Tag Archive: text-to-speech-enabled



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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Priest of Skulls (Tarot Witches: The Raven Knights Saga #2)Priest of Skulls by S.M. Reine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m always excited to read another of Sara Reines ARCs. I must admit that I am happier reading about the old characters, like visiting with old friends. But I’m sure I am mostly alone in that. I think others prefer to have something new and exciting to read. Well, this one is for you.

That is not to say I didn’t enjoy this and the first book in this offshoot series. Ms. Reine was able to bring up some delicate and scary subjects in a fantasy setting and make some important points. If you get the chance to read this one please take the time to read the notes at the beginning of the book. There are warnings of what you will find inside. There are uncomfortable situations, even triggers if you will for folks that have had sex forced on them, rape. But it is worth the read for the empowerment given.

On an aside, there are, also, some very different forms of erotica that are — fun to read. Not what we’ve expected from SM Reine. But so different that, well, you know how the fae are! I can’t wait to read the next one!

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Parable of the Sower (Earthseed, #1)

Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What an adventure!

Fledgling was the last book I read by Octavia E. Butler. I liked that it had a different take and more diversity than many other ‘vampire’ book. So I wanted to see more by this author.

This book takes the apocalyptic point of view from the beginning of the end. Our main character is the daughter of a preacher. She is black but the color of her skin is not the point. She is a teenager in a protected community that suddenly isn’t. As a teen, she sees things her own way, not like her parents or anyone else. So it is a story of growing up in social, physical, and psychological chaos.

I have to admit to loving the story. I did get tired of the God Seed of her making against the biblical verses of her father. But it was her experience so I accepted it as the character point of view not preaching to the reader. This blended with her bringing together a group of people wandering up the California highway and byways while protecting each other and defending their rights to live in this new world.

Though the story leaves the reader in a safe place, not a cliffhanger, I feel the need to read the next and see what happens now that they have settled. My e-library had this one but not the next so I requested they get it.

It must be nice for black readers to have stories that reflect them. I’m not black but I would love to see diversity more often. As much as I am loving seeing female authors writing strong female characters, let’s see more of the female experience in other races and experiences. Maybe our future generations of people will have books written from all points of view encouraging the reading experience by all society! I’d love to read more about women who are in their sixties and seventies and older! Let’s make sure everyone gets to see the world from characters like them!

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If you read the above you will notice I used the prompt word ‘social’ a couple times. I was going to do two separate posts but computer issues prevented it. So this is a combo of Review and Stream of Consciousness Saturday.


Against the Current (Zombies! #2)Against the Current by R.S. Merritt
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was the second book that was also on Kindle Unlimited. I enjoyed it as much as the first, maybe more as there were fewer mistakes. Starting a sentence with Him is never a good idea unless you’re baby-talking with an infant. And only if you don’t care how that child learns to talk. Luckily that only happened at the end of the book so I managed to actually enjoy the story more.

As one can’t really predict who might die or live in the Zombie Apocalypse, I will try not to take offense at who died and who didn’t. I certainly won’t give spoilers, as much as I wish I could.

My biggest problem is the cliffhanger. Truly I think this would be a better book if sold all as one. I’m not at all thrilled to wait until the next is written. Even if it is free I don’t want to read it. I will assume the right people survive and all becomes good in the world after.

This is not to say that others wouldn’t love these two books. There is enough to make the reader engage and hope for the best. The characters are nicely developed and one wishes them all a good life!

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We Witches Three Books 1-6We Witches Three Books 1-6 by Humphrey Quinn
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m pretty sure I’ve read these books before, at least the first three or four. I can’t find my review anywhere. I think I felt the same thing for the books then as now. There are aspects of the story I like. Witches and librarians (bookstore owner). The things I hate are too many males overpowering in any way the females. There are too many brothers trying to hold down the young witch. Plus a vampire who feels he should protect her. Then a jealous boyfriend. And that teen angst. UGH! Does he love me? What if I do this will he still love me? What garbage. Books should teach girls to be strong in their own individualism.

Don’t get me wrong. I stayed with it and kept reading. There is enough going on that the reader gets into the tension of what will happen next. And this six-book combo was free on Kindle Unlimited. So I went with it.

One last thing I HATE is cliff-hangers! I would have just left it at that had the next set of books cost even a penny. But it was also free on Kindle Unlimited. But I have a ton of books to read before I can get around to it.

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The Payback Letters (Payback Society Book 2)The Payback Letters by Cidney Swanson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book. Gladly. I have loved every book Cidney Swanson has written. I always admit that my favorites were the Saving Mars series. But the time travels, and Ripplers and now the Paybacks have been a delight to read, also.

Cidney has characters that are believable, relatable, even when they seem to be well to do, and going to a rich-kid boarding school. BUT this brain got confused in this book. So a warning: Clair is the main character of the first book and Fiona is of this second book. What kept confusing me (or unconfusing) were that I remembered that Clair’s parents were dead and her brother had helped in significant ways. Fiona’s aunt keeps referring to her parents helping with tuition and her brother being dead. I am horrid at remembering names But relatively good at recognizing certain aspects of a story. I had to go to the book blurbs to understand where I was getting confused. If you read book one, you remember poor Fiona going with the horrid Sly. That should lead you down the trail of the story Ms. Swanson has present us.

After I understood who the star was, I think I love her more than Clair. Yeah, she gets a little gah-gah about a guy, but in the long run, I was rooting for them as much as for Fiona’s future.

Since the Payback series is separate from Ms. Swanson’s other books, you can pick them up and enjoy them now without reading everything else. That said, I hope you read the rest, eventually, as they are all fun adventures. I wish I had someone writing these kinds of books when I was a teen.

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