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
5. 
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!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

7 Speculative Fiction Books Imagine Life Without Landmark Supreme Court Cases

I came across an article on Electric Literature's website titled, 7 Books That Imagine Life Without Landmark Supreme Court Cases. In the article, I read the following information:
Despite a number of back-asswards decisions that were eventually redressed in slightly more enlightened times (Dred Scott, Plessy v. Ferguson, Korematsu), the Supreme Court has on many occasions been an engine for civil rights and freedoms. But recently, for no reason at all, we found ourselves wondering: what might happen if some of those decisions were reversed? What if we had to learn to live without the rights and freedoms the Supreme Court has, however grudgingly, handed out over the years: the right to desegregated education, to birth control access, to legal abortion? Well, as with all good “what if” questions, we can find some possible (though not always plausible) answers in the world of speculative fiction. Here are seven books that imagine the rollback or non-existence of certain key rights granted by the court. Sometimes there are also zombies.
After reading the above article, I found myself adding most of the 7 book titles to my ever growing reading wishlist! Click on the above article to discover which books made the list.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Top Ten Tueday ~ TTT Throwback FREEBIE ~ Top Ten Book Festivals I want to Attend Some Day!!



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 thoroughly enjoyed attending the Bay Area Book Festival in Berkeley, California for four years in a row now. I'd definitely love to branch out and attend several other major annual book festivals across the nation as well. Below is my top ten list of book festivals I want to attend in the future.

1. The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books in Los Angeles, California
2. The Iowa City Book Festival in Iowa City, Iowa
3. The Library Of Congress National Book Festival in Washington, DC
4. The Portland Book Festival (Formerly Wordstock) in Portland, Oregon
5. The Chicago Tribune Printers Row Lit Fest in Chicago, Illinois
6. The Brooklyn Book Festival in Brooklyn, New York
7. The Miami Book Fair International in Miami, Florida
8. The Baltimore Book Festival in Baltimore, Maryland
9. The Louisiana Book Festival in Baton Rouge, Lousiana
10. The Seattle Antiquarian Book Fair in Seattle, Washington

Have you attended any of the book festivals I've mentioned in my list above? If so, please share your experience in the comment section below.

Also, are there any other worthy book festivals you would recommend attending?

Monday, July 9, 2018

WorkParty: How to Create & Cultivate the Career of Your Dreams by Jaclyn Johnson


I received an advanced uncorrected paperback proof copy of WorkParty: How to Create & Cultivate the Career of Your Dreams by Jaclyn Johnson through the Goodreads Giveaway program. 

Below is my honest, unbiased review of WorkParty: How to Create & Cultivate the Career of Your Dreams by Jaclyn Johnson.

WorkParty: How to Create & Cultivate the Career of Your Dreams by Jaclyn Johnson is geared towards millennial women who want to start their own business. This book is part memoir and part entrepreneurial guide for woman who want to be their own boss.

I love Jaclyn Johnson's no nonsense writing style. She writes a straight forward business book using lingo millennial women will understand and gravitate towards. There's no stuffy, dated, boring, information in this book. It's chalk full of savvy and much needed  information from someone who has been there and done that. There isn't anything cutesy about WorkParty: How to Create & Cultivate the Career of Your Dreams by Jaclyn Johnson - except for it's cover!! So, if you're looking for somewhere to start on your journey to becoming an entrepreneur, then start by reading WorkParty: How to Create & Cultivate the Career of Your Dreams by Jaclyn Johnson.

WorkParty: How to Create & Cultivate the Career of Your Dreams by Jaclyn Johnson will be released in August 2018. 

Below is the publisher's summary for WorkParty: How to Create & Cultivate the Career of Your Dreams by Jaclyn Johnson found on Amazon's website:
First, we leaned in. Now we stand up.
Jaclyn Johnson—the founder and CEO behind Create & Cultivate, the fastest growing online platform and conference for millennial women in business— offers a rallying cry for a new generation of women who are redefining the meaning of work on their own terms: WorkParty. Women who want it all and more, and guess what? They can have it.
Jaclyn suffered a massive blow in her early twenties. She was on an upward career climb and confidently moved across the country for a job—and then, was abruptly let go. Attempting to turn that closed door into an open window, she launched a company with a trusted business partner. Soon after, she discovered said business partner had made detrimental decisions to the company without her knowledge. Before she knew it, she was in the throes of a brutal business partner break up. She was only twenty-four.
Determined to bounce back, Jaclyn overhauled the mess that was her life and by the time she was in her early thirties, she had sold a company and launched the much-buzzed about Create & Cultivate platform—and advised and invested in multiple million-dollar projects at the same time. So, how did she do it?
In WorkParty, Jaclyn shows how she turned distrust into determination, frustration into fuel, and heartache into hard work—and how you can, too.

With stories from leading female entrepreneurs including Christene Barberich (co-founder of Refinery29), Alli Webb, (creator of Drybar), Morgan Debaun (founder of Blavity), Jen Gotch of Ban.do, Rebecca Minkoff, and Kendra Scott, you will learn the tips and tricks from the best in the business while cultivating the passion and happiness you need to succeed. By embracing failure and reconciling your femininity with being a boss, you’ll join the movement that is WorkParty—and have fun along the way.
I am giving WorkParty: How to Create & Cultivate the Career of Your Dreams  by Jaclyn Johnson a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Traveler Food & Books Restaurant in Union, Connecticut


I think I've found my next book related destination in Union, Connecticut, USA!! 

It's called Traveler Food and Books. It's a restaurant and a bookstore. When you order and eat a meal at their restaurant, you may choose three used books to take with you for free!! How cool and exciting is that??

Traveler Food and Books has been open for business since 1970. They also have a bookstore located in their basement with more books for sale as well.

Check out the video above for more information.

Friday, July 6, 2018

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

My Best/Worst Book Read in June 2018

Best Book Read in June 2018

(Click on link above to read my review)



Worst Book Read in June 2018
(Click on link above to read my review)


What were your best/worst book read during June 2018?

Thursday, July 5, 2018

The Mortal Immortal by Mary Shelley



I've read and loved Frankenstein by Mary Shelley twice and loved this novel when I read it in my younger years.

I always thought Mary Shelley was a one hit wonder, never publishing anything else, but her novel, Frankenstein.

So, when I can across The Mortal Immortal by Mary Shelley, I decided to listen to the unabridged audio version of this short story narrated by BJ Harrison about immortality. 

Listening time for The Mortal Immortal by Mary Shelley is 39 minutes.

I was underwhelmed by The Mortal Immortal by Mary Shelley. The best things about listening to The Mortal Immortal was BJ Harrison's narration of this short story. 

I am giving The Mortal Immortal by Mary Shelley a rating of 2 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County by Mark Twain


I've known about Mark Twain's short story classic, The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, for years now as my maternal grandparents had retired to Calaveras County, California when I was a child. 

However, I never read or listened The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County by Mark Twain until recently.  I was able to listen to the unabridged audio version narrated by BJ Harrison. Listening time is 15 minutes for this short story, which I thought was well narrated by BJ Harrison.

I wasn't too impressed with this particular short short by Mark Twain. Yes, the story is about a famous jumping frog in Calaveras County, but the story is ho-hum if you ask me. I've enjoyed Twain's reading longer works of fiction to this short story.

See my reviews of Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Diaries of Adam and Eve.

I am giving The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County by Mark Twain a rating of 2 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

P. S. Calaveras is the correct spelling for Calaveras County, so I am not sure why the above image has it spelled incorrectly!

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Which Books Series Have You Read Over The Years?

There have been many, many books series I've started and never finished reading for a wide range of reason. Some of the books I've read in years past, I didn't realize at the time were even part of a series... Or I simply loved some books in a certain series, disliked other books in another series, or I simply could care less about reading an entire collection of novels in a series as sometimes reading standalone books turn out to be what I want to read in the moment verses being wrapped up in an entire series.

Below is a short list of book series I've read over the years. Below that is a list of book series I'd like to finish reading in the future.


I have finished the following book series:

1. The Dollanganger Series by VC Andrews

Flowers in the Attic
Petals on the Wind
If There Be Thorns
Seeds of Yesterday
Garden of Shadows

I remember reading this series when I was in 
high school back in the day. I couldn't seem to read them
fast enough! Other then the basic premise of this series,
I don't remember the details of these novels
very well now.


2. The Bourne Trilogy by Robert Ludlum
(I'm not including the continuation of the series written by Eric Van Lustbader)

The Bourne Identity
The Bourne Supremacy
The Bourne Ultimatum

I read The Bourne Trilogy in the early 1990s
and loved it! If you love spy thrillers, then check out
the above novels written by Robert Ludlum.
And no, I haven't enjoyed the Bourne movie series!!

3. His Fair Assassin Trilogy by Robin LaFevers

Grave Mercy
Dark Triumph
Mortal Heart

I really loved this young adult series that falls into
the historical fiction genre.

4. A Den of Antiquity Mystery Series by Tamar Myers

Cozy mystery series with 16 titles as follows:

Larceny and Old Lace
Gilt by Association
The Ming and I
So Faux, So Good
Baroque and Desperate
Estate of Mind
A Penny Urned
Nightmare in Shining Armor
Splendor in the Glass
Tiles and Tribulations
Statue of Limitations
Monet Talks
The Cane Mutiny
Death of a Rug Lord
Poison Ivory
The Glass is Always Greener

Some of these cozy novels were wonderful.
Others weren't so wonderful.
I found the Den of Antiquity series really
hit or miss. I'm glad I finished the series though. 

6. The Seal Island Trilogy by Sophie Moss

The Selkie Spell
The Selkie Enchantress
The Selkie Sorceress

Contemporary fiction that weaves in Irish folktales
and mythology, along with a healthy dose of
romance and a wee bit of drama. 
I loved reading the first novel in the Seal Island Trilogy,
but the remaining two novels in this trilogy
were good, but not as wonderful as the first novel.

I'd like to continue reading the following book series:

1. The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon

I love historical fiction and The Outlander series fits
the order and then some!
I started reading The Outlander series in the late 1990s.
Would you believe my grandmother got me hooked 
on this series??
It's been over five years since I've read the next
novel in this series... I'm not even sure which novel
I read last. I should probably go back and start
rereading this series from the beginning. I love Diana
Gabaldon's writing style/storytelling. But each novel is
so long. I don't think at this point in time
that I'll be rereading any of the novels.

2. The Blood Destiny Series by Connie Suttle

I got hooked on this series a few years ago when I received
the first two audiobooks in the series for free through
Audible from the narrator, Traci Odom. 
Both novels were really good 
and very well narrated by Traci Odom. 
The Blood Destiny Falls into the 
Fantasy/Urban/Paranormal genre.

3. A Flower Shop Mystery Series by Kate Collins

So far there are 19 cozy mystery novels in this series
(and counting???). I read a few of these light and fun
cozies over the years, but not in chronological order.
I look forward to reading the rest of the novels in this series.

I may have missed a few book series that I've read in the past or would like to finish reading in the future, but the list above contains book series I remember reading off the top of my head.

Which book series have you read over the years?? And which book series have you yet to finish reading that you would like to finish reading?

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday - Books with Red, White, & Blue Covers



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 to focus on books with red, white, and blue covers. I haven't read any of the books on my list below, but they all have red, white, and blue on their covers, so that fulfills the requirements for this week's Top Ten Tuesday post.

1. Primary Colors: A Novel of Politics by Anonymous
2. All the President's Men by Bob Woodward & Carl Bernstein

3. Red White and Blue by Susan Isaacs

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Little Free Library and the Hayward Japanese Garden in Hayward, California!

Me At A Little Free Library in Hayward, California
My husband and I visited Hayward, California this morning. One of our stops was to a Little Free Library, which was made from recycled kitchen cabinets and shingles.

We also visited the Hayward Japanese Garden for the first time ever, which was our main purpose in visiting Hayward. OMG, what an amazing garden to visit. The Hayward Japanese Garden is an oasis in the middle of the city! It's located on roughly 3 acres of land between two creeks on relatively flat terrain. There's a koi pond and several benches and covered areas to sit and commune with nature. A perfect place to meditate or read a book on beautiful days like today as we had temperatures in the mid-70s during the time we visited. 

The Hayward Japanese Garden is open daily from 8:30am to 4:30pm. Not sure if it is closed for holidays though. Admission and parking for the Hayward Japanese Garden are free.


Paved pathway in the Hayward Japanese Garden

Koi pond at the Hayward Japanese Garden.


Covered seating area over the koi pond.


What a great way to start the second half of 2018!