Sunday, August 19, 2018

Top 10 Artificial Humans In Fiction

I came across an article on The Guardian's website titled, 
From Frankenstein to Pinocchio: top 10 artificial humans in fiction. In the article, I read the following information:
The story of man trying to compete with the gods in creating a living being is one of the earliest tales. These narratives about effigies brought to life, homunculi, golems, reanimated corpses and sentient robots invariably end in death and disaster. Still, they profess our sincere hope that if we can invent the formula for life, we might also cheat death. It might even be argued that in the end this is really the only story there is to tell of our species. If only there will be someone left to tell it.
Click on the above link to read the Top 10 Artificial Humans In Fiction!!

Friday, August 17, 2018

11 Biographies Of Strong Women!

Are you looking for some inspirational biographies of women?? Then check out the following article from Bustle titled, 11 Biographies Of Badass Women To Inspire You To Kick Ass, Make Good Art, And Change The World by Charlotte Ahlin. In the article, Charlotte Ahlin writes the following:

Hey. So I know that we have our "girlboss" hashtags and our Wonder Woman movie now. I know that we're all supposed to love our bodies and lean in and have perfect skin (but in a self-care way!) and wake up every morning filled with righteous anger but also be mindful and relaxed all the time. But existing in the physical world as a woman (or pretty much anyone who's not a man) is still pretty exhausting. Our current administration is careening towards a real life Handmaid's Tale and we still have to pay a tax on tampons. It's rough. We are, however, far from the first generation to have to deal with a ceaseless onslaught of woman-hating garbage. So here are a few biographies of badass women who will inspire you to be your best self, even when it's tempting to let the bastards grind you down.
These women run the gamut from activists to scientists, poets to literal queens. Some of them have helped shape the world as we know it today. Some of them just said "screw it" and ran off to be pirates. All of them were (or are) stone cold badasses. So the next time you want to scream, or lie face down on the floor, or chuck all of your skincare products into the sea, pick up one of these biographies and take a cue from some of history's best bad girls
Click on the very top link to discover which 11 women made the list!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Forgotten Monsters: The Lost and Found Collection by Kelly Apple

Kelly Apple is a new to me author. She writes paranormal romances. Ms. Apple appears to be a very prolific writer, so I wasn't sure which series to begin with as they all seem to be interesting ones... But after doing some research, I decided to read the ebook edition of Forgotten Monsters: The Lost and Found Collection by Kelly Apple, which is a collection of four stories in the 'Forgotten Monsters' series.

I was pleasantly surprised by Forgotten Monsters: The Lost and Found Collection by Kelly Apple. All four stories were good. Dream was my favorite story followed by Wisp, Echo, and then Deep. If you like reading paranormal romance/erotica, then this may be the perfect collection for you!

The following is a summary for Forgotten Monsters: The Lost and Found Collection by Kelly Apple from Amazon:
Not all monsters are the frightening creatures we were warned about as children. Most are just trying to get by in a world where it’s becoming increasingly harder for them to stay hidden.
Some are ready to reveal it all. 
Some want to turn their back on those around them.
And some are trying to find the connections all beings crave.
It’s time to meet the Forgotten Monsters – The Wisp, the Kraken, the Nightmare, and the Siren. Their time has come…
Forgotten Monsters: The Lost and Found Collection includes: 
The Forgotten Monsters series is a sexy romp through insta-love, insta-attraction, insta-sexy times, and insta-bombshells. These monsters aren't afraid to get down and dirty and they're eager for you to join them!
I am giving Forgotten Monsters: The Lost and Found Collection by Kelly Apple a rating of 3.5 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Pack of Two: The Intricate Bond Between People and Dogs by Caroline Knapp

Paperback edition of Pack of Two by Caroline Knapp

I purchased a used paperback edition of Pack of Two: The Intricate Bond Between People and Dogs by Caroline Knapp at a Friends of the Library Used Bookstore in Carpinteria, California in January 2013.

I'm playing catch up by reading books I've had in my personal collection of books for 4 years or longer. I chose to read Pack of Two: The Intricate Bond Between People and Dogs by Caroline Knapp as I am an avid dog lover. I am especially fond of toy dog breeds... My family has had two Pomeranians over the years. So, deciding to read Pack of Two: The Intricate Bond Between People and Dogs by Caroline Knapp was a no brainer for me. 

Why it took me until 2018 to finally read Pack of Two: The Intricate Bond Between People and Dogs by Caroline Knapp, I'm not sure. All I can say is that I am extremely happy that I finally did read this book. 

I've never read anything else written by Caroline Knapp before, so wasn't entirely sure what to expect from Pack of Two: The Intricate Bond Between People and Dogs. I simply knew that I wanted to read her book about the bond between dogs and humans.

After reading this book, I felt like Pack of Two: The Intricate Bond Between People and Dogs by Caroline Knapp was A) part memoir about Caroline Knapp's personal life and the bond she had with her dog, Lucille, a shepherd mix, B) the bonds felt by other people with their dogs who were interviewed for this book, and C) the scientific data sited for this book. All three areas were intertwined throughout this book seamlessly into tightly written chapters that focused on specific topics.

Caroline Knapp's writing is really engaging and she does a wonderful job in demonstrating the unique bond between people and dogs. I don't think you need to be a dog lover to enjoy reading Pack of Two: The Intricate Bond Between People and Dogs. I was also quite taken with how open, honest, and vulnerable Ms. Knapp was about sharing intimate details of her personal life that most of us wouldn't necessarily share in some detail with others in a book.

The following is a blurb about Pack of Two: The Intricate Bond Between People and Dogs by Caroline Knapp on Amazon:
At the age of 36, Caroline Knapp, author of the acclaimed bestseller Drinking:A Love Story, found herself confronted with a monumental task: redefining her world. She had faced the loss of both her parents, given up a twenty-year relationship with alcohol, and, as she writes, "I was wandering around in a haze of uncertainty, blinking up at the biggest questions: Who am I without parents and without alcohol? How to form attachments, and where to find comfort, in the face of such daunting vulnerability?" An answer materialized in the most unlikely form: that of a dog. Eighteen months to the day after she quit drinking, Knapp stumbled upon an eight-week-old puppy at a local animal shelter, took her home, and named her Lucille. Now two years old, Lucille has become a central force in Knapp's life: "In her," she writes, "I have found solace, joy, a bridge to the world."
Caroline Knapp has been celebrated as much for her fresh insight into emotional and psychological issues as she has been for her gifts as a writer. In Pack of Two, she brings the same perception and talent to bear on the rich, complicated terrain of human-animal relationships. In addition to mining her own experience with Lucille, Knapp speaks to a wide variety of dog people--from animal behaviorists and psychologists to other owners whose dogs have deeply affected their lives--about this emotionally complex, sometimes daunting, often profoundly healing alliance. Throughout, she explores the shift in canine roles from working partners to intimate companions and looks, too, at how this new kinship, this wordless bond, becomes a template for what we most desire ourselves.
I am giving Pack of Two: The Intricate Bond Between People and Dogs by Caroline Knapp a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday - Favorite Book Blogs/Bookish Websites

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

Below are my top ten book blogs/bookish websites!

My Current Favorite Book Blogs 

1. Keep The Wisdom by Judy - I love reading Judy's book reviews! She has such diverse tastes in reading and writes the best book reviews. Judy also seems to have the same taste in books as I do and visiting her blog, Keep The Wisdom, is sure to always be a treat.

2. Carole's Chatter by Carole - Carole's blog features more than book reviews or posts that are book related. However, my favorite feature on Carole's Chatter is her monthly Books You Loved posts, where you can share/link your reviews of books you loved reading on her book blog... Books You Loved is a great way to discover other super awesome books to read that are written by other avid readers and bloggers. Additionally, Books You Loved is a great way to get your blog noticed by new readers.

Other Fun Online Bookish Places I Spend My Free Time

3. Bookcrossing - I LOVE, Love, love Bookcrossing and have been an active member since January 2007. I've enjoyed connecting with other readers around the world by participating in the forum section and exchanging books with readers around the world! It's fun to read where a book I've shared has gone or what other readers think of the same book I've read through journal entries made by each reader.

4. Goodreads - I so under utilize Goodreads, it is not even remotely funny. I mainly use Goodreads to keep track of my yearly reading goals, which books I've read, which books I would like to read, and enter Goodreads Giveaways... I've actually won a lot of free books through Goodreads though, which has been quite exciting! But I'd like to explore other areas on Goodreads, like their online reading groups.

Where I Like to Purchase Books Online
Yes, I buy books at indie bookstores, fol used book sales, or trade books with other readers. But when I shop for books online, I mainly buy them from the following places.

5. Audible - I love audiobooks! I prefer audiobooks in digital format as they don't take up physical space, they don't skip like a compact disc would, and you can change the playing speed on how fast or slow the books are read by the narrator. 

Also, as a side note, I've become somewhat of a lazy reader preferring an audiobook many times over a physical book or ebook as I can listen to an audiobook while doing other tasks. In fact, I like to knit and listen to audiobooks at the same time... It's a great way to enjoy both of my favorite hobbies.

6. Amazon - Unless you live under a rock, I'm sure Amazon is pretty self explanatory. I buy both new books and ebooks from Amazon as I have a Kindle. I also purchase used books from people selling their books online.

My Favorite Read-A-Thons

7. Bout of Books - This is my favorite read-a-thon! I've participated in this low key read-thon several times over the years. I've recently signed up to participate in Bout of Books 23 happening later this month from August 20th through August 26th. There's usually Twitter Chats, Read-A-Thon Challenges, and even a Grand Prize at the end in addition to simply reading books during the week set aside for the Bout of Books Read-A-Thon. 

8. Seasons Of Reading - This book blog offers many low key read-a-thons throughout the year. My two favorite read-a-thons featured through Seasons of Reading are the Winter Respite Read-A-Thon in January and also the High Summer Read-A-Thon in July.

My Favorite Book Vlogs on YouTube
I have not explored book vlogs enough online. I am sure there
are tons of cool book vlogs on YouTube... If you have a few you follow and love, then let me know about them in the comment section below!! Below are the two book vlogs I follow on YouTube.

9. Alexa Loves Books - I've followed her book blog of the same name for longer than I can recall. So, when I discovered Alexa started a book vlog on YouTube, I began watching it off and on. I like that she does the videos with her husband, Macky! I haven't watched all of the videos posted, but have enjoyed the ones I've watched.

10. Peter Likes Books - Peter is a new to me book vlogger. I haven't seen many of Peter's videos on YouTube to date, but he's been doing book vlogging for a long time. I love Peter's high voltage energy and his enthusiasm for reading. Peter seems so sweet and ends his videos on a positive note.

Share with me some of your favorite book blogs/bookish websites in the comment section below!

Monday, August 13, 2018

Life's Work: A Moral Argument For Choice by Dr. Willie Parker

I listened to the unabridged audio version Life's Work: A Moral Argument for Choice by Dr. Willie Parker and narrated by Caz Harleaux

Listening time for Life's Work: A Moral Argument For Choice by Dr. Willie Parker is 6 hours, 10 minutes.

Life's Work: A Moral Argument For Choice by Dr. Willie Parker is the second nonfiction book I've listened to about the topic of abortion. I chose to listen to Dr. Willie Parker's book because I was intrigued by the subtitle, "A Moral Argument For Choice" as I was very curious to hear what "A Moral Argument For Choice" sounded like coming from a Christian male Ob/Gyn doctor. Usually, the words "Christian" and "Pro-Choice" do not go hand in hand. 

I am really impressed with Life's Work: A Moral Argument For Choice by Dr. Willie Parker. Dr. Willie Parker covers a lot of ground in this book and does so in a very thoughtful, straight forward, cohesive manner. He not only discusses his life and background, but he also states the facts about the topic of abortion itself and how he came to become an abortion care provider. Additionally, of course, "A Moral Argument For Choice" was made for abortion in this book and I thought the argument was well made. So, kudos to Dr. Willie Parker and a big thank you for championing reproductive rights.

There were many really good quotes/passages in Life's Work: A Moral Argument For Choice by Dr. Willie Parker, but my favorite quote is "Experience is not what happens to you. Experience is what you do with what happens to you."

By the way, in case you were wondering, the first book I listened to about abortion was This Common Secret: My Journey as an Abortion Doctor by Susan Wicklund, which I loved and gave a 5 star out of 5 star rating back in 2016. 

The following is a summary for Life's Work: A Moral Argument For Choice by Dr. Willie Parker from Amazon:
In this “vivid and companionable memoir of a remarkable life” (The New Yorker), an outspoken, Christian reproductive justice advocate and abortion provider reveals his personal and professional journeys in an effort to seize the moral high ground on the question of choice and reproductive justice. 
Dr. Willie Parker grew up in the Deep South, lived in a Christian household, and converted to an even more fundamentalist form of Christianity as a young man. But upon reading an interpretation of the Good Samaritan in a sermon by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., he realized that in order to be a true Christian, he must show compassion for all people at all times.
In 2009, he stopped practicing obstetrics to focus entirely on providing safe abortions for women who need help the most—often women in poverty and women of color—in the hotbed of the pro-choice debate: the South. He thereafter traded in his private practice and his penthouse apartment in Hawaii for the life of an itinerant abortion provider, becoming one of the few doctors to provide such services in Mississippi and Alabama.
In Life’s Work, Dr. Willie Parker tells a deeply personal and thought-provoking narrative that illuminates the complex societal, political, religious, and personal realities of abortion in the United States from the unique perspective of someone who performs them and defends the right to do so every day. In revealing his daily battle against mandatory waiting periods and bogus rules, Dr. Parker makes a powerful Christian case for championing reproductive rights. “At a moment when reproductive health and rights are under attack…Dr. Parker’s book is a beacon of hope and a call to action” (Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood).
I am giving Life's Work: A Moral Argument For Choice by Dr. Willie Parker a rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Learn the Ways You Can Help Support Your Local Library!!

The dos and don'ts of supporting your local public library seem fairly straight forward to me... However, in case one needs a refresher on this topic, check out the following article I discovered on Lithub's website titled, The Dos And Don't Of Supporting Your Local Library by Kristen Arnett. In the article, Kristen Arnett wrote the following:
Over the past few weeks, there’s been a flurry of “takes” on what people think we should do about libraries (one wildly bad idea was that they should be replaced with bookstores so people could pay 30 bucks per hardcover instead of paying their goddamn taxes and getting use of a community space). The response to these garbage articles was overwhelmingly in favor of keeping libraries open! Hell yeah. Let me tell you, though, there’s a lot more you can do for your local branch aside from posting a well-intentioned tweet. The thing about libraries is . . . we need you to use them. All the time. Get your ass to the library. This week I’ve compiled a handy lists of dos and don’ts so you can continue to support your libraries and librarians and library staff. I’m generous that way; you’re welcome.
Then Ms. Arnett wrote a list of top dos and don'ts for supporting your library. Click on the link to read what those are.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Let Judy Blume Know Which One of Her Books You Want To See As a Movie!!

I've read quite a few Judy Blume novels in recent years. So, I was delighted to see an article on Bustle's website titled, Judy Blume Wants To Know Which Of Her Books You Want To See As A Movie by Kristian Wilson. In the article, Kristian Wilson writes the following:
A Thursday tweet from one of the country's most beloved children's authors has her fans wondering which of her books will get the Hollywood treatment. Superfudgeauthor Judy Blume asked her Twitter followers "which of my books" they "would... want to see adapted for series or movie," and the Judy Blume books that need to be movies are all anyone can talk about now. I've picked out five that I think would make for great page-to-screen adaptations for the list below.
Check out the five Judy Blume books to choose from by clicking the above link! I'm personally rooting for 'Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret.'

Thursday, August 9, 2018

7 Tips For Hosting A Digital Book Club

Have you ever wanted to start or join a book club, but find you don't have the time (or other reason) to attend physical book club meetings? 

What about starting an online book club? After doing a Google search, I came across an article on Bustle titled, 7 Tips For Hosting A Digital Book Club by Sadie Trombetta. In the article, Sadie Trombetta wrote the following:
If you've ever dreamed of starting a book club, but worried you didn't have the right space to do it in, I've got some great news for you: meeting up in person isn't the only way to do it. Starting an online reading group with friends and strangers is simple if you follow these tips for hosting a digital book club. 
In addition to all of the incredible benefits that being in a book club holds normally, there are even more upsides to hosting a digital version versus a physical one, especially if you're busy or live far away from your reader friends. In a digital book club, you can have more members, because you don't have to worry about all fitting into one apartment to talk. In fact, you don't have to worry about finding a space for your book club to meet at all, because everyone can participate from the comfort of their own homes. In an online book club, it doesn't matter if your members are in the same city or halfway across the world, because thanks the the power of the internet, you can all be in one digital space at the same time.
When you're starting a digital book club, all the standard book club rules apply: you want to pick a theme or goal for your club and stick with it, include diverse authors in your reading list, set a regular schedule, and have prepared discussion questions before every meeting. But if you're running a digital book club, there are a few other rules that apply, too.
Click on the above article to read the 7 tips for starting a digital book club! 

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Bout of Books 23 Sign Up Post!!

I am looking forward to participating once again in another Bout of Books Read-A-Thon!! I've participated in several Bout of Books Read-A-Thons over the years and always have fun reading books and participating in Read-A-Thon Challenges. I've also enjoyed interacting with other readers participating in this read-a-thon as well. 

For those of you, who've never participated in Bout of Books before, please read the following information to learn more:
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 20th and runs through Sunday, August 26th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 23 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team
Please consider joining me in participating in Bout of Books 23 later this month. If you decide to join me on this reading journey, then please let me know in the comment section below!! Be sure and share a link to your sign up post as well. Happy reading!

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

The Coming Storm by Michael Lewis

I listened to the unabridged audio version of The Coming Storm by Michael Lewis, which was narrated by the author. Listening time for The Coming Storm by Michael Lewis is 2 hours, 27 minutes.

I was able to download The Coming Storm by Michael Lewis for FREE from Audible (it may still be available for free on Audible??), below is my honest unbiased review of The Coming Storm by Michael Lewis.

The Coming Storm by Michael Lewis is my first experience with anything written by the author. Wow, just wow, I am simply impressed with The Coming Storm! It packs a powerful punch and a wealth of information that is current and extremely relevant today in every way... Especially when it comes to the way which information is disseminated and who has access to it. 

If you enjoy learning about science and technology, along with politics, the weather, and natural catastrophes (and more!), then this may be the perfect read for you.

The following is a summary for The Coming Storm by Michael Lewis from Audible:
Tornadoes, cyclones, tsunamis… Weather can be deadly – especially when it strikes without warning. Millions of Americans could soon find themselves at the mercy of violent weather if the public data behind lifesaving storm alerts gets privatized for personal gain. In his first Audible Original, New York Times best-selling author and journalist Michael Lewis delivers hard-hitting research on not-so-random weather data – and how Washington plans to release it. He also digs deep into the lives of two scientists who revolutionized climate predictions, bringing warning systems to previously unimaginable levels of accuracy. One is Kathy Sullivan, a gifted scientist among the first women in space; the other, D.J. Patil, is a trickster-turned-mathematician and a political adviser. Most urgently, Lewis’s narrative reveals the potential cost of putting a price tag on information with the potential to save lives, raising questions about balancing public service with profits in an ethically-ambiguous atmosphere.

Below is a video of Michael Lewis discussing The Coming Storm.

I am giving The Coming Storm by Michael Lewis a rating of 5 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Monday, August 6, 2018

Ticker by Lisa Mantchev

I finished listening to the unabridged audio version of Ticker by Lisa Mantchev and narrated by Fiona Hardingham.

Listening time for Ticker by Lisa Mantchev is 8 hours, 2 minutes.

I was initially attracted to Ticker's cover as I love the colors on the cover and overall design on the cover. I also was intrigued by the steampunk theme of this novel, so I decided to give it a try.

However, I wasn't that enamored by Ticker by Lisa Mantchev. The storyline/premise of this novel was good in theory, but I felt like it was a flat, two dimensional read that needed an fusion of something to give it a pop and make it a better, more engaging/captivating read. Ticker also had a lot of action in it, but sometimes I felt like it had action for the sake of action to kept the story moving. The characters were a cliche, which made them feel just as flat and two dimensional as the plot... Long story short, Ticker by Lisa Mantchev could have been a much better novel in my opinion.

The following is a plot summary for Ticker by Lisa Mantchev from Amazon:
A girl with a clockwork heart makes every second count.
When Penny Farthing nearly died, the brilliant surgeon Calvin Warwick managed to implant a brass "Ticker," transforming her into "the first of the Augmented!" But soon it was discovered that Warwick kidnapped and killed dozens of people striving to perfect another Ticker for Penny.
The last day of Warwick's trial, the Farthing factory is bombed, Warwick disappears, and Penny and her brother, Nic, receive a ransom demand for all of their Augmentation notes if they want to see their parents again. Who is trying to stop their work? Or to control it? Or is the motive more sinister?
Determined to solve the mystery and reunite their family, the Farthings recruit their closest friends: fiery baker Violet Nesselrode and gentleman-about-town Sebastian Stirling. Unexpectedly leading the charge is Marcus Kingsley, the young army general who has his own reasons for wanting to lift the veil between this world and the next. Wagers are placed, friends are lost, romance stages an ambush, and time is running out for the girl with the clockwork heart.
I am giving Ticker by Lisa Mantchev a rating of 2 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!!

Sunday, August 5, 2018

9 Bookstore Cats From Around the San Francisco Bay Area

My husband and I live in the San Francisco's East Bay Region... We both like cats and also enjoy visiting indie bookstores. I enjoyed discovering an article titled, Meet 9 Bookstore Cats From Around the Bay Area by Ashley Urdang, about indie bookstores in the San Francisco Bay Area that have cats as mascots!

Many of these bookstores are new to me and ones I most definitely would love to visit for the pleasure of finding new books and visiting with the cats on hand.

I've seen quite a few cats as store mascots at various indie bookstores. Plus, one dog named, Sugar, at a bookstore in Monterey, California.

Friday, August 3, 2018

50/50 Friday - Favorite/Least Favorite Read in July

50/50 Friday is a meme hosted by Carrie @ The Butterfly Reads and Laura @ Blue Eye Books. This fun themed meme focuses on the opposite sides of books (best/worst, differing opinions, etc). Every week a new topic will give bloggers the chance to showcase their answers.

My Best/Worst Book Read in July 2018

I read quite a books last month,
so it was difficult to narrow down a best/worst read for
the month of July 2018.

Best Book Read in July 2018

(Click on link above to read my review)

Worst Book Read in July 2018

(Click on link above to read my review)

Which books were your best/worst read in July 2018?

Thursday, August 2, 2018

10 Fun Facts About Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell

I have never read Margaret Mitchell's legendary novel, Gone With The Wind and have no plans to do so at this point in time.

However, I've recently come across an interesting article on Mental Floss's website titled, 10 Fascinating Facts About Gone With the Wind by Stacy Conradt. 

Curious about what I'd discover about Gone With The Wind, I went ahead and read it. I learned that Margaret Mitchell wrote Gone With The Wind out of boredom and had no intention of publishing the book. 

Click on the above link to read the article its entirety.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Tipping The Velvet by Sarah Waters

I listened to the unabridged audio version of Tipping The Velvet by Sarah Waters and narrated by Juanita McMahon.

Listening time for Tipping The Velvet by Sarah Waters is 19 hours, 5 minutes.

I'd been wanting to read a novel by Sarah Waters for a number of years now and finally settled on reading, Tipping The Velvet. As many of my regular blog readers already know, I love reading historical fiction novels and Tipping The Velvet fits the bill perfectly as it is a novel set in Victorian England. 

Additionally, Tipping The Velvet by Sarah Waters explores lesbian affairs/relationships, male impersonation/cross dressing acts in music halls, prostitution, and mild erotica, which made for very interesting reading... As a side note, prior to reading Tipping The Velvet by Sarah Waters, I wondered what the significance of the title was for this novel... I soon discovered that 'Tipping The Velvet' is actually a slang term for cunnilingus. 

Tipping The Velvet by Sarah Waters is divided into three parts. The first part is my favorite. However, all three parts of Tipping The Velvet were really good and kept me captivated from start to finish. I enjoyed Sarah Waters's writing and storytelling. The characters and plot were done well. Since I enjoyed Tipping The Velvet so much, maybe I will try reading Fingersmith by Sarah Waters down the road.

One of the best features of listening to Tipping The Velvet by Sarah Waters, was listening to Juanita McMahon narrate this novel. Juanita McMahon is an excellent narrator. I wouldn't mind hearing her narrate more novels in the future.

The following is a plot summary for Tipping The Velvet by Sarah Waters from Amazon:
Nan King, an oyster girl, is captivated by the music hall phenomenon Kitty Butler, a male impersonator extraordinaire treading the boards in Canterbury. Through a friend at the box office, Nan manages to visit all her shows and finally meet her heroine. Soon after, she becomes Kitty's dresser and the two head for the bright lights of Leicester Square where they begin a glittering career as music-hall stars in an all-singing and dancing double act. At the same time, behind closed doors, they admit their attraction to each other and their affair begins.
I am giving Tipping The Velvet by Sarah Waters a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday - Popular Books that Lived Up to the Hype

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

Here is a list of popular books I felt lived up to the hype!

1. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
2. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
3. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
4. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
5. Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
6. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
7. I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
8. The Secret Lives of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
9. The Giver by Lois Lowry
10. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Which popular books have read that have lived up to the hype?

Monday, July 30, 2018

Original Winnie-the-Pooh map sets world record at Sotheby's auction

It's always fun to read about literary items sold at auction. I recently came across an article on The Guardian titled, Original Winnie-the-Pooh map sets world record at auction by Sian Cain. In the article, Sian Sain wrote the following:
The original map of Winnie-the-Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood by the artist EH Shepard has set a world record for a book illustration sold at auction, selling for £430,000.
The 1926 sketch, which was privately owned and had been unseen for nearly half a century, introduced readers to the world of Christopher Robin and his friends in the original book.
Purportedly drawn by Christopher Robin himself, the map is littered with spelling errors – “nice for picnicks” and “100 aker wood” – and is captioned “Drawn by Me and Mr Shepard helpd”.
The London auction house Sotheby’s had estimated its value at between £100,000 and £150,000.
“We’re extremely pleased, obviously,” said Philip Errington, Sotheby’s senior specialist in the book department, who said there had been significant international bidding.
“It reflects the fact that people fall in love with the works of AA Milne and EH Shepard. The map is part of the defining world of Winnie-the-Pooh. However you approach Pooh, whether it was through a book or a Disney cartoon, the map is your way in. It is the first thing you encounter. It has a resonance.”
Click on the above link to read the full story.

Three Easy Steps to Parting With Books You Do Not Need

Parting with books is something that is difficult for avid book lovers and readers to do, but may be a necessary task to accomplish under certain circumstances.

Recently, I came across an article on Bustle's website titled, Get Rid Of Books You No Longer Need With This Easy 3 Step Process
by Melissa Ragsdale. In the article, Melissa Ragsdale wrote the following:
Moving is the perfect time for paring down and clearing out. And, since the heaviest parts of your move are probably your boxes of books, it's especially important that you clean out your bookshelf as you pack up. Trust me, you'll seriously thank yourself if you cut down your book collection before the big move.

But cleaning out your bookshelf is easier said than done. Books have an importance that goes beyond the typical object, and giving one away can sometimes feel like giving away a piece of your soul. Every book I've read feels like a close personal friend, and I have so many important memories attached to nearly every one on my shelf.
Then of course, there's the age-old conundrum of the books you've bought but haven't read yet. I certainly have had books sitting on my shelf for years, untouched. But the thought of giving them away is devastating. I paid money to take that book home with me!
Author and renowned organizing consultant Marie Kondo describes this feeling of attachment beautifully in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: 
"The process of facing and selecting our possessions can be quite painful. It forces us to confront our imperfections and inadequacies and the foolish choices we made in the past…The things we own are real. They exist here and now as a result of choices made in the past by no one other than ourselves. It is dangerous to ignore them or to discard them indiscriminately as if denying the choices we made…It is only when we face the things we own one by one and experience the emotions they evoke that we can truly appreciate our relationship with them."
I did listen to the unabridged audio version of Marie Kondo's book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up last year and enjoyed it... Admittedly though, I have yet to apply her methods to my own life! However, the silver lining her is that Melissa Ragsdale's article does give me a quick refresher on Marie Kondo's method for letting go of books should I decide to go decide to go that route.

Click on the top link to read the entire article to use the Marie Kondo method of parting with books.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

The One Thing You Should Never Do At An Author Reading Event

I'm sure there is probably more than one thing NOT to do at an author signing event! 

I came across an article on Bustle's website this morning titled, At An Author Book Reading, You Should Never, Ever Do This One Thing by Melissa Ragsdale. 

Having attended many author readings over the years, I was curious to learn which single faux pas should never, ever be uttered during the q&a segment of an author reading/signing. Ms. Ragsdale wrote in her article that the following phrase is the most dreaded phrase made by an audience member during an author event: "I have a comment and a question."

In her article, Melissa Ragsdale writes why an audience member should never utter the phrase, "I have a comment and a question.", at an author event.
Here's the thing: when I attend a reading, I'm there to listen to the author speak. Don't get me wrong, I love connecting with other book-lovers. But, there's plenty of time to do that before and after the main event. During the event, I want to hear what the author has to say, not what you have to say.

Plus the longer a person's comment/question, the more time wasted that could be used for other audience questions. Your comment robs the rest of the audience of the chance to engage with the author and have their questions answered. It also deprives the author of the valuable time they have to answer inquiries about their work. The event venue usually has a strict scheduling, meaning that time is seriously limited.
I agree with the above information written by Ms. Ragsdale. Audience members should be respectful of other audience members wanting to ask the author questions and also of time restrictions at a venue as well. 

Click on the above article to read the suggestions provided on how to share your comments with the author.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Orchid Fever: A Horticultural Tale of Love, Lust, and Lunacy by Eric Hansen

Nonfiction Paperback Edition
I love, love, love orchids!! They are one of my favorite flowers. I do not grow orchids as I do not have much of a green thumb, nor do I know tons of information about orchids. But I do find orchids amazing to look at, don't you??

I've had Orchid Fever: A Horticultural Tale of Love, Lust, and Lunacy by Eric Hansen in my 'to be read' stack of books since November 2013 and on my reading wish list even longer!!

So, in an effort to learn more about orchids, I finally decided to read Orchid Fever: A Horticultural Tale of Love, Lust, and Lunacy by Eric Hansen. I am not sure why it took me so long to read this nonfiction work about orchids... But I am glad that I finally did read it. Eric Hansen is a wonderfully, captivating author that makes learning more about orchids FUN, entertaining, and enlightening without being dull, dry, or boring in the least.

What makes Orchid Fever: A Horticultural Tale of Love, Lust, and Lunacy by Eric Hansen a great read is how well it is written and how each chapter is structured. Each chapter focuses on a specific topic, orchid species, or person of interest in the orchid industry. There are loads of fascinating tidbits about orchids in this book.., For instance, I learned that "orchids represent one of the largest families of flowering plants. There are approximately 25,000 naturally occurring species and more than 100,000 artificial hybrids in cultivation." (page 59 of Orchid Fever). There's even a species of orchid (Grammatophyllum speciosum) that can weigh more than half a ton!!

In one of my favorite chapters (chapter 6) in Orchid Fever: A Horticultural Tale of Love, Lust, and Lunacy, I learned that in Turkey there is an ice cream made from orchids that is stretchy and is eaten with a fork and knife! I now want to fly to Turkey and sample this delicious sounding ice cream for myself! 

Below is a YouTube video of traditional Turkish ice cream made from orchids.

Below is a summary of Orchid Fever: A Horticultural Tale of Love, Lust, and Lunacy by Eric Hansen from Amazon:
The acclaimed author of Motoring with Mohammed brings us a compelling adventure into the remarkable world of the orchid and the impossibly bizarre array of international characters who dedicate their lives to it.
The orchid is used for everything from medicine for elephants to an aphrodisiac ice cream. A Malaysian species can grow to weigh half a ton while a South American species fires miniature pollen darts at nectar-sucking bees. But the orchid is also the center of an illicit international business: one grower in Santa Barbara tends his plants while toting an Uzi, and a former collector has been in hiding for seven years after serving a jail sentence for smuggling thirty dollars worth of orchids into Britain. Deftly written and captivatingly researched, Orchid Fever is an endlessly enchanting and entertaining tour of an exotic world. 
"A wonderful book, I've been up all night reading it, laughing and crying out in horror and clucking at the vivid images of bureaucracy with the bit in its teeth." —Annie Proulx
"An extraordinary, well-told tale of botany, obsession and plant politics. Hansen's vivid descriptions of the complex techniques some orchids use to pollinate themselves will raise your eyebrows at nature's sexual ingenuity." —USA Today
I am giving Orchid Fever: A Horticultural Tale of Love, Lust, and Lunacy by Eric Hansen a rating of 5 stars out of 5 stars.

I look forward to reading other books by Eric Hansen in the future.

Until my next post happy reading!

Monday, July 23, 2018

A Second Date Night at SF in SF at the American Bookbinders Museum

Last night, my husband and I attended our second SF in SF (Science Fiction in San Francisco) event held in downtown San Francisco at the American Bookbinders Museum from 6pm to roughly 9pm.

Approximately, twenty guests came to hear authors, Paul Park and Terry Bisson, read a short story, take questions from the audience, and sign copies of their books at the end! The evening was moderated by Cliff Winnig.

Nice size group attending SF in SF.

I enjoyed attending yesterday evening's festivities. One of the best parts of the evening was hearing the authors answer questions from moderator, Cliff Winnig and audience members. 

Additionally, I enjoyed meeting and speaking with the authors at the end of the evening and having them sign copies of their novels for me! Both Terry Bisson and Paul Park were really nice. Paul Park even gave me his email address and asked me to let him know what I thought of his novel after I read it.

Left to right, Paul Park, Cliff Winnig, and Terry Bisson.

All in all, I had another wonderful time attending another Science Fiction in San Francisco event! I feel so blessed to be able to attend so many of these wonderful literary events.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte

I listened to the unabridged audio version of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte and narrated by Mary Sarah Agliotta.

Listening time for The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte is 13 hours, 33 minutes.

This is my first experience reading a novel by Anne Bronte. I selected The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte based on the fact that it was an instant success upon publication and is considered to be one of the first feminist novels. Additionally, I was in the mood for listening to a classic novel. I didn't readily pick up on the fact that this novel was a feminist read right away, but see how it is considered a feminist novel.

I liked The Tenant of Wildfell Hall overall and thought it was well narrated by Mary Sarah Agliotta. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte is framed as a series of letters written by one of the main characters, Gilbert Markham. Gilbert Markham writes about a mysterious widow named, Mrs. Helen Graham, who has newly arrived into the area and moves into Wildfell Hall (an old mansion) with her son and single servant. Mrs. Graham becomes a source of gossip and speculation with the other residents in the local area... Additionally, Gilbert Markham and Mrs. Graham become friends during the course of the novel and Gilbert refuses to believe the wild accusations made about Mrs. Graham by the other locals.

I felt like The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte was divided into three parts. The first part focuses on the mysterious Mrs. Graham as the new tenant of Wildfell Hall. The second part of the novel is where we read Mrs. Graham's diary and learn about her past and who she really is. And the third part of the novel focuses on what becomes of Mrs. Graham after she leaves Wildfell Hall and resumes her former life.

I thought that The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte was a bit slow in parts. But nevertheless, it made for an interesting case study for what life must be like for a woman/wife/mother during the 1800s in England. Life sounds very restrictive for women back then and I am grateful that women have so many freedoms today.

Below is the plot summary for The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte from Amazon:
Probably the most shocking of the Bront√ęs' novels, this novel had an instant and phenomenal success and is widely considered to be one of the first sustained feminist novels. A mysterious widow, Mrs. Helen Graham, arrives at Wildfell Hall, a nearby old mansion. A source of curiosity for the small community, the reticent Helen and her young son Arthur are slowly drawn into the social circles of the village.
I am giving The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Favorite Novellas/Short Stories

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

I've read a great number of short stories and novellas over the years. Here is a list of those I've enjoyed since I've begun blogging in 2012. 

Click on the links below to read each review I've written for the novellas/short stories I've enjoyed.

1. Kentucky On The Rocks by Gwendolyn Grace
2. The Dispatcher by John Scalzi
3. Larger Than Life by Jodi Picoult
4. The Forty Fathom Bank by Les Galloway
Ivan (Her Russian Protector #1) by Roxie Rivera
6. Oh Whistle and I'll Come to You, My Lad by M. R. James
7. All By My Selfie by Jo Noelle
8. Protected Mate by J. H. Croix
9. The Diaries of Adam & Eve by Mark Twain
10. Lantern by Chess Desalls
11. Crushed Gardenias by Heather Osborne

Share with me, in the comment section below, some of your favorite short stories and novellas!

Monday, July 16, 2018

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows is another reread for me this year! I first read this novel in 2011 before I actually started my book blog, Captivated Reader.

I began rereading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows while visiting my parents in May of this year. I had given my mom a copy of this novel as she'd asked me to share a few books with her that I'd enjoyed reading over the years... Unfortunately, my mom has yet to read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. Anyway, I'd run out of my own reading material during my visit with my parents. So, I began rereading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows during my visit and finally finished reading it this month.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows is a charming novel set in England during 1946. It's a historical novel written in the form of letters, which I find to be fantastic for novels set during a certain time period where smartphones, text messages, etc aren't an available way to communicate with others.

I enjoyed reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows as much this time around as I did the first go around. The writing style of the authors is wonderful. I loved the characters and the way in which the plot unfolds.

My favorite characters are Juliet, the main character as she is quite the modern woman, plus a lot of fun too! Juliet is spirited and feisty. I also enjoyed the other characters of Kit, Elizabeth, Isola, Amelia, and Dawsey.

The following is a plot summary for The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows from Amazon:
“I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.” January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb….
As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island—boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.
Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.
Written with warmth and humor as a series of letters, this novel is a celebration of the written word in all its guises, and of finding connection in the most surprising ways.
I am giving The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows a rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!