Tag Archives: eBooks

1 Hour Of Reading #Kindle Unlimited Books / Tried 5 #Books / Which Is The Best? #001

Time for a new series! I hope it’s helpful/useful for people looking through the giant Kindle store for books to read. Even for people who don’t have a Kindle Unlimited membership but enjoy eBooks, some of these titles are often heavily discounted on Amazon on a regular basis so they may be TBR hopefuls and woth following. Some also have paperback options.

For those unaware of Kindle Unlimited, it’s a digital reading subscription service where you can pick from over 1 million titles- books, audiobooks, and magazines. You can check out up to ten at a time and can re-check out books whenever you wish. New users can get a free 30-day trial and the typical cost is $9.99 per month. They do have a deal where returning customers can pay $29.99 for 3 months which is a pretty splendid deal. I tried it out for three months and reading the books on my phone, iPad, and Kindle harmoniously was pretty great. It’s a nice service if you find several books of interest on there.
Disclosure : This post contains affiliate links, I’d get a small commission if you purchase the associated books/services using them.


Here are the basic steps I’ll be taking in this series…

1.) Pick 5 random Kindle Unlimited books.
2.) Set a timer on my phone to go off in ten minutes.
3.) Read the book uninterrupted. Stop when the timer goes off.
4.) Write my thoughts.
5.) Repeat until all 5 are sampled.
6.) Pick a favorite of the batch.


1.) The Hundredth Queen by Emily R. King ($4.99 / Free on KU.)
Genre : YA Fantasy
Standout Quote : “I would rather stay in Samiya and serve the Gods than leave and serve a man.”

Wow, this book is well-written so far. Takes place in a fantasy world wherein the main character, Kalinda, is part of a sisterhood of what seem to be battle maidens. Her best friend is a girl named Jaya and the descriptions of their friendship seem sweet. Kalinda worries that she or one of her companions is going to be chosen to marry a stranger and leave the sisterhood. The world building is nice, I usually don’t like using the word exotic but the atmosphere seems colorfully exotic and I’m curious to continue. This is the first in a four book series.

Verdict : Interested. (3/5)


2.) Beneath A Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan ($5.99)
Genre : Historical Fiction / Based On A True Story

Standout Quote : “So we will be bombed?” “I pray it does not happen,” Cardinal Schuster said, “but a prudent man will always prepare for the worst. Good-bye, and may your faith in God keep you safe in the days ahead, Pino.”

This title has the distinction of a whopping 26,000+ reviews on Amazon. A movie adaptation starring Tom Holland is in development. This book starts with a lengthy preface by the author, exploring his motivations for telling this story. He met and bonded with it’s main character, Pino. This book is the result of much research and Pino’s accounts of what had happened to him during World War 2 in Italy. The story starts when he is just 17 years old, in Italy. This is one of the books that most caught my attention in getting Kindle Unlimited in the first place and the writing style is very approachable, will eventually return to this one.

Verdict – Very Interested, but need to be in a historical fiction mood. (3.5/5)


3.) Full Tilt by Emma Scott ($3.99)
Genre : Romance, Contemporary

Standout Quote : “God, I hated this. The pathetic tone of my voice. The bragging of the band’s accomplishments, begging my mother to feel happy for our success when I hardly felt a thing myself, except the need to be loved. It was a hunger that was never sated.”

Even though I consider myself a fan of romance, the same-y sounding scenarios get tiring after a while. Bad boy corrupts good girl. They live happily ever after once they work out his alpha hijinks. I’d heard some things about Full Tilt before that gave me serious pause, as in full-of-intrigue pause. First of all, the heroine Kacey is a homeless grunge metal guitarist and a “bad girl” so-to-speak and the love interest is… a good, wholesome guy? And he’s very ill and possibly dying, which may violate the HEA (happily ever after) clause that seems to be an enforced rule in romance. I love seeing conventions bucked in romance, so I’ve got to read it. The writing style grabs me so far, very excited.

Verdict : TBR’d (5/5)


4.) Labyrinth Angel ($8.99)
Genre : Romance, Novella, Light Novel (Basically Japanese novella w/some tiny number of anime illustrations here and there.)

Standout Quote : Satsuki trusted him wholeheartedly, which earned him the respect of the wind and trees. That was how he was able to feel their “emotions” despite not possessing powers of his own.

The descriptions bring to mind a shoujo manga (aka girls-oriented comic) whirling with some flowery descriptions of, well, flowers. The main character Satsuki seems strong-willed and vibrant so far and has telekinetic powers. Her love interest- Shindo- is also her guardian/bodyguard. There does seem to be an age gap between them and he has been trained since boyhood to protect her at all costs. He seems to utterly worship the heroine and literally bows down to her. I’ve got to say, after reading The Hating Game and other various romances with petulant love interests, I’m kind of experiencing whiplash right now with this guy, lol. I like the writing style, it’s loose and easy, if not particularly sophisticated. Seems like a nice guilty pleasure.

Update : This title seems to have been removed from free reading on Kindle Unlimited. 😦 It is still available for purchase however so I am including it in this batch nonetheless. I highly recommend reading what you can on KU when you have a membership as books are removed from the service once in a while, kind of like how shows on Netflix/Hulu work.

Verdict – TBR, planning to read and review. (4/5)


These Unnatural Men by E.J. Babb
Genre : General Fiction, Sci fi, Speculative Fiction

Standout Quote : “We have an essential role in society but the public still views us with the same superstitious fear as they do a morgue or a graveyard.”

There seem to be some issues with punctuation but this has book has one of the more sophisticated writing styles of any in this list. There is palpable intensity. The main character, Nieve, is a specialist that performs euthanasia on patients in a distant future. The story starts where a grieving husband brings his wife in for the procedure. She is experiencing the final stages of dementia. Curious about where the characterization will go and the aims of the story as a social commentary.

Verdict – Interested (3.5/5)


What a nice and varied reading session this was! Now to pick my favorite of the batch…

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french toast dessert GIF

Full Tilt stands out the most to me, could be that I’m just in that type of reading mood. Always nice to see books that seem very different from the conventions of their genres and I’m always extra curious about those outliers.

Which of these five have you read or would you want to read? Always loving to hear your thoughts. Thanks so much for reading this feature and thanks as always for your comments and likes, they are much appreciated! ~ Kitty

Amazon eBooks Sunday Sales – Sci-Fi & Fantasy

So on my to do list of posts is a series on Kindles, eBooks, and my own experiences with e-readers. They’re all still in the works but after seeing an Amazon update today on a number of hugely discounted titles that are prominent in my TBR I’ve been inspired to do this post.

These titles are only sale today, Sunday, August 18th 2019. I notice that sometimes prices are still valid for a few days but act now if you’re interested in any of these. Please do note that these are eBooks and they are viewable on Amazon Kindles or on phones or tablets that have the Kindle app installed.

There are 60+ titles on sale but here is a short list of 10 that stand out and my thoughts on them. If you’ve read any of these books before please do feel free to comment, I am interested in your thoughts on them.

1.) Animal Farm by George Orwell / Amazon Link / $2.99 (On Read Shelf, Rating – 5/5)

This is a timeless and always relevant classic. A quick and fairly easy read that really gets you thinking. I haven’t re-read it in a while and will be re-reading and reviewing it in the future on this blog. This title is easily recommendable to just about anyone.

2.) Severence by Ling Ma / Amazon Link / $3.99 (TBR, Goodreads avg 3.84)

Ling Ma’s Severance is a moving family story, a quirky coming-of-adulthood tale, and a hilarious, deadpan satire. Very curious about this title. Literary fiction, Asian fiction, Dystopian, social commentary, just wow. If anyone has read this please let me know your thoughts.

3.) Timeless (#1) by R.A. Salvatore / Amazon Link / $1.99 (TBR, Goodreads avg 4.25)

An all-new trilogy full of swordplay, danger, and imaginative thrills. Has anyone read R.A. Salvatore? I keep seeing his name pop up whenever I look up recommended fantasy and this is a first in series (though to be understanding, the character is present in other books.)

4.) The Magicians (#1) by Lev Grossman / Amazon Link / $1.99 (TBR, Goodreads avg 3.51)

A thrilling and original coming-of-age novel for adults about a young man practicing magic in the real world. My followed review list on Goodreads shows some very mixed and polarizing opinions on this title! It sounds like Harry Potter, but for adults, and it has a main character that is popularly disliked. Apparently the writing is pretty good but a lot of people question the main character’s actions. I have an occasional fascination with unconventional/unlikable main characters sometimes so I’m really curious..

5.) Burn (#1) by Suzanne Wright / Amazon Link / $1.99 (TBR, Goodreads avg 4.17)

This has a long synopsis so I’ll leave it out. Long story short this is a paranormal romance, gritty urban fantasy. The heroine is a tattooist who lives among demons and has a psychic mate. It’s a 5 book series. I’ve seen it around and am curious to add it to my sort of crowded paranormal romance TBR.

6.) The Trials of Morrigan Crow (#1) by Jessica Townsend / Amazon Link / $1.99 (TBR, Goodreads avg 4.39)

First in the Nevermoor series. I am definitely getting this one. It’s a Harry Potter-like middle grade fantasy but with a female heroine. Nearly 500 pages. It’s been on my TBR for a few years and I think it’s time.

7.) The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale / Amazon Link / $1.99 (TBR, Goodreads avg 4.15)

There is this booktuber (Book reviewing Youtuber, basically) on Youtube named Jordan Harvey. I’ve watched several of her reviews and her thoughts on The Goose Girl are so impassioned. I love hearing about childhood books that have touched people, so I have been keenly curious in this title ever since. It’s a middle grade fantasy.

8.) Firelight (#1) by Kristen Callihan / Amazon Link / $1.99 (TBR, Goodreads avg 3.77)

Miranda Ellis is a woman tormented. Plagued since birth by a strange and powerful gift, she has spent her entire life struggling to control her exceptional abilities. So this one is a paranormal.. victorian romance? That’s kind of an unusual setting for PR! I love victorian, steampunk, and gothic settings so that’s basically what catches my eye about this one. Not YA though the cover looks so.

9. Garden of Thorns (#1) by Amber Mitchell / Amazon Link / $0.99 (TBR, Goodreads avg 3.66)

After seven grueling years of captivity in the Garden—a burlesque troupe of slave girls—sixteen-year-old Rose finds an opportunity to escape during a performance for the emperor. This is a YA/Fantasy/Romance that seems to have some political intrigue as the heroine is part of an uprising / rebellion.

10. The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane / Amazon Link / $3.99 (TBR, Goodreads avg 3.71)

A spellbinding, beautifully written novel that moves between contemporary times and one of the most fascinating and disturbing periods in American history–the Salem witch trials. Salem witch trials!! I have been hungry to read a book in this setting. Honestly I haven’t read a book like that since R.L. Stine’s Fear Street Saga which I still love utterly by the way. This is in the historical fiction / mystery / paranormal – witches category.


As always, thanks for reading and thanks in advance for any comments and likes! Have you read any of these books or are any of them also on your TBR? If you’ve reviewed any of these in the past please let me know, I will check out your blog/review! Please do note that if you miss these sales prices I have noticed that books on sale like this sometimes (not always, but sometimes) end up on sale again in the near future so no worries.

Full Review : The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

The Glass Castle: A Memoir

Year Published : 2005
Genre/Tags : Coming-of-Age, Family, Poverty, Memoir, Nonfiction
Mood : Mainly bleak/heavy.
Edition : Kindle eBook
# of Pages : 288 Pages (Paperback)

Overview

Jeannette Walls grew up with parents whose ideals and stubborn nonconformity were both their curse and their salvation. Rex and Rose Mary Walls had four children. In the beginning, they lived like nomads, moving among Southwest desert towns, camping in the mountains. Rex was a charismatic, brilliant man who, when sober, captured his children’s imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and above all, how to embrace life fearlessly. Rose Mary, who painted and wrote and couldn’t stand the responsibility of providing for her family, called herself an “excitement addict.” Cooking a meal that would be consumed in fifteen minutes had no appeal when she could make a painting that might last forever. 

Later, when the money ran out, or the romance of the wandering life faded, the Walls retreated to the dismal West Virginia mining town — and the family — Rex Walls had done everything he could to escape. He drank. He stole the grocery money and disappeared for days. As the dysfunction of the family escalated, Jeannette and her brother and sisters had to fend for themselves, supporting one another as they weathered their parents’ betrayals and, finally, found the resources and will to leave home. 

What is so astonishing about Jeannette Walls is not just that she had the guts and tenacity and intelligence to get out, but that she describes her parents with such deep affection and generosity. Hers is a story of triumph against all odds, but also a tender, moving tale of unconditional love in a family that despite its profound flaws gave her the fiery determination to carve out a successful life on her own terms. 

For two decades, Jeannette Walls hid her roots. Now she tells her own story.

Review

I wasn’t sure how I’d feel getting into this one, having rarely read non-fiction memoirs. Turns out that the writing style employed here flows similarly to fiction, very approachable and easy to engage with. Even if the content is heavy and uncomfortable.

The story starts with our meeting Jeannette when she’s little more than a toddler. She has one slightly older sibling and two younger ones. Her family is highly unconventional. A group of eccentric drifters who believe in utter self-sufficiency and exist on the absolute fringes of society. Her mother is a very self-involved artist. Her father is a creative dreamer who struggles with addiction. They both make often shocking decisions that constantly put their four little children at risk and in destitute conditions.

The parents are very realized characters, written with a complex blend of affection and profound disappointment on the part of the narrater. At some earlier sections I had an inkling of sympathy for the parents, given the harshness of their lifestyle and lack of support. The reader is meant to think of them as multi-layered, very flawed but very human individuals. It’s hard empathizing with them the way the heroine does, as so much of the neglect faced by their children is nearly unforgivable.

Many sections are startling in general. Some examples-

  • The parents refuse to lock doors or windows and strangers come traipsing into their home.
  • At a young age, the kids fear being assaulted and gather weapons or gadgets to defend themselves and each other from pedophiles and bullies.
  • Their father, believing himself to be in tune with nature and all its creatures, climbs into wild animal enclosures at a local zoo and encourages his kids to pet them.
  • At one point the kids live in a house so fallen into disrepair that they risk electrocution by navigating the kitchen.

These are just a few of the outrageous things that occur. The descriptions of poverty are also very vivid, the way the struggles of the desperately poor in Appalachia is conveyed is shocking to read about.

I liked this book, and to my understanding it has quite favorable ratings on Goodreads and elsewhere and some level of popularity. But it’s hard to explain what is appealing about it.

My review up to this point probably makes this reading experience seem darkly dysfunctional. But Jeannette Walls’s writing is majorly unique in a sense of taking these events and infusing them with a unique perspective that isn’t gloom-filled. There are even several moments containing a sort of dark humor. The descriptions are concise but often written in beautiful or enlivening ways.

She is very in-tune with telling this story of her childhood and the childish viewpoint is endearing and genuine. The story unfurls like a series of vignettes, with each scene being a few pages and having a strong closing line. The pace is brisk due to this approach. The focus is so clear and close during the main character’s childhood and teen years.

And that brings me to the criticisms portion of things. Toward the end of the book, as the heroine edges closer to adulthood- she comes closer to a world with greater opportunities. But at that point the focus becomes more distant, more telling instead of showing as moments fly by too fast. I also felt like her parents were so detailed but her siblings, while very likable, were noticeably less vibrantly characterized.

This book is under 300 pages so understandably it would have to be substantially longer to make room for everything, but there would certainly have been something to be gained from showing with deeper clarity how her life improved after all of those hardships. Totally open to reading a sequel. As a stand-alone, this book is still well done and provides a lot to talk and think about.

Overall Rating – 9/10

Why You Should Try It – Terrific writing. Sheds light on an important topic that is both thought-provoking and sparks discussion. This memoir is told like a story to get lost in. The main character and her parents are brought to life with searing honesty. The descriptions of poverty are very realistic, and the heroine’s perspective draws in the reader and fosters understanding.

Criticisms – Less so a criticism than a warning, this is a heavy book that can be upsetting to read. Mainly I felt anger for what the characters endured. Jeannette’s siblings needed more character development, and the ending could have been a bit longer to add some much-needed depth to important closing events.

The Glass Castle: A Memoir (Amazon Link, Click To View This Book on Amazon.)

Have you read this book or are interested in reading it? Have any questions? Please feel free to share your thoughts, I read and appreciate all your likes and comments. Thanks so much for reading!