Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Virtual book launch for Unspeakable Acts by Sarah Weinman in conversation with Casey Cep




Yesterday, I attended another virtual author event!!

I finished reading Sarah Weinman's book
The Real Lolita this past Saturday. Later that same day, I learned through Ms. Weinman's website that she was coming out with 
a new true crime book titled, Unspeakable Acts
which was published yesterday. 

Independent bookstore Books Are Magic was hosting the book launch for Unspeakable Acts. So I was able to hear Sarah Weinman in conversation with author, Casey Cep, via Zoom. 
This was the first time I used Zoom, which I found easy to use.

Whoop, whoop, what a fun virtual event to attend!!
I enjoyed the dialogue between both authors. I am so glad that
I decided to attend this free, hour long online event.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday - FREEBIE - My Top Ten Favorite Nonfiction Books About Animals



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 enjoy reading nonfiction books about animals. Below are ten books I've really enjoyed reading about animals in recent years.

1. Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior by Temple Grandin
2. Alex & Me: How a Scientist and a Parrot Discovered a Hidden World of Animal Intelligence—and Formed a Deep Bond in the Process by Irene M. Pepperberg
3. Wesley the Owl: The Remarkable Love Story of an Owl and His Girl by Stacey O'Brien
4. The Parrot Who Owned Me
: The Story of a Relationship by Joanna Burger
5. Cat Daddy: What the World's Most Incorrigible Cat Taught Me About Life, Love, and Coming Clean by Jackson Galaxy
6. Grayson by Lynne Cox
7. Pack of Two: The Intricate Bond Between People and Dogs by Caroline Knapp
8 The Elephant Whisperer by Lawrence Anthony
9. The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill: A Love Story . . . with Wings by Mark Bittner
10. Making the Rounds with Oscar: The Inspirational Story of a Doctor, His Patients and a Very Special Cat by Dr. David Dosa

Please share with me a few of your favorite nonfiction books about animals in the comment section below as I'm always on the look out for good books!!

Sunday, July 26, 2020

The Real Lolita: The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel That Scandalized the World by Sarah Weinman



I read the advanced reader's paperback edition of The Real Lolita: The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel That Scandalized the World by Sarah Weinman, which I received for FREE through the Goodreads Giveaway program. 

Below is my honest, unbiased review of The Real Lolita: The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel That Scandalized the World by Sarah Weinman.

I enjoy reading true crime books and nonfiction books about other books. So with this in mind, I wanted to read The Real Lolita: The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel That Scandalized the World by Sarah Weinman. The irony is that I've yet to read Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. I hope to read this classic novel some day... Hopefully sooner rather than later. 

The Real Lolita: The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel That Scandalized the World by Sarah Weinman combines the true crime genre by chronicling the kidnapping and rape of 11 year old Sally Horner, who was held for almost 2 years by her abductor, Frank La Salle. This book goes on to additionally discuss Vladimir Nabakov's life and his writing of Lolita. Sarah Weinman makes a very compelling case that Nabokov's novel, Lolita, was inspired by the events surrounding Sally Horner's abduction, rape, etc. and sets out to uncover "how much Nabokov knew of the Sally Horner case and the efforts he took to disguise that knowledge during the process of writing and publishing Lolita."

I really enjoyed reading The Real Lolita: The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel That Scandalized the World by Sarah Weinman. In fact, I was pretty impressed with Weinman's writing overall in that it kept me captivated throughout the entire book from start to finish. I also liked the way in which Ms. Weinman organized her book to keep her readers riveted. Additionally, I found The Real Lolita: The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel That Scandalized the World by Sarah Weinman to be a quick read.

Below is a summary for The Real Lolita: The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel That Scandalized the World by Sarah Weinman from Amazon:

“The Real Lolita is a tour de force of literary detective work. Not only does it shed new light on the terrifying true saga that influenced Nabokov’s masterpiece, it restores the forgotten victim to our consciousness.” —David Grann, author of Killers of the Flower Moon
Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita is one of the most beloved and notorious novels of all time. And yet, very few of its readers know that the subject of the novel was inspired by a real-life case: the 1948 abduction of eleven-year-old Sally Horner.
Weaving together suspenseful crime narrative, cultural and social history, and literary investigation, The Real Lolita tells Sally Horner’s full story for the very first time. Drawing upon extensive investigations, legal documents, public records, and interviews with remaining relatives, Sarah Weinman uncovers how much Nabokov knew of the Sally Horner case and the efforts he took to disguise that knowledge during the process of writing and publishing Lolita.
Sally Horner’s story echoes the stories of countless girls and women who never had the chance to speak for themselves. By diving deeper in the publication history of Lolita and restoring Sally to her rightful place in the lore of the novel’s creation, The Real Lolita casts a new light on the dark inspiration for a modern classic.
I am giving The Real Lolita: The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel That Scandalized the World by Sarah Weinman a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Read With BookClubbish: Saving Ruby King by Catherine Adel West - Online Event via Facebook Live



This morning, I took part in my first online book club organized by BookClubbish. This event was hosted through 'Facebook Live' via BookClubbish's Facebook page.

I read and reviewed Saving Ruby West by Catherine Adel West earlier this month. Shortly after posting my review of Saving Ruby West, I learned that BookClubbish's JULY’S BOOK CLUB PICK: SAVING RUBY KING BY CATHERINE ADEL WEST was happening! So, I decided to participate in this online book club as I recently read and thoroughly enjoyed reading Saving Ruby King by Catherine Adel West.

I am so glad that I decided to watch this 'Facebook Live' book club event! 

I learned it took Catherine Adel West 5 years to write Saving Ruby King. I also learned that the character of Jackson was based partly on the author's father. The author's favorite character in her book was Calvary Church, which also happens to be my favorite character from Saving Ruby King. Lebanon was the easiest character for the Catherine Adel West to write. Ruby's perspective was the most difficult character to write for the author.

I also enjoyed learning what inspired the author to write Saving Ruby King. Catherine Adel West was originally going to write a short story, but decided to write a novel instead based on another person's suggestion. She talks about how the novel evolved, which was cool to hear. But it sounds like Catherine Adel West was mainly inspired by circumstances in her life and in her community when it came to actually writing Saving Ruby King.

Catherine Adel West is working on two projects currently. She's expanding the Ruby King universe. I'm looking forward to reading more by Ms. West.

I also learned that Catherine Adel West was inspired by many writers like James Baldwin, Charles Dickens, Richard Wright, Octavia Butler, Dean Koontz, and William Shakespeare to name a few. I also learned her influence for writing dialogue comes from movies and television.

So have you attended any book club meetings online recently? How'd you like it?

Monday, July 20, 2020

Ain't She A Peach by Molly Harper


I received a review paperback copy of Ain't She A Peach by Molly Harper through the Goodreads Giveaway program. 

Below is my honest, unbiased review of Ain't She A Peach by Molly Harper.

Ain't She A Peach by Molly Harper is the fourth novel in Molly Harper's 'A Southern Eclectic' series. I've read two previous works written by the author, but this is the first novel I've read that is part of Harper's 'A Southern Eclectic' series. 

Although, I found Ain't She A Peach by Molly Harper to be a good summertime beach read, it just didn't have the depth of feeling I would have liked to make this a better read for me. The plot, storyline, and characters are good, but as I already mentioned there is lacking that little bit of something extra to make this novel great... For instance, the humor was entertaining, but wasn't as funny as I thought it could. Otherwise, I enjoyed reading this contemporary work of fiction. I highly doubt I'll read the rest of the novels in the 'A Southern Eclectic' series by Molly Harper. 

Below is the plot summary for Ain't She A Peach by Molly Harper from Amazon:
An Atlanta ex-cop comes to sleepy Lake Sackett, Georgia, seeking peace and quiet - but he hasn’t bargained on falling for Frankie, the cutest coroner he’s ever met.

Frankie McCready talks to dead people. Not like a ghost whisperer or anything - but it seems rude to embalm them and not at least say hello.

Fortunately, at the McCready Family Funeral Home & Bait Shop, Frankie’s eccentricities fit right in. Lake Sackett’s embalmer and county coroner, Frankie’s goth styling and passion for nerd culture mean she’s not your typical Southern girl, but the McCreadys are hardly your typical Southern family. Led by Great-Aunt Tootie, the gambling, boozing, dog-collecting matriarch of the family, everyone looks out for one another - which usually means getting up in everyone else’s business.

Maybe that’s why Frankie is so fascinated by new sheriff Eric Linden...a recent transplant from Atlanta, he sees a homicide in every hunting accident or boat crash, which seems a little paranoid for this sleepy tourist town. What’s he so worried about? And what kind of cop can get a job with the Atlanta PD but can’t stand to look at a dead body?

Frankie has other questions that need answering first - namely, who’s behind the recent break-in attempts at the funeral home, and how can she stop them? This one really does seem like a job for the sheriff - and as Frankie and Eric do their best Scooby-Doo impressions to catch their man, they get closer to spilling some secrets they thought were buried forever.
I am giving Ain't She A Peach by Molly Harper a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Inside Toronto's Most Unique Bookstore!


I love the nautical theme of this bookstore... It definitely falls into a niche category and is appropriately placed along Toronto's waterfront. It's also wonderful to see such indie bookstores thriving. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Rakestraw Books "Live at Home!" with Gail Tsukiyama



YES, Yes, yes, to attending another virtual author event online yesterday evening! I'm so thrilled that our local independent bookstore is hosting these "Live at Home!" author events to prevent myself from having cabin fever too badly.

I've wanted to read a novel by Gail Tsukiyama since the mid to late 1990s, but have not made the time to achieve this reading goal yet. Luckily, I received a paperback arc of Gail Tsukiyama's latest novel, The Color of Air, earlier this year through the Goodreads Giveaway program. 

Below is a brief biography of Gail Tsukiyama from Wikipedia:
Gail Tsukiyama is an American novelist from San Francisco, California, USA. She was one of nine fiction authors to appear during the first Library of Congress National Book Festival. Her works include Women of the Silk (1991), The Samurai’s Garden (1995), Night of Many Dreams (1998), The Language of Threads (1999), Dreaming Water (2002), The Street of a Thousand Blossoms (2007), and A Hundred Flowers (2012). She is currently writing The Color of Air, which will be released in July 2020.
Tsukiyama was born in San Francisco, to a Japanese father and a Chinese mother. She attended San Francisco State University, where she received both her Bachelor of Arts Degree and a Master of Arts Degree in English with an emphasis in creative writing. She lives in El Cerrito, California, and works as a part-time lecturer for San Francisco State University and a freelance book-reviewer for the San Francisco Chronicle.

Tsukiyama is an alumna of the Ragdale Foundation.
Last night's "Live at Home!" author event included Gail Tsukiyama reading the first chapter of her new novel, The Color of Air. This was then followed by a conversation between Gail Tsukiyama and her friend and author, Karen Joy Fowler. It was a nice discussion between good friends. I learned that it took Gail Tsukiyama roughly 7 years to write The Color of Air!! And lastly, the conversation between Gail Tsukiyama  and Karen Joy Fowler was followed by a questions and answers session by viewers.

Now that I have heard Gail Tsukiyama speak at this particular "Live at Home!" author event, I'll have to make some time to read her new novel, The Color of Air, which sounds like a wonderful historical fiction novel set in Hawaii.

All in all, I enjoyed Rakestraw Books "Live at Home!" with Gail Tsukiyama despite the audio quality not being the greatest and the video quality was also lacking a bit initially too.

Friday, July 10, 2020

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood


I first read The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood in the mid to late 1990s. I decided to reread this novel because I've forgotten many of the novel's finer details and because I would like to read the sequel to The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood titled, The Testaments, which was released last September. 

I listened to the unabridged audio version of The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. Listening time for The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood is 12 hours, 6 minutes. I thought Claire Danes did an excellent job narrating The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood.

I am so thrilled that I reread The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. I liked it more this time around than the last time I read it. Perhaps more life experience and current maturity level played a factor for liking the novel more this time than the previous one.

Margaret Atwood is a master storyteller and writer. The Handmaid's Tale is definitely a masterpiece and very chilling in terms of how backwards and controlling a society can become in the hands of the wrong people. My only complaint is the ambiguous ending to The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood.

Below is the plot summary for The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood from Audible:
"Are there any questions?" The final line in Margaret Atwood's modern classic, The Handmaid's Tale, has teased and perplexed fans since the book's original release more than 30 years ago. Now, in this Audible Original production, listeners get some of the answers they've waited so long to hear.
Featuring an all-new interview with Professor Piexoto, written by Atwood and performed by a full cast, The Handmaid's Tale: Special Edition is a must-listen for both fans and newcomers alike. Emmy Award winner Claire Danes (Homeland, Temple Grandin) gives a stirring performance of this classic in speculative fiction, where the message (and the warning) is now more timely than ever. In addition to rich sound design that honors the audio origins of Atwood's classic, the special edition also includes a brand-new afterword from the author and an essay written by author Valerie Martin (Mary Reilly, Property).
After a violent coup in the United States overthrows the Constitution and ushers in a new government regime, the Republic of Gilead imposes subservient roles on all women. Offred, now a Handmaid tasked with the singular role of procreation in the childless household of the enigmatic Commander and his bitter wife, can remember a time when she lived with her husband and daughter and had a job, before she lost everything, even her own name. Despite the danger, Offred learns to navigate the intimate secrets of those who control her every move, risking her life for mere glimpses of her former freedom, and records her story for future listeners.

Whether you're a fan of the original novel or someone who has recently discovered it, The Handmaid's Tale: Special Edition will shock, impress, and satisfy all those who listen.
Below is video from YouTube titled, Why should you read "The Handmaid's Tale"? - Naomi R. Mercer. The video is a good overview.


I am giving The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood a rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!