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 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 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!

Sunday, June 13, 2021

New Little Free Libraries Are Popping Up Everywhere!! Even in Our Former Neighborhood!!

I first learned about Little Free Libraries in 2012, which also happened to be the same year I started my blog, Captivated Reader. If memory serves me correctly, I had learned about Little Free Libraries through searching out topics on Google that were bookish related for blog post topics to write and share with my readers.

I was so excited about the idea of Little Free Libraries that I sought out and found my very first Little Free Library in Ventura, California back in 2012 with my husband, which I promptly blogged about. At the time, I lived in Carpinteria, California and I remember back then that there weren't any Little Free Libraries in Carpinteria and no LFLs between Carpinteria and Goleta that I knew of at the time.

Seven years ago, my husband and I moved to northern California. I've seen Little Free Libraries grow in numbers by leap and bounds in the past seven years as more and more Little Free Library locations pop up for readers to find and leave books within my own community and surrounding cities... It's been a whole lot of fun finding LFLs outside homes, businesses, and other community spaces.

Since leaving Carpinteria, there are several Little Free Libraries that were never there when we lived there... And most recently, I learned through the local Carpinteria newspaper, Coastal View News, that there is even a new Little Free Library in the condominium community where we once lived! How cool is that? When we visit Carpinteria in the future, we'll have to stop by and leave books!! Check out the following article, Casitas Village celebrates new Little Free Library, to read the full article!

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Food Fortunes Card Deck by Josh Lafayette

Fun Novelty Tarot/Divination Deck!!

Food Fortunes Card Deck by Josh Lafayette is a very unique divination deck/oracle deck/tarot deck... I'd call it a novelty, divination deck for the foodie lover that can also be used as a tarot deck.

The Food Fortunes Card Deck is a very creative and fun deck to play with. This deck comes in a tuck box with a booklet that gives an introductions, a few different card spreads, and a key to the cards themselves. There are 78 cards in this deck, which are divided into the major arcana and minor arcana just like in traditional tarot decks. However, this is where the similarities seems to end as this deck is entirely about food! The major arcana consists of 22 cards and features different foods, so don't expect to find traditional cards and images for the major arcana. The minor arcana consists of the remaining 56 cards with four suits - The Mains, The Sides, Sweets, and Drinks. 

I love the artwork for the Food Fortunes Card Deck and it should be noted that Josh Lafayette illustrated this food themed deck!! The cards for the Food Fortunes Card Deck are matte, not glossy, and are easy to shuffle. The card stock is sturdy and the size for this deck is the typical size found for a standard tarot deck.

I love this card deck for its uniqueness!! I am glad that I have added it to my collection of card decks... But in all honesty, I probably won't use it on a regular basis!

Below is a summary for Food Fortunes Card Deck by Josh Lafayette from Amazon:
  • FOOD THEMED ORACLE CARDS: This hilarious play on oracle or classic tarot cards presents a unique play on how food and fortunes collide.
  • 78 UNIQUE CARDS: Each card features a classic foodie favorite including bacon, pizza, and more!
  • GREAT GIFT FOR FOODIES: The foodie in your life will get a kick out of the "readings" they get from their favorite dishes.
  • FOOD IS IN YOUR FUTURE: Each set of cards comes with a set of instructions on how to read each card's meaning.
  • GREAT FOR PARTIES: Entertain your friends at parties by reading their food fortunes for late night bites.

Below is a YouTube video made by Becoming Temperance, which offers an excellent review and walk through of the Food Fortunes Card Deck. This video was what made my purchase decision for Josh Lafayette's Food Fortunes Card Deck an easy one. So, check out the video to see how this deck looks!

I am giving Food Fortunes Card Deck by Josh Lafayette a rating of 5 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post happy reading!!!

Friday, June 11, 2021

SecondSale ~ New to Me Online Used Bookstore

I'm always on the look out for new places to purchase books. So, I recently heard about, an online used bookstore/bookseller, which offers free shipping for orders over $10 and book prices starting @ $3.78 per book.

Has anyone purchased used books from this online bookstore/bookseller? If so, what was your experience like?

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Brat: An 80s Story by Andrew McCarthy


I received the hardback edition of Brat: An 80s Story by Andrew McCarthy for FREE through the Goodreads Giveaways program.

Below is my unbiased review of Brat: An 80s Story by Andrew McCarthy.

Ugh, I was majorly disappointed with Brat: An 80s Story by Andrew McCarthy!!! It was BORING, Boring, boring for the most part!!! I almost gave up reading this memoir several times as I thought it was so bad. There were a few interesting tidbits in later chapters, but for the most part it was a very dull read. 

Andrew McCarthy discusses a little bit about his childhood and home life at the start of his memoir. Then his memoir covers how he broke in to his acting career and also about dealing with fame. McCarthy lacked a lot of confidence and self esteem, which he discusses quite a bit about throughout his memoir. It seems like he also suffered from impostor syndrome too, although he doesn't use this term in his memoir. McCarthy also develops an addiction to alcohol, which effects his work and also experiments with other drugs as well. 

Yes, McCarthy also discusses working on the various movies he starred in and with other actors, directors, etc. he worked with too. He also discussed how he wasn't very good at giving interviews and so on... But I found this part of his memoir to be uninteresting.

Below is the summary for Brat: An 80s Story by Andrew McCarthy from Amazon:

Fans of Patti Smith's Just Kids and Rob Lowe's Stories I Only Tell My Friends will love this beautifully written, entertaining, and emotionally honest memoir by an actor, director, and author who found his start as an 80s Brat pack member.

Most people know Andrew McCarthy from his movie roles in Pretty in Pink, St. Elmo's Fire, Weekend at Bernie's, and Less than Zero, and as a charter member of Hollywood's Brat Pack. That iconic group of ingenues and heartthrobs included Rob Lowe, Molly Ringwald, Emilio Estevez, and Demi Moore, and has come to represent both a genre of film and an era of pop culture.

In his memoir Brat: An '80s Story, McCarthy focuses his gaze on that singular moment in time. The result is a revealing look at coming of age in a maelstrom, reckoning with conflicted ambition, innocence, addiction, and masculinity. New York City of the 1980s is brought to vivid life in these pages, from scoring loose joints in Washington Square Park to skipping school in favor of the dark revival houses of the Village where he fell in love with the movies that would change his life.

Filled with personal revelations of innocence lost to heady days in Hollywood with John Hughes and an iconic cast of characters, Brat is a surprising and intimate story of an outsider caught up in a most unwitting success.
I am giving Brat: An 80s Story by Andrew McCarthy a rating of 1.5 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

The Latest Little Free Library in San Ramon, California


As always, I love visiting Little Free Libraries where I can leave and trade books! And finding new to me Little Free Libraries is always an additional perk to me. Last weekend, my husband and I were thrilled to discover a new Little Free Library here in San Ramon, California!

This Little Free Library was cute and held a lot of books. I left three books and didn't take any home with me as I didn't find any titles that were of interest to me at the time.

Have you found any Little Free Libraries lately?

Monday, June 7, 2021

Unhinged by A. G. Howard

I listened to the unabridged audio version of Unhinged by A. G. Howard and narrated by Rebecca Gibel. Listening time for Unhinged by A. G. Howard is 13 hours, 13 minutes.

Unhinged by A. G. Howard is the second novel in the 'Splintered' trilogy. I listened to Splintered
by A. G. Howard earlier this year and enjoyed it so much that I knew I wanted to continue with this young adult trilogy.

Unhinged by A. G. Howard did not disappoint! I truly enjoyed the storyline, characters, plot and writing for Unhinged by A. G. Howard... The action seemed non-stop in Unhinged, even if some of the events taking place seemed a tad over the top at times.

A. G. Howard is definitely a creative/gifted author and storyteller. I like her twist/take on the Alice In Wonderland novel. I look forward to reading the last novel of the 'Splintered' trilogy.

Below is the plot summary for Unhinged by A. G. Howard from Audbile:
Alyssa Gardner has been down the rabbit hole. She was crowned Queen of the Red Court and faced the bandersnatch. She saved the life of Jeb, the boy she loves, and escaped the machinations of the disturbingly appealing Morpheus. Now all she has to do is graduate high school.

That would be easier without her mother, freshly released from an asylum, acting overly protective and suspicious. And it would be much simpler if the mysterious Morpheus didn't show up at school one day to tempt her with another dangerous quest in the dark, challenging Wonderland - where she (partly) belongs.

Could she leave Jeb and her parents behind again, for the sake of a man she knows has manipulated her before? Will her mother and Jeb trust her to do what's right? Listeners will swoon over the satisfying return to Howard's bold, sensual reimagining of Carroll's classic.
I am giving Unhinged by A. G. Howard a rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Do You Miss Reading in Public?

Some times I do miss reading in public. I use to read books at coffeehouses or cafes, at the beach or parks, on planes and trains, etc. But now it seems like forever since I've read a book outside my home. 

If you miss reading in public, then here's some good news! I recently read an Electric Lit article titled, Miss Reading in Public? Bring the Sounds of the Library to Your Home. In the article, I learned that "the New York Public Library has compiled an album of noises we miss—including the sound of the library itself." Click on the link above to read the full story and listen to a sample of NYPL album from Spotify.

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Looking For a Few Bookish Side Hustles to Earn a Little Extra Cash?

 Once again I discovered an interesting article on Book Riot titled, Bookish Side Hustles to Earn a Little Extra Cash by Abby Hargreaves. The title alone caught my attention... I am an avid book lover and book reader, so what side hustles are there for book lovers like me? Nine different bookish related hustles are in fact listed in the above mentioned article... So click on the link above to learn more!

Friday, June 4, 2021

John Steinbeck Has an Unpublished Werewolf Novel!

Okay, I am partial to John Steinbeck's writing. I haven't read everything published by him, but everything I have read written by John Steinbeck I have really enjoyed reading.

Recently, I came across an article from NPR's website titled, A Young John Steinbeck's Unpublished Werewolf Novel Isn't Going To Print. I was like, wait! what?! John Steinbeck wrote a werewolf novel? Yes, Steinbeck did in fact write a werewolf novel under a pseudonym that has never been published and it sounds like an amazing novel to read! 

Below is a quote from the above mentioned NPR article about Steinbeck's unpublished werewolf novel:

A dog is found murdered at the hunting club in Cone City, a fictional locale on the central California coast, under the light of a full moon. Then the club's Swedish cook is killed. More deaths follow.

New in town, cub reporter "Egg" Waters narrates the story of a series of brutal murders that appear to be the work of a werewolf; an amateur sleuth on the case develops a theory of crime-solving based on the detective fiction he's read.

So goes the plot of Murder at Full Moon, an unpublished novel by literary giant John Steinbeck, who received the 1962 Nobel Prize in Literature and is better known for his tales about life in the American West during the Great Depression.

"It's often dismissed as a piece of juvenalia, not something to be taken seriously," said Gavin Jones, a professor of American literature at Stanford University, who has read the novel and shared details with NPR.

"I was really surprised to discover that it was this complete typescript. It was not a fragment or some incoherent, sort of aborted project, but was a really complicated, interesting hybrid novel that lies somewhere between a murder mystery, a detective novel and a werewolf story," Jones said.

Click on the above link to read the full article! 

Thursday, June 3, 2021

What is the Life Cycle of a Library Book?

 Do you ever wonder about the life cycle of a library book? Frankly, I never gave this question much thought until I came across an article on Book Riot titled, The Life Cycle of a Library Book by Abby Hargreaves.

After reading the above mentioned article, I quickly learned that the life cycle of a library book isn't so straight forward as 'no two library systems are the same' on how they determine the life cycle of a library book.

The Life Cycle of a Library Book article covers how book titles are selected, how books are acquired, cataloged, and labelled before even reaching the hands of librarian patrons.

Once it’s on the shelf, the customers can have at it. The number of times a given book is checked out is dependent on the book’s popularity and condition. Some books, despite going out dozens of times, remain in good condition and continue to circulate for many more dozens of times. Other books only make it out the door once before needing replacement. And still others never go out at all.

How library books finally leave circulation happen in a variety of ways too. So click on the top link to read the full article.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

The Little Book of Lost Words: Collywobbles, Snollygosters, and 86 Other Surprisingly Useful Terms Worth Resurrecting by Joe Gillard


My dearest love apples,

Just a notekin from your favorite minkin! Do not be a ninnyhammer, go forth and purchase this adorable, hardback book, which mayhap become your favorite read of 2021! So find your favorite snuggery, bring a drink (whether you be an aquabib or prefer a homerkin) while you read... And enjoy a prandicle while you're at it.

Verily yours, Captivated Reader.

In the above written paragraph, I used ten of the words (the words are in bold) I discovered from my latest read. I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Little Book of Lost Words: Collywobbles, Snollygosters, and 86 Other Surprisingly Useful Terms Worth Resurrecting by Joe Gillard. I highly recommend this book to other people who love words. 

I love nonfiction, hardback books that can also double as coffee table books and feature unique topics, like words!

The Little Book of Lost Words is a really quick read, well organized, and is also a fun book to read and share with others. It contains an introduction by the author, plus 88 words listed in alphabetical order. Each word has a pronunciation guide, what part of speech (noun, verb, adjective, etc.) it is, the origin of the word, definition of the word, and a sentence using the word. 

Additionally, there is a classical looking painting positioned on the page opposite of each word listed in this book for interesting visual stimulation. The book ends with an acknowledgements section, art credits section and an 'about the author' blurb.

Do I have a favorite word I learned from The Little Book of Lost Words? No, there are too many words shared within this book for me to have a single favorite word.

Below is a summary for The Little Book of Lost Words: Collywobbles, Snollygosters, and 86 Other Surprisingly Useful Terms Worth Resurrecting by Joe Gillard from Amazon:

The founder of History Hustle presents a handy guide for expressing yourself with history's best words.

This collection features scores of unique words from history that deal with surprisingly modern issues like sleeping in and procrastination--proving that some things never change! The Little Book of Lost Words presents each term that's ready to be brought back into modern-day use, complete with definition, hilarious sample sentence, and cheeky historical art. You'll learn new words for the cozy room where you like to Netflix and chill (snuggery), for a dishonest politician (snollygoster), and for a young person who sleeps through the day and doesn't work (dewdropper). If you like Lost in Translation, Shakespeare Insult Generator, Drunk History, and Roald Dahl--and you delight in the way words like blatteroon and flapdoodle roll off the tongue--then you're the word lover this book was written for. Want to know what a fizgig or groke is? Read this book!

I am giving The Little Book of Lost Words: Collywobbles, Snollygosters, and 86 Other Surprisingly Useful Terms Worth Resurrecting by Joe Gillard a rating of 5 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Top Ten Tuesday - FREEBIE - Books With One Word Titles That Are Worth 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 is a list of books with one word book titles that are worth the read! I've listed the books alphabetically. The links provided below are to my reviews of each book.

1. Becoming by Michelle Obama -I loved reading Michelle Obama's memoir. It's well organized and flows smoothly through the various facets of her life. I listened to the unabridged audio version and enjoyed hearing Ms. Obama narrate her own memoir.

2. Drama by Raina Telgemeier - I read this graphic novel in 2018 during Banned Book Week. Drama had been banned due to LBGQT characters in the book.

3. Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi - I love this graphic novel about the lives of Iranian women. It's worth the read!

4. Flight by Sherman Alexie - I read and reviewed this novel in 2016. I gave it 5 stars out of 5 stars. Great read!

5. George by Alex Gino - I love this novel. I read it last year during Banned Books Week. George has been the number one banned book the past few years. I gave it 5 stars out of 5 stars.

6. Loser by Jerry Spinelli - I was introduced to Jerry Spinelli by one of my former college professor. I've read at least 8 of Spinelli's novels and enjoyed them a lot.

7. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli - This is the 1st novel I ever read that was written by Jerry Spinelli back in 2011 and it is a phenomenal novel! I read this book prior to starting my book blog, so I do not have a  review of it. Maybe it's time for a reread and a review.

8. Tangerine by Christine Mangan - Do you love fiction novels with unreliable narrators, toxic female relationships, and/or set in an exotic locale? Then Tangerine maybe just the book for you!

9. Wringer by Jerry Spinnelli - This is another novel I really enjoyed reading before I started my book blog. Maybe it's time for a reread and a review.

10. Zombie by Joyce Carol Oates - This is a short novel and a fast read!! This book is creepy and reads like reading someone's journal/diary. 
Zombie takes the reader into the mind of serial killer, Quentin P., a fictional character based on the life of Jeffrey Dahmer (according to what I discovered through Wikipedia.) The plot is truly chilling and not for the squeamish at heart.

11. Brass by Xhenet Aliu - I recently listened to this novel and really enjoyed it!

Have you read any of the books from my top ten list this week?