Thursday, March 21, 2019

Happy National Poetry Day!!

In honor of National Poetry Day, I've decided to highlight the day with some poetry by Adrienne Rich.

The below quote about Adrienne Rich comes from Wikipedia:
Adrienne Cecile Rich (/ædriːɛn/;[lacks stress] May 16, 1929 – March 27, 2012) was an American poet, essayist and feminist. She was called "one of the most widely read and influential poets of the second half of the 20th century",[1][2]and was credited with bringing "the oppression of women and lesbians to the forefront of poetic discourse."[3]
Below are two of my favorite poems written and read by Adrienne Rich. The poems make me stop and think about the message that Adrienne Rich is imparting to readers. 

Power by Adrienne Rich

Diving Into The Wreck by Adrienne Rich

What do you think of these poems?
Let me know in the comment section below.

Let Jane Austen Dictate Which Book You Should Read Next!!

Since I recently finished listening to the audio dramatization of Emma by Jane Austen a couple of days ago, I couldn't resist reading and sharing the following article from Bustle's website titled, The New Book To Read Next, Based On Your Favorite Jane Austen Novel by Kristian Wilson.

Since I've only read Emma by Jane Austen, I can't say it's my favorite Jane Austen novel even if I did enjoy listening to Emma immensely. With that said though, I must admit that it was fun to see which book was recommended to those who loved reading Emma by Jane Austen. I now have a few books to add to my ever growing reading wishlist.

If you're an avid Jane Austen fan, click on the above link to see which current new book you should read next based on your favorite Jane Austen novel.

Until my next post, happy reading to you!

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Emma by Jane Austen

The past few years, my unofficial reading goal has been to read at least one classic book annually. This month, I chose to listen to the unabridged audio version of Emma by Jane Austen. This is the first time, to the best of my recollection, that I've read anything by Jane Austen.

I loved that this audio version of Emma by Jane Austen is a dramatization of this classic novel and is read by a wide variety of voice actors including actress, Emma Thompson.

Listening time for the Audible Original dramatization of Emma by Jane Austen is 8 hours, 21 minutes.

I actually really liked Emma by Jane Austen a lot. I thought the dramatization was really well done. The storyline, plot, and characters were entertaining and engaging, even if the plot was bit predictable at times.

Below is a plot summary for Emma by Jane Austen from Amazon:
"Regal, haughty, with a pinch of sly wit, Emma Thompson's delivery is perfect for Jane Austen's 1815 masterwork.... Beneath the opulent lifestyles and light banter, Austen adds astute observations on the English class and social justice systems. Enjoy yourself while listening carefully. 2019 Audies Finalist." (AudioFile magazine)
This Audible Original production of Jane Austen's Emma is narrated by Emma Thompson (Academy Award, Golden Globe, Emmy and BAFTA winner, Love Actually, Harry Potter, Sense and Sensibility), with a full supporting cast including Joanne Froggatt (Downton Abbey, Liar), Morgana Robinson (The Windsors, Walliams & Friend, Morgana Robinson's the Agency), Aisling Loftus (Mr Selfridge, War & Peace), Joseph Millson (Casino Royale, The Sarah Jane Adventures), Alexa Davies (Mamma Mia!Here We Go Again) and rising star Isabella Inchbald as our eponymous heroine.

Before she began writing, Jane Austen wrote, 'I am going to take a heroine whom no-one but myself will much like' and thus introduces the handsome, clever, rich - and flawed - Emma Woodhouse. Emma is perfectly content with her life and sees no need for either love or marriage; nothing, however, delights her more than matchmaking her fellow residents of Highbury. But when she ignores the warnings of her good friend Mr Knightley and attempts to arrange a suitable match for her protegee Harriet Smith, her carefully laid plans soon unravel and have consequences that she never expected.

This lively comedy of manners, with its witty and subtle exploration of relationships, is often seen as Jane Austen's masterpiece.
I am giving Emma by Jane Austen a rating of 4 out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Monday, March 18, 2019

Little Free Library Finds in Castro Valley, California!!

Yesterday, on St. Patrick's Day, my hubby and I found three new to us Little Free Libraries in Castro Valley, California. 

Normally, I make individual posts for each new Little Free Library I discover... But since I found three new to me Little Free Libraries all in the same city and all on the same day, I thought I would go ahead and simply make one post instead of three separate posts.

21772 Tanglewood Drive, Castro Valley CA 94546
This Little Free Library was my favorite find of the day. I loved how it was decorated and the bench located next to the Little Free Library for one to sit down and read a book. 

Sadly, I learned that this Little Free Library will be shut down in the future due to the fact that all the books have been stolen repeatedly by someone (hence the note left inside the LFL by the LFL owner), leaving the owner to have to replace the books. Too bad that there are people out there that make trouble and take the fun out of something good like a Little Free Library.

2361 Vestal Avenue, Castro Valley CA 94546
This Little Free Library was a fun find as well and is located in a cute, older neighborhood in Castro Valley.

2626 Grove Way, Castro Valley CA 94546
This cute Little Free Library was also a fun find for us. It was easy to locate, but  parking was a tad difficult as it was located on a busy street.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

How Can You Beat A Book Slump?

Last month, I had a reading slump, which has passed - thank goodness!! 

Recently though, I came across an article on Bustle's website titled, How Can You Beat A Book Slump? 9 Literary Professionals Share Their Tips & Tricks by Kerri Jarema. In the article, Kerri Jarema wrote the following:
Ah, the dreaded book slump. If you're a reader, chances are pretty high you've fallen into one at some point. Picture this: You've got bookshelves stacked with exciting unread books, your e-reader is stocked with new releases you've borrowed from the library, you've even got a few audiobooks downloaded on your phone. But... you just can't bring yourself to read anything. Reading slumps tend to happen for some extended period of time (maybe a few days or weeks, but some experience them for months) and they're a pretty universal struggle in the reading community.
So, it only makes sense to turn to the reading experts to figure out how to get out of one, right? For some people, reading is not just a lifelong hobby, it's a job. For booksellers and book editors, book bloggers and literary agents, it's crucial not only to read the projects they work on directly, but to stay on top of all the latest releases in various genres, along with book related news. It can be, well, a lot. But the industry insiders below — who read anywhere from 10 to 300 books a year — fall into book slumps, too, and following their personal tips and tricks will help you recognize and overcome one in no time.
Click on the very top link to read the article and see which tips will help you overcome a reading slump from reading professionals! 

Constellations by Bree M. Lewandowski

Constellations by Bree M. Lewandowski is a contemporary fiction short story which is approximately 20 pages in length.

I was able to download the ebook edition of Constellations by Bree M. Lewandowski to my Kindle for FREE from Amazon. Below is my honest, unbiased review of Constellations by Bree M. Lewandowski.

I enjoyed reading this quick, short story. The writing was good overall, but I had mixed feelings about the ending to this short story as it wasn't the ending I had expected. I'm glad Constellations by Bree M. Lewandowski was a free read as I'm unsure that I will seek out works by Bree M. Lewandowski in the future.

The following is a plot summary for Constellations by Bree M. Lewandowski from Amazon:
Can the stars guide your way? Can patterns in the sky lead you?

Leon would have said no. All his life, he believed in getting where he was going by the hard work of his own hands.
But lately...lately, things have been different. Things have been downright unexplainable.
A short story to cozy up into. Author Bree M. Lewandowski offers her readers a different fun piece of fiction to believe in.
I am giving Constellations by Bree M. Lewandowski a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next pots, happy reading!!

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Dazed (Lovers & Fighters #1) by Emily Swan

Dazed (Lovers & Fighters #1) by Emily Swan is a contemporary romance that is the first of three books in the Lovers & Fighters series.

I was able to download the ebook edition of Dazed (Lovers & Fighters #1) by Emily Swan to my Kindle for FREE from Amazon. Below is my honest, unbiased review of Dazed (Lovers & Fighters #1) by Emily Swan.

I enjoyed reading Dazed (Lovers & Fighters #1) by Emily Swan. I liked the author's writing. The main characters were fun and well developed and the plot/storyline was good overall too. 

A couple of the scenes in the novel had me a bit surprised as I didn't expect the main characters to react the way in which they did in the novel. It's nice to be surprised and not have a book be so predictable.

I enjoyed the first book in the Lovers & Fighters series so much that I may just go ahead and read the next two books in the series as well.

Below is the plot summary for Dazed (Lovers & Fighters #1) by Emily Swan from Amazon:
After saving Dominic's life, will Gemma choose true love?

Gemma Siever is an ER nurse who has always seemed to make the wrong decisions about love. When she ends up saving Dominic, an MMA fighter, from heart failure, their attraction is mutual and heated. The problem is Gemma doesn't trust herself enough to give into his charms. Dominic, on the other hand, has been haunted by a tragic past and craves intimacy even while he fears commitment. 
Dominic is craving her intimacy but fears commitment. Will Gemma find out about his tragic past before it's too late?
I'm giving Dazed (Lovers & Fighters #1) by Emily Swan a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Little Free Library - My 4th LFL Find In San Ramon, California!

This was the second Little Free Library my hubby and I discovered yesterday evening... However, this is the fourth Little Free Library we've found in San Ramon to date.

I enjoyed finding this Little Free Library in a cute residential neighborhood. I left two books and left two books.

It's so much seeking out Little Free Libraries within my own community and in other communities as well. I usually carry books with me to leave in Little Free Libraries in other cities.

I've actually lost track of how many Little Free Libraries I've found since discovering my first one in Ventura, California in 2012... I'm sure if I look through all my blog posts, I could figure it.

To date, I've only visited Little Free Libraries in California. Hopefully, I'll find Little Free Libraries in other states too.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Little Free Library - My 3rd LFL Find In San Ramon, California

Tonight my hubby and I found a new Little Free Library in San Ramon, California... So new in fact, that the paint made the door stick and difficult to open!!

However, this Little Free Library is adorable!! It was a little difficult to locate at first because it is behind a rather large commercial property near the front entrance to a gymnastic school/academy. 

I was able to snag a copy of Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor from this Little Free Library.

Have you found a new to you Little Free Library lately?

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Great News!! Los Angeles County Library Named National Award Finalist!

I learned through LA's NBC news station that Los Angeles County Library Named National Award Finalist

I learned the following information from reading the online article:
The Los Angeles County Library was named a finalist Monday for the 2019 National Medal for Museum and Library Service.
Thirty museums and libraries from across the country made the list of finalists announced by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. It's the second year in a row LA County Library has been named a finalist.
Finalists are chosen for their noteworthy and innovative contributions to their local communities, according to the IMLS.
"The 30 National Medal finalists showcase the tremendous ability of libraries and museums to serve as vital community resources," IMLS Director Kathryn Matthew said. "The Institute of Museum and Library Services is honored to recognize these leading institutions.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Question of the Day... Are Your Used Books Worth Anything?

Yesterday, I came across an interesting article from Forbes Magazine's website titled, Are Your Used Books Worth Anything? by David Seideman. In the article, David Seideman wrote the following information:
Last March, Heritage Auctions sold a signed and inscribed first edition of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby from 1925 for $162,500 at a rare book sale in New York City.
On Sunday, I took a break from my regular sports collectibles beat and spent two-and-a-half hours at the New York Antiquarian Book Fair’s Discovery Day. The hosts invited guests to “bring up to five treasures to be evaluated by our experts.” This is the book world’s annual version of the Antiques Roadshow.
A few of the 100 book owners on line carried small treasures, but the rest didn’t cover the fair’s $25 admission cost. I asked two dealers what the odds are of them striking pay dirt during their house calls to appraise personal collections. While one said the chances are one out of 10, another thought it’s more like one out of a 1,000.
David Seideman goes on to write in his article about which types of books are in demand and which books aren't in demand. Click on the very first link to read the entire article.

Lyric's Accidental Mate by Elle Boon

Lyric's Accidental Mate by Elle Boon is the third book I've read by Elle Boon. It's also the first book in the Iron Wolves MC Series. If you enjoy paranormal romances, then this novel may be the one for you.

I was able to download the ebook edition of Lyric's Accidental Mate by Elle Boon to my Kindle for FREE from Amazon.

Below is my honest, unbiased review of Lyric's Accidental Mate by Elle Boon.

Although I've enjoyed reading other books by Elle Boon, Lyric's Accidental Mate by Elle Boon missed the mark for me. Sure there's some pretty hot sex scenes... And Rowan Shade sounds like a hottie. 

Overall though, the storyline, characters, and writing for Lyric's Accidental Mate by Elle Boon were so-so. I felt like the male characters were really sexist in their views of women and sex. Other plot details needed more flushing out in my opinion as well. Also, the abrupt ending for Lyric's Accidental Mate was awful. Additionally, some minor editing work needed to be done in a few areas of Lyric's Accidental Mate by Elle Boon.

The following is a plot summary for Lyric's Accidental Mate by Elle Boon from Amazon:
From USA Today Bestselling Author Elle Boon comes the first book in her bestselling series with over 500 Reviews. Find out how getting bit, makes a SEAL like Rowan Shade so much more and see how Lyric, a shifter, goes from savior to the one in need of saving.
Rowan would give his life to protect the woman he loves. Lyric is determined to save Rowan, even if it’s from her own pack. When They Collide, everything changes….

A WOMAN IN NEED OF SAVING…Lyric Carmichael is a shifter who’s used to fighting with odds stacked against her, but this time she might’ve bitten off more than she can chew. 
A BADASS SOLDIER…Rowan Shade, a Navy SEAL who’s used to wading into battles doesn’t hesitate when he sees a gorgeous woman being attacked by a group of men, only this time he might be the one needing saved. 
A LOVE BEYOND REASON…As Lyric introduces Rowan to her world as a new shifter, danger to the pack intensifies. Pack is everything to the Iron Wolves and when one of their own betrays them, they face a battle that could destroy them from the inside out.
When They Collide, everything changes…
I am giving Lyric's Accidental Mate by Elle Boon a rating of 2 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Do We Still Need the Nobel Prize in Literature? Great Question!

I came across a thought provoking article on Electric Literature's website titled, Do We Still Need the Nobel Prize in Literature? by Carrie V. Mullins. In the article, Carrie V. Mullins wrote the following:
The Nobel Prize has been awarded in five categories since 1895, and over that time it has gained a serious amount of cultural cachet. You probably respect a Nobel laureate even if you don’t know much, if anything, about the actual criteria considered for the prize. Nobel stipulated that the prize for literature should honor the person who produced “the most outstanding work in an ideal direction.” It’s a vague directive, and one that has caused many issues of interpretation. Sara Danius, who was the Permanent Secretary of the Academy until she resigned last year, once told an audience at Duke, her alma matter, “What does it take to win the Nobel Prize in Literature? What do I know? I don’t know. All I know is that the criteria are simple, but tough. You get awarded not for a single work, but for a life’s work. You are expected to come up with something new in terms of content or form or both. And that is how you win the Nobel Prize in Literature.” In short, it’s an easily manipulated set of standards, and we just have to accept that the Academy knows what it’s doing. The problem is, that’s no longer obvious.
Carrie V. Mullins makes some good points in her article. Click on the above link to read the entire article. 

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Dark Arsenal by Cynthia Sax

Dark Arsenal by Cynthia Sax is the fourth novella/short story I've read in the Cyborg Sizzle Series by Cynthia Sax. Dark Arsenal by Cynthia Sax is approximately 68 pages and is the 13th read Cyborg Sizzle Series.

I was able to download Dark Arsenal by Cynthia Sax to my Kindle for FREE from Amazon. Below is my honest, unbiased review of Dark Arsenal by Cynthia Sax.

I must say that I really liked reading Jumping Barrel, Being Green, and Knowing Zip by Cynthia Sax despite each one being predictable, formulaic, and easy breezy reads. But hey, sometimes lowbrow reads are needed!

Dark Arsenal by Cynthia Sax is another predictable, formulaic, and easy breezy read. It pretty much follows the same formula as the three previous Cyborg Sizzle Series books I read and was as expected in that way. 

However, as much as I've liked the Cyborg Sizzle Series thus far, Dark Arsenal by Cynthia Sax was lacking/annoying to me... I felt somethings were said repeatedly between the two main characters. Like how many time can you say the same thing but in a slightly different without it becoming annoying??

Yes, there's also a lot of Insta-Love/Insta-Lust too in Dark Arsenal by Cynthia Sax, which I didn't mind as there was also action and a storyline as well. The dialogue between the main characters is a bit cheesy, but also part of the charm perhaps?

Below is the plot summary for Dark Arsenal by Cynthia Sax from Amazon:
A cyborg warrior and a Rebel female’s first mission together might be their last.
Arsenal considers himself to be a disposable cyborg. He drifts from assignment to assignment, forming no connections to anything or anyone. When the cyborg council requires a warrior for a high-risk mission, Arsenal volunteers. He believes no one will miss him if he dies.
He doesn’t realize he’s one female’s fantasy.
The moment Vicuska glimpses Arsenal’s image, she knows he’s the male she wants to spend her last moments in the universe caressing. The Rebel female craves the cyborg’s grim-lipped kisses, desires the touch of his hands, hears his deep voice in her dreams.

Their mission will end in explosions and death. That is certain if they fail or if they succeed. Whether or not they’ll find love during their dangerous assignment is the unknown.
All in all, I thought Dark Arsenal by Cynthia Sax was just okay and am giving it a rating of 2 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

The Tin Rose by Anne Renwick

The Tin Rose by Anne Renwick is a steampunk, romance short story approximately 58 pages in length. 

I was able to download the ebook edition of The Tin Rose by Anne Renwick to my Kindle from Amazon for FREE. 

Below is my honest, unbiased review of The Tin Rose by Anne Renwick.

I like discovering new authors and exploring genres (like steampunk) that I only occasionally read from time to time. Short stories are often one of the best ways for me to discover new to me authors and expand my reading horizons. 

With that said, I wasn't wowed by The Tin Rose by Anne Renwick after I'd finished reading it. The Tin Rose by Anne Renwick was too predictable. The writing was okay. The storyline, characters, plot details, and dialogue all could have been vastly improved to make this short story a more captivating read for me.

The following is a plot summary for The Tin Rose by Anne Renwick from Amazon:
A gypsy's promise. A clockwork poison. A race to save a love balanced on the edge.
On the night they were to elope, a spurned lover returned. A gift, she claimed. But the clockwork contraption unwound a poisonous bloom, sending Lady Emily and Luca, her gypsy love, on a desperate race to reach the cure.

Note: The Tin Rose is a short story of about 9,000 words. The story takes place a few months before The Golden Spider opens.
I am giving The Tin Rose by Anne Renwick a rating of 2 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Once Upon A Tiger by Kat Simons

I read the ebook edition of Once Upon A Tiger by Kat Simons, which is a paranormal romance/erotica novella approximately 130 pages in length. Once Upon A Tiger is also the first book in the Tiger Shifters Series.

I was able to download Once Upon A Tiger by Kat Simons to my Kindle from Amazon for FREE. Below is my honest, unbiased  review of Once Upon A Tiger by Kat Simons.

In general, I like reading paranormal romances/erotica novellas and novels when they are done well. I enjoyed the premise and storyline behind Once Upon A Tiger by Kat Simons. The writing itself was okay, although some minor editing work needed to be done. The characters were decent. But overall, I felt like the storyline needed more punch to it. 

Once Upon A Tiger by Kat Simons was simply an okay read for me... An afternoon reading escape. I won't be continuing with the Tiger Shifters Series.

The following is a plot summary for Once Upon A Tiger by Kat Simons from Amazon:
She’ll never run.
Among the tiger shifters, Alexis Tarasova is regarded as fierce and dangerous, with a reputation that would make even the most daring tiger think twice about challenging her. Female tiger shifters may be rare and the mating run a critical part of their species’s survival, but Alexis is the only female Tracker and will not back down, even at the threat of tiger law. She will not be forced to mate. So when a handful of males band together to force her to participate in the run, Alexis chooses to stand her ground and fight instead.

He's forbidden to run.
Outcast from the tiger shifters after a vicious childhood attack left him mute, Victor Romanov has never taken part in the mate run. He’s never particularly cared, though, since the woman he loves refuses to take a mate. However, when he learns Alexis may be in danger, all bets are off. Nothing will keep him from her side.
Together, they’re unmovable.
The chemistry between them burns wickedly hot and forges them into an unbeatable pair. Alexis knows that being with Victor means she will have to break another one of her people’s laws—a move that might push the tigers too far. But, for Victor, she will risk everything, including her life, and do what she thought she’d never do—run.
I am giving Once Upon A Tiger by Kat Simons a rating of 2 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Taming The Alpha by Savannah Stuart

I read Taming The Alpha by Savannah Stuart in a single afternoon! Taming The Alpha is a paranormal romance/erotica novella approximately 129 pages in length and is the first novella in the Crescent Moon Series.

I was able to download Taming The Alpha by Savannah Stuart to my Kindle for FREE. Below is my honest, unbiased review of Taming The Alpha by Savannah Stuart.

I liked Taming The Alpha by Savannah Stuart. The writing was good for this type of genre. The characters and storyline were entertaining as well. So if you like paranormal romances/erotica with werewolf shape shifters, then this may be the read for you.

Below is the plot summary for Taming The Alpha by Savannah Stuart from Amazon:
After a year of lusting after his sexy employee, werewolf pack-leader Grant broke his no-involvement-with-humans rule and made a move on Talia. A month later the sex is still red hot and everything between them is perfect. Or so he thought. Until the night he shows up at her place expecting their usual ritual of mind-blowing sex and finds out she has other plans. And they don’t include him.
When Talia announces she’s tired of being his last priority, Grant realizes he might lose the only woman he’s ever cared about. He has to do something fast to fix their relationship, but she’s completely unaware that he’s not human. He’s not above using sex to bind her to him, but when she wants more than that he has a risky decision to make. If he admits the truth he risks not only his heart, but the safety of his pack and the existence of all supernatural beings as well.
I am giving Taming The Alpha by Savannah Stuart a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Friday, March 8, 2019

Women by Alice Walker (Poem) ~ Happy International Women's Day!!

Women by Alice Walker has been a long time favorite poem for me! I love the imagery of strong, smart women providing a pathway for future generations. 

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Two Nobel Prizes For Literature Will Be Awarded Later This Year

I discovered an article in The Guardian titled, Nobel prize in literature to be awarded twice this year. In the article I read the following:
Two Nobel prizes in literature will be awarded this year, to make up for the lack of one in 2018 while the scandal-plagued Swedish Academy attempted to get its house in order, it was announced on Tuesday.
Last year’s Nobel was withheld for the first time since 1949 after the Swedish Academy, the august institution that selects the winners, was hit with a sexual misconduct scandal that saw the husband of one member imprisoned for rape. Following a meeting on Tuesday, the Nobel Foundation, which executes Alfred Nobel’s will, announced that “the steps that the Swedish Academy has taken and intends to take will create good opportunities for restoring trust”, and that laureates for both 2018 and 2019 will therefore be announced this autumn.
The most significant change to the prize is the appointment of five independent and external members, who will help the Swedish Academy to select the Nobel laureates “for the next few years”. How the winner is chosen has long been a closely guarded secret: what is known is that around 200 nominations are reviewed by the Academy in February, with a shortlist decided on by May and the final five authors studied over the summer. Archives detailing the jury’s reasoning are only opened to the outside world 50 years after the event.
It's wonderful to learn that there will be two Nobel prizes awarded this year to make up for the one missed last year due to the sexual misconduct scandal. It was also wonderful to learn what actions are being taken to instill public confidence in how the Nobel Prize for Literature is selected and also to learn more about the selection process for choosing a winner. Click on the above link to read the full story.

A Mind of Her Own by Paula McLain

I listened to the unabridged audio version of A Mind of Her Own by Paula McLain and narrated by Hillary Huber. 

Listening time for A Mind of Her Own by Paula McLain is 1 hour, 15 minutes.

As an Audible member, I was able to download and listen to A Mind of Her Own by Paula McLain for FREE on my Kindle. 

Below is my unbiased review for A Mind of Her Own by Paula McLain.

What initially attracted me to A Mind of Her Own by Paula McLain (aside from it being free) was the publisher's summary, the 1700+ reviews/ratings, and the 4.1 out 5 star average rating for A Mind of Her Own by Paula McLain.

I've always been somewhat fascinated with the life of Marie Curie. So, needless to say, I was curious to listen to A Mind of Her Own by Paula McLain. I've also wanted to read a book by Paula McLain, so listening to A Mind of Her Own by Paula McLain helped fulfill two goals.

I thought A Mind of Her Own by Paula McLain was way too short of a read!! I wish this book had been longer and contained more detail about Marie Curie's life and legacy. I felt like A Mind of Her Own by Paula McLain focused on a very narrow timeline of Marie Curie's life for the majority of this book as it focused primarily on Marie Curie's college years at the Sorbonne in Paris. Marie Curie's younger life was discussed in A Mind of Her Own by Paula McLain as well as to what Marie Curie's future held for her... But quite frankly, I wanted a more comprehensive read regarding Marie Curie's life. 

A Mind of Her Own by Paula McLain is a good introduction to Marie Curie's life. However, if you want something more comprehensive about Marie Curie's life then I suggest looking elsewhere.

I thought Hillary Huber did a decent job narrating A Mind of Her Own by Paula McLain. Additionally, Paula McLain's writing was was good, but I am now uncertain if I want to read her novel, My Paris Wife after reading A Mind of Her Own.

The following is the publisher's summary for A Mind of Her Own by Paula McLain from Audible:
From Paula McLain, the best-selling author of The Paris Wife and Love and Ruin, comes a breathtakingly intimate story of the brilliant, willful Marie Curie - a young woman in Paris on the verge of her greatest discovery yet: herself.
Paris, 1893. Twenty-five-year-old Marie Sklodowska is studying science at the Sorbonne - one of the only universities in the world that has begun to admit women. A thousand miles from her native Poland, with no money and the odds stacked against any woman daring to pursue a career in such a rigorous field, Marie throws herself into her studies. She's certain that to succeed in a man's world, she will have to go it alone.

Her meticulous plans get thrown slightly off-course when Marie attracts the attention of an accomplished young physicist, himself on the precipice of greatness. Thirty-five-year-old Pierre Curie, famous for his work on symmetry, believes he has found in Marie an equal who shares his devotion to scientific discovery. He offers to help with her work, and soon begins to court her. But to Marie, men have always been an obstacle, love a distraction from her goals. She hasn't come this far to let either stand in the way of her dreams - dreams Pierre insists they can share.

In A Mind of Her Own, McLain taps into the luminous mind and complex heart of a singular woman caught between order and chaos, science and love in the period just before the world would learn her name.
I am giving A Mind of Her Own by Paula McLain a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars. 

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Happy Women's History Month!!

Women's History Month runs the entire month of March annually. As a woman, I enjoy learning more about women's history and enjoy learning about women's history throughout each calendar year.

Currently, I do not have any specific books slated to read during the month of March that pertain to women's history. However, during the month of March 2019, I will be reading and reviewing books here on my blog written solely by women authors.

I did listen to the unabridged audio version of The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore and reviewed here on my blog in 2016. I do recommend this book. It not only covers the history of Wonder Woman, but also touches upon the early history of 20th century feminism. Click on the above link to read my review.

Do you have any specific reading plans for Women's History Month? Do you have any favorite books that pertain to Women's History?

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Throwing Smoke by Kit Sergeant

I read Throwing Smoke by Kit Sergeant, which is a romance/coming of age short story approximately 60 pages in length. Throwing Smoke is a prequel to the full length novel titled, Thrown for a Curve: Smart Women Find Love Book 1 by Kit Segeant.

I was able to download the ebook edition of Throwing Smoke by Kit Sergeant to my Kindle for FREE from Amazon. Below is my honest, unbiased review of Throwing Smoke by Kit Sergeant.

The writing for Throwing Smoke by Kit Sergeant was okay at best, in my opinion. The characters were not well developed and I disliked the cliffhanger ending! I will skip reading the follow up novel to this short story.

The following is a plot summary for Throwing Smoke by Kit Sergeant from Amazon:
One oblivious science major + one lovestruck fraternity brother = one sweet story!

It is the early 2000s. The baseball players at Western U are listening to Aerosmith, making bets, and just generally being their obnoxious selves. Addy Enders is a devoted marine biology student too preoccupied with breeding fruit flies and avoiding said baseball players to have time for a boyfriend. Until she meets Jed, a handsome economics major. But there is something that Jed doesn’t want Addy to know…

Ryan spends his time studying with his indifferent girlfriend and cleaning up after his fraternity brothers. The moment he sees The Girl, he knows she is unlike every other person in his life. Waiting outside the lecture hall for her to arrive adds a bright spot to his day, but is it worth risking his anonymity to introduce himself?

Throwing Smoke is an insightful and honest coming-of-age short story that explores the differences between male and female college angst and experiences. This short story prequel to the novel Thrown for a Curve: Smart Women Find Love Book 1 will appeal to anyone who has ever admired someone from afar or had their heart broken.
I am giving Throwing Smoke by Kit Sergeant a rating of 2 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Monday, March 4, 2019

Frostbite (Ivy Granger 0.5) by E. J. Stevens

Frostbite (Ivy Granger 0.5) by E. J. Stevens is a paranormal short story approximately 31 pages in length.

I was able to download the ebook edition of Frostbite (Ivy Granger 0.5) by E. J. Stevens to my Kindle for FREE from Amazon. Below is my honest, unbiased review of Frostbite (Ivy Granger 0.5) by E. J. Stevens.

I wasn't impressed with this short story at all. The storyline, the characters, and the plot left me feeling bored and uninterested. Needless to say, I am not interested reading the full length novels that comprise the Ivy Grange Series.

The following is a plot summary for Frostbite (Ivy Granger 0.5) by E. J. Stevens from Amazon:
This spooky prequel short story is the perfect introduction to the award-winning Ivy Granger Psychic Detective urban fantasy series. Winner of the Imadjinn Award for Best Short Story.
When a client claims that her house is being haunted, Ivy tries to keep her mind open and her weapons handy. If her psychic gifts and recent cases have taught her anything, it's that you're better off arming yourself for the unexpected. 
Will our favorite psychic detective face down murderous ghosts? Anything is possible in Harborsmouth.
I am giving Frostbite (Ivy Granger 0.5) by E. J. Stevens a rating of 1 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

I've Had A Reading Slump This Month!!

I've had a reading slump this month for a few reasons. The first reason is I have been out of town the entire month of February visiting family. So, I've been busy spending more time having fun with family members verses reading books. The second reason I've had a reading slump is because I had three back to back books that I didn't end up finishing because they didn't keep my interest. And thirdly, the few additional books I had on hand simply ended up not sounding like books I wanted to read after all.

I'll be returning home in March. I am confident my reading mojo will return once I settle into my daily routine. I've enjoyed spending time with my family, but I've also missed reading my usual amount of books per month. Reading is a major source of entertainment for me and also a way for me to relax.

Have you had a reading slump? How have you dealt with it?

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Black History Month - Misty Copeland - Principal Dancer American Ballet Company

I was blessed to see Misty Copeland dance with the American Ballet Theatre (ABT) in late March or early April 2012 at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, California. She gave a fabulous performance that night!! At the time I saw Ms. Copeland dance, she was still a soloist for ABT. "On June 30, 2015, Copeland became the first African American woman to be promoted to principal dancer in ABT's 75-year history." (Wikipedia)

I still want to read Misty Copeland's memoir titled, Life In Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Neil Gaiman teaches The Art of Storytelling Via Masterclass!

Here's another famous author, Neil Gaiman, teaching an online class through Masterclass. He teaches The Art of Storytelling.

Check out the above video trailer to see for yourself what Neil Gaiman will be teaching in his online class.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Black History Month - Ngugi wa Thiongo - Kenyan Writer

Last year, I had the wonderful opportunity of hearing Kenyan writer,  Ngugi wa Thiong'o speak at the 2018 Bay Area Book Festival. Ngugi wa Thiongo  is one of the most prominent African writers today and has often been on the Nobel Prize's radar for quite sometime.

Since I had never even heard of Ngugi wa Thiongo prior to 2018, I thought it would be fitting to highlight his writing once again here on my blog! 

I still have his novel, Petals of Blood, in my 'to be read' pile at home waiting to be read!!

Black History Month - Hazel Scott - Jazz & Classical Pianist!

Hazel Scott was a jazz and classical pianist, singer, and actor. Ms. Scott was a piano prodigy and received a scholarship to Julliard at the age of 8 years old!! 

"In 1950, she became the first black person to have a TV show, The Hazel Scott Show." (Wikipedia)

Unfortunately, Hazel Scott was blacklisted after testifying before the House UnAmerican Activities Committee (HUAC) during the McCarthy era.

There's an ebook out about Hazel Scott's life titled, 
Hazel Scott: The Pioneering Journey of a Jazz Pianist, from Café Society to Hollywood to HUAC by Karen Chilton that I want to read.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Toni Morrison - Writing Advice!!

I am across an article on titled, “YOU DON’T KNOW ANYTHING.” AND OTHER WRITING ADVICE FROM TONI MORRISON by Emily Temple. In the article, Emily Temple wrote the following:
I can’t think of another writer who is quite so universally beloved as Toni Morrison. Her work is magnificent, her legacy is unimpeachable, and she reveals her brilliance at every opportunity. She also taught for many years at Princeton, and I think it’s safe to assume she knows a thing or two about nurturing young minds. So, using the relatively flimsy excuse of her birthday—Morrison turns 88 on Monday, which is also Presidents’ Day (is this a sign?)—I sifted through her interviews and speeches to find out what she thinks about writing. I’ve highlighted some of her wisdom below.
Click on the link to read Toni Morrison's writing advice.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday - Books I LOVED with Fewer than 2,000 Ratings on Goodreads!

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.

Here's my top ten list of Books I LOVED with Fewer than 2,000 Ratings on Goodreads!

1. The Sacred Well by Antoinette May
2. Quirky Berkeley by Tom Dalzell
3. All By My Selfie by Jo Noelle
4. Kentucky On The Rocks by Gwendolyn Grace
5. Life's Work by Willie Parker
6. The Common Secret by Susan Wicklund
7. Stoned: Jewelry, Obsession, and How Desire Shapes the World by Aja Raden
8. Orchid Fever by Eric Hansen
9. Half Past by Victoria Helen Stone
10. Black Mark's Resistance by Ebony Olson

Monday, February 18, 2019

Black History Month - John Lewis - U. S. Rep. & Civil Rights Leader

I have nothing but the deepest respect and admiration for U. S. Representative and Civil Rights Leader, John Lewis

The above YouTube video is of John Lewis speaking about his part/experience during 'Bloody Sunday' on Oprah's Masterclass on the OWN channel. The video footage is graphic and the message John Lewis shares is powerful. 

Thank you, Mr. Lewis, for your role in helping to peacefully fight against social injustice during the Civil Rights Movement and your continued contribution for equal rights.

The following is a quote from Wikipedia about John Lewis:
"Lewis became nationally known during his prominent role in the Selma to Montgomery marches when, on March 7, 1965 – a day that would become known as "Bloody Sunday" – Lewis and fellow activist Hosea Williams led over 600 marchers across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. At the end of the bridge, they were met by Alabama State Troopers who ordered them to disperse. When the marchers stopped to pray, the police discharged tear gas and mounted troopers charged the demonstrators, beating them with night sticks. Lewis's skull was fractured, but he escaped across the bridge to Brown Chapel, the movement's headquarter church in Selma. Before Lewis could be taken to the hospital, he appeared before the television cameras calling on President Johnson to intervene in Alabama. Lewis bears scars from the incident on his head that are still visible today."
I want to read the following books by John Lewis: March (graphic novel trilogy) and Walking With The Wind: A Memoir of the Movement.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Why Read The Handmaid's Tale?

I read The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood decades ago. I enjoyed reading this novel and would like to read it again in the near future as I've heard that Margaret Atwood is writing a sequel to The Handmaid's Tale.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones is a fabulous novel. I actually found this novel at a Little Free Library in Solana Beach, California last month. This was my first experience reading anything written by Tayari Jones and her writing is engaging and hooks you in immediately. 

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones is such a powerful read that gives readers a different perspective on not only marriage, but  on current racial issues, love, loss, devastation, anger, and how one's world is turned upside down in an instant when someone is falsely accused of a crime and spends time in prison as an innocent person.

The writing is phenomenal for An American Marriage and I found myself feeling a wide range of emotions while reading it as this novel makes you think about many aspects of life in a new way. 

The characters are well developed in An American Marriage and so is the plot. The bulk of the focus is on newlyweds, Celestial and Roy, as they navigate life while Roy spends time in prison for a horrific crime he didn't commit and how this effects his life, their marriage, and the entire family.

I liked many quotes from An American Marriage. Too many quotes to even begin to share here in my review. However, "What happens to you doesn't belong to you, only half concerns you. It's not yours. Not yours only."  - by Claudia Rankine was quote before the novel even started and it was very relevant to this novel.

Below is a video clip of Tayari Jones talking about the inspiration for An American Marriage.

The following is a plot summary for An American Marriage by Tayari Jones from Goodreads:
Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.
I am giving An American Marriage by Tayari Jones a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Why Should You Read Macbeth by William Shakespeare

Reading Shakespeare's plays can be tough going, but they are relevant today as ever! 

Check out the above video to see why reading Macbeth is worth the read.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Happy Valentine's Day - 7 Novels About Love Triangles!

Happy Valentine's Day to all of my blog readers! I hope you have a fabulous day today enjoying whatever you love doing... And of course spending time with loved ones as well!

I came across an article on Electric Literature titled, 7 novels About Love Triangles by Rheea Mukherjee. Love triangles make for an interesting topic for any novel or short story for that matter. 

Check out the 7 novels listed in Rheea Mukherjee's article and maybe you'll find your next read!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Margaret Atwood Teaches Creative Writing Online!!

I had no idea that Margaret Atwood teaches an online creative writing class until I saw the above YouTube trailer!! There are 23 online classes taught by Ms. Atwood through Masterclass.

The above video trailer makes me want to enroll in her online class!

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Are Textbooks Obsolete? Food For Thought!

I've never really thought about whether textbooks are obsolete or not before now. John Green's recent YouTube video about textbooks was really interesting. There's definitely some food for thought!

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Black History Month - Spotlight - Harriet Tubman

I thought the above video was informative about Harriet Tubman's life. Now I want to read a book about her life that will give me a bit more detail.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

The Romanov Bride by Robert Alexander (DNF'd)

Paperback Edition

I enjoy reading historical fiction novels immensely. I also enjoy reading about the Romanov family/dynasty.  So, I was excited to read The Romanov Bride by Robert Alexander, which I purchased from the FOL used bookstore in Carpinteria, California in November 2013. The Romanov Bride by Robert Alexander is the third novel in the 'A Romanov Novel' series. I'd actually read the first two  historical fiction novels written by Robert Alexander in the 'A Romanov Novel' series  - The Kitchen Boy (which I loved reading) and Rasputin's Daughter (which was a disappointment).

I had high hopes for The Romanov Bride by Robert Alexander. I wanted to love this novel. Unfortunately, I read 128 pages of The Romanov Bride by Robert Alexander and decided to quit reading it altogether and move on to a more worthy book. The characters were one dimensional and flat. The writing in general felt slightly immature and juvenile to me. I felt this novel was written for a much younger audience perhaps? Let's just say I was less than captivated by my entire reading experience of The Romanov Bride by Robert Alexander. Sadly for me, The Romanov Bride by Robert Alexander could have been a stellar read.

Normally, I don't bother reviewing books I do not finish reading here on my blog. However, since I did finish reading more than a third of The Romanov Bride by Robert Alexander, I thought I would share my feelings regarding what I did think of this novel and why I decided to quit reading it. 

Do any of you quit reading books that aren't holding your interest? What makes you quit reading a book?

Below is a book trailer for The Romanov Bride by Robert Alexander that I discovered on YouTube in case you were wondering more about the plot itself.

I am giving The Romanov Bride by Robert Alexander a rating of 0 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!