Monday, October 23, 2017

Little Free Library in Solana Beach, California

Last week, I discovered a new Little Free Library in Solana Beach, California!

I left three books at this particular Little Free Library and took two books with me to read at a later date. 

Ah, the simple joys of finding new a to me Little Free Library and being able to exchange books is priceless!

Do you visit Little Free Libraries often?

Saturday, October 14, 2017

I Love Yarn Day 2017

In addition to being an avid reader and book blogger, I am also an avid knitter. In fact, I love combining my two favorite hobbies by listening to an audiobook while knitting!

Today is I Love Yarn Day 2017, so I thought it would fun to celebrate yarn by sharing some fun and unique book titles that pertain to knitting. See my list as follows:

1. Faux Taxidermy Knits by Louise Walker
2. Literary Knits: 30 Patterns Inspired by Favorite Books by Nikol Lohr
3. Woodland Knits: Over 20 Enchanting Patterns by Stephanie Dosen
4. Highland Knits: Knitwear Inspired by the Outlander Series by Interweave Editors
5. Knitting Wizardry by Amy Clarke Moore 
6. Vampire Knits: Projects to Keep You Knitting from Twilight to Dawn by Genevieve Miller
7. The Best Of Jane Austen Knits: 27 Regency-Inspired Designs by Amy Clarke Moore
8. Charmed Knits: Projects for Fans of Harry Potter by Alison Hansel
9. Once Upon a Knit: 28 Grimm and Glamorous Fairy-Tale Projects by Genevieve Miller
10. Knits for Nerds: 30 Projects: Science Fiction, Comic Books, Fantasy by Toni Carr

I do not own any of the above knitting books, but I look forward to purchasing a few of them and knitting a few of the patterns. 

Life Lessons From Russian Literature

I graduated with a BA in Russian and love Russian literature. So, I enjoyed reading an article found on the The Guardian's website titled, Happiness is a salty potato – and other life lessons from Russian literature by Viv Groskop.

Viv Groskop shares life lessons from ten different pieces of Russian literature. Ms. Groskop's article was entertaining reading for me and probably also a pleasant read for Russian literature lovers.

Friday, October 13, 2017

A Paris Hotel Is Offering A Room Service for Books!!

Next vacation stop, Paris!! As if visiting Paris for its major landmarks, food, and culture weren't enticement enough to make it a vacation destination... Now one can stay at a hotel in Paris that is a book lovers dream.

Check out the article I discovered on Bustle, titled This Paris Hotel Is Offering A Room Service for Books by Kristian Wilson. In the article, Kristian Wilson wrote the following:
Have you planned your next vacation yet? If you have the time and the money, you might consider spending the summer in France, because a room service for books is available in this Paris hotel. Sure to become the ultimate in book-nerd destinations, Le Pavillon des Lettres provides each guest with hand-picked reading material for the duration of their stay.
Located in Paris' eighth arrondissement, Le Pavillon des Lettres has 26 guest rooms, each of which is named for a famous writer or character. Lending their names to rooms are Hans Christian Andersen, Charles Baudelaire, Gustave Flaubert, Victor Hugo, William Shakespeare, Voltaire, Virginia Woolf, and Émile Zola. According to the announcement about the Paris hotel's room service for books, "each room at Pavillon des Lettres holds its writer integral to the design, with lines from poetry, prose and novels inscribed on the walls."
If you plan to stay at Les Pavillon des Lettres, be sure to book your room early. Smaller accommodations for one or two people are available for less than €200 per night, but vacationers snatch them up quickly. And with the press attention that the hotel's room service for books has garnered, you can expect any room at Les Pavillon des Lettres to soon be in high demand.

Les Pavillon des Lettres sounds like a fun hotel to stay at during a visit to Paris! 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Another Reason to Feel Blessed About Being A Bookcrosser!! Lucky Me!!

Earlier this month, I wrote a post sharing the joys of Bookcrossing with my blog readers. 

Well, I have another reason to be grateful for being a member of Bookcrossing!

I keep a wishlist of books I want to read on Bookcrossing. This way I have a digital list of all the books I would like to read at my finger tips for when I am ready to acquire a copy of any book I wish to read.

Any member of Bookcrossing has access to my wishlist of books. If a Bookcrosser just so happens to have a copy of the book I'd like to read and feels like sharing it with me, then they can mail the copy of the book to me by requesting my mailing details.

It just so happens that I had News of the World by Paulette Jiles on my Bookcrossing reading wishlist. Earlier this week, I received the paperback edition of News of the World by Paulette Jiles in the mail from another Bookcrossing in Las Vegas. I was surprised to receive this novel as I had no idea it was coming my way.

I look forward to reading News of the World by Paulette Jiles.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Gone Fishing and Other Stories by Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child, & Others Authors

Unabridged Audiobook on CD
I listened to the unabridged audio version of Gone Fishing and Other Stories by Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child, Gregg Hurwitz, Heather Graham, Alex Kava, and David Dun.

There are five short stories in all to listen to in this collection and all of them are mysteries/thrillers. The short stories are as follows:

1. Gone Fishing by Douglas Preston & Licoln Child
2. Dirty Weather by Gregg Hurwitz
3. Face in the Window by Heather Graham
4. Spirit Walker by David Dun
5. Goodnight, Sweet Mother by Alex Kava

Each of the five stories are very well narrated by a different performer, which is wonderful as a good narrator can make or break a listening experience.

Overall, I really liked this collection of short stories. They are very entertaining especially if you enjoy mysteries/thrillers. All of the stories are good and give you a great introduction to each writer's style of writing and way of telling a story. 

My only minor complaint is that most of the stories were predictable in some way or another as I was able to guess what was going to happen before each story ended.

I am giving Gone Fishing and Other Stories a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

A Book Scout ~ A Literary Dream Job?

Aside from being a writer or an editor, what other careers in the publishing industry might be worth while? How about a career as a book scout? Learn more about being a book scout by reading an article I discovered on Bustle titled, What Is A Book Scout? Hanna Masaryk Takes You Behind-The-Scenes Of The Literary Dream Job by Kerri Jarema. In the article, Kerri Jarema writes the following:
"Literary scouts work on behalf of foreign publishers as consultants, helping them find books from the American market that they want to purchase translation rights to and publish in their markets," Masaryk tells Bustle. "Each scouting agency has a distinct, one on one relationship with their clients. We get to know not only the publishing trends in those countries, but our editors' tastes as well. We are their facilitators, their eyes and ears, and their public image here on the ground in New York."
And according to Masaryk, being the eyes and ears requires a lot: meetings with American agents, editors, and foreign rights managers to hear about the books they are working on and attempting to sell abroad; reading everything; and then writing to clients with detailed reports about why she thinks it would work for their list (or why it wouldn't). It's a particularly multi-level, fast paced subset of an industry that is already all go, go, go.
Click on the above link to read the entire article on what it takes to be a book scout!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Weight by Andrew Vachss

Unabridged Audiobook on CD
I listened to the unabridged audio version of The Weight by Andrew Vachss and narrated by Buck Schirner.

Listening time for The Weight by Andrew Vachss is 9 hours, 11 minutes.

I've heard Buck Schirner narrate another novel and loved his voice and narration a lot. So, I was happy to find another novel that he narrates. A good narrator really makes a huge difference when listening to an audiobook.

I enjoy reading thrillers and The Weight by Andrew Vachss is a decent read. Sugar, is the leading character and he's a career criminal. Sugar isn't the brightest bulb in the pack, but he is well meaning and won't rat out his cohorts. Sugar essentially does time for a crime he doesn't commit. When Sugar is released from prison he discovers there are a few things that don't exactly add up... Let's just say that pay back is a bitch and Sugar is the one who sets things straight.

Andrew Vachss's writing is good in The Weight. Although, I did feel like this novel was a bit slow in parts.

Below is a plot summary for The Weight by Andrew Vachss from Audible:
Andrew Vachss returns with a mesmerizing novel about a hard-core thief who’s about to embark on a job that will alter his life forever.
Sugar is that rarest of commodities: an old-school professional thief, tough and loyal as a pit bull, packing 255 pounds of muscle. When he’s picked out of a photo array in a vicious rape case, the cops find his apartment empty. A stakeout catches Sugar when he returns... carrying a loaded pistol. The sex-crime cops get nothing from their interrogation, but a streetwise detective figures out why Sugar offers no alibi: at the time of the rape, a holiday-weekend break-in job was being pulled at a jewelry store. The DA offers Sugar two options: give up his partners in the jewelry heist and walk, or plead to the rape he didn’t commit — and he’ll toss in the gun charge. For Sugar, that’s not two options; he takes the weight.

When Sugar finishes his time, his money is waiting for him, held by Solly, the mastermind behind the jewelry heist. But Solly tells Sugar that one of the heist crew was actually sent by another planner - and that planner has just died. In Sugar’s world, all loose threads must be cut. He suspects that there’s more to this job than what Solly is telling him. But nothing he suspects or imagines can prepare him for what he finds.
I am giving The Weight by Andrew Vachss a rating of 3 stars out of 5 Stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

12 Ways You Could Be Getting More Out Of Your Public Library!

I love libraries as they are filled with plenty of ways to fulfill ones needs and acquire new knowledge!! 

I discovered an article on Bustle's website earlier today titled, 12 Ways You Could Be Getting More Out Of Your Local Library by Charlotte Ahlin. It's amazing all that public libraries have to offer us. So make the most of your public library and take advantage of all they have to offer!!

When was the last time you visited your local public library???

Monday, October 9, 2017

Annie and the Swiss Cheese Scarf by Alana Dakos

I read the deluxe edition of Annie and the Swiss Cheese Scarf by Alana Dakos and illustrated by Neesha Hudson, which is a children's book about learning to knit and includes the hardback edition of the book, stickers, a puzzle, and a paper doll set based on the book.

I enjoyed reading this cute picture book geared towards children ages 4 and older. The story is about a little girl named,  Annie, who watches her mother knit and decides she wants to learn how to knit just like her mommy. Like any little girl, Annie is impatient as she wants to knit as fast as her mother does and have her projects come out perfectly. Annie also makes lots of mistakes while learning to knit and ends up giving up on knitting altogether. 

It isn't until Annie is at school one day and learns that her teacher wants each student to share a 'special talent' they have with the rest of the class. It's then that Annie decides she will finish knitting her scarf and share her 'special talent' to knit with the rest of the class. Annie's scarf isn't perfect by any means and has lots of holes in it. This makes the scarf look like it is a piece of Swiss Cheese. But with flaws and all, Annie's Swiss Cheese scarf looks delightful and is a huge hit with her teacher and her classmates. By the end of the book, Annie ends up teaching other students how to knit during recess.

I liked how Annie and the Swiss Cheese Scarf by Alana Dakos shows perseverance, that things don't have to be perfect to turn out beautifully, and that learning new hobbies and skills takes practice before one can master them with ease and agility. These are all good messages to impart on young readers.

Annie and the Swiss Cheese Scarf by Alana Dakos is also beautifully illustrated by Neesha Hudson, which makes for a great read for young children.

If you are an avid reader and knitter and/or want to give a gift to a young reader and (hopefully) inspire them to want to learn to knit, then this book is a delightful read to share. It gives a lesson at the end of the book on how to knit, which makes for a great introduction to knitting.

There is also a FREE pattern online on how to make Annie's Swiss Cheese Scarf. So check out the pattern for the scarf by clicking on the link in the previous sentence!! Wouldn't it be fun to read the book to a child and then make the scarf together??

I am giving Annie and the Swiss Cheese Scarf by Alana Dakos a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

The Joys of Bookcrossing!!!

I've been a member of Bookcrossing for just over 10 years now and I love Bookcrossing!!

I've enjoyed interacting with other readers around the world, exchanging books and gifts with other readers, and participating in the forums, etc.

I've read so many books that I would have otherwise never read if I hadn't received recommendations from other Bookcrossers, participated in Bookrays and Bookrings (this is where readers on Bookcrossing send books to other readers to read and pass on to the next reader on the sign up list), or been given books as gifts by other generous Bookcrossers.

Case in point, I signed up to participate in a Bookray on Bookcrossing to read Devil-Devil by G. W. Kent, which is a mystery novel by a new to me author. I recently received Devil-Devil by G. W. Kent in the mail from a Bookcrosser in Brazil and will begin reading this novel soon. 

The REALLY COOL part for me is that this physical copy of Devil-Devil by G. W. Kent has traveled around the world LITERALLY as this novel has been read by Bookcrossers in several European countries, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil and has now reached me in the USA!! 

The other really cool thing is that Devil-Devil by G. W. Kent has also been read by 18 Bookcrossers before me and I can read each journal entry made by each reader online and discover what each person thought about the novel. How cool is that? Once I am done reading Devil-Devil by G. W. Kent, I will be mailing it to another reader here in the USA.

I'll be sure and let you know what I think of Devil-Devil by G. W. Kent once I've finished reading it. Until then, happy reading!!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Travel as Transformation: Conquer the Limits of Culture to Discover Your Own Identity by Gregory V. Diehl

Unabridged Audiobook
I listened to the unabridged audio version of Travel as Transformation: Conquer the Limits of Culture to Discover Your Own Identity by Gregory V. Diehl and is narrated by the author.

Listening time for Travel as Transformation: Conquer the Limits of Culture to Discover Your Own Identity by Gregory V. Diehl is 3 hours, 22 minutes.

I was contacted by the author, Gregory V. Diehl, who is also the co-founder of Identity Publications and asked if I'd like to read one of the books published by his company in exchange for an honest review. I chose to listen to and review Travel as Transformation: Conquer the Limits of Culture to Discover Your Own Identity as it sounded like the most interesting book to me.

Below is my honest, unbiased review of Travel as Transformation: Conquer the Limits of Culture to Discover Your Own Identity by Gregory V. Diehl.

Travel as Transformation: Conquer the Limits of Culture to Discover Your Own Identity by Gregory V. Diehl isn't a travelogue by any means. It focuses more on discovering your authentic self beyond the limits of one's cultural beliefs and biases. 

I see a lot of value in finding one's authentic self/identity by moving beyond limiting beliefs and biases that are culturally ingrained or based, but I am not sure travel is always transformative in finding ones own identity or even the end all be all in discovering one's true identity. 

I think that being exposed to a lot of different ways of thinking, different religious beliefs, various philosophies, and other socioeconomic factors can help shape and enhance anyone's life in a positive way/manner without the need to travel outside one's country could possibly be very beneficial in discovering one's identity. Being open minded and inquisitive to what life has to offer and other ways of living can also help in discovering one's own identity I would imagine as well. 

I think that Gregory V. Diehl makes a lot of good points in his book, Travel as Transformation: Conquer the Limits of Culture to Discover Your Own Identity, that I agreed with and make it worth the read. But I think that people are able 'conquer the limitations placed on you by your home culture' without having to travel outside one's own home culture and become who they were meant to be in various other ways. 

Below is the summary for Travel as Transformation: Conquer the Limits of Culture to Discover Your Own Identity by Gregory V. Diehl from Audible:
From living in a van on the streets of San Diego, to growing chocolate with indigenous tribes in Central America, to teaching in the Middle East and volunteering in Africa, best-selling author Gregory V. Diehl has followed a worldly and unconventional path through life. Leaving his California home as a teenager, he fully immersed himself, living and working, in 45 countries across the globe - all by age 28. In Travel as Transformation, he puts his diverse cultural experiences on display and asks the listener to question how their own identity has been shaped by the lifestyle they live.
As you delve into Travel as Transformation, you will learn just how profoundly travel can influence your perception of yourself. Diehl teaches aspiring travelers, vagabonds, and nomads to let go of their internal inhibitions and former sense of self. To encourage world wanderers to embrace change, he shares his own stirring experiences of transformation across Costa Rica, China, Morocco, Armenia, Iraq, Monaco, Ecuador, and more. By embarking on this nomadic journey alongside him, you will learn to examine all of humanity through unbiased eyes and discover all that lies just beyond your backyard. A new, vast cultural experience awaits.
To travel with a truly open mind is to forget who you were when you started. It is to be constantly born anew, and identify with ways of existence you did not know were possible. Travel as Transformation will give you the wisdom, the inspiration, and the resources to conquer the limitations placed on you by your home culture. It's time to take advantage of everything the world has to offer and become everything you can be.
I am giving Travel as Transformation: Conquer the Limits of Culture to Discover Your Own Identity by Gregory V. Diehl a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars. 

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

English novelist Kazuo Ishiguro wins the 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature!

Congrats to English novelist Kazuo Ishiguro on winning the 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature! 

Every year around this time I am on pins and needles waiting to learn who will win the Nobel Prize for Literature... And it's so difficult to know who's going to actually win the Nobel Prize for Literature. Sometimes the Nobel Prize for Literature goes to an author I've heard of before and other times I've never heard of the author before ever... So the news as to the winner's identity of the Nobel Prize in Literature always makes for interesting reading to say the least.

Sometimes, I try to make a guess as to who I think will win this prestigious literary award... This year, I guessed the 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature would go to Japanese author, Haruki Murakami, as I've heard in previous years he'd been a potential front runner to win the the Nobel Prize For Literature... But alas, my guess was wrong!

Although, I've heard of Kazuo Ishiguro before, I've never read any of his novels to date. So, I'll be adding one of his novels to my ever growing 'to be read' pile at some point.

In the New York Times article titled, Kazuo Ishiguro Is Awarded Nobel Prize in Literature by Alexandra Alter and Dan Bilefsky, I learned the following information:
Mr. Ishiguro, 62, is best known for his novels “The Remains of the Day,” about a butler serving an English lord in the years leading up to World War II, and “Never Let Me Go,” a melancholy dystopian love story set in a British boarding school. In his seven novels, he has obsessively returned to the same themes, including the fallibility of memory, mortality and the porous nature of time.
“If you mix Jane Austen and Franz Kafka then you have Kazuo Ishiguro in a nutshell, but you have to add a little bit of Marcel Proust into the mix,” said Sara Danius, the permanent secretary of The Swedish Academy.
Ms. Danius described Mr. Ishiguro as “a writer of great integrity.”
“He doesn’t look to the side,” she said. “He has developed an aesthetic universe all his own.”
In a statement released by his publisher, Mr. Ishiguro expressed astonishment at the award, calling it, “amazing and totally unexpected news.”
Click on the top link to read the entire article.

Until my next post, happy reading!! 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Ice Cream Book Tag

I discovered the Ice Cream Book Tag  through Alexa Loves Books Vlog (Or is it called a Book Tube Channel on YouTube??) 

Alexa is a blogger I have followed for quite a few years now as she provides really good content on both her blog and vlog! Alexa's YouTube Channel is a lot of fun and regularly features her husband, Macky, as well. 

The above link takes you to the Alexa Loves Books video on YouTube, where Alexa and Macky give their answers to the Ice Cream Book Tag.

I decided to participate in the Ice Cream Book Tag. Read my answers below.


1. Vanilla - A book you wish had more flavor: 

The Exile: An Outlander Graphic Novel by Diana Gabaldon and Hoang Nguyen (Illustrator). I love the 'Outlander' series. So with that said, I was excited to obtain and read the graphic novel, The Exile, as it's told through the point of view of Jamie Fraser (verses Claire in the original series). 

Although, I enjoyed seeing Hoang Nguyen's illustrations (they are beautiful) for The Exile, I didn't think his illustrations looked like what I envisioned the male characters from the 'Outlander' series to look like... In fact, all the male characters look pretty much the same throughout The Exile and were difficult to tell apart throughout this graphic novel. The story/plot were pretty vanilla/watered down compared with an 800+ page novel. 

I felt like The Exile: An Outlander Graphic Novel by Diana Gabaldon and Hoang Nguyen had so much potential, but fell really short on delivering appeal.

2. Chocolate - A long book or an immersive world that you enjoyed indulging in: 

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon fits the bill for this category! At 850 pages, this historical novel deals with time travel and Scottish and English history. It is an amazing and captivating read!!

3. Strawberry - A romance that was super sweet: 

Hazel & Augustus Waters from The Fault In Our Stars by John Green --- These two teens in this novel have a very sweet romance.

4. Ice cream sundae - A book encompassing all the elements you love: 

Again so many novels fit the bill for this one that it is tough to narrow down my answer! I am going to choose a novel I read earlier this year titled, The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

This book was an arc that I'd received through Goodreads Giveaways. I'd never read anything by Amy Engel before, so I didn't know what to expect when I began reading this novel. Let's just say that I was blown away by Amy Engel's writing and storytelling! 

Here are a few of the things I liked most about The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel:

1. Writing style and storytelling are two important key factors in me loving a novel and The Roanoke Girls contains great writing and storytelling. 

2. The characters in The Roanoke Girls are dark, damaged, and flawed (not something I go for or like necessarily). The characters are very well developed and have you wanting to learn more about them as the novel unfolds, which is key for me to liking characters... Characters, whether likable or not, must provoke some sort of strong (and believable enough) reaction to be interesting enough that you want to see what happens to them over the long haul.

3. I like the alternating chapters in this novel told by the various Roanoke Girls with the longest chapters be told through the point of view of the leading character, Lane Roanoke.

5. Milkshake - A book that blends genres:

The Horse Mistress by R. A. Steffan.... This novel blends historical fiction with elements of erotica, paranormal, and lgbt themes altogether in one novel.

6. Sprinkles - A book with a colorful cover:

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert... This nonfiction book is an awesome read and not just for creative types either. I love Big Magic and highly recommend it.

7. Ice cream cake - A book worthy of a celebration Ice cream cookie sandwich or three scoops on a cone - a book with multiple perspectives:

The Vegetarian by Han Kang is a novel about a woman named Yeong-hye, who essentially goes mad... But The Vegetatian isn't told through Yeong-hye's point of view... It's about Yeong-hye through the point of view of her husband, brother-in-law, and her sister. 

The Vegetarian is a really well written novel. I really enjoyed reading it.

8. Waffle cone - A book you felt compelled to read very quickly: 

So, many books fit this category for me because if it is a book I am really enjoying, then I look forward to finishing it asap!!

Kentucky On The Rocks by Gwendolyn Grace fits the bill on this one!! Gotta love hot, sexy romance reads every so often.

9. Pint - A book you set aside but plan on going back to later:

The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food by Jennifer 8 Lee. 

I love Chinese food and nonfiction books about food, so The Fortune Cookie Chronicles is right up my alley... But for some reason I put this book on hold last summer and have not gotten back to it yet. I do look forward to finishing this book at some point though.

10. Your preference - cup or cone? 

CUP most definitely!! I don't want to have to deal with ice cream dripping down the side of my cone and onto my fingers. Plus, if I need to be hands free for a second or two, I can't put the cone down.

11. Your preference - favorite flavor?

Oy, really??? I have to pick one single flavor I love the most?? Are you kidding me?? That's so difficult to do! I love so many different flavors of ice cream.... I love just about anything with chocolate, unless it contains marshmallows, as that's just YUCKY!! Can you tell I am not a Rocky Road fan? Coffee flavored ice cream is really good too. Plus, any ice cream that has crunchy bits in it like cookies or candies like toffee bits are yummy. I also enjoy unique flavors of ice cream like lavender, cardamom, eggnog, pistachio, bubblegum (not mixed together, of course), etc...

But if I had to pick just one flavor of ice cream to live with for the rest of my life, I'd go completely old school and pick Baskin Robbins Chocolate and Peanut Butter Ice Cream.

12. Your preference - toppings? 

It depends on my mood, whether I want a topping or not.

13. Your preference - favorite local ice creamery 

Smitten Ice Cream as this place has unique seasonal flavors you cannot find anywhere else.... Yum!

14. Best shared with friends - who do you tag?

Anyone reading this post who would like to participate in the Ice Cream Book Tag, please consider yourself tagged! Share a link to your Ice Cream Book Tag post in the comment section below as I'd like to read your answers for each section.

I hope you enjoyed reading my answers to the Ice Cream Book Tag! Until my next post, happy reading!

Saturday, September 30, 2017

2017 Third Quarter Reading Update

2017 is now officially three-quarters over with, can you believe it?? 

I've read a total of 140 reads this year so far. This seems unfathomable to me as I've never read this much before in previous years to my knowledge.

Some of my best reads this past quarter have included the following:

1. The Second Mrs. Hockaday by Susan Rivers
2. Winter Men by Jesper Bugge Kold
3. Black Mark's Resistance by Ebony Olson
4. The Mephisto Club by Tess Gerritsen
5. The Vegetarian by Han Kang
6. Journal of a Novel: The East of Eden Letters by John Steinbeck
7. Luca's Mate (Dirk's Pack Book 1) by Kristina King
8. Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks

So, which books topped your list this past quarter?

Alana Dakos --- Knitter, Knit Designer, Author, Business Owner, Knitting Instructor, & More!

Alana Dakos (left) + Me at A Yarn Less Raveled in Danville, California

I first became aware of Alana Dakos from her knitting podcast called Never Not Knitting along with her knitting blog of the same name last year or the year before.

I've since learned that Alana Dakos is a knitwear designer and has published five books about knitting. She has even ventured into the publishing arena and created her own publishing company, NNK Press.

Alana Dakos also has her very own yarn store named, Never Not Knitting, in Atascadero, California. 

Alana Dakos is also a knitting instructor and teaches classes at other yarn stores. In fact, she is teaching a few knitting classes at a local yarn store in Danville, California called A Yarn Less Raveled on Saturday, September 30, 2017 and Sunday, October 1, 2017.

I had the wonderful opportunity of meeting Alana Dakos in person at A Yarn Less Raveled (which is a lovely indie yarn store). Ms. Dakos was super friendly and sweet to meet in person. I enjoyed speaking with her. I also had Alana sign a copy of her knitting books, Botanical Knits: 12 Designs Inspired by Trees and Foliage and Annie and the Swiss Cheese Scarf

I look forward to making a few of her patterns when I become a better knitter!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Jewel of Dantenos by Brian D. Anderson

Unabridged Audible Edition
Yesterday, I listened to the unabridged audio version of The Jewel of Dantenos by Brian D. Anderson and narrated by Derek Perkins.

Listening time for The Jewel of Dantenos by Brian D. Anderson is 1 hour, 52 minutes.

The Jewel of Dantenos by Brian D. Anderson is a short story that falls into the fantasy genre.

I was able to download The Jewel of Dantenos by Brian D. Anderson to my Kindle for FREE from Audible. Below is my honest, unbiased review of The Jewel of Dantenos by Brian D. Anderson.

The Jewel of Dantenos by Brian D. Anderson has a 4 out of 5 star rating on Audible, so I was expecting it to be more stellar than it was. I liked the story, plot, and characters well enough for The Jewel of Dantenos, but I wasn't overly wowed but it. Brian D. Anderson's writing is solid and Derek Perkins's narrating of The Jewel of Dantenos was good. But I wasn't captivated enough by The Jewel of Dantenos to want to listen to or read any of the other books in Brian D. Anderson's Godling Chronicles.

Below is a summary of of The Jewel of Dantenos by Brian D. Anderson from Audible:
From the world of The Godling Chronicles.
Filled with confidence and no small measure of arrogance, young Lee Starfinder, along with Millet Gristall, set off on their very first adventure. Lee quickly discovers that life beyond Hazrah can be far deadlier than he could have ever imagined. And soon he must learn that muscle and steel cannot replace loyalty, bravery, and friendship.
I am giving The Jewel of Dantenos by Brian D. Anderson a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks

Audiobook Edition
I've read three other novels written by Geraldine BrooksMarch, People of the Book, and Year of Wonders, and have enjoyed reading each of these novels. Although, People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks is my favorite of all the novels I've read by her.

I love the way in which Geraldine Brooks writes and her exquisite way with words. She is a rich and thorough storyteller for sure. 

It has been a number of years since I've read another book written by Geraldine Brooks, so I decided to read her historical novel, Caleb's Crossing

I decided to listen to the unabridged audio edition of Caleb's Crossing Geraldine Brooks, which is narrated by Jennifer Ehle. Listening time for Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks is 12 hours, 10 minutes.

I am once again floored by how beautiful Geraldine Brooks writes her novels! Additionally, Jennifer Ehle does a magnificent job narrating Caleb's Crossing and I look forward to listening to other books she narrates.

My favorite character in Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks is Bethia, the leading character of this novel. Bethia makes for a fabulous protagonist. She's smart, learned, and wise beyond her years. I also like the characters of Caleb, Joel, and Samuel as well.

I am saddened by Caleb's transformation and his untimely demise. It's unfortunate what the Europeans did to the Native Americans upon coming arriving in the USA for many centuries that followed.

Below is the plot summary for Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks from Audible:
A richly imagined new novel from the author of the New York Times best seller People of the Book. Once again, Geraldine Brooks takes a remarkable shard of history and brings it to vivid life.
In 1665, a young man from Martha's Vineyard became the first Native American to graduate from Harvard College. Upon this slender factual scaffold, Brooks has created a luminous tale of love and faith, magic and adventure. The narrator of Caleb's Crossing is Bethia Mayfield, growing up in the tiny settlement of Great Harbor amid a small band of pioneers and Puritans. Restless and curious, she yearns after an education that is closed to her by her sex. As often as she can, she slips away to explore the island's glistening beaches and observe its native Wampanoag inhabitants. At 12, she encounters Caleb, the young son of a chieftain, and the two forge a tentative secret friendship that draws each into the alien world of the other. Bethia's minister father tries to convert the Wampanoag, awakening the wrath of the tribe's shaman, against whose magic he must test his own beliefs. One of his projects becomes the education of Caleb, and a year later, Caleb is in Cambridge, studying Latin and Greek among the colonial elite. There, Bethia finds herself reluctantly indentured as a housekeeper and can closely observe Caleb's crossing of cultures.

Like Brooks' beloved narrator Anna in Year of Wonders, Bethia proves an emotionally irresistible guide to the wilds of Martha's Vineyard and the intimate spaces of the human heart. Evocative and utterly absorbing, Caleb's Crossing further establishes Brooks's place as one of our most acclaimed novelists.
I also discovered the following book trailer about Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks on YouTube as follows:

I am giving Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks a rating of 5 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Book Club Meeting

There is a monthly book club that meets up at our local public library on the second Tuesday of the month in the evenings. I attended my first book club meeting there earlier this month.

The funny part is that I was told the wrong novel to read for this book club by one of the librarians!! I read the The Second Mrs. Hockaday by Susan Rivers, which was an excellent novel mind you, but wasn't the novel read and discussed by the book group during the book club meet up I attended earlier this month... They'd read another novel of short stories by a Korean writer... I've already forgotten the name of the novel and the author, so I am unable to share it in this post. 

Of course, I wish I'd been given the name of the correct book to read for that evening's book club meet up, so that I could have participated in the evening's discussion. But at least the novel I did read was a really good one.

I decided to stay for the entire book club meet up as I wanted to see how the members interacted with each other and what they had to say about the book they read. Seven of us were in attendance that evening. All of the members who attended the book club meet up seemed really nice and friendly. 

I also learned which books they will be reading and discussing at their upcoming book club meetings through the month of December. 

However, I won't be able to attend next month's book club meet up due to another obligation and next month's book club selection, The Orphan's Tale by Pam Jenoff, sounds really good! I guess I'll have to read it on my own at some point. The books selected to read and discuss for the last two months of 2017 are less appealing to me. So, I do not plan to read them or attend the book club meetings during those months either. 

At this point in time, I'm unsure if I'll attend any of the book club meetings in 2018 or beyond as I do not know which books will be chosen in the coming months ahead. 

Maybe I'll join a different book club in the new year.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Howl: A Graphic Novel by Allen Ginsberg

To the best of my recollection, I've never read anything written by Allen Ginsberg before. I chose to read Howl: A Graphic Novel by Allen Ginsberg this year in honor of Banned Books Week.

One of the reasons I chose to read Howl: A Graphic Novel by Allen Ginsberg was because poetry is something one rarely thinks of as being banned or challenged. 

I also read Howl: A Graphic Novel by Allen Ginsberg because he was part of the Beat Generation. I haven't read anything from this group of writers before, so this was another reason I read Howl: A Graphic Novel by Allen Ginsberg. 

Howl was written in 1954 and "contains many references to illicit drugs and sexual practices" (Wikipedia). This eventually led to the 1957 Obscenity Trial, where California Superior Court Judge Clayton Horn found that Howl had "redeeming social importance" (Wikipedia). Thank goodness for judges seeing the redeeming value of free speech and the written word.

As far as Howl: A Graphic Novel by Allen Ginsberg goes, I am glad that I read the graphic novel edition of Howl, as Erick Drooker's artistry adds another dimension/layer to this iconic poem. 

Howl makes for interesting reading, but I didn't quite grasp the meaning of the poem in its entirety and all of its nuances... Which meant looking up the meaning of various parts of this poem online.

I am giving Howl: A Graphic Novel by Allen Ginsberg a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Celebrate Banned Books Week!!

Today is the first day of Banned Books Week 2017 ~ September 24th through September 30th. 

This week, I will be reading a banned book in order to celebrate the freedom to read any book I want. I don't believe in censorship! 

I will be reading Howl: A Graphic Novel by Allen Ginsberg this week. I chose to read Howl because I've never read anything by Allen Ginsberg that I can recall and also because poetry is something one rarely thinks of as being banned or challenged. Howl was written in 1954 and "contains many references to illicit drugs and sexual practices" (Wikipedia). This eventually led to a 1957 Obscenity Trial, where California Superior Court Judge Clayton Horn found that Howl had "redeeming social importance" (Wikipedia).

Need more reasons to celebrate Banned Books Week? Check out the following article I discovered online titled, 12 Easy Ways to Celebrate Banned Books Week

Will you be reading a banned or challenged book this week during Banned Books Week? If so, which book will you be reading? Let me know in the comment section below.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Friday, September 22, 2017

50/50 Friday - Author You'd Most/Least Like to Meet

50/50 Friday is a meme hosted by Carrie @ The Butterfly Reads and Laura @ Blue Eye Books. This fun themed meme focuses on the opposite sides of books (best/worst, differing opinions, etc). Every week a new topic will give bloggers the chance to showcase their answers.

This week's topic is the Author You'd Most/Least Like to Meet!

This week's topic is tough to answer as there are so many authors that I'd love to meet in person!

The Author I'd Most Love to Meet

If I only had to pick ONE author, then
it would have to be Diana Gabaldon.
Followed by Geraldine Brooks and Margaret Atwood.

The Author I'd Least Like to Meet

This is a tough question to answer as well,
because I am usually very excited to meet most authors.
I'm going to randomly choose author,

Andre Dubus III as the author I'd least like
to meet. I read his novel,
The House of Sand & Fog and disliked it a lot!

Which author would you most/least like to meet?

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Books For Night Owls

I admit it! I'm a night owl. Although I'd rather not be a night owl quite frankly. I've had insomnia longer than I care to admit and some nights my lack of sleep is worse than others. 

Since I am an avid reader, I was curious to learn which books made the list in an article on BookRiot titled, 10 Best Books For Night Owls by Jesse Doogan. 

I've already read one of the books in the article (The Life-Changing Art of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo), which actually has nothing to do with sleep, but was an excellent read none the less.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Little Tips & Tricks to Encourage Your Child to Read More!!

I've been an avid reader my entire life. My love for reading began as a youngster when my mom read to me as a toddler. 

I use to receive books as gifts when I was younger and that also helped me become a book lover. 

I am grateful that my love for reading books was encouraged as a youngster as I feel it has helped me become a much more rounded person.

Are you looking for ways to help encourage your child to become an avid reader? Try the following tips I discovered in an article I discovered on BuzzFeed titled, 19 Little Tricks Guaranteed To Get Your Kids To Read by Jarry Lee. Maybe they will help your child read more.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday -- Top Fifteen 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.

I have so many books I want to read this fall, that it is REALLY, REALLY, Difficult for me to narrow down which ones I want to read most this fall.... But here goes nothing! 

I went kind of ambitious for my reading list this fall and chose 15 books to read... The most difficult part for me will be sticking to my reading list as I'm very prone to changing my mind on what I want to read! 

So here is are the Top Fifteen Books I'd like to read this fall in no order of importance:

2. The Dressmaker's Dowry by Meredith Jaeger
3. The High Mountains of Portugal by Yann Martel
4. The Sherlockian by Graham Moore
5. Black Run: A Rocco Schiavone Mystery by Antonio Manzini
6. In Farleigh Field by Rhys Bowen
7. Love In A Nutshell by Janet Evanovich & Dorien Kelly
8. The Crossing by Michael Connelly
9. Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading by Nina Sankovitch
10. Pack of Two: The Intricate Bond Between People and Dogs by Caroline Knapp
11. Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks 5 Out of 5 Stars!
12. Tulip Fever by Deborah Moggach
13. Twelve Red Herrings by Jeffery Archer
14. The Devil, The Lovers and Me: My Life in Tarot by Kimberlee Auerbach
15. Julia Vanishes by Catherine Egan

So, which books are on your fall reading list?

Monday, September 18, 2017

7 Little Free Library Tips To Ensure A Successful Little Free Library

I would have a Little Free Library of my own in a heartbeat, but alas, I live in a condominium and cannot place one outside my unit!

However, for those of you who would like to set up your own Little Free Library, I discovered an article on Bustle's website titled, These 7 Little Free Library Tips Will Ensure You Have The Best Book-Swapping Station On The Block by E. Ce Miller that is a must read for those that want to run a successful Little Free Library.

Click on the above link to learn the seven ways you can make your Little Free Library the best one in your neighborhood!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

September is National Library Card Sign-Up Month!!

In all my years of reading and blogging, I never knew that September is National Library Card Sign Up Month!!

I do have a library card to my public library, but I do not use it as often as I should. I need to change that though.

If you do not have a library card to your local public library, I encourage you to sign up for one this month. Libraries offer amazing resources in their communities.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Rhys Bowen --- Author Presentation and Book Signing

I've come across Rhys Bowen's name over the past few years and am familiar with the fact that she writes three different popular mystery series. Rhys Bowen has also written a stand-alone historical novel titled, In Farleigh Field, which is set in England during World War II. 

I have yet to read any of her novels, but that will soon be remedied in the near future as I discovered in August 2017 that Rhys Bowen would be coming to a branch of our public library. 

Last night, I attended Rhys Bowen's author presentation at our local public library. I am so thrilled that I attended this event as Rhys Bowen is a delightful speaker with a lovely English accent. Rhys Bowen gave a lively talk about her novels, her writing, and various characters she has created throughout the years. Rhys Bowen was also humorous. I felt like she was one of the more entertaining and engaging author speakers I've heard speak before an audience. 

Quite a nice sized group of readers attended the Rhys Bowen author presentation and book signing. Many of them asked a lot of interesting questions during the Q & A segment. 

This was the first time I've attended an author event and signing at a public library, which made for a fun time. I came away with two signed books by Rhys Bowen - Murphy's Law: The First Molly Murphy Mystery and In Farleigh Field.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love And Heartbreak In the Stacks by Annie Spence

Advance Reader Copy in Paperback Format
I may never have discovered Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love And Heartbreak In the Stacks by Annie Spence if I did not an account on Goodreads!

I actually received an Advance Reader Copy in paperback of Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love And Heartbreak In the Stacks by Annie Spence for FREE through Goodreads Giveaways. 

Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love And Heartbreak In the Stacks by Annie Spence will be released on Tuesday, September 26, 2017.

Below is my honest, unbiased review of Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love And Heartbreak In the Stacks by Annie Spence.

Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love And Heartbreak In the Stacks by Annie Spence is written in two parts. Part 1 includes all of Annie Spence's charming notes/letters about various books. Part 2 includes various book related topics and book recommendations made to readers by the author.

I love the humor Annie Spence infuses in her book, Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love And Heartbreak In the Stacks as it makes for a fun, fast reading! I also love how short each letter and/or section is in this book as this makes it easy to carry this book along with you and read when you don't have a lot of time to devote to reading... i.e. doctor's waiting rooms, commutes on public transportation, and so on.

The following is a summary for Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love And Heartbreak In the Stacks by Annie Spence from Amazon:
A librarian's laugh-out-loud funny, deeply moving collection of love letters and breakup notes to the books in her life.
If you love to read, and presumably you do since you’ve picked up this book (!), you know that some books affect you so profoundly they forever change the way you think about the world. Some books, on the other hand, disappoint you so much you want to throw them against the wall. Either way, it’s clear that a book can be your new soul mate or the bad relationship you need to end.
In Dear Fahrenheit 451, librarian Annie Spence has crafted love letters and breakup notes to the iconic and eclectic books she has encountered over the years. From breaking up with The Giving Tree (a dysfunctional relationship book if ever there was one), to her love letter to The Time Traveler’s Wife (a novel less about time travel and more about the life of a marriage, with all of its ups and downs), Spence will make you think of old favorites in a new way. Filled with suggested reading lists, Spence’s take on classic and contemporary books is very much like the best of literature―sometimes laugh-out-loud funny, sometimes surprisingly poignant, and filled with universal truths.
A celebration of reading, Dear Fahrenheit 451 is for anyone who loves nothing more than curling up with a good book…and another, and another, and another!
I am giving Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love And Heartbreak In the Stacks by Annie Spence a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!