Tuesday, December 31, 2019

2019 End of the Year Wrap Up Post


I had a great year of reading in 2019!! I read a total of 125 books this year. I completely surpassed my reading goal, which was to read 87 books this year. I have not written book reviews for all the books I've read in 2019... I think I have roughly 15 (???) books that I didn't write book reviews for this year. I think this is the 1st time I've not been able to write all my book reviews before the year was up. Maybe I'll write a few more book reviews from 2019 in the new year, maybe not... We'll see what transpires!

Some of my favorite reads this year include the following books:


3. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
4. The Elephant Whisperer by Lawrence Anthony
5. I Hear You by Michael S. Sorensen
6. Whoever Fights Monsters: My Twenty Years Tracking Serial Killers for the FBI by Robert K. Ressler and Tom Shachtman
7. Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm
8. Get Well Soon: History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them by Jennifer Wright
9. An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
10. Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard

I've also been blessed to have visited 30 new to me Little Free Libraries around the state of California... Plus, I've revisited several Little Free Libraries as well throughout the year. I love discovering new to me Little Free Libraries and exchanging books I've read with books I haven't yet read. I've actually found many wishlist books inside Little Free Libraries I have visited. Do You enjoy exchanging books at Little Free Libraries too?

Additionally, I attended the 2019 Bay Area Book Festival in Berkeley, California for the 5th year in a row!! I had so much fun attending this two day event with my husband. Click on the the following links to read my bookish adventures at the 2019 Bay Area Book Festival.... BABF Sneak Peek, BABF Day 1 and BABF Day 2.

I also enjoyed attending the Pleasant Hill Public Library's free used book giveaway in July of this year. I came away with 25 used/withdrawn library books. Click on the above link to read abut my experience.

Did you meet your reading goals in 2019? Share with me some of your favorite books read in 2019 in the comment section below. Did you attend any author signings or book festivals? Did you participate in any book clubs/reading groups? Share any fun bookish related things you'd like below. 

2020 Reading Goals


My goal is to read 52 books in 2020. All 52 books to be read will come from my current 'to be read' pile. No specific titles at this time have been decided upon. However, I do plan to read 13 books that I've acquired through Goodreads Giveaways, 13 books that I've had acquired prior to May 2014, and the 26 remaining books will be chosen at random.

So what are your reading goals for 2020?

Friday, December 27, 2019

The Joy of Bookcrossing!!


I've been a member of Bookcrossing for over a decade now. I've had such an awesome experience being part of the Bookcrossing community. 

In fact, I received a hand knitted scarf and young adult book from another Bookcrosser in the mail. What a wonderful surprise!!

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Killer Fashion by Jennifer Wright


Earlier this year, I listened to the unabridged audio version of Get Well Soon: History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them by Jennifer Wright and really enjoyed this nonfiction book. I liked Get Well Soon: History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them by Jennifer Wright so much that I decided to read another book written by Jennifer Wright. I chose to read a used edition of Killer Fashion by Jennifer Wright.

Killer Fashion by Jennifer Wright is an extremely quick read!! Like you can read it in about 60-90 minutes at most. I purchased Killer Fashion by Jennifer Wright online and didn't really pay attention to the page length.... It's 56 pages in length. The writing is HUGE and there is a paragraph or two discussing various 'killer fashion' over the years. The factoids were fun to read, but not as in depth as I would have liked. I also enjoyed the vintage inspired artwork that accompanied each piece of killer fashion.  

Below is the publisher's summary for Killer Fashion by Jennifer Wright from Audible:
A darkly comic book about some surprisingly lethal garments. Featuring stories like the untimely demise of dancer Isadora Duncan caused by her signature red scarf and the bloody riot that greeted the appearance of the first top hat, among many others, these bite-size accounts will frighten and delight. Killer Fashion includes over twenty of these short tales along with beautiful full-page illustrations. Both morbid and humorous, this book will appeal to fans of Edward Gorey and dark historical trivia.
I am giving Killer Fashion by Jennifer Wright a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Zombie by Joyce Carol Oates



Zombie by Joyce Carol Oates was first published in 1995 and according to Wikipedia it received "the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a Novel."

Before I write my thoughts about Zombie, I want to state that I admire Joyce Carol Oates on being such a prolific writer for over 50 years. How she continually churns out high quality works is impressive to me. 

I also had the wonderful opportunity to see/hear Joyce Carol Oates speak at the Bay Area Book Festival in Berkeley, California earlier this year. I was able to have her sign Zombie and another one of her novels for my personal collection.

I read the hardback edition of Zombie by Joyce Carol Oates, which is a relatively short read at 181 pages. This book is both creepy and slightly weird... It was a bit difficult for me to get into the rhythm and flow of the writing style/approach Joyce Carol Oates used in writing Zombie... But then once I did grow use to the writing style used by Oates, it became easier to follow the storyline. 

Zombie is like reading someone's diary or journal. Zombie takes the reader into the mind of serial killer, Quentin P., a fictional character based on the life of Jeffrey Dahmer (according to what I discovered through Wikipedia.) The plot is truly chilling and not for the squeamish at heart.

Interesting side note though, Oates uses the ampersand symbol repeatedly throughout Zombie... Even at the start of sentences. Many words and phrases are all in caps... Not sure what the ampersand and words/phrases all in caps was trying to achieve. It just seemed to add to the creepy atmosphere and the main character being mentally unstable. 

Zombie by Joyce Carol Oates is the first book I read this month. I've been trying to catch up on writing reviews for books from August 2019 onward. Not sure if I'll be able to finish writing all of my older reviews before the year is up. 

The following is a plot summary for Zombie by Joyce Carol Oates from Amazon:
Zombie is a classic novel of dark obsession from the extraordinary Joyce Carol Oates. A brilliant, unflinching journey into the mind of a serial killer, Zombie views the world through the eyes of Quentin P., newly paroled sex offender, as he chillingly evolves from rapist to mass murderer. Joyce Carol Oates—the prolific author of so many extraordinary bestsellers, including The Gravediggers Daughter, Blonde, and The Falls—demonstrates why she ranks among America’s most respected and accomplished literary artists with this provocative, breathtaking, and disturbing masterwork.
I am giving Zombie by Joyce Carol Oates a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars. I wasn't overly wowed by this novel, but it made for interesting reading nonetheless.

Until my next post, happy reading!!!

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Shade Me (Nikki Kill, #1) by Jennifer Brown


I received an advanced readers copy of Shade Me (Nikki Kill, #1) by Jennifer Brown for FREE through the Goodreads Giveaway program. Below is my honest, unbiased review for Shade Me (Nikki Kill, #1) by Jennifer Brown.

First off, I am drawn to the cover for Shade Me (Nikki Kill, #1) by Jennifer Brown. It's definitely attention grabbing for sure and well done. I like reading mysteries/thrillers and also I enjoy reading novels from the young adult genre as well... Shade Me (Nikki Kill, #1) by Jennifer Brown falls into both categories nicely.

Jennifer Brown is a new to me author. Her novel Shade Me is the first book in the Nikki Kill series. Nikki Kill has a phenomenon called synesthesia, which gives her certain abilities to see things other people are unable to see or sense. Nikki is also 18 years old, a senior in high school, and on the verge of flunking out of school at the start of Shade Me. Nikki is contacted by a local hospital to come and identify an unconscious girl in the emergency room on the verge of dying. The girl in question has no form of identification on her and Nikki is the only contact in the girl's cell phone... And so the mystery begins!

Overall, I liked reading Shade Me (Nikki Kill, #1) by Jennifer Brown, but it wasn't perfect. I enjoyed all of the characters for the most part... Luna (minor character) was a bit over the top evil for someone her age, so her character seemed unrealistic. Plus, Nikki's dad seemed too hands off in that he gave her too much free rein to do whatever she wanted. If my daughter was on academic probation, I wouldn't be letting her run around day and night not knowing what she was doing or where she was going without question and ditching school... and that's if Nikki's dad knew what she was doing in the first place.

Nikki solving the mystery was cool in some aspects due to her synesthesia and ability to decipher clues left behind by the victim... But MANY other plot details seemed really unrealistic. Like the fact that the police let Nikki slide on not cooperating with them in what she knew when it was very apparent that she knew more about the case than she was willing to divulge to them... And how does an 18 year old really solve a case all on her own? Additionally, Nikki finds herself in some truly sticky situations that she gets herself out of, which made the storyline a bit unrealistic at times. However, if you can get past these things, you're in for a good read.

Below is the plot summary for Shade Me (Nikki Kill, #1) by Jennifer Brown from Goodreads:
Nikki Kill does not see the world like everyone else. In her eyes, happiness is pink, sadness is a mixture of brown and green, and lies are gray.
Thanks to a phenomenon called synesthesia, Nikki’s senses overlap, in a way that both comforts and overwhelms her.
Always an outsider, just one D shy of flunking out, Nikki’s life is on the fast track to nowhere until the night a mysterious call lights her phone up bright orange—the color of emergencies.
It’s the local hospital. They need Nikki to identify a Jane Doe who is barely hanging on to life after a horrible attack.
The victim is Peyton Hollis, a popular girl from Nikki’s school who Nikki hardly knows. One thing is clear: Someone wants Peyton dead. But why? And why was Nikki’s cell the only number in Peyton’s phone?
As she tries to decipher the strange kaleidoscope of clues, Nikki finds herself thrust into the dark, glittering world of the ultrarich Hollis family and drawn towards Peyton’s handsome, ne’er-do-well older brother, Dru.
While Nikki’s colors seem to help her unravel the puzzle, what she can’t see is that she may be falling into a trap. The only truth she can be sure of is that death is a deep, pulsing crimson.
I'm giving Shade Me (Nikki Kill, #1) by Jennifer Brown a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

The Worry Trick by David A. Carbonell, PhD



I recently listened to the unabridged audio version of The Worry Trick by David A. Carbonell, PhD and narrated by Stephen Paul Aulridge Jr.

Listening time for The Worry Trick by David A. Carbonell, PhD is 6 hours, 7 minutes.

I found that The Worry Trick by David A. Carbonell, PhD made for interesting reading. Especially if one is prone to excessive worry. My only major complaint about this book is that I feel like the author takes too long to make his points and give the techniques/advice on how to reduce worry in one's life. Otherwise I feel like this book is a good read. 

I have yet to fully apply/incorporate the techniques suggested in this book to see if they work. But I look forward to employing the techniques soon.

Below is the publisher's summary for The Worry Trick by David A. Carbonell, PhD from Audible:
Are you truly in danger or has your brain simply "tricked" you into thinking you are? In The Worry Trick, psychologist and anxiety expert David Carbonell shows how anxiety hijacks the brain and offers effective techniques to help you break the cycle of worry, once and for all.
Anxiety is a powerful force. It makes us question ourselves and our decisions, causes us to worry about the future, and fills our days with dread and emotional turbulence. Based in acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), this audiobook is designed to help you break the cycle of worry. 
Worry convinces us there's danger, and then tricks us into getting into fight, flight, or freeze mode - even when there is no danger. The techniques in this audiobook, rather than encouraging you to avoid or try to resist anxiety, show you how to see the trick that underlies your anxious thoughts, and how avoidance can backfire and make anxiety worse.
If you're ready to start observing your anxious feelings with distance and clarity - rather than getting tricked once again - this audiobook will show you how.
I am giving The Worry Trick by David A. Carbonell, PhD a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Monday, December 16, 2019

Written In Tandem by Andie Madison


Written In Tandem by Andie Madison is a short contemporary fiction ebook approximately 56 pages in length. It's also the first book in the  'Murder, We Wrote' series.

I was able to download Written In Tandem by Andie Madison to my Kindle for FREE from Amazon. Below is my honest, unbiased review of Written In Tandem by Andie Madison.

Ugh, Written In Tandem by Andie Madison, wasn't for me. I felt like too much of the focus of this short read was all about how much disdain the two leading characters have for each other!! I will not be reading any further books in the 'Murder, We Wrote' series.

Below is the plot summary for Written In Tandem by Andie Madison from Amazon:
Alex Green is the author of a successful book series whose hero, Logan, is every woman’s dream. Ellie Adams is a romantic comedy author who has won the heart of her readers with her witty and funny heroines. When they both find themselves at an impasse, unable to meet their deadlines, Meg, their editor, comes up with an original idea: combine their strengths and dream up the romantic, adventurous couple all readers are bound to fall in love with.
Only problem: Alex and Ellie aren’t exactly fond of each other. She thinks Logan is a heartless hero; he finds her heroines unrealistic. Moreover, he riles her by teasing her about her inability to write an interesting love scene. If they don’t want to lose their readership though, they’ll have to put aside their differences, trust each other, and write their next book together.
I am giving Written In Tandem by Andie Madison a rating of 2 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post happy reading!!

A Lonely Death by Gillian Larkin


I read the ebook edition of  A Lonely Death by Gillian Larkin in August of this year and am finally reviewing this cozy mystery short story now.

I was able to download A Lonely Death by Gillian Larkin to my Kindle for FREE from Amazon. Below is my honest, unbiased review of A Lonely Death by Gillian Larkin.

As far as cozy mystery novels, I liked A Lonely Death by Gillian Larkin well enough. It's your typical cozy mystery novel and helped past the time. Roughly four months have past since I've read it, so I've forgotten a lot of the plot details.

Below is the plot summary for A Lonely Death by Gillian Larkin from Goodreads:
A short murder mystery with ghosts.
Derek Quill is an elderly gent who can see the ghosts of murdered people. With the help of his ghostly friend, Pearl, he finds out who killed them.
In his first investigation, Derek meets the ghost of Eric Malone. Derek knows Eric from his schooldays. Eric bullied Derek mercilessly back then and now he’s asking for Derek’s help. Derek soon discovers that Eric never changed his bullying ways and there is more than one person who could be a suspect.
I am giving A Lonely Death by Gillian Larkin a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Sunday, December 15, 2019

The Avery Nolan Adventures by ML Hamilton


Always on the lookout for new to me authors, I decided to download the unabridged audio version of The Avery Nolan Adventures by ML Hamilton and narrated by Kelley Hazen, which is an omnibus containing all four novels in the Avery Nolan series.

Listening time for The Avery Nolan Adventures by ML Hamilton is 30 hours, 1 minute.

Kelley Hazen is a really good narrator. She made listening to Avery Nolan series worthwhile. I also enjoyed listening all four books in one collection verses having to my each novel separately!

Although I generally like paranormal romance novels, I thought The Avery Nolan Adventures by ML Hamilton was just okay overall. The writing is decent and so is the world building. However, I wasn't overly wowed by the Avery Nolan series. Many of the characters were fun to read about... Plus, the narration of this series made the Avery Nolan enjoyable.

The following is the plot summary for The Avery Nolan Adventures by ML Hamilton from Audible:
Get the complete Avery Nolan Adventures in a single box set - tons of action and adventure set in beautiful Lake Tahoe.

The Avery Nolan Adventure series is a contemporary fantasy series, pitting our heroine against supernatural beings residing in Lake Tahoe. Recovering from a recent divorce, Avery finds herself in a situation unlike any she’s ever experienced before.
I am giving The Avery Nolan Adventures by ML Hamilton a rating of 2 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Little Red Riding Crop by Tiffany Reisz


Little Red Riding Crop by Tiffany Reisz is an erotica short story that is approximately 34 pages in length. It's also a fairy tale retelling of Little Red Riding Hood.

I was able to download Little Red Riding Crop by Tiffany Reisz to my Kindle from Amazon for FREE.

Below is my honest, unbiased review of Little Red Riding Crop by Tiffany Reisz.

I read Little Red Riding Crop by Tiffany Reisz is August of this year and am finally reviewing it now. I don't remember much of the details about this short story, other than I enjoyed reading it! If you like fairy tale retellings and erotica short stories, then I think you will enjoy reading Little Red Riding Crop by Tiffany Reisz.

Below is the plot summary for Little Red Riding Crop by Tiffany Reisz from Amazon:
Mistress Nora needs a vacation. She might be the one flogging the clients, but Kingsley, her sexy French boss, is the real sadist who rarely gives her a day off. They strike a backseat deal: Nora gets one month off and a trip to Europe if she can sneak into a rival club and get the dirt on the owner.
But the Mistress will need more than her little red riding crop when she comes face to face with Brad Wolfe, the one man who stands between her and freedom.
RITA Award winning author Tiffany Reisz fractures the famous Little Red Riding Hood fairy tale in this sexy story, a prequel to "The Siren" (Mira Books/Mills & Boon).
I am giving Little Red Riding Crop by Tiffany Reisz a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Friday, December 13, 2019

Micah Goes On A Date by Jim Heskett


I find short stories to be hit or miss for me!! But I do enjoy reading them as they are a way to explore new to me authors.

I read the ebook edition of Micah Goes On A Date by Jim Heskett in August of this year. It's a thriller short story that is approximately 31 pages in length. I chose to read this short story because of the 5 star rating for it and also because I enjoy reading thrillers.

I was able to download Micah Goes On A Date by Jim Heskett to my Kindle for FREE from Amazon.

Below is my honest, unbiased review of Micah Goes On A Date by Jim Heskett.

I liked reading Micah Goes On A Date by Jim Heskett. The writing is good and it's definitely a quick read for sure!! The storyline and plot details were unexpected, but fun. I'm not sure I'll read more of Jim Hesket's writing though.

Below is the plot summary for Micah Goes On A Date by Jim Heskett from Amazon:
Bullets and... Beef Stroganoff?
Micah Reed finds himself in a fancy restaurant, in a suit and tie, waiting on a blind date. Should be in for a good time, right? A nice, quiet evening?
If you know Micah Reed, you know things usually aren't what they seem. Micah might not survive the night...
I'm giving Micah Goes On A Date by Jim Heskett a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Thursday, December 12, 2019

23 Hours by K. Riley


23 Hours by K. Riley is a dystopian novella approximately 78 pages in length. I read the ebook edition of 23 Hours by K. Riley back in August of this year and am finally getting around to writing my review of it now.

I was able to download 23 Hours by K. Riley to my Kindle for FREE from Amazon.

Below is my unbiased, honest review of 23 Hours by K. Riley.

I like dystopian tales, but don't read them very often. 23 Hours by K. Riley is a good dystopian novella that features a zombie theme... I'm usually not a big fan of reading anything that features zombies in it, but I found that 23 Hours by K. Riley was interesting enough to hold my attention. I'd recommend 23 Hours for zombie/dystopian fans.

Below is a plot summary for 23 Hours by K. Riley from Amazon:
I went to that cabin with a very simple plan; drink until the whiskey ran out, then use my last bullet to set myself free. I’d been bitten so I knew exactly how much time I had left. I also knew what would happen when time ran out and there was no way I was going to let that happen. I wasn’t upset about it; I was almost relieved. Hell, I was even looking forward to the freedom that death would bring. Then I found that damn kid.
I am giving 23 Hours by K. Riley a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Dawn Patrol: (Undead Ultra Prequel) by Camille Picott


I am not usually into zombie apocalypse short stories. BUT I decided to go ahead and read Dawn Patrol: (Undead Ultra Prequel) by Camille Picott, which is a zombie apocalypse short story approximately 56 pages in length.

I was pleasantly surprised by Dawn Patrol: (Undead Ultra Prequel) by Camille Picott! The writing is good. The storyline is good. I also liked the characters as well. Overall I had a good experience reading Dawn Patrol: (Undead Ultra Prequel) by Camille Picott. I'm not sure I'll read the rest of the series, but I would recommend this short story.

I was able to download Dawn Patrol: (Undead Ultra Prequel) by Camille Picott to my Kindle for FREE from Amazon. I've shared my honest, unbiased review of this Dawn Patrol: (Undead Ultra Prequel) by Camille Picott here in my post.

The following is a plot summary for Dawn Patrol: (Undead Ultra Prequel) by Camille Picott from Amazon:
What if running from the undead is the only way to avoid becoming one of them?
It was just another training day for Niles. Getting ready for a one-hundred-mile footrace takes dedication.
Twenty-five miles into his run and Niles is faced with the unthinkable.
A campground overrun. People dead. Corpses reanimated, eating the living.
With his skills and training, Niles could outrun the zombies. But when he stops to help two hunters, he needs to slow his pace and teach them to run.
Can endurance running be taught on the go? Will they make it out alive?
I am giving Dawn Patrol: (Undead Ultra Prequel) by Camille Picott a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Little Free Library in Del Mar, California!

13558 Mango Drive, Del Mar CA 92014

In September of this year, I visited my parents in SoCal for roughly 10 days. While I was there, my mom and I found a cute Little Free Library in Del Mar, California! 

The host for this Little Free Library loves to paint designs on rocks and share them with visitors. I came away with a cute painted rock. I can't remember which book I left or took with me though. I simply remember having fun finding a Little Free Library with my mom.

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson



I've been wanting to read a novel by Robert Louis Stevenson for quite a while. 

Earlier this fall I came across the dramatized audio adaptation of Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson on Audible that was free to download for Audible members. I've had some good experiences with dramatized audio versions of books, so I decided to download and listen to Treasure Island in August of this year.

Listening time for Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson is 6 hours, 23 minutes.

Below is my honest, unbiased review of Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson may be a great novel, but the Audible original version was AWFUL!! I didn't like this dramatization audio adaptation of Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson because I had a difficult time following the storyline in parts of it. It was also difficult trying to figure out which characters were speaking in certain scenes as well. 

I plan to find a physical copy of Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson in the future as I'm sure I'll have a better experience reading the book itself.

I am giving Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson a rating of 1 star out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Moonshine & Murder by Kathleen Brooks


I read the ebook edition of Moonshine & Murder by Kathleen Brooks in August of this year. Moonshine & Murder by Kathleen Brooks is a mystery novella approximately 106 pages in length. It's also the first book in the Moonshine Hollow series.

I was able to download Moonshine & Murder by Kathleen Brooks for FREE to my Kindle from Amazon's website.

Below is my honest, unbiased review of Moonshine & Murder by Kathleen Brooks.

Moonshine & Murder by Kathleen Brooks is a fun, fast read. One I enjoyed reading during the summer to pass the time. I'm not sure if I'll continue reading this series or not though.

The following is a plot summary for Moonshine & Murder by Kathleen Brooks from Amazon:
Zoey Mathers had everything going for her until one night she lost her biggest client, her job, and her reputation. Leaving her life up to fate, Zoey closed her eyes and pointed. She would serve out her career exile in the small mountain town of Moonshine Hollow where moonshine flowed as freely as a mountain stream.
Giving up the law to become a baker in Moonshine Hollow turned out to be the best thing Zoey had ever done. She was happy and enjoying life in her new small town. But Zoey should have learned the first time . . . one night can change your whole life.
After unknowingly crashing a battle between witches, Zoey accidentally becomes a witch herself. That’s all before Zoey stumbles over a murder victim and the town’s sheriff becomes involved. Now she’s trying to find a murderer, stop two old witches from playing matchmaker, and learning she’s way more than a mere accidental witch.
And that’s all before fate turns up one more sexy hunk of a twist.
I'm giving Moonshine & Murder by Kathleen Brooks a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Monday, December 9, 2019

Drinking with Dead Women Writers by Elaine Ambrose and AK Turner

Drinking with Dead Women Writers by Elaine Ambrose and AK Turner made for an interesting read. Take two women writers, Elaine Ambrose and AK Turner, who've captured what it what it might be like to converse with famous, deceased woman writers (come back to life ever so briefly) over their favorite beverage of choice in unique locals. 

Good storytelling and writing by the authors. Drinking with Dead Women Writers by Elaine Ambrose and AK Turner is a short read at approximately 102 pages. This novella is perfect for anyone who has every tried envisioning what it might be like to have a brief interaction with a female author from the past.

Below is the plot summary for Drinking with Dead Women Writers by Elaine Ambrose and AK Turner from Amazon:
Essays on drinking with Dorothy Parker, Louisa May Alcott, Jane Austen, Erma Bombeck, The Bronte Sisters, Willa Cather, Emily Dickinson, George Eliot, Margaret Mead, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Margaret Mitchell, Carson McCullers, Flannery O'Connor, Sylvia Plath, Ayn Rand and Virginia Woolf.
Facts about Dead Women Writers: 
Most early female writers used pen names because women weren't regarded as competent writers.
Margaret Mitchell wrote only one published novel in her lifetime, but Gone with the Wind won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1937 and sold more than 30 million copies.
Emily Dickinson was so paranoid that she only spoke to people from behind a door.
Carson McCullers wrote The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter at age 22. Her husband wanted them to commit suicide in the French countryside, but she refused.
Ambrose and Turner explore these and other intriguing facts about the most famous (but departed) women in literary history.
I am giving Drinking with Dead Women Writers by Elaine Ambrose and AK Turner a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Innocent In Las Vegas by A. R. Winters


I listened to the unabridged audio version of Innocent In Las Vegas by A. R. Winters and narrated by Erin Moon. 

Listening time for Innocent In Las Vegas by A. R. Winters is 5 hours, 4 minutes.

Innocent In Las Vegas is the 1st novel in the Tiffany Black Mysteries series. I felt like the main character, Tiffany Black, is like a Stephanie Plum knockoff from Janet Evanovich's novels... Tiffany has a grandma that lives with her parents and her grandma reminds me of Plum's Grandma Mazur. Tiffany Black also has an associate that reminds me too much of Ranger from the Stephanie Plum series. And, Tiffany Black is also in the process of becoming a private investigator.

As far as Innocent In Las Vegas goes, it is a light and fun read... I even laughed during certain scenes, but overall it was a flop in the end. The way in which the main character solved the murder was unrealistic. It seemed like she solved the murder without much substantial evidence from her investigating. Additionally, it also felt unrealistic that an unlicensed investigator could solve a murder almost entirely on her own. Especially when the police were all over this high profile murder case to begin with. Like how could the police not discover what Tiffany found and use it to solve the case themselves?

Below is the plot summary for Innocent In Las Vegas by A. R. Winters from Amazon:
A Cupcakes-and-Crime Caper
"I tell myself every day that I don't hate my job... But there's a reason I'm trying to leave the madness of the casino pit to become a Private Investigator."
"Winters will have you giggling into your book!"
Cupcake-loving croupier Tiffany Black is determined to leave her job at the casino for good. She's one small step away from acquiring her private investigator license and has her eye on the prize.
Accepting her first real case - investigating the murder of casino-mogul Ethan Becker - should be exciting. Instead, things spiral out of control, and Tiffany finds herself in over her head as she confronts secretive suspects, corrupt casino henchmen, and a bodyguard with a mysterious past.
Tiffany's poker-hustling Nanna and pushy parents want her to find a nice man and settle down, but Tiffany just wants to track down the real murderer before he finds her first....
I am giving Innocent In Las Vegas by A. R. Winters a rating of 2 stars out of 5 stars!

Until my next post, happy reading!

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Scraps of Paper by Kathryn Meyer Griffith


I listened to the unabridged audio version of Scraps of Paper by Kathryn Meyer Griffith. It's a mystery novel that is the 1st in the Spookie Town Murder Mysteries.

Listening time for Scraps of Paper by Kathryn Meyer Griffith is 7 hours, 56 minutes.

I enjoyed Scraps of Paper by Kathryn Meyer Griffith. It contains good writing, good characters, a good storyline, and it takes awhile to figure out whodunnit!

Below is the plot summary for Scraps of Paper by Kathryn Meyer Griffith from Audible:
Abigail Sutton's beloved husband walks out one night, doesn't return, and two years later is found dead, a victim of a long ago crime. It's made her sympathetic to the missing and their families.
Starting her new life, Abigail moves to small town and buys a fixer-upper house left empty when old Edna Summers died. Once it was also home to Edna's younger sister, Emily, and her two children, Jenny and Christopher, who, people believe, drove away one night, thirty years ago, and just never came back.
But in renovating the house Abigail finds scraps of paper hidden behind baseboards and tucked beneath the porch that hint the three could have been victims of foul play.

Then she finds their graves hidden in the woods behind the house and with the help of eccentric townspeople and ex-homicide detective, Frank Lester, she discovers the three were murdered. Then she and Frank try to uncover who killed them and why...but in the process awaken the ire of the murderer.
I am giving Scraps of Paper by Kathryn Meyer Griffith a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Friday, December 6, 2019

Witch of the Water by B. B. Griffith


I read the ebook edition of Witch of the Water by B. B. Griffith a few months ago in August. Witch of the Water by B. B. Griffith is approximately 63 pages in length and falls into the horror genre.

I was able to download Witch of the Water by B. B. Griffith for FREE to my Kindle from Amazon.

Below is my honest, unbiased review of Witch of the Water by B. B. Griffith.

I liked the overall premise for Witch of the Water by B. B. Griffith, but I didn't like the ending. The overall story line and characters were okay and so was the writing in my opinion.

The following is a plot summary for Witch of the Water by B. B. Griffith from Amazon:
Matthew Macrae has been tending to the lighthouses of Pentland Firth, in northern Scotland, for over thirty years. His son, Rowan, will follow in his footsteps, just like Matthew followed in the footsteps of his father before him. Soon, Matthew will have to share with Rowan the dark secret that their family keeps.
The lighthouses must always shine at night because their light does much more than guide ships safely in…it also keeps a terrible evil out. 
When the storm of the century puts the lighthouses in danger, Rowan finds himself following in his father’s footsteps sooner than he thought, where he’ll come face to face with the greatest fear he’s ever known.
I am giving Witch of the Water by B. B. Griffith a rating of 2 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading by Nina Sankovitch


Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading by Nina Sankovitch is a book that has been in my 'to be read pile' for well over 5.5 years! 

In an effort to read some of my older books waiting to be read, I chose to listen to the unabridged audio version of Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading by Nina Sankovitch and narrated by Coleen Marlo this fall... And I am so glad that I read this nonfiction book as I enjoy memoirs and reading about other peoples journeys of healing through reading books!

Below is the summary for Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading by Nina Sankovitch from Amazon:
“Nina Sankovitch has crafted a dazzling memoir that reminds us of the most primal function of literature-to heal, to nurture and to connect us to our truest selves." —Thrity Umrigar, author of The Space Between Us

Catalyzed by the loss of her sister, a mother of four spends one year savoring a great book every day, from Thomas Pynchon to Nora Ephron and beyond. In the tradition of Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project and Joan Dideon’s A Year of Magical Thinking, Nina Sankovitch’s soul-baring and literary-minded memoir is a chronicle of loss, hope, and redemption. Nina ultimately turns to reading as therapy and through her journey illuminates the power of books to help us reclaim our lives.
I'm giving Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading by Nina Sankovitch a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

San Francisco Serenade by Ginger Voight


I live in San Francisco's East Bay, so reading books set in San Francisco can be a delight! Additionally, I like contemporary romance novellas with happy endings set around the Christmas and/or New Year holidays. 

So with this in mind, I found myself drawn to the ebook edition of San Francisco Serenade by Ginger Voight as it has the criteria I listed above. 

San Francisco Serenade by Ginger Voight is a contemporary romance novella approximately 117 pages in length.

I was able to download San Francisco Serenade by Ginger Voight for FREE to my Kindle from Amazon. 

Below is my honest, unbiased review of San Francisco Serenade by Ginger Voight.

Initially, the start of San Francisco Serenade had me wondering if I was actually going to enjoy this novella at all. But once it hit its stride, I found myself laughing in parts and smiling in others. Overall, I loved this holiday themed, contemporary romance novella set in San Francisco with a predictable happy ending. The characters are fun and well developed. I enjoyed the storyline. The writing is pretty good; although some minor editing work is needed. This novella is a holiday hit with me!

The following is a plot summary for San Francisco Serenade by Ginger Voight from Amazon:
Romance sparks unexpectedly when two lonely people cross paths in a posh San Francisco hotel over the Christmas holiday.
Sabrina Parsens is a best-selling author attempting to erase her last holiday memory with an ex, and Vance Gale is a retired rock star who only wants to remain on the fringe of the festivities. When their common association of fame brings them together, they discover a bond of friendship that quickly catches fire. But will it be enough to heal old wounds and cross the barriers they both fight so hard to protect?

Author Ginger Voight brings you holiday romance with a Christmas novella about star-crossed lovers who discover the magic of the holiday together
I am giving San Francisco Serenade by Ginger Voight a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

The Lola Cruz Christmas Story by Melissa Bourbon Ramirez



This time of the year it is fun to read holiday themed reads. So, I decided to read the ebook edition of The Lola Cruz Christmas Story by Melissa Bourbon Ramirez, which is a Christmas themed short story that is approximately 50 pages in length.

I was able to download The Lola Cruz Christmas Story by Melissa Bourbon Ramirez to my Kindle for FREE from Amazon.

Below is my honest, unbiased review of The Lola Cruz Christmas Story by Melissa Bourbon Ramirez.

This is the first time I've read anything by author, Melissa Bourbon Ramirez. Her writing is engaging, funny, and good. I was impressed with this short story until its ending, which ended very abruptly in my opinion! The ending wasn't so much a cliffhanger ending... The ending just left many unanswered questions that could have been resolved/wrapped up by adding a few more details about the characters and the situation that lead up to the event that happened in The Lola Cruz Christmas Story.

Despite the abrupt ending to The Lola Cruz Christmas StoryI'd be willing to give Melissa Bourbon Ramirez another chance by reading one of her full length novels in the future as I thought her writing overall was good... It's just a matter of finding the time to do so with all of my other books to read!

The following is a plot summary for The Lola Cruz Christmas Story by Melissa Bourbon Ramirez from Amazon:
The Lola Cruz Christmas Story is a short, holiday prequel to Living the Vida Lola. Lola is summoned by a woman from her past and becomes part of her own Christmas story as she leads Margo Callaghan to safety
I am giving The Lola Cruz Christmas Story by Melissa Bourbon Ramirez a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Light Parade by Shelley Coriell


Light Parade by Shelley Coriell is a holiday, mystery short story that is approximately 45 pages in length. I like mysteries and I also enjoy holiday themed reads, so Light Parade by Shelley Coriell fit the bill for me.

I was able to download the ebook edition of Light Parade by Shelley Coriell to my Kindle for FREE from Amazon. Below is my honest, unbiased review of Light Parade by Shelley Coriell.

I liked reading Light Parade by Shelley Coriell. I thought it was a good short story. The writing is done well. The characters and plot were good overall. The ending of Light Parade by Shelley Coriell was a little weak, but otherwise it was a good read. 

So if you like reading holiday reads this time of year, go ahead and give Light Parade by Shelley Coriell a try.

The following is a plot summary for Light Parade by Shelley Coriell from Amazon:
Detective Lottie King battles the clock and an unexpected Big Bad as she joins Colorado Springs Police in a race to find a bomb planted at a Christmas light parade where her Girl Power troop is marching. A Detective Lottie King Holiday Short Story that first appeared in New Shoes: Detective Lottie King Mysteries, Vol 2. Includes BONUS holiday recipes.
I am giving Light Parade by Shelley Coriell a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Waiting For Unicorns by Beth Hautala



I do not recall how I discovered Waiting For Unicorns by Beth Hautala, but this coming of age novel landed on my reading wishlist. I purchased a used copy of Waiting For Unicorns by Beth Hautala and read it in November of this year.

I'm so thrilled that I read Waiting For Unicorns by Beth Hautala. It is a children's coming of age story and I found it to be a magical read for me. I love the author's writing and storytelling. The characters are fun and interesting. The best part for me about reading Waiting For Unicorns by Beth Hautala was the main character, 12 year old Talia. We see Talia let go of a recent painful event (her mother's death due to cancer) and learn to open up to second chances with the help of others during her summer stay in Churchill, Canada.

Below is a summary for Waiting For Unicorns by Beth Hautala from Amazon:
A novel about one girl’s journey to the arctic, where she discovers the power of letting go of pain and opening up to second chances.
When twelve-year-old Talia—still reeling from the recent death of her mother—is forced to travel with her emotionally and physically distant whale-researcher father to the Arctic for the summer, she begins to wonder if the broken pieces inside of her will ever begin to heal. Like her jar of wishes, Talia feels bottled up and torn. Everything about life in Churchill feels foreign, including Sura, the traditional Inuit woman whom Talia must live with. But when Sura exposes her to the tradition of storytelling, she unlocks something within Talia that has long since been buried: her ability to hope, to believe again in making wishes come true.
A rich and poignant story about opening up—to new people, to second chances, to moving forward with life.
I am giving Waiting For Unicorns by Beth Hautala a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Monday, December 2, 2019

Let's Try Cartomancy by Ann J. Clark


As an adult, I've always been somewhat curious about a few divination techniques. My primary interest has mainly been with Tarot, Cartomancy, and Lenormand readings. So, when I recently came across Let's Try Cartomancy by Ann J. Clark, I decided to read it.

Let's Try Cartomancy by Ann J. Clark is a short, fast read at 72 pages in length. It's a great book for beginners new to cartomancy and want a basic guidebook that includes the history of cartomancy, the meaning of each individual card, and how to do several 52 or 32 card spread readings.

Below is the summary for Let's Try Cartomancy by Ann J. Clark from Amazon:
If you’re curious about the art of playing card divination, all you need is a deck of normal playing cards and the information in this short taster guide. We have included a variety of examples in the Spreads sections, ranging from simple yes/no readings to full tarot style spreads that allow you to unravel knotty problems or forecast the week or year ahead. You will find a selection of the most common card meanings in the Interpretations chapter, as well as tips to combine cards and interpret patterns to find deeper nuance and spark your intuition. The basic skills provided should give you a useful foundation if you want to progress in your divination studies or simply amaze your friends and family with your uncanny fortune-telling ability!
I am giving Let's Try Cartomancy by Ann J. Clark a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Karma Cards by Monte Farber


I am enjoying the Karma Cards by Monte FarberKarma Cards by Monte Farber includes 36 planet, sign, and house cards plus a 96 page guidebook.

I love the book! It's short and to the point on how use the karma card deck... Plus, gives further details about astrology in general for those that want to know more about the twelve astrological signs, the planets, and various houses associated with astrology.

As far as the karma cards go, they are a nice size, rectangular-shaped card printed on nice card stock. There are 12 each of the planet, sign, and house cards.  

The karma cards are mainly used to ask the outcome of a particular situation or the action one needs to take in a given situation depending on what the querant wants to know. Additionally, one can obtain the answer to what action one can take in a situation and its outcome. 

Each karma card contains the answers to the outcome and/or action steps one should take written on the face of each card, which I like immensely... This way I don't have to look up the answers in the book that comes with this card deck or memorize the answers for each card.

Below is a summary for Karma Cards by Monte Farber from Barnes & Noble:
Find out what your future holds with this brand-new edition of the hugely popular Karma Cards oracle deck!Want to know about your love life? Career prospects? Finances? The answer to every question lies in these amazing cards, created by astrologer Monte Farber and already embraced by hundreds of thousands of seekers. How do they work? Shuffle the Karma Cards; lay a Planet, Sign, and House card side by side; and read across the red or blue panels. Every response features three levels of information: spiritual, mental, and physical. They can guide you through everyday decision-making, and even more important, help you contact and communicate wisely with your “Higher Self”—that part of our being that actually chooses to undergo certain experiences in order to explore our full potential. Accompanying the 36 full-color cards is a 96-page instruction book with advice on centering yourself, visualizing the situation that concerns you, phrasing your query, and more.
I'm giving Karma Cards by Monte Farber a rating of 5 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Bookish Quote of the Day!!


A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka


I had the paperback edition of A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka in my 'to be read' pile for roughly 7.5 years before I finally read this novel last month. I don't remember how I first came across this novel, but the title certainly captured my attention. The storyline sounded interesting, so I decided to read A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka.

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian is the first novel written by British author, Marina Lewycka. I learned from Wikipedia that A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian has won or been nominated for the following awards:
The novel won the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize at the Hay literary festival, the Waverton Good Read Award 2005/6, and was short-listed for the 2005 Orange Prize for Fiction, losing to Lionel Shriver's We Need to Talk About Kevin. Over a million copies have been sold in the UK.
A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian started off really well! I felt captivated by the story, the writing, the humor, and the characters. Things seemed to grow a bit stagnant for me about a third of the way into this novel as the storyline didn't seem to be progressing and felt stuck in a rut before picking up again at about the halfway mark. 

There were many different aspects in this novel that made for interesting reading. Take two estranged sisters, Vera and Nadezhda, that reconnect in an effort to protect/save their elderly, widowed father from a young, sexy, gold digging woman after their father's money and also for her chance to become a British citizen though marriage for both herself and her son. 

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka also touches upon life in Ukraine during the cold war for not only Vera and Nadezhda's parents, but also for Vera as well. Nadezhda is not born until after the family leaves Ukraine. The immigration experience is touched upon as well in this novel.

Dysfunctional family life, family idiosyncrasies, and family secrets also seem to be themes within A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian as well.

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka is definitely a multilayered novel. There's so much more going on within its pages than I've shared within my review. I almost wish that I had a book group to discuss this book with other readers.

Below is the plot summary for A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka from Goodreads:
"In this comic first novel, two estranged sisters living in England discover that their addled elderly father, a Ukrainian war refugee and expert on tractors, is planning to marry a young, enormous-breasted woman who sees his modest pension as her ticket to capitalist comfort. The sisters put aside their differences, and embark on a spirited campaign to save him from boil-in-the-bag dinners, slovenly housekeeping, and such extravagant purchases as a broken-down Rolls-Royce. In the midst of these machinations—which include long-winded letters to solicitors, venomous gossip, and all-out spying—Lewycka stealthily reveals how the depredations of the past century dictate what a family can bear."
I am giving A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!