Saturday, February 17, 2018

Are You A Fan Of True Crime Podcasts?? Then You Need To Check Out 'West Cork' On Audible!!

Yesterday, I discovered that Audible has an original true crime podcast series called 'West Cork' AND this podcast sounds amazing!! Read the following summary about 'West Cork' from Audible:
This much we do know: Sophie Toscan du Plantier was murdered days before Christmas in 1996, her broken body discovered at the edge of her property near the town of Schull in West Cork, Ireland. The rest remains a mystery.
Gripping, yet ever elusive, join the real-life hunt for answers in the year’s first not-to-be-missed, true-crime series. Investigative journalist Sam Bungey and documentarian Jennifer Forde guide listeners through the brutal, unsolved murder and the tangled web of its investigation, while introducing an intricate cast of characters, a provocative prime suspect, and a recovering community whose story begs to be heard.
There have already been over 2,400 ratings for 'West Cork' on Audible from audio listeners with an overall average rating of 4.2 stars. 

Additionally, I've learned that 'West Cork' is FREE to download from Audible through May 9, 2018. Plus, 'West Cork' offers an online interactive feature on their website as well. Pretty cool stuff, right!?

I've already download 'West Cork' and look forward to listening to it.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Audible Is Producing Plays As Podcasts

I love listening to Audible productions. Earlier today, I read an article published on Bustle's website titled, Audible Is Producing Plays As Podcasts, And You Can Listen To Them In A Single Sitting by Kristian Wilson. In the article, Kristian Wilson wrote the following:
If you have a favorite play you'd love to own as a portable recording, this audiobook platform might have you covered. Audible is now producing audio plays for listeners to enjoy, and the starting lineup looks downright inspirational. Here's what you can expect from this new endeavor. 
Audible recently designated $5 million to bankroll the work of 15 up-and-coming playwrights, who will write audio plays with no more than two characters. This new format means that you can swap out your evening podcast for a full-length play you've purchased through the Audible platform. Although the inaugural class of artists was "chosen by an advisory board of judges," according to the Observer, The L.A. Times says that "[f]uture Audible commissions will be announced on a rolling basis . . . relying on an open-submission process in conjunction with input from an advisory board."

Seventy-three percent of the inaugural class of Audible playwrights are women and people of color. 
These plays look promising to listen to for sure!!  

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Valentine's Day to All My Blogging & Reading Friends!!



May your day be filled with love and 
surrounded by those you hold dear...

May you also find some quiet time
to devote to the joys of reading a book!!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Ten Very Hot & Steamy Romances!!



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.

With Valentine's Day happening tomorrow, I thought I'd share a few of my favorite hot and steamy romances!

1. Kentucky On The Rocks by Gwendolyn Grace
2. Black Mark's Resistance by Ebony Olson
3. Bone Deep by Bonnie Dee
4. Pure Sex by Lucinda Betts, Bonnie Edwards, & Sasha White
5. Ivan (Her Russian Protector #1) by Roxie Rivera
8. Sexy In Stilettos by Nana Malone
9. First Night by Lauren Blakely
10. Luca's Mate by Kristina King

Do you have a favorite hot and steamy romance read? If so, please share the title and author in the comment section below!

Monday, February 12, 2018

7 Books Which Serve to Remind Us That Life Goes On for Women After 70!

I came across an interesting article on Electric Lit titled, 7 Books to Remind You That Life Goes On for Women After 70. In the article it says:
It’s rare to see senior women on TV at all, let alone dating, doing drugs, running a business, and having fun with their friends. If you’re hungry for more content like Grace and Frankie, you may be out of luck on the small screen—but we’ve rounded up seven novels whose over-70 protagonists do more than just reminisce and wait to die. If you are, know, or just want to become a fierce old lady, start here.
I found myself loving the title of the above article and also curious as to which 7 books listed in the article. I will be adding a few of them to my ever growing reading wishlist. 

I am a middle aged woman myself. Although, I rarely define myself as having reached middle age.... However, I digress. I mainly wanted to write that I feel like women, especially elderly woman, are not portrayed very often in leading roles in novels. I think it's important to see more older women featured more prominently in novels in a positive light. I say this because woman in the baby boomer generation (ages 51-69) and older, make up a large sector of the population. So it would make sense to see more novels with positive, elderly women role models as leading characters. I think it is important to celebrate the wisdom older women have to offer. 

Books People Refuse to Read and the Books Selected May Surprise You!

I just came across an article on Buzzfeed titled, 34 Books People Refuse To Read That Will Surprise You by Jarry Lee. In the article, Jarry Lee wrote the following:
We asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us what books they will never, ever read.
Most of the books that made the list were a surprise to me! I'll admit that I am completely uninterested in reading Donald Trump's book, The Art of the Deal... Frankly, I would rather watch paint dry!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Love In A Nutshell by Janet Evanovich & Dorien Kelly



I've had the hardback edition of Love In A Nutshell by Janet Evanovich & Dorien Kelly in my collection since 2013!! I purchased Love In A Nutshell from the remainder section at a big box store. This book has been sitting around too long in my 'to be read' pile, so I finally decided to read it this month in honor of Valentine's Day and all things L-O-V-E related!

Well, I wasn't overly impressed with this novel. It's not like I loved or hated this book, but I felt like Love In A Nutshell by Janet Evanovich & Dorien Kelly was easy reading... It's pure fluff, plain and simple!!

Essentially, Love In A Nutshell by Janet Evanovich & Dorien Kelly is the perfect beach read/novel to read while traveling/on vacation if you enjoy reading romance novels with a touch of mystery. Love In A Nutshell by Janet Evanovich & Dorien Kelly has the predictable ending with mediocre characters.

The following is a plot summary for Love In A Nutshell by Janet Evanovich & Dorien Kelly from Amazon:
Number one bestselling author Janet Evanovich teams up with award-winning author Dorien Kelly to deliver a sparkling novel of romantic suspense, small-town antics, secretive sabotage, and lots and lots of beer.
Kate Appleton needs a job. Her husband has left her, she's been fired from her position as a magazine editor, and the only place she wants to go is to her parents' summer house, The Nutshell, in Keene's Harbor, Michigan. Kate's plan is to turn The Nutshell into a Bed and Breakfast. Problem is, she needs cash, and the only job she can land is less than savory.
Matt Culhane wants Kate to spy on his brewery employees. Someone has been sabotaging his company, and Kate is just new enough in town that she can insert herself into Culhane's business and snoop around for him. If Kate finds the culprit, Matt will pay her a $20,000 bonus. Needless to say, Kate is highly motivated. But several problems present themselves. Kate despises beer. No one seems to trust her. And she is falling hard for her boss.
Can these two smoke out a saboteur, save Kate's family home, and keep a killer from closing in…all while resisting their undeniable attraction to one another? Filled with humor, heart, and loveable characters, Love in a Nutshell is delicious fun.
Love In A Nutshell by Janet Evanovich & Dorien Kelly is an okay read. I am giving Love In A Nutshell by Janet Evanovich & Dorien Kelly a rating of 2 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Saturday, February 10, 2018

35 LITERARY BARS AND CAFÉS FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Who wouldn't want to visit literary cafes and bars from around the world where famous writers hung out?? 

I enjoyed checking out the 35 bars and cafes mentioned in Emily Temple's article on Literary Hub's website titled, A VISUAL TOUR OF 35 LITERARY BARS AND CAFÉS FROM AROUND THE WORLD. In the article, Emily Temple writes:
In our habitual fantasies, writers do nothing but sit at small café tables, sometimes meeting with their friends, other times gazing wistfully into a pint or swirling an espresso before they scribble down their latest brilliant thought. It may have worked for Hemingway, but I’m here to tell you: that’s not usually what writing looks like. But hey, it’s Friday. So what better time to indulge our daydreams and salivate over a few of the bars and cafés that famous writers frequented in days of yore? I mean, writerly fantasies aside, I wouldn’t mind reading for a while in any one of these. Of course, this is nowhere near a complete list of every place a famous writer ever drank—not least because in the interest of avoiding the New York/Paris/Dublin trap, I’ve limited the choices to one per city—so feel free to add on to the list. Now, without any further ado: 35 literary watering holes in 35 cities. Which one would you visit?
So, click on the top list to see which cafes and bars made the list! 

Thursday, February 8, 2018

How to Donate a Book Just by Posting a Selfie On Instagram!

Want to donate a book to a worthy cause?? This is an easy way to do so and it won't cost you a cent!

Here's the scoop! I came across an article online through Real Simple's website titled, How to Donate a Book Just by Posting a Selfie by Katie Holdefehr. In the article, Katie Holdefehr wrote the following:
If you’ve ever followed along with Reese Witherspoon’s book club, then you already know that the star loves a good book. And yesterday, Witherspoon announced on Instagram that she’s teaming up with Disney and A Wrinkle in Time to support an important cause: providing books to children in need.
Want to help the cause? Witherspoon explains how easy it is in the caption on her post: “Post your #shelfie with the hashtag #MagicOfStorytelling and @Disney will donate a new book to a child in need through @firstbookorg ! ” It’s that easy—and it won’t cost you anything to contribute. If you're wondering what a shelfie is, check out #MagicOfStorytelling for inspiration. It typically means a photo of a beautifully styled shelf (and there are plenty of those that have been submitted), but if you don’t want to spend time revamping your bookshelves, don’t worry—the official entry rules ask for a selfie taken with a book. And it doesn’t have to be A Wrinkle in Time, but any title of your choosing. Then, just remember to tag it #MagicOfStorytelling, and Disney will donate a book to First Book, a non-profit that provides books and other educational resources to kids in need.
So, let's hop to it and post our selfies on Instagram with the requisite book in the photo and appropriate hashtags in the post to make sure a child in need has a book to read!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Books That Have Been On My TBR the Longest and I Still Haven’t Read




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.

This week's topic is all about the books that have been in my 'to be read' pile the longest, but I still haven't read! I have so many books that I've had for years!! I can't remember exactly how long I've had many of them. But below is a list of books I've had with me a long time and still have not read to this day.

1. Special Topics In Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl (Since 2006ish)
2. Riven Rock by T. C. Boyle
3. You Had Me at Woof: How Dogs Taught Me the Secrets of Happiness by Julie Klam
4. Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron
5. The Year of The Flood by Margaret Atwood
6. Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese
7. Free Food for Millionaires by Min Jin Lee
8. Room by Emma Donoghue
9. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
10. An Eagle Named Freedom: My True Story of a Remarkable Friendship by Jeff Guidry

So, which books have you had for a long time, but have yet to read?

Monday, February 5, 2018

The Boy Next Door by Katie Van Ark

Paperback Edition
I received an Advanced Reader's Paperback Edition of The Boy Next Door by Katie Van Ark through Goodreads Giveaways back in early 2015 (????). I finally decided to pull it out of my 'to be read' pile and read it this month in honor of Valentine's Day.

The Boy Next Door by Katie Van Ark falls into the Young Adult Romance Genre. 

Below is my honest, unbiased review of The Boy Next Door by Katie Van Ark.

What I loved about The Boy Next Door by Katie Van Ark:

* I love young adult novels and romance novels, so this novel was a perfect blend of two genres I like.
* I love the entire ice skating theme of this novel and it plays a major part in this novel.
* I liked the main characters of Maddy & Gabe.
* I liked the short alternating chapters. Each chapter focusing on either Maddy's viewpoint or Gabe's viewpoint.
* Igor, the ice skating coach, was another favorite character.
* The tension/drama that happens in this novel between the main characters before the main characters finally come together and make their romance work.
* The life lessons learned by both Maddy & Gabe by the end of the novel make it worthwhile.
* The sweet ending of this novel. 

What I didn't love about The Boy Next Door by Katie Van Ark:

* It takes too long for Gabe to figure out his feelings for Maddy.
* Just when you think Maddy & Gabe are good relationship wise, more drama ensues.
* It takes a tragedy to make them realize how they really feel about their relationship.
* The ending of this novel, although good, was too short.

The following is the plot summary for The Boy Next Door by Katie Van Ark from Amazon:
Family conflict, changing relationships, and questions of identity are at the heart of this engaging spin on the classic romance plotline.
Maddy Spier's been in love with the boy next door forever. As his figure skating partner, she spends time in his arms every day. But she's also seen his arms around other girls―lots of other girls. How can she make him realize that they can be partners off the ice as well?
Gabe's relationship with Maddy is vital. He can't imagine skating with anyone else, and together they have a real chance at greatness–maybe even making it to the Olympics someday. So he's decided to think of her as a sister. After all, family is forever, and he's never dated anyone for more than two weeks.
Then their coach assigns a new romantic skating program, and everything changes. Will this be the big break that Maddy's been hoping for or the big breakup that Gabe has always feared? 
Chosen by readers like you for Macmillan's young adult imprint Swoon Reads, debut author Katie Van Ark’s novel The Boy Next Door is full of competition, misunderstandings, and of course, plenty of romance.
I am giving The Boy Next Door by Katie Van Ark a rating of 3.5 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Online Book Clubs You Can Join Right Now!!

I discovered an article on Bustle's website titled, 14 Online Book Clubs You Can Join Right Now by Charlotte Ahlin. In the article, Charlotte Ahlin writes the following:
I don't know about the rest of you, but whenever I'm reading a good book, I spend every waking moment wanting to talk about that book. The trouble is, most of the people around me are not reading the same book, and they have no interest in hearing all my feelings about Octavia Butler over a glass of wine at 11 PM. That's where book clubs come in. Book clubs are the perfect way to keep reading, talk about what you're reading, and make friends with other readers. And you don't even have to leave your house to join one. Here are some of the most popular online book clubs to get you started.
I mean, yes, starting a book club with your friends or your co-workers or your mom's friends' co-workers is still very much an option. But if it's hard for you to get together with your fellow readers in the analog world, or if you're looking for some new reading inspiration, these are the book clubs you should know about. From diversifying your personal bookshelf to helping incarcerated readers get access to reading material, these book clubs are creating communities and changing the book club paradigm.
I've been wanting to join a book club for awhile. Perhaps an online book club would work best for me. 

Saturday, February 3, 2018

The 10 Most Well-Read Cities In The United States

Yes, it's really cool to see which cities are the most well read cities in the USA. So, when I came across an article on Bustle titled, The 10 Most Well-Read Cities In The United States Aren't What You Would Expect by Kristian Wilson, I couldn't wait to see which cities topped the list.

I was expecting Iowa City, Iowa to make the list, but it didn't make the top ten list. Instead, Ames, Iowa made the list!!

Click on the above link to see which US cities made the top ten most well read cities.

Friday, February 2, 2018

50/50 Friday ~ Best/Worst Book Read in January 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.


This week's topic is your Best/Worst Book Read in January 2018!


Best Book Read in January 2018




(click above link to read my review of this nonfiction book)

Worst Book Read in January 2018



(click above link to read my review of this dystopian novel)



So which book was your Best/Worst Book Read
in January 2018?

Thursday, February 1, 2018

We by Yevgeny Zamyatin

Dystopian Fiction ~ eBook Edition
I graduated with a BA in Russian Language from the University of Iowa. I have a deep fondness for Russian classic literature.

I haven't read much in the way of Russian literature in recent years. So, I have decided to branch out a bit and explore new to me Russian writers... Hopefully, I'll read more works from Russian writers later this year.

I've been wanting to read We by Yevgeny Zamyatin for quite a while now. We is a dystopian novel set in the distant future. It is a short read at approximately 134 pages in length. 

I learned through Wikipedia that We "became the first work banned by the Soviet censorship board" in 1921. I also learned from Wikipedia that We by Yevgeny Zamyatin directly inspired the following works:
One of the main reasons I read We by Yevgeny Zamyatin is because it was the first banned book in Russia... I'm always curious as to why certain books are banned and eventually end up wanting to read many of them. Usually, banned books make for really great reads!

However, if truth be told... I really struggled in reading We by Yevgeny Zamyatin. By the time I was around 25-30% into this ebook, I wanted to quit reading it altogether and move on to my next read... I didn't care for the formatting contained in my ebook edition of We. The formatting was way off, making it difficult to follow the storyline and conversations between characters. Also, many words were omitted that would make the a sentence sound/feel complete... Also, I wonder if a better translation could have been done for We, as the words used in this novel made it sounded dated and old fashioned. 

Also, the main character, D-503, became annoying to me over time... We is written as a series of journal entries told through the eyes of D-503. I liked the concept of reading a series of journal entries, but D-503's character is an annoying main character and with all the other issues I've mentioned, I simply stopped caring about what was going on in this novel or what message the author was trying to convey to readers. I just wanted this novel to be over with period. Maybe if I'd read a different translation of We with better formatting and editing, I would have enjoyed reading this dystopian novel much more than I did.

The following is a plot summary for We by Yevgeny Zamyatin from Amazon:
We is set into the far-flung future well after a war that had lasted two-hundred years. 
D-503 lives in the One State, a lone city constructed almost entirely of glass so that the State can keep an eye on the citizens at all times. 
Life is organized by the hour in order to maximum proficiency and maximum output from every inhabitant. 
People walk in step with each other and wear identical clothing with badges with their numbers/names for easy identification by the States agents. 
'I' is not allowed. Only 'We' exists. 
People do not have names, they have a serial number. 
A permit is needed for times to have intimate relationships in order to lower the shades on the glass buildings the city is composed of. 
There is total surveillance of every person. 
While the final work to put the One State not only as an Earthbound government but to make it an interstellar one as well, D-503 begins to live a life of rebellion and secrets.He is in a fight against time as the One State has developed a procedure to eliminate Imagination in order to make all the people of the One State more efficient and less distracted.
I am giving We by Yevgeny Zamyatin a rating of 1 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!