Monday, October 30, 2017

Dracula [Audible Edition] by Bram Stoker

I listened to the unabridged Audible audio production of Dracula by Bram Stoker and narrated by an all star cast.

Listening time for Dracula by Bram Stoker is 15 hours, 28 minutes.

I initially chose to listen to Dracula by Bram Stoker for a number of reasons as follows:

1. I've never read Dracula before, although I've seen the classic 'Dracula' movie starring Bela Lugosi movie years ago. Each year, I try to make an effort to read classics whenever I have time and interest. This year alone, I've read roughly seven classics so far... So, am happy that I've added another classic novel to my list this year.

2. Halloween is tomorrow, so I thought it would be fun to read this Gothic horror novel in celebration of Halloween.

3. My husband read Dracula by Bram Stoker back in high school and it was one of his favorite novels. So, I thought I'd go ahead and read yet another one of my husband's favorite novels he enjoyed reading in his youth.

Let's start with the Audible all star cast and narration of Dracula by Bram Stoker. I'd personally say that the cast/narration of Dracula is hands down my favorite part of my experience with Dracula by Bram Stoker.

There were a few other redeeming perks of reading Dracula, for me as follows: 

1. I liked the way in which the story is told from the viewpoints of several different characters through a series of journal entries throughout Dracula

2. I also liked that Mina Harker is a strong female leading character created by Bram Stoker, which I would imagine to be a rare thing to see in literature in 1897! It's wonderful to read that Mina Harker is one of the heroes of the novel. So, kudos and applause to Bram Stoker for being so forward thinking to create such a dynamic character as Mina Harker.

Otherwise, I was not impressed overall with Dracula by Bram Stoker. I thought the novel was way too long in length and could have been shortened. The language was too flowery at times for my taste. Yes, I like a thriller and how it can build tension and suspense in a novel... And yes, I did enjoy reading the pursuit of Dracula, by the other characters in the novel... But, once again I felt the pursuit of Dracula was way too drawn out and could have been done differently in some way that could have been more appealing.

One topic to mention from reading Dracula by Bram Stoker is that a few blood transfusions happen in the novel. It was interesting to learn that blood transfusions from one person to another were known about back in 1897 in the medical community. However, blood types were evidently not known about back in the late 1800s ... In fact, I just learned online through Wikipedia that blood types weren't discovered until 1900 by Austrian physician and immunologist, Karl Landsteiner! Karl Landsteiner actually won a Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine for his discovery... But I digress. One of the characters in the Dracula has a few blood transfusions from different people without regards to checking to see if the blood types were a match before the blood transfusion was given, which lead me to look into the history of blood transfusions and blood typing. 

Below is a summary for Dracula by Bram Stoker from Audible:
Audie Award, Distinguished Achievement in Production, 2013
Audie Award, Multi-voiced Performance, 2013
Audie Award Nominee, Classic, 2013
Because of the widespread awareness of the story of the evil Transylvanian count and the success of numerous film adaptations that have been created over the years, the modern audience hasn't had a chance to truly appreciate the unknowing dread that readers would have felt when reading Bram Stoker's original 1897 manuscript. Most modern productions employ campiness or sound effects to try to bring back that gothic tension, but we've tried something different. By returning to Stoker's original storytelling structure - a series of letters and journal entries voiced by Jonathan Harker, Dr. Van Helsing, and other characters - with an all-star cast of narrators, we've sought to recapture its originally intended horror and power.
This production of Dracula is presented by what is possibly the best assemblage of narrating talent ever for one audiobook: Emmy Award nominees Alan Cumming and Tim Curry plus an all-star cast of Audie award-winners Simon Vance (The Millenium Trilogy), Katherine Kellgren (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies), Susan Duerden (The Tiger’s Wife), John Lee (Supergods) and customer favorites Graeme Malcolm (Skippy Dies), Steven Crossley (The Oxford Time Travel series), Simon Prebble (The Baroque Cycle), James Adams (Letters to a Young Contrarian), Nicola Barber (The Rose Garden), Victor Villar-Hauser (Fun Inc.), and Marc Vietor (1Q84). 
These stellar narrators have been cast as follows:
Alan Cumming as Dr. SewardSimon Vance as Jonathan HarkerKaty Kellgren as Mina Murray/HarkerSusan Duerden as Lucy WestenraTim Curry as Van HelsingGraeme Malcolm as Dailygraph correspondentSteven Crossley as Zookeeper’s account and reporterSimon Prebble as VarnaJames Adams as Patrick HennesseyNicola Barber as Sister AgathaVictor Villar-Hauser as Arthur HolmwoodMarc Vietor as Quincey MorrisJohn Lee as Introductory paragraph, various letters
I thought Dracula by Bram Stoker was simply an okay read. I am glad I read this classic Gothic horror novel, but wouldn't go out of my way to recommend it to others. I am giving Dracula by Bram Stoker a rating of 2 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy

I listened to the unabridged audio version of The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy and narrated by Mary Sarah.

Listening time for The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy is 7 hours, 10 minutes.

I chose to listen to The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy because my husband once told me he really enjoyed reading this novel when he was in either middle school or high school. So, I thought it would be fun to read a novel he really enjoyed reading when he was younger.

I must admit that I felt like the first 20% of The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy didn't capture my interest very much. In fact, I almost gave up on it!! I am very happy that I didn't quit listening to this novel as the plot and storyline picked up and kept me interested to the very end. The story and characters are fun... And the writing is good.

Other than the slow start, The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy is a good novel.

I wasn't a huge fan of Mary Sarah's narration of The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy.

The following is a plot summary for the The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy from Audible:
Set during the Reign of Terror following the start of the French Revolution... The title character represents the original "hero with a secret identity" that inspired subsequent literary creations such as Don Diego de la Vega (El Zorro) and Bruce Wayne (the Batman). The popularity of the novel encouraged Orczy to write a number of sequels for her "reckless daredevil" over the next 35 years. The original play was performed to great acclaim in France, Italy, Germany, and Spain, while the novel was translated into 16 languages. Subsequently, the story has been adapted for television, film, a musical, and other media.
I am giving The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Little Free Library in Solana Beach, California

Last week, I discovered a new Little Free Library in Solana Beach, California!

I left three books at this particular Little Free Library and took two books with me to read at a later date. 

Ah, the simple joys of finding new a to me Little Free Library and being able to exchange books is priceless!

Do you visit Little Free Libraries often?

Saturday, October 14, 2017

I Love Yarn Day 2017

In addition to being an avid reader and book blogger, I am also an avid knitter. In fact, I love combining my two favorite hobbies by listening to an audiobook while knitting!

Today is I Love Yarn Day 2017, so I thought it would fun to celebrate yarn by sharing some fun and unique book titles that pertain to knitting. See my list as follows:

1. Faux Taxidermy Knits by Louise Walker
2. Literary Knits: 30 Patterns Inspired by Favorite Books by Nikol Lohr
3. Woodland Knits: Over 20 Enchanting Patterns by Stephanie Dosen
4. Highland Knits: Knitwear Inspired by the Outlander Series by Interweave Editors
5. Knitting Wizardry by Amy Clarke Moore 
6. Vampire Knits: Projects to Keep You Knitting from Twilight to Dawn by Genevieve Miller
7. The Best Of Jane Austen Knits: 27 Regency-Inspired Designs by Amy Clarke Moore
8. Charmed Knits: Projects for Fans of Harry Potter by Alison Hansel
9. Once Upon a Knit: 28 Grimm and Glamorous Fairy-Tale Projects by Genevieve Miller
10. Knits for Nerds: 30 Projects: Science Fiction, Comic Books, Fantasy by Toni Carr

I do not own any of the above knitting books, but I look forward to purchasing a few of them and knitting a few of the patterns. 

Life Lessons From Russian Literature

I graduated with a BA in Russian and love Russian literature. So, I enjoyed reading an article found on the The Guardian's website titled, Happiness is a salty potato – and other life lessons from Russian literature by Viv Groskop.

Viv Groskop shares life lessons from ten different pieces of Russian literature. Ms. Groskop's article was entertaining reading for me and probably also a pleasant read for Russian literature lovers.

Friday, October 13, 2017

A Paris Hotel Is Offering A Room Service for Books!!

Next vacation stop, Paris!! As if visiting Paris for its major landmarks, food, and culture weren't enticement enough to make it a vacation destination... Now one can stay at a hotel in Paris that is a book lovers dream.

Check out the article I discovered on Bustle, titled This Paris Hotel Is Offering A Room Service for Books by Kristian Wilson. In the article, Kristian Wilson wrote the following:
Have you planned your next vacation yet? If you have the time and the money, you might consider spending the summer in France, because a room service for books is available in this Paris hotel. Sure to become the ultimate in book-nerd destinations, Le Pavillon des Lettres provides each guest with hand-picked reading material for the duration of their stay.
Located in Paris' eighth arrondissement, Le Pavillon des Lettres has 26 guest rooms, each of which is named for a famous writer or character. Lending their names to rooms are Hans Christian Andersen, Charles Baudelaire, Gustave Flaubert, Victor Hugo, William Shakespeare, Voltaire, Virginia Woolf, and Émile Zola. According to the announcement about the Paris hotel's room service for books, "each room at Pavillon des Lettres holds its writer integral to the design, with lines from poetry, prose and novels inscribed on the walls."
If you plan to stay at Les Pavillon des Lettres, be sure to book your room early. Smaller accommodations for one or two people are available for less than €200 per night, but vacationers snatch them up quickly. And with the press attention that the hotel's room service for books has garnered, you can expect any room at Les Pavillon des Lettres to soon be in high demand.

Les Pavillon des Lettres sounds like a fun hotel to stay at during a visit to Paris! 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Another Reason to Feel Blessed About Being A Bookcrosser!! Lucky Me!!

Earlier this month, I wrote a post sharing the joys of Bookcrossing with my blog readers. 

Well, I have another reason to be grateful for being a member of Bookcrossing!

I keep a wishlist of books I want to read on Bookcrossing. This way I have a digital list of all the books I would like to read at my finger tips for when I am ready to acquire a copy of any book I wish to read.

Any member of Bookcrossing has access to my wishlist of books. If a Bookcrosser just so happens to have a copy of the book I'd like to read and feels like sharing it with me, then they can mail the copy of the book to me by requesting my mailing details.

It just so happens that I had News of the World by Paulette Jiles on my Bookcrossing reading wishlist. Earlier this week, I received the paperback edition of News of the World by Paulette Jiles in the mail from another Bookcrossing in Las Vegas. I was surprised to receive this novel as I had no idea it was coming my way.

I look forward to reading News of the World by Paulette Jiles.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Gone Fishing and Other Stories by Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child, & Others Authors

Unabridged Audiobook on CD
I listened to the unabridged audio version of Gone Fishing and Other Stories by Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child, Gregg Hurwitz, Heather Graham, Alex Kava, and David Dun.

There are five short stories in all to listen to in this collection and all of them are mysteries/thrillers. The short stories are as follows:

1. Gone Fishing by Douglas Preston & Licoln Child
2. Dirty Weather by Gregg Hurwitz
3. Face in the Window by Heather Graham
4. Spirit Walker by David Dun
5. Goodnight, Sweet Mother by Alex Kava

Each of the five stories are very well narrated by a different performer, which is wonderful as a good narrator can make or break a listening experience.

Overall, I really liked this collection of short stories. They are very entertaining especially if you enjoy mysteries/thrillers. All of the stories are good and give you a great introduction to each writer's style of writing and way of telling a story. 

My only minor complaint is that most of the stories were predictable in some way or another as I was able to guess what was going to happen before each story ended.

I am giving Gone Fishing and Other Stories a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

A Book Scout ~ A Literary Dream Job?

Aside from being a writer or an editor, what other careers in the publishing industry might be worth while? How about a career as a book scout? Learn more about being a book scout by reading an article I discovered on Bustle titled, What Is A Book Scout? Hanna Masaryk Takes You Behind-The-Scenes Of The Literary Dream Job by Kerri Jarema. In the article, Kerri Jarema writes the following:
"Literary scouts work on behalf of foreign publishers as consultants, helping them find books from the American market that they want to purchase translation rights to and publish in their markets," Masaryk tells Bustle. "Each scouting agency has a distinct, one on one relationship with their clients. We get to know not only the publishing trends in those countries, but our editors' tastes as well. We are their facilitators, their eyes and ears, and their public image here on the ground in New York."
And according to Masaryk, being the eyes and ears requires a lot: meetings with American agents, editors, and foreign rights managers to hear about the books they are working on and attempting to sell abroad; reading everything; and then writing to clients with detailed reports about why she thinks it would work for their list (or why it wouldn't). It's a particularly multi-level, fast paced subset of an industry that is already all go, go, go.
Click on the above link to read the entire article on what it takes to be a book scout!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Weight by Andrew Vachss

Unabridged Audiobook on CD
I listened to the unabridged audio version of The Weight by Andrew Vachss and narrated by Buck Schirner.

Listening time for The Weight by Andrew Vachss is 9 hours, 11 minutes.

I've heard Buck Schirner narrate another novel and loved his voice and narration a lot. So, I was happy to find another novel that he narrates. A good narrator really makes a huge difference when listening to an audiobook.

I enjoy reading thrillers and The Weight by Andrew Vachss is a decent read. Sugar, is the leading character and he's a career criminal. Sugar isn't the brightest bulb in the pack, but he is well meaning and won't rat out his cohorts. Sugar essentially does time for a crime he doesn't commit. When Sugar is released from prison he discovers there are a few things that don't exactly add up... Let's just say that pay back is a bitch and Sugar is the one who sets things straight.

Andrew Vachss's writing is good in The Weight. Although, I did feel like this novel was a bit slow in parts.

Below is a plot summary for The Weight by Andrew Vachss from Audible:
Andrew Vachss returns with a mesmerizing novel about a hard-core thief who’s about to embark on a job that will alter his life forever.
Sugar is that rarest of commodities: an old-school professional thief, tough and loyal as a pit bull, packing 255 pounds of muscle. When he’s picked out of a photo array in a vicious rape case, the cops find his apartment empty. A stakeout catches Sugar when he returns... carrying a loaded pistol. The sex-crime cops get nothing from their interrogation, but a streetwise detective figures out why Sugar offers no alibi: at the time of the rape, a holiday-weekend break-in job was being pulled at a jewelry store. The DA offers Sugar two options: give up his partners in the jewelry heist and walk, or plead to the rape he didn’t commit — and he’ll toss in the gun charge. For Sugar, that’s not two options; he takes the weight.

When Sugar finishes his time, his money is waiting for him, held by Solly, the mastermind behind the jewelry heist. But Solly tells Sugar that one of the heist crew was actually sent by another planner - and that planner has just died. In Sugar’s world, all loose threads must be cut. He suspects that there’s more to this job than what Solly is telling him. But nothing he suspects or imagines can prepare him for what he finds.
I am giving The Weight by Andrew Vachss a rating of 3 stars out of 5 Stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

12 Ways You Could Be Getting More Out Of Your Public Library!

I love libraries as they are filled with plenty of ways to fulfill ones needs and acquire new knowledge!! 

I discovered an article on Bustle's website earlier today titled, 12 Ways You Could Be Getting More Out Of Your Local Library by Charlotte Ahlin. It's amazing all that public libraries have to offer us. So make the most of your public library and take advantage of all they have to offer!!

When was the last time you visited your local public library???

Monday, October 9, 2017

Annie and the Swiss Cheese Scarf by Alana Dakos

I read the deluxe edition of Annie and the Swiss Cheese Scarf by Alana Dakos and illustrated by Neesha Hudson, which is a children's book about learning to knit and includes the hardback edition of the book, stickers, a puzzle, and a paper doll set based on the book.

I enjoyed reading this cute picture book geared towards children ages 4 and older. The story is about a little girl named,  Annie, who watches her mother knit and decides she wants to learn how to knit just like her mommy. Like any little girl, Annie is impatient as she wants to knit as fast as her mother does and have her projects come out perfectly. Annie also makes lots of mistakes while learning to knit and ends up giving up on knitting altogether. 

It isn't until Annie is at school one day and learns that her teacher wants each student to share a 'special talent' they have with the rest of the class. It's then that Annie decides she will finish knitting her scarf and share her 'special talent' to knit with the rest of the class. Annie's scarf isn't perfect by any means and has lots of holes in it. This makes the scarf look like it is a piece of Swiss Cheese. But with flaws and all, Annie's Swiss Cheese scarf looks delightful and is a huge hit with her teacher and her classmates. By the end of the book, Annie ends up teaching other students how to knit during recess.

I liked how Annie and the Swiss Cheese Scarf by Alana Dakos shows perseverance, that things don't have to be perfect to turn out beautifully, and that learning new hobbies and skills takes practice before one can master them with ease and agility. These are all good messages to impart on young readers.

Annie and the Swiss Cheese Scarf by Alana Dakos is also beautifully illustrated by Neesha Hudson, which makes for a great read for young children.

If you are an avid reader and knitter and/or want to give a gift to a young reader and (hopefully) inspire them to want to learn to knit, then this book is a delightful read to share. It gives a lesson at the end of the book on how to knit, which makes for a great introduction to knitting.

There is also a FREE pattern online on how to make Annie's Swiss Cheese Scarf. So check out the pattern for the scarf by clicking on the link in the previous sentence!! Wouldn't it be fun to read the book to a child and then make the scarf together??

I am giving Annie and the Swiss Cheese Scarf by Alana Dakos a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

The Joys of Bookcrossing!!!

I've been a member of Bookcrossing for just over 10 years now and I love Bookcrossing!!

I've enjoyed interacting with other readers around the world, exchanging books and gifts with other readers, and participating in the forums, etc.

I've read so many books that I would have otherwise never read if I hadn't received recommendations from other Bookcrossers, participated in Bookrays and Bookrings (this is where readers on Bookcrossing send books to other readers to read and pass on to the next reader on the sign up list), or been given books as gifts by other generous Bookcrossers.

Case in point, I signed up to participate in a Bookray on Bookcrossing to read Devil-Devil by G. W. Kent, which is a mystery novel by a new to me author. I recently received Devil-Devil by G. W. Kent in the mail from a Bookcrosser in Brazil and will begin reading this novel soon. 

The REALLY COOL part for me is that this physical copy of Devil-Devil by G. W. Kent has traveled around the world LITERALLY as this novel has been read by Bookcrossers in several European countries, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil and has now reached me in the USA!! 

The other really cool thing is that Devil-Devil by G. W. Kent has also been read by 18 Bookcrossers before me and I can read each journal entry made by each reader online and discover what each person thought about the novel. How cool is that? Once I am done reading Devil-Devil by G. W. Kent, I will be mailing it to another reader here in the USA.

I'll be sure and let you know what I think of Devil-Devil by G. W. Kent once I've finished reading it. Until then, happy reading!!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Travel as Transformation: Conquer the Limits of Culture to Discover Your Own Identity by Gregory V. Diehl

Unabridged Audiobook
I listened to the unabridged audio version of Travel as Transformation: Conquer the Limits of Culture to Discover Your Own Identity by Gregory V. Diehl and is narrated by the author.

Listening time for Travel as Transformation: Conquer the Limits of Culture to Discover Your Own Identity by Gregory V. Diehl is 3 hours, 22 minutes.

I was contacted by the author, Gregory V. Diehl, who is also the co-founder of Identity Publications and asked if I'd like to read one of the books published by his company in exchange for an honest review. I chose to listen to and review Travel as Transformation: Conquer the Limits of Culture to Discover Your Own Identity as it sounded like the most interesting book to me.

Below is my honest, unbiased review of Travel as Transformation: Conquer the Limits of Culture to Discover Your Own Identity by Gregory V. Diehl.

Travel as Transformation: Conquer the Limits of Culture to Discover Your Own Identity by Gregory V. Diehl isn't a travelogue by any means. It focuses more on discovering your authentic self beyond the limits of one's cultural beliefs and biases. 

I see a lot of value in finding one's authentic self/identity by moving beyond limiting beliefs and biases that are culturally ingrained or based, but I am not sure travel is always transformative in finding ones own identity or even the end all be all in discovering one's true identity. 

I think that being exposed to a lot of different ways of thinking, different religious beliefs, various philosophies, and other socioeconomic factors can help shape and enhance anyone's life in a positive way/manner without the need to travel outside one's country could possibly be very beneficial in discovering one's identity. Being open minded and inquisitive to what life has to offer and other ways of living can also help in discovering one's own identity I would imagine as well. 

I think that Gregory V. Diehl makes a lot of good points in his book, Travel as Transformation: Conquer the Limits of Culture to Discover Your Own Identity, that I agreed with and make it worth the read. But I think that people are able 'conquer the limitations placed on you by your home culture' without having to travel outside one's own home culture and become who they were meant to be in various other ways. 

Below is the summary for Travel as Transformation: Conquer the Limits of Culture to Discover Your Own Identity by Gregory V. Diehl from Audible:
From living in a van on the streets of San Diego, to growing chocolate with indigenous tribes in Central America, to teaching in the Middle East and volunteering in Africa, best-selling author Gregory V. Diehl has followed a worldly and unconventional path through life. Leaving his California home as a teenager, he fully immersed himself, living and working, in 45 countries across the globe - all by age 28. In Travel as Transformation, he puts his diverse cultural experiences on display and asks the listener to question how their own identity has been shaped by the lifestyle they live.
As you delve into Travel as Transformation, you will learn just how profoundly travel can influence your perception of yourself. Diehl teaches aspiring travelers, vagabonds, and nomads to let go of their internal inhibitions and former sense of self. To encourage world wanderers to embrace change, he shares his own stirring experiences of transformation across Costa Rica, China, Morocco, Armenia, Iraq, Monaco, Ecuador, and more. By embarking on this nomadic journey alongside him, you will learn to examine all of humanity through unbiased eyes and discover all that lies just beyond your backyard. A new, vast cultural experience awaits.
To travel with a truly open mind is to forget who you were when you started. It is to be constantly born anew, and identify with ways of existence you did not know were possible. Travel as Transformation will give you the wisdom, the inspiration, and the resources to conquer the limitations placed on you by your home culture. It's time to take advantage of everything the world has to offer and become everything you can be.
I am giving Travel as Transformation: Conquer the Limits of Culture to Discover Your Own Identity by Gregory V. Diehl a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars. 

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

English novelist Kazuo Ishiguro wins the 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature!

Congrats to English novelist Kazuo Ishiguro on winning the 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature! 

Every year around this time I am on pins and needles waiting to learn who will win the Nobel Prize for Literature... And it's so difficult to know who's going to actually win the Nobel Prize for Literature. Sometimes the Nobel Prize for Literature goes to an author I've heard of before and other times I've never heard of the author before ever... So the news as to the winner's identity of the Nobel Prize in Literature always makes for interesting reading to say the least.

Sometimes, I try to make a guess as to who I think will win this prestigious literary award... This year, I guessed the 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature would go to Japanese author, Haruki Murakami, as I've heard in previous years he'd been a potential front runner to win the the Nobel Prize For Literature... But alas, my guess was wrong!

Although, I've heard of Kazuo Ishiguro before, I've never read any of his novels to date. So, I'll be adding one of his novels to my ever growing 'to be read' pile at some point.

In the New York Times article titled, Kazuo Ishiguro Is Awarded Nobel Prize in Literature by Alexandra Alter and Dan Bilefsky, I learned the following information:
Mr. Ishiguro, 62, is best known for his novels “The Remains of the Day,” about a butler serving an English lord in the years leading up to World War II, and “Never Let Me Go,” a melancholy dystopian love story set in a British boarding school. In his seven novels, he has obsessively returned to the same themes, including the fallibility of memory, mortality and the porous nature of time.
“If you mix Jane Austen and Franz Kafka then you have Kazuo Ishiguro in a nutshell, but you have to add a little bit of Marcel Proust into the mix,” said Sara Danius, the permanent secretary of The Swedish Academy.
Ms. Danius described Mr. Ishiguro as “a writer of great integrity.”
“He doesn’t look to the side,” she said. “He has developed an aesthetic universe all his own.”
In a statement released by his publisher, Mr. Ishiguro expressed astonishment at the award, calling it, “amazing and totally unexpected news.”
Click on the top link to read the entire article.

Until my next post, happy reading!! 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Ice Cream Book Tag

I discovered the Ice Cream Book Tag  through Alexa Loves Books Vlog (Or is it called a Book Tube Channel on YouTube??) 

Alexa is a blogger I have followed for quite a few years now as she provides really good content on both her blog and vlog! Alexa's YouTube Channel is a lot of fun and regularly features her husband, Macky, as well. 

The above link takes you to the Alexa Loves Books video on YouTube, where Alexa and Macky give their answers to the Ice Cream Book Tag.

I decided to participate in the Ice Cream Book Tag. Read my answers below.


1. Vanilla - A book you wish had more flavor: 

The Exile: An Outlander Graphic Novel by Diana Gabaldon and Hoang Nguyen (Illustrator). I love the 'Outlander' series. So with that said, I was excited to obtain and read the graphic novel, The Exile, as it's told through the point of view of Jamie Fraser (verses Claire in the original series). 

Although, I enjoyed seeing Hoang Nguyen's illustrations (they are beautiful) for The Exile, I didn't think his illustrations looked like what I envisioned the male characters from the 'Outlander' series to look like... In fact, all the male characters look pretty much the same throughout The Exile and were difficult to tell apart throughout this graphic novel. The story/plot were pretty vanilla/watered down compared with an 800+ page novel. 

I felt like The Exile: An Outlander Graphic Novel by Diana Gabaldon and Hoang Nguyen had so much potential, but fell really short on delivering appeal.

2. Chocolate - A long book or an immersive world that you enjoyed indulging in: 

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon fits the bill for this category! At 850 pages, this historical novel deals with time travel and Scottish and English history. It is an amazing and captivating read!!

3. Strawberry - A romance that was super sweet: 

Hazel & Augustus Waters from The Fault In Our Stars by John Green --- These two teens in this novel have a very sweet romance.

4. Ice cream sundae - A book encompassing all the elements you love: 

Again so many novels fit the bill for this one that it is tough to narrow down my answer! I am going to choose a novel I read earlier this year titled, The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

This book was an arc that I'd received through Goodreads Giveaways. I'd never read anything by Amy Engel before, so I didn't know what to expect when I began reading this novel. Let's just say that I was blown away by Amy Engel's writing and storytelling! 

Here are a few of the things I liked most about The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel:

1. Writing style and storytelling are two important key factors in me loving a novel and The Roanoke Girls contains great writing and storytelling. 

2. The characters in The Roanoke Girls are dark, damaged, and flawed (not something I go for or like necessarily). The characters are very well developed and have you wanting to learn more about them as the novel unfolds, which is key for me to liking characters... Characters, whether likable or not, must provoke some sort of strong (and believable enough) reaction to be interesting enough that you want to see what happens to them over the long haul.

3. I like the alternating chapters in this novel told by the various Roanoke Girls with the longest chapters be told through the point of view of the leading character, Lane Roanoke.

5. Milkshake - A book that blends genres:

The Horse Mistress by R. A. Steffan.... This novel blends historical fiction with elements of erotica, paranormal, and lgbt themes altogether in one novel.

6. Sprinkles - A book with a colorful cover:

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert... This nonfiction book is an awesome read and not just for creative types either. I love Big Magic and highly recommend it.

7. Ice cream cake - A book worthy of a celebration Ice cream cookie sandwich or three scoops on a cone - a book with multiple perspectives:

The Vegetarian by Han Kang is a novel about a woman named Yeong-hye, who essentially goes mad... But The Vegetatian isn't told through Yeong-hye's point of view... It's about Yeong-hye through the point of view of her husband, brother-in-law, and her sister. 

The Vegetarian is a really well written novel. I really enjoyed reading it.

8. Waffle cone - A book you felt compelled to read very quickly: 

So, many books fit this category for me because if it is a book I am really enjoying, then I look forward to finishing it asap!!

Kentucky On The Rocks by Gwendolyn Grace fits the bill on this one!! Gotta love hot, sexy romance reads every so often.

9. Pint - A book you set aside but plan on going back to later:

The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food by Jennifer 8 Lee. 

I love Chinese food and nonfiction books about food, so The Fortune Cookie Chronicles is right up my alley... But for some reason I put this book on hold last summer and have not gotten back to it yet. I do look forward to finishing this book at some point though.

10. Your preference - cup or cone? 

CUP most definitely!! I don't want to have to deal with ice cream dripping down the side of my cone and onto my fingers. Plus, if I need to be hands free for a second or two, I can't put the cone down.

11. Your preference - favorite flavor?

Oy, really??? I have to pick one single flavor I love the most?? Are you kidding me?? That's so difficult to do! I love so many different flavors of ice cream.... I love just about anything with chocolate, unless it contains marshmallows, as that's just YUCKY!! Can you tell I am not a Rocky Road fan? Coffee flavored ice cream is really good too. Plus, any ice cream that has crunchy bits in it like cookies or candies like toffee bits are yummy. I also enjoy unique flavors of ice cream like lavender, cardamom, eggnog, pistachio, bubblegum (not mixed together, of course), etc...

But if I had to pick just one flavor of ice cream to live with for the rest of my life, I'd go completely old school and pick Baskin Robbins Chocolate and Peanut Butter Ice Cream.

12. Your preference - toppings? 

It depends on my mood, whether I want a topping or not.

13. Your preference - favorite local ice creamery 

Smitten Ice Cream as this place has unique seasonal flavors you cannot find anywhere else.... Yum!

14. Best shared with friends - who do you tag?

Anyone reading this post who would like to participate in the Ice Cream Book Tag, please consider yourself tagged! Share a link to your Ice Cream Book Tag post in the comment section below as I'd like to read your answers for each section.

I hope you enjoyed reading my answers to the Ice Cream Book Tag! Until my next post, happy reading!