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!