Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday - My Ten Most Recent Reads


Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. Top 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.

Check out my recent reads below! Links are for 8 of the 10 books I've reviewed so far. Enjoy and happy reading!

1. Babar's Yoga for Elephants by Laurent de Brunhoff - As a toddler, my mom tells me that I loved the Babar books and would have her read them to me frequently at bedtime. I don't remember much about the storyline for the Babar books now, but should reread them for posterity sake. However, I did recently read 
Babar's Yoga for Elephants by Laurent de Brunhoff, which was published in 2006. Cute illustrated children's book on how to do various yoga poses.

2. The Deep Dark Descending by Allen Eskens - I discovered Allen Eskens last year from another book blogger. His writing is fabulous and The Deep Dark Descending is an excellent thriller. I loved it!

3. Splintered by A. G. Howard - Love this young adult novel, which is a Alice In Wonderland retelling. I look forward to reading the rest of the series.

4. Such A Quiet Place by Megan Miranda - Contemporary fiction ARC. I didn't like the author's writing. I felt like Megan Miranda was too busy trying to manipulate the reader by trying to get them to feel a certain way or creating a certain atmosphere that felt forced to me. This feeling left me wanting to ditch the novel several times, but I carried onward hoping for a satisfying ending that didn't come.

5. 35 Tips For Writing A Brilliant Flash Story by Kaye Linden - Tips on writing flash fiction and flash nonfiction.

6. Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne - Love this classic novel, which felt like both a travelogue and a scientific exploration. I enjoyed the main characters of Otto Lidenbrock and his nephew, Axel. I loved the fantastic things they discover while traveling to the center of the Earth too.

7. Monsoon Mansion by Cinelle Barnes - Coming of age memoir set in the Philippines.

8. The Spirit Is Willing by Max McCoy - Cozy mystery novel set in the 1800s with paranormal elements.

9. Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey -Western pulp fiction/LBGTQ novella. Excellent read!

10. You Are the Guru by Gabrielle Bernstein - Nonfiction self-help book. I love the 6 different messages and exercises to use in order to help one through difficult times.

My reading tastes as you can see are varied!

Friday, April 30, 2021

Splintered (Splintered #1) by A.G. Howard

 

I listened to the unabridged audio version of Splintered (Splintered #1) by A.G. Howard and narrated by Rebecca GibelSplintered (Splintered #1) is the first novel in the 'Splintered' trilogy and it falls into the young adult genre with dystopian, paranormal romance, and science fiction/fantasy elements mixed in for good measure.

Listening time for Splintered (Splintered #1) by A.G. Howard is 12 hours, 41 minutes.

Splintered (Splintered #1) by A.G. Howard is a fun read!! I enjoyed the storyline, characters, the author's writing style and creativity quite a bit. If you love the novel, Alice In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, and/or reading a unique, creative retelling of a classic novel/tale, then Splintered (Splintered #1) by A.G. Howard may be just the novel for you.

Additionally, I was really impressed with Rebecca Gibel's narration skills for Splintered (Splintered #1) by A.G. Howard and now have a new favorite narrator to add to my list of favorite audiobook narrators.

Below is the plot summary for Splintered (Splintered #1) by A.G. Howard from Audible:

This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of Underland, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence. Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers - precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.

When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.

I am giving Splintered (Splintered #1) by A.G. Howard 4 stars out of 5 stars. I look forward to listening to the two remaining novels in this trilogy.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

The Myth of the Self-Made Man by Rubén Reyes

 

The Myth of the Self-Made Man by Rubén Reyes is a short story I listened to in audio format, which I downloaded for FREE from Audible and is approximately 51 minutes in length. 

Below is my honest, unbiased review of The Myth of the Self-Made Man by Rubén Reyes.

I enjoyed listening to The Myth of the Self-Made Man by Rubén Reyes. This short story is well narrated by Inés del Castillo, Eric Yves Garcia, and Christian Barillas. I liked that The Myth of the Self-Made Man combines the genres of science fiction with some elements of mystery. I also found The Myth of the Self-Made Man to be a fascinating read as I wanted to know the truth about Felipe's life and the other cyborgs.

Below is the summary for The Myth of the Self-Made Man by Rubén Reyes from Audible:

From a stunning new Latino voice, Myth of the Self-Made Man is a wildly inventive story - part sci-fi, with echoes of Get Out - that plunges us into a brave new American landscape.

More than a hundred years into the future, as the US approaches its 400th anniversary, Tomas, a young graduate student, searches for the real identity of one of the cyborgs that maintained American homes. He has been haunted for years by an audio clip of a cyborg named Felipe and is intent on writing Felipe’s biography. In the clip, Felipe can only recite that he was made in America, but Tomas must find out: Where was the Self-made Man really from?

In the National Archives, Tomas uncovers a trove of articles, depositions, and interviews about many other cyborgs, boys from El Salvador and Guatemala kidnapped, detained, and reengineered at a monolithic New England company.

As we follow Tomas’ determined investigation into these lives, their voices echo through our own past, present, and future with unsettling clarity.
I am giving The Myth of the Self-Made Man by Rubén Reyes a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next, post happy reading!

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

35 Tips For Writing A Brilliant Flash Story by Kaye Linden

 

I read 35 Tips For Writing A Brilliant Flash Story by Kaye Linden, which is short nonfiction book at 96 pages in length. 35 Tips For Writing A Brilliant Flash Story gives writing advice on how to write flash fiction or flash nonfiction.

35 Tips For Writing A Brilliant Flash Story by Kaye Linden is a very quick read with VERY LARGE PRINT!! I have mixed feelings about this book. It's short and to the point, which is a good thing. However, the first 35% of this book didn't resonate well with me in helping to write flash fiction with confidence. I think there is some good stuff in the remainder of this book that may be helpful for writing flash fiction and flash nonfiction.

Below is the summary for 35 Tips For Writing A Brilliant Flash Story by Kaye Linden from Goodreads:

A step by step guide with prompts on how to write a successful fiction or nonfiction flash story.

I am giving 35 Tips For Writing A Brilliant Flash Story by Kaye Linden a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Monday, April 26, 2021

Such A Quiet Place by Megan Miranda

 

I received an advance reader's paperback edition of Such A Quiet Place by Megan Miranda through the Goodreads Giveaway program earlier this year. Such A Quiet Place by Megan Miranda will be released later this year on July 13, 2021.

Below is my honest, unbiased review of Such A Quiet Place by Megan Miranda.

To the best of my recollection, Such A Quiet Place is the first novel I've read by Megan Miranda. I'll readily admit that I was drawn to the plot summary for Such A Quiet Place as who wouldn't be drawn to a contemporary thriller with an interesting storyline? 

This novel centers around Ruby Fletcher who had been convicted of murdering two of her neighbors, then released from prison over a year later on a technicality only to return to the neighborhood/community she left and tries to mesh back in with her neighbors. 

No one knows why Ruby has returned and moved back in with her former friend and roommate, Harper Nash... Even Harper Nash is surprised by Ruby's return and isn't comfortable with Ruby's presence back in the neighborhood or in her home... But Harper can't bring herself to confront Ruby with the answers she needs and wants or ask Ruby to leave... There is a sense of fear, concern, guilt, and not truly knowing if Ruby Fletcher is innocent or guilty as charged. Ruby's return sets off a lot of uncertainty and fear for the resident's within the neighborhood of Hollow's Edge.

Initially, I liked the this novel at the very beginning, but things quickly went south fast for me. I didn't like the character of Harper Nash as she was spineless and seemed to be easily manipulated by others. In fact, I didn't care for many of the other characters in this novel either. Too much drama as well as a cloak and dagger feeling for me to enjoy this book. Chapter 25, one of the last chapters of Such A Quiet Placefelt like a soap opera to me and not very realistic. I also found it rather unbelievable that Harper was able to piece together what really happened all on her on as to what really happened when she seemed an unlikely candidate for this task at the start of this novel.

I also didn't like the author's writing. I felt like Megan Miranda was too busy trying to manipulate the reader by trying to get them to feel a certain way or creating a certain atmosphere that felt forced to me. This feeling left me wanting to ditch the novel several times, but I carried onward hoping for a satisfying ending that didn't come.

Below is the plot summary for Such A Quiet Place by Megan Miranda from Goodreads:

We had no warning that she’d come back.

Hollow’s Edge used to be a quiet place. A private and idyllic neighborhood where neighbors dropped in on neighbors, celebrated graduation and holiday parties together, and looked out for one another. But then came the murder of Brandon and Fiona Truett. A year and a half later, Hollow’s Edge is simmering. The residents are trapped, unable to sell their homes, confronted daily by the empty Truett house, and suffocated by their trial testimonies that implicated one of their own. Ruby Fletcher. And now, Ruby’s back.

With her conviction overturned, Ruby waltzes right back to Hollow’s Edge, and into the home she once shared with Harper Nash. Harper, five years older, has always treated Ruby like a wayward younger sister. But now she’s terrified. What possible good could come of Ruby returning to the scene of the crime? And how can she possibly turn her away, when she knows Ruby has nowhere to go?

Within days, suspicion spreads like a virus across Hollow’s Edge. It’s increasingly clear that not everyone told the truth about the night of the Truett’s murders. And when Harper begins receiving threatening notes, she realizes she has to uncover the truth before someone else becomes the killer’s next victim.

I am giving Such A Quiet Place by Megan Miranda a rating of 2 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Saturday, April 24, 2021

A Vineyard Valentine by Nina Bocci


I enjoyed listening to A Vineyard Valentine by Nina Bocci and narrated by Amanda Ronconi

Listening time for A Vineyard Valentine by Nina Bocci is 1 hour, 40 minutes.

I was able to download A Vineyard Valentine by Nina Bocci for FREE to my iPad from Audible. Below is my honest, unbiased review of A Vineyard Valentine by Nina Bocci.

I think A Vineyard Valentine is a cute, fun, romantic short story with a good ending! I liked the characters, the writing, and the narration for this short story.

Below is the plot summary for A Vineyard Valentine by Nina Bocci from Audible:
The annual Valentine’s Day singles soiree is always a big money-maker for Eloisa Giordono’s winery. What could be more romantic than looking for love at a quaint family vineyard on the most romantic night of year? Well, just about anything as far as Eloisa is concerned. She’s a Valentine’s Day Grinch who thinks it’s the lamest, most clichéd holiday ever invented.

Fortunately, she’ll get to hang out with like-minded folks this year by hosting an Anti-Valentine’s Day party on the same night. She’ll just need to alternate between events to keep them both running and she’ll be raking in the profits. But Eloisa is thrown for a loop when a sexy, self-described hopeless romantic shows up at the singles soiree and keeps her captivated. Will he change her mind about the holiday...and about love?
I am giving A Vineyard Valentine by Nina Bocci a rating of 5 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Friday, April 23, 2021

The Five Year Hitch by Melissa de la Cruz

 

I listened to the unabridged audio version of The Five Year Hitch by Melissa de la Cruz and narrated by Rachel Boston & Daniel di Tomasso.

Listening time for The Five Year Hitch by Melissa de la Cruz is 1 hour, 10 minutes.

I was able to download The Five Year Hitch by Melissa de la Cruz to my iPad for FREE from Audible. Below is my honest, unbiased review of The Five Year Hitch by Melissa de la Cruz.

I enjoyed listening to The Five Year Hitch by Melissa de la Cruz. It's like listening to a radio talk show where a couple discusses their love life from it's inception to current state. The couple is Sam & Miles and they have know each other for most of their lives. They are in love... However every five years something happens that causes them to break up and move on to greener pastures before reuniting once again... Hence, the five year hitch. 

The Five Year Hitch by Melissa de la Cruz is a cute, engaging story. I enjoyed learning about Sam and Miles and their love life. The narration was also good.

Below is the plot summary for The Five Year Hitch by Melissa de la Cruz from Audible:
When Harry Met Sally meets One Day, The Five-Year Hitch is the story of two friends who have known each other all their lives - falling in and out of love. Sam and Miles belong together, except every five years, there’s a hitch and they don’t end up together. Now, as they tell their story to a reporter at a momentous occasion, will they finally break the five-year curse? Can these two friends and lovers find their happily ever after?
I am giving The Five Year Hitch by Melissa de la Cruz a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!