Tag Archive: text-to-speech-enabled



FireFire by L.B. Gilbert
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Is it the pandemic or what? I think I would have loved this book before but…

Tanya Eby, narrator, was quite good at the many voices it took to tell the story. I tried just using the text-to-speech and found that dull. Maybe if my eyes were good enough to follow along I would like it more. I would have been able to get deeper into the story. Ms. Eby’s voice brought me into the world of the fire elemental.

I must have enjoyed it because I listened to the end. I did like the main character. But often I tired. I honestly don’t think it was the writing or character development. I really think this could have been the most exciting book ever. It was just my inability to concentrate. So don’t take my word for it. Check it out. Maybe when life settles I’ll try it again and see if I don’t actually love it.

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The Storekeeper A Tale of Small Town Life: A Tale of Small Town LifeThe Storekeeper A Tale of Small Town Life: A Tale of Small Town Life by Pearl Whitfield
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I was young I loved spending the night with friends. I loved seeing how other people lived. I found it interesting how the parents were different from my own, even how the friend became different in their own home than they were at school. I think that is why I love to move to new places. Not traveling, you don’t get the truth by visiting, but sinking into a community. Big cities, small towns, and finally the smallest I have ever lived in. I think those raised and who stayed find fault in the other. Small town people make fun of city-folk, city folks laugh at the country folk. They both have their points and their blindnesses.

Such is reading The Storekeeper. It is a tale about a small town. It takes a few people and follows them as does the main character, Ralph Johnson, widower, sinks in as a storekeeper. As the spiderweb of acquaintances grows we learn about others as he does. We hear the bigotry and the gossip, but we see the mature people that are open to help those in need rather than make fun of something different.

I was not a fan of Ralph. I wished he were female. But of my seventy years, fifty or more was spent reading books about males. When I asked my librarian when I was a kid, then as an adult the only answer was that it was to encourage boys to read. Why didn’t I deserve to be encouraged? Oh, yeah, because they were going to get jobs and needed to be readers to be smarter. And the reasoning loses something for me in that with all my reading I still didn’t get the good jobs my male classmates got for a lot less education. So as an old lady I am more demanding of my main characters, especially those who were created by female authors.

Still, Ralph gave us the insight we needed for the various people we meet in the town. He is kind and tries to give as much as he can to those around him. This is where my interests in the book developed. I loved the females brought into Ralph’s circle. I wanted to know more about the little girl and her mother. I wanted to know more about the woman dying of cancer, I wanted to know more about the love interest.

The book seemed longer than I would have liked, yet in the end, I wanted more. Maybe there is a book two coming that focuses on the other people other than Ralph? As a newbie in a small town, I get lost as to how to negotiate social situations. But that may be my own social anxiety. And fibro that keeps me as unreliable as I stay home when I am in pain to great to be out driving. I have no clue as to how folks move from being the grocery bagger to the big farmer, maybe there is a way besides being born to it? The difference between rich and poor seems far more visible here than in the city.

Anyway, during this pandemic, while everyone is looking for peace, this is a great book to slow it down and sink into another life. This could make a great television series!

By the way, here is the cover as it is on Amazon:

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Reign of Monsters (Artifact Hunters, #2)Reign of Monsters by S.M. Reine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Who doesn’t enjoy a were-squirrel? Shatter Cage is one of the most fun characters in Sara Reine’s worlds. He is determined. His heart seems in the right place, for a thief. And he seems to have more energy than most folks.

With all that is going on, it was a nice fantasy to get lost in. We visit other places and characters from Reine universes. The setting of this one wasn’t Reno like a lot of them but it is a place we recognize. I don’t want to give much away but I think many will love the world-making and character depth that Ms. Reine puts into all of her beings. Again, she is the most prolific author I know of!

If you like fantasy especially urban fantasy that uses real places and remade to her characters’ purposes. Though this is the second book with Shatter, I find that by having read all the books from the beginning, Seasons of the Moon series starting with Six Moon Summer. In fact, this book gave us a nod or two to that beginning. Please enjoy!

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Julianne's Wish (Magically Ever After Series Book 1)Julianne’s Wish by Marie Navarro
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was lucky to get the sign paperback version of this book. I have loved the author’s other young adult fae stories. And I can say that now, having finished this book, I like it an look forward to what will happen in the series.

BUT that is not how I felt as I read it. At first, I only had the paperback. I had to use a magnifying piece of plastic to read it. The font was too small for my eyes. I finally ordered the Kindle version so I could listen to the text-to-speech.

That wasn’t the only problem I had with the book. Oh, sure, it was written well. Like I said I love Marie’s writing. And had this been written 20 years ago, not only would I be open to the amount of erotica and romance that plays around within the story, the ‘Me, too’ movement hadn’t been as strong. Though not triggery to me, there were parts that others might have a problem with.

Had this not been the product of a person I like and whose previous books I liked, I might have put the book away. But that is where I was lucky. I knew there would be something to make this story take off. Sure enough toward the end, I found that nugget. Yes! Now I cared about the characters and why they were the way they were.

Let that be the lesson you learn here. Take your time. Read it all. I think in the end you will be happy you did. Some adventures are difficult. But isn’t that what makes the adventure? Not only can you not judge a book by the covers, don’t judge the characters in the book by their strange actions. Guess that could be applied to people we meet in real life. Not everyone is exciting or understandable.

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A Duel in Time: A Time Travel Romance (Thief in Time Book 5)A Duel in Time: A Time Travel Romance by Cidney Swanson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Inspirational! Who doesn’t enjoy a good time-travel book? This one addresses the subject of the musical Hamilton. What fun! And now I have to go find the books about him and the sheet music to play with, and learn to sing the tunes like I did with Phantom and Les Miz.

But the book isn’t all about the musical. It covered a lot about the history and character of the man, statesman, politician, Alexander Hamilton. And the fictitious twins of this century and their coming of age issues.

I always enjoy books by Cidney Swanson. I always have to say that her Saving Mars series is my favorite but all her work is so fantastic it is only that I have to be the old grown-up with left-over space-travel dreams that I gravitate to those books. But Time-Travel is fun, and educational and inspires me so much! Enjoy! I did!

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Payback's a Witch (Witch Detective #1)Payback’s a Witch by Constance Barker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this and the second book out of order as I wasn’t sure which was which. I wish that the Kindle people would put a large number on the little image of books so that it wouldn’t happen the way it did for me.

That said, I wasn’t as far off in what I believed happened in the second book and first book. I was prepared to read number two again if I needed it, but it all straightened itself out in my head.

This series is very light and fun a kind of cozy mystery. So if you are looking for a fun quick read, check these out. And the plus is that they are free with Kindle Unlimited. I hope you get the chance to check them out.

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No Crones About It (A Spell's Angels Cozy Mystery #2)No Crones About It by Amanda M. Lee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you are looking for a fun distraction, nothing too heavy or crazy, this is it. This series is about fun. Of course, you have to be the kind of person who enjoys a bit of snark.

There is a bit of shapeshifter and witchy romance but it is far from angsty. It is just the right amount of tension and fun between two people.

I am grateful to Kindle Unlimited to get to read this little gem.

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The Spellslinger (A Fistful of Daggers #4)The Spellslinger by S.M. Reine

Sara Reine has done it again. I love that we get to visit our favorite characters over and over in an ever-renewing timeline. Once again we visit the Reno-Tahoe area which for me, makes for one more character to enjoy.

Through the characters, Ms. Reine asks questions that remind me of why I loved Sci-fi for all my life. With deities, angels, and demons, subjects like philosophy, religion, and why things happen the way they do, and how it applies to our norms, all this comes up in the course of the story and makes the reader think. That is my favorite kind of writing. It isn’t preachy, it doesn’t even set up any rule to follow. These are questions the characters present as they chase down the next plot twist.

Ms. Reine writes so well and keeps the reader involved. I almost always finish her books quickly as I don’t want to stop reading until the end.

As always, I suggest a person go back to the beginning, Six Moon Summer and read the gazillion other books, they are all terrific. I can’t wait to read the next book! What will she come up with next?

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Fat Girl Walking: Sex, Food, Love, and Being Comfortable in Your Skin...Every Inch of ItFat Girl Walking: Sex, Food, Love, and Being Comfortable in Your Skin…Every Inch of It by Brittany Gibbons
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Autobiographies are harder to rate. This is someone’s life and their opinions of what they have been through. But as such, this was a fun book, in spite of the awful things that Brittany Gibbons has gone through, and her rise to fame, the story is an interesting read. And Brittany does have a fun sense of humor.

Since nearly 40% of the population is overweight or obese and every one of us has been weight shamed, even the skinny-minis. And no one that I know of has yet to lose weight from being shamed. Few have been able to maintain a weight-loss when they have tried. I think a new method needs to be tried. Since nearly half of us are afflicted. How about more of Brittany? Let’s celebrate life and live it. Let’s be okay with our bodies regardless. Let’s be okay with other folks as they are and let them live. Sure we all can improve. Just remember, just because your sins aren’t worn on the outside, doesn’t mean you are as bad or as unhealthy as the ones you like to shame.

So, stepping off the soapbox. This is a fun read

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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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