a computer it wasn’t user-friendly. So one has to keep that year and those thoughts in mind.

Next was the curiosity of the two moons that signify to our main characters they weren’t in true 1984 but an alternative reality. That was why Aomame called it 1Q84. I loved her name. She was the main character, by the way. I craved Edamame the whole time I was reading it. Yes, the ‘mame’ part means pea. I love how often the author used that theme.

I loved the characters. But I felt the description of their clothing or appearance over done. In fact, this book needed a good editor to go through and get rid of all the unneeded repetition. I often felt like throwing the book (my Kindle) across the room. I wanted to get back to the story and see what happened and telling me one more time about the two moons or the wrong clothing or any of the millions (I may exaggerate here) of other times something was repeated. I understand that the author wanted to stress certain things but it insults the reader to do that too often. But who am I to say that, an unpublished author of 12 books compared to his mass of highly acclaimed novels. Just trying to be true to what I felt as I read it.

This book took me ages to finish. It must be hefty in hardback. It was a library book so I had to spend every moment reading as I have two more books that are due next week. Still, it was worth the struggle and I miss the people already.

Stop reading this review here as this might be a spoiler. I wish I could read more of what happens next to the main characters. And I felt there were threads in the two-moon world that I wanted to see worked further. Well, maybe that didn’t reveal too much after all.

If you get the chance, please read this book. My friend, Patty B. was right. This was a very good book!

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Cashing Out: An Urban Fantasy Thriller (Dana McIntyre Must Die Book 3)Cashing Out: An Urban Fantasy Thriller by SM Reine

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Yippee! Another Dana installment! I still don’t like vampires. That may be why I like Dana. She doesn’t either, even when she becomes one.

I’m not lowering my star rating from five to four even though most of the beginning is about Nessa, not Dana. After finishing the read, I saw why that was so. Picture me rubbing my hands together in anticipation. More is to come!!!!

Though not left on a cliffhanger, this book did leave me anxious to read what comes next. More Dana! Please, please, please!

Oh, and though this part of the series(s) is rather stand alone I suggest you all read of the Saraverse from Six Moon Summer on. SM Reine is one of the most prolific writers I know. Her places are alternates of places many have been, just add a were-beings, demons, vampires, fae, etc. thrown in amongst we muggles. And GODS/GODDESS and many layers of heavens and hells Yet if you see her on Instagram, Sara is a fascinating mom person.

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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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