Monday, July 22, 2019

The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by Dalai Lama XIV, Desmond Tutu, & Douglas Carlton Abrams


I listened to the unabridged audio version of The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by Dalai Lama XIV, Desmond Tutu, & Douglas Carlton Abrams, which I've wanted to read or listen to for over a year now.

Listening time for The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by Dalai Lama XIV, Desmond Tutu, & Douglas Carlton Abrams is 10 hours, 12 minutes.

I enjoyed that The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World was divided into three parts: The Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu discuss "their own stories and teachings about joy (first part), the most recent findings in the science of deep happiness (second part), and the daily practices that anchor their own emotional and spiritual lives (third part)."  Douglas Carlton Abrams acts as sort of moderator in The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World.

Honestly, I think I would have enjoyed this book more if I had read it verses listened to it! 

I didn't like the sound of the voices of the voice actors who read for the Dalai Lama's and Desmond Tutu's voices... I found it initially difficult to differentiate between whether it was the Dalai Lama speaking or Desmond Tutu speaking in certain sections of the book. 

I also found that I would want to go back and listen to certain passages again in this book, which was a bit difficult to do with the audio format. If I was reading the printed version, then I could easily reread passages I just read to gain a better understanding or clarification. Plus, I could use book tags to flag passages I would want to refer to again in the future.

Below is the publisher's summary for The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by Dalai Lama XIV, Desmond Tutu, & Douglas Carlton Abrams from Audible:
Two great spiritual masters share their own hard-won wisdom about living with joy even in the face of adversity.
The occasion was a big birthday. And it inspired two close friends to get together in Dharamsala for a talk about something very important to them. The friends were His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The subject was joy. Both winners of the Nobel Prize, both great spiritual masters and moral leaders of our time, they are also known for being among the most infectiously happy people on the planet.
From the beginning the book was envisioned as a three-layer birthday cake: their own stories and teachings about joy, the most recent findings in the science of deep happiness, and the daily practices that anchor their own emotional and spiritual lives. Both the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu have been tested by great personal and national adversity, and here they share their personal stories of struggle and renewal. Now that they are both in their 80s, they especially want to spread the core message that to have joy yourself, you must bring joy to others.

Most of all, during that landmark week in Dharamsala, they demonstrated by their own exuberance, compassion, and humor how joy can be transformed from a fleeting emotion into an enduring way of life.
I am giving The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by Dalai Lama XIV, Desmond Tutu, & Douglas Carlton Abrams a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars. I think I would have given this book a higher review had I read it verses listened to it.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Thousands Of Books Given Away At A Contra Costa County Library!!!


Wow!! Just wow!! I live in Contra Costa County, which is located in Northern California. So, I was beyond thrilled to learn that the Pleasant Hill Public Library was giving away thousands of withdrawn library books for FREE to the public starting Tuesday, July 16th through Saturday, July 20th between the hours of 9am to 4pm. 

All free books were located in the Pleasant Hill Public Library's shipping and receiving area located behind the library itself. The books were being "removed from the library collection due to lack of circulation, poor condition or relevance" according to a news article I read online.



I made my visit to the Pleasant Hill Pubic Library on Wednesday, July 17, 2019 around noon and stayed for quite awhile looking through several boxes of books. There were a plethora of books in boxes to look through during one's visit... It was a massive set up for sure!! Did I look through all of the boxes? Not a chance!! I would have been there for hours if I had.

Lots of people were in attendance perusing the boxes looking for books. Everyone appeared to be hauling off large bags or boxes filled with books. A few people even had rolling bags on wheels to load their books off in.



I captured only a few imagines of the shipping and receiving area at the Pleasant Hill Public Library during my visit as I was fairly busy browsing for books to add to my collection. There was another entire area of books that I didn't even capture photographs of during my time spent at the library.

I came home with a total of 25 books - 6 audiobooks and 19 hardback books. Believe me, as a book lover, I found it difficult to stop at coming home with just 25 books... But the extreme afternoon heat was getting to me. Additionally, I already have so many unread books in my personal collection as it is that stopping at 25 books was probably a good thing! Plus, I don't have much more room in my home to store extra books as it is.




I'm hoping that they will have this wonderful event next year as well. It was fun browsing for free books as you never know just what you'll find and that was the fun of it. I didn't find any books that were on my reading wishlist, but I did grab some books that were by well known authors that look like promising reads.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Read About Women In Space

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Lunar landing. 

To mark the occasion, I am sharing an interesting article I discovered through Bustle's website titled, Read About Women In Space In These 10 Novels & Nonfiction Books About The Final Frontier by Kerri Jarema. In the article, Kerri Jarema wrote the following:
In July 2019, the United States celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing on the moon. Taught in school's across the country, and depicted repeatedly in books, films, and television shows, the moon landing in 1969 — in which astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men to step foot on the moon, taking "one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind" — is one of the most iconic moments in world history. Since the late '60s, the NASA program has continued to make history, with missions like the Mars Exploration Rover ensuring continued interest in the men and women who explore the unknown Final Frontier.
But once you've gotten your fill reading all about Apollo 11 and other major space missions, you might find that you want to keep those galaxy-filled stoties on deck — especially stories about women, who are so often left out of important historical moments. This list of 10 books about women in space contains both fiction and nonfiction picks, with classic must-reads and newer books among them. Whether you want an edge-of-your-seat sci-fi novel set in space, or you want to learn more about the real-life women who have made space their careers, there's something on the list for you:
Click on the top link to discover which books made the list about women in space!

Friday, July 19, 2019

Accidental Eyewitness by Alice Zogg


I enjoy reading mystery novels. I learned about author, Alice Zogg, from Judy @ Keep The Wisdom. So, I decided to start by reading one of Alice Zogg's standalone novels titled, Accidental Eyewitness.

I enjoyed Alice Zogg's writing style. The storyline and characters for Accidental Eyewitness were interesting and kept my attention throughout the entire novel. I had no idea who the killer was until it was revealed at the end of the book. In fact, I was actually kind of surprised by the killer's identity!! Additionally, I thought the killer's reasoning for killing was a bit superficial. Otherwise, I enjoyed reading Accidental Eyewitness by Alice Zogg.

The following is the plot summary for Accidental Eyewitness by Alice Zogg from the author's website:
Kurt Nobel, known as “The Real Estate King,” invites a mixture of odd guests to his mansion on the Isle of Ease for a week of snorkeling, scuba diving, deep-sea fishing, and general fun in the sun. The occasion is to celebrate the millionaire’s recent marriage to his new young wife, singer Barbie.
But all is not pure pleasure and merriment on the tropical island. One person plans an intriguing way to commit murder, and may get away with it, if not for the fortuitous eyewitness, eight-year-old Evie Frederique.
I am giving Accidental Eyewitness by Alice Zogg a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Watching Willow (Gold Coast Retrievers #7) by Ann Omasta


Lucky me!! I was able to download Watching Willow (Gold Coast Retrievers #7) by Ann Omasta for FREE to my Kindle from Audible with a special code from the author!!

Listening time for Watching Willow (Gold Coast Retrievers #7) by Ann Omasta is 4 hours, 48 minutes.

Below is my honest, unbiased review of Watching Willow (Gold Coast Retrievers #7) by Ann Omasta!!

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the unabridged audio version of Watching Willow (Gold Coast Retrievers #7) by Ann Omasta and narrated by Sarah L. Colton. This is a sweet, contemporary romance novel. The writing is good. I enjoyed the characters and the low drama storyline. If you want a fun, feel good novel with a happy ending, then this is the novel for you.

I also thought that Sarah L. Colton was a good narrator for Watching Willow

Additionally, I have not read any of the other novels in the 'Gold Coast Retrievers' series by Ann Omasta, but felt that I didn't need to have read the previous novels to read/follow the plot for Watching Willow.

The following is the plot summary for Watching Willow (Gold Coast Retrievers #7) by Ann Omasta found on Audible:
On the verge of losing her job, local television star Willow Winks desperately seeks the one thing she believes can save her fledgling career - a golden retriever sidekick.
Willow thought being told she was getting too old for television was the most frightening thing a celebrity diva could hear - until she and her furry best friend, Buddy, receive a threatening letter. Concerned for their safety, the television studio hires Caleb McCreery, a brave, strong, and young bodyguard to protect the famous duo. Caleb is ready to do whatever it takes to keep his charges safe, even if that means risking his own life. As the threats begin to escalate, Willow and Caleb struggle to keep their budding attraction at bay. Will the distraction of their growing feelings make the bodyguard vulnerable and put all three at risk?
This sweet tale is a romantic adventure you don’t want to miss.... Grab your copy and start listening today! Fans of the Must Love Dogs series by Claire Cook and the Everyday Heroes series by Margaret Daley are sure to enjoy curling up with this delightful romantic suspense novel. Watching Willow is part of the Gold Coast Retrievers series. Each book stands completely on its own, but you'll have even more fun if you listen to them all!
I am giving Watching Willow (Gold Coast Retrievers #7) by Ann Omasta a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

A Grown-Up Guide to Dinosaurs by Ben Garrod



As a member of Audible, I was able to download the Audible Original titled, A Grown-Up Guide to Dinosaurs by Ben Garrod, for FREE to my Kindle.

Below is my honest, unbiased review of A Grown-Up Guide to Dinosaurs by Ben Garrod.

Listening time for A Grown-Up Guide to Dinosaurs by Ben Garrod is 2 hours, 42 minutes.

I enjoyed listening to A Grown-Up Guide to Dinosaurs by Ben Garrod more than I thought I would. I learned lots of new to me facts about dinosaurs... Like some dinosaurs had feathers and that chickens are related to dinosaurs!! 

If you want to learn more current information about dinosaurs, then check out A Grown-Up Guide to Dinosaurs by Ben Garrod from Audible.

The following is the publisher's summary for A Grown-Up Guide to Dinosaurs by Ben Garrod found on Audible:
Most children go through a dinosaur phase. Learning all the tongue-twisting names, picking favourites based on ferocity, armour, or sheer size. For many kids this love of ‘terrible lizards’ fizzles out at some point between starting and leaving primary school. All those fancy names slowly forgotten, no longer any need for a favourite.
For all those child dino fanatics who didn’t grow up to become paleontologists, dinosaurs seem like something out of mythology. They are dragons, pictures in books, abstract, other, extinct.

They are at the same time familiar and mysterious. And yet we’re in an age of rapid discovery - new dinosaur species and genera are being discovered at an accelerating rate, we’re learning more about what they looked like, how they lived, how they evolved and where they all went. 
This series isn’t just a top trumps list of dino facts - we’re interested in the why and the how and like all areas of science there is plenty of controversy and debate.
I am giving A Grown-Up Guide to Dinosaurs by Ben Garrod a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

The Man Who Knew The Way To The Moon by Todd Zwillich



With July 20th marking the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing, I decided to listen to an Audible Original production titled, The Man Who Knew The Way To The Moon by Todd Zwillich.

Listening time for The Man Who Knew The Way To The Moon by Todd Zwillich is 3 hours, 32 minutes.

I was able to download The Man Who Knew The Way To The Moon by Todd Zwillich to my Kindle for FREE from Audible. 

Below is my honest, unbiased review of The Man Who Knew The Way To The Moon by Todd Zwillich.

I enjoyed learning about the behind the scenes information about how we, as a nation, were able to make it to the moon in July 1969. 

I knew nothing about the story of John C. Houbolt, a mid-level engineer at NASA, who advocated the use of the Lunar Orbit Rendezvous to get to the moon until I listened to The Man Who Knew The Way To The Moon. Nor did I know much about the politics and so on that came to building Apollo 11.

The Man Who Knew The Way To The Moon by Todd Zwillich makes for a fascinating listen for readers that want to learn more about Apollo 11.

Below is the publisher's summary of The Man Who Knew The Way To The Moon by Todd Zwillich from Audible:
The story of John C. Houbolt, an unsung hero of Apollo 11 and the man who showed NASA how to put America on the moon.
Without John C. Houbolt, a mid-level engineer at NASA, Apollo 11 would never have made it to the moon.

Top NASA engineers on the project, including Werner Von Braun, strongly advocated for a single, huge spacecraft to travel to the moon, land, and return to Earth. It's the scenario used in 1950s cartoons and horror movies about traveling to outer space.

Houbolt had another idea: Lunar Orbit Rendezvous. LOR would link two spacecraft in orbit while the crafts were travelling at 3,600 miles an hour around the moon. His plan was ridiculed and considered unthinkable. But this junior engineer was irrepressible. He stood by his concept, fired off memos to executives, and argued that LOR was the only way to success.
For the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11, hear the untold story of the man who helped fulfill Kennedy’s challenge to reach the moon and begin exploring the final frontier.
Below is video footage of author, Todd Zwillich talking about his book, The Man Who Knew The Way To The Moon.



I am giving The Man Who Knew The Way To The Moon by Todd Zwillich a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Monday, July 15, 2019

Little Free Library in San Francisco, California!!

63 Funston Avenue, San Francisco California 94129

This past Saturday afternoon my husband and I spent the afternoon at the various sites within San Francisco's Presidio. 

During our time at the Presidio, we found a Little Free Library outside of the entrance to the Presidio YMCA. I left two books at this particular Little Free Library. 

I had initially planned to take a copy of Shade by Pete Souza with me, but ended up walking away empty handed.

Have you visited any Little Free Libraries lately?

Saturday, July 13, 2019

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher


I purchased a used copy of The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher from our local public library. I'm not a Carrie Fisher fan. However, I was a child when Star Wars was released in 1977. Although I liked Star Wars and have seen most (if not all of the films in the Star Wars series), I can't say I am die hard fan of the Star Wars franchise.

I simply gravitated towards The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher simply because I wanted to read Carrie Fisher's take on her life during the time in which she filmed Star Wars.

All I can say is what a boring waste of time it was to read The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher!! Ugh, this book was so bad... I should have just ditched out on it early on. Instead, I kept reading this book in search of some sort of redeeming value to it... But there wasn't any redeeming value to The Princess Diarist.

The Princess Diarist is rambling and verbose. Ms. Fisher  tried too hard to be clever and funny in her book, but fails miserably at this attempt big time. She comes off as insecure and needy throughout much of The Princess Diarist.

The journal entries Carrie Fisher shares from when she was filming the first Star Wars movie are sad and depressing for the most part. Ms. Fisher came across as having low self esteem and lacking emotional maturity during her time filming Star Wars.

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher is a painful read to get through. Pure drivel.

The following is the publisher's summary for The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher from Amazon:
The last book from beloved Hollywood icon Carrie Fisher, The Princess Diarist is an intimate, hilarious, and revealing recollection of what happened behind the scenes on one of the most famous film sets of all time, the first Star Wars movie.

When Carrie Fisher discovered the journals she kept during the filming of the first Star Wars movie, she was astonished to see what they had preserved—plaintive love poems, unbridled musings with youthful naiveté, and a vulnerability that she barely recognized. Before her passing, her fame as an author, actress, and pop-culture icon was indisputable, but in 1977, Carrie Fisher was just a teenager with an all-consuming crush on her costar, Harrison Ford.

With these excerpts from her handwritten notebooks, The Princess Diarist is Fisher’s intimate and revealing recollection of what happened on one of the most famous film sets of all time—and what developed behind the scenes. Fisher also ponders the joys and insanity of celebrity, and the absurdity of a life spawned by Hollywood royalty, only to be surpassed by her own outer-space royalty. Laugh-out-loud hilarious and endlessly quotable, The Princess Diarist brims with the candor and introspection of a diary while offering shrewd insight into one of Hollywood's most beloved stars.
I am giving The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher a rating of 1 star out of 5 stars. This has to be the worst book I've read so far this year.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Friday, July 12, 2019

Little Free Library in Pleasanton, California

Little Free Library @ 6325 Benner Court, Pleasanton, California 94588

Earlier this week, I found myself once again in Pleasanton, California to pick up the items I knitted and dropped off to be displayed at the Alameda County Fair this year.

Before I drove over to the county fairgrounds, I stopped off at a new to me Little Free Library in Pleasanton and exchanged two used books for two different used books.

This particular Little Free Library was super cute and had a painting of the hungry caterpillar on the side of it. There were plenty of books for both kids and adults inside this Little Free Library.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

A Deadly Delivery by April Fernsby


I was in the mood for a cozy mystery novel, so decided to read A Deadly Delivery by April Fernsby. It's the first novel in 'A Psychic Cafe Mystery' series by April Fernsby.

I was able to download A Deadly Delivery by April Fernsby to my Kindle for FREE from Amazon. 

Below is my honest, unbiased review of A Deadly Delivery by April Fernsby.

I enjoyed reading A Deadly Delivery by April Fernsby. It was a fun cozy mystery novel to read. The characters, plot, storyline, writing, and pace of this novel were all good. I would even consider reading the rest of the books that comprise the rest of 'A Psychic Cafe Mystery' series.

The following is the plot summary for A Deadly Delivery by April Fernsby from Amazon:
Karis Booth has had psychic abilities for as long as she can remember. But this is the first time she’s used them to solve a murder.
Things are changing rapidly for Karis. As well as filing for divorce from her unfaithful husband, she decides it’s time to make peace with her estranged sister, Erin. With trepidation, Karis visits the café which Erin owns. To her great relief, Erin welcomes Karis back into her life with open arms.
During their reconciliation, a young woman, Carmel, calls into the café with a bread delivery. As Karis watches Carmel, she experiences a strong psychic vision. She sees two shadows following Carmel. Only one of the shadows belongs to Carmel — the other belongs to the person who is going to murder her later that day.
With help from her sister and an old neighbour, Karis does all that she can to find out who murdered Carmel. It doesn’t help that the investigating officer is an ex-boyfriend who broke up with Karis because he couldn’t cope with her psychic abilities. Despite this, Karis won’t rest until she finds the killer.
I am giving A Deadly Delivery by April Fernsby a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Whoever Fights Monsters: My Twenty Years Tracking Serial Killers for the FBI by Robert K. Ressler and Tom Shachtman



Whoever Fights Monsters: My Twenty Years Tracking Serial Killers for the FBI by Robert K. Ressler and Tom Shachtman is the third book I finished listening to during the month of July. I listened to the unabridged audio version of this book, which was narrated by Tom Perkins.

Listening time for Whoever Fights Monsters: My Twenty Years Tracking Serial Killers for the FBI by Robert K. Ressler and Tom Shachtman is 11 hours, 25 minutes.

As I mentioned in another review I posted earlier this month, I've been on a nonfiction kick so far during the month of July. I like true crime books and the topics of serial killers and psychological profiling for the FBI make for interesting reading.

I really enjoyed listening to Whoever Fights Monsters: My Twenty Years Tracking Serial Killers for the FBI by Robert K. Ressler and Tom Shachtman. It's a well written book. I enjoyed how the the information is presented to readers as I found myself extremely riveted by this book from start to finish. There isn't a dull moment in this book to be found. 

The author, Robert K. Ressler, is actually credited with coining the term 'serial killer'. Ressler joined the FBI's Behaviorial Science Unit back in the 1970s and was instrumental in providing psychological profiles for violent criminal offenders. Additionally, Ressler was also instrumental in helping to set up Vi-CAP (Violent Criminal Apprehension Program) to name only a very few of his career achievements.

I enjoyed learning about the serial killers discussed in this book, the crimes they committed, and how they were apprehended by law enforcement. 

It was also enlightening to learn what actually makes a serial killer a serial killer. It was also fascinating to learn why white men within a certain age bracket are found primarily to be serial killers verses any other demographic. Also, the distinction between an organized verses disorganized criminal is discussed in length and how this distinction helps law enforcement complete an accurate psychological profile to aid in the capture of a violent criminal.

The following is the publisher's summary for Whoever Fights Monsters: My Twenty Years Tracking Serial Killers for the FBI by Robert K. Ressler and Tom Shachtman from Audible:
Face-to-face with some of America's most terrifying killers, FBI veteran and ex-Army CID colonel Robert Ressler learned from them how to identify the unknown monsters who walk among us - and put them behind bars. Now the man who coined the phrase "serial killer" and advised Thomas Harris on The Silence of the Lambs shows how he has tracked down some of the nation's most brutal murderers.
Just as it happened in The Silence of the Lambs, Ressler uses the evidence at a crime scene to put together a psychological profile of the killers. From the victims they choose, to the way they kill, to the often grotesque souvenirs they take with them, Ressler unlocks the identities of these vicious killers for the police to capture.
Join Ressler as he takes you on the hunt for America's most dangerous psychopaths. It is a terrifying journey you will not forget.
I am giving Whoever Fights Monsters: My Twenty Years Tracking Serial Killers for the FBI by Robert K. Ressler and Tom Shachtman a rating of 5 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Get Well Soon: History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them by Jennifer Wright



I enjoyed listening to Get Well Soon: History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them by Jennifer Wright and narrated by Gabra Zackman.

Listening time for Get Well Soon: History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them by Jennifer Wright is 7 hours, 44 minutes.

I had Get Well Soon: History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them by Jennifer Wright on my reading wishlist for quite a while and I am so happy that I finally listened to this nonfiction book. 

I thoroughly enjoyed Jennifer Wright's writing style! She broke down each chapter into bite sized chunks containing a specific plague without getting too gory/graphic... I didn't want to have nightmares for weeks after listening to this book about plagues!! And the author is humorous - if that's even possible when it comes to the serious topic of plagues.... Don't worry, the author is respectful to the subject matter, but she had me cracking up in parts of her book. Also, the narrator, Gabra Zackman, does an excellent job of narrating this book, which helped make this book an even more wonderful listen if that was possible. I loved that the author not only discusses each plague and how it effected society, but also puts a positive twist on the situation by highlighting the heroes that fought each plague.

The only very minor complaint I had about this book is that there is an entire chapter devoted to the lobotomy. A lobotomy is NOT a plague. It's a medical procedure!! Yes, the lobotomy is an important topic in medical history that needs to be discussed and addressed. The irreversible damage done to patients by this medical procedure is horrific... There's no doubt about that. I simply wish that the author had kept her entire book focused on the topic/theme of various diseases throughout human history. 

The following is the publisher's summary for Get Well Soon: History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them by Jennifer Wright from Audible:
A witty, irreverent tour of history's worst plagues - from the Antonine Plague, to leprosy, to polio - and a celebration of the heroes who fought them.
In 1518, in a small town in Alsace, Frau Troffea began dancing and didn't stop. She danced until she was carried away six days later, and soon 34 more villagers joined her. Then more. In a month more than 400 people had been stricken by the mysterious dancing plague. In late-19th-century England an eccentric gentleman founded the No Nose Club in his gracious townhome - a social club for those who had lost their noses, and other body parts, to the plague of syphilis for which there was then no cure. And in turn-of-the-century New York, an Irish cook caused two lethal outbreaks of typhoid fever, a case that transformed her into the notorious Typhoid Mary.
Throughout time, humans have been terrified and fascinated by the diseases history and circumstance have dropped on them. Some of their responses to those outbreaks are almost too strange to believe in hindsight. Get Well Soon delivers the gruesome, morbid details of some of the worst plagues we've suffered as a species, as well as stories of the heroic figures who selflessly fought to ease the suffering of their fellow man. With her signature mix of in-depth research and storytelling, and not a little dark humor, Jennifer Wright explores history's most gripping and deadly outbreaks, and ultimately looks at the surprising ways they've shaped history and humanity for almost as long as anyone can remember.
 I am giving Get Well Soon: History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them by Jennifer Wright a rating of 5 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Monday, July 8, 2019

Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard


So far during the month of July 2019 I've been on a nonfiction kick when it comes to the books I've read. The first book I finished during the month of July was the unabridged audio version of Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard and narrated by Paul Michael. 

Listening time for Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard is 9 hours, 47 minutes.

Quite honestly, I didn't know much about James A. Garfield, the 20th President of the United States of America, until I listened to Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard.

Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard is a phenomenal book and I highly recommend it to any one wanting to learn more about President James A. Garfield, presidential history, American history, Charles Guiteau (Garfield's assassin), Alexander Graham Bell, and the appalling medical treatment Garfield received after his assassination attempt, and so much more.

I felt that Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard was riveting from start to finish. It is a very well organized book that covers so much history. It was appalling to learn how much President James A. Garfield suffered after his assassination attempt due to archaic medical treatments and practices of the time. Had Garfield received proper medical treatment, he probably would have survived and not died due to infection.

Paul Michael does an excellent job narrating Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard. I highly recommend this book.

The following is the publisher's summary for Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard which I found on Audible:
James A. Garfield may have been the most extraordinary man ever elected president. Born into abject poverty, he rose to become a wunderkind scholar, a Civil War hero, and a renowned and admired reformist congressman. Nominated for president against his will, he engaged in a fierce battle with the corrupt political establishment. But four months after his inauguration, a deranged office seeker tracked Garfield down and shot him in the back.
But the shot didn’t kill Garfield. The drama of what hap­pened subsequently is a powerful story of a nation in tur­moil. The unhinged assassin’s half-delivered strike shattered the fragile national mood of a country so recently fractured by civil war, and left the wounded president as the object of a bitter behind-the-scenes struggle for power—over his administration, over the nation’s future, and, hauntingly, over his medical care. A team of physicians administered shockingly archaic treatments, to disastrous effect. As his con­dition worsened, Garfield received help: Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, worked around the clock to invent a new device capable of finding the bullet.
Meticulously researched, epic in scope, and pulsating with an intimate human focus and high-velocity narrative drive, The Destiny of the Republic will stand alongside The Devil in the White City and The Professor and the Madman as a classic of narrative history.
I am giving Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard a rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Bookshop Benicia in Benicia, California

Bookshop Benicia @ 636 1st Street, Benicia, California 94510
What's a visit to a new to me city without stopping at an independent bookstore??? 

I couldn't resist stopping by Bookshop Benicia while visiting the City of Benicia with my husband on Friday, July 5th. What a delightful independent bookstore!! It's a well organized bookstore and offers not only a plethora of wonderfully curated books, but also offers unique bookish related gifts as well. The staff member on hand was friendly and provided good service during our visit.

I ended up buying a cozy mystery novel as well as a couple of postcards during my visit to Bookshop Benicia. If I lived closer to Benicia, I'd definitely visit this indie bookstore frequently.

Have you visited any good indie bookstores lately?

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Little Free Library in Benicia, California!!

Little Free Library - 376 East H Street, Benicia, California 94510
My husband and I took a half day trip to Benicia, California. During our visit we discovered a Little Free Library where I exchanged a book for another one. I love finding Little Free Libraries on my adventures out in the great wide world!

My husband and I enjoyed visiting other sights in Benicia as well... For instance, did you know that Benicia was the state capital of California before Sacramento became the state capital? Benicia was the state capital of California from 1853-1854. We made a visit to the Benicia Capitol State Historic Park to view the former state capitol building that is now a California Registered Historical Landmark.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday - Books I Wish I'd Read As A Child Or Teen



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.

As an adult, I've read quite a few young adult books and even children's books. I've always been an avid reader my entire life... But somehow, some way, there have been some classics that I missed reading in my youth that I wished I had read at the time!

Below is a list of ten young adult or children's novels I wish I had read during my younger years. Like how did I miss out on so many Judy Blume novels as a youngster???? 

Click on the links to read my read my review of the below novels.

1. Are You There God? It's Me Margaret by Judy Blume
2. Deenie by Judy Blume
3. Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume
4. Forever by Judy Blume
5. Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
6. The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery
7. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
8. War Horse by Michael Morpurgo
9. The Seance by Joan Lowry Nixon
10. The Witches by Roald Dahl

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Book Trailer For the Upcoming Release of The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern


I finally read The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern earlier this month and enjoyed it. 

I soon discovered that Erin Morgenstern has a new book, The Starless Sea, coming out later this year on November 5th... And it sounds amazing! I would like to read it.

Are you as excited about the upcoming release of The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern as I am? If not, which other upcoming 2019 book releases are you excited about reading later this year?

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Knead to Know by Liz Schulte



Knead to Know by Liz Schulte is the first book in 'The Knead to Know Series'. Knead to Know by Liz Schulte is a paranormal read approximately 60 pages in length.

I was able to download Knead to Know by Liz Schulte to my Kindle for FREE. 

Below is my honest, unbiased review of Knead to Know by Liz Schulte.

I enjoyed reading Knead to Know by Liz Schulte quite a bit. The storyline, characters, and writing were well done. 

My only complaint is that Knead to Know by Liz Schulte seemed like it could potentially be a spin off from another series by the author. I say this only because it seems like there was a backstory as to why the main character, Maggie, was half vampire and other details that the reader might know more about that wasn't discussed in detail in Knead to Know.

Knead to Know by Liz Schulte is a standalone book, but it would have been nice to know more of Maggie's backstory... Like how she was turned into a half vampire, etc.

The following is a plot summary for Knead to Know by Liz Schulte, which I found on Amazon's website:
Maggie Edwards can’t sleep, eat, or die—but, she can bake. However, just before the Halloween grand opening of her bakery, a pesky reporter witnesses an accident in her kitchen and gets a little too close to the truth. If she can’t convince him to keep quiet, not only will she lose her chance at happiness, but they both could lose their lives.
I am giving Knead to Know by Liz Schulte a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Friday, June 28, 2019

50/50 Friday - Favorite/Least Favorite Book with a Pink Cover

50/50 Friday is a meme hosted by Carrie @ The Butterfly Reads and Laura @ Blue Eye Books. This book meme focuses on the opposite sides of books (best/worst, differing opinions, etc). Every week will have a new topic and several advance topics will be listed in the tab labeled 50/50 Friday!

This week's topic is to share your most/least favorite book cover. This will be a difficult choice for me to make as there are way too many favorites and I tend to forget about my least favorite book covers. 

I haven't done a 50/50 Friday in a while, so here goes my answers for this week's theme: Favorite/Least Favorite Book with a Pink Cover!


Favorite Book with a Pink Cover goes to:



Least Favorite Book with a Pink Cover goes to:



Tell me your Favorite/Least Favorite Book with a Pink Cover
in the comment section below.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Knitting My Other Hobby - Some of My Knitted Items @ the Alameda County Fair!!


Some of my blog readers may know that I am a knitter as well as an avid reader. I've been knitting for a little over 5 years now. This year, I decided to do something different and entered three of my knitted items to be displayed at the 2019 Alameda County Fair this year. I entered a hat, poncho, and a scarf with fringe.

I didn't win any ribbons for any of my handmade items I entered at the Alameda County Fair this year... And I'm fine with that! It was all about the experience of doing something new to me. 

I had a fabulous time viewing all of the crocheted, knitted, and other handmade items on display at the Alameda County Fair this past Friday with my husband.

Above is a photograph of me standing next to my blue knitted scarf with fringe. 

I am not posting photographs of the poncho or the matching hat I made as it was difficult to take a good shot of each item due to the way they were displayed.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

How To Deal: Tarot For Everyday Life by Sami Main


After recently listening to the unabridged audio version of The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern earlier this month, I decided to read a tarot book as The Night Circus features tarot/fortune telling throughout the novel.

As a side note, I should add that I've been curious about tarot cards and tarot readings off and on throughout my adult life. Finding the appropriate first tarot book to read for the beginner has been been one issue to contend with for me personally. There are a plethora of tarot books (and tarot decks too!!) on the market and many of them are packed with what seems to be an overwhelming amount of information for those new to tarot. In fact, I was often put off by many of the tarot books I came across as many of them didn't resonate with me even though they were supposed to be books for tarot newbies (too woo woo, too new age, too hokey, too academic, too boring, too confusing, etc,). 

I simply wanted a starter tarot book that would help me understand the very basics of tarot with out being overwhelmed by a ton of information... From there I could expand my knowledge with other tarot books, YouTube videos, and so on.

I feel like I've discovered a really good tarot book for the beginner. I finished reading How To Deal: Tarot For Everyday Life by Sami Main and illustrated Marisa de la Pena this past Saturday.

What did I like about How To Deal: Tarot For Everyday Life by Sami Main?

* It's a very quick, easy and straight forward book to read!!
* It includes a table of contents and short introduction.
* It contains a positive message contained throughout the entire book.
* I loved the layout of this book and how it is divided up so that each section focuses on each of the four suits in tarot and then followed by a section covering the major arcana.
* I also enjoyed learning about the meaning  of each of the 78 cards in a tarot deck in an easy to digest single paragraph. Each paragraph gave me the overall meaning of each card's meaning distilled down to its essence.
* At the end of each section covered in the book there is a short section of questions to test your knowledge and help you better understand what you've read.
* The last section of the book covers how to do tarot readings, plus explains 8 different types of tarot layouts, and when to do each of the layouts for specific types of readings. 
* The entire books was straight forward and I can't emphasize this point enough.

What were the cons for How To Deal: Tarot For Everyday Life by Sami Main?

* It's not for the experienced tarot enthusiast.
* It isn't for the person who wants an in depth book about tarot.
* It doesn't cover reversals.
* It probably doesn't dig down deep into the entire meaning of each tarot card. But it does seem to distill the basic meaning of each card, which is essentially what I was and still am looking for at this time. I figure that I can always purchase and read another more detailed tarot book in the future once I have mastered the basics of tarot.

Another side note, How To Deal: Tarot For Everyday Life by Sami Main was published in 2018. I didn't realize at the time I purchased this book that it fell into the teen/young adult genre! I had pretty much assumed that all tarot books were written for adults and solely found in the tarot/divination/occult genre category - not the teen/young adult section.

Below is the publisher's summary I found on Amazon's website:
If you want to channel the power of the cosmos through tarot, this accessible and practical guide is for you. Written for novices and seasoned readers alike, How to Deal is packed with artwork and includes prompts, exercises, and layouts to give you the answers you're looking for.
Sometimes you just need the universe to tell you whether your crush likes you or how to handle that awkward family situation or which life path is the best one for you. Sami Main breaks down how the cards relate to one another, explaining spreads for future readings and questions to ask the cards. And she takes you through all the Major and Minor Arcana, with colorful illustrations of the cards and detailed descriptions of what they mean.

As Sami will teach you: The cards are here to guide you through life’s ups and downs—you just have to understand what they’re trying to say.
I am giving How To Deal: Tarot For Everyday Life by Sami Main a rating of 5 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Snowfall by McKenna Dean



I enjoy reading paranormal romances off and on as the mood strikes me. I recently enjoyed reading a paranormal romance short story titled, Snowfall by McKenna Dean, which I downloaded to my Kindle for FREE from Amazon. Snowfall by McKenna Dean is approximately 38 pages in length.

Below is my honest, unbiased review of Snowfall by McKenna Dean.

McKenna Dean is a new to me author. I enjoy reading short stories by new to me authors as this gives me a way to discover new authors without taking a big risk in reading full length novels. 

As far as short stories go, I thought Snowfall by McKenna Dean was a good one. I frequently find short stories to be hit or miss for me. However, with that said, I thought the characters were well developed for Snowfall by McKenna Dean. I also enjoyed the dialogue and interaction between the two main characters as well. There wasn't a bad case of insta-love and no cliffhanger ending for this short story. These are all good signs of a well written short story to me.

The following is a plot summary for Snowfall by McKenna Dean from Amazon:
The storm of the century. That's what the forecasters called it. No problem. Peyton Grant was ready: books, food, wine, and a wood stove. The only thing she could have wished for was a little company. With heavy snow on the way, that was unlikely.
The last thing she expected was to run into celebrity, Nicholas Lang, stuck in a ditch near her house. What could a small-town veterinarian and a movie star have in common? The answer just might make all Peyton's fantasies come true.
I am giving Snowfall by McKenna Dean a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Little Free Library in Pleasanton, California

Little Free Library @ 4583 Second Street, Pleasanton, CA 94566
Last Friday, my husband and I attended the Alameda County Fair in Pleasanton, California. After our visit to the Alameda County Fair, we found a nearby Little Free Library in Pleasanton. 

At first we didn't see this brightly colored Little Free Library, because the house is situated on a corner lot. Generally, one would expect to find a Little Free Library at the front of the house, not around the corner next to the side entrance to the house in question!! Thank goodness, I saw the bright orange color of this Little Free Library as we began to drive away. I was very pleased to be able to leave a book and take one in return.

Has anyone else had trouble initially spotting a Little Free Library before?

Monday, June 24, 2019

The Merman's Kiss by Tamsin Ley


I was in the mood for a paranormal romance novella, so I downloaded The Merman's Kiss by Tamsin Ley to my Kindle for FREE from Amazon. Below is my honest, unbiased review of The Merman's Kiss by Tamsin Ley.

Okay, I'm a sucker for mermaids (and mermen too!!) and the idea of a human woman having a romance with a merman sounded like it could be a fun romance story to read about. I have to give the author, Tamsin Ley, credit for her underwater world building as it was well done.... Otherwise, I wasn't overly impressed with The Merman's Kiss by Tamsin Ley. The main characters, Briana and Zantu, have a bad case of insta-love early on, which was an unrealistic way to begin a romance. The storyline was predictable with the usual drama that pulls the main characters apart and some major events that create tension in the storyline... But the typical happy ending happens... So no surprise there!!

Below is the plot summary for The Merman's Kiss by Tamsin Ley from Amazon:
A sexy, sleek-tailed monster.

Zantu has evaded the mate-bond for thirty-five years, dodging promiscuous mermaids with vile intents. Unlike mermaids, mermen bond for life, and Zantu refuses to accept the heartbreak most mermen die of. That is, until the glint of gold catches his eye, and a simple salvage mission turns to passion. Now he’s bonded to a human. 
A woman looking for a reason to live.

Briana thinks her life is over after the loss of her child. Instead, she falls into the arms of a merman who is anything but cold-blooded. He’s wild, seductive, and sets her blood on fire every time he touches her, and soon she begins to need him for more than his magic to breathe underwater. He might just give her a new purpose.
But as dangers encroach from every side, Zantu must choose; keep his new mate at his side or keep her safe.

Either way, he’s sure he’ll end up with a broken heart.
I thought The Merman's Kiss by Tamsin Ley was just okay. I am giving it a rating of 2 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Bookish Quote of the Day!!

"The First Book: Go ahead, it won't bite. Well... maybe a little. More a nip, like. A tingle. It's pleasurable, really. You see, it keeps on opening. You may fall in. Sure, it's hard to get started; remember learning to use knife and fork? Dig in: you'll never reach bottom. It's not like it's the end of the world -- just the world as you think you know it."

- Rita Dove

Saturday, June 22, 2019

A Library Thrives in One of Pakistan’s Gun Markets

I came across an article I discovered on the New York Times website titled, A Library Thrives, Quietly, in One of Pakistan’s Gun Markets by Haroon Janjua. In the article, Haroon Janjua wrote the following:
DARRA ADAM KHEL, Pakistan — This tribal district, located about 85 miles west of Islamabad, is best known for its sprawling weapons bazaar. Walking through it, the sounds of workshop machinery and craftsmen striking hammers become a nearly musical backdrop.
A local book lover, Raj Muhammad, hopes it becomes known as the home of the Darra Adam Khel Library. Located near a gun shop that his father built 12 years ago, the library opened in August, and Muhammad considers it a labor of love as well as a message to the area and the wider world.
“I put books on the top of the gun market, making them superior to guns,” he said. “It’s a step for peace.”
Muhammad, 32, earned a master’s in Urdu literature from the University of Peshawar and worked for a Dubai tourism firm before returning to Pakistan to teach. Uninterested in his father’s firearms business, he opened the library to give people in the area better access to books and education.
I also found it interesting to learn through reading the above mentioned article that the literacy rate is 58% among adults in Pakistan. Additionally, libraries are not widespread in Pakistan like they are here in the United States. 

I also read and was touched by the following passage written in the above mentioned article:
Muhammad considers the Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai “our pride,” for her efforts to champion education for girls and becoming the youngest Nobel Prize laureate.
“I was born here,” Muhammad said. “I want the world to remember Darra Adam Khel with a good reputation, not for guns but for the books.”
Click on the top link to read the full article.