Thursday, December 9, 2021

Exposed (Edgars Family #5) by Suzanne Ferrell


I listened to the unabridged audio version Exposed (Edgars Family #5) by Suzanne Ferrell and narrated by Paul Boehmer. 

Listening time for Exposed (Edgars Family #5) by Suzanne Ferrell is 9 hours, 22 minutes.

Exposed (Edgars Family #5) by Suzanne Ferrell is my first read for the month of December 2021. I've been enjoying the 'Edgars Family' series quite a bit. I am glad I listened to the 5th novel in this series as it has been the best one so far in my opinion. 

If you like romantic suspense as a genre, then the 'Edgars Family' series may be the right series for you.

Below is the publisher's summary for Exposed (Edgars Family #5) by Suzanne Ferrell from Audible:
US Marshal Frank Castello is on medical leave and feeling restless. While at his friends' wedding, he finds himself attracted to Sydney Peele. Problem is, the cute, sassy blonde is the photographer for the wedding. Frank hates photographers. They're a hazard to his profession, especially when he's on witness protection duty.

Sydney Peele is intrigued by the grumpy Marshal at her friend's wedding, even when the big, sexy man begrudgingly offers to take her home afterwards. Her pleasure is short lived when her home and life is literally going up in flames. Her brother had been staying at her home, and there is no sign of him anywhere. When Sydney goes into a state of frozen shock, finely honed instinct has Castello rushing her from the scene to safety at his home.

A visit to the fire scene the next day confirms his suspicions, when the firemen on the site confirm it a case of arson. As Frank and Sydney search for answers about who might've started the blaze, questions arise about her brother, also a photographer. Was he responsible for the fire? Or has he exposed his sister to something far more sinister?
I am giving Exposed (Edgars Family #5) by Suzanne Ferrell a rating of 5 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Tunnels of Blood (Cirque du Freak #3) by Darren Shan

Tunnels of Blood (Cirque du Freak #3) by Darren Shan is the third installment of the 'Cirque du Freak' series, which is a young adult series featuring vampires and other nonhuman creatures living among human beings. I listened the unabridged audio version of this novel, which is wonderfully narrated by Ralph Lister.

Listening time for Tunnels of Blood (Cirque du Freak #3) by Darren Shan is 4 hours, 45 minutes.

I've enjoyed the first three novels in the 'Cirque du Freak' series quite a bit. Tunnels of Blood (Cirque du Freak #3) by Darren Shan is also a good read. I liked the characters, the writing, and plot development throughout Tunnels of Blood (Cirque du Freak #3). As much as I enjoyed Tunnels of Blood (Cirque du Freak #3), I felt that it wasn't as good as the two previous novels in the series.

Below is the publisher's summary for Tunnels of Blood (Cirque du Freak #3) by Darren Shan from Audible:

Half-vampire Darren and his new friend are on the hunt for a monster in the third installment of New York Times best-selling Saga of Darren Shan series.

Darren, the vampire's assistant, gets a taste of the city when he leaves the Cirque du Freak with Evra the snake-boy and Mr. Crepsley. When corpses are discovered - corpses drained of blood - Darren and Evra are compelled to hunt down whatever foul creature is committing such horrendous acts. Meanwhile, beneath the streets, evil stalks Darren and Evra, and all clues point to Mr. Crepsley. Can they escape, or are they doomed to perish in the tunnels of blood?

I am giving Tunnels of Blood (Cirque du Freak #3) by Darren Shan a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday - FREEBIE - My Ten Year Blogiversary Is Coming Up!!


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.

My ten year blogiversary for Captivated Reader is coming up on January 1, 2022!! I can't believe I've been blogging this long... Time surely has flown by faster than expected. 

I remember what an ordeal it was to even get started with keepinga  book blog. I'd wanted to have a blog for a few years prior to starting Captivated Reader, but I wasn't sure what to blog about initially. All I knew at the time was that I wanted my blog to be about a specific topic/subject as I didn't want to have a blog that covered everything and the kitchen sink that left readers trying to figure out what the theme was for my blog. I also wanted to post frequently to my blog to keep readers coming back.

After some deliberation, I chose to blog about books and anything bookish related. I never expected to blog this long or enjoy blogging as much as I have the past decade.

Below I decided to share some of the books I've reviewed over the past decade... The following books reviewed and shared below are ones that had me saying or sharing a lot more about them in my reviews than I thought I would. 

Click on the links below to read my reviews of each book.

1. The Little Book of Lost Words: Collywobbles, Snollygosters, and 86 Other Surprisingly Useful Terms Worth Resurrecting by Joe Gillard

2. The Vegetarian by Han Kang

3. Asking For It by Louise O'Neill

4. Jackie as Editor: The Literary Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis by Greg Lawrence

5. Tangerine by Christine Mangan

6. Dracula [Audible Edition] by Bram Stoker

7. Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on The Decision Not To Have Kids by Meghan Daum (Editor)

8. Turtles All The Way Down by John Green

9. The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy

10. Room by Emma Donoghue

11. Quirky Berkeley by Tom Dalzell

Happy reading!!

Monday, December 6, 2021

Vanished (Edgars Family #4) by Suzanne Ferrell


I listened to the unabridged audio version of Vanished (Edgars Family #4) by Suzanne Ferrell and narrated by Paul Boehmer.

Vanished (Edgars Family #4) by Suzanne Ferrell was the 12th and final book I read during November 2021. I've enjoyed playing catch up on the Edgars Family series as they are fun, romantic suspense novels that keep one engaged from start to finish. 

I liked the characters and the plot for Vanished (Edgars Family #4) by Suzanne Ferrell. The main characters, Luke and Abigail, are fun and well developed. The writing is solid for this novel... And Paul Boehmer has been the narrator for this entire series thus far and does another great job narrating this novel.

Listening time for Vanished (Edgars Family #4) by Suzanne Ferrell is 8 hours, 44 minutes.

Below is the publisher's summary for Vanished (Edgars Family #4) by Suzanne Ferrell from Audible:

The fourth book in the Edgars Family Romantic Suspense Series They had a history....

Five years earlier Luke Edgars and Abigail Whitson met at FLETC, the training center for government agents. It was instant dislike. She thought him an arrogant, showoff flirt, he thought it would be safer for everyone if she stayed behind her analyst's desk. She's in trouble....

Now Luke's world turns sideways when he finds Abby standing in the middle of a bloody crime scene and the victim has vanished. He needs to protect her....

Luke realizes that not only does Abby need his help to find her friend, but the friend has put Abby in the crosshairs of a dangerous group who will stop at nothing to hide their secrets.
I am giving Vanished (Edgars Family #4) by Suzanne Ferrell a rating of 3.5 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Saturday, December 4, 2021

Confined to Align: A Journey to Wellbeing by Ashley Lyn Olson


Ashley Lyn Olson is one of my neighbors and she recently published a nonfiction book in September 2021. Curious about her newly published book, I downloaded the ebook edition of Confined to Align: A Journey to Wellbeing by Ashley Lyn Olson to my Kindle app and read all 121 pages of it in one evening over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

In 2010, Ashley underwent two major surgeries due to a pressure sore infection. She spent eight continuous weeks in a nursing home laying horizontally 24/7 in a special medical bed recovering. Ashley shares with readers her story of recovery, which is interspersed with her poetry and diary entries from the time period on what helped her through this difficult period in her life.

We read about the help she received from staff at the nursing home during her eight week stay. Additionally, we also learn how Ashley used her recovery period, not by wallowing in self pity or negativity, but instead by growing stronger mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically with various techniques learned through reading The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle and You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay... And other sources, along with using visualization techniques. Her positive outlook and perseverance in improving her mindset are truly inspiring! 

The summary of her book, Confined to Align, is as follows in her own words:
Ten years after a car accident paralyzed my legs, a pressure sore infection escalated into a life-or-death scenario requiring emergency surgery, followed by an extended recovery in a nursing home. For weeks, I was confined to a special medical bed, where I was not allowed to sit up, but required to remain on my back 24/7. This is the story of my search for peace and sanity during that claustrophobic confinement, which subsequently led to a deeper understanding and alignment of my internal, eternal wellbeing.
Ashley Lyn Olson’s biography is as follows:
Ashley Lyn Olson was an all-star student athlete when, at age fourteen, a paralyzing car accident took away her beloved father and her ability to walk. Eight years later she graduated with honors from the University of Southern California, where she received a full academic scholarship. The events recorded in this book took place approximately ten years after the initial accident that paralyzed her, and now, ten years later, she shares her story of being confined to aligning her well being. In 2006, Olson created, and today, it’s a leading resource that empowers people and their loved ones to access the world of leisure and adventure travel. Growing up camping and hiking, the Access 2 Parks Project is also a passion project, and available on her website for all national, state, and regional parks that are wondering how to create accessibility in parks. In addition to National Geographic, AAA Magazine, and the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, Olson, has been featured in New Mobility Magazine (United Spinal Association), Hindustan Times Newspaper (India), PN News Magazine, Able Outdoors, National Seating & Mobility Magazine, Revista Reação (Brazil), and Life in Action Magazine. Olson has given many speeches at various conferences, universities, expeditions, and medical institutions, like John Hopkins Hospital, Saint Mary’s College, and the Keck School of Medicine of USC. She has also been interviewed on the “Right to Write” for World Paris Radio, and a number of podcasts including “Positive Exposure Connects” (New York), “Conversations with Creative Women,” “Pod Save the Rest of Us,” “The Write Reflection,” “Power to Change,” “Tokyo Podcast,” and “Define Yourself Podcast.”
I am giving Confined to Align: A Journey to Wellbeing by Ashley Lyn Olson a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Friday, December 3, 2021

Virtual Author Event - Darcie Wilde Discusses A Counterfeit Suitor - Hosted by Murder by the Book


I had fun watching the 'Darcie Wilde Discusses A Counterfeit Suitor' virtual author event, which aired live on Tuesday, November 30, 2021. This lovely virtual author event was hosted by Murder by the Book.

I first heard Darcie Wilde speak last year at a virtual author event hosted by Murder by the Book. At that time, Darcie Wilde was a new to me author and she had recently released the 4th novel in the 'Rosalind Thorne Mystery' series.

I was intrigued by the the 'Rosalind Thorne Mystery' series, so decided to listen to the first two audiobooks in the series earlier this year. I really enjoyed both books a lot and need continue listening to the rest of the novels in this series.

Have you attended any in person or virtual author events recently?

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Virtual Author Event - Amanda Flower in Conversation with M.V. Byrne - Hosted by Murder by the Book!


I must admit that I have thoroughly enjoyed attending virtual author events since the pandemic started last year. In person events, have just been too dicey for me to consider at this time.

Murder by the Book, an independent bookstore in Texas, has hosted several fun and exciting virtual author events. 

Yesterday evening, I watched 'Amanda Flower in Conversation with M.V. Byrne' discuss their latest cozy mystery novels. Both authors are new to me. I enjoyed becoming acquainted with their books through this virtual author event.

Have attended any in person or virtual author events recently?

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier


The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier was my favorite fictional read during the month of November! I'd been meaning to read something written by Tracy Chevalier for a few years now as many readers seem to love her novels... It was just up to me to decide on which one of her many novels to read first. 

I happened to discover the paperback edition of The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier at a Little Free Library a couple of years ago, so my decision was made for me on which one of Chevalier's books to read first.

The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier is so engaging and well paced! I loved the writing, the storyline, and the characters for this novel. Honor Bright, the main character, along with Belle Mills and Mrs. Reed were my favorite characters in this novel.

The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier is a multilayered novel. This historical fiction novel is set in the 1850s in Ohio. Honor Bright leaves England on a voyage with her sister, Grace, to the United States as Grace is to be married to her English fiance, Adam, who has moved to the United States. The voyage isn't a smooth one for Honor as she becomes seasick and remains seasick the entire voyage to America. Then Honor's sister, Grace, dies from yellow fever as the two sisters make their way to Ohio by land to meet up with Adam. This leaves Honor adrift on her own in a foreign country by herself to make the rest of her way to Adam. 

Initially, I'd found it odd that Honor left her parents home (parents whom she loved) to go with her sister to America. However, we, as readers, learn that Honor was 'jilted' by her fiance, Samuel, for another woman outside their Quaker faith. Honor found this event difficult to deal with and to then also face those within her community. So, Honor ends up traveling overseas with her sister, Grace. Even after Grace passed away near the start of The Last Runaway, Honor decides to remain in America instead of returning to England to be with kin. I found myself wanting to know what would happen to Honor Bright and her future as she was now set adrift in an unknown land... And what a tale her story is!

Honor Bright is a Quaker and she lived within a Quaker community in England with her family. She then (of course) moves to another Quaker community near Obelin, Ohio.

Honor loves to quilt and is admired for her sewing and quilting skills. As readers, we become familiar with Honor's thoughts, feelings, and the difficulties she experiences as she adjusts to her new life in America. Just how out of sorts Honor feels to be in a new country with strange people, but making the best of it as she goes along.

We also learn about the Quakers themselves and their beliefs. We read about slavery and its impact on America along with how divisive slavery is between the Northern States and the Southern states. The Underground Railroad is brought to life and the injustices of slavery itself. Honor is thrown into the mix as an outsider looking in and trying to make sense of the various points of view on slavery. She encounters those that are against slavery and are helping with the Underground Railroad efforts... Plus, we see those that are pro-slavery and hire slave catchers to catch runaway slaves fleeing to Canada.

All the while, Honor Bright has met up with her deceased sister's fiance, Adam, and it is an awkward initial meeting... Adam had no idea Honor was joining Grace on her voyage to America as he hadn't received Grace's letter stating Honor was coming with her. Honor goes to live with Adam and that becomes a difficult situation for a variety of reasons I won't spell out here.

Honor eventually meets Jack Haymaker through church and marries him. He's a young man around the same age as Honor and is a dairy farmer living with his widowed mother and younger sister. Jack's mother doesn't take to Honor and makes life difficult for Honor. Honor helps the runaway slaves and this is one of the reasons Honor's mother-in-law dislikes her.

Honor is forbade to continue helping runaway slaves by her mother-in-law as it puts their lives at risk with a new law  that has been enacted. The new law states that those that help runaway slaves may be fined for their actions, which means they could lose the family farm and their livelihood. This drives a wedge between Honor and her new family as Honor wants to help the runaway slaves flee to freedom. Slavery runs against her principles. 

These are but a few of the highlights from The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier. There are many more details to this novel that I have not covered in this review.

Below is the plot summary for The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier from Amazon:
New York Times best-selling author of Girl With a Pearl Earring and At the Edge of the Orchard, Tracy Chevalier makes her first fictional foray into the American past in The Last Runaway, bringing to life the Underground Railroad and illuminating the principles, passions, and realities that fueled this extraordinary freedom movement.

Honor Bright, a modest English Quaker, moves to Ohio in 1850 - only to find herself alienated and alone in a strange land. Sick from the moment she leaves England, and fleeing personal disappointment, she is forced by family tragedy to rely on strangers in a harsh, unfamiliar landscape. Nineteenth-century America is practical, precarious, and unsentimental, and scarred by the continuing injustice of slavery. In her new home Honor discovers that principles count for little, even within a religious community meant to be committed to human equality.

However, Honor is drawn into the clandestine activities of the Underground Railroad, a network helping runaway slaves escape to freedom, where she befriends two surprising women who embody the remarkable power of defiance. Eventually she must decide if she too can act on what she believes in, whatever the personal costs.
I am giving The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier a rating of 5 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday - Bookish Memories

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.

I had a very difficult time selecting my favorite bookish memories!! I have so many of them that I've collected over the years, especially the past ten years.Click on the links below to read/view my blog posts featuring my favorite bookish memories. Happy reading & enjoy!!

1. Bay Area Book Festival in Berkeley, California in person annually 2015-2019. In person book festivals are a blast! The Bay Area Book Festival is such a fun festival!! Each time I've attended the Bay Area Book Festival in years past, I've shared a detailed post about my experience at the festival that particular year. You can find my numerous posts by doing a search on my blog.

2. Stanley Mosk Library & Courts Building in downtown Sacramento, California in April 2019. My hubby and I enjoyed taking a free self guided tour of this place during the weekday and loved the architecture!

3. Bart's Books in Ojai, California - A unique indoor and outdoor independent bookstore not to be missed!!

4. Little Free Libraries - I am an avid fan of Little Free Libraries and have found several of them throughout California. I actively seek them out within my own community and nearby communities too... 
And believe me there doesn't seem to be a shortage of them popping up everywhere these days!

Plus, when my husband and I have taken vacations in the past (or short day trips), where I'll seek out Little Free Libraries on our trip. Each Little Free Library is so unique. I have fun exchanging books at Little Free Libraries. Half the fun is discovering which books I'll find inside them. I've actually found many wishlist books inside Little Free Libraries.

Hopefully, one day soon, I can find Little Free Libraries in other states as well. I write posts about my Little Free Library adventures. So feel free to do a search on my blog if you would like to read a post or two of my Little Free Library adventures.

5. Dr. Gay Hendricks & Tinker Lindsay Book Signing & Discussion at The Sacred Space in Summerland, California... I loved attending this event, especially due to the event location as The Sacred Space is exquisite!

The Last Bookstore in downtown Los Angeles, California 2012!! Wow, I can see why everyone raves about this bookstore. It's definitely a unique bookstore and has a lot of space to peruse for sure... During my visit many moons ago, I enjoyed the discounted book section, vintage records, coffee stand, and plenty of events for the avid reader to attend. I'd love to revisit this bookstore once again in the future.

7. The National Steinbeck Center in Salinas, California in 2015. If you are a John Steinbeck fan, then this place is a MUST see museum to visit. Down the street from the National Steinbeck Center is the former home of John Steinbeck and is now a restaurant.

8. The Stevenson House in Monterey, California in 2013. This is where author Robert Louis Stevenson lived for a short time during a visit to the USA. I loved the garden in the back of the building.

9. Eugene O'Neill National Historic Site in Danville, California. US Nobel Prize winning playwright, Eugene O'Neill lived and worked in Danville, California where he wrote some of his most memorable plays. I enjoyed the free guided tour of his home.

Thousands Of Books Given Away At A Contra Costa County Library in 2019!!! I was there and it was a blast to walk away with 25 FREE withdrawn library books!

I hope you enjoyed my top ten list this week. Thanks for stopping by and leaving me a comment.