Monday, October 22, 2018

The Stepford Florist by J. T. Lawrence

I read the ebook edition of The Stepford Florist by J. T. Lawrence, which is approximately 82 pages in length. I was able to download this steampunk/cyber thriller for FREE to my Kindle from Amazon. Below is my honest, unbiased review of The Stepford Florist by J. T. Lawrence.

I thought The Stepford Florist by J. T. Lawrence wasn't as good as expected based on the summary I read of it on Amazon. Plus, this short story/novella had 30 reviews and a 4+ star rating on Amazon, but I felt that The Stepford Florist by J. T. Lawrence simply didn't live up to the hype. Mediocre story, characters, and writing. Let's just say I'll be skipping on any of J. T. Lawrence's other works.

The following is a summary for The Stepford Florist by J. T. Lawrence from Amazon:
Jasmine is arrested for performing a bootleg vampire facelift in her modded-out steampunk caravan.
She’s thrilled, because it's worked out exactly as she planned.

Jasmine has mastered moonlighting.

She's a steampunk inventor, a cosmetician, and a gene-hacking florist.
And then there’s her real job: exposing evil corps and dodgy clinics.

When Jasmine, the head of Alba—an underground biopunk organisation—is tipped off that something morally dubious is happening at the city’s most luxurious high-tech spa, she takes it upon herself to investigate, and discovers a whole lot more than she bargained for.

(Warning: Contains colorful language and sex.)

This short standalone spin-off novelette is set in the near-future When Tomorrow Calls world, and introduces Jasmine, Seth and Keke, just before we meet Kirsten, the kick-ass main character in Why You Were Taken.

I am giving The Stepford Florist by J. T. Lawrence a rating of 2 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Flash Fiction Mix-And-Match Writing Prompts by Corrine Kenner

I purchased the paperback edition of Flash Fiction Mix-And-Match Writing Prompts by Corrine Kenner from Amazon due to the great reviews.

I have mixed feelings about Flash Fiction Mix-And-Match Writing Prompts by Corrine Kenner. Yes, this book is as described in that it provides excellent mix and match writing prompts in order to help writers come up with a storyline. The directions are excellent on how to use the book... And there are even additional writing tips, tricks, and hints at the end of the book to help hone your writing skills. I also love how well this book is organized.

However, Flash Fiction Mix-And-Match Writing Prompts by Corrine Kenner is more of a booklet than a book at 28 pages in length. I felt like the price of this booklet was steep. Additionally, I feel like you could easily find writing prompts online for free to help you become more creative in writing a story. 

Below is a summary for Flash Fiction Mix-And-Match Writing Prompts by Corrine Kenner from Amazon:
Don’t waste time waiting for story ideas to come to you. Flip through this booklet, and you can create characters and plots in seconds. Simply choose a single word or phrase from each of the five sections, in order, and then turn those selections into a sentence. It's easy, because the sections are arranged like parts of speech. Here’s a sample prompt to show you how it works. 1. descriptions (adjectives): vengeful 2. characters (nouns): historian 3. actions (verbs): steals 4. plot twists (objects): movie script 5. settings (more nouns): coffee shop Add a few articles and prepositions, and you have a premise for a story: A vengeful historian steals a movie script in a coffee shop. Look for combinations that amuse and intrigue you. Feel free to make changes, substitutions, and additions. You might find a garbage man in the list — but you’ll soon discover that your garbage man is actually a garbage woman, or a trash-picking hobo, or an environmentally sensitive vampire who sleeps in a landfill. Let your characters drive the story. You can also play fast and loose with the grammar. You’re welcome to turn nouns into verbs, or objects into adjectives. Maybe your character isn’t a ghost. Maybe he’s just ghostly. You can change verb conjugations, too. If your hero isn’t inflicting wounds, for example, maybe he’s the one being wounded. Feel free to make the most of the suggestions in this booklet. Remember that they’re starting points, not final destinations — and let them take you into a story that practically writes itself.
I am giving Flash Fiction Mix-And-Match Writing Prompts by Corrine Kenner a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

The BuzzFeed Book Club!

I came across a new online book club a few days ago in an article titled, Welcome To The BuzzFeed Book Club! by Arianna Rebolini. In the article, Arianna Rebolini wrote the following:
Hello! Are you a person who loves to read but is often overwhelmed by the task of choosing a new book? Do you have a million open tabs of book recommendation lists? Do you wish you could hire someone to pick your books out for you — is a book concierge even a thing? Do you straight-up love books and want a place to chat about them with fellow discerning, thoughtful, and enthusiastic readers?

Each month, BuzzFeed Books will select one brand-new book for members to read together.

We’ll announce the selection before it comes out so you’ll have plenty of time to preorder or reserve it at your local library.
We’ll chat about these books in the BuzzFeed Book Club Facebook group — where we’ll ask discussion questions, share our opinions, gush and rant about our favorite and least favorite characters, make plot predictions, host Q&As with the authors, and generally drop in random thoughts as we read together.
You’ll get two newsletters a month, full of exclusive content from the authors, highlights from the Facebook group, blurbs from future selections, giveaways, and more.

And each month you’ll have an opportunity to weigh in so we can tailor the book club to what you want: What kind of books do you like to read? Did you love this one or hate it? What kind of book-related features do you want to see from us?

It’ll be a blast — and it’s free!
The first book chosen for Buzzfeed's Book Club is a novel titled, Family Trust by Kathy Wang. Discussion for Family Trust by Kathy Wang will begin on November 1, 2018.

It just so happens that I received a FREE copy of Family Trust by Kathy Wang through Goodreads Giveaways. I have yet to read Family Trust though. I have a busy schedule through the end of the month. Plus, I am already reading a book at the moment... So, I'll try to read this novel before November 1st as I'd like to join in the discussion group as soon as possible.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Lullaby by Jonathan Maberry

I listened to the unabridged audio version of Lullaby by Jonathan Maberry and narrated by Scott Brick. Listening time for Lullaby by Jonathan Maberry is 37 minutes.

As an Audible member, I was able to download Lullaby by Jonathan Maberry for FREE to my Kindle! Below is my honest, unbiased review of Lullaby by Jonathan Maberry.

I decided to listen to Lullaby by Jonathan Maberry because I was in the mood for a spooky, scary read in honor of the Halloween holiday... And a free, short story seemed to work best for me as I have not had a lot of time to devote to reading longer books this month.

Yes, Lullaby by Jonathan Maberry was a spooky ghost story, but not one I'd go out of my way to recommend to others in any way at all. The best part of Lullaby by Jonathan Maberry was Scott Brick's narration of it.

The following is a plot summary for Lullaby by Jonathan Maberry from Audible:
The fears and horrors of being a new parent take on a shocking dimension in in this heart-stopping original story, only from Audible. A young married couple, Matt and Gillian have just bought a gorgeous house located next to a lake in the Catskills. They want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city to raise their baby girl, Hope, in relative peace and quiet. When night falls, however, their dream home becomes a house of nightmares. Matt and Gillian soon learn that darkness takes many forms. And sometimes, darkness is hungry.
New York Times best-selling author and Bram Stoker Award winner Jonathan Maberry delivers a haunting Audible Original that will give listeners the Halloween creeps all year round. Scott Brick, the man with the golden voice, perfectly captures the experience of hearing a classic ghost story told around the campfire
I am giving Lullaby by Jonathan Maberry a rating of 2 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Select Five Books And Buzzfeed Will Give You Some Inspirational Advice

Need some inspirational advice?

My Inspirational Quote from Buzzfeed is:

Never change for anyone but yourself!!

No one else's opinion besides your own should matter. If you want to change your hair, eat that extra slice of cake or wear that bodycon dress, then you should do it. Not everyone may agree with you and there'll be people who try to make these decisions on your behalf. But you should ignore them and just be your true self.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

I've read numerous Agatha Christie novels over the years, but The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie is one that I do recollect reading before... Until now!

I enjoyed reading The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie, even though I felt that it was slow in parts. There were many twists and turns in this novel, so I was left guessing to the identity of the murderer throughout much of this novel. It wasn't until the remaining few pages that I guessed the identity of the murderer just before it was announced!

Below is the plot summary for The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie from Amazon:
Voted by the British Crime Writers’ Association as the "Best Crime Novel of all Time"
Hercule Poirot comes out of retirement in one of Agatha Christie’s ten favorite novels, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.
Roger Ackroyd knew too much. He knew that the woman he loved had poisoned her brutal first husband. He suspected also that someone had been blackmailing her. Then, tragically, came the news that she had taken her own life with an apparent drug overdose.

However the evening post brought Roger one last fatal scrap of information, but before he could finish reading the letter, he was stabbed to death. Luckily one of Roger’s friends and the newest resident to retire to this normally quiet village takes over—none other than Monsieur Hercule Poirot.
I am giving The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Happy National Dictionary Day!!

National Dictionary Day falls each year on October 16th.

Watch the following video for National Dictionary Day.

I think I'll celebrate National Dictionary Day
by learning a new word or two!

As a side note, I loved reading, 
The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester,
which is about the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary.

Top Ten Tuesday - Bookstores I've Visited & Loved!!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader GirlTop Ten Tuesday was originally created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

I decided to put a twist on this week's Top Ten Tuesday theme and share my favorite indie bookstores that I've visited over the years instead of sharing which ones I still wish to visit in the future.

My top ten favorite indie bookstores to date (in no particular order of importance) are as follows:

1. Alexander Book Company in the heart of downtown San Francisco, California, USA.  Alexander Book Company is easy walking distance from a BART Station. It contains three stories of books!! I love the layout of this bookstore, friendly staff, plenty of new releases to choose from and also a ton of deeply discounted remaindered books.

2. Book Passage in Corte Madera, California, USA. Book Passage has three different locations (San Francisco, Sausalito, and Corte Madera). The Corte Madera location is awesome! Book Passage in Corte Madera, California is large, offers a plethora of author signings and talks (as well author events at their other locations too), conferences, and classes. Friendly staff, great selection of books, and wonderful layout.

3. Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena, California, USA is a beautiful bookstore. They have authors events,  and also sell pens and stationary. Vroman's Bookstore is also billed as SoCal's oldest and largest independent bookstore.

4. The Last Bookstore in downtown Los Angeles, California, USA. This a very beautiful and unique bookstore. They sell used records too. Great layout. Events take place there like book clubs, author talks, and more.

5. Bart's Books in Ojai, California, USA. I love this very unique bookstore! It's partially outdoors and has meandering bookshelves and passageways. It's a fun book store to visit and sells used books. It's one of my favorite used bookstores.

6. The Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale, Arizona, USA. I love this small bookstore that specializes mainly in mysteries and thrillers. They have plenty of author signing events and book clubs events as well. Plus, they have a podcast and videos on YouTube!

7. Elaine's Book Mark - The Paperback Exchange in Escondido, California, USA. This bookstore sells used books and is large for a used bookstore. This is one of my favorite used bookstores.

8. Rakestraw Books in Danville, California, USA. My favorite local bookstore at the moment. It's small, but packs a punch! Friendly staff, plenty of free parking, many author signing events, book clubs, great layout and very cute interior space.

9. Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore in San Diego, California, USA. If you're a fan of genre fiction such as mystery, fantasy, science fiction, and horror, then this is the bookstore for you!

10. Prairie Lights in Iowa City, Iowa, USA. I attended the University of Iowa in the mid-1990s and earned my BA in Russian in 1996. The University of Iowa is located in the heart of Iowa City... During my college days, my favorite bookstore was Prairie Lights!! This place was awesome for all my reading needs and had a cafe that served yummy pastries and espresso beverages. Even though I haven't been back to Iowa City in 22 years, I am thrilled to see this bookstore still thriving! Prairie Lights opened their doors in 1978. They still have a cafe and offer author events/readings.

Share your favorite indie bookstores with me in the comment section below!

Monday, October 15, 2018

Pizza Hut + Little Free Library = Little Free Libraries That Look Like Mini Pizza Huts!

I love visiting Little Free Libraries as often as I can, especially new to me Little Free Libraries. I recently discovered an article online titled, Pizza Hut’s ‘Little Free Libraries’ Look Exactly Like Mini Pizza Huts by Anne Ewbank. In the article, Anne Ewbank wrote the following:
WHILE STOPPING FOR GAS IN Wyoming during a recent trip, I glanced at a Pizza Hut across the parking lot and saw something surprising. Pizza Huts tend to be topped with the geometric red roof that’s become the pizza chain’s logo—it’s plastered on restaurants from Riverton, Wyoming, to Rio de Janeiro. This Pizza Hut had the iconic roof. But so did another, tiny Pizza Hut placed in front of the restaurant. Set atop a wooden post, the crate-sized structure was actually a Little Free Library, filled with books that passersby could pick up and exchange.

While the Little Free Library website offers blueprints to create basic book-exchange boxes, many builders get creative. Volunteers make Little Free Libraries shaped like birdhouses, castles, and spaceships, or themed after Doctor Who and Harry Potter. Others are made with attached benches or added greenery, and reams of Pinterest boards depict interesting designs. Contests celebrate the most creative takes.

Still, a Pizza Hut-themed Little Free Library was new to me. A few days later, in Montana, I plotted a course for a random Pizza Hut. Sure enough, there was a Little Free Library out front. Topped with the signature red roof, it was filled with magazines and classic young adult books, such as Johnny Tremain and Catherine, Called Birdy.
When I called Pizza Hut, I was informed that this was a franchisee project, rather than a national endeavor. “We were looking at ways to become involved in our markets locally,” says Lynda Carrier-Metz, the chief marketing manager of Restaurant Management Company of Wichita. In 2016, Carrier-Metz won a $10,000 volunteer grant from Pizza Hut parent Yum! Brands to construct 20 book-exchange boxes in front of restaurants. According to Carrier-Metz, it came down to combining community involvement with “what people were doing already”: that is, going to Pizza Hut. “In many towns, the libraries aren’t open after 5 or 6 p.m.,” she adds. “We wanted them to come to Pizza Hut and bring their books, and get other books.”
The article goes on to share much more information, so please be sure and click on the link above to read more about how Pizza Hut decided to created several Little Free Libraries. I found the article to be fascinating and am glad that Pizza Hut has a legacy of supporting literacy.