Saturday, April 21, 2018

Audiobook Pet Peeves!

I have become a lazy reader!! Over the course of the past few years, I have found that I really enjoy listening to audiobooks. Sometimes, I prefer listening to audiobooks over actually reading books for a wide variety of reasons. Here are just a few examples of what I love about listening to audiobooks:

* Great narrators can really bring a broader depth/richness to a book that makes for a far more enriching reading experience.
* Audiobooks are great to listen to on long commutes, vacation/business travel, while exercising, doing menial household tasks, etc.
* I can easily adjust the listening speed of an Audible audio edition of a book on my Kindle, which means finishing a book faster.
* Sometimes it just feels great to have someone read to you, especially if you are feeling under the weather with a cold or flu and reading a book seems like too much work!

However, I have quite a few pet peeves when it comes to audiobooks as well.

Below are a few pet peeves I have with audiobooks:

* Some narrators are just plain awful to listen to!! I've even stopped listening to audiobooks with poor narrators.
* Poor audio quality!!
* My latest audiobook pet peeve pertains to audiobooks on compact disc... Why is it that brand new audiobooks you've purchased and are listening to for the very first time skip like crazy throughout one's listening experience??? It's not like these compact discs are scratched or anything of the sort. Yet I can't go through a single compact disc without it skipping and skipping a lot. This makes for a frustrating listening experience that I do not have to deal with when I listen to an Audible audio edition. So, it looks like I am going to have to completely faze out listening to audiobooks on compact discs altogether at some point down the line. I still have some audiobooks on compact disc to listen to, so it may be a while before I completely transition to listening to audiobooks from Audible exclusively.

Do you like listening to audiobooks? What to do like or dislike about listening to audiobooks?

Friday, April 20, 2018

Tea Leaf Fortune Cards by Rae Hepburn

I enjoy drinking tea... Organic, jasmine green tea is pretty much my all time favorite flavor of tea and sweetened with liquid stevia. However, I'll drink pretty much any flavor of tea as long as it's organic. These days, I am drinking organic chamomile tea as I have difficulty falling and staying asleep at nights... So no caffeine for me.

Additionally, I pretty much love all things tea related. Even the topic of reading tea leaves (aka tasseography) is an intriguing topic to me.

A few years ago, I came across Tea Leaf Fortune Cards by Rae Hepburn though Amazon's website and decided to purchase this set, which includes the following items:
* A 98-page, illustrated guidebook that gives a brief history of tea and tea leaf reading, the development of the Tea Leaf Fortune Cards, a brief history of traditional tea leaf reading methods, how to divine your fortune using the Tea Leaf Fortune Cards, and a glossary filled with the meanings of each card in the deck.
* Drawstring pouch for mixing the cards.
* 200 round cards, 3.25" in diameter: 182 symbol cards, 12 month cards, and 6 astral house cards. 
* Sturdy box to contain the book, cards, and mixing pouch.
I thought the 98-page, illustrated guidebook was direct and to the point. I liked the layout of the illustrated book and how it was organized. The information provided by Rae Hepburn on how to divine your fortune using the Tea Leaf Fortune Cards was direct and straight forward/uncomplicated.

I like the size and shape of the Tea Leaf Fortune Cards themselves, but I feel like the card stock used for these cards are a bit on the flimsy side. I want these types of cards to be as thick and sturdy as a deck of playing cards. Especially if a person is going to be using the Tea Leaf Fortune Cards for frequent readings for themselves and/or others. I also think the artwork for the Tea Leaf Fortune Cards is not that pretty. 

The mixing pouch (for the cards) is small, gauzy, and a very pretty golden-yellow color... But the bag looks delicate and I am concerned it won't hold up over time for its intended use... especially if the Tea Leaf Fortune Cards are used frequently for readings.

I haven't used the Tea Leaf Fortune Cards for a reading yet. So, I am unable to comment on that aspect at this time. I do not think that I'll use these cards that often. But I will do a personal reading for myself just for sure fun at some point in the future. I'm not sure how I really feel about the accuracy of things like tarot card readings, oracle card readings, etc. in predicting/foreseeing the future.

Below is a short video of the author, Rae Hepburn, talking about the Tea Leaf Fortune Cards. She also gives a quick reading as well. 

I am giving Tea Leaf Fortune Cards by Rae Hepburn a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Mrs. Sinclair's Suitcase by Louise Walters

Unabridged Audiobook
I finished listening to the unabridged audio version of Mrs. Sinclair's Suitcase by Louise Walters and narrated by Anna Bentinck and Karen Cass. 

Listening time for Mrs. Sinclair's Suitcase by Louise Walters is 9 hours, 52 minutes

Mrs. Sinclair's Suitcase by Louise Walters is a work of historical fiction that had been on my reading wish list for quite awhile. I truly enjoy historical fiction and am finally glad that I finally found the time to listen to this novel... However, with that said, I was truly disappointed with Mrs. Sinclair's Suitcase by Louise Walters. 

The premise/summary for Mrs. Sinclair's Suitcase by Louise Walters is a good one and the narrators of this novel are excellent, but the storyline and characters were a HUGE DISAPPOINTMENT to me!

Mrs. Sinclair's Suitcase by Louise Walters is told through chapters alternating between the past and the present, which is something I do not mind in general, if done well. In the case of this novel, I found the entire novel to be a very, very slow read with everything being so long and drawn out. I almost gave up reading Mrs. Sinclair's Suitcase by Louise Walters several times because it is so slow.

On top of that, Mrs. Sinclair's Suitcase by Louise Walters takes on topics and side stories that I felt weren't relevant to the main storyline or helped to propel the novel forward in a meaningful way. There were also odd interactions between the main characters themselves as well as between the main characters and the side characters and other issues that are too difficult to describe without giving away too much for those that have yet to read, Mrs. Sinclair's Suitcase. Additionally, the ending was so abrupt! 

Mrs. Sinclair's Suitcase by Louise Walters had such great reviews from readers on Amazon, that I thought this novel would be such a great one.

The following is the plot summary for Mrs. Sinclair's Suitcase by Louise Walters from Audible:
A heartbreaking and deeply compelling debut, Mrs. Sinclair's Suitcase is a compulsive must-listen about thwarted love, dashed hopes, and family secrets: book-club fiction at its best.
Roberta, a lonely 34-year-old bibliophile, works at The Old and New Bookshop in England. When she finds a letter inside her centenarian grandmother's battered old suitcase that hints at a dark secret, her understanding of her family's history is completely upturned. Running alongside Roberta's narrative is that of her grandmother, Dorothy, as a 40-year-old childless woman desperate for motherhood during the early years of World War II. After a chance encounter with a Polish war pilot, Dorothy believes she's finally found happiness but must instead make an unthinkable decision whose consequences forever change the framework of her family.
The parallel stories of Roberta and Dorothy unravel over the course of 80 years as they both make their own ways through secrets, lies, sacrifices, and love. Utterly absorbing, Mrs. Sinclair's Suitcase is a spellbinding tale of two worlds, one shattered by secrets and the other by the truth.
I am giving Mrs. Sinclair's Suitcase by Louise Walters a rating of 1 star out of 5 stars!

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Harry the Dirty Dog read by Betty White

I love dogs!! And I love how Betty White
reads, Harry the Dirty Dog.
Classic children's books are wonderful!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday ~ FREEBIE ~ Books by Authors I Don't Plan to Read in the Future

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader GirlTop Ten Tuesday was originally created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Over the years I've read books by famous authors (or maybe not so famous authors) that I didn't end up enjoying. These novels turned me off in some way that I decided I preferred to not read another book written by the author again in the future.

1. Douglas Adams - I read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. This book seems to have a cult like following that apparently I am not in tune with. Let's just say this novel just wasn't my thing and leave it at that.
2. Ernest Hemingway - I read The Old Man & The Sea. I also tried reading Islands in the Stream on several occasions. Oh boy, I didn't find either book appealing.
3. William Faulkner - I read either As I Laying Dying or The Sound & the Fury for a college English class decades ago. I have no idea what Faulkner was trying to say in his novel. I found his writing painful to read at the time.
4. Philipp Meyer - I read his novel, The Son, a few years ago for a book club. Although I didn't dislike this novel, it felt lacking some how. It just didn't meet my expectations.
5. Mario Vargas Llosa - I read his novel In Praise of the Stepmother. What an odd novel. It was creepy.
6. Helen Oyeyemi - I read Mr. Fox and simply didn't like this novel.
7. Ian Fleming - I read Casino Royale a few years ago to see how the novel compared to the movie. I think Ian Fleming is a decent writer. I'm just not interested in reading anymore James Bond novels. As an avid book lover, I can't believe I am writing this, but I'll stick to the movie franchise version of James Bond.
8. Edith Wharton - I listened to the unabridged audio version of House of Mirth and thought it was so BORING!
9. Andre Dubus III -  I read the novel, The House of Sand and Fog, when it was an Oprah Book Club pick. I disliked it intensely. The main characters were frustrating to me. I have no desire to read any other books written by Andre Dubus III.
10. Denise Swanson - Okay, I've read lots of cozy mystery novels and there are loads of authors and novels in this genre that are duds in my opinion. Denise Swanson isn't the worst writer out there in the cozy mystery genre. But after reading two of her Scumble River Mysteries, I decided to pass on reading anymore of her novels.

Are there authors that have turned you off from reading their books in the future?

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Shop Locally on Independent Bookstore Day on Saturday, April 28, 2018!

Two weeks from today is Independent Bookstore Day!! Please support your local, independent bookstore by shopping at it as often possible.

Author, Celeste Ng, is this year's Ambassador for Independent Bookstore Day. Check out Celeste Ng's video on YouYube for Independent Bookstore Day.

Friday, April 13, 2018

50/50 Friday - Favorite/Least Favorite Short Story

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 picking one's Favorite/Least Favorite Short Story!

Wow, this is a really difficult topic to choose from as I've read a lot of short stories over my lifetime! I'm trying to mentally go through all the short stories I've read over the years and decide which ones fit this weeks topic the best for each category!

Best Short Story
(Click on Above link to read my review.)

Worst Short Story
(Click on Above link to read my review.)

Do you have a favorite or least favorite short story?

Thursday, April 12, 2018

The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne

Years ago, I read Jules Verne's novel, 20,0000 Leagues Under The Sea, for the very first time. I enjoyed reading, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, so much that I reread it again a few years later. 

Jules Verne's writing is so vivid, very detailed, and realistic. I felt like I was reading someone's travelogue/personal diary when I read 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. I could easily imagine myself at the scene of events. If you love classics and the science fiction genre, then you have to read a Jules Verne novel at least once in your life!!

My goal had always been to read another novel written by Jules Verne after reading, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. But that didn't happen until this year when I finally decided to listen to the unabridged audio version of The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne and narrated by Berny Clark. Listening time for The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne is 19 hours, 35 minutes.

What initially attracted me to, The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne, was that Captain Nemo (a character from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea) makes a small appearance in The Mysterious Island. Also, the plot for The Mysterious Island sounded intriguing, so I couldn't resist listening to the unabridged audio version of this novel.  

The Mysterious Island is divided into three parts. Essentially, this novel is about a group of five American men, who are prisoners escaping the civil war in a hot air balloon and become castaways on an uncharted island. They must colonize the island in order to survive, which is the main focus of the novel. As readers, we learn about their lives colonizing the island where mysterious events occur that the main characters cannot easily explain away. Each character has their own unique skill set that helps them survive as a team for four years on an island not inhabited by a nation of other people. 

As far as The Mysterious Island goes, it is another vividly detailed novel written by Jules Verne. It's amazing how much detail Jules Verne includes in his novels!! While reading, The Mysterious Island, I felt like I was right there with the main characters as they became familiar with their new surroundings and making a new life from scratch. At various times though, I felt like Jules Verne overly described events in way too much detail in this particular novel. I definitely felt like some of the details and events could have been watered down a bit at times for a better overall reading experience.

I also felt like the start of The Mysterious Island, which set up the main characters, and the end of the novel, which describes the main characters leaving the island, did not contain as much detail as the middle section of this novel. Additionally, I felt like the ending was wrapped up too conveniently as to how the main characters escaped the island and returned to the United States. However, that aside, I did like the main characters in The Mysterious Island, as they were all well developed and likable.

I also thought that some of Jules Verne's viewpoints/attitudes expressed through the characters were outdated, which I'm sure is due to the time period in which this novel was written. Otherwise, The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne was a really good read. I also enjoyed Berny Clark's narration of The Mysterious Island.

The following is a plot summary for The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne from Amazon:
Based on the true story of Alexander Selkirk, who survived alone for almost five years on an uninhabited island off the coast of Chile, The Mysterious Island is considered by many to be Jules Verne’s masterpiece. “Wide-eyed mid-nineteenth-century humanistic optimism in a breezy, blissfully readable translation by Stump” (Kirkus Reviews), here is the enthralling tale of five men and a dog who land in a balloon on a faraway, fantastic island of bewildering goings-on and their struggle to survive as they uncover the island’s secret.
I am giving The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The Dollar Tree Stores

Discount stores, like The Dollar Tree, are ones that I normally don't find myself shopping in at all. 

However, I've discovered that The Dollar Tree sells brand new hardback and paperback books for a $1 each, which is quite a fantastic deal if you ask me! Granted, The Dollar Tree doesn't have a huge book section... Or at least the four Dollar Tree Stores I've visited so far haven't had a large section dedicated to books. 

Furthermore, I also didn't expect that The Dollar Tree retail outlets would have such great book titles for sale. But once again, my expectations were exceeded as I've purchased 3-4 books that were on my wish list from their retail outlets. Recently, I even purchased an autographed novel at The Dollar Tree!! Like, how cool is that?!

Put quite simply, I've been impressed with the small selection of books I've purchased from The Dollar Tree. If you have The Dollar Tree near you, I say go ahead and check out their book section. You may be surprised with the selection of books they have on hand and end up some wish list books... Or at the very least, you'll discover some new to you books that will rock your world!!

Below is a photograph, which shows a small sampling of the books I've purchased from The Dollar Tree.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Friends of the Library Used Bookstore in Fort Bragg, California!

It was by pure happenstance that my husband and I discovered the Friends of the Library Used Bookstore in Fort Bragg, California this past weekend. This small hidden gem is tucked away in the Harbor District of Fort Bragg and is far from the Fort Bragg Public Library itself. 

The Fort Bragg Harbor District is an eclectic mix of restaurants, a whale watching tour business, abandoned/run down looking buildings, and other waterfront businesses that do not cater to the tourist industry. So, one would never imagine finding an FOL Used Bookstore in such a location.

However, it just so happened that my hubby and I had decided to take an evening drive through the Harbor District in Fort Bragg before sunset on Saturday evening. We found an outlet to the beach and decided to take a walk. On our drive back to where we were staying in Fort Bragg, we saw a sign that read 'Used Book Sale Friday Through Sunday 11-3'. 

So, on Sunday morning, we stopped by the book sale. I am so glad we did! I discovered two used books in great condition that were on my reading wishlist... It's always fun to find books you already want to read at FOL Used Bookstore sales!