Saturday, December 7, 2019

Scraps of Paper by Kathryn Meyer Griffith


I listened to the unabridged audio version of Scraps of Paper by Kathryn Meyer Griffith. It's a mystery novel that is the 1st in the Spookie Town Murder Mysteries.

Listening time for Scraps of Paper by Kathryn Meyer Griffith is 7 hours, 56 minutes.

I enjoyed Scraps of Paper by Kathryn Meyer Griffith. It contains good writing, good characters, a good storyline, and it takes awhile to figure out whodunnit!

Below is the plot summary for Scraps of Paper by Kathryn Meyer Griffith from Audible:
Abigail Sutton's beloved husband walks out one night, doesn't return, and two years later is found dead, a victim of a long ago crime. It's made her sympathetic to the missing and their families.
Starting her new life, Abigail moves to small town and buys a fixer-upper house left empty when old Edna Summers died. Once it was also home to Edna's younger sister, Emily, and her two children, Jenny and Christopher, who, people believe, drove away one night, thirty years ago, and just never came back.
But in renovating the house Abigail finds scraps of paper hidden behind baseboards and tucked beneath the porch that hint the three could have been victims of foul play.

Then she finds their graves hidden in the woods behind the house and with the help of eccentric townspeople and ex-homicide detective, Frank Lester, she discovers the three were murdered. Then she and Frank try to uncover who killed them and why...but in the process awaken the ire of the murderer.
I am giving Scraps of Paper by Kathryn Meyer Griffith a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Friday, December 6, 2019

Witch of the Water by B. B. Griffith


I read the ebook edition of Witch of the Water by B. B. Griffith a few months ago in August. Witch of the Water by B. B. Griffith is approximately 63 pages in length and falls into the horror genre.

I was able to download Witch of the Water by B. B. Griffith for FREE to my Kindle from Amazon.

Below is my honest, unbiased review of Witch of the Water by B. B. Griffith.

I liked the overall premise for Witch of the Water by B. B. Griffith, but I didn't like the ending. The overall story line and characters were okay and so was the writing in my opinion.

The following is a plot summary for Witch of the Water by B. B. Griffith from Amazon:
Matthew Macrae has been tending to the lighthouses of Pentland Firth, in northern Scotland, for over thirty years. His son, Rowan, will follow in his footsteps, just like Matthew followed in the footsteps of his father before him. Soon, Matthew will have to share with Rowan the dark secret that their family keeps.
The lighthouses must always shine at night because their light does much more than guide ships safely in…it also keeps a terrible evil out. 
When the storm of the century puts the lighthouses in danger, Rowan finds himself following in his father’s footsteps sooner than he thought, where he’ll come face to face with the greatest fear he’s ever known.
I am giving Witch of the Water by B. B. Griffith a rating of 2 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading by Nina Sankovitch


Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading by Nina Sankovitch is a book that has been in my 'to be read pile' for well over 5.5 years! 

In an effort to read some of my older books waiting to be read, I chose to listen to the unabridged audio version of Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading by Nina Sankovitch and narrated by Coleen Marlo this fall... And I am so glad that I read this nonfiction book as I enjoy memoirs and reading about other peoples journeys of healing through reading books!

Below is the summary for Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading by Nina Sankovitch from Amazon:
“Nina Sankovitch has crafted a dazzling memoir that reminds us of the most primal function of literature-to heal, to nurture and to connect us to our truest selves." —Thrity Umrigar, author of The Space Between Us

Catalyzed by the loss of her sister, a mother of four spends one year savoring a great book every day, from Thomas Pynchon to Nora Ephron and beyond. In the tradition of Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project and Joan Dideon’s A Year of Magical Thinking, Nina Sankovitch’s soul-baring and literary-minded memoir is a chronicle of loss, hope, and redemption. Nina ultimately turns to reading as therapy and through her journey illuminates the power of books to help us reclaim our lives.
I'm giving Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading by Nina Sankovitch a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

San Francisco Serenade by Ginger Voight


I live in San Francisco's East Bay, so reading books set in San Francisco can be a delight! Additionally, I like contemporary romance novellas with happy endings set around the Christmas and/or New Year holidays. 

So with this in mind, I found myself drawn to the ebook edition of San Francisco Serenade by Ginger Voight as it has the criteria I listed above. 

San Francisco Serenade by Ginger Voight is a contemporary romance novella approximately 117 pages in length.

I was able to download San Francisco Serenade by Ginger Voight for FREE to my Kindle from Amazon. 

Below is my honest, unbiased review of San Francisco Serenade by Ginger Voight.

Initially, the start of San Francisco Serenade had me wondering if I was actually going to enjoy this novella at all. But once it hit its stride, I found myself laughing in parts and smiling in others. Overall, I loved this holiday themed, contemporary romance novella set in San Francisco with a predictable happy ending. The characters are fun and well developed. I enjoyed the storyline. The writing is pretty good; although some minor editing work is needed. This novella is a holiday hit with me!

The following is a plot summary for San Francisco Serenade by Ginger Voight from Amazon:
Romance sparks unexpectedly when two lonely people cross paths in a posh San Francisco hotel over the Christmas holiday.
Sabrina Parsens is a best-selling author attempting to erase her last holiday memory with an ex, and Vance Gale is a retired rock star who only wants to remain on the fringe of the festivities. When their common association of fame brings them together, they discover a bond of friendship that quickly catches fire. But will it be enough to heal old wounds and cross the barriers they both fight so hard to protect?

Author Ginger Voight brings you holiday romance with a Christmas novella about star-crossed lovers who discover the magic of the holiday together
I am giving San Francisco Serenade by Ginger Voight a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

The Lola Cruz Christmas Story by Melissa Bourbon Ramirez



This time of the year it is fun to read holiday themed reads. So, I decided to read the ebook edition of The Lola Cruz Christmas Story by Melissa Bourbon Ramirez, which is a Christmas themed short story that is approximately 50 pages in length.

I was able to download The Lola Cruz Christmas Story by Melissa Bourbon Ramirez to my Kindle for FREE from Amazon.

Below is my honest, unbiased review of The Lola Cruz Christmas Story by Melissa Bourbon Ramirez.

This is the first time I've read anything by author, Melissa Bourbon Ramirez. Her writing is engaging, funny, and good. I was impressed with this short story until its ending, which ended very abruptly in my opinion! The ending wasn't so much a cliffhanger ending... The ending just left many unanswered questions that could have been resolved/wrapped up by adding a few more details about the characters and the situation that lead up to the event that happened in The Lola Cruz Christmas Story.

Despite the abrupt ending to The Lola Cruz Christmas StoryI'd be willing to give Melissa Bourbon Ramirez another chance by reading one of her full length novels in the future as I thought her writing overall was good... It's just a matter of finding the time to do so with all of my other books to read!

The following is a plot summary for The Lola Cruz Christmas Story by Melissa Bourbon Ramirez from Amazon:
The Lola Cruz Christmas Story is a short, holiday prequel to Living the Vida Lola. Lola is summoned by a woman from her past and becomes part of her own Christmas story as she leads Margo Callaghan to safety
I am giving The Lola Cruz Christmas Story by Melissa Bourbon Ramirez a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Light Parade by Shelley Coriell


Light Parade by Shelley Coriell is a holiday, mystery short story that is approximately 45 pages in length. I like mysteries and I also enjoy holiday themed reads, so Light Parade by Shelley Coriell fit the bill for me.

I was able to download the ebook edition of Light Parade by Shelley Coriell to my Kindle for FREE from Amazon. Below is my honest, unbiased review of Light Parade by Shelley Coriell.

I liked reading Light Parade by Shelley Coriell. I thought it was a good short story. The writing is done well. The characters and plot were good overall. The ending of Light Parade by Shelley Coriell was a little weak, but otherwise it was a good read. 

So if you like reading holiday reads this time of year, go ahead and give Light Parade by Shelley Coriell a try.

The following is a plot summary for Light Parade by Shelley Coriell from Amazon:
Detective Lottie King battles the clock and an unexpected Big Bad as she joins Colorado Springs Police in a race to find a bomb planted at a Christmas light parade where her Girl Power troop is marching. A Detective Lottie King Holiday Short Story that first appeared in New Shoes: Detective Lottie King Mysteries, Vol 2. Includes BONUS holiday recipes.
I am giving Light Parade by Shelley Coriell a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Waiting For Unicorns by Beth Hautala



I do not recall how I discovered Waiting For Unicorns by Beth Hautala, but this coming of age novel landed on my reading wishlist. I purchased a used copy of Waiting For Unicorns by Beth Hautala and read it in November of this year.

I'm so thrilled that I read Waiting For Unicorns by Beth Hautala. It is a children's coming of age story and I found it to be a magical read for me. I love the author's writing and storytelling. The characters are fun and interesting. The best part for me about reading Waiting For Unicorns by Beth Hautala was the main character, 12 year old Talia. We see Talia let go of a recent painful event (her mother's death due to cancer) and learn to open up to second chances with the help of others during her summer stay in Churchill, Canada.

Below is a summary for Waiting For Unicorns by Beth Hautala from Amazon:
A novel about one girl’s journey to the arctic, where she discovers the power of letting go of pain and opening up to second chances.
When twelve-year-old Talia—still reeling from the recent death of her mother—is forced to travel with her emotionally and physically distant whale-researcher father to the Arctic for the summer, she begins to wonder if the broken pieces inside of her will ever begin to heal. Like her jar of wishes, Talia feels bottled up and torn. Everything about life in Churchill feels foreign, including Sura, the traditional Inuit woman whom Talia must live with. But when Sura exposes her to the tradition of storytelling, she unlocks something within Talia that has long since been buried: her ability to hope, to believe again in making wishes come true.
A rich and poignant story about opening up—to new people, to second chances, to moving forward with life.
I am giving Waiting For Unicorns by Beth Hautala a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Monday, December 2, 2019

Let's Try Cartomancy by Ann J. Clark


As an adult, I've always been somewhat curious about a few divination techniques. My primary interest has mainly been with Tarot, Cartomancy, and Lenormand readings. So, when I recently came across Let's Try Cartomancy by Ann J. Clark, I decided to read it.

Let's Try Cartomancy by Ann J. Clark is a short, fast read at 72 pages in length. It's a great book for beginners new to cartomancy and want a basic guidebook that includes the history of cartomancy, the meaning of each individual card, and how to do several 52 or 32 card spread readings.

Below is the summary for Let's Try Cartomancy by Ann J. Clark from Amazon:
If you’re curious about the art of playing card divination, all you need is a deck of normal playing cards and the information in this short taster guide. We have included a variety of examples in the Spreads sections, ranging from simple yes/no readings to full tarot style spreads that allow you to unravel knotty problems or forecast the week or year ahead. You will find a selection of the most common card meanings in the Interpretations chapter, as well as tips to combine cards and interpret patterns to find deeper nuance and spark your intuition. The basic skills provided should give you a useful foundation if you want to progress in your divination studies or simply amaze your friends and family with your uncanny fortune-telling ability!
I am giving Let's Try Cartomancy by Ann J. Clark a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Karma Cards by Monte Farber


I am enjoying the Karma Cards by Monte FarberKarma Cards by Monte Farber includes 36 planet, sign, and house cards plus a 96 page guidebook.

I love the book! It's short and to the point on how use the karma card deck... Plus, gives further details about astrology in general for those that want to know more about the twelve astrological signs, the planets, and various houses associated with astrology.

As far as the karma cards go, they are a nice size, rectangular-shaped card printed on nice card stock. There are 12 each of the planet, sign, and house cards.  

The karma cards are mainly used to ask the outcome of a particular situation or the action one needs to take in a given situation depending on what the querant wants to know. Additionally, one can obtain the answer to what action one can take in a situation and its outcome. 

Each karma card contains the answers to the outcome and/or action steps one should take written on the face of each card, which I like immensely... This way I don't have to look up the answers in the book that comes with this card deck or memorize the answers for each card.

Below is a summary for Karma Cards by Monte Farber from Barnes & Noble:
Find out what your future holds with this brand-new edition of the hugely popular Karma Cards oracle deck!Want to know about your love life? Career prospects? Finances? The answer to every question lies in these amazing cards, created by astrologer Monte Farber and already embraced by hundreds of thousands of seekers. How do they work? Shuffle the Karma Cards; lay a Planet, Sign, and House card side by side; and read across the red or blue panels. Every response features three levels of information: spiritual, mental, and physical. They can guide you through everyday decision-making, and even more important, help you contact and communicate wisely with your “Higher Self”—that part of our being that actually chooses to undergo certain experiences in order to explore our full potential. Accompanying the 36 full-color cards is a 96-page instruction book with advice on centering yourself, visualizing the situation that concerns you, phrasing your query, and more.
I'm giving Karma Cards by Monte Farber a rating of 5 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Bookish Quote of the Day!!


A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka


I had the paperback edition of A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka in my 'to be read' pile for roughly 7.5 years before I finally read this novel last month. I don't remember how I first came across this novel, but the title certainly captured my attention. The storyline sounded interesting, so I decided to read A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka.

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian is the first novel written by British author, Marina Lewycka. I learned from Wikipedia that A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian has won or been nominated for the following awards:
The novel won the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize at the Hay literary festival, the Waverton Good Read Award 2005/6, and was short-listed for the 2005 Orange Prize for Fiction, losing to Lionel Shriver's We Need to Talk About Kevin. Over a million copies have been sold in the UK.
A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian started off really well! I felt captivated by the story, the writing, the humor, and the characters. Things seemed to grow a bit stagnant for me about a third of the way into this novel as the storyline didn't seem to be progressing and felt stuck in a rut before picking up again at about the halfway mark. 

There were many different aspects in this novel that made for interesting reading. Take two estranged sisters, Vera and Nadezhda, that reconnect in an effort to protect/save their elderly, widowed father from a young, sexy, gold digging woman after their father's money and also for her chance to become a British citizen though marriage for both herself and her son. 

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka also touches upon life in Ukraine during the cold war for not only Vera and Nadezhda's parents, but also for Vera as well. Nadezhda is not born until after the family leaves Ukraine. The immigration experience is touched upon as well in this novel.

Dysfunctional family life, family idiosyncrasies, and family secrets also seem to be themes within A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian as well.

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka is definitely a multilayered novel. There's so much more going on within its pages than I've shared within my review. I almost wish that I had a book group to discuss this book with other readers.

Below is the plot summary for A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka from Goodreads:
"In this comic first novel, two estranged sisters living in England discover that their addled elderly father, a Ukrainian war refugee and expert on tractors, is planning to marry a young, enormous-breasted woman who sees his modest pension as her ticket to capitalist comfort. The sisters put aside their differences, and embark on a spirited campaign to save him from boil-in-the-bag dinners, slovenly housekeeping, and such extravagant purchases as a broken-down Rolls-Royce. In the midst of these machinations—which include long-winded letters to solicitors, venomous gossip, and all-out spying—Lewycka stealthily reveals how the depredations of the past century dictate what a family can bear."
I am giving A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Saturday, November 30, 2019

The Sunshine Blogger Award





I was nominated for The Sunshine Blogger Award by Judy at Keep The Wisdom earlier this month.


The Sunshine Blogger Award is an award given to those who are creative, positive and inspiring while spreading sunshine to the blogging community.

Thank you, Judy, for the nomination. Your book blog is
most definitely a ray of sunshine. I love reading your insightful book reviews and often find myself
adding new book titles to my ever growing reading wishlist.

1. How did you get started blogging? 

I'd wanted to start a blog for a while, but didn't want it to be a random hodge podge of topics... So after much thought, I decided to create a blog devoted to my love for reading books. 

I wanted my blog to be more than just book reviews, so have focused my posts on basically anything book related from bookish related quotes, book memes, author spotlights, library and book news, literary awards as well as the author events I attend, indie bookstores I visit, Little Free Libraries I discover and so much more.

2. What do you enjoy most about being a book blogger?

I enjoy connecting with other readers/bloggers the most. Additionally, I enjoy the creative outlet of writing reviews, sharing other bookish activities (like author signings, book festivals, Little Free Libraries, and independent bookstores I visit, etc.) with readers.


3. How long have you kept your blog going?

I started blogging on January 1, 2012. So the end of this year marks 8 years of blogging for me.

4. Would you say you have a philosophy behind your blog? If yes, please say what it is.


Can't say as I have a philosophy behind my book blog. 

5. What genres do you enjoy reading the most?


That's a tough question to answer as I like so many different genres.

Historical Fiction, Nonfiction, and Mysteries/Thrillers. 

6. Who are your top 3 favorite authors?

Gasp, I can only pick three favorite authors??? Geraldine Brooks, John Steinbeck, and Diana Gabaldon... Robin LaFevers gets honorable mention.

7. Do you also attend reading groups? If yes, how many?

I do not attend any reading groups.

8. If you could invite a few authors over for dinner who would they be-even if you had to resurrect some from the dead?


Margaret Atwood, Diana Gabaldon, Joan Didion (despite the fact I have yet to read any of her books!!), Maya Angelou, Geraldine Brooks, and Roxane Gay. 

9. How do you find the books you want to read?


I select books in various ways... Books written by authors who's writing I've enjoyed reading in the past. Books from favorite genres that have intriguing plots/storylines. Themed book reads... Like reading banned books during Banned Books Week, etc. Books featured in Buzzfeed articles or other online websites that sound like wonderful books to read. And, of course, books I discover through reading reviews written by book bloggers and also from Bookcrossers.

10. Do you think authors today are as good as those from earlier years? Better? Worse? Why?


Interesting question!! One that I've never really thought about before until now. 

I actually think authors are the same across each generation. You'll have great authors and bad authors... and some authors that fall somewhere in between. The truly great writers are those that can withstand the test of time. Each generation produces authors that fall into the greatness category. Popular/bestselling writers in each generation may not withstand the test of time though. 

I often wonder if popular writers of today like David Baldacci, John Grisham, James Patterson, Dan Brown, Danielle Steele and so on will even be a household name in 100 years. Probably not is my guess.

11. Name a few of the best books you have read this year.


I've read over 115 books so far this year and counting! Here are a few that I've given a rating of 5 out of 5 stars. Click on the links below to read my review for each book.

1. Gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson
2. Suggestible You: A Remarkable Journey Into the Brain's Ability to Deceive, Transform, and Heal by Erik Vance
3. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
4. The Elephant Whisperer by Lawrence Anthony
5. I Hear You by Michael S. Sorensen
6. Whoever Fights Monsters: My Twenty Years Tracking Serial Killers for the FBI by Robert K. Ressler and Tom Shachtman

Friday, November 29, 2019

Little Free Library Finds in Livermore, California!!

517 Covington Way, Livermore CA 94551


305 Virginia Drive, Livermore CA 94550

In September, my hubby and I found two new to us Little Free Libraries in Livermore, California. I especially liked the red one that looks like one of those phone booths in England. 

Little Free Library in Pleasanton, California!

1776 Martin Avenue Pleasanton CA 94588

In September, my husband and I found this cute Little Free Library in Pleasanton, California! It was filled with many excellent books to chose from... I've returned back to this Little Free Library a second time since my first visit and came away with a wishlist book, The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Little Free Library Finds in Alamo, California!!

Aw, the joys of finding new to me Little Free Libraries are still a thrill for me! 

I really love finding Little Free Libraries in cities both close to home as well as far away from home. I usually seek out Little Free Libraries near the places I visit or are along the journey to the finally destination.

It's a lot of fun to exchange books at Little Free Libraries. You never know which books you'll find inside of each one and that's half the fun of it. I've found many books on my reading wishlist and many of the books I've discovered are also in pristine condition.

I recently discovered in the past couple of months that two new Little Free Libraries had been erected in Alamo, California through the Little Free Library website. So, my husband and I ventured to Alamo, California where we were delighted to find two very cute Little Free Libraries.


Below are two photos of me at each Little Free Library.


155 Patricia Lane, Alamo CA 94507

156 Smith Road, Alamo CA 94507

Do you visit Little Free Libraries?

Monday, November 25, 2019

Bubblegum Blonde by Anna Snow



Bubblegum Blonde by Anna Snow is the first cozy mystery novel in 'A Barb Jackson Mystery' series and is approximately 267 pages in length.

I was able to download the ebook edition of Bubblegum Blonde by Anna Snow for FREE to my Kindle from Amazon.

Below is my honest, unbiased review of Bubblegum Blonde by Anna Snow.

I enjoy reading cozy mystery novels. Bubblegum Blonde is a good novel filled with fun characters and good storyline. I was entertained from start to finish.

Below is the summary for Bubblegum Blonde by Anna Snow from Amazon:

From author Anne Snow comes a brand new series about a not-so-dumb blonde who has her hands full... "Expect the unexpected" has been Barb Jackson’s motto ever since the day she became a private investigator. But when a blast from the past in the form of her cheating ex-boyfriend shows up in her office and begs her to help him clear his name in an ongoing murder investigation, she fears this time she might have bitten off more than she can chew. But as Barb reluctantly takes the case, she uncovers deadly secrets and it becomes obvious someone is now out to get her. Suddenly Barb finds herself in a race against the clock to clear her ex's name and keep herself alive. And to make matters worse, hunky homicide detective Tyler Black is nipping at her heels—in more ways than one! If anyone can get to the bottom of this mystery it’s Barb...if she can keep herself alive. The Barb Jackson Mysteries: Bubblegum Blonde (book #1) Blondes' Night Out (short story in the "Killer Beach Reads" collection) The Blonde Before Christmas (holiday short story) What critics are saying about Anna Snow's books: "This author knows suspense and how to place just the right amount of comedy to keep us reading. The combination is gripping and pulls a readers attention." —Night Owl Reviews "Will keep you spellbound until the very last page." —The Romance Reviews "A fast and enjoyable read, with plenty of emotion and passion." —Dark Diva Reviews
I am giving Bubblegum Blonde by Anna Snow a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars!!

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Sunday, November 24, 2019

The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno by Ellen Bryson


The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno by Ellen Bryson is  one of those novel that's be in my 'to be read' pile for over 5.5 years! 

I finally decided to listen to the unabridged audio version of The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno by Ellen Bryson and narrated by Jeff Woodman.

Listening time for The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno by Ellen Bryson is 12 hours, 29 minutes.

If you enjoy reading historical fiction set in New York City that includes P. T. Barnum's American Museum and the performers for his unique museum, then this may be just the novel for you!!

I enjoyed this novel quite a bit. Jeff Woodman is an excellent narrator and would love to hear him narrate other novels! The writing and storytelling are both good. I also liked the main characters. There's love as well as mystery woven into the storyline as well. I was able to predict a few things about the plot and one of the characters, which was a bit disappointing. The ending was also a bit abrupt too.

Below is the plot summary for The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno by Ellen Bryson from Amazon:
Water for Elephants meets Geek Love in this riveting first novel, an enchanting love story set in P. T. Barnum's American Museum in 1865 New York City
Bartholomew Fortuno, the World's Thinnest Man, believes that his unusual body is a gift. Hired by none other than P. T. Barnum to work at his spectacular American Museum—a modern marvel of macabre displays, breathtaking theatrical performances, and live shows by Barnum's cast of freaks and oddities—Fortuno has reached the pinnacle of his career. But after a decade of constant work, he finds his sense of self, and his contentment within the walls of the museum, flagging. When a carriage pulls up outside the museum in the dead of night, bearing Barnum and a mysterious veiled woman—rumored to be a new performer—Fortuno's curiosity is piqued. And when Barnum asks Fortuno to follow her and report back on her whereabouts, his world is turned upside down. Why is Barnum so obsessed with this woman? Who is she, really? And why has she taken such a hold on the hearts of those around her?

Set in the New York of 1865, a time when carriages rattled down cobblestone streets, raucous bordellos near the docks thrived, and the country was mourning the death of President Lincoln, The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno is a moving novel about human appetites and longings. With pitch-perfect prose, Ellen Bryson explores what it means to be profoundly unique—and how the power of love can transcend even the greatest divisions.
I'm giving The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno by Ellen Bryson a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Saturday, November 23, 2019

They Called Us Enemy by George Takei


I do not remember learning anything about the Japanese interment camps in my history classes during high school. It wasn't until I was in my 20s when I actually first learned about the Japanese interment camps and it was quite shocked to learn about them. 

Earlier this year, my husband and I visited the Presidio Officers' Club inside the Presidio in San Francisco, California. While we were at the Presidio Officers' Club, we saw a special exhibit about the Japanese interment camps. The exhibit renewed my interest in learning more about this period of US history.

A few days after visiting the Presidio Officers' Club, I discovered George Takei's graphic memoir, They Called Us Enemy. I wanted to read it and learn about Takei's firsthand experience living in an internment camp with his family while he was a boy. 

The artwork for They Called Us Enemy by George Takei is stunning as well as George Takei's experience living through this ordeal as a young boy trying to make sense of the world around him during a turbulent time in US history.

Below is a YouTube video of George Takei discussing his experience living in an internment camp in a Ted Talk in Kyoto 5 years ago. It's a powerful message and one worth watching if you haven't seen it already. 




Below is the summary for They Called Us Enemy by George Takei from Amazon:
New York Times Bestseller!
A stunning graphic memoir recounting actor/author/activist George Takei's childhood imprisoned within American concentration camps during World War II. Experience the forces that shaped an American icon -- and America itself -- in this gripping tale of courage, country, loyalty, and love.
George Takei has captured hearts and minds worldwide with his captivating stage presence and outspoken commitment to equal rights. But long before he braved new frontiers in Star Trek, he woke up as a four-year-old boy to find his own birth country at war with his father's -- and their entire family forced from their home into an uncertain future.
In 1942, at the order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, every person of Japanese descent on the west coast was rounded up and shipped to one of ten "relocation centers," hundreds or thousands of miles from home, where they would be held for years under armed guard.
They Called Us Enemy is Takei's firsthand account of those years behind barbed wire, the joys and terrors of growing up under legalized racism, his mother's hard choices, his father's faith in democracy, and the way those experiences planted the seeds for his astonishing future.
What does it mean to be American? Who gets to decide? When the world is against you, what can one person do? To answer these questions, George Takei joins co-writers Justin Eisinger & Steven Scott and artist Harmony Becker for the journey of a lifetime.
I am giving They Called Us Enemy by George Takei a rating of 4 stats out of 5 stars.

Until my next, post, happy reading!!

Friday, November 22, 2019

Undertow by Kelly Cozy


I received the paperback edition of Undertow by Kelly Cozy through the Goodreads Giveaways program. 

Below is my honest, unbiased review of Undertow by Kelly Cozy.

Undertow by Kelly Cozy is a mystery novel. I read it in three days. I liked Undertow overall. I found it a bit difficult to get into at first, but it picked up pretty quickly. I liked the storyline and characters... plus the unexpected ending!

Below is a plot summary for Undertow by Kelly Cozy from Goodreads:
Drew Finley was a crime journalist, until his mind couldn't shut out the images of blood and bodies. Alcohol made the images go away, but also ruined Drew's career and innocents' lives.
Drew's eager to make amends and he's got a story that will help him: a profile of a local celebrity who may have been framed for murder. As he digs deeper, he'll uncover secrets and grudges that will put the people he loves in danger.
I am giving Undertow by Kelly Cozy a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Bloody Jack by L. A. Meyer



Bloody Jack by L. A. Meyer is the first novel in the 'A Bloody Jack Adventure' series. This novel/series falls into the young adult genre. 

I first learned about Bloody Jack by L. A. Meyer at least 5.5 years ago from a postal worker I knew in Carpinteria, California, who was also an avid reader like myself. She'd recommended this novel quite a bit, so I rushed out and purchased a paperback copy of Bloody Jack shortly after she recommended it to me. However, I didn't read Bloody Jack by L. A. Meyer until this fall! 

I enjoyed reading Bloody Jack by L. A. Meyer. Jacky Farber is a fun leading character. She's a girl who poses as a boy so that she could work aboard a navy ship. It's fun to read abut her antics/life aboard a navy ship.

If you enjoy reading historical fiction, the young adult genre in general, pirates/seafaring novels, and coming of age novels, then you'll enjoy this novel.

Below is the plot summary for Bloody Jack by L. A. Meyer from Amazon:
Life as a ship's boy aboard HMS Dolphin is a dream come true for Jacky Faber. Gone are the days of scavenging for food and fighting for survival on the streets of eighteenth-century London. Instead, Jacky is becoming a skilled and respected sailor as the crew pursues pirates on the high seas. 
There's only one problem: Jacky is a girl. And she will have to use every bit of her spirit, wit, and courage to keep the crew from discovering her secret. This could be the adventure of her life--if only she doesn't get caught. . . .
I'm giving Bloody Jack by L. A. Meyer a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Monday, November 18, 2019

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion



The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion is a novel I've wanted to read for quite awhile. I'm so happy that I finally listened to the unabridged audio version earlier this fall. 

Listening time for The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion is 7 hours, 32 minutes and is narrated by Dan O'Grady.

I enjoyed this contemporary fiction novel, which I thought was well narrated and funny in parts. 

The following is a plot summary for The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion from Audible:
An international sensation, this hilarious, feel-good novel is narrated by an oddly charming and socially challenged genetics professor on an unusual quest: to find out if he is capable of true love.
Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. He is a man who can count all his friends on the fingers of one hand, whose lifelong difficulty with social rituals has convinced him that he is simply not wired for romance. So when an acquaintance informs him that he would make a "wonderful" husband, his first reaction is shock. Yet he must concede to the statistical probability that there is someone for everyone, and he embarks upon The Wife Project. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which he approaches all things, Don sets out to find the perfect partner. She will be punctual and logical - most definitely not a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker, or a late-arriver.

Yet Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is also beguiling, fiery, intelligent - and on a quest of her own. She is looking for her biological father, a search that a certain DNA expert might be able to help her with. Don's Wife Project takes a back burner to the Father Project and an unlikely relationship blooms, forcing the scientifically minded geneticist to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie - and the realization that love is not always what looks good on paper.

The Rosie Project is a moving and hilarious novel for anyone who has ever tenaciously gone after life or love in the face of overwhelming challenges.
I am giving The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Saturday, November 16, 2019

The Ruby In The Smoke by Philip Pullman



The Ruby In The Smoke by Philip Pullman is the first novel in the Sally Lockhart Quartet and it is also the first novel I've read by Philip Pullman.

The Ruby In The Smoke by Philip Pullman was published in 1985. It's a novel of historical fiction set in Victorian England for young adults and contains a lot of action in it as there is a mystery to be solved.

I quite enjoyed reading The Ruby In The Smoke by Philip Pullman. I especially loved the leading character of Sally Lockhart as she is a smart, resourceful, independent, young lady at 16 years... A very capable person and a strong role model for girls.

I also enjoyed the storyline for The Ruby In The Smoke by Philip Pullman as there was never a dull moment. The writing is good and the characters are fun.

Below is the plot summary for The Ruby In The Smoke by Philip Pullman from Amazon:
“BEWARE THE SEVEN blessings . . . ” When she first utters these words, 16-year-old Sally Lockhart doesn’t know their meaning. But when an employee of her late father hears them, he dies of fear. Thus begins Sally’s terrifying journey into the seamy underworld of Victorian London, in search of clues to her father’s mysterious death.
I am giving The Ruby In The Smoke by Philip Pullman 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Thursday, November 14, 2019

I Hear You by Michael S. Sorensen


I Hear You by Michael S. Sorensen was an unexpected read for me as I came across this unabridged audiobook purely by accident on Audible... It was one of their daily deals for members! 

I couldn't resist the subject matter for I Hear You by Michael S. Sorensen. Who wouldn't want to learn "the surprisingly simple skill behind extraordinary relationships"? 

Besides the listening time for I Hear You by Michael S. Sorensen is 2 hours, 45 minutes, which makes learning this simple skill much more appealing to me... The message is simply stated by the author and easy to understand. Now it's time to put the four steps I learned into action!!

The following is the publisher's summary for I Hear You by Michael S. Sorensen from Audible:
What if making one tweak to your day-to-day conversations could immediately improve every relationship in your life?
In this three-hour, conversational listen, you'll discover the whats, whys, and hows of one of the most valuable (yet surprisingly little-known) communication skills - validation.
Whether you're looking to improve your relationship with your spouse, navigate difficult conversations at work, or connect on a deeper level with friends and family, this book delivers simple, practical, proven techniques for improving any relationship in your life.
Mastery of this simple skill will enable you to:

Calm (and sometimes even eliminate) the concerns, fears, and uncertainties of others. 
Increase feelings of love, respect, and appreciation in your romantic relationships. 
Quickly resolve, or even prevent, arguments. 
Help others become open to your point of view. 
Give advice and feedback that sticks. 
Provide support and encouragement to others, even when you don't know how to "fix" the problem. 
And much more.

In short: this skill is powerful. Give the principles and practices in this book a chance and you'll be amazed at the difference they can make.
I am giving I Hear You by Michael S. Sorensen a rating of 5 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Monday, November 11, 2019

Breast Cancer Boot Camp by William B. Hobbins M.D. & Wendy Sellens L.Ac.


In October of this year, during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I read Breast Cancer Boot Camp by William B. Hobbins M.D. & Wendy Sellens L.Ac.

I found Breast Cancer Boot Camp by William B. Hobbins M.D. & Wendy Sellens L.Ac. to be a fascinating book. I think Breast Cancer Boot Camp is well written and organized. It contains a lot of educational information about optimal breast health.

I feel like Breast Cancer Boot Camp by William B. Hobbins M.D. & Wendy Sellens L.Ac. is a must read for every woman wanting to reduce their risk for breast cancer. Currently, the U.S. Breast Cancer Statistics states that "about 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime."  

As a woman, I've always been interested in learning more about breast health and monitoring my breast health through the use of thermography in addition to mammography and ultrasound. The reason I like using multiple modalities to screen/check for breast cancer is that "a mammogram is only 48 percent accurate for women under fifty and 68 percent for women over 50." (page 245 in Breast Cancer Boot Camp). 

I also like that thermography is noninvasive and doesn't use radiation. But it is very important to find a certified breast thermography center.


Breast Thermography Finds Cancer Before Mammography


I've had several thermograms performed by Wendy Sellens over the years. Wendy is extremely professional. She is thoughtful and knowledgeable. Wendy has helped educate me in improving my overall breast health. I've made some significant lifestyle changes already and am now ready to incorporate a few additional lifestyle changes as well. It's all about being informed and feeling empowered.

Below is the summary for Breast Cancer Boot Camp by William B. Hobbins M.D. & Wendy Sellens L.Ac. from Goodreads:

Bio-identical estrogens, flax, and soy create weight gain, infertility, accelerate aging, and increase risk for breast cancer. Learn how the myth of staying young with estrogen has caused a 210% rise in breast cancer even with advancements in medical technology, increased research, and awareness. If around 80% of breast cancers are "fed" by estrogens, why do doctors and "wellness centers" continue to prescribe them? Why is the answer to every female issue more estrogen?
The answers can be found in breast thermography, a safe screening procedure that begins in the twenties which monitors blood circulation in the breasts and determines individual risk for early detection.
It is time to take up arms and expose the deceptions which saturate the breast health community. Breast Cancer Boot Camp's thermographic evidence will reveal how misinformation and propaganda are increasing your risk with "natural" estrogens. Learn how estrogen deficiency is actually rare, PMS and symptoms of menopause are not normal, and that bio-identical estrogen is just as harmful as HRTs. Learn how most breast thermography clinics are not meeting the minimum standard requirements which provide you with vital breast risk information.
Today, we women are caught up in a battle for our breasts and our lives. Our mothers and grandmothers have paid the high price of believing in medical rumors. Do not let these victims become more statistics to fill headlines and further the "cause" for more walks. It is time to arm yourself with knowledge. Simply look at the images...the findings will shock every woman!
I am giving Breast Cancer Boot Camp by William B. Hobbins M.D. & Wendy Sellens L.Ac. a rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 stars. 

The only reason I didn't give this book a higher rating was because some of the information was repeated several times throughout the book making some of the information repetitive.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Friday, November 8, 2019

Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu


Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu is a classic, Gothic novella "and one of the early works of vampire fiction, predating Bram Stoker's Dracula (1897) by 26 years." (Wikipedia

I listened to the unabridged audio version of Dracula by Bram Stoker two years ago. So when I learned about Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu being the precursor to Dracula, I wanted to read it.

I read Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu last month as another book to get me into the Halloween mood. Carmilla is a quick read at approximately 106 pages for the ebook edition I read... And although I'm glad that I finally read Carmilla, I didn't think it was all that great.The storyline was slow and rather boring.

Below is the plot summary for Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu from Amazon:
Carmilla is a Gothic novella by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu first published in 1872. It tells the story of a young woman's susceptibility to the attentions of a female vampire named Carmilla. Carmilla predates Bram Stoker's Dracula by 25 years. Although Carmilla is a lesser known and far shorter Gothic vampire story than the generally-considered master work of that genre, Dracula, the latter is heavily influenced by Le Fanu's short story.
Carmilla, the title character, is the original prototype for a legion of female and lesbian vampires. Though Le Fanu portrays his vampire's sexuality with the circumspection that one would expect for his time, it is evident that lesbian attraction is the main dynamic between Carmilla and the narrator of the story.
I am giving Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu a rating of 2 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Saturday, November 2, 2019

The Conception of Terror - Tales Inspired by M. L. James


I was able to download and listen to the unabridged audio version of The Conception of Terror - Tales Inspired by M. L. James from Audible for FREE with my Audible membership. 

Below is my honest, unbiased review of The Conception of Terror - Tales Inspired by M. L. James.

This was a Halloween pick for me. I wanted to love this collection of tales of terror, but alas, I didn't enjoy them very much at all. The stories weren't that great in my opinion.

Below is the plot summary for The Conception of Terror - Tales Inspired by M. L. James from Goodreads:
A collection of four ghostly tales inspired by M. R. James.
Casting the Runes - adapted by Stephen Gallagher
When academic Jo Harrington (Anna Maxwell Martin) is sent a paper - The Truth of Alchemy, by Anton Karswell - for peer review, she pulls no punches. It has no place in a serious academic publication, and Karswell is a half-bright fool. However, when the editor writes a rejection note to Karswell, he inadvertently includes her entire email. Occultist Karswell (Reece Shearsmith) doesn’t take kindly to criticism.
On the tube home with her partner Edward Dunning (Tom Burke), Jo spots a poster with her name on it. It reads: 'In memory of Joanne Harrington, M.Litt, PhD, died September eighteenth, three days were allowed.' Is there anything that Edward can do to save Jo from this curse?
Lost Hearts - adapted by A. K. Benedict
Teenager Stephanie Elliot (Rosa Coduri) is taken to Aswarby House to be fostered by Mrs Bunch (Susan Jameson). Stephanie strikes up a friendship with Ben (Bill Milner), the adopted son of charismatic community leader Mr Abney (Jeff Rawle). He tells her that Mr Abney is a good man: he even took in a child refugee last year, but she ran away and stole from him. Stephanie is troubled by voices and visions of a dead girl clutching at her chest, and when Ben disappears she begins to suspect that all is not right in Aswarby House.
The Treasure of Abbot-Thomas - adapted by Jonathan Barnes
When former Somerton school pupil Greg Parsbury (Robert Bathurst) meets history teacher Mika Chantry (Pearl Mackie) at a memorial service for schoolmaster Sam Abbot-Thomas, he begs for her help. He has been sent a postcard by the estate of the mysterious and charismatic Abbot-Thomas. On it is a strange inscription in Latin, which he believes to be an inaugural clue in a treasure hunt: much like the elaborate treasure hunts Abbot-Thomas used to set back in the 1970s. There were rumours that Abbot-Thomas possessed a hidden fortune, and Parsbury and Chantry set out to find it.
A View from a Hill - adapted by Mark Morris
Comedian and podcaster Paul Fanshawe (Andy Nyman) and his wife, Sarah (Alice Lowe), visit the Cotswolds on holiday, trying to rebuild their lives after the death of their young son, Archie. Whilst out walking they spot a beautiful abbey across the valley on Gallows Hill, but when they reach it, they find the building is little more than rubble. While Sarah explores, Paul records commentary for his podcast. Sarah thinks she hears children’s laughter, but there’s no-one there. Later that night she listens back to the recording and hears a child’s voice whisper, 'Mummy.' Sarah is convinced that Archie is trying to reach them and wants to return to the ruins. But something far worse is waiting for them on Gallows Hill.
I am giving The Conception of Terror - Tales Inspired by M. L. James a rating of 1 star out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!