Friday, September 30, 2016

2016 Third Quarter Wrap Up Post!!

So far, 2016 has proved to be a much better year for reading than I had anticipated it be for me. I've finished or listening to a total of 72 books to date!

The following is a brief break down of the books I've read or listened to so far this year:

I've read 25 physical books.
I've read 14 eBooks.
I've listened to 33 audiobooks.

Some of my favorite books for 2016 have been the following ones:

1. Yellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim
2. The Good Traitor by Ryan Quinn
3. Stoned: Jewelry, Obsession, and How Desire Shapes the World by Aja Raden
4 My LIfe On The Road by Gloria Steinem
5. The Ghost and the Graveyard by Genevieve Jack
6. Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee
7. The Assassination of the Archduke: Sarajevo 1914 and the Romance That Changed the World by Greg King & Sue Woolmans
8. Flight by Sherman Alexie
9. Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer by Katie Alender
10. Deadly Readings by Laura Bradford

11. I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
12. The Common Secret by Susan Wicklund
13. Hard Cold Winter by Glen Erik Hamilton
14. The Woman on the Orient Express by Lindsay Jayne Ashford
15. Blood Wager by Connie Suttle
16. Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume
17. A Life In Parts by Bryan Cranston

So, how many books have you read this year and which ones have bee your favorites?

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Unleashed: A Sydney Rye Series, Book 1 by Emily Kimelman

Unabridged Audio Version
I listened to the unabridged audio version of Unleashed: A Sydney Rye Series, Book 1 by Emily Kimelman and narrated by Sonja Field. Playing time for Unleashed: A Sydney Rye Series, Book 1 by Emily Kimelman is 10 Hours, 7 minutes.

This is the first novel I've read by Emily Kimelman. I enjoyed listening to the unabridged audiobook. I thought that Sonja Field did a good job of narrating Unleashed: A Sydney Rye Series, Book 1.

As far the novel itself goes, I liked the leading female protaganist, Joy Humbolt (she becomes Sydney Rye by the end of the novel)... Joy Humboldt is a strong leading female character that doesn't always make the best choices/decisions, but is a character you find yourself rooting for. 

I liked that the novel is a mystery filled with twists and turns and interesting characters. This novel is an easy, quick read and contains a storyline that is not highbrow by any means, but is good nonetheless. It's a perfect read for pure entertainment. 

The killer in Unleashed: A Sydney Rye Series, Book 1 by Emily Kimelman was a surprise! But a good surprise. But even though I liked Unleashed: A Sydney Rye Series, Book 1 by Emily Kimelman overall, there were things I didn't like. For instance, the leading character drinks way too much at times that it makes me wonder how she can function at times or possibly go about solving a mystery. The ending of this novel is bad as it leaves you wondering how the leading character could have pulled off what she did... It doesn't seem plausible. Plus, a few other details that didn't ring true to me either.

The following is a plot summary for Unleashed: A Sydney Rye Series, Book 1 by Emily Kimelman from Audible:
The Sydney Rye series of mysteries feature a strong female protagonist and her rescue dog, Blue. It is recommended for the 18+ who enjoy some violence, don't mind dirty language, and are up for a dash of sex. Not to mention an awesome, rollicking good mystery!
UNLEASHED is the first book in Emily Kimelman's best-selling Sydney Rye series of mysteries. This audiobook is narrated by Sonja Field.
When the series begins Sydney Rye is named Joy Humbolt. She does not like people telling her what to do, so it comes as no surprise that she was just fired from her last job. When she buys Charlene Miller's dog-walking business on Manhattan's exclusive Upper East Side, it seems like the perfect fit: Quiet environment, minimal contact with people.
But then one of her clients turns up dead, and Charlene disappears. Rumors say Charlene was having an affair with the victim--and of course, everyone assumes Joy must know where she is. Joy begins to look into the crime, first out of curiosity then out of anger when there is another murder and threats start to come her way.
When police detective Mulberry is assigned to the case, Joy finds a kindred spirit--cynical and none-too-fond of the human race. As they dig deep into the secrets of Manhattan's elite, they not only get closer to the killer but also to a point of no return. One last murder sends Joy Humbolt hurtling over the edge. Her only chance of survival is to become Sydney Rye.
I am giving Unleashed: A Sydney Rye Series, Book 1 by Emily Kimelman a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars. Even though, I liked Unleashed: A Sydney Rye Series, Book 1, I doubt I'll continue reading the rest of the series. Not compelling enough for me to read the rest of the series.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Scary Stories For People Who Don't Like Horror

With Halloween almost a month away, it's time to begin thinking about what to read for this upcoming, spooky holiday! 

If you aren't one who generally likes to read books from the horror genre, then perhaps checking out the books mentioned an article titled, 10 Scary Stories For People Who Don't Like Horror by Charlotte Ahlin, might be right up your alley. 

I've already read both Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, which were mentioned in the above article and each are excellent novels... I was kind of surprised to see older book titles listed in Charlotte Ahlin's article. I would have thought some newer releases would have been highlighted instead.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday - Books On My Fall TBR List

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's a list of books on my Fall TBR List. Some of the books on my list are new books that have recently been released this Fall and some are not new book releases:

2. The Power of When: Discover Your Chronotype by Michael Breus
3. The Catcher In The Rye by J. D. Salinger DNF!! I am replacing this novel with The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins
4. Love In A Nutshell by Janet Evanovich & Dorien Kelly
5. Gilt By Association by Tamar Myers
6. Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks
8. A Skating Life: My Story by Dorothy Hamill
9. Eat Dirt by Josh Axe (finish reading this book)
10. The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food by Jennifer 8. Lee (finish reading this book)

Which books are on your Fall TBR list?

Monday, September 26, 2016

Quotes About the Dangers of Banning Books

It's Banned Books Week and it's important to turn the tide against banning books. I discovered and article on Bustle's website titled, 15 Quotes About Censorship And The Danger Of Banning Books by Amy Sachs. In her article, Amy Sachs writes the following:
Censorship has been a hotly debated issue almost as long as books and writing have been in print for consumption. There will likely always be someone who doesn't like what the masses are reading, whether it's the witchy world of Harry Potter, or even a classic like Lord of the Flies orFahrenheit 451. But banning books has a very real and very dangerous history, and these quotes about censorship prove that it's beyond bad for society.
Check out the 15 Quotes About Censorship & The Danger Of Banning Books by clicking on the top most link!

A Life In Parts by Bryan Cranston

eBook Memoir
My husband and I really enjoyed watching the television series Breaking Bad! It quickly became one of our favorite all time television series ever.

Bryan Cranston played the leading role of Walt White in Breaking Bad. Essentially, up until reading Bryan Cranston's soon to be released memoir titled, A Life In Partsthat's all I knew about Bryan Cranston's life.

So, when I learned that NetGalley was allowing readers to request a free copy of A Life In Parts by Bryan Cranston in exchange for an honest review, I decided to submit a request for Bryan Cranston's new memoir... And, lucky me, I received a free ebook edition of A Life In Parts by Bryan Cranston to read and review! The following is my honest, unbiased review of A Life In Parts by Bryan Cranston.

First off, let me state that I normally don't read celebrity memoirs or biographies very often. However, because I respected Bryan Cranston's work on Breaking Bad, I decided that it may be worthwhile in reading Cranston's soon to be released memoir to learn more about him and his acting career. I wasn't disappointed with Bryan Cranston's memoir at all.

I love the title of Bryan Cranston's new memoir, A Life In Parts. The title is perfect as Cranston highlights many aspects of his colorful life and his career. Knowing very little about Bryan Cranston's life prior to reading his memoir, I was surprised at how candid he was about what he did share of his personal life... The good, the bad, the ugly, but mostly wonderful life he has lived. Cranston writes with candor and humor as he talks about his childhood and family growing up, odd jobs he had growing up and before he became famous, how/when he finally decided he wanted to become an actor, riding motorbikes across the USA with his brother, his various acting roles,  running marathons, meeting his wife, having their daughter, Taylor, and what fatherhood has meant to him, and more. 

Overall, I really enjoyed reading A Life In Parts by Bryan Cranston. It's really well written and flows nicely. I've come to respect Bryan Cranston's viewpoints on acting and his views on life in general. Bryan Cranston seems well grounded and he doesn't seem to be one of those difficult, spoiled actors who has an inflated ego since becoming famous, which I admire.

The following is more information about A Life In Parts by Bryan Cranston from Amazon:
A poignant, intimate, funny, inspiring memoir—both a coming-of-age story and a meditation on creativity, devotion, and craft—from Bryan Cranston, beloved and acclaimed star of one of history’s most successful TV shows, Breaking Bad.
Bryan Cranston landed his first role at seven, when his father, a struggling actor and director, cast him in a United Way commercial. Soon, Bryan was haunting the local movie theater, memorizing and reenacting favorite scenes with his older brother. Acting was clearly the boy’s destiny—until one day his father disappeared. Suddenly, destiny took a back seat to survival.
Seeking something more stable, perhaps subconsciously trying to distance himself from his absent father, Cranston decided on a career in law enforcement. But then, a young man on a classic cross-country motorcycle trip, Cranston one day found himself stranded at a rest area in the Blue Ridge Mountains. To pass the time he read a tattered copy of Hedda Gabler, and in a flash he found himself face-to-face once again with his original calling. Suddenly he thought: This was what he wanted to do, what he would do, with the rest of his life. Act.
In his riveting memoir, A Life in Parts, Cranston traces his zigzag journey from his chaotic childhood to his dramatic epiphany, and beyond, to mega-stardom and a cult-like following, by vividly revisiting the many parts he’s played, on camera (astronaut, dentist, detective, candy bar spokesperson, President of the United States, etc.) and off (paperboy, farmhand, security guard, dating consultant, murder suspect, dock loader, son, brother, lover, husband, father). With great humor, and much humility, Cranston chronicles his unlikely rise from a soap opera regular, trying to learn the ropes and the politics of show business on the fly, to a recurring spot as Tim Whatley on Seinfeld, finding himself an indelible part of popular culture. He recalls his run as the well-meaning goofball, Hal, on Malcolm in the Middle, proving to writers and fans that he was willing to do anything, anything, for a laugh, and he gives a bracing account of his challenging run on Broadway as President Lyndon Johnson, pushing himself to the limit as he prepared, physically and mentally, for a tour de force that would win him a Tony, to go along with his four Emmys.
Of course, Cranston dives deep into the grittiest, most fascinating details of his greatest role, explaining how he searched inward for the personal darkness that would help him create one of the most riveting performances ever captured on screen: Walter White, chemistry teacher turned drug kingpin.
Discussing his failures as few men do, describing his work as few actors can, Cranston has much to say about innate talent, its benefits, challenges, and proper maintenance, but ultimately A Life in Parts is about the necessity and transformative power of hard work.
I am giving A Life In Parts by Bryan Cranston a rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Bookish Quote of the Day!!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Banned Books Week 2016 ~ September 25th - October 1st

I'll be wearing the above t-shirt & socks for Banned Books Week 2016!!
Each year, I try to read at least one banned or challenged book a year. I've read two banned/challenged books so far as follows: The Witches by Roald Dahl and Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume. I don't remember if I've read any other banned or challenged books earlier this year or not.

For me, Banned Books Week is a celebration against censorship and for standing up for my right (and the right of others) to read what I (others) want to read. I think it's wrong for other people to decide/define which books and other materials one should read or not read by banning them. Defending the first amendment is crucial!

During Banned Books Week this year, I plan to read Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger. Plus, wear special banned book socks and a t-shirt to help promote Banned Books Week!


I admit defeat!! I am not going to finish reading The Catcher In The Rye by J. D. Salinger... This novel is a reread for me as I read it 30 years ago when I was in high school and I remember liking it at the time. I don't remember much about the novel, but was curious to see how I liked reading it again as an adult.

I've read 24% of The Catcher In The Rye so far. OMG, Holden Caulfield is soooo immature, sarcastic, and negative!! He says the same words/phrases incessantly (crumby/boy/kid/old + foul words and other slang) and his behavior and outlook are growing tiresome and annoying. I've lost interest in reading this novel any further. I am cutting bait and moving on to the next book.

So how are you celebrating Banned Books Week this year?

Friday, September 23, 2016

28 Underused Words??

I came across an article on BuzzFeed's website titled, 28 Underused Words You Really Need To Start Using by Dan Dalton, which I found fun to read!! I learned many new words, which sound like fun ones to actually use like; absquatulate, sockdolager, mountebank, crapulent, recidivist, and hebetude are a few of my favorite words from this article!!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Tightrope by Simon Mawer

Unabridged Audio Version of Tightrope by Simon Mawer
I decided to listen to the unabridged audio version of the novel, Tightrope by Simon Mawer, based on a review by another blogger Carole from Carole's Chatter and also because the idea of reading a historical thriller set in post World War II London during the Cold War sounded like an appealing novel to read.

Listening time for Tightrope by Simon Mawer is 14 hours, 20 minutes. Tightrope by Simon Mawer is narrated by Kate Reading and I thought she did a good job of narrating Tightrope.

I initially felt that it was a bit difficult to get into the rhythm and flow of Tightrope by Simon Mawer. Sometimes it was a bit difficult to follow the storyline as it goes back an forth in time during some of scenes. I didn't care much for the first 65% of the novel, but felt things became more captivating the last 35% of Tightrope by Simon Mawer.

As far as the leading character, Marian Sutro, goes, I have mixed feelings about her as a character. Truth be told, I didn't end up liking Marian Sutro much by the end of Tightrope. Marian seems to be too caught up in the entire cloak and dagger thing of the Cold War once she returns home from World War II. She doesn't seem to form any real emotional attachments to any one man other than one man who does stand out towards the later part of the novel. It's like relationships with men are a means to and end for Marian. Marian has no problems sleeping with married men or even cheating on her own husband without remorse.

The following is a synopsis of Tightrope by Simon Mawer from Amazon:
This captivating historical thriller brings back Marian Sutro, ex-special operations agent, and traces her romantic and political exploits in post-World War II London, where the Cold War is about to reshape old loyalties.
As Allied forces close in on Berlin in spring 1945, a solitary figure emerges from the wreckage that is Germany. It is Marian Sutro, whose existence was last known to her British controllers in autumn 1943 in Paris. One of a handful of surviving agents of the Special Operations Executive, she has withstood arrest, interrogation, incarceration, and the horrors of Ravensbruck concentration camp, but at what cost? Returned to an England she barely knows and a postwar world she doesn't understand, Marian searches for something on which to ground the rest of her life. Family and friends surround her, but she is haunted by her experiences and by the guilt of knowing that her contribution to the war effort helped lead to the monstrosities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. When the mysterious Major Fawley, the man who hijacked her wartime mission to Paris, emerges from the shadows to draw her into the ambiguities and uncertainties of the Cold War, she sees a way to make amends for the past and at the same time to find the identity that has never been hers.
A novel of divided loyalties and mixed motives, Tightrope is the complex and enigmatic story of a woman whose search for personal identity and fulfillment leads her to shocking choices.
Tightrope by Simon Mawer, just didn't really do much for me as a novel. It was just okay. I am giving Tightrope by Simon Mawer a rating of 2 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Catalyst by Laurie Halse Anderson

Paperback Edition
Catalyst by Laurie Halse Anderson is a young adult novel. Catalyst is also the second novel I've read by Laurie Halse Anderson to date.

As usual, I found Laurie Halse Anderson's writing to be very engaging. She creates interesting leading characters. I like the plot and storylines Laurie Halse Anderson creates. I also feel that Laurie Halse Anderson is direct and to the point with the words she uses to create her novels.

I must say that the character of Teri Litch in Catalyst was not my favorite character. I initially didn't like her at all. Teri Litch is mean, rude, aggressive, angry at the world, has a chip on her shoulder, a bully, steals things, and is just not a very likable person at all... As Catalyst unfolds, we learn a lot about Teri's rough life at home and more about her background, which explains a lot about why she is the way she is. Teri never quite gets rid of her rough/gruff personality, but by the end of the novel we see a change in her personality for the better and some moments where Teri does seem vulnerable and open.

Kate Malone is the leading character of Catalyst and is an overachiever. Over the course of the novel, we see Kate's personality shift as well on how she views the world. 

Additionally, Kate and Teri have never been friends ever. In fact, Teri use to bully Kate routinely. The two are forced to share a bedroom together indefinitely when Teri moves in with Kate's family after a major fire destroys Teri's family's home. Neither of the teenagers are thrilled with this idea and do not get along. Eventually, a sort of friendship develops between the two by the end of the novel, as both teenagers are transformed by events over the course of the novel.

The following is a plot summary for Catalyst by Laurie Halse Anderson from Amazon:
Meet Kate Malone-straight A science and math geek, minister's daughter, ace long-distance runner, girlfriend, unwilling family caretaker, emotional avoidance champion. Kate manages her life by organizing it, as logically as the periodic table. She can handle it all-or so she thinks. Then, like a string of chemical reactions, everything happens: the Malones' neighbors get burned out of their home and move in. Because her father is a Good Man of God (and a Not Very Thoughtful Parent), Kate has to share her room with her nemesis, Teri Litch, and Teri's adorable, troublemaking little brother. And through it all, she's still waiting to hear from the only college she has applied to: MIT. Kate's life is less and less under control-and then, something happens that blows it all apart, and forces her to examine her life, self, and heart for the first time. Set in the same community as the remarkable Speak, Catalystis a novel that will make you think, laugh, cry, and rejoice-sometimes at the same time.
I am giving Catalyst by Laurie Halse Anderson a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday --- Top 10 Audiobooks You Should Listen To!!

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.

I LOVE listening to AUDIOBOOKS!!!! I've listened to many audiobooks, especially the last 3 to 4 years. So, I found it difficult to narrow down my choices to just 10 audiobooks. Below is my list of a few of my favorite audiobooks:

Yellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim and narrated by Bahni Turpin.
Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee and narrated by Reese Witherspoon.
The Selkie Spell by Sophie Moss and narrated by Hollis McCarthy.
The Good Traitor by Ryan Quinn and narrated by Angela Dawe.
The Assassination of the Archduke: Sarajevo 1914 and the Romance That Changed the World by Sue Woolmans and Greg King and narrated by Malcolm Hillgartner.
Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage by Elizabeth Gilbert and narrated by the author.
The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester and narrated by the author.
The Soloist by Steve Lopez and narrated by William Hughes.

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg and narrated by Mike Chamberlin.
My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem and narrated by the author and Debra Winger.
This Common Secret: My Journey as an Abortion Doctor by Susan Wicklund and narrated by Robin Miles.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Sandra Cisneros To Receive National Medal Of Arts!!

I enjoyed reading The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, not once, but twice!! The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros is an award winning novel coming-of-age story about a Latina girl growing up in Chicago.

Being a fan of Sandra Cisneros writing, I was happy to learn that she is being awarded the National Medal of Arts from President Obama on September 22, 2016. 

To learn more, read an article on Bustle's website titled, Sandra Cisneros To Receive National Medal Of Arts From President Obama by Kristian Wilson.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Bookish Quote of the Day!!

The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore

Unabridged Audio Version from Audible
Growing up in the 1970s, I loved watching the television series Wonder Woman starring Lynda Carter. 

I loved watching this television series so much that my mother made me a Wonder Woman costume for Halloween one year, which was a labor of true love on my mother's part as she can barely sew anything to save her life!! The costume turned out great and I wore it with pride for Halloween that year. I don't remember what ever became of the Wonder Woman costume my mother made for me... I wish we had it stowed away somewhere for posterity. And, I really don't remember much of the Wonder Woman television series other than Lynda Carter starred as Wonder Woman and her costume + a few additional minor details.

When I came across the unabridged audio version of The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore and narrated by the author on Audible, I couldn't resist buying and listening to this nonfiction book. Listening time for The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore is 9 hours, 5 minutes.

Whoa, this book is packed with lots of information!! It was kind of overwhelming how much information was shared with readers. I wasn't expecting so much information about the history of William Moulton Marston, Wonder Woman's creator. Not only was William Moulton Marston the creator of Wonder Woman, but he was the inventor of the lie detector, a psychologist, and an attorney. 
William Moulton Marston also lived a very unconventional life with women and he was also influenced by feminism. 

There is a lot of history about feminism is The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore in addition to the life and times of William Moulton Marston.

I felt like the majority of The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore focused on the history of William Moulton Marston's life, his family, the women in his life & his relationship with them, and feminism. Yes, Wonder Woman is discussed in this novel quite a bit, but I wish more of Wonder Woman was discussed than she.

The following is a summary for The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore from Audible:
A riveting work of historical detection revealing that the origins of one of the world’s most iconic superheroes hides within it a fascinating family story - and a crucial history of 20th-century feminism.
Wonder Woman, created in 1941, is the most popular female superhero of all time. Aside from Superman and Batman, no superhero has lasted as long or commanded so vast and wildly passionate a following. Like every other superhero, Wonder Woman has a secret identity. Unlike every other superhero, she has also has a secret history. 
Harvard historian and New Yorker staff writer Jill Lepore has uncovered an astonishing trove of documents, including the never-before-seen private papers of William Moulton Marston, Wonder Woman's creator. Beginning in his undergraduate years at Harvard, Marston was influenced by early suffragists and feminists, starting with Emmeline Pankhurst, who was banned from speaking on campus in 1911, when Marston was a freshman. In the 1920s, Marston and his wife, Sadie Elizabeth Holloway, brought into their home Olive Byrne, the niece of Margaret Sanger, one of the most influential feminists of the 20th century. The Marston family story is a tale of drama, intrigue, and irony. In the 1930s, Marston and Byrne wrote a regular column for Family Circle celebrating conventional family life, even as they themselves pursued lives of extraordinary nonconformity. Marston, internationally known as an expert on truth - he invented the lie detector test - lived a life of secrets, only to spill them on the pages of Wonder Woman.
The Secret History of Wonder Woman is a tour de force of intellectual and cultural history of Wonder Woman, Lepore argues, is the missing link in the history of the struggle for women’s rights - a chain of events that begins with the women's suffrage campaigns of the early 1900s and ends with the troubled place of feminism a century later.
I am giving The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

FREE Audiobooks Included With Amazon Prime!!

I love listening to audiobooks and I also happen to be an Amazon Prime member. So, I was excited to learn this morning that FREE audiobooks are now included with Amazon Prime!! I look forward to seeing which audiobooks will be available through Amazon Prime.

To learn more information, read the following article I discovered through Bustle's website titled, Free Audiobooks Are Now Included With Amazon Prime, But Which Books Will Be Available? by Kristian Wilson.

Banned Book Weeks Socks!!

I love reading banned or challenged books. I try to read at least one banned or challenged book each year. This year, I've read two banned/challenged that I can recall off hand. 

I also love literary/bookish related items to add to my personal collection of all things book related. While attending an author event and signing at an independent bookstore earlier this week, I saw a cute pair of banned books socks by the cash wrap area when purchasing a book. The socks are black and white and are completely adorable!! I couldn't resist buying a pair of them. I look forward to wearing the banned books socks later this month during Banned Books Week, which will be held during the week of September 25 through October 1, 2016.

The socks cost $10 and can be purchased online through Out of Print Clothing. On the packaging for the socks it reads: "Every purchase donates one book to a community in need." I like that books are being donated to communities in need. Literacy is important and so is access to books and periodicals.

There are also other banned books themed items for sale through the Out of Print Clothing website. Check out the fun items that can be found on their website.

Until my next post, happy reading!! 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Shalane Flanagan & Elyse Kopecky ~ Author Signing Event at Rakestraw Books in Danville, CA

Shalane Flanagan (left), Me, & Elyse Kopecky (right)
Last night, I attended an author speaking and signing event at Rakestraw Books in Danville, California. World class marathoner and 4-time Olympian, Shalane Flanagan, and chef, Elyse Kopecky, have recently published a cookbook titled Run Fast, Eat Slow: Nourishing Recipes For Athletes, which has become a bestseller since its publication last month. Both women were present at Rakestraw Books from 7pm to 9pm on Tuesday, September 13, 2016 to discuss their new cookbook, answer questions from attendees, and sign copies of their new cookbook.

I had a blast listening to both Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky speak at Rakestraw Books. I learned from attending the event, that Shalane Flanagan & Elyse Kopecky have been friends for 16 years and had become friends during their college years. Both women were runners in college, but it wasn't until three years ago that they decided to write a cookbook together. I like that the emphasis of their cookbook is on eating whole, fresh, locally sourced and seasonally grown foods. Counting calories and weight loss are not emphasized, which I find to be refreshing as well when it comes to cookbooks and eating in general. I also like that eating sources of good fat are promoted!

I'm normally not a buyer of cookbooks. I love the beautiful, hardback design of Run Fast, Eat Slow: Nourishing Recipes For Athletes by Shalane Flanagan & Elyse Kopecky, the fabulous layout, the delicious sounding recipes, and the gorgeous pictures of some of the dishes made from the recipes from their cookbook look mouthwatering! I now look forward to making and enjoying several of the recipes from Run Fast, Eat Slow: Nourishing Recipes For Athletes by Shalane Flanagan & Elyse Kopecky. 

I spoke with one of attendees who had purchased Run Fast, Eat Slow: Nourishing Recipes For Athletes by Shalane Flanagan & Elyse Kopecky in advance. She said that she had already tried a few of the recipes and they were really good. She had especially liked the Garden Gazpacho recipe.

I'm also not an athlete, but I am into eating healthy meals. I look forward to reading Run Fast, Eat Slow: Nourishing Recipes For Athletes by Shalane Flanagan & Elyse Kopecky cover to cover. I've only thumbed through it so far and like how well it's organized. I also like that each recipe doesn't require tons of ingredients to make it.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Happy 100th Birthday to Roald Dahl!!!

I've enjoyed reading novels by Roald Dahl over the years. As a child, I read Charlie & the Chocolate Factory more times than I can recall and this novel is probably my favorite Roald Dahl novel. Earlier this year, I read The Witches by Roald Dahl for the first time and really enjoyed reading it a lot.

To celebrate Roald Dahl's birthday, I thought I'd share an article I discovered through Bustle's website titled: 9 Facts About Roald Dahl That Will Change Your Perception Of The Children's Books Author by Charlotte Ahlin. In the article, Ms. Ahlin writes:
It's time to celebrate! Roald Dahl's 100th birthday is coming up, so it's time to break out the giant peaches and rivers of molten chocolate. Many of us loved Roald Dahl's stories as children. Whether we were looking up to telekinetic girl genius Matilda or cowering in fear from The Witches,those books had something strange and wonderful for every kid. But how much do we really know about the man behind the chocolate factory? Here are a few facts you probably never knew about Roald Dahl.
You won't be surprised to learn that Roald Dahl enjoyed chocolate, that he had children of his own, or that he invented 238 words in The BFG alone. Perhaps you won't even be surprised to learn that he always wrote on yellow paper, or that his parents were Norwegian. But did you know that he was friends with Ernest Hemingway? Or that he spoke Swahili? Or that he was a spy? Dahl had a wildly interesting life, even before he was writing about oompa loompas. 
So in honor of Roald Dahl's centennial, eat too much candy. Frighten a few children with bizarre, darkly humorous tales. And read up on Dahl's fascinating real life adventures.
So, which is your favorite Roald Dahl novel?

Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume

Paperback Edition
Tiger Eyes is the fourth novel I've read by Judy Blume. I decided to read Tiger Eyes because it sounded like an interesting novel to read and is geared towards teens. Tiger Eyes has also been a banned book in the past. I enjoy reading banned books and usually try to read at least one banned book each year... It's always amazing to learn which books are banned/challenged ones and why they've been banned or challenged. I learned that Tiger Eyes has been banned "due to the story’s inclusion of teen drinking, death, and depression."

I really enjoyed reading Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume. This book is written for teens and deals with the sudden and unexpected loss of a parent due to murder. Davey, the leading female character, and her mother and her younger brother, Jason, must deal with the aftermath and the loss of Davey's father, who is shot while working at the convenience store he owns. Each family member deals with the loss and grief in their own way. Davey deals with depression and grief along with feelings of anger and she found it difficult to discuss her feelings about her father's death. We learn bits and pieces of what happened to Davey's father and how Davey feels about his death slowly over the course of Tiger Eyes

Davey does act out and rebel after her family moves to New Mexico after her father's death. Davey and family move in with her father's sister and her husband, whom are somewhat strict and over protective. Davey's mom checks out emotionally as she goes through her own depression and therapy due to her husband's death, and lets her in-laws do more of the parenting to her kids during this time.

Davey begins attending high school in New Mexico. She meets an older college boy with the nickname of Wolf and they become friends. Davey also makes friends with Jane, another high school student, who has a a drinking problem. By the end of the novel, Davey, her mom, and brother have resolved their issues for the most part and move back to Atlantic City to restart their lives back home.

The following is a plot summary for Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume from Amazon:
What does it take to recover from tragedy? This masterful Judy Blume novel has a fresh new look.
Davey Wexler has never felt so alone. Her father has just been killed—shot in a holdup at the 7-Eleven near their home. And now her mother has transplanted her and her little brother, Jason, to Los Alamos, New Mexico, to stay with family and recover.
But Davey is withdrawn, full of rage and fear and loneliness. Then one day, while exploring a canyon, she meets an older boy who calls himself Wolf. Wolf is the only one who understands her—the only one who can read her sad eyes. And he is the one who helps her realize that she must find a way to move forward with her life.
Davey is one of Judy Blume’s most hauntingly true human beings, capturing the deep ways a person can change that can’t be seen—only felt. Her story has been felt, deeply, by readers for decades.
Tiger Eyes by Judy is really well written. I hope you find the time to read this novel. I am giving Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume a rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

The 15th Anniversary of the 9/11 Attacks

It's difficult to believe that it has been 15 years since the horrific 9/11 attacks occurred here in the US. I live on the West Coast of the USA. I remember that I had slept in pretty late that morning. I'd come downstairs and turned on the television, only to be shocked to see every major television station focused on the tragic terrorist attacks on the East Coast of the USA. The video footage was quite chilling to watch and trying to make sense of what was happening was kind of overwhelming at the time. I hope we never have to face another terrorist attack like that ever again.

I came across an interesting article on Bustle's website titled 8 Books About 9/11 To Read On The 15th Anniversary Of That Tragic Day by E. Ce Miller that I thought was appropriate for the occasion.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

The 2016 Authors A-Z Reading Challenge

This year, I've been participating in the 2016 Authors A-Z Reading Challenge. For  the 2016 Authors A-Z Reading Challenge, the goal is to read books by 26 different authors throughout the year. The name of the authors (you can choose the author's first name or last name) starts on each letter in the alphabet (A to Z). One author, one letter and you can ONLY count each author once, by using the first letter in the first name OR the first letter in the last name. The letters "Q" and "X" can be anywhere in the author's name. 

I've had fun participating in the 2016 Authors A-Z Reading Challenge and have recently completed this reading in the past couple of days!!

Below is a list of authors and their books I've read to complete the 2016 Authors A-Z Reading Challenge:

A - Alender, Katie ~ Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer

B - Bradford, Laura ~ Deadly Readings

C - Claflin, Stacy ~ Gone

D - Dodwell, Liz ~ Bird Brain (Polly Parrett Pet-Sitter Cozy Murder Mysteries #3)

E - Eggers, Dave ~ We Like You So Much and Want to Know You Better

F - Fleming, Sarah Lyons ~ So Long, Lollipops (An Until the End of the World Novella)

G - Grace Buchele Mineta ~ My Japanese Husband Thinks I'm Crazy

H - Hendricks, Gay ~ The Broken Rules of Ten

I - Irving, Washington ~ Rip Van Winkle

J - Jeffrey Archer ~ Only Time Will Tell

K - King, Greg ~ The Assassination of the Archduke: Sarajevo 1914 and the Romance That Changed the World

L - Lee, Harper ~ Go Set A Watchman

M - Maya Angelou ~ Letter To My Daughter

N - Nisula, L. A. ~ Killing at the Carnival (Cassie Pengear Mysteries Book 1)

O - Oyeyemi, Helen ~ Mr. Fox

P - Pearl-McPhee, Stephanie ~ Stephanie Pearl-McPhee Casts Off

Q - Quinn, Ryan ~ The Good Traitor

R - Robb, J. D. ~ Thankless In Death

S - Sullivan, Michael J. ~ The Jester

T - Tuomainen, Antti ~ The Healer

U - Umrigar, Thrity ~ The Space Between Us

V - Vanessa Grant ~ Seeing Stars

W - Wilkes, Rick ~ 5 EFT Tapping Scripts to Help You Have Deep Restful Sleep

X - Roxie Rivera ~ Nikolai (Her Russian Protector, Book # 4)

Y - Yousafzai, Malala ~ I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban

Z - Zante, Lily ~ The Proposal

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi

Unabridged Audiobook on CD
I recently finished listening to the unabridged audio version of Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi and narrated by Carol Boyd. Listening time for this audiobook is 8 hours, 15 minutes.

Helen Oyeyemi is a new to me author... I'd never heard of her before until last month when I was browsing the audiobook section at a local bookstore. 

Essentially, I ended up selecting Helen Oyeyemi's novel, Mr. Fox, because of a reading challenge I've been participating in this year. The reading challenge is called the 2016 Authors A-Z Reading Challenge. For this reading challenge, the goal is to read books by 26 different authors throughout 2016. The name of the authors (you can choose the author's first name or last name) starts on each letter in the alphabet (A to Z). One author, one letter and you can ONLY count each author once, by using the first letter in the first name OR the first letter in the last name. The letters "Q" and "X" can be anywhere in the author's name. I've had fun with the 2016 Authors A-Z Reading Challenge and Helen Oyeyemi's last name fits for the letter "O".

Mr. Fox was a novel I really wanted to love!! I liked the premise of the novel and it sounded like an intriguing read, so I looked forward to seeing how this novel unfolded... But, in the end, Mr. Fox wasn't what I thought it was going to be or at least it didn't live up to my expectation. Sure the writing in Mr. Fox is good overall. I especially enjoyed the last 25% of Mr. Fox... But I felt that Mr. Fox was disjointed and difficult to follow in parts as I was trying to figure what the authors was trying to tell her readers. I also didn't like the dynamics between Mr. Fox, his wife, Daphne, and Mary... It just made for an odd novel to read. I felt like Mr. Fox was just too artsy for my taste.

The following is a plot summary for Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi from Audible:
Fairy-tale romances end with a wedding, and the fairy tales don't get complicated. In this book, celebrated writer Mr. Fox can't stop himself from killing off the heroines of his novels, and neither can his wife, Daphne. It's not until Mary, his muse, comes to life and transforms him from author into subject that his story begins to unfold differently. 
Mary challenges Mr. Fox to join her in stories of their own devising; and so through different times and places, the two of them seek each other, find each other, thwart each other, and try to stay together, even when the roles they inhabit seem to forbid it. Their adventures twist the fairy tale into nine variations, exploding and teasing conventions of genre and romance, and each iteration explores the fears that come with accepting a lifelong bond.
Meanwhile, Daphne becomes convinced that her husband is having an affair, and finds her way into Mary and Mr. Fox's game. And so Mr. Fox is offered a choice: Will it be a life with the girl of his dreams, or a life with an all-too-real woman who delights him more than he cares to admit?

The extraordinarily gifted Helen Oyeyemi has written a love story like no other. Mr. Fox is a magical book, endlessly inventive, as witty and charming as it is profound in its truths about how we learn to be with one another.
Overall, I thought Mr. Fox was simply an okay novel. It wasn't to my liking. I think I'll pass on reading Helen Oyeyemi's other novels. I am giving Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi a rating of 2 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy listening!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar

Paperback Edition
I've had the paperback edition of The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar sitting on my bookshelf  for just over four years now and am thrilled that I have finally read it! Thrity Umrigar is a new to me author and I found her writing to be wonderfully captivating and all around engaging.

It took me a while to warm up to The Space Between Us as it started off slowly in my opinion. But once I became hooked on this novel, I found it difficult to it put down... The Space Between Us is a very fast read. I feel that Thrity Umigar is a good writer and storyteller. Thrity Umigar created fabulous characters, even if I didn't like quite a few of them in The Space Between Us. My favorite character in The Space Between Us is Bhima. My least favorite characters in The Space Between Us is Feroz, Banu, and Viraf.

The Space Between Us is an overall wonderful novel, but is depressing in many parts as some of the content was difficult for me to read about. The ending of the novel ends on an upbeat note, which I found to be uplifting. I like the message conveyed at the end of the novel by the author of Bhima finding freedom and inner peace.

The following is the plot summary for The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar from the author's website
The Space Between Us, Thrity Umrigar's poignant novel about a wealthy woman and her downtrodden servant, offers a revealing look at class and gender roles in modern day Bombay. Alternatively told through the eyes of Sera, a Parsi widow whose pregnant daughter and son-in-law share her elegant home, and Bhima, the elderly housekeeper who must support her orphaned granddaughter, the two women have a bond that goes far deeper than that of employer and employee. But Sera’s seemingly privileged life is not as it appears; after enduring years of cruelty under her mother-in-law's roof, she faced physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her husband, pain that only Bhima could see and alleviate. Through their triumphs and tragedies, Sera and Bhima always shared a bond that transcended class and race; a bond shared by two women whose fate always seemed to rest in the hands of others, just outside their control. 
Told in a series of flashbacks and present day encounters, The Space Between Us gains strength from both plot and prose. A beautiful tale of tragedy and hope, Umrigar's second novel is sure to linger in readers' minds.
I am giving The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar a rating of 4 stars out of 5.

Until my next post, happy reading!!