Thursday, December 13, 2018

Christmas Songs Book Tag

Celebrate the Christmas season with That Artsy Reader Girl and her bookish friends by 

participating in the Christmas Songs Book Tag!!

I first learned about the Christmas Songs Book Tag by visiting Jessica @ A GREAT Read's
book blog and reading her answers
to the Christmas Songs Book Tag.

I liked this book tag, so decided to
create my own Christmas Songs Book Tag

1. “All I Want for Christmas Is You”: Favorite bookish couple.

Claire & Jamie Fraser from the Outlander series
by Diana Gabaldon.

2. “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”: Name a book where a character is away from home (school, vacation, etc.).

I can't think of a book that fits for this question.

3. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”: Name your favorite “little” book (children’s book, short story, novella, etc.).

I have quite a few titles that would fit this answer!!
For novellas, I read and loved:
Kentucky On The Rocks by Gwendolyn Grace
The Forty Fathom Bank by Les Galloway
For a children's book, I read and loved:
Spooky Things by Katelyn Sinclair
Plus many more!

4. “Santa Claus is Coming to Town“: What book(s) do you hope Santa brings you this year?

If I had to choose a single book, it would be
Becoming by Michelle Obama.

5. “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”: Which book turned your nose red (made you cry)?

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein.
If this novel doesn't make you cry, then I don't know
what will.

6. “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”: Your favorite book/kind of book to read during the holidays.

I don't have a favorite genre/kind of book 
 to read during the holidays.

7. “We Three Kings”: Your favorite trilogy.

The 'His Fair Assassin' trilogy by Robin LaFevers.

8. “Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow”: A character you would love to be snowed in with.

Jamie Fraser from Outlander.

9. “Last Christmas”: A book that seriously let you down.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman.
Yes, I know most people loved this book. I wasn't one of them.

10. “White Christmas”: An upcoming release you’re dreaming about.

Courting Darkness by Robin Lafevers.
Release date: February 5, 2019.

If you would like to participate in the 
Christmas Songs Book Tag,
then consider yourself tagged!

Once you've created your own
Christmas Songs Book Tag post, be
sure and visit That Artsy Reader Girl's
blog and link up!

John Green's Life's Library Book Club!

I joined author, John Green’s Life’s Library Book đź“– Club! The inaugural package arrived in our mailbox yesterday evening. Included in the package is the first novel to be read (If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson), a letter from John Green, postcards, stickers, and bookplates.... However, the lapel pin is missing from the package!! I'll have to call them later today and let them know it was missing from the package I received in the mail.

I look forward to reading If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson and discussing it with other book club members.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Capture by Olivia Ryann

Capture by Olivia Ryann is a short story that falls into the contemporary fiction genre and is approximately 44 pages in length. Capture by Olivia Ryann is also the first read in the 'Cherish' series.

I was able to download Capture by Olivia Ryann to my Kindle from Amazon for FREE!! Below is my unbiased review of Capture by Olivia Ryann.

This short story was promising, but lacked the proper zing to make it captivating. Additionally, the cliffhanger ending was a major turn off for me.

The following is a summary for Capture by Olivia Ryann from Amazon:
One day, I’m cooking dinner for my brothers and dreaming about going off to college.I’m a good girl, protected by the family. After all, my dad is a big mob boss in New Orleans.The next day, I’m stuffed into the back of an SUV against my will.Kidnapped.Shaking with fear.I try to run, try to escape… but I don’t realize that I am just a pawn.I don’t see the larger picture, or the shadowed man pulling the strings.I don’t realize that he is going to capture me.Or that I will be lost from the first moment I look into his eyes…
Reading Order:
Capture (Cherish Series FREE Prequel)Control (Cherish Series Book 1)Covet (Cherish Series Book 2)Cherish (Cherish Series Book 3)
I am giving Capture by Olivia Ryann a rating of 2 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Harlow & Max by J. H. Croix

Harlow & Max by J. H. Croix is a contemporary romance short story and part of the 'Into The Fire' series. Harlow & Max by J. H. Croix is approximately 48 pages in length.

I was able to download Harlow & Max by J. H. Croix for FREE to my Kindle from Amazon. Below is my unbiased review of Harlow & Max by J. H. Croix.

Harlow & Max by J. H. Croix was billed as a holiday romance, but I do not recall anything 'holiday' related in this romance short story. It was all about two people that meet at a mutual friend's wedding and hook up in the end. The writing wasn't that superb, nor were the storyline and characters. The cliffhanger ending wasn't that thrilling either.

The following is a plot summary for Harlow & Max by J. H. Croix from Amazon:
Harlow May tests every limit I have and makes me want to break every rule she creates.She’s a temptation I can’t seem to resist.She fits no category. She’s strong & sassy and a firefighter to boot.She fights the fire between us.Once I have a taste, no one else will do.I’ll fight for her and for us.I only want one woman. Harlow.
A wedding, a one-night stand, and no happily-ever-after.That’s how it all started with Max Channing.Along comes another clichĂ© – a second chance.A year later, I’m about to face Christmas alone when tall, dark & handsome Max shows up again.Our lives are worlds apart. He’s a billionaire tech investor. I’m a hotshot firefighter.Nothing about us makes any sense.I never thought I’d see him again after the hottest night of my life.I was wrong, so very wrong.When our paths cross again, we break every rule.And set each on fire.
I am giving Harlow & Max by J. H. Croix a rating of 2 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Never Blackmail A Thought-Reader by Sharon Rose

Never Blackmail A Thought-Reader by Sharon Rose is a science fiction/fantasy short story approximately 20 pages in length. It's also the first read in the 'Agents of Rivelt' series.

I was able to download Never Blackmail A Thought-Reader by Sharon Rose to my Kindle from Amazon for FREE. Below is my unbiased review of Never Blackmail A Thought-Reader by Sharon Rose.

I think the concept for this short story is a good one, but it was way too short to make for an engaging read for me. I wanted to see more character development and more plot development, especially considering it is a science fiction/fantasy read. As a reader, one needs more detailed information to be able to digest what they are reading when it comes to science fiction/fantasy short stories.

The following is the plot summary for Never Blackmail A Thought-Reader by Sharon Rose from Amazon:
When lies don’t work, there’s always blackmail.

Vigard, of the planet Rivelt, is a private locator—bounty hunter, to the less polite. His current job: Find Tracy, a young woman abducted four years ago, and rescue her from a Syndicate space station. Too bad that blackmail will turn her rescue into an execution…unless Tracy can beat the blackmailer at his own game.
Never Blackmail a Thought-Reader opens the science fiction, short story series Agents of Rivelt. If you are intrigued by alien races, telepathy, and unexpected adventures; if you like quick, satisfying doses of excitement; then you’ll love this short story by Sharon Rose.
I am giving Never Blackmail A Thought-Reader by Sharon Rose a rating of 2 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Free Little Libraries I've Visited!

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 absolutely LOVE visiting Little Free Libraries! I try to visit as many new to me Little Free Libraries as I can and enjoy finding new ones while on day trips and mini vacations. I've been visiting Little Free Libraries since I first learned about them in 2012 and have blogged about each new one I've discovered here on my book blog. 

In October 2018, Todd Bol, the founder of Little Free Library, passed away due to complications of pancreatic cancer. I am so thankful and grateful that he started Little Free Library as it is a wonderful way to help encourage reading, literacy, and a love for books. So, I thought it would be a fitting tribute to highlight a few of my favorite Little Free Library finds... And it will be very difficult for me to narrow down my choices as I've had the honor of visiting so many of them over the past few years.

1. Little Free Library in Carpinteria, California - Carpinteria has a special place in my heart as my husband and I lived there for 16 years. It was wonderful to discover this Little Free Library in the small town we use to live in. I like the colorful exterior of this Little Free Library.

2. Little Free Library in San Ramon, California - Love the blue paint on this Little Free Library!! It was all decked out for Halloween when I visited it in October.

3. Little Free Library in Lafayette, California - This Little Free Library is located at the entrance of the Lafayette Community Garden and has limited days of the week when you can visit it. But it is worth the visit as it is fun to see the community vegetable garden and the chicken coop.

4. Little Free Library in Walnut Creek, California - This Little Free Library is located at The Gardens in Heather Farm, which is a 6 acre garden free to the public to visit. You'll find the Little Free Library next to the children's garden. Gotta love the tree that has been yarn bombed with neon pink yarn in the back ground!

5. Little Free Library in Pleasanton, California - I love how this Little Free Library is decorated. The garden motif is lovely.

6. Little Free Library in Santa Barbara, California - I found this one accidentally while out geocaching with my husband. I love how this Little Free Library is shaped to look like the building it sits next to... It's located on a side street near lower State Street. It was frequently muggled though.

7. Little Free Library in Solana Beach, California - This one always seems to have the best books in stock to choose from!

8. Little Free Library in Santa Cruz, California - I found this one by accident! My hubby and I were on vacation in Santa Cruz earlier this year. This Little Free Library is located in front of a house that is next to the parking lot for Cat & Cloud Coffee Company on Portola Drive. Leave a book, take a book, and then enjoy reading your newly found book at a local coffeehouse!

9. Little Free Library in Sherman Oaks, California - Loved the benches you can sit on while scoping out the books inside this Little Free Library.

10. Little Free Library in Alameda, California - This Little Free Library was painted by a child. It's fun to see the creativity of a youngster in the form of artwork on the exterior of a Little Free Library. I'm also reminded of how my love for reading began as a child when my mother use to read to me as a toddler. The love of reading is definitely worth cultivating at an early age.

I hope you enjoyed viewing some of my favorite Little Free Libraries! Do you frequently visit Little Free Libraries?

Sunday, December 9, 2018

9 Literary Party Games For Avid Readers!

Still looking for the perfect gift for the literary lovers in your life? Then check out the following article from Electric Lit titled, 9 Literary Party Games for Your Brainiest Friends by Frances Yackel. In the article, Frances Yackel wrote the following:
It’s hard to combine literature and socializing. Reading a book is usually a solitary act. Sure, there’s book clubs, but there’s always that one guy who monopolizes the conversation. And don’t even get us started on literary twitter.
In our opinion, one of the best way to bond with fellow-lovers is to engage in some friendly competition. With these 9 literary party games, you can (finally) put your English degree to good use and have a fun time.
Here is a list of book-themed games for those who love literature and socializing.
Click on the above link to read the entire article! 

Saturday, December 8, 2018

10 Lesbian Novels for Your TBR

Since I recently read and reviewed, Passing Strange by Ellen Klages, I thought I'd look into other lesbian novels worth the read. 

I came across the Ink & Books vlog on YouTube, which highlights 10 lesbian novels to add to one's 'to be read' pile. 

Interestingly enough, I've already read and reviewed two of the novels listed in the video (Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters and Passing Strange by Ellen Klages), but the other 8 novels are new to me and sound like fabulous novels to read as well. So, now I have more novels to explore in the future.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Passing Strange by Ellen Klages

I had the lovely opportunity to hear Ellen Klages read some of her writing earlier this year at the American Bookbinders Museum in downtown San Francisco in June at the SF In SF event. It was at that time that I became interested in reading some of her novels.

I'd added Passing Strange by Ellen Klages to my reading wishlist on Bookcrossing. A short time later, I was surprised with a used paperback copy of Passing Strange by Ellen Klages from another Bookcrosser in September 2018. The joys of bookish surprises from other avid readers is phenomenal!

Passing Strange by Ellen Klages is a novella that falls into the LGBT and science fiction/fantasy genres. I really liked this novella a lot. The writing is solid. I enjoyed the characters immensely and the storyline as well. The ending for Passing Strange by Ellen Klages was funny, but it left me wondering what happened to two of the main characters, Haskel and Emily, that I thought would be explained with the ending of the novel.

The following is a plot summary for Passing Strange by Ellen Klages, which I found on Amazon's website:
Inspired by the pulps, film noir, and screwball comedy, Passing Strange is a story as unusual and complex as San Francisco itself from World Fantasy Award winning author Ellen Klages, and a finalist for the 2017 Nebula Award for Best Novella
San Francisco in 1940 is a haven for the unconventional. Tourists flock to the cities within the city: the Magic City of the World’s Fair on an island created of artifice and illusion; the forbidden city of Chinatown, a separate, alien world of exotic food and nightclubs that offer “authentic” experiences, straight from the pages of the pulps; and the twilight world of forbidden love, where outcasts from conventional society can meet.
Six women find their lives as tangled with each other’s as they are with the city they call home. They discover love and danger on the borders where magic, science, and art intersect.
I am giving Passing Strange by Ellen Klages a rating of 3.5 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

50/50 Friday - Best/Worst Read of November 2018

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.

Best Read in November 2018

The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy
(click on above link to read my review)

Worst Read in November 2018

Heart Berries by Terese Marie Mailhot
(click on above link to read my review)

I find in it interesting that my best and worst reads of 
November 2018 happened to be memoirs!

Share with me your Best/Worst Read of November 2018
in the comment section below!

Thursday, December 6, 2018

The Devil, The Lovers, & Me: My Life in Tarot by Kimberlee Auerbach

This year I've been wanting to read many of the books that have been sitting far too long in my 'to be read' pile. The Devil, The Lovers, & Me: My Life in Tarot by Kimberlee Auerbach is a memoir I've had in my 'to be read' pile since December 2010!! 

I actually purchased this memoir on a whim from the bargain book section on Amazon. I'd never heard of The Devil, The Lovers, & Me: My Life in Tarot by Kimberlee Auerbach before. I liked the quirky title and am always up for a good memoir, so decided to purchase it.

As far as a memoir goes, I like how this book is set up! The author takes us through a tarot reading... It's like we're sitting in on the tarot reading with her. Each chapter is titled with the name of a card from her reading and focuses on the meaning of each of the cards. Each tarot card stirs up memories of the author's past, which is shared in each chapter as it pertains to the card's meaning... This makes for an interesting concept for a memoir.

Overall, I thought The Devil, The Lovers, & Me: My Life in Tarot by Kimberlee Auerbach was a good read and funny in parts. Ms. Auerbach's memoir is definitely a journey of self discovery. Trusting your inner wisdom/voice is a must. I also enjoyed reading the author interview at the end of the memoir along with the discussion questions in the reader's guide.

As a side note, The Devil, The Lovers, & Me: My Life in Tarot by Kimberlee Auerbach is the fourth memoir I've read this year that I can recall. In fact, all four memoirs I've read so far this year have been written by women!

The following a summary for The Devil, The Lovers, & Me: My Life in Tarot by Kimberlee Auerbach from Amazon:
Kimmi Auerbach has been in therapy. She’s seen a Reiki Master. She’s even given hypnosis a try. Nobody can give her want she wants—to know her future is going to be bright, that everything will be okay. So she makes an appointment with Iris Goldblatt, “tarot card reader and mirror to the soul.”

Instead of predicting the future, each card sparks a memory—like the time Kimberlee tried to be wild, and instead caught crabs from an Argentinean painter; or the time her father “proposed” at Morton’s Steakhouse (presenting her with an engagement ring for her boyfriend to use); or the moment she found the strength to kick out her freeloading ex.

In a Wizard of Oz like twist of fate, Kimberlee realizes she had the answers all along…and that it’s not about looking into the future, it’s about trusting yourself along the way.
I am giving The Devil, The Lovers, & Me: My Life in Tarot by Kimberlee Auerbach a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

13 Libraries For Book Lovers To Follow On Instagram!!

I am on Instagram and I love libraries... So when I discovered an article on Buzzfeed titled, 13 Libraries Book Lovers Need To Follow On Instagram by Kirby Beaton, I quickly read the entire article! 

I enjoyed reading about which 13 libraries are worthy for book lovers to follow on Instagram and why they are so worthy to follow.

Goodbye for now! It's time to login to my Instagram account and start following some libraries through social media. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

And the 2018 Bad Sex in Fiction Award Goes to.... James Frey!

Frankly, I didn't realize that James Frey was still writing books! I've never read any of his books and don't plan to do so ever. 

However, with that said, I've been aware that there is an annual literary award for Bad Sex In Fiction. According to an article I recently read on the Independent's website, James Frey has won the 2018 Bad Sex In Fiction Award for his novel, Katerina.

According to the article titled, Bad Sex in Fiction Award: James Frey 'honoured' to win 2018 title for novel 'Katerina' by ClĂ©mence Michallon, it stated the following:
The aim of the dreaded prize, awarded since 1993, is to draw attention to poorly written, perfunctory or redundant passages of sexual description in modern, non-pornographic, non-erotic fiction.
Until my next post, happy reading! 

Monday, December 3, 2018

12 Literary Nonprofits to Support This Holiday!!

If you're a member of Goodreads, you may have already seen and read the following article on their website yesterday titled, Do Good: 12 Literary Nonprofits to Support This Holiday posted by Cybil. In the article it says the following:
At Goodreads, we believe in the power of books to change lives. And throughout the year, we highlight various literary nonprofits our members can support. Now that the holidays are upon us and we're in the season of giving, we're rounding up 12 of our most recent "Do Good" recipients.
Click on the above link to see which literary nonprofits made the list! 

Sunday, December 2, 2018

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

Used Hardback Edition
Yes to reading a nonfiction food related book!! I love Chinese food... I have loved eating Chinese food almost my entire life... In fact, I can't remember a time in my life when I didn't like Chinese food. So, when I learned about The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food by Jennifer 8 Lee, I looked forward to reading it one day. 

I finally added this book to my ever growing book collection a few years ago when I found a used hardback edition for sale at the local FOL Used Bookstore in Carpinteria, California for $2. What a bargain!

I am so glad that I read The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food by Jennifer 8 Lee, even if it took me several years to finally get around to doing so. 

The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food by Jennifer 8 Lee is well researched, fun to read, and contains a plethora of information regarding the history of Chinese food in the USA, the history of the fortune cookie, the history of chop suey, the history of General Tso's Chicken, the history of soy sauce, the greatest Chinese Restaurant outside of China, and so much more. Be prepared to be entertained and gain a wealth of knowledge about Chinese food.

The following is a summary for The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food by Jennifer 8 Lee from Goodreads:
If you think McDonald's is the most ubiquitous restaurant experience in America, consider that there are more Chinese restaurants in America than McDonalds, Burger Kings, and Wendys combined. New York Times reporter and Chinese-American (or American-born Chinese). In her search, Jennifer 8 Lee traces the history of Chinese-American experience through the lens of the food. In a compelling blend of sociology and history, Jenny Lee exposes the indentured servitude Chinese restaurants expect from illegal immigrant chefs, investigates the relationship between Jews and Chinese food, and weaves a personal narrative about her own relationship with Chinese food. The Fortune Cookie Chronicles speaks to the immigrant experience as a whole, and the way it has shaped our country.
Also watch the following YouTube video of Jennifer 8 Lee giving a Ted Talk about Chinese food!

I am giving The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food by Jennifer 8 Lee a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile

I discovered author, Natalie Baszile, earlier this year when I listened to an episode of Pen & Place (a podcast). The Pen & Place podcast showcases the real world places that inspired each author's work. After listening to the Pen & Place episode featuring Natalie Baszile, I knew I had to read her novel, Queen Sugar!

I decided to listen to the unabridged audio version of Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile and narrated by Miriam Hyman. I downloaded it from Audible. Listening time for Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile is 13 hours, 42 minutes.

I really enjoyed listening to this novel! I enjoyed the characters, the plot, and storyline very much... And my listening experience was only enhanced by Miriam Hyman's superb narrating skills.

I liked that Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile was not only an entertaining read, but one that made you think as well. Racial issues/injustices play a large role in Queen Sugar in many different forms. How this effects the different characters is played out in different ways that are still so very relevant in lieu of today's current issues. 

I also liked how the main character, Charley Bordelon, starts her life over by moving to rural Louisiana from Los Angeles with her daughter and becomes a sugarcane farmer after inheriting the farm from her father. Charley faces many challenges and adversities in becoming a sugarcane farmer that go way beyond being a woman and an African American... But the fact that, Charley overcomes many difficult challenges and makes the best out of one bad situation after another showed grit and determination. She never gave up, when it would have been so easy to do just that early on in this novel... Reinvention, perseverance, and a lot of hard work + luck all played a hand in helping Charley become a successful sugarcane farmer. Charley finds a team of experienced people to help her succeed in sugarcane farming. Plus, the start of a budding romance makes the novel fun to read as well.

Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile is also filled with a cast of colorful characters not to be missed. I liked most of the characters in Queen Sugar... Prosper Denton had to be my character hands down... And Ralph Angel was my least favorite character in Queen Sugar.

The following is a plot summary for Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile from Audible:
A mother-daughter story of reinvention - about an African American woman who unexpectedly inherits a sugarcane farm in Louisiana.
Why exactly Charley Bordelon's late father left her 800 sprawling acres of sugarcane land in rural Louisiana is as mysterious as it was generous. Recognizing this as a chance to start over, Charley and her 11-year-old daughter, Micah, say good-bye to Los Angeles.
They arrive just in time for growing season but no amount of planning can prepare Charley for a Louisiana that's mired in the past: as her judgmental but big-hearted grandmother tells her, cane farming is always going to be a white man's business. As the sweltering summer unfolds, Charley must balance the overwhelming challenges of her farm with the demands of a homesick daughter, a bitter and troubled brother, and the startling desires of her own heart.
Penguin has a rich tradition of publishing strong Southern debut fiction - from Sue Monk Kidd to Kathryn Stockett to Beth Hoffman. In Queen Sugar, we now have a debut from the African American point of view. Stirring in its storytelling of one woman against the odds and intimate in its exploration of the complexities of contemporary southern life, Queen Sugar is an unforgettable tale of endurance and hope.
I am giving Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Margaret Atwood is Writing a Sequel to The Handmaid's Tale!!

Exciting news for Margaret Atwood fans! Ms. Atwood is a writing a sequel to her famous novel, The Handmaid's Tale. The sequel is expected to be published in September 2019 and has the title of Testaments. 

I read The Handmaid's Tale years ago now. It's a novel I'd like to reread before the sequel comes out as I'd like to read Testaments.

For more information, check out the Huffpost article titled,
Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Is Getting A Sequel by Nina Golgowski.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Can You Judge a Book by Its Cover?

This is a fun video to watch about the history of book covers. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Literary Holiday Cards

If you are still looking for the perfect holiday cards, look no further... Check out these literary holiday cards to show of your sense of literary style and holiday flair ~ 15 Literary Holiday Cards That Will Have The Readers In Your Life Seriously Feeling The Spirit Of The Season by Melissa Ragsdale.

Bookish Quote of the Day!!

"I have lost all sense of home, having moved about so much. It means to me now--only that place where the books are kept."

John Steinbeck

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving ~ 2018!

Wishing all of my blog readers a
very Happy Thanksgiving today!
I hope you are having a fabulous time
spending it with those you love.

I also hope you're also able to find
some time to relax and read a bit today as well.

But whatever you do today to celebrate
Thanksgiving, I hope it is an enjoyable one
for you.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Top Twelve Tuesday - Thanksgiving/Thankful Freebie -- Mystery Novels I Read That Were Better Than Expected!

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 like reading mystery novels quite a bit. It's always risky business trying out new to me authors from the mystery genre. Below are some mystery novels that surprised me in a good way from mystery authors I took a chance on!

1.The Woman on the Orient Express by Lindsay Jayne Ashford
2. Louisiana LongShot by Jana DeLeon
3. Deadly Readings by Laura Bradford
4. Murder and Moonflowers by Leslie Leigh
5. Lye in Wait by Cricket McRae
6. The Beekeeper by Juliet Moore
7. Wanna Get Lucky? by Deborah Coonts
8. Maids of Misfortune by M. Louisa Locke
9. Swan Song by Lee Hanson
10. The St. Valentine's Day Cookie Massacre by Elisabeth Crabtree
11. Life's A Beach And Then You Die by Falafel Jones
12. May Day by Jess Lourey

Friday, November 16, 2018

Heart Berries: A Memoir by Terese Marie Mailhot

I first learned about Heart Berries: A Memoir by Terese Marie Mailhot in February of this year. I'd read great things about Heart Berries: A Memoir by Terese Marie Mailhot in the articles I'd discovered online. So, I decided to buy a hardback copy of it in March. 

Additionally, Sherman Alexie wrote a glowing introduction for Heart Berries: A Memoir. The afterward features Joan Naviyuk Kane interviewing Terese Marie Mailhot about Mailhot's memoir... And both Roxane Gay and Lidia Yuknavitch praised Heart Berries: A Memoir

November is Native American Heritage Month here in the USA. With that in mind, I decided it was time to read Heart Berries: A Memoir by Terese Marie Mailhot as the author is Native American and grew up on the Seabird Island First Nation reservation in British Columbia.

I was excited to read Heart Berries: A Memoir by Terese Marie Mailhot. I was expecting great things from this memoir from all the praise I'd read about it. Sadly, reading Heart Berries: A Memoir by Terese Marie Mailhot was a huge disappointment to me. I wanted to love this memoir. Listening to various interviews of the author talking about her memoir, Heart Berries, has me appreciate the message she has to share in her memoir... But Heart Berries: A Memoir in and of itself, simply didn't do it for me.

Heart Berries: A Memoir by Terese Marie Mailhot is written in chapters that read like essays and are epistolary in nature. This memoir also felt very 'stream of consciousness' in nature to me as well.

Heart Berries: A Memoir by Terese Marie Mailhot also felt raw to me. I do like many of the sentences and paragraphs that impart very vivid imagery that does make one pause and give thought to what the author is saying in her memoir. Additionally, I felt like the way in which Heart Berries is written was at times depressing, very depressing. At other times, I felt it was frustrating to read Heart Berries as I felt it was too artistic and took too long for the author to make her thoughts and feelings known... And at other times, I didn't understand what the author was trying to say at all. For example, the last chapter in Heart Berries: A Memoir by Terese Marie Mailhot titled, Better Parts, left me wondering what the author was trying to impart to readers. 

Below is a video of Terese Marie Mailhot speaking about the idea of role models.

When all is said and done, I felt like Heart Berries: A Memoir by Terese Marie Mailhot was simply an okay read. I am giving Heart Berries: A Memoir by Terese Marie Mailhot a rating of 2 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday - Bookish Items/Merchandise I’d Like to Own

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.

1. More bookcases, PLEASE!! I've run out of shelf space and have books hiding under my bed, on my night stand, and just about everywhere else imaginable in my home.

2. Book ends for book shelves to keep books standing upright.

3. More magnetic bookmarks as I prefer these to regular bookmarks.

4. Book scented candles sound intriguing... However, I'm pretty particular/sensitive about scents/smells in general (I can't wear perfumes or other scented products any more), so it would have to be a smell I like and also a smell that doesn't give me a headache either.

5. Socks or tee shirts with either bookish quotes or book covers on them would be fun to wear.

6. Personalized bookplates.

7. Bookish jewelry made in sterling silver.

8. A subscription to a book club/box!! In all fairness, I've recently signed up for John Green's new book club, Life's Library, and am waiting for the first bundle to ship on December 4th of this year. I can't wait to receive the first box filled with the novel we'll be reading and the additional merchandise provided! You have through the 16th of this month to sign up to receive the first book club shipment. There's a physical subscription and a digital one as well. Click on the above link to read more.

9. A reading journal! Sure I have a blog and am also on Goodreads. I leave a digital version of my book reviews in both places, but it would be fun to go old school and keep a physical reading journal.

10. A bookish themed phone case for my iphone!

Monday, November 12, 2018

Between Then and Now by Zoe York

Between Then and Now by Zoe York is a short, contemporary romance read and is approximately 66 pages in length. I was able to download the ebook edition to my Kindle for FREE from Amazon! Below is my honest, unbiased opinion of Between Then and Now by Zoe York.

Between Then and Now by Zoe York is the first read in 'The Wardham Series'. It's a very quick contemporary romance read with decent characters, plot, and pacing throughout the entire story. I enjoyed the writing and storyline, but felt like this was your average romance read. I doubt I will be reading the rest of 'The Wardham Series', since I wasn't overly wowed by Between Then and Now.

Below is the plot summary for Between Then and Now by Zoe York from Amazon:
Their story didn’t start with a fairytale romance. Their marriage wasn’t chosen for love. But they still chose each other...time and again.
Romance is the last thing on Ian's mind. He's juggling two jobs, his kids are crazy and every time he gets close to his wife, she snaps at him. Communication has never been their strong suit, and now their physical connection is fizzling as well. 
Carrie knows she's being too hard on her husband, but eight years ago she had a one-night stand that turned into a lifetime of diapers and dinners. She can't shake the feeling that she wants more. Too bad she has no idea what that might be.
Between Then and Now is a standalone novella in The Wardham Series. 5 chapters, 16,000 words. Also includes an excerpt from the next book in the series.
I am giving Between Then and Now by Zoe York a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Patti Smith at the Minetta Lane by Patti Smith

I'm only very, very vaguely familiar with Patti Smith's life as a singer-songwriter, poet, and visual artist... I can only name one song that she has sung. I'm also familiar with her memoir, Just Kids by Patti Smith, by title only as I've never read her memoir. I've recently learned learned that her memoir won the National Book Award in 2010 for nonfiction.

With that said, I decided to listen to Patti Smith at the Minetta Lane by Patti Smith, which is a live audio performance of Patti Smith at the Minetta Lane Theatre in Greenwich Village in New York. I felt like this was my opportunity to learn more about Patti Smith through her singing intermixed with her stories. I am glad that I took the time to listen and discover more about Patti Smith's life through stories she shared and hear her sing, but ultimately I wasn't wowed by what I heard. I just thought the entire program presented in Patti Smith at the Minetta Lane was okay. I think if you are a Patti Smith fan, you'd probably love Patti Smith at the Minetta Lane.

As an Audible member, I was able to download Patti Smith at the Minetta Lane by Patti Smith for FREE this month. The above paragraph expresses my honest and biased opinion of Patti Smith at the Minetta Lane by Patti Smith.

Listening time for Patti Smith at the Minetta Lane by Patti Smith is 1 hour, 23 minutes.

The following is more about Patti Smith at the Minetta Lane by Patti Smith from Audible:
Patti Smith at the Minetta Lane features live audio of performances captured over three evenings in September of 2018 at the Minetta Lane Theatre in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village, woven into a single, one-of-a-kind audio event. Pioneering artist and writer Patti Smith commands the stage to perform original spoken-word stories from her life, interwoven with the music of her beloved catalogue, played live by Smith, her son and daughter–Jackson and Jesse Paris Smith–and longtime collaborator Tony Shanahan. What transpires is a personally revelatory showcase, an intimate portrait of an icon, focusing on family and taking stock of a near to 50-year career devoted to artistic integrity.
I am giving Patti Smith at the Minetta Lane a rating of 2 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Sunday, November 11, 2018

The Haunting of Hill House - Netflix TV Series

I read the novel, The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, back in October 2016. I liked the novel, but didn't love it. 

Nonetheless, when I discovered that Netflix had created a television series based on the The Haunting of Hill House, my husband and I decided to watched the series... Especially, since we'd heard great things about the series from other people who have watched the series!

Let me state upfront for the record, that the Netflix series, 'The Haunting of Hill House', is nothing like the novel it is based on. So, if you've read the novel and have yet to watch the Netflix series, you've been forewarned that the series doesn't follow the novel's plot.

With that said, we did enjoy watching season one of 'The Haunting of Hill House' on Netflix. The actors do a fabulous job in this series. I loved the cinematography for this series as well as the special effects. Plus, the storyline was well done even if it didn't follow the novel.

I've heard there is season two in the works for 'The Haunting of Hill House', which I find difficult to imagine. I felt like the ten episodes wrapped up the storyline pretty nicely. So, I can't imagine where they could possibly go for season two and beyond without the series becoming unrealistic. In other words, I feel like everything that needed to be said in Netflix's series, 'The Haunting of Hill House' was said during season one... Nothing else needed to be added. Leave the storyline be and move on.

For those of you who have read then novel, The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, and seen the Netflix series, 'The Haunting of Hill House', what are your thoughts about both the novel and the series?

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy

I purchased the hardback edition of The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy at the Friends of the Library Used Bookstore in Fort Bragg, California in April 2018. I'd heard good things about this memoir, but had never heard of Ariel Levy before discovering her memoir, The Rules Do Not Apply.

I am so glad I read The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy. Her writing is just as amazing as I expected it to be from someone who writes for The New Yorker magazine. 

Ms. Levy writes early on in her memoir that as a child she was "domineering, impatient, relentlessly verbal, and as an only child, often baffled by the mores of other kids." 

Books were also something Ms. Levy enjoyed very much as a youngster and she decided early on in her life that she wanted to become a writer... "That, I thought, was the profession that went with the kind of woman I wanted to become: one who is free to do whatever she chooses." 

The above quotes set up the initial tone and feel at the start of the memoir as it unfolds to reveal the unconventional life Ariel Levy goes on to live. I loved reading how Ariel Levy goes after the life she wants to live. She becomes a successful writer, travels the world, meets the love of her life, and decides to start a family... Just when you think life is going perfectly for her, the bottom drops out. 

Life isn't always perfect. You may never obtain everything you desire in life. But everything happens for a reason, right? 

With candor, Ariel Levy writes about her life and the resiliency that inevitably follows in the aftermath of tragedy. 

After reading The Rules Do Not Apply, I was surprised to read other reviewers write that they thought the author was a 'Drama Queen' or a 'Narcissist'. I didn't sense any of that at all about the author from reading her memoir. 

The following is a summary of The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy from Amazon:
All her life, Ariel Levy was told that she was too fervent, too forceful, too much. As a young woman, she decided that becoming a writer would perfectly channel her strength and desire. She would be a professional explorer—“the kind of woman who is free to do whatever she chooses.” Levy moved to Manhattan to pursue her dream, and spent years of adventure, traveling all over the world writing stories about unconventional heroines, following their fearless examples in her own life.
But when she experiences unthinkable heartbreak, Levy is forced to surrender her illusion of control. In telling her story, Levy has captured a portrait of our time, of the shifting forces in American culture, of what has changed and what has remained. And of how to begin again.
I am giving The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Monday, November 5, 2018

3 Books On The History Of Voting Rights

With the midterm election tomorrow, it seems more important than ever to vote in tomorrow's election. I've already voted via absentee ballot. However, my mind is still on the election and am curiously awaiting to find out the results of the midterm elections. 

In the meantime, I've come across an article about 3 books on the history of voting rights that look like they would make for great reading. I discovered the following article on Bustle titled, 3 Books On The History Of Voting Rights & Why It's More Complicated Than #GoVote by Maddy Foley. In the article, Maddy Foley wrote the following information:
It's become a common refrain on social media: You counter a post about a mass shooting, a police shooting, or threat of a devastating executive order with "VOTE" or #GoVote or "Oh my god please, I'm begging you, vote." It absolutely makes sense. According to CNN, voter turnout in the 2016 presidential election was at a 20-year low. Even in 2008, considered a high point for the country's voting history, only about 64 percent of eligible voters punched a ballot. But despite its public persona — voting as a right, not a privilege, voting as ugh, so easy, so simple — voting has long been an act clung to tightly by certain populations. And for others, it's often been held out of reach. These three books on the history of voting rights will explain why it's more complicated than #GoVote.
The history of voting in the United States is a deeply fractured story, one frequently punctuated by racism, classism, and sexism. Americans often learn in school about the suffrage movement of the 1920s. It's an easily teachable moment in history — of course women should have the right to vote! But it's also, in part, a story of white women succeeding on the backs of disenfranchised African-American women.
The Voter Rights Act of 1965, signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson, is often heralded as a crowning achievement of the Civil Rights Movement. After all, it made illegal the common practice of denying or suppressing votes within minority communities. But Americans often lose sight of its course after the 1960s. We forget that a major provision, which kept a watchful eye over areas with a history of racially-motivated voter suppression, was deemed unconstitutional in 2013 by the Supreme Court.
Even today, voter identification requirements have sufficiently snuffed out eligibility for entire communities. Poll closures, combined with a lack of public transportation, physically bar people from casting their votes. Gerrymandering, the re-drawing of political boundaries to give a certain political party a numerical advantage, have stolen the voice of counties and states across the country. And we forget that for certain communities, the idea of fulfilling a civic duty for a country with policies and politicians who systematically chip away at your humanity isn't exactly a selling point.
Click on the very top link to view the three books about the history of voting rights!