Monday, August 2, 2021

Of Triton (The Syrena Legacy #2) by Anna Banks

 

Right after I finished listening to Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy #1) by Anna Banks, I began listening to Of Triton (The Syrena Legacy #2) by Anna Banks and narrated by Rebecca Gibel.

Listening time for Of Triton (The Syrena Legacy #2) by Anna Banks is 7 hours, 52 minutes.

I enjoyed Of Triton (The Syrena Legacy #2) by Anna Banks so much more than I did the first novel in the 'The Syrena Legacy' trilogy. I'm glad that I didn't stop after the first novel as Of Triton was so much more captivating. The storyline for Of Triton explored more of the relationship between Emma and her mom, Nalia, and also contained more about the history/world of the Syrena (mermaids) than was discussed in the first novel, Of Poseidon

Additionally, Of Triton, focused more on other plot details other than teenage drama/angst like the first novel did, which was a HUGE relief.

I've begun listening to the third and final installment of the 'The Syrena Legacy' trilogy, Of Neptune, today. I look forward to finishing it and reviewing it here on my blog soon.

Below is a summary for Of Triton (The Syrena Legacy #2) by Anna Banks from Audible:

Emma has just learned that her mother is a long-lost Poseidon princess and now struggles with an identity crisis. As a half-breed, she’s a freak in the human world and an abomination in the Syrena realm. Syrena law states that all half-breeds should be put to death.

As if that’s not bad enough, her mother’s reappearance in the Syrena world turns the two kingdoms - Poseidon and Triton - against one another. That leaves Emma with a decision to make: Should she comply with Galen’s request to keep herself safe and just hope for the best? Or should she risk it all and reveal herself - and her gift - to save a people she’s never known?

I am giving Of Triton (The Syrena Legacy #2) by Anna Banks a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy #1) by Anna Banks

 

One of my reading goals for 2021 is to read five different trilogies. So with that in mind, I listened to the unabridged audio version of Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy #1) by Anna Banks and narrated by Rebecca Gibel.

Listening time for Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy #1) by Anna Banks is 9 hours, 32 minutes.

 Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy #1) by Anna Banks falls into the fantasy/paranormal romance genre for young adults. I was initially attracted to this trilogy due to mermaids and the paranormal romance aspect of it... And of course, the plot sounded interesting too.

I felt like Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy #1) by Anna Banks could have been so much better overall. The narration by Rebecca Gibel was excellent for this novel. But there seemed to be too much teenage angst/drama going on for me between the teenage characters for my liking. Plus, Galen's sister, Rayna, was so annoying as a character... I intensely disliked Rayna as a character. I also disliked Emma's mom, Nalia, as she was annoying personality wise as well. Also, Nalia hid things from her daughter, Emma, that I thought was important for Emma to know.

For much of Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy #1) by Anna Banks, I thought I was going to rate it 2 out of 5 stars and I was also seriously questioning whether I wanted to continue with the rest of the trilogy. However, the last 5 or so chapters did pick up and made for more interesting reading. So, I was able to give Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy #1) by Anna Banks a better rating in the end. Additionally, I did decide to continue with the trilogy and will be reviewing the second novel in the 'Syrena Legacy' trilogy soon.

Below is the summary for Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy #1) by Anna Banks from Audible:

Emma and her friend Chloe are spending vacation in Florida. When Emma (literally) runs into a hot guy named Galen on the beach, little does she know he's a prince of the Syrena. Galen and Emma both feel something strange - is it attraction? - and Galen suspects that Emma might well be the girl he's heard of - a human who can communicate with fish. What follows is a deadly scene with a shark in which Galen witnesses Emma's gifts. He must know more about her, and follows her back to New Jersey, and high school, to find out for sure if she's the key to saving his kingdom.

Soon, Emma can't deny her feelings for him, but can't explain them, either - and both she and Galen must learn more about where she comes from and what her powers are before they can trust one another and their feelings. Told from both Emma and Galen's points of view, here is a fish-out-of-water story that sparkles with intrigue, humor, and waves of romance.

I am giving Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy #1) by Anna Banks a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Friday, July 30, 2021

Alpha Charming by Luna Fabray

 

I enjoy reading books, novellas, and short stories from the paranormal romance genre on occasion. I recently decided to read the ebook edition of Alpha Charming by Luna Fabray, which is a paranormal romance short story and the first ebook in the 'Lavender Cove Shifters' series. 

Luna Fabray is also a new to me author. So reading a short story by a new to me author is a great way for me to discover new authors. If I like the new author, then I can always read longer works by them in the future... that's if they write anything longer than short stories.

Anyway, I was able to download Alpha Charming by Luna Fabray for FREE from Amazon. Below is my honest, unbiased opinion of Alpha Charming by Luna Fabray.

Alpha Charming by Luna Fabray has an interesting premise for a story, but unfortunately, I didn't feel the author was able to fully develop the storyline and characters to make them interesting enough for my taste. Plus, the cliffhanger ending wasn't something I liked either... I don't want to buy the next installment of the series to see how things turn out. Cliffhanger endings are one of my reading pet peeve.

Below is the plot summary for Alpha Charming by Luna Fabray from Amazon:

A tragic past could keep this curvy witch from falling for her secret and protective Alpha shifter.

Brielle Forester

Brielle doesn't remember much from her past life, one that killed her parents and left her in the care of her grandmother and great aunt. She spends her time caring for hospital patients and looking after the small family she has left.

What she doesn't expect is a sexy alpha male who makes her heart quake and her body in need of some urgent care.

Heath McCloud

Heath has watched over Brielle for years, protecting her from a distance. Now that she's grown into a curvy and irresistible woman, he's ready to claim her as his mate.

If only he could tell her his shifter secret and convince her they belong together forever.

Can Heath convince Brielle to give him a chance to prove they are fated mates?

Enjoy a sexy alpha shifter and a curvy woman he's determined to make his? Then one-click this first part in the Alpha Charming serial, a paranormal werewolf romance in the town of Lavender Cove, Washington. This short story ends with a cliffhanger, so be sure to check out the next part of Brielle and Heath’s story. For mature readers who enjoy magic, mystery, shifters, sassy women, and sexy Alpha Males. Go get you some!

I am giving Alpha Charming by Luna Fabray a rating of 2 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Sylvia Plath's Tarot Deck Sold For $206,886 at Auction!

 I came across an article on Lithub's website titled, Sylvia Plath’s tarot deck just sold for $200,000 by Dan Sheehan. In the article, Dan Sheehan wrote the following:

The Tarot de Marseille deck, gifted to Plath by Ted Hughes on the occasion of her 24th birthday, sold earlier this afternoon at a much-ballyhooed online auction (somewhat creepily titled Your Own Sylvia) conducted by Sotheby’s London.

The hot ticket deck (which was expected to fetch somewhere between $6,000 and $9,000) was part of a 50-item trove that included Plath and Hughes’ gold wedding bands, which sold for nearly $38,000; more than a dozen love letters from Plath to Hughes dating from the rosy early days of their marriage; a set of recipes; and a family photo album. All in all the Plath/Hughes reliquary, sold by the poets’ daughter Frieda Hughes, netted over $1 million.

It's always interesting to discover which personal items belonging to famous authors end up at auction and what these items sell for at auction.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho by Stephen Rebello

 

I haven't watched the movie 'Psycho' starring Anthony Perkins and Janet Leigh since sometime in the 1990s. I remember thinking this was an excellent movie on so many levels at the time. I should seriously rewatch it again in the near future.

When I came across the unabridged audio version of Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho by Stephen Rebello, I couldn't resist listening to it. I'm so glad that I decided to listen to this audiobook. It's well narrated by Richard Powers. The book itself is well organized and linear as it follows the events of how Alfred Hitchcock came to make 'Psycho', the making of the movie itself, the movie's reception, it's legacy, and so on... Plus, more information about Alfred Hitchcock, the man himself, is also shared throughout this amazing read.

I highly recommend Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho by Stephen Rebello to movie buffs, Alfred Hitchcock fans, and fans of the movie, 'Psycho'.

Below is the summary for Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho by Stephen Rebello from Audible:
Here is a gripping, behind-the-scenes look inside the classic suspense shocker Psycho - and the creative genius who revolutionized filmmaking.

First released in June 1960, Psycho altered the landscape of horror films forever. But just as compelling as the movie itself is the story behind it.

Stephen Rebello brings to life the creation of one of Hollywood’s most iconic films, from the story of Wisconsin murderer Ed Gein, the real-life inspiration for the character of Norman Bates, to Hitchcock’s groundbreaking achievements in cinematography, sound, editing, and promotion. Packed with captivating insights from the film’s stars, writers, and crew members, Hitchcock is a riveting and definitive history of a signature Hitchcock cinematic masterpiece.

Stephen Rebello is a screenwriter and author of several nonfiction books, including Reel Art: Great Posters from the Golden Age of the Silver Screen. He has written feature articles for numerous major publications, and his celebrity interviews have drawn out provocative revelations from countless stars. He is currently a contributing editor at Playboy magazine.
I am giving Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho by Stephen Rebello a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Toni Tennille: A Memoir by Toni Tennille

 


So, I've had Toni Tennille: A Memoir by Toni Tennille on my reading wishlist since its release in July 2016. I remember as a child of the 1970s listening to Captain and Tennille's hit song 'Love Will Keep Us Together' and liking this song as it has such a catchy, upbeat tune. 

Not knowing all that much about Toni Tennille's personal life or all that much about her musical career, I finally decided to listen to the unabridged audio version of Toni Tennille: A Memoir, which was narrated by Toni Tennille herself.

I must say that Toni Tennille's memoir is one of the best celebrity memoir's I've read. I loved it and finished listening to it within 48 hours of starting it. I thought her memoir was well balanced in that it covered her childhood, teenage years, young adult life, first marriage and divorce, how she met Daryl Dragon and their entry in to the music industry, their career highlights, later years and her eventual divorce from Daryl Dragon in 2014 thoroughly.

I learned a lot of things about Ms. Tennille's life that I never knew before listening to her memoir... More information than I had ever expected to learn. I also felt like Ms. Tennille was very genuine and open about her life with her readers. 

One of the areas that was touched upon in much detail was Ms. Tennille's relationship with her ex-husband, Daryl Dragon. I would never have guessed what a difficult relationship she had with him as they seemed to work beautifully together as the dynamic musical duo they were. Prior to reading Tennille's memoir, I recall being saddened to learn of her divorce to Daryl Dragon after 39 years of marriage as they had seemed outwardly (to me at least) to be a happy couple. In Toni Tennille's memoir, we learn just what a difficult, controlling person, Daryl Dragon was. In fact, he sounded a bit on the neurotic side with some of his behavior if you ask me. I'm surprised they stayed married as long as they did after reading Tennille's account of their marriage.

Below is a summary for Toni Tennille: A Memoir by Toni Tennille, which I discovered on Audible's website:
Since bursting onto the scene in the mid '70s, the pop duo Captain and Tennille have long defined the sparkling, optimistic idea of everlasting love, both in their music and through their image as a happy and, seemingly, unbreakable couple. They were an irresistible pair to millions of fans all over the world, further underscored by the rousing "yes, we can!" gospel of their biggest hit, "Love Will Keep Us Together". But underneath the image was an entirely different story that the fans never saw: a woman who fought a lonely struggle against the controlling and often bizarre behavior of her emotionally inaccessible husband.

Toni Tennille: A Memoir is a visceral account of Toni Tennille's life from her childhood in the segregated South to her thrilling rise to fame in the world of pop music to where she is now: no longer one-half of a famed couple but a stronger woman for all she has experienced - both the good and the bad. Toni hopes that her story will help anyone who feels trapped in a toxic relationship realize that it is never too late to break away from it.

I am giving Toni Tennille: A Memoir by Toni Tennille a rating of 5 stars out 5 stars!!

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Suspended Sentences (Three Novellas) by Patrick Modiano

 

Quite frankly, I'd never heard of French writer, Patrick Modiano, until he won the 2014 Nobel Prize for Literature. Over the years, I've had this desire/fantasy to read at least one book written by every Nobel Prize for Literature winner... But I haven't actually made an action plan to execute this particular reading goal. But alas, I digress!

So during the week in which Bastille Day fell (July 14th) this year, I decided to listen to the unabridged audio version of Suspended Sentences (Three Novellas) by Patrick Modiano and narrated by Arthur Morey, Sean Runnette, and Bronson Pinchot. Listening time for Suspended Sentences (Three Novellas) by Patrick Modiano is 6 hours, 37 minutes.

I thought Suspended Sentences (Three Novellas) by Patrick Modiano was a good introduction to his work. Each novella in this collection seems almost autobiographical in nature, deals with the main character looking back over their life at a specific time period/set of events that took place, and some sort of mystery/mysterious element/event as well. These novellas seem to primarily focus on one's memories of the past. 

I enjoyed Suspended Sentences (Three Novellas) by Patrick Modiano overall, but I am not sure I'll gravitate towards another one of Modiano's novels in the future.

Below is the summary for Suspended Sentences (Three Novellas) by Patrick Modiano from Audible:
In this essential trilogy of novellas by the winner of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Literature, French author Patrick Modiano reaches back in time, opening the corridors of memory and exploring the mysteries to be encountered there. Each novella in the volume - Afterimage, Suspended Sentences, and Flowers of Ruin - represents a sterling example of the author's originality and appeal, while Mark Polizzotti's superb English-language translations capture not only Modiano's distinctive narrative voice but also the matchless grace and spare beauty of his prose.

Although originally published separately, Modiano's three novellas form a single, compelling whole, haunted by the same gauzy sense of place and characters. Modiano draws on his own experiences, blended with the real or invented stories of others, to present a dreamlike autobiography that is also the biography of a place. Orphaned children, mysterious parents, forgotten friends, enigmatic strangers - all appear in this three-part love song to a Paris that no longer exists.

Shadowed by the dark period of the Nazi Occupation, these novellas reveal Modiano's fascination with the lost, obscure, or mysterious: a young person's confusion over adult behavior; the repercussions of a chance encounter; the search for a missing father; the aftershock of a fatal affair. To listen to Modiano's trilogy is to enter his world of uncertainties and the almost accidental way in which people find their fates.

I am giving Suspended Sentences (Three Novellas) by Patrick Modiano a rating 3 stars out of 5 stars. 

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Alta Journal's California Book Club Featuring Pulitzer Prize Winning Author, William Finnegan

 

I enjoyed attending a virtual author event hosted by Alta Journal's California Book Club featuring author, William Finnegan, discussing his 2016 Pulitzer Prize–winning memoir, "Barbarian Days".

I have not read Barbarian Days by William Finnegan yet. But I now definitely want to do so after hearing the author speak about his life as a surfer. As a native Californian, I have lived the majority of my life near the Pacific Ocean. So reading a nonfiction book about surfing sounds like a must.

Below is a blurb about the Alta Journal's California Book Club virtual author event featuring William Finnegan:

"Barbarian Days" author William Finnegan joins author and former pro-surfer Jamie Brisick and CBC host John Freeman for a free, hour-long discussion. 
For New Yorker staff writer William Finnegan, surfing has always been more than a matter of recreation; rather, it is an existential act. In his Pulitzer Prize–winning memoir, "Barbarian Days," he describes the ocean as a capricious deity and explores not just its beauty but also its vast indifference, the dangers that exist beneath the surface of its swells. Tracing a line from boyhood—he learned to surf when he was 10 and honed the art as a teenager in Hawaii—to the present, Finnegan writes of his experiences with a journalist’s nuanced eye. At the center of the book, however, is his own growth and development, in which surfing functions less as metaphor or mirror than as a sort of crucible.

Have you attended any virtual author events recently?

Friday, July 23, 2021

High Summer Readathon 2021 Sign Up Post

 

It's been a while since I've signed up to participate in a readathon and even longer since I last participated in the High Summer Readathon hosted by Seasons of Reading.

Here's a quick blurb about the High Summer Readathon from the Seasons of Reading website:
Here's your official sign up! We start at 12:00 am on August 1 and end at 11:59 pm on August 31. Times are set for the eastern time zone so adjust your times accordingly (you can use the link to the time zone converter in the sidebar menu).

This is a casual, low stress readathon. Click on the above links to read further details about the High Summer Readathon.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Another New Little Free Library in San Ramon, California!

 

Last weekend, my husband and I discovered a newly erected Little Free Library in San Ramon, California! Now there are a total of nine Little Free Libraries in San Ramon, which is awesome. I left two books at this particular Little Free Library, but I didn't take any books home with me though.

Have you discovered any new to you Little Free Libraries lately?

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Peril In Pensacola by Lucy Quinn

 

I read the ebook edition of Peril In Pensacola by Lucy Quinn for FREE. 

Below is my honest, unbiased review for Peril In Pensacola by Lucy Quinn.

Peril In Pensacola by Lucy Quinn is a cozy mystery novel and the first book in the 'Accidentally Undercover Mysteries'.

I liked all of the characters for this cozy mystery novel. Additionally, the plot premise for this cozy mystery novel was well done and engaging as the main character, Dora Winslow, is an accountant and discovers her employer is money laundering. When her boss finds out she knows about the money laundering, things go south fast! 

The next thing Dora knows is that she's on the run to prove her innocence with the help of her best friend, Evie, Evie's dog, Sunshine, and a few other soon to be friends along the way. There are a lot of fun twists and turns along the way as both Dora and Evie get into trouble along the way, of course!

The ending for Peril In Pensacola by Lucy Quinn was a complete disappointment!! The ending was a cliffhanger and ended abruptly. So many things were left unfinished that needed to be wrapped up. I will not read the rest of the 'Accidentally Undercover Mysteries' series for this reason.

Below is a summary for Peril In Pensacola by Lucy Quinn from Amazon:

Dora Winslow is having a hard day. Not only does she stumble upon a money laundering scheme, but the next thing she knows her boss is dead. As the prime suspect for his murder, she goes to Brian, a police officer she trusts. She soon learns things aren’t adding up because Brian’s got a mysterious scheme of his own.

With her best friend, Evie by her side, Dora is on the run. But before they can leave town to secure the evidence that could clear her name, she has to bring Brian down. With help from a hot chef, a friendly mailman, and a little white dog, Dora and Evie must balance the scales to save their bottom line.
I am giving Peril In Pensacola by Lucy Quinn a rating of 2 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!!

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Ensnared by A. G. Howard


I listened to the unabridged audio version of Ensnared by A. G. Howard and narrated by Rebecca Gibel. This audiobook falls into the young adult genre and is the third book in the 'Splintered' trilogy. Earlier this year, I read and reviewed the first two novels in the 'Splintered' series (Splintered and Unhinged) and really enjoyed them both as well.

If you are a young adult genre fan and also enjoy classic retelling spinoffs, then the 'Splintered' series is worth reading. A. G. Howard is great at world building and storytelling. Ensnared is nonstop action, just like in the previous novels in the trilogy. I also like the characters in the 'Splintered' series as well. What was different in Ensnared? Jeb's character was a lot darker/jaded in this novel than the previous ones. Also, Alyssa'a dad had a more active role in the events in this novel verses a role on the sidelines/background, which was fun to see. 

The 'Splintered' series is the third trilogy I've started and finished in 2021. All in all, I enjoyed this series and would recommend it.

Listening time for Ensnared by A. G. Howard is 13 hours, 28 minutes and it is well narrated by Rebecca Gibel.

Below is the plot summary for Ensnared by A. G. Howard from Audible:

After surviving a disastrous battle at prom, Alyssa has embraced her madness and gained perspective. She's determined to rescue her two worlds and the people and netherlings she loves, even if it means challenging Queen Red to a final battle of wills and wiles... and even if the only way to Wonderland, now that the rabbit hole is closed, is through the looking-glass world - a parallel dimension filled with mutated and violent netherling outcasts.

In the final installment of the wildly popular Splintered trilogy, Alyssa and her dad journey into the heart of magic and mayhem in search of her mom and to set right all that's gone wrong. Together with Jeb and Morpheus, they must salvage Wonderland from the decay and destruction that has ensnared it. But if they succeed and come out alive, can everyone truly have their happily ever after?

I am giving Ensnared by A. G. Howard a rating of 4 stars out of 5 Stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

The Complete Angel Catbird by Margaret Atwood, Johnnie Christmas, & Tamra Bonvillain

 

The Complete Angel Catbird by Margaret Atwood, Johnnie Christmas, & Tamra Bonvillain is the second trilogy I've read in 2021. My goal is to read a total of five trilogies in 2021.

I am a Margaret Atwood fan. So, I was curious about her comic book series, 'Angel Catbird', and wondered what a comic book series would look like from Ms. Atwood. 

The Complete Angel Catbird by Margaret Atwood, Johnnie Christmas, & Tamra Bonvillain is written for kids ages 8-12. I thought the artwork was just okay and the storyline was very simplistic... A half human-rat wants to take over the world and have rats rule the world, but his plans for world domination are thwarted by half human-cats and owls.

There were a lot of cat puns throughout this series that were funny/cute to begin with, but did grow old after a while. There are also a lot of cat facts sprinkled throughout this comic series that were interesting and informative.

Below is the summary for The Complete Angel Catbird by Margaret Atwood, Johnnie Christmas, & Tamra Bonvillain from Amazon:

From the Booker Prize-winning author of The Handmaid's Tale, comes the complete collection of the #1 New York Times bestselling graphic novel from Margaret Atwood!

Internationally best-selling and respected novelist Margaret Atwood and acclaimed artist Johnnie Christmas collaborate for one of the most highly anticipated comic book and literary events!

A genetic engineer caught in the middle of a chemical accident all of a sudden finds himself with superhuman abilities. With these new powers he takes on the identity of Angel Catbird and gets caught in the middle of a war between animal/human hybrids. What follows is a humorous, action-driven, educational, and pulp- inspired superhero adventure--with a lot of cat puns.

Includes previously unpublished art by Margaret Atwood.

Collects Angel Catbird volumes 1-3

I am giving The Complete Angel Catbird by Margaret Atwood, Johnnie Christmas, & Tamra Bonvillain a rating of 2 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday - Reasons Why I Love Reading


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.

Below are my top ten reasons I love to read!!

1. I love reading because it's so much fun to read!!

2. I love reading as it a great way to unwind/relax the mind and relieve stress.

3. I love reading as it helps me learn new things.

4. I love reading as a form of entertainment.

5. I love reading as a way to build empathy and gain new insight/perspective/knowledge of the world in which we live and those around us.

6. I love reading as a way to learn we aren't alone... that others share our same journey/experiences.

7. I love reading as it helps inspire us to grow, dream, hope, and become much bigger than we currently are. 

8. I love reading as it is portable and helps pass the time while commuting, waiting for appointments, etc.

9. I love reading in order to visit new/different realities.

10. I love reading as it helps improve/build ones vocabulary.

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Mid Year Book Freakout Tag 2021



1. What Is The Best Book You’ve Read So Far In 2021?

I've read 51 books to date... Narrowing my choices down to a single favorite is rough! I'm not sure I can pick a single favorite read for the year so far... 

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

For fiction, my favorite choice at the moment would be Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen by Susan Gregg Gilmore... However, I've read many excellent novels, so my opinion may change depending on my mood.

2. Which Book is the Best Sequel You’ve Read So Far in 2021?

I started reading the 'Rosalind Thorne' historical mysteries series by Darcie Wilde earlier this year and A Purely Private Matter by Darcie Wilde (the 2nd book in this series) was excellent! I actually enjoyed it more than the 1st novel in the series.

3. A 2021 Book Release You Haven't Read Yet, But Want Read Before The Year Is Up?

Arsenic and Adobo (A Tita Rosie's Kitchen Mystery) by Mia P. Manansala

4. Most Anticipated Book Release(s) For the Second Half of 2021?


Dead Wednesday
by Jerry Spinelli (August 3, 2021)
These Precious Days: Essays by Ann Patchett (November 23, 2021)

5. Biggest Book Disappointments

Three stand outs for biggest book disappointments.

A) The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson
B) Brat: An 80s Story by Andrew McCarthy
C) The First Counsel by Brad Meltzer

6. Your Biggest Book Surprise

Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen by Susan Gregg Gilmore.

I didn't expect to love this novel as much as I did. It is really good!
7. Favorite New Author. (Debut or New to You)

Gary D. Schmidt is my favorite new to me author of 2021! I read his novel Just Like That and loved it! Gary D. Schmidt is a college professor and writes young adult fiction.

8. Your Newest Fictional Crush?

Jeb from the Splintered trilogy by A. G. Howard... A good guy, with a little bit of edginess thrown in for depth. I'm currently listening to the 3rd installment of the Splintered trilogy now.

9. Your Newest Favorite Character?

Meryl Lee Kowalski from Just Like That by Gary D. Schmidt. Meryl Lee is in middle school. She goes through some difficult times and sees tremendous growth as an individual. She has a great head on her shoulders.

10. Did You Read a Book That Made You Cry?

None of the books I've read this year so far have made me cry.

11. Which 2021 Book Made You Happy?

The Little Book of Lost Words: Collywobbles, Snollygosters, and 86 Other Surprisingly Useful Terms Worth Resurrecting by Joe Gillard is an awesome read!! I love this hardback book with unique words worth resurrecting. The words themselves are funky and made me smile learning the meanings of them.

12. Most Beautiful Book You’ve Purchased So Far This Year (Or Received)?

Umm, I don't know! I do like the artwork on the book covers for the Splintered trilogy, but I'm not sure I'd say they are the most beautiful books acquired this year.

13. Which Books Do You Need to Read by the End of the Year?

No specific book titles other than Arsenic and Adobo (A Tita Rosie's Kitchen Mystery) by Mia P. Manansala and Ensared by A. G. Howard. I just want to reach the goal of reading at least another 24 more books for 2021.

14. Do You Have a Favorite Book Community Member?

No, I don't have a favorite book community member as I have so many book bloggers that I follow that put out great content.

Love Like That by Emma Duffy-Comparone

 

I received an uncorrected proof copy of Love Like That by Emma Duffy-Comparone through the Goodreads Giveaways program earlier this year.

This year I have read more short story collections than I normally do in a year... And so far, Love Like That by Emma Duffy-Comparone has proven to be the best short story collection by a single author so far.

Below is my honest, unbiased review of Love Like That by Emma Duffy-Comparone.

Love Like That by Emma Duffy-Comparone is a collection of nine short stories and was published in March 2021. All nine short stories feature a woman as its protagonist. The short stories are all well crafted and good for the most part despite the crappy situations that the women in each short story find themselves in... I enjoyed all of the short stories, except for one of them titled, Exuma. The rest of the stories were well done.

Emma Duffy-Comparone is a new to me author. I look forward to reading more of her work in the future.

Below is the summary for Love Like That by Emma Duffy-Comparone from Amazon:

Named a Best New Book of 2021 by Vogue and Refinery29
Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2021 by Lit Hub
Named one of "5 Hot Books" by The National Book Review

"For a friend who needs a reminder that love is weird, humans are complicated, and bad things often get better or at least later become funny stories to tell our friends." —Vanity Fair

A sharp, witty book about brilliant, broken women that are just the right amount wrong.

Whether diving into complicated relationships or wrestling with family ties, the girls and women who populate this collection—misfits and misanthropes, bickering sisters, responsible daughters, and unhappy wives—don't always find themselves making the best decisions.

A woman struggles with a new kind of love triangle when she moves in with a divorced dad. A lonely teenage beach attendant finds uneasy comradeship with her boss. A high school English teacher gets pushed to her limits when a student plagiarizes. Often caught between desire and duty, guilt and resentment, these characters discover what it means to get lost in love, and do what it takes to find themselves again.

Utterly singular and wholly unforgettable, Emma Duffy-Comparone's stories manage to be slyly, wickedly funny at even their darkest turns and herald the arrival of an irreverent and dazzling new voice.

I am giving Love Like That by Emma Duffy-Comparone a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Home Libraries I Would LOVE to Have For My Very Own Home Library!!


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've been dreaming of my own home library lately!! I'd love to turn a room in my home into my very own personal library/reading room... Just the thought of my very own quiet space in which I could retreat to read, write, reflect, and refocus my energy sounds heavenly!!!

Below are ten images I discovered through Instagram recently that show bookish spaces I'd love to have for my very own home library.













So what would your dream home library look like?

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Why Should You Read The Master & Margarita?

 

I'm long overdue for a reread of The Master & Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. This Russian literature classic is the BEST!! I love The Master & Margarita and I hope the above video I discovered on YouTube makes you want to read this Russian classic!

Saturday, June 26, 2021

The American Writers Museum in Chicago, Illinois

 

I recently learned about The American Writers Museum in Chicago, Illinois, which opened in 2017. I would to love visit The American Writers Museum as I loving reading and of course, would love to learn more about various American writers. 

I had fun browsing The American Writers Museum's website and learning more about this museum. I discovered the museum's mission as follows:

THE MISSION OF THE AMERICAN WRITERS MUSEUM IS TO ENGAGE THE PUBLIC IN CELEBRATING AMERICAN WRITERS AND EXPLORING THEIR INFLUENCE ON OUR HISTORY, OUR IDENTITY, OUR CULTURE, AND OUR DAILY LIVES.

The American Writers Museum strives to:
  • Educate the public about American writers – past and present
  • Engage visitors to the Museum in exploring the many exciting worlds created by the spoken and written word
  • Enrich and deepen appreciation for good writing in all its forms
  • Motivate visitors to discover, or rediscover, a love of reading and writing
  • Inspire the young writers of tomorrow
I learned that The American Writers Museum also has a YouTube Page with plenty of videos to view. They also have a podcast. Additionally, they have an online calendar where you can sign up to watch live virtual events.

Have you visited The American Writers Museum? If so, what was your experience like?

Thursday, June 24, 2021

The Cuckoo's Cry by Caroline Overington

 


I listened to the unabridged audio version for The Cuckoo's Cry by Caroline Overington and narrated by Aimee Horne. I was able to download this contemporary work of fiction for FREE to my iPad.

Below is my honest, unbiased review of The Cuckoo's Cry by Caroline Overington.

I was initially drawn to the storyline for The Cuckoo's Cry by Caroline Overington, which is why I decided to download and listen to it earlier this month. The Cuckoo's Cry opens with the start of the Covid pandemic... Imagine you're an elderly person living alone and you're lonely, when a compete stranger in need shows up on your front doorstep claiming to be a family member you never knew existed until that moment... The story this person gives you is credible and leaves no doubt in your mind that they are your long lost family member... And so begins the The Cuckoo's Cry by Caroline Overington.

I was hooked from the start with The Cuckoo's Cry by Caroline Overington. The storyline is engaging and so are the plot twists and the other characters as well. As a reader, one begins to have doubts during The Cuckoo's Cry whether or not the person who shows up is really a long lost relative or not due to some of the plot details... Plus, additional plot twists that add tension to the story, which make for interesting reading.

Listening time for The Cuckoo's Cry by Caroline Overington is 4 hours, 43 minutes.

Below is a summary for The Cuckoo's Cry by Caroline Overington from Audible:
On the eve of the global lockdown, Don Barlow opens the door of his old beachside cottage to find a pretty girl with pink-tipped hair, claiming to have nowhere to go.

He allows her entry, and so begins a mystery set in unprecedented times: with the virus raging outside their home, the girl cannot be asked to leave, but what does he risk by having her stay?
I am giving The Cuckoo's Cry by Caroline Overington a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post happy reading!

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Mimi Gets A Clue by Jennifer J. Chow

ARC Paperback Copy

I received an Advanced Readers Copy of Mimi Gets A Clue by Jennifer J. Chow for FREE through the Goodreads Giveaways Program.

Below is my honest, unbiased review of Mimi Gets A Clue by Jennifer J. Chow.

Jennifer J. Chow is a new to me author. As I've mentioned in previous posts, I enjoy reading a nicely written cozy mystery novel/series. So, I was thrilled to read Mimi Gets A Clue by Jennifer J. Chow. Mimi Gets A Clue also happens to be the first cozy mystery novel in 'A Sassy Cat Mystery' series.

I truly enjoyed reading Mimi Gets A Clue! The writing is captivating, the storyline and characters are fun, and I liked all of the red herrings as to the killer's identity. I'm looking forward to reading the second cozy novel in 'A Sassy Cat Mystery' series titled, Mimi Lee Reads Between the Lines.

The following is a plot summary for Mimi Gets A Clue by Jennifer J. Chow from Amazon:

Nominated for a Lefty Award!

Mimi Lee is in over her head. There's her new Los Angeles pet grooming shop to run, her matchmaking mother to thwart, her talking cat Marshmallow to tend to—oh, and the murder of a local breeder to solve...now if only Mimi hadn't landed herself on top of the suspect list.

Mimi Lee hoped to give Los Angeles animal lovers something to talk about with her pet grooming shop, Hollywoof. She never imagined that the first cat she said hello to would talk back or be quite so, well, catty—especially about those disastrous dates Mimi's mother keeps setting up.

When Marshmallow exposes local breeder Russ Nolan for mistreating Chihuahuas, Mimi steals some of her cat's attitude to tell Russ off. The next day the police show up at Hollywoof. Russ has been found dead, and Mimi's shouting match with him has secured her top billing as the main suspect.

Hoping to clear her name and save the pups Russ left behind, Mimi enlists help from her dreamy lawyer neighbor Josh. But even with Josh on board, it'll take Mimi and Marshmallow a lot of sleuthing and more than a little sass to get back to the pet-grooming life—and off the murder scene.

I am giving Mimi Gets A Clue by Jennifer J. Chow a rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Super Awesome Future! Fortune Cards by Archie McPhee


Once again, I discovered another super unique card divination deck that I think is fun to play with! This deck is called the Super Awesome Future! Fortune Cards by Archie McPhee.

The Super Awesome Future! Fortune Cards by Archie McPhee comes in a sturdy cardboard box along with a booklet explaining the card meanings and how to do a spread/reading pertaining to ones future in the area of love, wealth, wisdom, or health. 

I love the imagery on each individual card as well as the design on the back of this card deck. The cards themselves are a nice size and easy to shuffle/handle. The card stock itself is fairly substantial and cards themselves are matte.

Below is a YouTube video which gives a quick walk through of the Super Awesome Future! Fortune Cards by Archie McPhee. So check out this deck!


I am giving Super Awesome Future! Fortune Cards by Archie McPhee a rating of 5 stars out of 5 stars. 

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Sunday, June 20, 2021

The Poisoned Pen Bookstore - Sujata Massey in conversation with Nev March

On Wednesday, June, 9, 2021 at 5pm, I watched a live virtual author event featuring Sujata Massey in conversation with author, Nev March. This live virtual event was hosted by The Poisoned Pen Bookstore in Scottsdale, Arizona.

During this author event, Nev March and Sujata Massey discussed Sujata Massey's latest mystery novel, The Bombay Prince, which is the third installment of Massey's Perveen Mistry series.

I have not read any of the novels in the Perveen Mistry series, but have heard glowing reviews for this historical mystery series. Since I love both mystery novels and historical fiction novels, this series seems right up my alley. 

However, I wasn't completely sold on possibly reading the Perveen Mistry series. Last year, I'd read and reviewed Sujata Massey's cozy mystery novel, The Pearl Diver, which is one of the novels Massey's Rei Shimura series. I wasn't wowed by The Pearl Diver, so I wasn't sure I even wanted to read another novel by Sujata Massey. When I learned that Sujata Massey would be chatting at a virtual author event about the release of her latest mystery novel, I wanted to hear what she had to say about her latest novel.

I ended up really enjoying The Poisoned Pen Bookstore - Sujata Massey in conversation with Nev March live author event. I liked this event so much that I am now eager to give another mystery novel written by Sujata Massey a try. I'll start with reading the first novel in the Perveen Mistry series sometime in the distant future as I already have so much reading material in my collection as it is.

Below is the YouTube video of The Poisoned Pen Bookstore - Sujata Massey in conversation with Nev March event. Enjoy!


Have you attended any recent author events?

Saturday, June 19, 2021

USC Visions & Voices: Angela Davis in Conversation with Ange-Marie Hancock Alfaro


This past week, on Wednesday, June 16, 2021 from 5pm to 6:15pm, USC Visions & Voices hosted a free virtual event with Angela Davis in Conversation with Ange-Marie Hancock Alfaro.

The description for this USC Visions & Voices is as follows:
Join a live conversation with activist and scholar Angela Davis, who has been deeply involved in our nation’s quest for social justice for decades. The Distinguished Professor Emerita of History of Consciousness and Feminist Studies at UC Santa Cruz has also taught at UC Berkeley, UCLA, the Claremont Colleges, Stanford, and other universities. The author of nine books, most recently, Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement, has lectured around the world and will be joined by Ange-Marie Hancock Alfaro, Dean's Professor and Chair of Political Science and International Relations at USC.

In the early seventies, Davis spent eighteen months in jail and on trial after being placed on the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted List.” She has continued to examine the social problems associated with incarceration and the criminalization of communities most affected by poverty and racial discrimination. Davis will address numerous issues related to race, gender, and a 21st century abolitionist movement that envisions a world without prisons.

I was thrilled to learn about this free, virtual event featuring legendary, activist, scholar, and author, Angela Davis. I learned so much from this event. Angela Davis gave such thoughtful and profound answers to questions... I'd love to watch this event again to fully absorb/digest what she had to share with viewers. 

Additionally, I also have a short list of authors to explore that were mentioned by Angela Davis during this live event. 

Friday, June 18, 2021

Enigma: A Mysterious Game of Chance, and Divination Cards by Daniel Martin Diaz


I purchased the Enigma Deck by Daniel Martin Diaz quite awhile ago now!

The Enigma cards may be used as a game or as a divination deck. I've only used them as a divination deck. I love the look of this deck! The artwork is amazing and unique. The Enigma deck comes in a standard tuck box. I like the size and feel of the cards. The card stock is substantial for this deck and has a matte finish. There are 54 cards in all for the Enigma deck and there is also an insert that comes with this deck that gives the meaning for each card. I wish there was a bit more in depth information given on how to perform readings with this deck as I'd probably use it more frequently.

Below is a short video I discovered on YouTube that gives a flip through of what this deck looks like. Enjoy!


I'm giving the Enigma: A Mysterious Game of Chance, and Divination Cards by Daniel Martin Diaz a rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next, post happy reading!

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Here's a few suggestions on what to do with the ARCs you no longer want

I have received many ARCs and Uncorrected Proofs via the Goodreads Giveaway Program over the past seven years. I usually pass along these gently used copies to various Little Free Libraries instead of throwing these copies away in the trash.

This morning, I came across an article published on Book Riot's website titled, WHAT TO DO WITH THE ARCS YOU WANT TO UNHAUL by Olivia Paez.

In the article, Olivia Paez gives four additional tips to readers on ways to dispose of their ARCs. So click on the link above link to read the above mentioned article.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

My Latest Little Free Library Finds with the Hubby in Alamo, California Last Weekend!!

                                                1562 Ridgewood Road Alamo, California 94507 

                  219 Canyon Vista Place, Alamo, California 94507

Last Sunday, we had beautiful weather outside in our neck of the woods before the heatwave hits tomorrow... And since I had books to move along to other potential readers, my husband and I decided to do a drive out and drop off a few books at two different Little Free Libraries in Alamo, California!!

We saw deer roaming one of the residential neighborhoods... Oh what fun to see wildlife roaming around locally!

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Changing Laws: Politics of the Civil Rights Era by Judy Dodge Cummings

 

I received the paperback edition of Changing Laws: Politics of the Civil Rights Era by Judy Dodge Cummings for FREE through the Goodreads Giveaways program.

Below is my honest, unbiased review of Changing Laws: Politics of the Civil Rights Era by Judy Dodge Cummings.

Changing Laws: Politics of the Civil Rights Era by Judy Dodge Cummings is written for kids/teens ages 12 - 15 and covers the politics of the Civil Rights Era. I love everything about this book and feel that its content makes for the perfect introductory book for young readers wanting to learn more about the Civil Rights Era. Even as an adult, I learned a lot by reading Ms. Cummings book. 

Changing Laws: Politics of the Civil Rights Era by Judy Dodge Cummings is both well written and well organized. There is an introduction to the topic of the Civil Rights Era, plus five chapters pertaining to specific topics that are important touchstones to the Civil Rights Era.... Chapter 1 covers the politics of school desegregation, Chapter 2 covers the politics of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Chapter 3 covers the politics of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, Chapter 4 covers the politics of the Fair Housing Act of 1968, and Chapter 5 covers the politics of resentment. 

Each chapter offers bite sized chunks of information, a timeline for events, fast facts, vocabulary, a project at the end of each chapter to help gain more understanding and so much more. At the end of Changing Laws: Politics of the Civil Rights Era by Judy Dodge Cummings there is a glossary for important terms and an excellent resource section for further reading.

As I mentioned in a previous paragraph, I learned a few new to me things through reading Changing Laws: Politics of the Civil Rights Era by Judy Dodge Cummings. One of the biggest things I learned through reading chapter one, was about the life of Sylvia Mendez and her pivotal role in the Mendez v. Westminster case, which allowed her to eventually attend an all white school instead of an all Mexican school. Through reading chapter one and doing a little more online research, I discovered that California became the first state in the nation to desegregate schools because of the 1946 Mendez. v. Westminster case!! The Mendez v. Westminster case occurred eight years before the 1954 Brown v. the Board of Education case. The Mendez v. Westminster case actually helped lay the foundation/ground work for Brown v. the Board of Education. Sylvia Mendez was eventually awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011.

As an additional side note,
 "Thurgood Marshall, who was later appointed a Supreme Court justice in 1967, became the lead NAACP attorney in the 1954 Brown case. His amicus brief filed for Mendez on behalf of the NAACP contained the arguments he would later use in the Brown case. The Mendez case also deeply influenced the thinking of the California governor at the time, Earl Warren. By 1954, when the Brown case appeared before the high court, Warren had become the chief justice." (Source Wikipedia)

In chapter 5 of Changing Laws: Politics of the Civil Rights Era by Judy Dodge Cummings, 2020 Inequality Stats (page 97) were given as follows and these stats are dismal:

  • Young Black Men are 21 times more likely than young white men to be shot by police.
  • Blacks are imprisoned six times more often than whites.
  • Forty-two percent of Black children are educated in high poverty schools.
  • Black family income is two-thirds that of white families.
  • The Black unemployment rate is twice that of whites.
  • Only forty percent of African Americans own a home compared with seventy percent of whites. 
  • In 2019, there were only three African American members of the U. S. Senate and no black governors.

Below is a summary for Changing Laws: Politics of the Civil Rights Era by Judy Dodge Cummings from Goodreads:

A deep dive into the politics of the civil rights era, including the passing of new laws and the presidential responses to protest. A terrific way for kids ages 12 to 15 to learn about the civil rights movement, both then and now! "We shall overcome" was the refrain of the civil rights movement, but overcoming centuries of discrimination was not easy. When the activism of civil rights protesters exposed the rampant racism embedded in America's politics for the world to see, political leaders in the federal government were forced to act. In Changing Laws: Politics of the Civil Rights Era, students ages 12 to 15 explore the key legislative and judicial victories of the era that spanned from 1954 to the early 1970s. The successes of Brown v. the Board of Education, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Fair Housing Act of 1968 were the results of African-American activism and a growing awareness of social justice and injustice. Marches, demonstrations, boycotts, and lawsuits prodded local and state governments to reveal the bigotry of their laws and the brutality of their oppression of black citizens. As racial tensions ripped the country apart, presidents from Eisenhower through Nixon worked to uphold the U.S. Constitution, sometimes willingly and sometimes reluctantly. As members of Congress debated and negotiated, change came slowly. School doors opened to blacks. Restaurants served blacks. Blacks were allowed to cast their ballots. But victory was incomplete and came at a price. In this book, hands-on projects and research activities alongside essential questions, links to online resources, and text-to-world connections promote a profound understanding of history and offer opportunities for social-emotional learning. Meets multiple standards for the National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies.

Incidences of racial discrimination and racial division are in the news frequently, and this book informs readers of how political change during the civil rights movement of 1954 to the early 1970s eliminated some racial discrimination, but was unable to remove all obstacles to equality.

Today's division between political parties impedes legislative progress on many issues, and this book explores how similar political divisions were overcome in the 1960s, resulting in the passage of key civil rights laws.

Uses an inquiry-based approach to encourage readers to explore the present status of civil rights for blacks in the United States.

Aligns with Common Core State Standards.

Projects include Mapping your school's degree of segregation, Deconstructing the photograph that moved John F. Kennedy to support the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and Research today's voter suppression.

Additional materials include a glossary, a list of media for further learning, a selected bibliography, and index. 
About the Civil Rights Movement series and Nomad Press Changing Laws: Politics of the Civil Rights Era is part of a new series from Nomad Press, The Civil Rights Era, that captures the passion and conviction of the 1950s and '60s. Other titles in this set include Boycotts, Strikes, and Marches: Protests of the Civil Rights Era; Sitting In, Standing Up: Leaders of the Civil Rights Era; and Singing for Equality: Musicians of the Civil Rights Era. Nomad Press books in The Civil Rights Era series integrate content with participation. Combining engaging narrative with inquiry-based projects stimulates learning and makes it active and alive. Nomad's unique approach simultaneously grounds kids in factual knowledge while allowing them the space to be curious, creative, and critical thinkers. All books are leveled for Guided Reading level and Lexile and align with Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards. All titles are available in paperback, hardcover, and ebook formats.

I am giving Changing Laws: Politics of the Civil Rights Era by Judy Dodge Cummings a rating of 5 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!