Friday, August 31, 2018

The Weirdest Libraries Around the World

I love that libraries come in all shapes and sizes! I discovered an article on Electric Lit's website titled, The Weirdest Libraries Around the World by Brianne Alphonso. In the article, Brianne Alphonso wrote the following:
Working in a small community library involves a lot of smearing disinfectant on glitter-speckled toys in the children’s section, but you meet a bunch of people too. When not disinfecting, I used to help visitors track down texts, locate online resources, and sign up for mailing lists. There was always someone looking for a recommendation or another person eager to give one. Even kids got hyped up pointing out their favorite princesses or dragons on the pages of picture books. The best part of libraries are the people, and seeing how access to books and comfy seating can make them open up to one another made the toy wiping worth it. 
Bookstores are great, especially the independent bookstores fighting the good fight against their online counterpart, but they aren’t always the most viable option for book lovers on a budget. What are you supposed to do when four books carry your total over $100? It’s hard to read when your electricity gets cut off for an overdue bill. That’s why I can’t recommend enough getting a card for your local library, and supporting library systems wherever you go. 
To promote easy access to literature, here are a handful of fantastically unconventional book borrowing systems from around the world. Some grow from their surrounding communities. Others rely on trade-ins, donations, or customers, but each one has found its own unconventional approach to free reading.
I've seen a few pictures of these unique libraries in pictures online before... Like the library vending machines, the war tank, little free libraries, and a few of the others mentioned in the above article. 

Which libraries did you find the most intriguing mentioned in the article above?

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Viet Thanh Nguyen & Maxine Hong Kingston in Conversation


Another wonderful video featuring Viet Thanh Nguyen & Maxine Hong Kingston in conversation. It was a very enlightening conversation between the two of them. I learned a lot of information watching this interview, which is almost 30 minutes in length.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Dear Martin by Nic Stone


Last week, I read the hardback edition of Dear Martin by Nic Stone, which is a young adult novel that I'd been looking forward to reading for awhile. I finally read it last week during the Bout of Books 23 Read-A-Thon and I am very glad I did.

What attracted me to this novel was the topic of racism as seen through the eyes of a teenage, African American male named Justyce McAllister. Justyce is a great kid, an honor student attending an elite preparatory school on a scholarship, and has been excepted into Yale University. But Justyce personally encounters racial profiling and brutality by two different cops on two different occasions. One event after another happens, which leaves Justyce trying to makes sense of what has happened to him as well as processing other relevant events going on in the world around him. 

Justyce decides to take on the personal task of processing what's been going on by looking at the teachings of Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. Justyce writes a series of letters to Martin Luther King Jr. inside a notebook he keeps as he tries to decide for himself how MLK Jr. would handle what's going on in his life and how to respond to what's going on in current events today.

Although I enjoyed reading Dear Martin by Nic Stone, I felt like this novel didn't live up to the hype for me. I think Nic Stone addresses some really hot topics that are very relevant in today's world with regards to racism and racial profiling. For the most part, I thought Ms. Stone presented the material well in her novel, but at times I felt like the way in which the material/events/characters were presented felt a tad cliched. I also wish the letters that Justyce had written to MLK Jr. had been a bit more substantial... Like perhaps more of Martin Luther King Jr.'s philosophies had been expounded upon and shared within the letters. Additionally, I felt like the novel's ending was wrapped up too quickly and too neatly for me.

The following is a summary for Dear Martin by Nic Stone from Amazon:
Justyce McAllister is a good kid, an honor student, and always there to help a friend—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. Despite leaving his rough neighborhood behind, he can't escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates. 
Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out. 
Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up—way up, sparking the fury of a white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. Justyce and Manny are caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it's Justyce who is under attack.
I am giving Dear Martin by Nic Stone a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday - Back to School/Learning Freebie




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.

Aside from reading and blogging, my other hobby (aka love in life) is knitting!! I'm an advanced beginner and still have so much to learn about knitting. Below is a list of 10 books I want to read and use with regards to improving my knitting skills. I even love knitting while listening to audiobooks... What a great way to combine my favorite hobbies!

1. Stitch 'n Bitch: The Knitter's Handbook by Debbie Stoller
2. The Knitting Answer Book by Margaret Radcliffe
3. Circular Knitting Workshop: Essential Techniques to Master Knitting in the Round by Margaret Radcliffe
4. Easy Fair Isle Knitting: 26 Projects with a Modern Twist by Martin Storey
5. Increase, Decrease: 99 Step-by-Step Methods; Find the Perfect Technique for Shaping Every Knitting Project by Judith Durant
6. 750 Knitting Stitches: The Ultimate Knit Stitch Bible by Pavilion Books
7. Getting Started Knitting Socks by Ann Budd
8. Knit Kimono by Vicki Square
9. Knitting Rules!: The Yarn Harlot's Bag of Knitting Tricks by Stephanie Pearl McPhee
10. You Can Knit That: Foolproof Instructions for Fabulous Sweaters by Amy Herzog

Which topics do you want to learn more about?

Monday, August 27, 2018

Bout of Books 23 Wrap Up Post!


I enjoyed participating in Bout of Books 23! I met my reading goals of reading two novels, both of which happened to be young adult novels. I started and finished reading, Turtles All The Way Down by John Green and Dear Martin by Nic Stone. I enjoyed reading both novels. 

I've already reviewed Turtles All The Way Down by John Green on my blog. Tomorrow Dear Martin by Nic Stone will be published.

Additionally, I began listening to the unabridged audio version of Enchantment by Orson Scott Card and am 11% into this fantasy novel so far and look forward to finishing it soon.

I also participated in three of the challenges during Bout of Books 23 last week.

If you participated in Bout of Books 23 last week, how was your week of reading?

Ingrid Rojas Contreras ~ Author Event & Book Signing!

Ingrid Rojas Contreras and me at Rakestraw Books in Danville, California.
Last Thursday evening was date night for my hubby and me. We attended an author event with book signing at one of my favorite local, indie bookstores, Rakestraw Books, in Danville, California.

First time novelist, Ingrid Rojas Contreras was on hand at Rakestraw Books at 7pm to read from her new novel, Fruit of the Drunken Tree and answer questions from audience members. 

There was quite a nice turn out for this event as roughly 27 audience members came to hear Ingrid Rojas Contreras speak at Rakestraw Books. Ingrid Rojas Contreras was a wonderful and engaging speaker! I feel like this particular author event/book signing was one of the best author events/book signings I've  attended this year. I enjoyed learning about the author's life and how she came to write Fruit of the Drunken Tree.

We learned that Ingrid Rojas Contreras is originally from Bogata, Colombia and came to the USA in 2002. She mentioned that it took her 7 years to write Fruit of the Drunken Tree, which is a novel she finished writing in 2008 and then spent time editing before it was published. 

Ingrid Rojas Contreras mentioned she likes writing first thing in the morning. She also gave two really great writing tips to those aspiring to write a book. The first tip was to open a dictionary and randomly choosing a word and then write a short story around that particular word. This works like a quick writing prompt to help you start writing more. Ms. Rojas Contreras also suggested joining a writing group to help gain feedback from other writers on what you write. 

Fruit of the Drunken Tree is a work of fiction and inspired by the author's life. The following is a summary from Amazon:
Seven-year-old Chula and her older sister Cassandra enjoy carefree lives thanks to their gated community in Bogotá, but the threat of kidnappings, car bombs, and assassinations hover just outside the neighborhood walls, where the godlike drug lord Pablo Escobar continues to elude authorities and capture the attention of the nation. 
When their mother hires Petrona, a live-in-maid from the city's guerrilla-occupied slum, Chula makes it her mission to understand Petrona's mysterious ways. But Petrona's unusual behavior belies more than shyness. She is a young woman crumbling under the burden of providing for her family as the rip tide of first love pulls her in the opposite direction. As both girls' families scramble to maintain stability amidst the rapidly escalating conflict, Petrona and Chula find themselves entangled in a web of secrecy that will force them both to choose between sacrifice and betrayal. 
Inspired by the author's own life, and told through the alternating perspectives of the willful Chula and the achingly hopeful Petrona, Fruit of the Drunken Tree contrasts two very different, but inextricably linked coming-of-age stories. In lush prose, Rojas Contreras has written a powerful testament to the impossible choices women are often forced to make in the face of violence and the unexpected connections that can blossom out of desperation.
Here's an NPR interview with Ingrid Rojas Contreras. It is an awesome interview that gives more background about the author's life and her new novel.

Have you attended any author events and book signings lately?

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Bout of Books 23 Day 6 Recap!


I finished strong yesterday with my reading. I read 112 pages and finished reading Dear Martin by Nic Stone! I'll write and post my review of this young adult novel later in the week. 

As of now, I've already met my reading goals for Bout of Books 23, which was to read 2 novels. So, any additional reading is icing on the cake as they say.

I didn't make any progress with Enchantment by Orson Scott Card yesterday and am hoping to listen to 1-2 hours of this novel today. We'll see how that goes as I am feeling pretty tired today due to restless sleep last night. I had a headache at bed time that kept me awake for quite awhile. Keeping my fingers crossed that I can get some quality listening time in later today.

If you're participating in Bout of Books 23 this past week, how has your week of reading gone? Have you met your reading goals? Have you participated in any of the daily challenges and/or in the Twitter chats?

Best Subscription Boxes For Book Lovers

I've toyed with the idea of subscribing to a book related subscription box, but have never followed through with this idea because there are just to many choices out there for book lovers that sound like good ones!

I recently discovered an article though Buzzfeed's website titled, 19 Of The Best Subscription Boxes For Book Lovers by Samantha Wieder. Click on the above link to check to see which ones made the list for the best subscription boxes for book lovers. 

Wow, all the subscription boxes for book lovers mentioned in the above article sound really good. I could see myself signing up for several of them, which may not be great for my bank account!

If you've tried any subscription boxes for book lovers, please share with me in the comments section below which subscription you tried and your overall thoughts/feelings about it. Thank you in advance for sharing your thoughts.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Bout of Books 23 Day 5 Recap!


Here's my latest reading stats for Day 5 of Bout of Books 23.

I read through page 96 of Dear Martin by Nic Stone, which is a young adult novel and good so far. 

I also began listening to the unabridged audio version of Enchantment by Orson Scott Card from Audible. This is my first experience reading anything written by Orson Scott Card. I've been curious about Orson Scott Card's writing as he seems to be a pretty popular writer within the science fiction/fantasy community. 

Enchantment is a fantasy novel. I usually don't read novels from the fantasy genre, but I am liking Enchantment so far. The best way to describe Enchantment is that it's a Slavic retelling of the Sleeping Beauty Fairy Tale. I'm 11% into Enchantment so far. It will be interesting to see how this novel plays out.

Bookish Quote of the Day!!


Friday, August 24, 2018

50/50 Friday - Ugly Cover With the Best Story/Gorgeous Cover With the Worst Story



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.

 Ugly Cover With the Best Story

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
I loved reading Outlander years ago. The cover may not be the ugliest 
one out there, but the current
 cover is so boring!!



Gorgeous Cover With the Worst Story

Ticker by Lisa Mantchev
Loved the cover for this novel, but the story itself was flat and
two dimensional! There was so much potential for this novel
to be so much better.



Which novels do you think have Ugly Cover With the Best Story/Gorgeous Cover With the Worst Story?

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Bout of Books 23 Day 3 Recap and Day 4 Challenge!


I didn't get much reading done yesterday!! I mainly spent my time (roughly 90 minutes) listening to an Audible original podcast title, Pen & Place hosted by Amy Standen and Michael Epstein. Each episode of Pen & Place is roughly 15 minutes and there are 6 episodes total. The focus of each episode of Pen & Place is an interview of one specific author talking about a geographical location and also about their writing. All of the podcasts were nicely done and I now have many new authors to explore.

I also began reading the young adult novel, Dear Martin by Nic Stone, last night and I am 18 pages into it at this moment in time. I am looking forward to seeing where this novel leads me.

Day 4 Bout of Books Challenge

Book Trip - I would love to visit several Asian countries.

Share books set in places you want to visit. Make a road trip of settings in the US or a dream vacation. Or you can think outside the box and choose fantasy, paranormal, historical, or sci-fi setting. Like Hogwarts!

1. Memoirs of a Geisha - Japan
2. Dream Jungle - Phillipines
3. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan - China
4. Jasmine Nights -Thailand
5. The Lotus Eaters - Vietnam
6. Miss Burma - Myanmar
7. The Vegetarian - Korea

Where do you want to visit?? 

Pen & Place hosted by Amy Standen and Michael Epstein ~ A Podcast

An Original Podcast from Audible
While browsing through Audible's website last weekend, I came across an original Audible podcast titled, Pen & Place and is hosted by Amy Standen and Michael Epstein. 

After reading the publisher's summary on Audible, I was intrigued enough to download and listen to Pen & Place by Amy Standen and Michael Epstein. There are six podcasts in all, which run roughly 15 minutes per podcast. Each episode features a different author and we hear what each author has to say about a particular topic pertaining to their writing.

Episode 1 features William Finnegan
Episode 2 features Daniel Jose Older
Episode 3 features Kristen Ashley
Episode 4 features Viet Thanh Nguyen
Episode 5 features Charlie LeDuff
Episode 6 features Natalie Baszile

I really enjoyed listening to all six episodes of Pen & Place, as each podcast gives you a bite sized perspective from each author... Additionally, I came away with several new to me authors to explore in the future.

I am giving Pen & Place a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Bout of Books 23 Day 2 Recap and Day 3 Challenge!


Yesterday, I finished reading Turtles All The Way Down by John Green. I really enjoyed this young adult novel! Click on my link above to read my review of it.

Not sure which book I'll be reading next... So many choices! I'll keep you posted.


Bout of Books 23, Day 3 Challenge

Literary Villain

Who are your favorite literary bad guys? Can be a villain, a not-so-good-guy, or anti-hero.

I pick Cathy Ames from East of Eden by John Steinbeck
as my favorite literary villain.

Wikipedia sums up Cathy Ames:

"Cathy Ames, later known as Kate Trask or Kate Albey, is a fictional character and the main antagonist in John Steinbeck's novel East of Eden. She is the wife of main protagonist Adam Trask, and the mother of his twin sons, Caleb and Aron. Beneath her charming, attractive facade, she is an evil woman who manipulates and destroys people for her own amusement and profit. Steinbeck characterizes her as a 'psychic monster' with a 'malformed soul'"

Who is your favorite literary villain?

Turtles All The Way Down by John Green

Signed Hardback Edition

Turtles All The Way Down is the second novel I've read by John Green. I listened to the unabridged audio version of his novel, The Fault In Our Stars, in 2014 and loved it! So, when Turtles All The Way Down by John Green came out last year, I purchased a signed copy for my ever growing signed book collection... Unfortunately, I didn't read Turtles All The Way Down by John Green until now.

I'm once again amazed by John Green's writing. I am glad that I read Turtles All The Way Down. I enjoyed the storyline and the characters for this tightly written novel, which features a leading female character named, Aza, who has OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder). 

I feel like John Green did an awesome job of capturing what it must be like for someone with OCD to live with this particular mental illness. I think it is important to shed light on mental illness in general and help destigmatize mental illness in our society. So, I am happy to see a main character like, Aza, being portrayed in a novel to help give a better perspective on what life might be like for someone living with OCD. The following quote from Turtles All The Way Down really struck a chord with me as to how someone with OCD may feel: "True terror isn't being scared; it's not having a choice in the matter." page 22 of the hardback edition.

Yes, one of the biggest topics of Turtles All The Way Down by John Green is living life with OCD, but the book is so much more. So many passages in this book had me thinking deeply and that's what I love about really well written books. The main downside of this novel was that I felt like the ending was a bit abrupt and that things were wrapped up a bit too neatly. Otherwise a great novel.

The following is a plot summary for Turtles All The Way Down by John Green from Amazon:
Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.
Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

In his long-awaited return, John Green, the acclaimed, award-winning author of Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, shares Aza’s story with shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship
Below is a YouTube video of John Green talking about what OCD is like for him and how he came to write Turtles All The Way Down. Bless, John Green for being open about his experience with OCD and creating a novel with a leading character struggling with OCD herself. Destigmatizing mental illness needs to be a must!!




I am giving Turtles All The Way Down by John Green a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Bout of Books 23 Day 1 Update!!


Yippee, I completed Day 1 of Bout of Books 23 yesterday!! I read over 100 pages of Turtles All The Way Down by John Green yesterday and I hope to have this young adult novel finished later on today. I currently have 63 pages left to read of Turtles All The Way Down by John Green.

I also completed the Bout of Books Read-A-Thon Challenge, which was to describe yourself in six words... Something I found challenging to do as how do you define/describe yourself in six words???

I described myself as follows for the above challenge from Day 1: Love life, reading, knitting, and family!

Destination Reads

I just learned about a new to me website from my husband called, Destination Reads

I have yet to fully explore the Destination Reads website, but on their home page I read the following information:
GOING SOMEWHERE? READ A BOOK SET THERE
Destination Reads is a collection of the best fiction and narrative non-fiction set in popular cities around the world. Curated by literary nomads, with new books and places added every day.
I look forward to learning more about this website and exploring books set in different cities around the world whether I plan to visit that city or not.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Keeper of the Wolf Clan by Red Phoenix


I read the ebook edition of Keeper of the Wolf Clan by Red Phoenix, which is a paranormal romance novella approximately 61 pages in length.

I was able to download this novella for FREE from Amazon. Below is my unbiased review.

The best thing for me about Keeper of the Wolf Clan by Red Phoenix was the cover artwork! Otherwise it was a very promising read based on the summary I read about it on Amazon's website... However, let's just say this novella didn't live up to my expectations. There were some plot twists and details that just didn't sit right with me that I didn't see coming. Ooo, is all I can say! I don't want to give away any spoiler alerts, so I will just leave my review as it is.

The following is a summary of Keeper of the Wolf Clan by Red Phoenix from Amazon:
Delve into the lives and secrets of the Daric werewolf clan...
Layla grew up the privileged daughter of the Keeper. The Keeper is in charge of preserving peace among the four Alphas, preventing civil war (but the Ritual is shrouded in secrecy). Just before the full moon her mother dies, leaving Layla to perform the mysterious Bonding Ritual.
"What happens to you tonight will be your undoing." ~Valen
Valen, her enemy since she was a pup, will be her partner for the Bonding, but he underestimates how strong she is - everybody does. Layla faces the four Alphas determined to save her people and honor her mother's memory as the new Keeper of their clan.
I am giving Keeper of the Wolf Clan by Red Phoenix a rating of 1 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Top 10 Artificial Humans In Fiction

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

Friday, August 17, 2018

11 Biographies Of Strong Women!

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

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

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Forgotten Monsters: The Lost and Found Collection by Kelly Apple



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

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

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

Until my next post, happy reading!!

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

Paperback edition of Pack of Two by Caroline Knapp

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until my next post, happy reading!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday - Favorite Book Blogs/Bookish Websites




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

Below are my top ten book blogs/bookish websites!

My Current Favorite Book Blogs 

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

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


Other Fun Online Bookish Places I Spend My Free Time

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

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


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

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

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

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


My Favorite Read-A-Thons

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

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


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

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

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

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

Monday, August 13, 2018

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until my next post, happy reading!

Sunday, August 12, 2018

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

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

Friday, August 10, 2018

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

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

Thursday, August 9, 2018

7 Tips For Hosting A Digital Book Club

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

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

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Bout of Books 23 Sign Up Post!!


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

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

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

The Coming Storm by Michael Lewis



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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Monday, August 6, 2018

Ticker by Lisa Mantchev



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

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

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

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

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

Until my next post, happy reading!!!