Saturday, January 16, 2021

Sleuths and SideKicks Virtual Author Event hosted by Chaucer's Bookstore


On Thursday, January 14, 2021 from 5pm to 6pm PST, I attended the Sleuths and SideKicks Virtual Author Event hosted by Chaucer's Bookstore

I enjoy reading cozy mystery novels periodically, so I was excited to attend this virtual event featuring four new to me authors Lida Sideris - SoCal Mystery series, Jen Collins Moore: Murder at the Piazza (debut novel), Carol Pouliot: Time Travel Mysteries, and Tina deBellegarde - Winter Witness (debut novel).

I enjoyed learning about each author's writing style, the setting for their novels, their main characters and sidekicks, and so on. I now have four new to me mystery authors to read in the future!

By the way, Chaucer's Bookstore is located in Santa Barbara, California on upper State Street. I've been to this indie bookstore numerous times as I lived in the Santa Barbara area for 16 years with my husband before moving to Northern California in 2014. I highly recommend Chaucer's Bookstore if you visit Santa Barbara.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Modern Filipino Writers And Why We Should Read Their Books


Looking to diversify your reading? Try reading books by Filipino authors mentioned in the above video!

Thursday, January 14, 2021

A Greyhound of a Girl by Roddy Doyle


A Greyhound of a Girl by Roddy Doyle is a multigenerational story written for children. This novel deals with the themes of death and dying, ghosts, saying good-bye to loved ones who are in the process of passing on to the afterlife, and four generations of women/girl taking a midnight road trip towards the end of the novel.

A Greyhound of a Girl is my first experience with anything written by Roddy Doyle. I like that this children's novel deals with death and dying in such a way that makes it less scary for children with other elements like ghosts, etc. mixed in to make for interesting reading. But overall, I thought A Greyhound of a Girl by Roddy Doyle was just an okay read. The over use of the words 'cheeky', 'grand', 'like' and a few other words/phrases became annoying after awhile and detracted from the reading experience in my opinion. 

Below is the plot summary for A Greyhound of a Girl by Roddy Doyle from Amazon:

Mary O’Hara is a sharp and cheeky 12-year-old Dublin schoolgirl who is bravely facing the fact that her beloved Granny is dying. But Granny can’t let go of life, and when a mysterious young woman turns up in Mary’s street with a message for her Granny, Mary gets pulled into an unlikely adventure. The woman is the ghost of Granny’s own mother, who has come to help her daughter say good-bye to her loved ones and guide her safely out of this world. She needs the help of Mary and her mother, Scarlett, who embark on a road trip to the past. Four generations of women travel on a midnight car journey. One of them is dead, one of them is dying, one of them is driving, and one of them is just starting out.

I am giving A Greyhound of a Girl by Roddy Doyle a rating of 2 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

The Ties that Bind: Ann Patchett on Family, Fortune, and the Search for Self

Tonight, I listened to Ann Pachett speak live through Women Lit Unbound ~ Bay Area Book Festival and moderated by Brooke Warner. 

What a fun event to attend!! I am so glad that I listened to this live event. I learned a lot about Ann Patchett that I didn't know before and also a lot of great stuff about her novel, The Dutch Book

There were lots of great questions from the audience that were answered by Ann Patchett as well.

Feeling kinda spoiled by attending these online author events! I like being able to watch these events in my pajamas in the comfort of my own home, lol.

Below is a blurb about this evening's event from the Bay Area Book Festival's website:
Ann Patchett’s sweeping, emotionally piercing novels hit that sweet spot where literary prestige meets blockbuster mainstream success (millions of copies sold). With The Dutch House, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, Patchett is at her peak. This “engrossing, warmhearted book” (NPR), a family saga spanning five decades, tells the story of a brother and sister whose deep bond and secret-filled past is haunted by the legacy of an ornate mansion, the “Dutch house,” that was the site of childhood, and later, of their exile. Patchett, who also runs Parnassus Books, an iconic indie bookstore in her native Nashville, is known as a literary citizen who speaks her mind with refreshing and down-to-earth brilliance.

Join Ann Patchett and Women Lit in a live event where you’ll have the chance to engage with her in real time. Please submit your questions for Ann when you purchase your ticket, and she will answer as many as she can. As The New York Times Book Review said, “Expect miracles when you read Ann Patchett’s fiction.” We expect no less from our special experience with this author who will make your day with her warmth and wisdom! Moderated by Brooke Warner, author and publisher of She Writes Press.

P. S. I even received a signed copy of The Dutch House by Ann Patchett and am looking forward to reading this book. 

Monday, January 11, 2021

Marie Benedict Virtual Author Event - Hosted by Murder by the Book

Yes, to attending my first virtual author event of 2021!!

I have found that independent bookstore, Murder by the Book, hosts some of the best virtual author events... And tonight's virtual author event featuring Marie Benedict was no exception.

I've never read anything written by Marie Benedict. However, I am very interested in reading Marie Benedict's new novel about the life of Agatha Christie titled, The Mystery of Mrs. Christie, as I am a fan of Agatha Christie's novels.

Check out the above YouTube video of Marie Benedict speaking with McKenna from Murder by the Book.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

A Purely Private Matter by Darcie Wilde


I listened to the unabridged audio version of A Purely Private Matter by Darcie Wilde and narrated by Sarah Nichols. A Purely Private Matter by Darcie Wilde is the second novel in the 'A Rosalind Thorne Mystery' series.

Listening time for A Purely Private Matter by Darcie Wilde is 10 hours, 53 minutes.

I enjoyed A Purely Private Matter by Darcie Wilde more than the first novel in the series and thought Sarah Nichols did a better job narrating this novel as well.

The writing by Darcie Wilde is phenomenal for A Purely Private Matter. I enjoyed the storyline, characters, plot and pacing for this novel a lot. I didn't guess who committed the murder and why until the end. There are lots of interesting twists and turns and intriguing plot details throughout A Purely Private Matter that make for a good read. 

Below is the plot summary for A Purely Private Matter by Darcie Wilde from Audible:
The Rosalind Thorne mystery series - inspired by the novels of Jane Austen - continues as the audacious Rosalind strives to aid those in need while navigating the halls of high society.

Rosalind Thorne has slowly but assuredly gained a reputation as "a useful woman" - by helping respectable women out of some less-than-respectable predicaments. Her latest endeavor is a tragedy waiting to happen. Desperate Margaretta Seymore is with child - and her husband is receiving poisoned pen letters that imply that her condition is the result of an affair with the notorious actor Fletcher Cavendish. Margaretta asks Rosalind to find out who is behind the scurrilous letters. But before she can make any progress, Cavendish is found dead, stabbed through the heart. Suddenly, Rosalind is plunged into the middle of one of the most sensational murder trials London has ever seen, and her client's husband is the prime suspect. With the help of charming Bow Street runner Adam Harkness, she must drop the curtain on this fatal drama before more lives are ruined.

I look forward to reading the next novel in the 'Rosalind Thorne Mystery' series. I am giving A Purely Private Matter by Darcie Wilde a rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

A Useful Woman by Darcie Wilde


I learned about the 'A Rosalind Thorne Mystery' series by Darcie Wilde late last year through an article I'd read on Book Riot's website which highlighted ten different historical mystery series worth the read. I love both historical fiction and mystery novels... And the 'A Rosalind Thorne Mystery' series falls into both genres (as well as all of the others mentioned in the Book Riot article) and appealed to me for this very reason.

Then in December 2020, I discovered that independent bookstore, Murder by the Book, was hosting a virtual author event on their Facebook page featuring Darcie Wilde discussing the latest release in the 'A Rosalind Thorne Mystery' series... So, I decided to watch this live, virtual author event and enjoyed it.

With this backstory in mind, I decided to listen to the unabridged audio version of A Useful Woman by Darcie Wilde and narrated by Sarah Nichols in 2021. 

A Useful Woman by Darcie Wilde is the first novel in 'A Rosalind Thorne Mystery' series and I really enjoyed this novel quite a bit. The writing for A Useful Woman by Darcie Wilde is well done. I thought the storyline was well paced, thought out, and enjoyable. I liked the main character, Rosalind Thorne, very much. She's wise, sensible, and likable. I liked most of the other characters in this novel as well... Although one of the characters I did find to be quite annoying!

The mystery aspect of A Useful Woman was also very good. I kept trying to guess whodunnit and why until near the very end. I also enjoyed reading about what what life was like for a 19th century London lady of certain means and how she has to navigate high society while following proper social etiquette to fit in with the upper crust. A Useful Woman balanced learning about what life was like in 19th century London and adding in a mystery quite nicely. So kudos to Darcie Wilde for a great first novel in a series.

I highly recommend A Useful Woman by Darcie Wilde. I have recently downloaded the second novel in the 'A Rosalind Thorne Mystery' series, which I look forward the listening to later this month.

Listening time for A Useful Woman by Darcie Wilde is 10 hours, 3 minutes. The narration by Sarah Nichols was alright... Not bad, not great in my opinion.

Below is the plot summary for A Useful Woman by Darcie Wilde from Audible:
Inspired by the novels of Jane Austen, this new mystery series set in 19th-century London introduces the charming and resourceful Rosalind Thorne, a woman privy to the secrets of high society - including who among them is capable of murder.

The daughter of a baronet and minor heiress, Rosalind Thorne was nearly ruined after her father abandoned the family. To survive in the only world she knew, she began to manage the affairs of some of London society's most influential women, who rely on her wit and discretion. So when artistocratic wastrel Jasper Aimesworth is found dead in London's most exclusive ballroom, Almack's, Rosalind must use her skills and connections to uncover the killer from a list of suspects that includes Almack's powerful patronesses and her former suitor Devon Winterbourne, now Lord Casselmain.

Torn between her old love and a growing attraction to a compelling Bow Street runner, Rosalind must unravel the mysteries surrounding Jasper's death, and the mysteries of her own heart as well.
I am giving A Useful Woman by Darcie Wilde a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Cubed: The Puzzle of Us All by Erno Rubik


I listened to the unabridged audio version of Cubed: The Puzzle of Us All by Erno Rubik and narrated by Alistair Petrie with my husband, which is pretty wonderful as my husband is not an avid reader like myself. However, I was able to easily convince him to do something different to celebrate Christmas Eve last year since we weren't celebrating the holiday with family and friends in the usual way due to pandemic... So, we celebrated Christmas Eve by observing the Icelandic tradition known as Jolabokaflod (Christmas Book Flood) by starting to listen to Cubed: The Puzzle of Us All by Erno Rubik together. We slowly listened to this book together through the end of 2020.

My hubby has been a Rubik's Cube fan since he was a youngster, so I figured he'd be interested in listening to this nonfiction book by the creator of the Rubik's Cube and I wasn't wrong. I just didn't count on us both loving this book as much as we both did.

Cubed: The Puzzle of Us All by Erno Rubik is well written. It discusses the author's life and how/why he created the Rubik's Cube. Additionally, this book examines so many more other topics; such as puzzles, creativity, curiosity, play, being a professional verses an amateur, and more! Cubed: The Puzzle of Us All gave me great insight into the mind of an inventor and his creative thought process. 

Cubed: The Puzzle of Us All by Erno Rubik was my final and 90th book read for 2020!

Below is the publisher's summary for Cubed: The Puzzle of Us All by Erno Rubik from Audible:
The first audiobook by the reclusive inventor of the world's most iconic puzzle, the Rubik's Cube. Erno Rubik inspires us with what he's learned in a lifetime of creating, curiosity, and discovery.

Erno Rubik was a child when he first became obsessed with puzzles of all kinds. "Puzzles", he writes, "bring out important qualities in each of us: concentration, curiosity, a sense of play, the eagerness to discover a solution." To Rubik, puzzles aren't just games - they're creativity machines. He encourages us to embrace our inner curiosity and find the puzzles that surround us in our everyday lives. "If you are determined, you will solve them", he writes. Rubik's own puzzle, the Cube, has been solved by millions worldwide for over 40 years, becoming one of the best-selling toys of all time, and a global symbol of intelligence and ingenuity.

In Cubed, Rubik covers more than just his journey to inventing his eponymous cube. He makes a case for always being an amateur - something he has always considered himself to be. He discusses the inevitability of problems during any act of invention. He reveals what it was like to experience the astonishing worldwide success of an object he made purely for his own play. And he offers what he thinks it means to be a true creator (hint: anyone can do it). Steeped in the wisdom and also the humility of a born inventor, Cubed offers a unique look at the imperfect science of creation.
I am giving Cubed: The Puzzle of Us All by Erno Rubik a rating of 5 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Friday, January 1, 2021

2021 Reading Goals!!

My goal is to read 60 books in 2021. All 60 books to be read will come from my current 'to be read' pile. No specific titles selected at this time have been decided upon. 

However, I do plan to read 15 books that I've acquired through Goodreads Giveaways. 

Additionally, I have several trilogies in my possessions that I have yet to read, so I plan to read five of the trilogies in my possession for a total of 15 books.

The remaining 30 books left to read will be chosen at random from my 'to be read' pile.

So what are your reading goals for 2021?