Thursday, October 20, 2016

In Praise of the Stepmother by Mario Vargas Llosa

I finished reading In Praise of the Stepmother by Mario Vargas Llosa this morning. Mario Largas Llosa is a Peruvian writer who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2010. 

Frankly, I'd never even heard of Mario Vargas Llosa until it was announced that he'd won the Nobel Prize for Literature. So, in an effort to become more acquainted with new to me writers that have won major literary prizes, I chose to read one of Mario Vargas Llosa'a novels during the month of October as October is when the Nobel prizes are awarded.

Honestly, I didn't enjoy reading In Praise of the Stepmother by Mario Vargas Llosa very much. I don't have a problem with reading erotica per se in novels, so wasn't turned off because erotic overtures are presented in this novel... It's just that I thought In Praise of the Stepmother was a very weird, odd novel in general.The language used by the author as well as the weird fetishes and grooming habits of Don Rigoberto were just so bizarre to read about. There's also pictures of artwork throughout the novel and also chapters intermixed in this novel that seem to have nothing to do with the story whatsoever. These chapters that have nothing to do with the major plot were more interesting to read than the main storyline itself.

Plus, Don Rigoberto's second wife, Doña Lucrecia, has an inappropriate relationship with her preteen stepson, which put me off big time even though the son initiated the sexual relationship between them. The son, Alfonso, seems evil on the inside, despite looking like an angel on the outside.

The following is a plot summary for In Praise of the Stepmother by Mario Vargas Llosa from Amazon:
With meticulous observation and the seductive skill of a great storyteller, Vargas Llosa lures the reader into the shadow of perversion that, little by little, darkens the extraordinary happiness and harmony of his characters. The mysterious nature of happiness and above all, the corrupting power of innocence are the themes that underlie these pages, and the author has perfectly met the demands of the erotic novel, never dimming for an instant the fine poetic polish of his writing.
I am giving In Praise of the Stepmother by Mario Vargas Llosa 1 star out of 5 stars. I will skip on reading another novel by Mario Vargas Llosa in the future.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Turned (The Vampire Journals, #1) by Morgan Rice

I finished reading the eBook edition of Turned (The Vampire Journals, #1) by Morgan Rice on my Kindle earlier today. Turned (The Vampire Journals, #1) by Morgan Rice is a young adult novel and is (I think) the 8th paranormal novel I've read this year so far! 

I'm not sure why, I've been on a paranormal kick this year as I'm normally not drawn to the paranormal genre... But when I came across Turned (The Vampire Journals, #1) by Morgan Rice on Amazon's website, I found that I liked the cover of this novel and the storyline sounded intriguing... Vampires are perfect to read about during the month of October with Halloween right around the corner. Besides, how could I resist obtaining this novel for FREE?  Below is my honest, unbiased review of Turned (The Vampire Journals, #1) by Morgan Rice.

Turned (The Vampire Journals, #1) by Morgan Rice has a 4 star rating on Amazon, but I didn't think it was all that good to merit such a high rating. I've read many other vampire novels that are so much better written. First off, Turned (The Vampire Journals, #1) by Morgan Rice needs some editing work. Secondly, it's slow to start and doesn't pick up until several chapters into the novel. Thirdly, the novel is lacking in depth. The characters seemed two dimensional and the storyline was very black and white... Fourthly, the main character, Caitlin Paine, has major instalove with two of the male characters, which I find ridiculous. And, lastly, the ending was very open ended as there are more novels in the series. 

I thought this novel was okay, but definitely not great. I won't be reading the rest of The Vampire Journals Series or any other novel by Morgan Rice in the future as I didn't find the author's writing that engaging.

The following is a summary for Turned (The Vampire Journals, #1) by Morgan Rice from Amazon:
In TURNED (Book #1 of the Vampire Journals), 18 year old Caitlin Paine finds herself uprooted from her nice suburb and forced to attend a dangerous New York City high school when her Mom moves again. The one ray of light in her new surroundings is Jonah, a new classmate who takes an instant liking to her. 
But before their romance can blossom, Caitlin suddenly finds herself changing. She is overcome by a superhuman strength, a sensitivity to light, a desire to feed--by feelings she does not understand. She seeks answers to what’s happening to her, and her cravings lead her to the wrong place at the wrong time. Her eyes are opened to a hidden world, right beneath her feet, thriving underground in New York City. She finds herself caught between two dangerous covens, right in the middle of a vampire war.
It is at this moment that Caitlin meets Caleb, a mysterious and powerful vampire who rescues her from the dark forces. He needs her to help lead him to the legendary lost artifact. And she needs him for answers, and for protection. Together, they will need to answer one crucial question: who was her real father?

But Caitlin finds herself caught between two men as something else arises between them: a forbidden love. A love between the races that will risk both of their lives, and will force them to decide whether to risk it all for each other…
I am giving Turned (The Vampire Journals, #1) by Morgan Rice a rating of 2.5 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday --- Top Ten Character Names I'd Name My Children After

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

Here are the Ten Characters That I'd Name My Children After:

1. Margarita from The Master & Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
2. Anna after Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
3. Lolita after Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
4. Scout after Jean Louise 'Scout' Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
5. Holly after Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote
6. Augustus after Augustus Waters from The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
7. Colette after Colette Iselin in Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer by Katie Alender
8. Lee from East of Eden by John Steinbeck
9. Bela from A Hero of Our Time
10. Palmer after Palmer LaRue in Wringer by Jerry Spinelli

Monday, October 17, 2016

My Life According to Book Titles

I learned about the My Life According to Book Titles from Miranda @ A Real Writer's Life!! I enjoyed reading Miranda's answers for this book tag... So, I decided to make my own post.

Describe yourself:
Committed: A Love Story

(I'm committed to living the best life possible. A life filled with love, peace, and gratitude.)

How do you feel today?
The Bad Beginning
(I didn't sleep so well last night. So, I am tired this morning.)

Describe where you live:
A Room With A View
(Our home has views of a golf course, plus valley below, and mountains off in the distance.)

If you could go anywhere, where would you go?
(My dream is to some day take a cruise to the Galapos Islands with my hubby)

Your favorite form of transportation:

The Woman On the Orient Express
(I'm not sure I have a favorite form of transportation, I like taking cruises and short rides on ferries. However, taking a long distance train ride where I'd have my own sleeper car sounds like fun.)

Your best friend is:
Fearless and Fabulous
(My mom is is my bff!!)

You and your friends are:
The Loyal Heart
(I love friends that are loyal through and through.)

What's the weather like?
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
(We've been having odd weather the past couple of months. Either hot, cold, sunny, cloudy, breezy, rainy or just downright odd!)

You fear:
Any dystopian type of novel!! But I'll pick The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood.
(Being forced to have sex with someone because your only value is that you are a baby making machine seems downright scary!!)

What's the best advice you have to give?
Don't Sweat the Small Stuff and It's All Small Stuff
(Don't let the little things get to you.)

Thought for the day:

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff and It's All Small Stuff
(Don't let the little things get to you.)

How would you like to die?

Couldn't come up with a title for this one. I want to die peacefully and hopefully in my sleep!!

Your souls present condition:

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
(I stole this answer from Miranda's post as I have such Great Expectations for my life and the future.)

If you want to do this tag, I'd love to read your answers! Leave a link for me in the comments section below if do this book tag.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Ghostly Paws (Mystic Notch Cozy Mystery, #1) by Leighann Dobbs

Unabridged Audio Version
I enjoy cozy mystery novels quite a bit, so decided to listen to the unabridged audio version of Ghostly Paws (Mystic Notch Cozy Mystery, #1) by Leighann Dobbs and narrated by Elisabeth Rodgers. Listening time for this audiobook is 5 hours, 58 minutes.

First off, I thought that Elisabeth Rodgers did an excellent job of narrating this cozy mystery novel! Narrators and audio quality can make or break an audiobook experience for listeners. Both were excellent for Ghostly Paws (Mystic Notch Cozy Mystery, #1) by Leighann Dobbs.

As far as a cozy mystery novel goes, I thought that Ghostly Paws (Mystic Notch Cozy Mystery, #1) by Leighann Dobbs was good, but not great. I love that this novel is the first in the series. It features cats, magic, a bookstore and a library and an interesting cast of characters. And, of course, Wilhelmina Chance, the leading character that sees ghosts after having an accident.

The downsides of Ghostly Paws (Mystic Notch Cozy Mystery, #1) by Leighann Dobbs for me, were that this novel didn't feel like the first in a series. It seemed more like this novel followed the first novel in a series. There was quite a bit of repetition in this novel of certain things mentioned that became kind of annoying. But these were only minor issues for me.

The storyline was pretty good overall, not great, but it made for a nice read to help pass a rainy past few couple days here where I live.

The following is a summary for Ghostly Paws (Mystic Notch Cozy Mystery, #1) by Leighann Dobbs from Audible:
Middle age can be murder.... At least that's how it seems to former crime journalist Wilhelmina Chance, whose near-fatal accident has given her a strange side effect: She sees ghosts. After a messy divorce sends her fleeing back to her hometown of Mystic Notch, nestled in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, Willa finds herself haunted by the tenacious ghost of the town librarian, who insists Willa solve her murder. Luckily she has lots of help, including a quirky cast of small-town characters, the cat she's inherited from her grandmother, and her best friend, Pepper, who claims her herbal teas can work magic.
But just when Willa thinks she's discovered who the killer is, she finds out that things are not what they seem in Mystic Notch, and the case takes a strange turn that has Willa adding even some of her longtime friends to her suspect list. Can Willa find the real killer in time to keep the magical balance in Mystic Notch on the side of good, or will evil prevail?
I am giving Ghostly Paws (Mystic Notch Cozy Mystery, #1) by Leighann Dobbs a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Little Free Library in San Jose, California

Last weekend, my hubby and I briefly visited a Little Free Library in San Jose, California, where I left five books for other readers to discover!! 

I love discovering new to me Little Free Libraries. My husband and I happened to be visiting the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California last weekend. I decided to drop off some books at the nearest Little Free Library after our visit to the Winchester Mystery House. Conveniently, there was a Little Free Library only a mile or two from the Winchester Mystery House. 

Unfortunately, I was unable to capture a photograph of the Little Free Library as the steward of this particular Little Free Library, was performing some sort of maintenance work on it when we pulled up to leave books.

I think the San Jose Little Free Library we visited last weekend was the 12th Little Free Library we've visited over the years. 

Do you leave books at Little Free Libraries??

Friday, October 14, 2016

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Unabridged Audio Version
During the month of October, I decided to listen to a scary book in honor of the upcoming holiday of Halloween! I don't celebrate Halloween in a big way. But listening to a scary novel or other Halloween themed book seemed an appropriate way to celebrate Halloween.

I've never read anything by Shirley Jackson before, so decided to listen to the unabridged audio version of her classic horror novel, The Haunting of Hill House. The Haunting of Hill House is narrated by Bernadette Dunne. Listening time for The Haunting of Hill House is 7 hours, 31 minutes.

I liked The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, but didn't love it. It is a spooky novel and filled with very descriptive images of Hill House itself and the things that happened during the visit to Hill House. 

I liked the characters in The Haunting of Hill House... Especially, Eleanor Vance and Mrs. Montague (even though Mrs. Montague was a royal pain in the behind and didn't appear until towards the end of the novel). 

The ending of The Haunting of Hill House was a bit vague in the following way... Was Eleanor Vance simply crazy and imagining what she saw and heard at Hill House during her week long stay there?? Or was she haunted/driven crazy by Hill House?? Or a little bit of both? I'm not completely sure.

I thought that Bernadette Dunne was a good narrator for The Haunting of Hill House.

The following is a plot summary of The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson from Audible:
Past the rusted gates and untrimmed hedges, Hill House broods and waits…. 
Four seekers have come to the ugly, abandoned old mansion: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of the psychic phenomenon called haunting; Theodora, his lovely and lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a lonely, homeless girl well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the adventurous future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable noises and self-closing doors, but Hill House is gathering its powers and will soon choose one of them to make its own.

Shirley Jackson (1916–1965), a celebrated writer of horror, wrote such classic novels as We Have Always Lived in the Castle and The Bird’s Nest, as well as one of the most famous short stories in the English language, “The Lottery”. She has influenced such writers as Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, and Richard Matheson.
I am giving The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The Dispatcher by John Scalzi

Unabridged Audio Version Narrated by Zachary Quinto
I listened to the unabridged audio version of The Dispatcher by John Scalzi and narrated by Zachary Quinto. Listening time is 2 hours, 19 minutes for this novella.

I was able download The Dispatcher by John Scalzi  for FREE from Audible!! In fact, The Dispatcher by John Scalzi is FREE to download from Audible until November 2, 2016. Below is my honest and unbiased review of The Dispatcher by John Scalzi.

The Dispatcher is the first thing I've read or listened by John Scalzi that I can recall. I was really impressed with John Scalzi's writing and really look forward to ready or listening to more of his novels in the future. I also loved Zachary Quinto's narration of The Dispatcher as he does the voices for each characters really well and makes listening to The Dispatcher by John Scalzi enjoyable.

As far as The Dispatcher goes, I loved the storyline, the characters, the interactions between characters, the action, and the thought provoking topics presented in The DispatcherThe Dispatcher by John Scalzi is one really good audiobook!! I highly recommend it.

The following is the publisher's summary for The Dispatcher by John Scalzi from Audible:
Zachary Quinto - best known for his role as the Nimoy-approved Spock in the recent Star Trek reboot and the menacing, power-stealing serial killer, Sylar, in Heroes - brings his well-earned sci-fi credentials and simmering intensity to this audio-exclusive novella from master storyteller John Scalzi.
One day, not long from now, it becomes almost impossible to murder anyone - 999 times out of a thousand, anyone who is intentionally killed comes back. How? We don't know. But it changes everything: war, crime, daily life.
Tony Valdez is a Dispatcher - a licensed, bonded professional whose job is to humanely dispatch those whose circumstances put them in death's crosshairs, so they can have a second chance to avoid the reaper. But when a fellow Dispatcher and former friend is apparently kidnapped, Tony learns that there are some things that are worse than death and that some people are ready to do almost anything to avenge a supposed wrong.
It's a race against time for Valdez to find his friend before it's too late...before not even a Dispatcher can save him.
I am giving The Dispatcher by John Scalzi a rating of 5 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Actor Zachary Quinto Narrates The Dispatcher by John Scalzi!! Download For Free For Limited Time Only Through Audible!!

Do you love listening to audiobooks? I know I love listening to audiobooks! I recently discovered though reading an article on Bustle titled Zachary Quinto Narrates This Free Audiobook Written Especially For Audible — EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT by Emma Oulton the following information:
Boy, have I got a treat for you today: a totally free audiobook performed by Zachary Quinto. How is this magic happening? Well, Audible Studios are releasing an audio-original novella by the bestselling author John Scalzi, and for the first month of its release, it will be available for anyone to download for free. What a treat! The novella is called The Dispatcher, and it was written specially for Audible — meaning it was literally designed to be listened to, instead of read. (And once you've heard our exclusive clip of Star Trek actor Zachary Quinto reading it, you'll feel like it was designed to be read by him.)
I have already pre-ordered The Dispatcher by by John Scalzi and narrated by Zachary Quinto from Audible. I am looking forward to listening to this novella when it is released tomorrow. Listening time  for The Dispatcher by John Scalzi is 2 hours, 19 minutes. The Dispatcher by John Scalzi is available to download for FREE from Audible until November 2, 2016.

Below is a video of Zachary Quinto discussing The Dispatcher.