Audiobook: The Testaments

The Testaments (The Handmaid's Tale, #2)

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is Book 2 in The Handmaid’s Tale. Book 1 had a voice that drew me in and kept me spellbound. Book 2 has a different voice, which I readily accepted because different characters tell the story.

I read some bad reviews before reading Book 2. Terrible reviews. However, I must disagree with them. The Testaments revisit some well-known characters and introduces new ones. It provides more back story and fills in blanks left at the end of Book 1.

For me, the book beckoned me back to it during the hours that I could not return to Gilead. Surprisingly, I identified with the story because of what’s happening in the world right now (COVID-19).

I guess, for me, Book 1 felt as it if was seeing Gilead from the inside, leaving me feeling oppressed and worthless. Offred had no hope and surrounded the reader, me, with that same feeling. The words must be powerful to have that effect.

However, Book 2 felt as if it saw Gilead from the outside looking in. By this, I mean we approach the story from a different angle. We see how a person can appear mean and nasty but are fighting the fight behind closed doors. We witness Gilead official’s weaknesses and their enemies. And, like in every down-trodden era, we discover brave people who are willing to stand and fight against the powers of the world.

What I’m trying to say is that Book 1 took hope away and Book 2 gives it back.

Personally, I think both books are brilliant, and I highly recommend both of them.

Audiobook: Amelia Fang and the Barbaric Ball

Amelia Fang and the Barbaric Ball: 1

Amelia Fang and the Barbaric Ball: 1 by Laura Ellen Anderson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

My local library has added a heap of new content to their elibrary and I’ve been taking advantage of this.

The Amelia Fang series is written for the younger audience of 9+. Typically, I stay away from vampire stories but decided to give this one a go to see what I thought.

I admit the story is fast-paced. However, the characters and storyline didn’t appeal to me. Yet I believe the target audience will love the quirkiness and wit behind the main characters, as well as their crazy adventures.

I didn’t dislike the book but I’m not eager to search out the remaining books in the series. As I don’t have much else to say for this book, I’ll leave it for you decide if you like the series or not.

Audiobook: The Handmaid’s Tale

The Handmaid's Tale (The Handmaid's Tale, #1)

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was written in the 1980s. Strangely, I had never heard of it until last year when some women at work were talking about the TV series. Their chatter caught my attention. I looked it up and discovered a book existed. I have not watched the series, but now I have read the book.

The book is brilliant.

The storyline is set in a possible near future when the world goes crazy, and instead of moving forward, we go sidewards and backwards.

The main character tells us about her life, then and now. The difference. The confusion. The wanting. The uncertainty. And the fear. I believe each reader will take from this book something different. For me, it told of a woman who beyond all else wanted to survive–and would do anything to achieve her goal. Yet she planned for failure too. She thought of ways to “escape”.

In her new world, who could be trusted? What was the truth? It would be scary to live her life.

Honestly, this book is worth reading. It makes you think long and hard about the world around us, about ourselves, and whether or not the author had a crystal ball. Unfortunately, I can see the handmaid’s life becoming real in some ways if we are not careful.

Recommended.

Audiobook: The Eye of the World

The Eye of the World (Wheel of Time, #1)

The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In the early 1990s, I read the first three books of the Wheel of Time series. That’s almost 30 years ago, so I was not surprised to find I didn’t remember much. I did remember names and a basic storyline, but no details that scream at me while reading (or in my case, listen).

Back in the day, the thicker the book, the happier I was. However, these days, thick books turn me off reading them. Hence, the decision to revisit this series via audiobook. Audiobooks rock!

The Eye of the World has many characters. It can get confusing remember how they all fit together. I know the characters (as already mentioned), but if I didn’t, I believe I’d be craving more character development. Maybe, if this were the first time I’d read the book, a connection to the characters wouldn’t have taken place. Yet, a link must have taken place 30 years ago, or maybe I just made up my own characteristics for them (it’s a huge possibility). Who knows?

Anyway, I feel as if I know the characters and the rereading of this book was to reintroduce myself to the storyline, of which I remember very little. I enjoyed it then and I enjoyed it again now. It’s a typical fantasy story which moves the characters over vast continents of land looking for something or fleeing from someone (or both). The world is built on a strong foundation.

I look forward to finding out more in future books.

Sorry, this isn’t much a review. It’s more of a pouring out of thoughts that won’t make sense to you. But it makes perfect sense to me. 😀

I am going to listen to the entire series. This is something I’ve been meaning to do for some years and have now started on the journey. As I type this, I’m already twelve or so chapters into the next book.

A Bit of Fitness

I describe myself as a nerd. And, in my opinion, nerds don’t do sport. In fact, I can safely say that I hate sport. I hate doing it. I hate watching it. I hate talking about it. I hate everything about it. Always have.

Yet, strangely, I bought a Fitbit with my Christmas money. Crazy, I know. I cannot get my head around that, but I’ve wanted one for over 18 months. Maybe it’s just a fad. We’ll see.

Anyway, after taking some time to set it up, I placed it on my wrist and did my normal thing. I’m always pottering about, so I guessed my numbers would be high. Not 10,000 steps high, but close to it.

I got a shock.

My numbers were very, VERY low.

Nerd or not, I was not impressed with myself and immediately set a goal to improve my activity level. I started out slow and steady (because that’s how I do things) and gradually turned the dial up. Now, six weeks later, I am proud to say that I am hitting 10,000 steps every day. That may sound silly or trivial to you, but for me, it’s a big step up (excuse the pun).

Yesterday, I did another crazy thing. I dragged out a piece of gym equipment that hasn’t seen the light of day for five years. After getting the dirt and cobwebs off it, I set another goal. This one is to strengthen my arms and legs because I’m weak as a newborn kitten.

I still hate sport, but I do realise that I need to take care of myself and be fit if I want to stay strong and healthy in my senior years, which are steadily approaching.

eBook Review: Spooky Magic

Spooky Magic

Spooky Magic by Elena Paige

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

The blurb: Being the only witch at my school is the best thing ever! So when the new girl turns out to be a witch too, someone awful and horrid from my old life, you know there’s going to be trouble.

My review: I didn’t enjoy this book as much as the first book.

Spooky Magic is the second book in a series for young readers. It is quick, fun and quirky. I especially liked the beginning and the end, but the middle felt chaotic to me. I found that when I put the book down, I procrastinated about picking it up again. But I eventually did and finished it today.

While the storyline was chaotic, I appreciated the lessons the book presented to the reader — friendship, jealousy, selfishness. I guess the author attempted to show that when we are focused on what’s happening to us, with no thought of others, then we can say and do wrong things. We can try and justify our actions, but it doesn’t change the fact that we were selfish. Anyway, I liked the way the author resolved the issues the main character was having. It made the book worth reading.

Young readers will enjoy the colourful main character and her offsiders, and the situations they find themselves in.

I received a review copy of this book, and this is an honest review.

eBook Review: Secret Magic

Secret Magic (Evie Everyday Witch #1)

Secret Magic by Elena Paige

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The blurb: My name is Evie Everyday and I’m a witch. But all I’ve ever wanted is to be a Lamron. That’s the word normal spelled backward. Anyways, now I have the chance to go to a regular school and be a regular girl I’ll do whatever it takes to fit in.

Fitting in is easy. All I have to do is:

Keep my magic a secret Swap my favourite colourful clothes for boring black ones Suck up to scary Mrs Rogers, the school principal Keep my pet cat, bat and corncob from causing any trouble And stay away from Izzy. She’s all colourful and funny and awesome…. and not helpful for fitting in.

But when everything starts to go wrong, there’s only one way to save my new school…use magic. And only one person who can help me…Izzy!

My review: Books about witches are generally something I avoid. But this book is different because it’s for young readers. I knew it would be light-hearted and fun. Besides, I loved the colourful cover.

Young readers will love the mayhem of the main character, Evie. She’s different but doesn’t want to be. She wants what most of us want–to fit in and be accepted. As a result of this strong desire, Evie allows herself to be moulded into someone she’s not, at a significant cost to herself.

There is often a lot happening in this story. The terms weird, fun, and mayhem describe the characters and storyline the best, in my opinion. I believe young readers will enjoy what they read and will want to return to Evie’s life to see what she gets up to next.

I received a review copy of this book, and this is an honest review.