Friday, January 31, 2014

War Horse by Michael Morpurgo

I read War Horse by Michael Morpurgo. If you haven't read War Horse or seen the movie version yet of this novel, let me give some background. War Horse is a children's book first published in 1982 in Great Britain.

Book description of War Horse from the back cover:

It is 1914, and Joey, a farm horse, is sold to the army and thrust into the midst of World War I on the Western Front. When Joey is dragged away, his heart aches for Albert, the farmer's son he is forced to leave behind. In the army the beautiful red-bay horse is trained to charge the enemy, drag heavy artillery, and carry wounded soldiers not much older than Albert off the battlefields. Amongst the clamoring of guns, and while plodding through the cold mud, Joey wonders if the war will ever end. And if it does, will he ever find Albert again?
I enjoyed that War Horse was told through the eyes of a horse, instead of through a human being. I'm also glad this was a children's novel and not one written for adults, as novels written for adults are more graphic in nature when it comes to the nitty gritty details of the horrors and atrocities of war. So, the ravages of war are spoken about in War Horse, but in much more muted tons.

I liked the storyline of War Horse, the characters in this novel and of course the happy ending too!
I enjoyed reading War Horse. I am giving it a rating of 7 stars out of 10 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Friday Finds #25

Friday Finds is a book meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Friday Finds is a chance to share and show off the books you discovered during the week and would like to add to your reading list...

Or a place to simply feature the books you've actually purchased throughout the week and have added to your to be read pile!

I forgot to add a book title the previous Friday so have four books total to add to my list this week!

1. Rising Above Mercury by Nancy Seagal CCH 

I purchased this nonfiction book the previous week at an author signing & discussion.

2. The Somnambulist by Jonathan Barnes 

I purchased this used book at our local FOL Used Bookstore here in Carpinteria, California.

3. Franklin Loves Lucy by Mary Matthews

(Audible Unabridged Edition)

4. Grace, Jack & Magical Cats (Volume 1) by Mary Matthews

(Audible Unabridged Edition)

Which new book titles have been added to your reading list this past week??

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Humble Audiobook Bundle

Calling all audiobook fans!! I read a LA Times article last night titled Humble Bundle -- the pay-what-you-like site -- tries audiobooks by Carolyn Kellogg. In the article, Kellogg writes the following:
Humble Bundle is one of those websites trying to make optimal use of our digital world. It combines downloads with a pay-what-you-like system that funnels money to charity. And for the first time, it's trying its hand at audiobooks.

For the first time, it's giving audiobooks a shot. Currently mid-campaign, it's recently added six audiobooks to the initial five. All are available in MP3 format, DRM-free.

What's in the bundle? Cormac McCarthy's "Blood Meridian," Dave Eggers' "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius," "The Satanic Verses" by Salman Rushdie, bestselling novelist Meg Cabot's "Abandon" and William S. Burroughs' "Junky." The set includes Grace Krilanovich's "The Orange Eats Creeps," published by indie Two Dollar Radio, and "True Grit" being read by novelist Donna Tartt.
I've become quite an audiobook addict in the past year.... So, curiosity got the better of me and I had to checkout the Humble Audiobook Bundle website for myself. I decided to go for it and buy the audiobooks! I like the 'set your own price' concept, along with the fact that you can pay using Paypal. I also like that part of the funds help charity. Plus, the audiobooks are DRM-Free and that every audiobook is provided as an MP3 file! I now have 11 new audiobooks to listen to.... How exciting!

Until my next post, happy reading!! Or should I say happy listening?? ;-)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Seriously, How DID Cryptozoological Erotica Become BIG?

I just read an article on Time Magazine's news feed titled How to Make $30,000 a Month Writing Bigfoot Sex Scenes by Kate Knibbs. In her article, Ms. Knibbs writes the following:
Writers, especially self-publishing beginner authors, aren’t exactly known for making money. But perhaps all the would-be Franzens are barking up the wrong genre. There is a proven way for unsigned writers to make $30,000 a month, according to The Daily Beast.

Digital cryptozoological erotica. Otherwise known as monster porn e-books.

Wade, the woman behind the Moan for Bigfoot series (there are 16 installments) makes thousands every month selling these bizarrely appealing e-books through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing. Wade (which is, unsurprisingly, a pen name) may retire from the genre, though, after Amazon’s decision to tighten restrictions.

Okay, cryptozoological erotica (aka monster porn), sounds bizarre to me. I'm not interested in reading about bigfoot having sex with another species, thank you very much.

However, there is obviously a market/high demand for monster porn if authors are making $30,000 a month writing these types of books and short stories. I guess it shouldn't be too surprising as sex sells... But, for monster porn, really?? I find the entire notion of the monster porn genre creepy myself. What are your thoughts about cryptozoological erotica (aka monster porn)?

Game Control by Lionel Shriver

Unabridged Audiobook
This week, I listened to the unabridged audio version of Game Control by Lionel Shriver and read by Laural Merlington. It was my first experience with anything written by Lionel Shriver.

In my opinion, the best part of Game Control is the reading performance of Laural Merlington. She's an awesome reader and I wouldn't mind hearing her read another book. I also enjoyed that the audio version of Game Control I listened to was the unabridged  version, as I prefer unabridged audiobooks to an abridged version whenever possible. Other than the positive things I've mentioned, I did NOT enjoy Game Control very much at all. 

The two characters are extremely annoying. In fact, I didn't like any of the characters in this book. I feel that the character of Eleanor Merritt is a spineless, people pleasing woman with no back bone. Simply abhorrent! While the character of Calvin Piper is an egotistical maniac, who is obsessed with demographics and the desire to decrease the world's population by 2 billion people. Eleanor Merritt and Calvin Piper make quite a pair throughout this book. The more Eleanor hangs out with Calvin the more of his personality she takes on and she becomes more cynical and jaded, leaving behind her spineless ways. Calvin's actions and reasons in wanting to decrease the world's population were cold and heartless... And to think that Eleanor didn't try to put a stop to Calvin's ideas was horrifying. 

The storyline wasn't appealing to me either. Game Control just rubbed me the wrong way. There were several times I almost gave up listening to Game Control, but persisted thinking that the storyline would take a turn for the better. I have no desire to read or listen to another book by Lionel Shriver.

Book Summary of Game Control on the Barnes & Noble website:
Eleanor Merritt, a do-gooding American family-planning worker, was drawn to Kenya to improve the lot of the poor. Unnervingly, she finds herself falling in love with the beguiling Calvin Piper despite, or perhaps because of, his misanthropic theories about population control and the future of the human race. Surely, Calvin whispers seductively in Eleanor’s ear, if the poor are a responsibility they are also an imposition. 
Set against the vivid backdrop of shambolic modern-day Africa – a continent now primarily populated with wildlife of the two-legged sort – Lionel Shriver’s Game Control is a wry, grimly comic tale of bad ideas and good intentions. With a deft, droll touch, Shriver highlights the hypocrisy of lofty intellectuals who would “save” humanity but who don’t like people.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Bookish Quote of the Day!!

Rising Above Mercury: My Story of Poisoning and Recovery by Nancy Seagal

I read Rising Above Mercury: My Story of Poisoning and Recovery by Nancy Seagal CCH over the course of two days. Rising Above Mercury is a work of nonfiction that chronicle's the author's struggle with mercury poisoning and her recovery.

I first learned about both the author, Nancy Seagal, and her book, Rising Above Mercury, last week, when I attended an author discussion and book signing at Granada Books, (an independent bookstore) in downtown Santa Barbara. I had the opportunity to purchase Ms Seagal's book after she had discussed her struggle's with mercury poisoning and full recovery, which was followed by a brief question and answer section. 

Rising Above Mercury is approximately 148 pages in length and is a quick book to read. This book opened my eyes to the struggles/difficulties of dealing with mercury poisoning. It also appears, that medical professionals don't seem to keen on testing for mercury poisoning after all other test results come back negative. It kind of make you question why not? 

Book description from Ms. Seagal's website:

Author Nancy Seagal captivates her audience by sharing her deeply personal and highly informative true life story of unexplained illness, medical ignorance, and remarkable recovery.

For twelve years, Nancy was sick with an undiagnosed and repeatedly misdiagnosed illness. She was hospitalized a number of times for severe pain and intermittent paralysis. At times confined to a wheelchair or had to rely on a walker, and suffered from debilitating symptoms like fatigue, wide spread pain, muscle spasms, insomnia, and other ailments. Her career was severely impacted, her life put on hold every time she got sick. She went broke. Doctors at leading medical facilities told her she had fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis,and even a conversion reaction disorder. They told her the illness was neurological,they told her it was psychological, they told her it was all in her head. The doctors patronized and dismissed her.
Rising Above Mercury is my seventh book read for 2014. 

Until my next post, happy reading! 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

12 Facts Abuout Famous Literature

I read an article post on the Huffington Post website titled 12 Fascinating Facts About Famous Literature by Oliver Tearle. 

Probably, one of my favorite facts from this article was the following one: "As a schoolboy, Roald Dahl was a taste-tester for Cadbury's chocolate." 

This little fact, has me wondering if being a taste-tester for Cadbury's chocolate as a boy, was Roald Dahl's inspiration for writing Charlie & the Chocolate Factory. Talk about a dream job!! Where can I sign up to be a chocolate taste-tester??

Saturday, January 25, 2014

10 Riveting Marriage Thrillers

I came across another delightful article on the Huffington Post website titled 10 Marriage Thrillers That Will Chill You To The Bone by Lucie Whitehouse. In the article, Whitehouse writes:
As a subject, marriage has always attracted writers, of course. It's such an intimate relationship, and one that involves the things that concern people at the deepest levels: sex, money, children. And that's what makes it such rich material for psychological suspense: In these books, danger comes not from a faceless stranger but from the person who shares your bed. Your home -- the place where you imagine you're safest -- is actually the most dangerous place of all. 
Whitehouse additionally writes the following in her article:
For me, there are two factors at work. As we marry later and later, we're going into marriage with more to lose. After years of being independent, the idea of sharing our lives -- and control -- can be frightening. Second, we're living in the age of exposure, sharing details of our personal lives on Twitter, Facebook and reality TV as never before. When relationships are good, we happily post wedding photos, pictures of holidays, our pets and children, but when things turn sour... silence. And that, for a writer, is when things get really interesting.

I've not read any of the books listed in Lucie Whitehouse's article, but some of them do sound downright thrilling! Now I have more books than ever on my reading wishlist.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Bookish Quote of the Day!!

Author, Nancy Seagal, Discusses & Signs Copies of Book 'Rising Above Mercury'

As a reader and book lover, I enjoy attending author discussions and book signings whenever the opportunity arises. I love not only reading, but learning new things.

Last might, my hubby and I visited the Granada Books bookstore in downtown Santa Barbara, California. We specifically went to hear author & hypnotist, Nancy Seagal, discuss and sign copies of her book Rising Above Mercury: My Story of Poisoning and Recovery.

We enjoyed listening to Ms. Seagal speak candidly about her life and how she overcame mercury poisoning. It was a quite a journey with a positive end result!! After hearing Ms. Seagal speak and also listening to the Q & A session afterward, I decided to purchase a copy of her book Rising Above Mercury: My Story of Poisoning and Recovery, which I look forward to reading. Of course, I also had the author sign my copy of her book before I left.

Have attended any author events/book signings lately? Until my next post, happy reading!!

Friday Finds #24

Friday Finds is a book meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Friday Finds is a chance to share and show off the books you discovered during the week and would like to add to your reading list...

Or a place to simply feature the books you've actually purchased throughout the week and have added to your to be read pile!

Well, I visited our local Friends of the Library Used Bookstore in town, which happens to be one of my favorite places to shop for books. They usually don't have many audiobooks on compact disc for sale, but I decided to stop by to see if they did... Well, lucky me they had more used audiobooks on compact disc for sale the day I stopped by than I could possibly carry in my arms to my car. 

I did showed some restraint and only ended up purchasing eight audiobooks for eight dollars. Maybe I should have purchased more than six audiobooks for that price?!?!

Anyway, here are the titles I purchased:

1. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski

2. Fidelity by Thomas Perry

3. Innocent in Death by J. D. Robb

4. The River Knows by Amanda Quick

5. Hothouse Orchid by Stuart Woods

6. True Believer by Nicholas Sparks

7. Run by Ann Patchett

8. All the Pretty Horse by Cormac McCarthy

Which books have you purchased this week?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Do You Like Agatha Christie Novels?

I'm a huge Agatha Christie fan. I've read a number of her mystery novels and enjoyed them all! I came across and read an article on The Open Road website titled Nine Mystery Authors Like Agatha Christie by Emma. I enjoyed learning about other mystery authors who write like Agatha Christie... Now I can add some new to me authors and book titles to my reading wishlist!

Full Frontal Feminism by Jessica Valenti

Yes, I'm a feminist and proud of it! The word feminist usually evokes various kinds of connotations or images with people... And sometimes 'feminist' is not always a positive word with some folks. 

I recently read Full Frontal Feminism by Jessica Valenti. I'm not sure how to best write my thoughts regarding what I thought about this book. I think Full Frontal Feminism makes a decent primer for the beginner wanting to learn the basics about feminism and women's issues. Additionally, Full Frontal Feminism also provides some nice resources for readers as well.

I have no doubt, whatsoever, after reading Full Frontal Feminism, that Ms. Valenti is passionate about the topic of feminism. She enlightens readers about the various issues/topics of feminism in an easy to understand manner.

As a woman myself, I find it difficult to read about the inequalities/double standards women endure as discussed in Full Frontal Feminism. I also feel that taking action to correct the inequalities in some form or another is a must.

I felt that Ms. Valenti inspires women to take action against the inequalities and double standards towards women by persuading and encouraging women to think outside the box.

I could have done without reading the foul language throughout Full Frontal Feminism. Is it really necessary to use the "F" word repeatedly throughout Full Frontal Feminism to make your point? I don't think so. I'm not a prude or anything, but come on, if feminism and women's issues are a serious subject matter for the author, then use mature, adult language while writing about it.... Give the subject and ones readers the respect they deserve. Otherwise, I think readers may not take the book seriously, whether Ms. Valenti makes good points or not because of the foul language.

The Pros:

1. Great introduction to feminism for newbies.
2. Well organized chapters, focused on particular topics pertaining to feminism.
3. Bite sized sections within each chapter focusing on important topics pertaining to feminism.
4. Resource section at the end of the book
5. Author is enthusiastic/passionate about subject matter. 

The Cons:

1. Foul language.
2. Skip this book if you're already aware of the basics when it comes to women's issues/feminism. 
3. Ms. Valenti comes off a bit strong with the foul language, in your face, 'full frontal feminism' facts. Sometimes I felt like she was trying too hard to convince me that I'm a feminist. Yes, by all means, be a passionate and engaging writer about your subject matter and do it in a way that motivates women to take action to improve women's issues... But can you do it in a different way?
4. I didn't agree with everything written in the book, but then again that's to be expected. As a reader, you're not going to agree with everything the author writes in his or her book.

Full Frontal Feminism is my 6th read for 2014.  

Until my next post, happy reading!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Bookish Quote of the Day!!

Illiterate Man Loves Books & Creates a Library!

I read a very inspiring story on the India Ink website titled Illiterate, but in Love With Books by Majid Maqbool.In the article, Maqbool writes:
On the banks of picturesque Dal Lake in Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, sits the only library in the neighborhood, run by a man who loves books but cannot read.

In a single-story wooden house, carefully maintained shelves are filled with around 600 books in several languages, the prize possessions of Muhammad Latif Oata, a 44-year-old handicrafts seller who dropped out of school at age 10 to work.

Over two decades, Mr. Latif, a Kashmir native, has accumulated all these books through exchanges and donations from people who visited his shop, first in oa, then in Karnataka and now here in Dal Lake, a popular tourist destination. His collection includes books written by authors from many countries, like the United States, Britain, Sweden, Italy and Korea, reflecting the donors’ nationalities.

Since the vast majority of those who visit the library are tourists, he has named it the Travelers Library. Anyone can take a book; all Mr. Latif asks is that borrowers describe the stories contained in the pages of the books they return. Many visitors, who are Indians from other states and foreigners who come to see Dal Lake, leave behind their own books to add to his collection.
I found reading the entire article to be heartwarming. I think it would be fun to visit the Travelers Library some day!! Click on the link above to read the full story.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Point Blank by Catherine Coulter

My fifth read of 2014 is the unabridged audiobook version of Point Blank by Catherine Coulter. This is my first experience with anything written by Catherine Coulter. Point Blank is also the 10th novel in Coulter's FBI Thriller series.

I enjoyed my overall listening experience as Point Blank is well read by Dick Hill. The overall storyline is a good one and keeps the listener engaged from the very start. 

My only major gripe is the unresolved ending, which sucked. I don't like it when authors leave the reader hanging as to what happens to key characters and events. 

I give Point Blank a rating of 7 stars out of 10 stars

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Quirky Conundrums Book Lovers Understand

Gotta love those bookish related articles from Huffington Post!! I really enjoyed reading 19 Quirky Conundrums Only Book Lovers Understand earlier this week. In this Huffington article, I read the following:
An avid reader is one of the best things a person can be. Not only does reading literature enhance your brain's connectivity (because, science!), it also allows you to experience other cultures, and avoid making embarrassing grammatical errors.

There are, however, a handful of irksome situations that book lovers have to face. When is it okay to abandon a so-so novel? What's the most efficient method of bookshelf organization? Is it snobby to dump someone on the basis of his or her dislike of reading? These and other quirky conundrums are perhaps the only downside to loving books with all of your heart and soul.
Click on the link above to read all 19 quirky conundrums that book lovers understand all too well! I liked numbers 6, 8, 9, 12, 16, and 17! Which conundrums did you like most?

Monday, January 20, 2014

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Bookish Quote of the Day!!

Did You Know That Shakespeare Invented The Everyday Words?

Once again I found myself reading another enlightening article on the Huffington Post website. The most recent one is titled 13 Words You Probably Didn't Know Were Invented By Shakespeare. In the article, I read the following:
So before you dismiss Shakespeare as a stodgy, boring alternative to more contemporary writers, remember that you have him to thank for the following words... and around 1,700 in total! 
Wow, 1,700 words? I was floored by this revelation. I had no idea that Shakespeare has been credited with inventing this many word. Click on the above link to read, which 13 words were invented by Shakespeare.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

VA-VA-VOOM Read-a-thon

VA VA VOOMI'm a sucker for love, romance, hearts, and Valentine's Day. 

I've also come to really enjoy participating in read-a-thons and other online book/reading related events hosted by other wonderful book bloggers!

I have quite a few romance related books to read, which are currently sitting on my bookshelf begging to be read. The VA-VA-VOOM Read-a-thon will be my chance to read at least one book during this time frame. I'd love to read two to three books during this five day event, but I'll be conservative and stick to one novel. I plan to read Hot Stories for Cold Nights by Joan Elizabeth LLoyd and The Maestro's Butterfly by Rhonda Leigh Jones for the VA-VA-VOOM Read-a-thon.

The VA-VA-VOOM Read-a-thon takes place from February 6th through 10th and is being hosted by The Book Nympho and Romancing the Dark Side. For further information and to also sign up for the VA-VA-VOOM Read-a-thon, please click on one of the links above.

I hope to see you there! Until my next post, happy reading!!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Murderer Writes a Crime Novel & Wins Literary Prize

I came across an article on Flavorwire titled Murderer Pens Crime Novel, Wins Literary Award By Isabella Biedenhar. In the article,  Biedenhar writes the following:
Here’s a case of someone taking the old adage “write what you know” quite literally. Alaric Hunt, who has been incarcerated since 1988 for murder and arson, won the $10,000 prize in a literary contest held by Minotaur Books and the Private Eye Writers of America. Author S.J. Rozan, one of the contest’s judges, said that Hunt’s debut novel, Cuts Through the Bone, had a “new” voice and avoided “the same wisecracking self-deprecating tone you see with a lot of private-eye books.”

Yes, the old adage “write what you know” does seem apropos in this particular instance!

Friday Finds #23

Friday Finds is a book meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Friday Finds is a chance to share and show off the books you discovered during the week and would like to add to your reading list...

Or a place to simply feature the books you've actually purchased throughout the week and have added to your to be read pile!

Okay, laughing out loud, but I purchased two more books this week from our local Friends of the Library Used Bookstore. So, much for not buying myself any more books this year. The books were really inexpensive and the money helps support the local library, so that's my reasoning for making my purchase... Other than I'm a book buying addict!

Here are the two book titles I purchased:

1. Acqua Alta by Donna Leon

2. Bookplate Special by Lorna Barrett

So which book titles have you recently added to your cllection or reading wishlist??

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Do You Ever Wonder What Your Cat Is Thinking??

Well wonder no further! There is a new book out titled Cat Sense: How the New Feline Science Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet by John Bradshaw, which I learned about in an article in the New York Times titled What Your Cat Is Thinking: ‘Cat Sense’ Unravels Some Mysteries by Nicholas Wade. 

Checkout the above article for more details about John Bradshaw's new book Cat Sense to learn more about your cat's behavior!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Bookish Quote of the Day!!

Scientists Have Found the Secret to Writing a Best-Selling Novel

I discovered an interesting article in The Telegraph titled Scientists find secret to writing a best-selling novel by Matthew Sparkes. In the article, Sparkes writes the following:
Scientists have developed an algorithm which can analyse a book and predict with 84 per cent accuracy whether or not it will be a commercial success.
A technique called statistical stylometry, which mathematically examines the use of words and grammar, was found to be “surprisingly effective” in determining how popular a book would be.

The group of computer scientists from Stony Brook University in New York said that a range of factors determine whether or not a book will enjoy success, including “interestingness”, novelty, style of writing, and how engaging the storyline is, but admit that external factors such as luck can also play a role. 
 Click on link above to read the full story. I found this article to be fascinating for both those seeking to write a best selling book and also for publishers who want to acquire potential best-selling books.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Jules Verne is the Second Most Popular Author in the World!

I was recently surprised to learn that author Jules Verne is the 2nd most popular author in the world after Dame Agatha Christie!! Granted, I love Jules Verne's novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (I've read it twice), but I would never have guessed that his writing is as popular as it is. 

I learned the above mentioned information from an article I read on the io9 website titled Jules Verne is the Second Most Popular Author in the World by Ron Miller. In the article, Miller writes the following:
Jules Verne has long been near the top of UNESCO's list of most-translated authors, ranking number 4 until recently. 

On the latest list issued by UNESCO, Jules Verne ranks number 2 in the number of translations published world-wide, exceeded only by Agatha Christie (Stephen King comes in ninth place and Isaac Asimov is twenty-fourth).
Are you as surprised as I am that Jules Verne is the 2nd most popular author in the world?

Monday, January 13, 2014

Bookish Quote of the Day!!

2014 Book Blogger Love-A-Thon

Yes, I'm VERY excited to be participating in the 2014 Book Blogger Love-A-Thon hosted by Alexa Loves Books & Kate's Tales of Books & Bands.

So, what is the Book Blogger Love-A-Thon?? I think the following quote from Alexa Loves Books' blog sums up this event nicely: 
It's an event dedicated to spreading the love for blogs and the bloggers behind them! It's a time dedicated to commenting on blogs, following new blogs, tweeting about blogs, thanking blogging inspirations, sharing the word about blogs you follow, telling bloggers how awesome and inspiring they are, and so on and so forth! The event also includes an interview swap with another participant, mini challenges, Twitter chats and a giveaway. You'll get the full schedule from us once you've officially signed up!
To learn more details about the Book Blogger Love-A-Thon and to sign up for this event, please visit one of the links above! 

I hope you join me in this very special two day online event celebrating book bloggers. See you there!!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Asylum by John Harwood

Unabridged Audiobook
Yesterday, I finished my 4th read for 2014! I listened to the unabridged version of The Asylum by John Harwood and is read by Rosalyn Landor. Total running time for this unabridged novel is approximately 10.5 hours.

The Asylum is my first experience with anything written by writer John Harwood. The Asylum falls into the Victorian Gothic Suspense genre, which is a genre I normally do not read.

However, in an effort to expand my reading horizons and move out of my normal reading routine, I gave this novel a go... Besides, The Asylum sounded like a captivating and mysterious read based on the novel's overview on the Barnes & Noble website as follows:
Confused and disoriented, Georgina Ferrars awakens in a small room in Tregannon House, a remote asylum in England. She has no memory of the past few weeks. The doctor, Maynard Straker, tells her that she admitted herself under the name Lucy Ashton, then suffered a seizure. When she insists he has mistaken her for someone else, Dr. Straker sends a telegram to her uncle, who replies that Georgina Ferrars is at home with him in London: “Your patient must be an imposter.” Suddenly her voluntary confinement becomes involuntary. Who is the woman in her uncle’s house? Georgina’s perilous quest to free herself takes us from a cliffside cottage on the Isle of Wight to the secret passages of Tregannon House and into a web of hidden family ties on which her survival depends.
I like suspenseful novels, so I felt that The Asylum would be a good fit for me in terms of my reading interests. 

What did I like most about my listening experience with The Asylum?

I thought that Rosalyn Landor did an excellent of reading The Asylum. Overall I enjoyed this novel. I enjoyed the suspense... The characters, the overall storyline and how it played out up until the ending.

What I like least about my listening experience with The Asylum?

Small sections of the novel seemed to be a bit on the slow side and kind of dull in these areas. I also didn't like the ending of the novel very much... One of the characters in the novel got off way to easily for what they'd done, which didn't sit right with me. Also, I could sense how certain turn of events/outcomes would play out and figure out what was going to happen in some parts of The Asylum. I don't like novels that become too predictable.

Overall The Asylum was a good read. I'm giving The Asylum a rating of 7 stars out of 10 stars. I'm willing read or listen to another novel by John Harwood, In fact, I am looking forward to reading or listening to his novel titled The Seance.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

What's Your ALL TIME Favorite Cookbook??

Hardback Edition
Yes, you read correctly, I want to know what your ALL TIME Favorite Cookbook is!! You know, the one cookbook you find yourself gravitating towards when you need to make the perfect comfort food, special meal for a potluck, etc... That one special cookbook filled with recipes you can't live without?

My ALL TIME favorite cookbook is titled The Easier You Make It, The Better It Tastes! by Jayni & Frank Carey and published by Better Homes and Gardens. Although, I admittedly haven't used the recipes in this cookbook in quite a while (mainly due to my current food allergies/sensitivities), but I have used and loved many of the recipes in this book over the past 15+ years.

I purchased The Easier You Make It, The Better It Tastes! by Jayni & Frank Carey shortly after graduating from college and  had moved out on my own. I've never been much into cooking gourmet meals... Or cooking period. I wanted a basic cookbook filled with easy to make and scrumptious tasting recipes.... And The Easier You Make It, The Better It Tastes! by Jayni & Frank Carey fits the bill.

The Easier You Make It, The Better It Tastes! by Jayni & Frank Carey contains a wide variety of easy to make recipes from appetizers, soups, salads, main meals, side dishes and desserts!

Some of my favorite recipes/dishes from The Easier You Make It, The Better It Tastes! by Jayni & Frank Carey include the following:

1. Deluxe Tuna Casserole
2. Secret Chili (My husband adores this recipe! I serve it with cornbread.)
3. Fried Salmon Cakes
4. Orange-Cumin Couscous (I substitute the couscous with quinoa)
5. Chicken Curry
6. Rosemary Chicken
7. Mexican Corn Chowder
8. Spinach Apple Salad with Curry Dressing
9. Double Chocolate Mint Drops
10.Banana Nut Bread

Share your favorite cookbooks with me! Until my next post, happy reading!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Bout of Books 9.0 Day # 6

Bout of Books

Here's my reading goal update for day six of the Bout of Books Read-A-Thon. I managed to listen to the final compact disc of The Asylum by John Harwood despite it being a busy day for me today. Total time spent listening to the final compact disc was approximately 75 minutes.

I've meet my reading goals for the Bout of Books 9.0 Read-A-Thon. Yippee! I'm thrilled. Tomorrow I may start a new book or simply take a day off from reading and start a new book on Monday. :-)

I'll write a review of The Asylum by John Harwood and post it soon.

I didn't participate in today's Bout of Books 9.0 challenge. I was too busy to do so.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Do You Read Books in Spanish??

This morning, I came across an interesting article in the LA Times titled Spanish-language books flourish thanks to e-readers by
The surging popularity of the Kindle and Nook allows publishers to offer Spanish-language books in the U.S. at far lower prices than for printed copies.

In the last two years, the number of Spanish-language titles available in the U.S. has tripled at some online booksellers. Imported hardcovers such as Colombian author Alvaro Mutis' "Maqroll" trilogy that once retailed for more than $100 can now be had online for less than $15. And entire genres of Latin American literature — think contemporary Ecuadorean poetry — that were all but impossible to acquire at any price are now a few mouse clicks away.

Spanish-language book sales are still small compared with those in English, accounting for less than 5% of the nation's $7.1 billion in annual sales, according to some estimates. But their rapid growth has fueled greater investment in the industry and challenged some long-held notions in the process.

"There has been a real shift," said Ed Nawotka, editor in chief of online industry magazine Publishing Perspectives. "I see confidence in the market that has never been there before."
The article imparts a lot of information to readers. Please click on the above link to read the entire article.

I don't speak or read Spanish myself, but know many people who do. Living in California you cannot help but come across Spanish speakers/readers on a daily basis. I personally think it's wonderful to see that more eBook titles in Spanish are being offered for eReaders at affordable price for consumers. 

It's really no surprise for me to see increased sales of Spanish language books... I'm just glad that the publishing industry is catching up with the demand for books in Spanish.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Bout of Books 9.0 Day # 5

Bout of Books

Yes, day five of the Bout of Books 9.0 Read-A-Thon has now come and gone! Today, I continued to listen to the unabridged version of The Asylum by John Harwood. I listened to compact discs 6 & 7 of this audiobook for a total listening time of approximately 2.5 hours. I have one more compact disc left to listen to and I'll be done listening to The Asylum by John Harwood. :-)

Overall, I've enjoyed listeing to The Asylum, but am finding it a bit on the slow side.

Until my next post, happy reading.

Bout of Books 9.0- Book Spine Poetry Challenge!!!

I'm participating in the Bout of Books 9.0 Read-A-Thon this week. Each day of the Bout of Books 9.0 Read-A-Thon, there are one or two daily challenges.

One of today's challenges is to create a poem using titles from book spines. I've heard about book spine poetry before, but have never created a poem using book titles from books I have on hand.

Below is a picture of my book titles, which I've used to make a poem about physical places/spaces. Enjoy!

Until my next post, happy reading!

Friday Finds #22

Friday Finds is a book meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Friday Finds is a chance to share and show off the books you discovered during the week and would like to add to your reading list...

Or a place to simply feature the books you've actually purchased throughout the week and have added to your to be read pile!

Okay, so much for me NOT buying anymore books to add to my already ginormous 'to be read' pile. I have added four more books to my personal collection this week as follows:

1. Strangers in Death by J. D. Robb

2. Origin in Death by J. D. Robb

3. Game Control by Lionel Shriver (Audiobook Version)

4. Fired Up by Jayne Ann Krentz

All four novels were purchased last weekend and sounded too interesting to pass up on reading! I couldn't beat the significantly reduced prices on them as well.  

Until my next post, happy reading!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Bout of Books 9.0 Day # 4

Bout of Books

The end of day four has come and gone!! I've been having a blast participating in the Bout of Books 9.0 Read-A-Thon as well as participating in three of the challenges thus far.

Today, I continued listening to The Asylum by John Harwood. I listened to a total of three compact discs today for a total listening time of approximately 3 hours, 45 minutes. Three more compact discs to go and I'll be done with this novel. So, far I'm enjoying it immensely.

15 Books Set to Become Movies in 2014

I cam across an article in The Christian Science Monitor titled 15 books set to become movies in 2014 by Bruna Labato.

The movies listed  in the above mentioned article are as follows:

1. Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin
2. A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby
3. Divergent by Veronica Roth
4. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
5. The Giver by Lois Lowry
6. The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais
7. The Maze Runner by James Dashner
8. This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper
9. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
10. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
11. The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien
12. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed
13. Before I Go to Sleep by S. J. Watson
14. Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith
15. Serena by Ron Rash

Are you eager to see any of the above mentioned movies when they are released later this year?? 

I'm most interested in seeing the movie version of The Giver by Lois Lowry, as I loved reading this novel a couple of years ago. Plus, I've heard that both Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep are starring in the movie version of The Giver and they are both terrific actors.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Bout of Books 9.0 Day # 3

Bout of Books

This morning, I began listening to the unabridged audio version of The Asylum by John Harwood. Today, I listened to the first two compact discs out of eight for a total playing time of about 2.5 hours.

I'm hoping to listen to two compact discs a day until I'm finished with The Asylum! But I have a busy Friday, Saturday, and Sunday ahead, so I'll see how it goes. :-)

I also took place in today's challenge:

Introduce Someone to Your Favorite Genre -- Doing Dewey

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King

Unabridged Audio Version
Believe it or not, The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon is my first experience reading or listening to anything written by legendary author Stephen King.

Yesterday, I listened to the unabridged version of The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon throughout the day. It's  approximately 6.5 hours in length and read by actress, Anne Heche.

I felt that Anne Heche did a terrific job of reading The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon and the production of the reading of this novel is well done. I also enjoyed that this story was told through the eyes of a nine year old girl, Trisha McFarland, who becomes lost in the woods and how she deals with being lost the woods. Plus, the baseball elements found throughout the novel were kind of cool too.

There were some aspects of the story that didn't sit right with me, like Stephen King's portrayal of Trisha McFarland... This is a small issue for me, but if Trisha McFarland's age was never stated by the author in this novel, I would have guessed her age to be between 12-14 years old, not 9 years old. I felt that some of the things she thought or did were more inline with a slightly older person, but again this is a minor issue for me.

Overall, I enjoyed listening to The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, but wasn't completely bowled over by it. I'm giving The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon a rating of 7.0 stars out of 10 stars.  The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon is the 3rd book I've read/listened to in 2014.

Until my next post, happy reading! If you're a Stephen King fan, please share with me your favorite Stephen King novel of all time.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Bout of Books 9.0 Day # 1

Bout of Books

Today marks the first day of the Bout of Books 9.0 Read-A-Thon. It's the end of the day and I'm happy to report that I had a fantabulous first day of reading!! 

This morning, I began listening to the unabridged audio version of Stephen King's novel The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon and read by actress Anne Heche. I listened to this audiobook throughout the day and finished listening The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon tonight before bedtime.  

I enjoyed the audio production of this novel. It is really well done and I think that Anne Heche did a phenomenal job of reading Stephen King's The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon.

I'll write a full review of this book soon. Until my next post, happy reading!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Imperium (Cicero Series #1) by Robert Harris

Abridged Audiobook
I stumbled upon the abridged audiobook of  Imperium (Cicero Series #1) by Robert Harris last month at our local Friends of the Library Used Bookstore in town for a dollar and I couldn't resist buying it for the price.

Frankly, I'd never heard of author Robert Harris before obtaining a copy of Imperium. I also normally don't go out of my way to purchase political novels or ones about ancient Rome. So, this novel was one that took me out of my comfort zone. To my surprise, Imperium was much better than I would have guessed it to be and I enjoyed listening to it immensely. 

I enjoyed the storyline/storytelling, as Imperium is told through Cicero's household slave/personal secretary, Tiro. The characters in Imperium are well developed and multidimensional... The difficult part for me was keeping all the names of each character straight as the names are unusual. The best part of Imperium is that it is read by Oliver Ford Davies and he does a phenomenal job reading

The following is an overview of Imperium from the Barnes and Noble's website:
In his "most accomplished work to date" (Los Angeles Times), master of historical fiction Robert Harris lures readers back in time to the compelling life of Roman Senator Marcus Cicero. The re-creation of a vanished biography written by his household slave and right-hand man, Tiro, Imperium follows Cicero's extraordinary struggle to attain supreme power in Rome.

On a cold November morning, Tiro opens the door to find a terrified, bedraggled stranger begging for help. Once a Sicilian aristocrat, the man was robbed by the corrupt Roman governor, Verres, who is now trying to convict him under false pretenses and sentence him to a violent death. The man claims that only the great senator Marcus Cicero, one of Rome's most ambitious lawyers and spellbinding orators, can bring him justice in a crooked society manipulated by the villainous governor. But for Cicero, it is a chance to prove himself worthy of absolute power. What follows is one of the most gripping courtroom dramas in history, and the beginning of a quest for political glory by a man who fought his way to the top using only his voice -- defeating the most daunting figures in Roman history. 

I give Imperium a rating of 7 stars out of 10 stars. Imperium is also the first novel in the Cicero Series. I have no plans at this time to listen to or read the other novels in the Cicero Series.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

A Skeleton in God's Closet by Paul L. Maier

Abridged Audiobook
A Skeleton in God's Closet by Paul L, Maier is the first book of 2014 that I've read... Or listened to rather! I listened to the abridged audio version of this book, which is read by J. Charles.

A Skeleton in God's Closet is my first experience with anything written by Paul L. Maier. I felt that the overall premise of the storyline and characters were fine, but I wasn't that captivated by this novel as some of the plot details were predictable in parts and a bit dramatic for my tastes.

I may have enjoyed this audiobook more if it wasn't abridged. How do you fit a 384 page novel onto three compact discs?

J. Charles did an excellent job of reading A Skeleton in God's Closet.

The following is a book overview of A Skeleton in God's Closet from the Barnes & Noble website:
A skeleton almost 2,000 years old—will it shed new light on the life of Jesus or plunge the world into darkness and chaos? Dr. Jonathan Weber, Harvard professor and biblical scholar, is looking forward to his sabbatical year on an archaeological dig in Israel. But a spectacular find that seems to be an archaeologist's dream-come-true becomes a nightmare that could be the death rattle of Christianity. Meanwhile, Weber's strong interest in Shannon Jennings, daughter of the dig's director, is an exhilarating complication. A Skeleton in God's Closet explores the tension between doubt and faith, sciences and religion, and one man's determination to find the truth—no matter what the cost.

From the author of Pontius Pilate comes a fascinating novel of archaeological adventure. The evidence seems incontestable: bones unearthed in an Israeli tomb are those of Jesus of Nazareth. But which is the hoax . . . the archaeological find or the Resurrection itself?
Which book was your first read for 2014? Until my next post, happy reading!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Bout of Books 9.0 Reading Goals

Bout of Books

Now that I have signed up to participate in the Bout of Books 9.0 Read-A-Thon, it's time to decide on my reading goals for the week in which Bout of Books 9.0 Read-A-Thon takes place

Time Devoted to Reading:

I will be reading daily throughout the entire read-a-thon. Although my hours of reading will vary daily due to activities I need to accomplish when I'm not reading.

My Personal Reading Goals:

I'll be listening to two audiobooks during the week of January 6th through January 12th.


Books to Read:

I've chosen to listen to the following two unabridged audiobooks:

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon
by Stephen King
Read by Anne Heche
6 Compact Discs 
Total Playing Time: 6.5 Hours

The Asylum by John Harwood
Read by Rosalyn Landor
8 Compact Discs
Total Playing Time: 10.5 Hours


I'll make posts daily to my blog regarding my reading progress or in this case listening progress.

If I listen to two compact discs a day, then I should have no problem finishing both audiobooks over the seven day period in which the Bout of Books 9.0 Read-A-Thon takes place. I'm really looking forward to listening to both audiobooks as they both sound fabulous!

Until my next post, happy reading!!