Monday, November 18, 2019

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion is a novel I've wanted to read for quite awhile. I'm so happy that I finally listened to the unabridged audio version earlier this fall. 

Listening time for The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion is 7 hours, 32 minutes and is narrated by Dan O'Grady.

I enjoyed this contemporary fiction novel, which I thought was well narrated and funny in parts. 

The following is a plot summary for The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion from Audible:
An international sensation, this hilarious, feel-good novel is narrated by an oddly charming and socially challenged genetics professor on an unusual quest: to find out if he is capable of true love.
Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. He is a man who can count all his friends on the fingers of one hand, whose lifelong difficulty with social rituals has convinced him that he is simply not wired for romance. So when an acquaintance informs him that he would make a "wonderful" husband, his first reaction is shock. Yet he must concede to the statistical probability that there is someone for everyone, and he embarks upon The Wife Project. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which he approaches all things, Don sets out to find the perfect partner. She will be punctual and logical - most definitely not a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker, or a late-arriver.

Yet Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is also beguiling, fiery, intelligent - and on a quest of her own. She is looking for her biological father, a search that a certain DNA expert might be able to help her with. Don's Wife Project takes a back burner to the Father Project and an unlikely relationship blooms, forcing the scientifically minded geneticist to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie - and the realization that love is not always what looks good on paper.

The Rosie Project is a moving and hilarious novel for anyone who has ever tenaciously gone after life or love in the face of overwhelming challenges.
I am giving The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Saturday, November 16, 2019

The Ruby In The Smoke by Philip Pullman

The Ruby In The Smoke by Philip Pullman is the first novel in the Sally Lockhart Quartet and it is also the first novel I've read by Philip Pullman.

The Ruby In The Smoke by Philip Pullman was published in 1985. It's a novel of historical fiction set in Victorian England for young adults and contains a lot of action in it as there is a mystery to be solved.

I quite enjoyed reading The Ruby In The Smoke by Philip Pullman. I especially loved the leading character of Sally Lockhart as she is a smart, resourceful, independent, young lady at 16 years... A very capable person and a strong role model for girls.

I also enjoyed the storyline for The Ruby In The Smoke by Philip Pullman as there was never a dull moment. The writing is good and the characters are fun.

Below is the plot summary for The Ruby In The Smoke by Philip Pullman from Amazon:
“BEWARE THE SEVEN blessings . . . ” When she first utters these words, 16-year-old Sally Lockhart doesn’t know their meaning. But when an employee of her late father hears them, he dies of fear. Thus begins Sally’s terrifying journey into the seamy underworld of Victorian London, in search of clues to her father’s mysterious death.
I am giving The Ruby In The Smoke by Philip Pullman 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Thursday, November 14, 2019

I Hear You by Michael S. Sorensen

I Hear You by Michael S. Sorensen was an unexpected read for me as I came across this unabridged audiobook purely by accident on Audible... It was one of their daily deals for members! 

I couldn't resist the subject matter for I Hear You by Michael S. Sorensen. Who wouldn't want to learn "the surprisingly simple skill behind extraordinary relationships"? 

Besides the listening time for I Hear You by Michael S. Sorensen is 2 hours, 45 minutes, which makes learning this simple skill much more appealing to me... The message is simply stated by the author and easy to understand. Now it's time to put the four steps I learned into action!!

The following is the publisher's summary for I Hear You by Michael S. Sorensen from Audible:
What if making one tweak to your day-to-day conversations could immediately improve every relationship in your life?
In this three-hour, conversational listen, you'll discover the whats, whys, and hows of one of the most valuable (yet surprisingly little-known) communication skills - validation.
Whether you're looking to improve your relationship with your spouse, navigate difficult conversations at work, or connect on a deeper level with friends and family, this book delivers simple, practical, proven techniques for improving any relationship in your life.
Mastery of this simple skill will enable you to:

Calm (and sometimes even eliminate) the concerns, fears, and uncertainties of others. 
Increase feelings of love, respect, and appreciation in your romantic relationships. 
Quickly resolve, or even prevent, arguments. 
Help others become open to your point of view. 
Give advice and feedback that sticks. 
Provide support and encouragement to others, even when you don't know how to "fix" the problem. 
And much more.

In short: this skill is powerful. Give the principles and practices in this book a chance and you'll be amazed at the difference they can make.
I am giving I Hear You by Michael S. Sorensen a rating of 5 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Monday, November 11, 2019

Breast Cancer Boot Camp by William B. Hobbins M.D. & Wendy Sellens L.Ac.

In October of this year, during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I read Breast Cancer Boot Camp by William B. Hobbins M.D. & Wendy Sellens L.Ac.

I found Breast Cancer Boot Camp by William B. Hobbins M.D. & Wendy Sellens L.Ac. to be a fascinating book. I think Breast Cancer Boot Camp is well written and organized. It contains a lot of educational information about optimal breast health.

I feel like Breast Cancer Boot Camp by William B. Hobbins M.D. & Wendy Sellens L.Ac. is a must read for every woman wanting to reduce their risk for breast cancer. Currently, the U.S. Breast Cancer Statistics states that "about 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime."  

As a woman, I've always been interested in learning more about breast health and monitoring my breast health through the use of thermography in addition to mammography and ultrasound. The reason I like using multiple modalities to screen/check for breast cancer is that "a mammogram is only 48 percent accurate for women under fifty and 68 percent for women over 50." (page 245 in Breast Cancer Boot Camp). 

I also like that thermography is noninvasive and doesn't use radiation. But it is very important to find a certified breast thermography center.

Breast Thermography Finds Cancer Before Mammography

I've had several thermograms performed by Wendy Sellens over the years. Wendy is extremely professional. She is thoughtful and knowledgeable. Wendy has helped educate me in improving my overall breast health. I've made some significant lifestyle changes already and am now ready to incorporate a few additional lifestyle changes as well. It's all about being informed and feeling empowered.

Below is the summary for Breast Cancer Boot Camp by William B. Hobbins M.D. & Wendy Sellens L.Ac. from Goodreads:

Bio-identical estrogens, flax, and soy create weight gain, infertility, accelerate aging, and increase risk for breast cancer. Learn how the myth of staying young with estrogen has caused a 210% rise in breast cancer even with advancements in medical technology, increased research, and awareness. If around 80% of breast cancers are "fed" by estrogens, why do doctors and "wellness centers" continue to prescribe them? Why is the answer to every female issue more estrogen?
The answers can be found in breast thermography, a safe screening procedure that begins in the twenties which monitors blood circulation in the breasts and determines individual risk for early detection.
It is time to take up arms and expose the deceptions which saturate the breast health community. Breast Cancer Boot Camp's thermographic evidence will reveal how misinformation and propaganda are increasing your risk with "natural" estrogens. Learn how estrogen deficiency is actually rare, PMS and symptoms of menopause are not normal, and that bio-identical estrogen is just as harmful as HRTs. Learn how most breast thermography clinics are not meeting the minimum standard requirements which provide you with vital breast risk information.
Today, we women are caught up in a battle for our breasts and our lives. Our mothers and grandmothers have paid the high price of believing in medical rumors. Do not let these victims become more statistics to fill headlines and further the "cause" for more walks. It is time to arm yourself with knowledge. Simply look at the images...the findings will shock every woman!
I am giving Breast Cancer Boot Camp by William B. Hobbins M.D. & Wendy Sellens L.Ac. a rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 stars. 

The only reason I didn't give this book a higher rating was because some of the information was repeated several times throughout the book making some of the information repetitive.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Friday, November 8, 2019

Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu is a classic, Gothic novella "and one of the early works of vampire fiction, predating Bram Stoker's Dracula (1897) by 26 years." (Wikipedia

I listened to the unabridged audio version of Dracula by Bram Stoker two years ago. So when I learned about Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu being the precursor to Dracula, I wanted to read it.

I read Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu last month as another book to get me into the Halloween mood. Carmilla is a quick read at approximately 106 pages for the ebook edition I read... And although I'm glad that I finally read Carmilla, I didn't think it was all that great.The storyline was slow and rather boring.

Below is the plot summary for Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu from Amazon:
Carmilla is a Gothic novella by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu first published in 1872. It tells the story of a young woman's susceptibility to the attentions of a female vampire named Carmilla. Carmilla predates Bram Stoker's Dracula by 25 years. Although Carmilla is a lesser known and far shorter Gothic vampire story than the generally-considered master work of that genre, Dracula, the latter is heavily influenced by Le Fanu's short story.
Carmilla, the title character, is the original prototype for a legion of female and lesbian vampires. Though Le Fanu portrays his vampire's sexuality with the circumspection that one would expect for his time, it is evident that lesbian attraction is the main dynamic between Carmilla and the narrator of the story.
I am giving Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu a rating of 2 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Saturday, November 2, 2019

The Conception of Terror - Tales Inspired by M. L. James

I was able to download and listen to the unabridged audio version of The Conception of Terror - Tales Inspired by M. L. James from Audible for FREE with my Audible membership. 

Below is my honest, unbiased review of The Conception of Terror - Tales Inspired by M. L. James.

This was a Halloween pick for me. I wanted to love this collection of tales of terror, but alas, I didn't enjoy them very much at all. The stories weren't that great in my opinion.

Below is the plot summary for The Conception of Terror - Tales Inspired by M. L. James from Goodreads:
A collection of four ghostly tales inspired by M. R. James.
Casting the Runes - adapted by Stephen Gallagher
When academic Jo Harrington (Anna Maxwell Martin) is sent a paper - The Truth of Alchemy, by Anton Karswell - for peer review, she pulls no punches. It has no place in a serious academic publication, and Karswell is a half-bright fool. However, when the editor writes a rejection note to Karswell, he inadvertently includes her entire email. Occultist Karswell (Reece Shearsmith) doesn’t take kindly to criticism.
On the tube home with her partner Edward Dunning (Tom Burke), Jo spots a poster with her name on it. It reads: 'In memory of Joanne Harrington, M.Litt, PhD, died September eighteenth, three days were allowed.' Is there anything that Edward can do to save Jo from this curse?
Lost Hearts - adapted by A. K. Benedict
Teenager Stephanie Elliot (Rosa Coduri) is taken to Aswarby House to be fostered by Mrs Bunch (Susan Jameson). Stephanie strikes up a friendship with Ben (Bill Milner), the adopted son of charismatic community leader Mr Abney (Jeff Rawle). He tells her that Mr Abney is a good man: he even took in a child refugee last year, but she ran away and stole from him. Stephanie is troubled by voices and visions of a dead girl clutching at her chest, and when Ben disappears she begins to suspect that all is not right in Aswarby House.
The Treasure of Abbot-Thomas - adapted by Jonathan Barnes
When former Somerton school pupil Greg Parsbury (Robert Bathurst) meets history teacher Mika Chantry (Pearl Mackie) at a memorial service for schoolmaster Sam Abbot-Thomas, he begs for her help. He has been sent a postcard by the estate of the mysterious and charismatic Abbot-Thomas. On it is a strange inscription in Latin, which he believes to be an inaugural clue in a treasure hunt: much like the elaborate treasure hunts Abbot-Thomas used to set back in the 1970s. There were rumours that Abbot-Thomas possessed a hidden fortune, and Parsbury and Chantry set out to find it.
A View from a Hill - adapted by Mark Morris
Comedian and podcaster Paul Fanshawe (Andy Nyman) and his wife, Sarah (Alice Lowe), visit the Cotswolds on holiday, trying to rebuild their lives after the death of their young son, Archie. Whilst out walking they spot a beautiful abbey across the valley on Gallows Hill, but when they reach it, they find the building is little more than rubble. While Sarah explores, Paul records commentary for his podcast. Sarah thinks she hears children’s laughter, but there’s no-one there. Later that night she listens back to the recording and hears a child’s voice whisper, 'Mummy.' Sarah is convinced that Archie is trying to reach them and wants to return to the ruins. But something far worse is waiting for them on Gallows Hill.
I am giving The Conception of Terror - Tales Inspired by M. L. James a rating of 1 star out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Thursday, October 31, 2019

An Eagle Named Freedom by Jeff Guidry

I've had the paperback edition of An Eagle Named Freedom by Jeff Guidry in my possession for over 5 years and finally read it in September of this year.

I enjoyed reading about Jeff Guidry's time spent as a volunteer at the Sarvey Wildlife Care Center in Arlington, Washington. He not only forms a strong bond with Freedom, but he also shares stories about several of the other animals and volunteers he comes to know during his time spent volunteering at the Sarvey Wildlife Care Center.

The author also fights and wins his battle over cancer. Guidry's relationship with Freedom helps him during his battle with cancer. 

I also enjoyed reading about Jeff Guidry's respect and love for animals, wildlife, and being an advocate for animals.

Below is a summary for An Eagle Named Freedom by Jeff Guidry from Amazon:
In the tradition of A Lion Called Christian and Alex and Me comes An Eagle Named Freedom, Jeff Guidry’s remarkable story of how he rehabilita Carted a severely damaged bald eagle back to health—and how the majestic bird later inspired the author to triumph over cancer. Animal lovers and readers fascinated by the spiritual ties between animals and humans will not soon forget this beautiful, inspiring true tale of an extraordinary friendship.
I am giving An Eagle Named Freedom by Jeff Guidry a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Friday, October 25, 2019

Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on The Decision Not To Have Kids by Meghan Daum (Editor)

There was a time in my life that I had assumed that I would marry and have children of my own when I became an adult. However, by the time I was about 16 years old, my decision to have children in the future quickly fell by the wayside and I wanted to be childless forever. There were several reasons for this decision that I won't get into here.

As a side note, it's always been amazing to me that people assume that you will have children once you've become an adult, have finished college, started a career, and are finally married... In fact, you no sooner start a serious relationship as an adult and people start peppering you with questions as to when you'll get married... Then no sooner are you married, the questions start coming from well meaning family members and friends as to when you'll both be having children!! And, it seems to me like the woman in the relationship is always asked these types of questions about when children will be coming along, etc. and RARELY is the man ever asked these types of questions. 

Additionally, I've received some strange comments in the past from people that I barely know when I said that I wasn't having children. Mind you, these comments were made after I had been asked when my husband and I were having children. Hence, I was never simply volunteering my decision not to have children. Most people have been polite and respectful with my decision not to have children, especially close family members. 

It's just weird that a few people have had a problem (or have made the odd comment) with my decision not to start a family when it was never their decision to make in the first place.

So when I came across Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on The Decision Not To Have Kids by Meghan Daum, I looked forward to reading these essays. Thirteen of the essays were written by women and three of the essays were written by men. The essays are diverse and varied. I enjoyed most of the essays with the exception of two of them.

The following is a summary for Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on The Decision Not To Have Kids by Meghan Daum from Goodreads:
Sixteen Literary Luminaries On The Controversial Subject Of Being Childless By Choice, Collected In One Fascinating Anthology.
One of the main topics of cultural conversation during the last decade was the supposed "fertility crisis," and whether modern women could figure out a way to way to have it all--a successful, demanding career and the required 2.3 children--before their biological clock stopped ticking. Now, however, conversation has turned to whether it's necessary to have it all or, perhaps more controversial, whether children are really a requirement for a fulfilling life. The idea that some women and men prefer not to have children is often met with sharp criticism and incredulity by the public and mainstream media.
In this provocative and controversial collection of essays, curated by writer Meghan Daum, sixteen acclaimed writers explain why they have chosen to eschew parenthood. Contributors Lionel Shriver, Sigrid Nunez, Kate Christiensen, Elliott Holt, Geoff Dyer, and Tim Kreider, among others, offer a unique perspective on the overwhelming cultural pressure of parenthood.
Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed makes a thoughtful and passionate case for why parenthood is not the only path in life, taking our parent-centric, kid-fixated, baby-bump-patrolling culture to task in the process. What emerges is a more nuanced, diverse view of what it means to live a full, satisfying life.
I am giving Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on The Decision Not To Have Kids by Meghan Daum a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

My Top Ten Favorite Nonfiction Books About Animals

I enjoy reading nonfiction books about animals. Below are ten books I've really enjoyed reading about animals in recent years.

1. Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior by Temple Grandin
2. Alex & Me: How a Scientist and a Parrot Discovered a Hidden World of Animal Intelligence—and Formed a Deep Bond in the Process by Irene M. Pepperberg
3. Wesley the Owl: The Remarkable Love Story of an Owl and His Girl by Stacey O'Brien
4. An Eagle Named Freedom: My True Story of a Remarkable Friendship by Jeff Guidry
5. Cat Daddy: What the World's Most Incorrigible Cat Taught Me About Life, Love, and Coming Clean by Jackson Galaxy
6. Grayson by Lynne Cox
7. Pack of Two: The Intricate Bond Between People and Dogs by Caroline Knapp
8 The Elephant Whisperer by Lawrence Anthony
9. The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill: A Love Story . . . with Wings by Mark Bittner
10. Making the Rounds with Oscar: The Inspirational Story of a Doctor, His Patients and a Very Special Cat by Dr. David Dosa

Please share with me a few of your favorite nonfiction books about animals in the comment section below as I'm always on the look out for good books!!

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Dapper Dan: Made In Harlem: A Memoir by Daniel R. Day

I received an advance uncorrected paperback proofs copy of Dapper Dan: Made In Harlem: A Memoir by Daniel R. Day through the Goodreads Giveaway program. 

Below is my honest, unbiased review of Dapper Dan: Made In Harlem: A Memoir by Daniel R. Day.

I think Dapper Dan: Made In Harlem: A Memoir by Daniel R. Day is the 8th memoir I've read this year so far... Anyway, I enjoy reading memoirs quite a bit as I enjoy learning about people from all different walks of life whether they are famous or not. I find people to be interesting and feel like each person's life experience has something of relevance to offer to other people/readers.

Dapper Dan: Made In Harlem: A Memoir by Daniel R. Day is an excellent read. Prior to reading Dapper Dan's memoir, I didn't know who he was at all. I enjoyed reading about Dapper Dan's life as it made for interesting reading as he has lived a very colorful life. Dapper Dan is a very smart, creative individual who reinvents himself multiple times and overcomes many obstacles/hardships throughout his life. But he never gives up on himself and always seems to end up landing on his feet. Dapper Dan is the epitome of perseverance and reinvention.

Below is the publisher's summary for Dapper Dan: Made In Harlem: A Memoir by Daniel R. Day from Amazon:
With his now-legendary store on 125th Street in Harlem, Dapper Dan pioneered high-end streetwear in the 1980s, remixing classic luxury-brand logos into his own innovative, glamorous designs. But before he reinvented haute couture, he was a hungry boy with holes in his shoes, a teen who daringly gambled drug dealers out of their money, and a young man in a prison cell who found nourishment in books. In this remarkable memoir, he tells his full story for the first time.
Decade after decade, Dapper Dan discovered creative ways to flourish in a country designed to privilege certain Americans over others. He witnessed, profited from, and despised the rise of two drug epidemics. He invented stunningly bold credit card frauds that took him around the world. He paid neighborhood kids to jog with him in an effort to keep them out of the drug game. And when he turned his attention to fashion, he did so with the energy and curiosity with which he approaches all things: learning how to treat fur himself when no one would sell finished fur coats to a Black man; finding the best dressed hustler in the neighborhood and converting him into a customer; staying open twenty-four hours a day for nine years straight to meet demand; and, finally, emerging as a world-famous designer whose looks went on to define an era, dressing cultural icons including Eric B. and Rakim, Salt-N-Pepa, Big Daddy Kane, Mike Tyson, Alpo Martinez, LL Cool J, Jam Master Jay, Diddy, Naomi Campbell, and Jay-Z.
By turns playful, poignant, thrilling, and inspiring, Dapper Dan: Made in Harlem is a high-stakes coming-of-age story spanning more than seventy years and set against the backdrop of an America where, as in the life of its narrator, the only constant is change.
I am giving Dapper Dan: Made In Harlem: A Memoir by Daniel R. Day a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Saturday, October 12, 2019

The Elephant Whisperer by Lawrence Anthony

I LOVE, Love, love elephants!!! So deciding to listening to the unabridged audio version to The Elephant Whisperer by Lawrence Anthony was a no brainer for me. Additionally, The Elephant Whisperer by Lawrence Anthony is narrated by the phenomenal, Simon Vance, which made my experience that much better.

Listening time for The Elephant Whisperer by Lawrence Anthony is 10 hours, 55 minutes.

The Elephant Whisperer by Lawrence Anthony exceeded my expectations. It's a work of nonfiction and has a lot more depth to it than I expected. I highly recommend reading The Elephant Whisperer.

The following is a summary for The Elephant Whisperer by Lawrence Anthony from Audible:
When South African conservationist Lawrence Anthony was asked to accept a herd of "rogue" wild elephants on his Thula Thula game reserve in Zululand, his common sense told him to refuse. But he was the herd's last chance of survival: they would be killed if he wouldn't take them. In order to save their lives, Anthony took them in. In the years that followed he became a part of their family. And as he battled to create a bond with the elephants, he came to realize that they had a great deal to teach him about life, loyalty, and freedom.

The Elephant Whisperer is a heartwarming, exciting, funny, and sometimes sad account of Anthony's experiences with these huge yet sympathetic creatures. Set against the background of life on an African game reserve, with unforgettable characters and exotic wildlife, it is a delightful book that will appeal to animal lovers and adventurous souls everywhere.
I am giving The Elephant Whisperer by Lawrence Anthony a rating of 5 stars out of 5 star.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Monday, September 30, 2019

Reading Update

Even though I haven't being post much the past 2 months (due to a health flare up), I have read a total of 33 books during the months of August and September! 

I'm just really behind at the moment on writing book reviews as I've only written/posted 4 reviews of the 33 books I've read during August and September.

Hopefully, I can start posting more book reviews soon. In the meantime, I'll keep reading more books.

Here's why physical books still outsell e-books!!

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

I read Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson this week for Banned Books Week. This is the third young adult novel I've read by Laurie Halse Anderson and as usual, her writing is powerful, emotional, and phenomenal! I've also read and reviewed Speak and Catalyst by Laurie Halse Anderson.

With that said, I found Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson to be a difficult novel to read. In fact, Wintergirls is my least favorite novel by the author to date as I found it to be too raw and depressing. Wintergirls deals with anorexia, bulimia, and cutting/self-mutilation.

According to an article I discovered on the Penguin Teen website titled, 10 Books to Celebrate During Banned Books Week, Wintergirls has been banned because it "has been said to be like a 'guide' for teens who want to starve themselves, and possibly triggering for those who have suffered."

Below is the plot summary for Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson from Amazon:
“Dead girl walking,” the boys say in the halls.“Tell us your secret,” the girls whisper, one toilet to another.I am that girl.I am the space between my thighs, daylight shining through.I am the bones they want, wired on a porcelain frame.
Lia and Cassie are best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the skinniest. But what comes after size zero and size double-zero? When Cassie succumbs to the demons within, Lia feels she is being haunted by her friend’s restless spirit.
In her most emotionally wrenching, lyrically written book since the multiple-award-winning Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson explores Lia’s descent into the powerful vortex of anorexia, and her painful path toward recovery.
I am giving Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Monday, September 16, 2019

Positive Options for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS): Self-Help and Treatment by Elena Juris

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is a topic near and dear to my heart, but a difficult topic for me to discuss with those outside of very close family members and friends.

10 years ago, I went in for a routine blood draw and during my drive home afterward, I began feeling a plethora of disturbing symptoms: numbness, tingling, swelling, and pain at the blood draw site that radiated/spread into my forearm, wrist, hand, and fingers. 

The symptoms steadily grew worse on my drive home to the point that I could no longer close my hand and make a fist shortly after arriving home. My fingers looked like fat, red sausages and my hand and wrist were swollen beyond belief. 

New symptoms kept appearing: sweaty palm, intense burning sensations, waxy/shiny skin that made my fingers, hand, wrist, and forearm look like they belonged on a mannequin, and several other forms of pain. I was in constant pain 24/7 and in a lot of distress over what was going on.

After seeing my primary care physician, having an ultrasound, a MRI, and seeing 2 to 3 different specialists, I was finally diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) 2 to 3 months after the blood draw that caused it. 

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is not curable, but can go into remission. There is loads of information about it online and not all of the information is positive.

Long story short, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) has been a difficult journey with various highs and lows. I've recently had a pretty bad flare up (which is still ongoing) beginning in early August 2019 that has kept me from doing much blogging and other basic daily activities without some assistance. I've given up on knitting and several other activities for the time being as well. 

So if you don't see me posting much on my blog or responding to comments you leave for me... or don't find me commenting on your blog posts... please don't take it personally. I'm currently on a healing journey.

I've recently read Positive Options for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS): Self-Help and Treatment by Elena Juris and have come away with a renewed outlook regarding CRPS. I am armed with new information and look forward to trying some new protocols. Onward I MUST go!!

Here's a summary for Positive Options for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS): Self-Help and Treatment by Elena Juris from Amazon:
Imagine if the mere breeze of an air conditioner on your skin were to cause excruciating pain. For those suffering from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), previously called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), this crippling neuropathic pain poses an unrelenting reality. With symptoms such as swelling, hypersensitivity, stiffness, burning pain, and temperature abnormalities, CRPS can develop at any time and quickly leaves its victims disabled and isolated.
This book explains CRPS in an accessible style for all readers, providing the latest medical treatments, complementary therapies, and holistic coping strategies for maximizing the potential for healing. Readers will find a wealth of tips on life modifications to help better manage their condition. They'll find two interviews with practitioners who offer insights every patient should know, with the help of pain specialist Edward Carden, MD, and occupational therapist and neurological acupuncturist Sheri Barnes. They'll find a discussion of complementary therapies to tailor to their needs. They'll find a list of "dynamite distractions" that can refresh the pain-wracked mind and help readers rediscover their imagination and humor, when they just need to take their mind off the illness. They'll draw hope from real patient testimonies on techniques for transforming the pain and discomfort of CRPS. They'll find a chapter addressed to loved ones, providing advice and support in their difficult roles as encouragers and caregivers. Finally, readers will find information on how everyone can help to increase CRPS awareness, and an extensive list of resources to help patients and caregivers begin to connect with the support available.
CRPS remains a mysterious, poorly understood condition and few books about it exist, as knowledge of the syndrome continues to evolve. Previously, the condition was called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD). This second, retitled edition to the original Positive Options for Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD): Self-help and Treatment (2004) is chock-full of new information, reflecting a decade's worth of advancements following the popular debut of the book's first edition.
I am giving Positive Options for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS): Self-Help and Treatment by Elena Juris 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Author, Ann Patchett's Bookstore, Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee

Wow, Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee looks like a really cool, independent bookstore!! The website for Parnassus Books is well done, so check out their website by clicking on the above link.

If I ever visit Nashville, Tennessee, I'll have to stop by Parnassus Books. 

Check out the above video to learn more.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday - The Ten Books In My 'TBR' I’ve Avoided Reading and Why!

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 the Top Ten Books In My TBR I’ve Avoided Reading and Why.

1. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Duma - I have the unabridged audio version of this novel and the listening time for it is 43 hours, 52 minutes!! I've heard nothing but great things about this classic novel, BUT the time it will take to listening to it seems like a lot of time to devote to a single novel.

2. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy - I was a Russian language major in college and love Russian classic novels. Believe it or not, I have yet to read Anna KareninaI have the unabridged audio version of this novel and the listening time for it is 35 hours, 35 minutes!! I've heard nothing but great things about this classic novel, BUT the time it will take to listening to it seems like a lot of time to devote to a single novel!!!

3. Blackwater: The Complete Saga by Michael McDowell - I have the unabridged audio version of this saga and the listening time for it is 30 hours, 9 minutes!! This is another one of those long books by a new to me author and it seems daunting to listen to a novel because of its length.

4. Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl - I picked up an autographed copy of this novel at The Poisoned Pen Bookstore in Scottsdale, Arizona shortly after it came out in 2006. I thought the title was catchy and it sounded like a great novel, but I have yet to read this novel. I am not sure why I haven't read this book yet.

5. Encounter With Tiber by Buzz Aldrin & John Barnes - Okay, I had the wonderful opportunity of briefly meeting Buzz Aldrin, the second man on the moon, at an author signing event in 1996 for his above mentioned novel. (I even had my photograph taken with him!! How cool is that??) Of course, I had Buzz Aldrin sign his book for me at the event as well... (I think the author signing event was at a Barnes and Noble in San Diego???) But the fact is, I've never read Encounter With Tiber to this day!! Looking back on it now, I think I was just happy to have met Buzz Aldrin in person, have my photo taken with him, and have a signed book by him. Encounter With Tiber is a science fiction novel. I've never been much of a science fiction fan. Plus, it is a long book at over 500 pages, which is another reason why I've never read the book. I've kept Encounter With Tiber all of these years. Maybe I should read it to see if it is any good!

6. The Devil's Company by David Liss  - I picked up the autographed, hardback edition of The Devil's Company at an indie bookstore over 5 years ago. I had heard great things about David Liss's writing, so when I found an autographed copy of his above mentioned novel, I bought it. What I didn't realize at the time was that The Devil's Company is the 3rd novel in a series!! I generally don't like starting novels that are in the middle of a series. I haven't felt like buying the 1st two novels in the series and starting the series from the beginning. I have a feeling that this novel will remain unread. I am thinking of selling it online.

7. The 5-Minute Face: The Quick & Easy Makeup Guide for Every Woman by Carmindy - I use to love watching the television series, 'What Not To Wear'. I thought the make-up artist, Carmindy, always did a good job applying make-up for guests on the show, making them look natural. So when I discovered that Carmindy had come out with a make-up book several years ago, I decided to buy it to learn a few tricks as I'd never been much of a make-up wearer. Long story short, I've never read the book (yet), mainly because I haven't worn make-up the last 6 years. But I may return to wearing make up again in the years to come, so have kept the book in my collection.

8. S by J. J. Abrams - I remember learning about this book before it had been published in October 2013. I knew I had to obtain a copy of S once it was released and read it asap. It sounded to intriguing and unique not to read and keep in my personal collection. Why I still haven't read this book yet is a mystery to me!

9. Wear Your Dreams: My Life in Tattoos by Ed Hardy - For the record, I have no tattoos, nor do I ever plan to obtain any tattoos. However, during the past 20 to 25 years, it seems like everyone from every walk of life is having themselves tattooed. 

Ed Hardy is one of the well known tattoo artists that have made a big name for himself. Interested in popular culture, I decided to acquire a copy of his memoir to learn about his life. Somewhere along the way, I lost interest in reading Ed Hardy's memoir. BUT, there is still hope that I may end up reading Hardy's memoir after all... I recently learned that the de Young Museum in San Francisco, California has an Ed Hardy exhibit now through early October of this year. Maybe if I see the exhibit, I will become inspired once again to read this memoir.

10. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson - I started reading this novel years ago after watching the movie, but I gave up on it roughly 20-30 pages into it as I just couldn't get into at the time. I've never tried reading it again. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has been such a popular read, so maybe I should give it another try??? 

Maybe I need some inspiration here... Have you read any of the above books?? Is there a single book in particular I should REALLY read this year? Let me know in the comment section below!

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Topaz by Leon Uris

I've been wanting to read a novel by Leon Uris for a few years now. I decided to give his novel, Topaz, a try! I ended up listening to the unabridged audio version of Topaz by Leon Uris and narrated by David de Vries.

Listening time for Topaz by Leon Uris is 11 hours, 8 minutes.

I like cold war, spy thrillers and Topaz by Leon Uris fits the bill in spades for this category. Overall, I like the plot, storyline, and character for Topaz. Leon Uris is a master story teller and definitely writes a layered and detailed story. 

David de Vries is an excellent narrator. I'll have to look into other books he has narrated.

My only complaint is that women aren't always portrayed in the most positive light in this novel. Topaz by Leon Uris was published in 1967. So the female characters seem very stereotypical for the time. 

The following is the plot summary for Topaz by Leon Uris from Audible:
A #1 New York Times bestseller, Topaz follows French intelligence chief André Devereaux and NATO intelligence chief Michael Nordstrom.

On the eve of the Cuban Missile Crisis in Paris, 1962, Devereaux and Nordstrom uncover Soviet plans to ship nuclear arms. But when nobody acts after sharing his findings, Devereaux becomes the target of an assassination attempt and soon realizes the plot extends far beyond Cuba - and himself.

A thrilling and well-paced novel filled with Cold War intrigue, Topaz features two agents on a journey around the world to save NATO and themselves. A subsequent film based on the novel was directed by Alfred Hitchcock and released in 1969.
I am giving Topaz by Leon Uris a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Beloved Author, Toni Morrison, Dies @ Age 88

I discovered this morning in an online article from The New York Times titled, Toni Morrison, Towering Novelist of the Black Experience, Dies at 88 by Margalit Fox, that Novel Prize winning author, Toni Morrison, died yesterday due to complications from pneumonia. In the article, Margalit Fox wrote a lengthy obituary about Toni Morrison's life. Click on the above link to read the full obituary.

I have only read one of Toni Morrison's novels for a college English course, The Bluest Eyes, back in the early 1990s. I've always wanted to read more of her novels. I remember liking The Bluest Eyes at the time... But I cannot remember much of the plot details for this novel now though. I recently placed it on my reread list.

Have you read any of Toni Morrison's novels? If so, which ones have you read? What did you think of the novels you read by Toni Morrison?

Monday, August 5, 2019

The Evolution of the Book!!

The basic evolution of the book is discussed in the above YouTube video. I enjoyed learning some new things by by watching the video. I hope you enjoy watching the video too.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm

I've wanted to read Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm for quite awhile. I am glad that I finally did read this book. It's really well done.

The artwork for Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm is phenomenal and really captures a lot of detail making this a worthwhile read! The text that accompanies this novel provides just the right amount of information about the history of uranium and plutonium, fission, the Manhattan Project, the making of the first atomic bomb, the key players in making the first atomic bomb, detonating the first atomic bombs, its aftermath, and so on. 

I highly recommend Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm if you like learning about history and want to know the basics behind the first atomic bomb. Additionally, if you like reading graphic novels in general, then you'll like the artwork inside this book as well. 

I also found the font size of the text in this book to be the perfect size... Usually, I find the font size to be so small in graphic novels, comic and manga books that I need to use a magnifier of some sort to read the text itself!

Below is the publisher's summary of Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm from Amazon:
Trinity, the debut graphic book by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm, depicts the dramatic history of the race to build and the decision to drop the first atomic bomb in World War Two. This sweeping historical narrative traces the spark of invention from the laboratories of nineteenth-century Europe to the massive industrial and scientific efforts of the Manhattan Project, and even transports the reader into a nuclear reaction―into the splitting atoms themselves.The power of the atom was harnessed in a top-secret government compound in Los Alamos, New Mexico, by a group of brilliant scientists led by the enigmatic wunderkind J. Robert Oppenheimer. Focused from the start on the monumentally difficult task of building an atomic weapon, these men and women soon began to wrestle with the moral implications of actually succeeding. When they detonated the first bomb at a test site code-named Trinity, they recognized that they had irreversibly thrust the world into a new and terrifying age.With powerful renderings of WWII's catastrophic events at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Fetter-Vorm unflinchingly chronicles the far-reaching political, environmental, and psychological effects of this new invention. Informative and thought-provoking, Trinity is the ideal introduction to one of the most significant events in history.
I am giving Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm a rating of 5 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Friday, August 2, 2019

50/50 Friday - Best/Worst Read of July 2019

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 50/50 Friday topic is Best/Worst Read of July 2019!! I read 16 books! Still need to write a few reviews though.

My Worst Read of July 2019
The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher
(Click on above link to read my review)

My Best Reads of July 2019
I have a tie for this category!! 
Two books made the spot for favorite read for July 2019.

(Click on above link to read my review)

(Click on above link to read my review)

Which books were your favorite reads in July 2019?

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Daxton by Becca Fanning

Daxton by Becca Fanning is another paranormal romance short story to feature bear shifters. It's approximately 50 pages and is the first in the 120 Proof Honey Series.

I was able to download Daxton by Becca Fanning to my Kindle for FREE from Amazon.

Below is my honest, unbiased review of Daxton by Becca Fanning.

The writing and storyline started out really well for Daxton. I liked the main characters. I also liked the tension and and some of the drama... BUT how the drama was handled seemed a bit unrealistic. Additionally, the ending for Daxton was abrupt and felt rushed, which made it lose points with me.

The following is the plot summary for Daxton by Becca Fanning from Amazon:
Blair Mason was a woman with a one-track mind, and that track was work. From sunrise to sun down, all she thought about was how to keep her small town grocery store open. That meant hard decisions, the type Blair was in the midst of making when she was rudely interrupted by a tall man. A tall handsome man. Oh, there were things other than work after all!
Daxton Holt thought getting his honey on Mason's shelves would be simple. Walk in, flash a smile and fill out some paperwork. But this owner was something else. She saw right through his charms, pushing him to really sell his product. He liked that, and he liked her. A feisty little minx is sweeter than any honey his bees made...
I am giving Daxton by Becca Fanning a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Dietrich by Becca Fanning

Dietrich by Becca Fanning is a paranormal romance read. I read the ebook version of Dietrich by Becca Fanning, which is approximately 44 pages... So I guess you could call it a short story!!

I was able to download Dietrich by Becca Fanning for FREE to my Kindle from Amazon.

Below is my honest, unbiased review of Dietrich by Becca Fanning.

I thought Dietrich by Becca Fanning was an okay read. It is the first read in the Bear Dating Agency Series and contains bear shifters. I thought the writing was okay and so was the storytelling. Let's just say that this short story is forgettable... I read Dietrich a few days ago and I am already forgetting quite a bit of the plot details. I'll skip reading the rest of the series.

The following is the plot summary for Dietrich by Becca Fanning from Amazon:
Elise Davenport was not having a good night. Just the day before she put her whole career on the line thanks to a few glasses of champagne. Loose lips can sink ships, and they can obliterate your social status. So here she was, stumbling through Fairhaven Park in pitch blackness, looking for the cabin she rented. She'd just hung up the phone with her agent when she heard the rumbling growl come from beside her. Not a good night at all...
Dietrich Best was trying to play it cool. The young lady now sitting next to his Gram looked him up and down, her eyes stopping on his washboard abs. But soon they made their way up, locking with his. She knew. Somehow she knew...
I am giving Dietrich by Becca Fanning a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday - FREEBIE - Book Series I'd Like To Catch Up On

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 the top ten book series I'd enjoy catching up on in the future!

1. The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon
2. The Lord John Grey Series by Diana Gabaldon
3. The Blood Destiny Series by Connie Suttle
4. Miss Fortune Mystery Series by Jana DeLeon
5. Tenzing Norbu Mystery Series by Gay Hendricks & Tinker Lindsay
6. A Flower Shop Mystery Series by Kate Collins
7. A Mira James Mystery Series by Jess Lourey
8. The Giver Quartet by Lois Lowry
9. The Coffee House Mystery Series by Cleo Coyle
10. A Hangman's Daughter Tale Series by Oliver Pötzsch