Tag Archive: text-to-speech-enabled



Holly and Ivy: A Lesbian Holiday RomanceHolly and Ivy: A Lesbian Holiday Romance by T.B. Markinson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well, this was cute. I think it is a nod to Nottinghill. It is rom-com with an LGBT leaning. There is a fun holiday feeling to it like Nottinghill. I don’t want to give a lot away. But if you like this kind of story it is fun.

I do love how T.B. Markinson writes. Her characters feel real. I’m not so sure about the millionaire. I’ve not been one nor do I know any personally, but it was Ms. Markinson’s story so it was where her characters led her.

I just didn’t want to finish with her world when I finished her combination book. So this filled the bill.

I can’t wait to read more from her.

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We Witches Three Books 7-10 Bundle (We Witches Three Bundles Book 2)We Witches Three Books 7-10 Bundle by Starla Silver
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m so sad about this series. The first no-no in my world is a cliff-hanger in the book before this one. Each of these books has about four novels. So they take forever to read. The other irritation for me is the angsty romance stuff. People can love many people. Look at families and friends and all. We love. Why set it up that a witch should be guilty for loving a Vampire and another witch? All the wasted romance is so boring to me. So I put my text-to-speech on speed two so as to get done faster.

The saving grace for this set of books is the gargoyle. Especially the pet who takes care of the female Howard. But that isn’t enough for me to find the next big book. It just is too much human angst for something that is a fantasy. Hopefully, others will like this and the books will do okay.

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The 100 (The 100 #1)The 100 by Kass Morgan
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

What a disappointment! I couldn’t afford to buy the Kindle and Audible versions of this book, so I looked it up in the e-library. I’m glad I didn’t spend money on this book.

What I wish is that those who took this book and made the fantastic series on Netflix would take a look at my on writing.

The thing I usually like about reading a book over watching a show is the depth of character you can enjoy. Instead, blathering emotional teen angst.

Oh, and I checked out the audio version thinking that real voices would help my reading experience. NOT! Justin Torres (Narrator), Phoebe Strole (Narrator). For some reason, the main character, Clarke, who is supposed to be the medical team leader of sorts, sounds like a five-year-old. Instead of having a space adventure or a new Earth adventure, we tripped about in romantic lunacy. Yes, the show did take more of a Lord of the Flies take on the loosed teens on Earth, but that was preferable. I wish more time would have been spent exploring and learning. I don’t think most teens are that immature as the book or the show portrays.

Anyway, after I gave up on the narrators and went with my text-to-speech. So much better. I can’t wait to see more of the 100 on Netflix, but I am not at all interested in reading more. That makes me sad!

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SaraliSarali by Susana Gino
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Sometimes I read a book and feel raw from the length of the read. Granted, this was a Kindle ARC, so I’m sure a lot of the story will improve with the reviews.

The technical problem that has probably been addressed by now, but it took me out of the story every time, the author and/or the title and page number (?) pop up often and are inserted into the tale being told. I suppose if I were strictly reading it, my eyes would skip it, but since I read via text-to-speech, it is all very jarring.

Overall, the story was interesting, though the main character seemed in her head most of the time. The erotic scenes were almost too much while sorting through her growing maturity. And though the main character, who calls herself either Sara or Sarali according to whether she was involved in a sexual pursuit or her own enlightenment.

Though the main character seeks to learn of her sexuality and help others through their experiences with her, a sort of prostitution, that wasn’t my main problem with the main character. She seeks to be with her daughter out of love, and the relationship does grow. But her daughter’s safety ought to be her chief thought. A man who has such little control of himself as to rape a young woman and force her into marriage and having the resulting child, should not be trusted with that same child to raise on his own. What could he be doing to that child? It seems to me that should have been the character’s aim, not worry about what falsehoods he may speak. It is true, Sara needed to do some growing herself, but not once in her mental ravings about how unfair it was to her, did she mention what might be happening to her daughter.

My last problem with the book is how repetitive it was. I found myself wanting to find another book to read. Still, I think in a future edit or two that would be taken care of, and the newer readings will find an interesting read. As a seeming autobiography, the story reflects the way all our brains work in circular ways coming back to the trauma and trying to overcome it all. Worth the read.

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If All the Seas Were Ink: A MemoirIf All the Seas Were Ink: A Memoir by Ilana Kurshan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I was young, and even to this day, I loved to spend time, overnight to weeks, if I could, in other people’s homes. It was interesting to see how other people lived. I learned how different and yet the same my life was to my friends. What rules applied? What was okay? How huggy or talky were the people?

As an adult that is less likely to happen. Slumber parties seem to stay in the child’s world. Really close friends can share their lives. But it isn’t the same as personal observation.

Autobiographies give that kind of insight. You live inside the person’s world, hear their thoughts, see how they try to live up to their own standards. See how they feel when they don’t.

Ilana Kurshan provides that kind of insight. I admire her determination and curiosity. She decided to study the Talmud in a seven-year quest to understand it and her relationship to it better. She lived it as best she could, all the easier for living in Jerusalem, all the harder as a single person, then newlywed, then young mother. But she did her best to apply what she learned along the way.

I was raised protestant. I have many friends of various religious leanings and love to learn their belief systems and how they work in real life. I have a friend who has moved to Israel and thought of her as I read. I don’t know if she read this yet, but I bet she will glean from this person’s challenge.

Rating autobiographies is harder than a piece of fiction. It is personal. I can’t judge another person’s life or their own memories. It was where they are/were and how they choose to live it. Ms. Kurshan’s writing was compelling. I couldn’t stop reading. Since this was an ARC or Uncorrected Copy, there were formatting issues that made my text-to-speech the best way to read it all. But I’m sure those issues were corrected in the retail versions. Other than that it was a delightful read and I highly recommend it to others. I doubt I will ever try the seven-year Talmud, though who knows? I’ve taken on lessor challenges. I was glad that Ilana included scripture so I could feel a part of the quest. And I’m proud of her for taking a feminist view on her religion. It makes it all more real and possible.

I can’t wait to read other reviews about this book.

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The Art of HidingThe Art of Hiding by Amanda Prowse
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Poor girl becomes rich wife, becomes poor mom. Except for the rich part, that’s the story of my life! Almost sounds boring. But for some reason, I truly enjoyed this read. It is well-written. The characters felt real to me. Even though they were British and rich. The troubles were scary. I could relate. I’ve never owed that much money, though I don’t have a conversion table handy after midnight. But I have owed more than I had. It had forced changes in my behavior and where I was to live. As the main character learns in a very hard way.

A teenage boy for a son. Been there three times. I can relate. And this mother was far more patient and sweet about it all than I could be. Wish I could have been that sweet. But my kids would have, oops, did laugh at me when I approached their rebellions that way. And it wasn’t a good laugh. At least we were in her head as she thought through her responses.

This review isn’t doing the book justice. It was good, I loved it. I stayed awake a long time finishing it. It wasn’t fantasy or adventure or murder-mystery. It was a peek into someone else’s life and how she manages to get through and thrive. And I think this is the kind of book teens should read, especially girls. Though women (and men) will relate and learn throughout the story.

I wish I had less pain and more brain. This review sounds horrible. Believe me. It was worth the read. I loved it!

Netgalley gave me the ARC of this book. Thank you!

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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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Emily, GoneEmily, Gone by Bette Lee Crosby
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bette Lee Crosby writes good stories. This did not disappoint.

At least this mystery wasn’t about murder. I knew that could be done. Still, it is about a kidnapping. It was interesting to see the crime from all sides. The characters are well developed. They keep you reading to see what each person was going through, how would they solve their personal problems. The book showed how love could make their choices harder, or drive them mad in trying to live with it all. Still, it was a hard book to put down.

Though a spiritual path is evident, it isn’t overdone. The characters believe a certain way and it is part of their journey.

By the way, this was free through Kindle Unlimited. Though I like reading Ms. Crosby’s work it is usually more expensive than I can afford, so I am glad they made this one available this way.

As a genre, I think that this could be called a cozy mystery sans murder. I think women may find it better than men, though the men in this book are strong and level headed. But the stories are more about birth and baby loss, so it might be hard for those who have lived through this kind of circumstance.

Otherwise, try it, you might like it!

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WunderlandWunderland by Jennifer Cody Epstein
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This should be required reading for everyone. Especially now.

It was difficult for me at first as I thought maybe I was reading pro-nazi propaganda. But the people who suggested this read for me would never have recommended that kind of book. So I continued reading.

The book was written through differing points of view and differing times. It feels like a memoir at times as it gets quite personal.

Instead of it being propaganda, the author gives us an inside look into how a person/nation becomes less free-thinking, how certain biases become bigotry and hatred. She shows us how group-think and gang-mentality forms, even in the most loving people. Peer pressure and lack of trust promoted by the people in power move all the people into fear. I think that was my take away.

I would have given this book five stars but my experience with text-to-speech with this back and forth in time and differing personalities was difficult to figure out who was talking and when. Without eyes on the text, I would get lost.

If you can, please read this book. I think I may want to read it again and take notes. Maybe I’ll give more stars next time.

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Payback Royale (Payback Society Book 3)Payback Royale by Cidney Swanson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The book was to come live on the 29th. (And Yay! It did!) I finished reading this book four nights ago. I hated finishing it. I always want to know what will happen after I close the book. I enjoyed the book, thoroughly! The most exciting part was about space travel and its purpose. I have to admit to nearly squealing as the main character promotes it.

I know I’m not the target audience missing the ages by five decades or so. Even so, I can remember being a young adult. I can imagine I would have loved, well, everything Miss Swanson writes. Her characters, world’s, and plots are fresh and fun. The books read themselves, okay, with the help of text-to-speech. But I don’t want to put any of them down until the last word! Payback Royale was no different. Loved it!

On the other hand… I hate the antagonist. I don’t see hope for him. Please let’s put an end to his story! Without killing our friends, please!

I can’t wait to read more by Cidney Swanson!

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