Thursday, December 13, 2018

Christmas Songs Book Tag

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

participating in the Christmas Songs Book Tag!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The 'His Fair Assassin' trilogy by Robin LaFevers.

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

Jamie Fraser from Outlander.

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

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

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

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

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

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

John Green's Life's Library Book Club!

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

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

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Capture by Olivia Ryann

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

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

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

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

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Harlow & Max by J. H. Croix

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

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

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

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

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Never Blackmail A Thought-Reader by Sharon Rose

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

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

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

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

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

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, December 9, 2018

9 Literary Party Games For Avid Readers!

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

Saturday, December 8, 2018

10 Lesbian Novels for Your TBR

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

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

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

Friday, December 7, 2018

Passing Strange by Ellen Klages

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

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

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

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

Until my next post, happy reading!

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

50/50 Friday is a meme hosted by Carrie @ The Butterfly Reads and Laura @ Blue Eye Books. This fun themed meme focuses on the opposite sides of books (best/worst, differing opinions, etc). Every week a new topic will give bloggers the chance to showcase their answers.

Best Read in November 2018

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

Worst Read in November 2018

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

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

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

Thursday, December 6, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until my next post, happy reading!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

13 Libraries For Book Lovers To Follow On Instagram!!

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 3, 2018

12 Literary Nonprofits to Support This Holiday!!

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

Sunday, December 2, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until my next post, happy reading!