Saturday, April 17, 2021

Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne


I listened to the unabridged audio version of Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne and narrated by Tim Curry

Listening time for Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne is 8 hours, 10 minutes.

Journey to the Center of the Earth is the third novel I've read written by Jules Verne. I first read 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, which I've read 2-3 times by the way and love it. Next I read, The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne, which featured Captain Nemo from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea in a minor role. And finally, I read Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne.

I enjoyed Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne. It's reminiscent of his previous novels, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and The Mysterious Island, in that Journey to the Center of the Earth felt like both a travelogue and a scientific exploration. I enjoyed the main characters of Otto Lidenbrock and his nephew, Axel. I loved their adventure in journeying to the center of the Earth. I loved the fantastic things they discover while traveling to the center of the Earth too.

Tim Curry does a great job of narrating Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne.

Below is a summary for Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne from Audible:
Journey to the Center of the Earth is one of literature’s earliest works of science fiction. It vividly animates a fantastical subterranean world as an intrepid crew, led by the eccentric Otto Lidenbrock, traverses the planet’s core and its various bizarre obstacles: giant mushrooms and insects, a herd of mastodons, prehistoric humans, a treacherous pit of magma, and more.

Tim Curry, narrator of the customer favorite A Christmas Carol, returns for an encore performance that delivers a range of distinct character voices and captures the energy and enthusiasm of a time when scientific exploration was a brand new adventure.
I am giving Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne a rating 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Friday, April 16, 2021

Monsoon Mansion by Cinelle Barnes



I listened to the unabridged audio version of Monsoon Mansion by Cinelle Barnes and narrated by the author. 

I like reading memoirs and also learning about the lives of those born and raised in different countries and cultures... And Monsoon Mansion by Cinelle Barnes fit the bill. As a side note, I am also particularly interested in Filipino culture and Filipino lives as my husband is Filipino-American. Learning about the country, people, and culture he came from is fascinating to me. Monsoon Mansion by Cinelle Barnes is written by a woman born and raised in the Philippines, so I was drawn to her coming of age memoir.

Monsoon Mansion by Cinelle Barnes is a tough read as we learn about the author's family rise and fall from grace and their life of extreme riches to extreme poverty. Life turns on a dime for the author's family as the life of opulence beyond imagination goes south fast and the family is torn apart. It's a story of resilience and overcoming the horrors one is forced to live with as a child due to parents that make poor choices when difficult times come their way. 

It's really the children who seem to suffer the most when their parents make poor choices/decisions after hard times hit. But the author finds a way to overcome the lifestyle mistakes/choices made by her parents and pulls herself out of circumstances that seemed insurmountable. For that I applaud Cinelle Barnes.

Listening time for Monsoon Mansion by Cinelle Barnes is 9 hours, 1 minute. I didn't like the audio quality for this book. I also wish someone else had narrated this memoir instead of the author as I felt her reading of her own memoir was bland.

Below is a summary for Monsoon Mansion by Cinelle Barnes from Audible:
Told with a lyrical, almost-dreamlike voice as intoxicating as the moonflowers and orchids that inhabit this world, Monsoon Mansion is a harrowing yet triumphant coming-of-age memoir exploring the dark, troubled waters of a family’s rise and fall from grace in the Philippines. It would take a young warrior to survive it.

Cinelle Barnes was barely three years old when her family moved into Mansion Royale, a stately ten-bedroom home in the Philippines. Filled with her mother’s opulent social aspirations and the gloriously excessive evidence of her father’s self-made success, it was a girl’s storybook playland. But when a monsoon hits, her father leaves, and her mother’s terrible lover takes the reins, Cinelle’s fantastical childhood turns toward tyranny she could never have imagined. Formerly a home worthy of magazines and lavish parties, Mansion Royale becomes a dangerous shell of the splendid palace it had once been.

In this remarkable ode to survival, Cinelle creates something magical out of her truth - underscored by her complicated relationship with her mother. Through a tangle of tragedy and betrayal emerges a revelatory journey of perseverance and strength, of grit and beauty, and of coming to terms with the price of family - and what it takes to grow up.

I also came across this YouTube video of Cinelle Barnes being interviewed by Nia Ita. 

I am giving Monsoon Mansion by Cinelle Barnes a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Wanda Coleman reads her poem "Prove It Why Don't You"


Wanda Coleman (November 13, 1946 – November 22, 2013) was an American poet. and was known as "the unofficial poet laureate of Los Angeles".

Monday, April 12, 2021

Three New to Me Little Free Library Finds!

Earlier this month, my husband I found three new to us Little Free Libraries on April 2, 2021!

Two of the Little Free Libraries were in Danville, California and one was in San Ramon. California. I left behind nine books total at the Little Free Libraries we discovered, but didn't take any home with me. I have so many books to read, it isn't even funny!!

In Danville, California, we actually saw three wild peacocks roaming
the neighborhood where we discovered the second Little Free Library. I actually captured video footage of one of the
peacocks strutting around with plumes on display. It was quite a sight to behold!! Unfortunately, I can't seem to upload the video of the peacock.

1072 Ocho Rios Drive, Danville, California 94526

1056 Westridge Avenue, Danville CA 94526

2128 Estrella Court, San Ramon CA 94583


 Have you visited any new to you Little Free Libraries recently?

Sunday, April 11, 2021

The Spirit is Willing (Ophelia Wylde Paranormal Mystery #2) by Max McCoy

 

I love a good cozy mystery novel! And The Spirit is Willing (Ophelia Wylde Paranormal Mystery #2) by Max McCoy sounded like a good fit for me as it is not only a cozy mystery novel, but also mixes the paranormal element to it and is set during the 1800s for a historical fiction vibe too.

I liked the main character of Ophelia Wylde as she is no nonsense and is psychic. She is a widow, use to be con artist and does dress in men's clothing, which is unusual for the times. I also like a few of the other minor characters as well.

The writing is decent overall for The Spirit is Willing (Ophelia Wylde Paranormal Mystery #2) by Max McCoy. Initially, I thought this cozy mystery novel started off kind of rocky as the first few chapters left me wondering where it was headed. The focus seemed to be on a variety of different characters and events that seemed to be unrelated to each other, however things changed several chapters in and the novel became more cohesive.

Below is a summary for The Spirit is Willing (Ophelia Wylde Paranormal Mystery #2) by Max McCoy from Amazon:
In the Old West, murder is a way of life. But psychic detective Ophelia Wylde is dealing out her own brand of justice by talking to the victims . . . after they’re dead.

Ghost In The Machine

It’s one of the strangest trials in Colorado history. A “spirit photographer” is accused of fraud, and Ophelia Wylde agrees to examine the man’s ghostly portraits and testify in court. In a sealed room, she is presented with five photographs. Four are obvious fakes. But one photo—featuring a powerful politician, Jackson Miles, with a sorrowful ghost in chains behind his shoulder—is the real McCoy. When Ophelia makes contact, the spirit is in such agony that she’s unable to learn anything but his name: Angus Wright. Intrigued, Ophelia sets out to learn more about the wronged Mr. Wright and discovers he was murdered nearly twenty years ago during the Gold Rush. The politician is somehow involved, and Ophelia has to watch her step. Because the living are much more dangerous than the dead . . .
I am giving The Spirit is Willing (Ophelia Wylde Paranormal Mystery #2) by Max McCoy a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Saturday, April 10, 2021

The Ranger, and Other Stories by Zane Grey

 

The western genre is one I am normally not drawn to or one I find very captivating. However, in an effort to expand my reading horizons, I decided to read something from the western genre this year. Zane Grey and Louis L'Amour are the two biggest names I know of in the western genre arena. I decided to go with a short story collection written by Zane Grey dealing with the themes of love and adventure.

I ended up enjoying the audio version of
 The Ranger, and Other Stories by Zane Grey and narrated by Robert G. Slade. There are a total of four short stories in this collection, which include the following stories: "The Ranger", "Canyon Walls", "Avalanche", and "From Missouri". Both "Avalanche" and "From Missouri" were my two favorite short stories.

Listening time for The Ranger, and Other Stories by Zane Grey is 6 hours, 50 minutes and is well narrated by Robert G. Slade.

Below is a summary for The Ranger, and Other Stories by Zane Grey from Audible:
Four tales of love and adventure in the Old West introduce a cast of characters that includes a brave Texas ranger who risks his life against avenging outlaws to rescue the woman he secretly loves; a beautiful seductress who comes between two brothers; a desperate fugitive who seeks sanctuary with a peace-loving people; and a daring young schoolteacher who journeys West to meet the man who has captured her heart.
I am giving The Ranger, and Other Stories by Zane Grey a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Ethel at 100 by Ishmael Reed

 

Here is another awesome poem titled, Ethel at 100, which is written and read by Ishmael Reed.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

La Conchita by T. C. Boyle

 

Yes, to finally reading something written by T. C. Boyle!! He's been on my radar for more than a decade now

I listened to the unabridged audio version of La Conchita by T. C. Boyle from Audible, which was narrated by the author. Listening time for La Conchita by T. C. Boyle is 29 minutes.

La Conchita by T. C. Boyle is a short story set along the central coast of California between the cities of Ventura and Carpinteria in the hamlet of La Conchita, California.

For sixteen years, my husband and I lived in Carpinteria, California. The community of La Conchita is nestled between the mountains and the Pacific Ocean just a few minutes south of Carpinteria as you drive along the 101 Freeway southward towards Ventura.

Because I am familiar with La Conchita and the mudslide that hit this small community, I couldn't resist hearing T. C. Boyle read his short story, La Conchita. It's a fun, suspenseful and engaging short story and I am glad I listened to it.

Below is the plot summary for La Conchita by T. C. Boyle from Audible:
Gordon is a delivery driver with a predilection toward road rage, and he's on the most important delivery of his life. In Santa Barbara there's a mother of three on life support waiting for Gordon, waiting for the liver he's transporting from Los Angeles. But there's a mudslide, and cars are being swept away, people being buried in the sludge. And Gordon, who's as far from a hero as they come, has to find a way to get the liver to Santa Barbara.
I am giving La Conchita by T. C. Boyle a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars!

Until my next post, happy reading!

Friday, April 2, 2021

Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey


I had Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey on my reading wishlist for quite a while. I finally read the ebook edition of this novella last month during Women's History Month.

I really enjoyed reading Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey. It's described as a 'pulp western' novella by the author and is set in the USA in the near future after society has collapsed into a military state. 

Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey deals with queer identity and how fascism/fascist governments can control the flow of information within a society, etc. This novella focuses mainly on queer identity and what that means for the main character, Esther Augustus. Esther is a young woman who runs away to escape being forced into an arranged marriage by her father to an older man she does not love. 

To make matters worse, Esther has witnessed the hanging of her secret lover, Beatriz. Beatriz was hung for deviance and for possession of unapproved materials prior to the start of Upright Women Wanted. Before Beatriz had been hung, she had been betrothed to the older man that Esther found herself betrothed to after Beatriz's public hanging. 

Esther becomes a stowaway on a wagon belonging to the female librarians that deliver approved reading material by the state throughout the region. These female librarians are considered to be morally upright women. Esther feels shameful about her queer identity based on the approved reading material she has read over the years about queer identity. She is hoping to become a morally upright woman like the librarians. Little does Esther know what's really in store for her. Let's just say, Esther has a change in perspective by the end of Upright Women Wanted!!

Below is a 54 minute video I discovered on YouTube where the author, Sarah Gailey, reads the 1st chapter of Upright Women Wanted. Sarah also discusses how she came to write Upright Women Wanted. I thoroughly enjoy hearing authors discuss their books/writing, so I hope you enjoy watching this video as much as I did.
 


Below is the plot summary for Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey from Amazon:
In Upright Women Wanted, award-winning author Sarah Gailey reinvents the pulp Western with an explicitly antifascist, near-future story of queer identity.

“That girl’s got more wrong notions than a barn owl’s got mean looks.”

Esther is a stowaway. She’s hidden herself away in the Librarian’s book wagon in an attempt to escape the marriage her father has arranged for her―a marriage to the man who was previously engaged to her best friend. Her best friend who she was in love with. Her best friend who was just executed for possession of resistance propaganda.

The future American Southwest is full of bandits, fascists, and queer librarian spies on horseback trying to do the right thing.
I am giving Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Thursday, April 1, 2021

If by Rudyard Kipling read by Sir Michael Caine

 

Happy National Poetry Month! I found this video of Sir Michael Caine reading his favorite poem 'If' by Rudyard Kipling and thought I'd share it to kick of National Poetry Month.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Chaucer's Books Virtual Author Event ~ Monty's Marvelous Adventures by Dori Edwards and Illustrator, Ryan Carr

 

I lived in the Santa Barbara area for 16 years with my husband. We were members of the Santa Barbara Zoo off and on for years when we lived there... And what a spectacular, small zoo it is!! We always enjoyed seeing the animals and exhibits along with attending various zoo events. The Santa Barbara Zoo has ocean views and overlooks the Andree Clark Bird Refuge... It's a lovely place to visit.

Since moving to San Francisco's East Bay Area nearly 7 years ago, I have followed the Santa Barbara Zoo through their Facebook page and have enjoyed keeping up with what has been going on there. 

During the pandemic, the Santa Barbara Zoo has been uploading short videos of Monty, the penguin, exploring the zoo on foot with his caretakers and the adventures he has had. These videos have been absolutely fabulous to watch and have become a huge hit with viewers.

So, eventually, a children's book about Monty's adventures at the Santa Barbara was created by author, Dory Edwards and illustrator, Ryan Carr.

On Sunday, March 28th, Dory Edwards and Ryan Carr each spoke about their collaboration on Monty's Marvelous Adventures and the current projects they are each working on now. Dory Edwards even read her book, Monty's Marvelous Adventures, aloud during the event... And it's a really cute children's book with a great message about celebrating our difference, but also how we're really all alike!

Best yet, was a very special appearance made by Monty live during this event with his caretakers from the Santa Barbara Zoo. The zoo staff spoke about Monty. What a fun event!

Below is a short video I discovered on YouTube promoting Monty and the book written about his adventures at the Santa Barbara Zoo!

Monday, March 29, 2021

An Evening with Louise Erdrich ~ Virtual Author Event

 

I had fun attending another live virtual author event this month featuring author, Louise Erdrich. This virtual event was presented by the South Dakota Humanities Council as a way to explore Native American electoral access. 

Below is a blurb about the event:
Join National Book Award-winning Anishinaabe author Louise Erdrich for a conversation about Native American civic engagement on the page and in the world. She will discuss her own experiences with activism, whether through writing about or mobilizing in support of causes close to her heart. She will also describe how those experiences have influenced her fiction, especially her most recent book, The Night Watchman.

This program was funded by the “Why it Matters: Civic and Electoral Participation” initiative, administered by the Federation of State Humanities Councils and funded by Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

I enjoyed hearing Louise Erdrich speak, especially about her latest novel, The Night Watchman, her writing, and the q & a between audience members and the author. There wasn't enough discussion about the topic of voting for my liking, but a good event overall.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation by Anna Malaika Tubbs

 

I chose to listen to the unabridged audio version of The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation by Anna Malaika Tubbs after hearing the author, along with Dr. Shirley N. Weber (California Secretary of State) speak at a virtual author event earlier this month on International Women's Day. 

I was intrigued by what Anna Malaika Tubbs shared with viewers during the virtual author event and also by the title of her newly published book. Motherhood is an important topic and women do shape the lives of future generations to come. Additionally, I enjoyed the idea of learning more about how three specific mothers shaped the lives of three important American Civil Rights leaders of the 20th century. So, with this in mind, I decided to read Anna Malaika Tubbs' book, The Three Mothers, this month during Women's History Month.

I was not disappointed!! The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation by Anna Malaika Tubbs is excellent. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the lives of Berdis Baldwin, Louise Little, and Alberta King. I also enjoyed learning more about the lives of their sons and the relationship each woman had with her son, along with more information about black history and black motherhood within the USA. 

Listening time for The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation by Anna Malaika Tubbs is 6 hours, 51 minutes and is narrated by the author.

Below is the summary for The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation by Anna Malaika Tubbs from Audible:

Much has been written about Berdis Baldwin's son James, about Alberta King's son Martin Luther, and Louise Little's son Malcolm. But virtually nothing has been said about the extraordinary women who raised them.

In her groundbreaking and essential debut The Three Mothers, scholar Anna Malaika Tubbs celebrates Black motherhood by telling the story of the three women who raised and shaped some of America's most pivotal heroes.

Berdis Baldwin, Alberta King, and Louise Little were all born at the beginning of the 20th century and forced to contend with the prejudices of Jim Crow as Black women. These three extraordinary women passed their knowledge to their children with the hope of helping them to survive in a society that would deny their humanity from the very beginning - from Louise teaching her children about their activist roots, to Berdis encouraging James to express himself through writing, to Alberta basing all of her lessons in faith and social justice. These women used their strength and motherhood to push their children toward greatness, all with a conviction that every human being deserves dignity and respect despite the rampant discrimination they faced.

These three mothers taught resistance and a fundamental belief in the worth of Black people to their sons, even when these beliefs flew in the face of America’s racist practices and led to ramifications for all three families’ safety. The fight for equal justice and dignity came above all else for the three mothers.

These women, their similarities and differences, as individuals and as mothers, represent a piece of history left untold and a celebration of Black motherhood long overdue.

I am giving The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation by Anna Malaika Tubbs a rating of 5 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Monday, March 22, 2021

Death at Wentwater Court (Daisy Dalrymple #1) by Carola Dunn

 

I listened to the unabridged audio version of Death at Wentwater Court (Daisy Dalrymple #1) by Carola Dunn and narrated by Bernadette Dunne.

Carola Dunn is a new to me author this year despite the fact that she's been a published author for decades. Death at Wentwater Court (Daisy Dalrymple #1) by Carola Dunn is a cozy mystery novel and was published in 1994. Death at Wentwater Court is also the first novel in the Daisy Dalrymple series. There are a total of 23 novels in the Daisy Dalrymple series, which is quite a long lived cozy mystery series if you ask me!

I really enjoyed listening to Death at Wentwater Court (Daisy Dalrymple #1) by Carola Dunn. It wasn't a perfect read by any means, but fun and engaging nonetheless. The writing and characters are good. I liked that this novel was set in Englad during the 1920s... And of course, the narrator, Bernadette Dunne, gave a spectatcular reading of this cozy mystery novel.

Listening time for Death at Wentwater Court (Daisy Dalrymple #1) by Carola Dunn is 6 hours, 34 minutes.

Below is the summary for Death at Wentwater Court (Daisy Dalrymple #1) by Carola Dunn from Amazon:
More than twenty years ago, Carola Dunn introduced to the world the charming, vivacious and perspicacious Daisy Dalrymple and the tumultuous decade of the 1920s, in an England barely starting to recover from World War I and now undergoing rapid social changes.

In early 1923, the young Honourable Daisy Dalrymple has made a decision that shocks her social class-instead of living in the Dower House with her mother and being supported by her relatives, she's decided to make her own living as a writer. Landing an assignment for Town & Country to write a series of articles on country manor houses, Daisy travels to Wentwater Court to research her first piece. There she finds a household in turmoil, filled with holiday guests and recriminations. But that's nothing compared to the uproar when one of those guests drowns in a tragic early-morning skating "accident." When it is learned that this was anything but accidental, Scotland Yard is called in and a young Chief Inspector, one Alec Fletcher, is called in to investigate. And therein hangs a tale...

A series with all the charm of the classic golden age mysteries with the kind of full-blooded, three dimensional characters that define the best of modern mystery, the Daisy Dalrymple mysteries have been a favorite for more than two decades. Now, with this reissue, readers can enjoy it from the very beginning.
I am giving Death at Wentwater Court (Daisy Dalrymple #1) by Carola Dunn a rating 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Friday, March 12, 2021

Looking For Salvation at the Dairy Queen by Susan Gregg Gilmore


I thoroughly enjoyed reading of Looking For Salvation at the Dairy Queen by Susan Gregg GilmoreLooking For Salvation at the Dairy Queen is the first novel I've read by Susan Gregg Gilmore and I look forward to exploring her other published works... Looking For Salvation at the Dairy Queen also happens to be the first novel written by the author and what an amazing first novel it is! The title of this novel is what captured my attention initially, but the writing, storyline, plot development and characters are what kept me reading until the very end.

Looking For Salvation at the Dairy Queen is set in Ringgold, Georgia during the 1970s and is essentially a coming of age story. I loved the protagonist, Catherine Grace Cline, and her journey through childhood to adulthood. Catherine Grace and her sister, Martha Ann, grow up without a mother and are raised by their preacher father. It was fun to read about Catherine Grace's trials, tribulations, and see her perspective change as she grows older. Some unexpected events happen along the way, which make for a fun read. 

As a side note, I can't ever recall eating at a Dairy Queen before, but now I want to try a Dilly Bar after reading Looking For Salvation at the Dairy Queen by Susan Gregg Gilmore!!

The following is summary for Looking For Salvation at the Dairy Queen by Susan Gregg Gilmore from Amazon:
Sometimes you have to return to the place where you began, to arrive at the place where you belong.

It’s the early 1970s. The town of Ringgold, Georgia, has a population of 1,923, one traffic light, one Dairy Queen, and one Catherine Grace Cline. The daughter of Ringgold’s third-generation Baptist preacher, Catherine Grace is quick-witted, more than a little stubborn, and dying to escape her small-town life.

Every Saturday afternoon, she sits at the Dairy Queen, eating Dilly Bars and plotting her getaway to Atlanta. And when, with the help of a family friend, the dream becomes a reality, she immediately packs her bags, leaving her family and the boy she loves to claim the life she’s always imagined. But before things have even begun to get off the ground in Atlanta, tragedy brings Catherine Grace back home. As a series of extraordinary events alter her perspective--and sweeping changes come to Ringgold itself--Catherine Grace begins to wonder if her place in the world may actually be, against all odds, right where she began.

Intelligent, charming, and utterly readable, Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen marks the debut of a talented new literary voice.
Below is a short video on YouTube of author, Susan Gregg Gilmore, discussing how she became a writer. What an amazing, short blurb on the fact that you can become a writer at any age and without having been an English major in college.



 I am giving Looking For Salvation at the Dairy Queen by Susan Gregg Gilmore a rating of 5 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers


I enjoyed listening to the unabridged audio version of Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers and narrated by Sophie Thompson. 

Listening time for Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers is 3 hours, 50 minutes.

Okay, we probably all know about the iconic 1964 Disney film, Mary Poppins, starring Julie Andrews, right? Well, what I never realized (until this year) was that the Mary Poppins movie was based on a book titled Mary Poppins by Australian-British writer P. L. Travers!! In fact, there were eight books total in the Mary Poppins series published from 1934 through 1988.

I decided to listened to Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers on a whim and enjoyed this children's novel very much. The adventures the four children (Jane, Michael, John and Barbara) have with their nanny, Mary Poppins, was quite fun to read about. I can only imagine how much young children would enjoy this novel.

Below is the plot summary for Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers from Audible:
Here is the timeless story of Mary Poppins, the world's favorite nanny, and her magical adventures with the Banks family.

Mary Poppins is like no other nanny the Banks children have ever seen. It all starts when their new nanny is blown by the east wind onto the doorstep of the Banks house, carrying a parrot-headed umbrella and a magic carpetbag. She becomes a most unusual nanny to Jane, Michael, and the twins. Who else but Mary Poppins can slide up banisters, pull an entire armchair out of an empty carpetbag, and make a dose of medicine taste like delicious lime-juice cordial? A day with Mary Poppins is a day of magic and make-believe come to life!
I am giving Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!
 

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

The Lottery, and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson

 

I listened to the unabridged audio version of The Lottery, and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson and narrated by Cassandra Campbell, Gabrielle de Cuir, Kathe Mazur, and Stefan Rudnicki.

Listening time for The Lottery, and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson is 9 hours, 34 minutes.

I am hugely disappointed with the collection of short stories contained within The Lottery, and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson. I had listened to two prior works written by Shirley Jackson, which I enjoyed. So, I was eager to listen to The Lottery, and Other Stories. I enjoyed roughly half a dozen of the short stories within this collection with “The Lottery,” (which won the O. Henry Prize Stories award in 1949) and "Charles" being my two favorites. Most of these short stories I found to be too creepy and odd.

Below is a summary for The Lottery, and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson from Audible:
A powerful collection of short stories by Shirley Jackson.

"The Lottery," one of the most terrifying stories of the twentieth century, created a sensation when it was first published in the New Yorker. "Powerful and haunting," and "nights of unrest" were typical reader responses. This collection, the only one to appear during Jackson's lifetime, unites "The Lottery" with 24 equally unusual stories. Together they demonstrate her remarkable range - from the hilarious to the truly horrible - and power as a storyteller.
I am giving The Lottery, and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson a rating of 2 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday -Top 12 Favorite Audiobook Narrators


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

I went rogue this week and chose my own Top Ten Tuesday theme this week.

It's no secret that I love listening to audiobooks. I've listened to several audiobooks over the years. Below are 12 narrators I've enjoyed listening narrate books and would gladly listen to other books they narrate.

1. Simon Vance
2. Will Patton
3. Stefan Rudnicki
4. Bahni Turpin
5. Angela Dawe
6. Cassandra Campbell
7. Jayne Entwistle
8. Juanita McMahon
9. Juliet Mills
10. Ralph Cosham
11. Jim Dale
12. Bernadette Dunne

Do you listen to audiobooks too? Do you have a favorite narrator? If so, share with me your favorite narrator(s) in the comment section below.

Monday, March 8, 2021

International Women's Day: The Role of Motherhood In Society & Social Movements

 



Happy International Women's Day!!
I celebrated the day by watching a live virtual event
presented by First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom
& California Museum. 
See the following description about this event below.

Happy International Women’s Day! Join First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom for a virtual discussion on the role of motherhood in society and social movements TODAY at 1:30 pm!

Special guests include Dr. Shirley N. Weber, the first African American California Secretary of State, and Anna Malaika Tubbs, author of the book “The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation.” Both guests’ achievements are highlighted in updates for Women’s History Month to our signature exhibit “Women Inspire: California Women Changing Our World,” which will be featured in today’s livestream.
I really enjoyed watching this 30 minute
program featuring Dr. Shirley N. Weber
& Anna Malaika Tubbs.
Below is a YouTube video of their talk.
Fast forward to 24 minutes, 29 seconds to view
the start of the program!


Sunday, March 7, 2021

Why Do Old Books Smell?

 

Another wonderful short video from AbeBooks I discovered on YouTube discussing why old books smell and a tip on how to best store books.

How to Identify a First Edition Book

 

I enjoyed watching another short YouTube video from AbeBooks on how to identify first editions when published books may not always state that they are first editions... Plus, a couple of other resources were given in this video as well.

How Old Books Are Valued!!

 

Ever wanted to know how old books are valued because you'd like to sell or purchase old books? Then check out this brief video from AbeBooks I discovered on YouTube!

Thursday, March 4, 2021

City of Illusions by Ursula K. Le Guin

 

I enjoyed listening to the unabridged audio version of City of Illusions by Ursula K. Le Guin and narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.

City of Illusions is the first novel I've ever read by Ursula K. Le Guin!! It was first published in 1967 and is the third novel in Le Guin's 'Hainish Cycle' series. Initially, I didn't know City of Illusions was part of a series when I downloaded it to my iPad from Audible. I simply chose this novel because I'd been wanting to read a novel by Ursula K. Le Guin for quite a while and also because the plot sounded alluring.

I've heard great things about Ursula K. Le Guin's writing and novels in general, which is why I chose to read one of her novels. However, I do not read a lot of science fiction or fantasy novels. I wasn't quite sure what to expect from a novel published 54 years ago and also from a genre I normally do not read. Long story short, I was blown away by City of Illusions by the time I was finished listening to it yesterday afternoon. City of Illusions is an excellent read! Other than a few minor issues, I enjoyed reading this novel from start to finish. Additionally, I didn't feel like I missed anything by not reading the first two novels in the 'Hainish Cycle' series before reading City of Illusions. The characters, plot development, storyline, and writing were all well done. 

City of Illusions contained a bit of mystery within it. The main character, Falk, is an adult at the start of the novel, but his memory has been erased and he is like an infant in that he knows nothing (not even language) and has no memory at all except for a few mental images that he can't make sense of. Falk literally starts life  all over again. As Falk gains knowledge, he wants to learn where he came from and why his memory was erased. Hence, the journey of self discovery begins and what an interesting journey to discover the truth it is. I look forward to reading more novels by Ursula K. Le Guin.

Listening time for City of Illusions by Ursula K. Le Guin is 7 hours, 22 minutes... And Stefan Rudnicki is an excellent narrator by the way!

Below is the plot summary for City of Illusions by Ursula K. Le Guin from Audible:
He is a full-grown man, alone in dense forest, with no trail to show where he has come from and no memory to tell who or what he is. His eyes are not the eyes of a human. The forest people take him in and raise him almost as a child, teaching him to speak, training him in forest lore, giving him all the knowledge they have. But they could not solve the riddle of his past, and at last he has to set out on a perilous quest to find his true self - and a universe of danger.
I am giving City of Illusions by Ursula K. Le Guin a rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

The Committed: Viet Thanh Nguyen on Betrayal & Belonging. Viet Thanh Nguyen In Conversation with Laila Lalami.

 
Yesterday was the release date for Viet Thanh Nguyen's new novel, The Committed, which is the sequel to The Sympathizer.

I am very interested in reading both The Sympathizer & The Committed by Viet Thanh Nguyen. I watched a live virtual author event last night hosted by the Bay Area Book Festival featuring Viet Thanh Nguyen in conversation with Laila Lalami from 7-8pm Pacific Time. I really enjoyed listening to this author event and learning more about The Committed and why Viet Thanh Nguyen chose to write a sequel to The Sympathizer among many other topics discussed!

I look forward to receiving an autographed copy of The Committed in the mail shortly!

Monday, March 1, 2021

Women of Science Tarot by Massive Science (Tarot Deck Review)

 


Women of Science Tarot by Massive Science is a relatively new tarot deck that was published by MIT Press in September 2020. 

In December 2020, I watched a wonderful live author event hosted by MIT Press, which featured the authors of Women of Science Tarot. I enjoyed watching the event so much, that I purchased the Women of Science Tarot by Massive Science deck right away for my personal collection as an early holiday gift.

Women of Science Tarot by Massive Science is a beautiful edition to any tarot collection. Like any traditional tarot deck, there are a total of 78 cards in the Women of Science Tarot deck, which breaks down to 22 major arcana cards and 56 minor arcana cards. There are also four suits within the minor arcana of the Women of Science Tarot deck just like any other traditional tarot deck... However, the four suits in the Women of Science Tarot deck are called; nano (cups), micro (wands), macro (pentacles), and astro (swords). These names were given to reflect the wide range of scientific fields of study. Additionally, the words in parentheses found next to nano, micro, macro, and astro, are the traditional names given to the suits in the minor arcana.

The tarot cards themselves found within the Women of Science Tarot deck are pretty much the same size you'll find in most tarot decks. The card stock for this tarot deck is also nice and sturdy, not flimsy. The card stock is matte, not glossy, and the cards shuffle easily.

I L-O-V-E the artwork for the Women of Science Tarot deck!! There's enough imagery and color on each tarot card without making each card look too busy. 

I also enjoyed the 94 page guidebook for the Women of Science Tarot deck... No useless, little white paper pamphlet that comes with many tarot decks. I also love the fact that this tarot deck doesn't come in a tuck box!! The guidebook and deck are contained within a two piece, sturdy box to protect both the deck and guidebook.

The guidebook itself gives an introduction to the Women of Science Tarot deck and discusses the following:

1. How to give a 5 minute reading with the major arcana alone
2. How to give a 20 minute reading using the entire deck or with just the major arcana
3. A very brief introduction to the major arcana and the role it plays
4. A definition of each major arcana card and how to read each card in the upright or reversed positions
5. An explanation of the minor arcana's role and the meaning of each of the suits, along with the meanings of cards 1-10 + court cards.
6. Lastly, each card in the minor arcana features a specific woman scientist. A definition of each card is given in terms of its meaning within tarot + a brief biography of the woman scientist displayed on each card.

So, in many ways the Women of Science Tarot deck follows the traditional tarot deck. However, it is a unique deck that may not resonate with many traditional tarot deck lovers (i.e. the suits are given different names, it contains all women scientists on the minor arcana, etc.)... In fact, I've read a couple of negative reviews of this deck stating that it isn't a 'real' tarot deck or there isn't enough diversity among the women scientists featured and so on. However, I feel that the Women of Science Tarot by Massive Science is very much indeed a 'real' tarot deck and can be used for tarot readings. Opinions may vary. 

I am myself a newbie to the world of tarot. I'm still trying to learn the meanings of each tarot card and also figure out how to perform accurate tarot readings. I need to be devoting more time to studying/learning the tarot to become proficient at reading various tarot spreads. I simply need to make some study goals for myself and eke out some time in the future to gain a more in depth knowledge of reading tarot cards.

Below is a short video I discovered on YouTube. It is a flip through of the Women of Science Tarot by Massive Science to give you an idea of what each card in this tarot deck looks like. Enjoy!



I am giving Women of Science Tarot by Massive Science a rating of 5 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Books I Read For Black History Month

 

I read a total of seven books for Black History Month in 2021 as follows:


2. The Silence of Our Friends by Mark Long and Jim Demonakos
3. Up From Slavery by Booker T. Washington

Did you read any specific books for Black History Month? If so, share what you read in the comment section below. 

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Euphoria by Lily King



I listened to the unabridged audio version of Euphoria by Lily King and narrated by Simon Vance and Xe Sands.

Listening time for Euphoria by Lily King is 6 hours, 53 minutes.

I found Euphoria by Lily King a bit difficult to get into at first. I think this may have been due to the narration as I found Xe Sands to be a so so narrator and found it difficult to follow her cadence initially at the start of this novel. Simon Vance proved to be an excellent narrator as usual though.

As far as the writing goes for Euphoria, I found it to be excellent. This is the first novel I've read by Lily King and I look forward to reading more of her novels. Euphoria by Lily King is a work of historical fiction set largely in the 1930s. Anthropologist Margaret Mead's life was the inspiration for this work of fiction. I enjoyed the storyline for Euphoria very much, as it contains a love triangle and tragic ending as part of its plot. Of the three main characters, Nell Stone and Andrew Bankson were my favorites; Fen not so much.

Below is the plot summary for Euphoria by Lily King from Audible:
From New England Book Award winner Lily King comes a breathtaking novel about three young anthropologists of the '30s caught in a passionate love triangle that threatens their bonds, their careers, and ultimately, their lives.

English anthropologist Andrew Bankson has been alone in the field for several years, studying the Kiona river tribe in the territory of New Guinea. Haunted by the memory of his brothers' deaths and increasingly frustrated and isolated by his research, Bankson is on the verge of suicide when a chance encounter with colleagues, the controversial Nell Stone and her wry and mercurial Australian husband, Fen, pulls him back from the brink. Nell and Fen have just fled the bloodthirsty Mumbanyo and, in spite of Nell's poor health, are hungry for a new discovery. When Bankson finds them a new tribe nearby - the artistic, female-dominated Tam - he ignites an intellectual and romantic firestorm between the three of them that burns out of anyone's control.

Set between two World Wars and inspired by events in the life of revolutionary anthropologist Margaret Mead, Euphoria is an enthralling story of passion, possession, exploration, and sacrifice from accomplished author Lily King.

I enjoyed watching the following video of Lily King discussing her novel, Euphoria.


I am giving Euphoria by Lily King a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Monday, February 22, 2021

African American Athletes Who Made History by Louis Moore

 

I listened to the unabridged audio of African American Athletes Who Made History by Louis Moore, which is part of The Great Courses series and narrated by Louis Moore during Black History Month this year.

Listening time for African American Athletes Who Made History by Louis Moore is 4 hours, 19 minutes.

I learned so much through listening to African American Athletes Who Made History by Louis Moore! I highly recommend this audio version of The Great Courses as we not only learn about African American athletes from the 1800s through present day, but also about the racism and discrimination these athletes endured as well. 

For instance, I learned what a HUGE role African Americans played in the early days of horse racing when it was one of America's most popular sports. For instance, did you know that 13 of the 15 jockeys in the first Kentucky Derby were African Americans? Additionally, African American jockeys won 15 of the first 28 Kentucky Derbies. There's so much to share on the topic of African Americans in early horse racing in America that one could make an entire blog post on this very topic alone... And this was only one of the many fascinating topics discussed in African American Athletes Who Made History by Louis Moore.

I also enjoyed learning about black athletes during the Civil Rights Movement, the revolt of the black athlete, a more in depth look at major athletes like Jesse Owens, Jackie Robinson, and Joe Louis... As well as the topic of black athletes and endorsements, and black athletes as activists in the 21st century.

Below is a summary for African American Athletes Who Made History by Louis Moore from Amazon:
Professor Louis Moore’s audiobook about the history of African Americans in sports in the United States educates listeners about the fascinating social and cultural history of the nation. For example, integration of major league and professional sports broke a major color barrier for one of the first times in the early years of the Civil Rights Movement. African American athletes competed in America long before the 20th century - in fact, they even competed during the years of slavery.
  • Boxer Tom Molineaux, who fought for the entertainment of slave masters, went on to earn his freedom, and then became a professional fighter and trainer
  • Champion boxer Jack Johnson
  • High jumper Rose Robinson
  • Track star and four-time Olympic gold medalist Jesse Owens
  • Baseball legend Jackie Robinson
  • Decathlon gold-medalist Rafer Johnson
  • The first female African American Olympians, Tidye Picket and Louise Stokes
Hear how the struggles and triumphs of these and other African American sports stars opened doors for professional players who came to dominate their fields, including Serena Williams and Michael Jordan. Learn about the founding of Black sports leagues during the years of segregation, how the Great Migration reshaped athletics in America, and how African American athletes balanced their athletic success with the everyday reality of racism and became engines of social change. While sports helped level the playing field in many ways, Black athletes still grapple with the legacy of inequality in America today.
I am giving African American Athletes Who Made History by Louis Moore a rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

March (Trilogy Slipcase Edition) by John Lewis

I read March (Trilogy Slipcase Edition) by John Lewis during Black History Month this year. I've had the March trilogy in my 'to be read' pile for quite a while now. So I was thrilled to finally read all three books in the March trilogy as learning more about the life of Civil Rights legend and activist, John Lewis, is a must for anyone wanting to learn more about the Civil Rights Movement in general. 

By reading the March trilogy, I learned a lot about the Civil Rights Movement with regards to many of the major events. Additionally, I enjoyed reading about many of the major movers and shakers and organizations that helped propel the Civil Rights Movement forward, which eventually lead to the successful passing of both the 1964 Civil Rights Act and 1965 Voting Rights Act. 

Of course, a large focus of the March trilogy was on the early life and the instrumental role John Lewis played during the Civil Rights Movement, which I found fascinating... And of course, two of the major topics discussed in the March trilogy were the march over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama (also known as Bloody Sunday) and the march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.

I highly recommend reading the March (Trilogy Slipcase Edition) by John Lewis. I also loved the artwork by Nate Powell for all three March books!!

Below is a summary for March (Trilogy Slipcase Edition) by John Lewis from Amazon:
Winner of the National Book Award for Young People's Literature.

Discover the inside story of the Civil Rights Movement through the eyes of one of its most iconic figures, Congressman John Lewis. March is the award-winning, #1 bestselling graphic novel trilogy recounting his life in the movement, co-written with Andrew Aydin and drawn by Nate Powell. This commemorative set contains all three volumes of March in a beautiful slipcase.

#1 New York Times and Washington Post Bestseller
First graphic novel to receive a Robert F. Kennedy Book Award
Winner of the Eisner Award
A Coretta Scott King Honor Book
One of YALSA's Outstanding Books for the College Bound
One of Reader's Digest's Graphic Novels Every Grown-Up Should Read

I am giving March (Trilogy Slipcase Edition) by John Lewis a rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!! 

P. S. One of my reading goals for 2021 is to read five trilogies... One trilogy down, four more trilogies left to read!

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Real Men Howl by Celia Kyle & Marina Maddix

 

Real Men Howl by Celia Kyle & Marina Maddix is my second Valentine's Day themed read for 2021.

I was able to download the ebook edition of Real Men Howl by Celia Kyle & Marina Maddix to my Kindle app from Amazon for FREE. 

Below is honest, unbiased review of Real Men Howl by Celia Kyle & Marina Maddix.

Real Men Howl by Celia Kyle & Marina Maddix is a paranormal romance novel and is the first novel in the 'Real Men Shift' series. Real Men Howl features werewolves... And even though I found Real Men Howl by Celia Kyle & Marina Maddix to be predictable and formulaic in many ways, I enjoyed the writing, the characters and the feisty main character, Lucy Morgan.

So if you're looking for a hot, paranormal romance novel with some sizzle, then Real Men Howl by Celia Kyle & Marina Maddix may be the read for you.

Below is a summary for Real Men Howl by Celia Kyle & Marina Maddix from Goodreads:

Mason’s inner wolf will go crazy without her. Lucy thinks he’s already crazy. Werewolves aren’t real. Right?

Lucy Morgan left Ashtown, Georgia, ten years ago and planned to never return. Unfortunately, life didn’t get that memo. She’s back and now painful memories follow her everywhere. Until she meets him. Mason Blackwood is over six feet of sinfully gorgeous man who—for some reason—wants her. He also thinks he’s a werewolf so… yeah. He’s crazypants. But when he wants to have his wicked way with her, his sanity doesn’t seem all that important anymore.

Mason isn’t sure how much longer he can remain Alpha over the Blackwood pack. Without a mate to balance him, his wolf snatches more control every day. It won’t be long before he loses himself to the animal entirely. Then he meets Lucy—a sassy, curvaceous beauty who calms his beast with a smile. One sniff is enough to tell him she’s his mate, and nothing will keep them apart.

Not even the pack’s deadliest enemy who’s determined to kill Lucy before Mason can claim her.

I wasn't sure whether to give Real Men Howl by Celia Kyle & Marina Maddix a rating of 3 or 4 stars. I decided to be generous and give Real Men Howl by Celia Kyle & Marina Maddix a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!