Wednesday, December 28, 2022

My 11 Least Favorite Reads During 2022!

Overall, I'd say that I enjoyed most of the books I read in 2023 were pretty wonderful... However, 11 books out of the 98 books I read this year I gave a 1 or 2 star rating out of 5 stars as follows:

1. Partials by Dan Wells - I'd read/heard a lot of wonderful things about this young adult/apocalypse novel (also the 1st book in a series). So, I decided to listen to the unabridged audio version of Partials. I didn't like, nor do I understand the hype for this novel. The characters and storyline were so one dimensional. I almost gave up on finishing this novel it was so bad, in my opinion.

2. Wolf by Jim Harrison - I wanted to branch out and try a new to me author. After I finished listening to this novel, I was like what the hell did I just listen to? Wolf was so weird/strange and all over the place. Wolf felt very stream of consciousness to me.

3. Ozoni and Onsens by Steph Gennaro - This is a short story/novella. I didn't find the storyline or characters that engaging. 

4. The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton - I listened to the audio version of this novel for a mystery/thriller virtual book club I joined this year. Although, I enjoyed the unique premise of this novel, it was 17 hours, 4 minutes long and had TOO MUCH going on to keep track of throughout the novel. The ending I didn't like, nor did I see the twist for this novel's ending either.

5. MatchMater Paranormal Dating App: The Complete Series by Laura Greenwood - Cheesy paranormal romance series. Need I day more?

6. Island of a Thousand Mirrors by Nayomi Munaweera - Intriguing storyline that sounded like a promising one to me. In the end, I thought it was okay overall... very forgettable.

7. The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones - I so wanted to LOVE this novel. Again this was another novel I'd heard great things about, but it didn't live up to the hype for me.

8. Robbergirl by S.T. Gibson - I'd listened to A Dowry of Blood by the same author earlier in the year, which I really enjoyed. So, I decided to give this novel by the same author a try. Meh, it wasn't as rewarding as the first novel was.

9. Miss Kane's Christmas by Caroline Mickelson - A Christmas themed read in time for the holiday season that makes for an easy read. I didn't care for it much - too shallow/superficial for my taste.

10. Caught Witch Handed by Catherine Waltan - Another one of those novels with an overall mediocre storyline and over the top cast of characters. It wasn't my type of book. I'll skip the rest of the series.

11. The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button by F. Scott Fitzgerald - I've read  a three things written by
 F. Scott Fitzgerald. Let's just say, I don't understand the appeal of his writing and leave it at that.

Did you come across any books that didn't make the cut with you in 2022?

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday - FREEBIE - My Top TEN Reads From the Second Half of 2022!!!


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 favorite reads during the second half of 2022!!  Have you read any of the books in my Top Ten Tuesday post? Let me know in the comment section below!

1. The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater
2. H Is For Hawk by Helen MacDonald
3. The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines
4. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang by Ian Fleming
5. Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya
6. Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew J. Sullivan
7. Hallowe'en Party by Agatha Christie
8. The Book of Eels: Our Enduring Fascination with the Most Mysterious Creature in the Natural World by Patrik Svensson
9. Where the Lost Dogs Go: A Story of Love, Search, and the Power of Reunion by Susannah Charleson
10 Landmark Supreme Court Decisions and How They Impact Your Life by David L. Hudson

How was your year of reading in 2022?

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Happy Jolabokaflod!!!


This would be my ideal way of celebrating Christmas Eve! A quiet evening sitting by a cozy fire, enjoying chocolates, drinking a hot beverage of choice, and quietly reading a new book in a comfortable spot surrounded by those I love also quietly reading as well. The smell of pine or other holiday scent would be a lovely touch as well.

Friday, October 14, 2022

Horror Themed Reads to Gear Up For Halloween!!

I'm not a huge fan of the horror genre. Nor have I been a fan of Halloween since childhood. However, for whatever reason, I kind of find it fun to read a few horror themed books or short stories during the month of October in order to celebrate the changing of the season... And it's also fun to prepare myself for the upcoming holiday season that occurs through the end of each year.

So, far I have listened to two short stories written by Edgar Allan Poe for free on YouTube, 'The Fall of the House of Usher' and 'The Black Cat'.

Both short stories were spooky and pleasant to listen to, especially if you are an Edgar Allan Poe fan and want a quick read. Below are the video links for both short stories mentioned above should you care to listen to one or both of them.

Additionally, I listened to the unabridged audio version of The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan in the past couple of months. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would as I am normally not a werewolf fan. The Last Werewolf is the first novel in a trilogy and I am contemplating read the rest of the trilogy. Below is a video of the author, Glen Duncan, discussing The Last Werewolf.

I am currently listening to the unabridged audio version of Hallowe'en Party by Agatha Christie and narrated by Hugh Fraser for free through YouTube, which is excellent so far. Hugh Fraser is an excellent narrator.

Below is the YouTube video/audio version of Hallowe'en Party by Agatha Christie should you care to listen to it.

After listening to Hallowe'en Party by Agatha Christie, I will be listening to the unabridged audio version of The Chalk Man by C. J Box for the Chirp Mystery/Thriller Virtual Book Club on October 31st at 9am Pacific Time. 

Below is a book trailer for The Chalk Man.

Saturday, October 8, 2022

Do You Have an Issue with Tsunduko?

Tsunduko is the regular occurrence of buying books and letting them pile up without reading them. Tsunduko has become an issue for me personally. I have so many books waiting to be read. Yet, I keep adding more books to my 'to be read' pile.

It isn't that I am NOT reading books. I'm simply acquiring books faster than I can read them... What can I say? I love books in all forms, whether they be audiobooks, ebooks, or physical books.

The above video from R. C. Waldun discusses 'How To Stop Buying Books And Start Reading - Overcoming Tsundoku'. I found the video to be interesting and informative. Maybe this information would help me read more of the books I currently have and slow down on the book buying for awhile.

Does anyone else have issues with Tsunduko?

Sunday, September 25, 2022

5 Ways to Earn Money Reading Books!

I recently stumbled across and watched the above informative video on YouTube. In the video, the presenter shows readers five ways to earn money reading! 

There were two ways to earn money by reading books mentioned in the video above that seemed like enticing options for me to try out in the near future. Both options involve getting paid to write book reviews. I may end up testing one or both of these exciting ways to get paid to read books... Then I can write a follow up blog post to discuss my experience with trying out one or both options I am interested in testing out from the above video.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Happy Banned Books Week!

Each year, I read at least one banned/challenged book... And I may or may not read the particular banned/challenged book I choose during Banned Books Week.

Last month, I listened to the unabridged audio version of Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya, which was published 50 years ago in 1972.  It was the first time I'd read Bless Me, Ultima and I am so glad that I did as it was so much more than I imagined it would be. I gave Bless Me, Ultima 5 stars out of 5 stars on Goodreads.

According to Wikipedia, Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya was  challenged for the following reasons:

Owing to what some consider adult language, violent content, and sexual references, Bless Me, Ultima is often the target of attempts to restrict access to the book and was therefore placed on the list of most commonly challenged books in the U.S. in 2013.[9] However, in the last third of the twentieth century, the novel has initiated respect for Chicano literature as an important and nonderivative type of American literature among academics.

Below is a YouTube video of Rudolfo Anaya discussing his novel, Bless Me, Ultima.

How are you celebrating Banned Books Week this year? Have you read any banned or challenged books this year? Additionally, have you read Bless Me, Ultima? If so, what did you think of it?

Monday, August 22, 2022

New Audiobook Listening Experience Via YouTube


Earlier this year, I published a post regarding how to find free audiobooks on YouTube.

I'd never listened to an audiobook through YouTube before, so I decided to give it a try earlier this month.

I ended up listening to Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau. It was a short listen at just over an hour and two minutes. I enjoyed listening to Civil Disobedience quite a bit. It is a good essay still relevant today and the audio quality was decent on YouTube.

Above is the YouTube video I listened to of Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

My First Actual Free Little Pantry Find


I'm sure you've all heard about Little Free Libraries by now and may have even found a few of them yourselves out in the wild... Or perhaps, even better, you're a steward of a Little Free Library of your very own!!

As many of my blog followers may already know, I am an avid lover of Little Free Libraries and seek them out as frequently as feasibly possible. I love finding LFLs and exchanging my already read books for other gently used books that look like interesting ones to read. Sometimes I get lucky and find books I have listed on my reading wishlist inside LFLs.

However, earlier this month while in Concord, California, my husband and I found something different. We stumbled upon our very first Little Free Food Pantry purely by accident outside a Lutheran Church. We'd heard about Little Free Food Pantries before, but we'd never seen one in person until a couple of weekends ago.

The interesting thing is that we'd stopped by the Lutheran Church with the sole purpose of leaving five books inside a Little Free Library on the premises. It just so happened that they also had a Little Free Food Pantry onsite as well... So with that in mind, we meandered over to the other side of the property and voila, we saw our very first Little Free Food Pantry sighting!! 
Have you seen a Little Free Food Pantry in person before? They're pretty cool, am I right?

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday - FREEBIE - My Top TEN Reads From the First Half of 2022!!!


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 favorite reads for the first half of 2022!! All ten books received a five out of five star rating by yours truly. I've listed the books in order in which I read them.

Have you read any of the books in my Top Ten Tuesday post? Let me know in the comment section below!

1. My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor 5/5 stars

2. My Life As A White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland 5/5 stars

3. The Secrets Between Us by Thrity Umrigar 5/5 stars

4. Jubilee by Margaret Walker 5/5 stars

5. Gender: A World History by Susan Kingsley Kent 5/5 stars

6. The Girl with Stars in Her Eyes by Xio Axelrod 5/5 stars

7. The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson 5/5 stars

8. The Modern Gentleman by Meghan Quinn 5/5 stars

9. Tomorrow Will Be Different: Love, Loss, and the Fight for Trans Equality by Sarah McBride 5/5 stars

10. A Dowry of Blood by S. T. Gibson 5/5 stars

Thursday, June 30, 2022

New to Me Little Free Libraries I Have Discovered During the First Half of 2022!

Yes, I am still striving to visit as many new to me Little Free Libraries as I possibly can! I absolutely L-O-V-E spreading the joy of reading books by leaving physical books at Little Free Libraries and taking used books back home with me to read in return!

Below are the fifteen new to me Little Free Libraries I have discovered so far in 2022.

Kensington, California

Danville, California

San Ramon, California

Livermore, California

Livermore, California

Livermore, California

Livermore, California

Castro Valley, California

Castro Valley, California

Orinda, California

Orinda, California

Mill Valley, California

Mill Valley, California

Mill Valley, California

San Ramon, California

The Snoopy themed Little Free Library in Kensington, California has to be my favorite new to me Little Free Library find this year to date.

Do you enjoy finding Little Free Libraries too? I feel blessed to have found so many cute ones over the years. Plus, I have found so many wishlist books inside LFLs too, which makes finding LFLs all the more fun to find!

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Top Ten LGBTQIA Themed Books to Read During Pride Month

I have read the following ten books, which fit into the LBGQTIA category in some way or another. I enjoyed reading all of the following books. I hope you do too if you haven't read any of them yet! 

If you have read any of the following books, please let me know what you think about the books you have read in the comments section below.

1. Drama by Raina Telgemeier

2. George by Alex Gino

3. Juliet Takes A Breath by Gabby Rivera

4. Tomorrow Will Be Different: Love, Loss, and the Fight for Trans Equality by Sarah McBride

5. Passing Strange by Ellen Klages

6. Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey

7. Less by Andrew Sean Greer

8. The Horse Mistress by R. A. Steffan

9. Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters

10. Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown

Also, share with me any LBGQTIA books you've read and enjoyed over the years!!

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

How to Find Free, Full-Length Audiobooks on YouTube!!

 I am an avid audiobook lover and have listened to over 40 audiobooks alone this year so far! 

Yesterday, I stumbled upon a short YouTube video that discusses how to find and listen to FREE, full-length audiobooks on YouTube. 

So, if you're an avid audiobook listener like myself, then check out the above YouTube video to discover where to find free audiobooks on YouTube. 

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Chirp Audiobooks - A Review


I am ADDICTED to audiobooks!! In fact, ALL of the 27 books I've read this year in 2022, have been audiobooks... That's if you consider listening to audiobooks reading, which I certainly do.

Here's a short history of my audiobook listening experience before I share my review of Chirp. 

I initially began my experience of listening to audiobooks on cassette tape WAY back in the day. Granted I didn't listen to audiobooks all that frequently during this time frame. I eventually moved on to listening to audiobooks on compact disc. I didn't immediately fall in love with audiobooks as buying them on cassette tape and compact disc could be very pricey. Plus, I loved reading physical books more than listening to them at the time.

Slowly, I began to fall in love with listening to audiobooks and eventually became a staunch Audible member around 2014. From there, I used Audible's services almost exclusively for a number of years with an occasional audiobook on compact disc mixed in here and there.

Then in January of 2021, I first learned about Chirp and wrote a blog post about Chirp here on my blog. I was already using Audible heavily in 2021 as I'd received 12 credits/ renewed membership to Audible from my husband for Christmas in 2020. Long story short, Chirp wasn't even something I wanted to use/try at that time as my audiobook needs were being met through Audible.

However, I decided to let my Audible subscription membership lapse at the end of 2021 as I already have so many physical books, ebooks, and audiobooks to read that I thought it would be a nice change of pace to take a year off from Audible.

Then in March of this year, I remembered learning about Chirp last year. I was curious about Chirps's audiobook service, so I decided to give them a shot by trying them out last month. I downloaded the free Chirp app to my iPad and listened to my very first audiobook download, Murder Most Pemberley by Jessica Berg, a cozy mystery novel that is the first novel in a series. I was able to purchase Murder Most Pemberley by Jessica Berg for 99 cents as part of Chirps limited time deals.

After listening to Murder Most Pemberley by Jessica Berg on the Chirp app and having a positive experience with using the Chirp app, I decided to download several more books and have listened to a total of 16 books with no glitches using the Chirp app. Quite frankly, I've fallen in love with Chirp and become addicted to their service. I've downloaded more than 45 audiobooks in all.

So, what do I love about Chirp audiobooks? NO SUBSCRIPTION FEE is the biggest perk for me!! Limited Time Deals on audiobooks where one can save up to 95% off the price of an audiobook and Money-back guarantee feature (although I have not had to use this feature to date). 

All of the audiobooks I have purchased from Chirp have been one of their limited time deals. I enjoy not paying full price for books. Plus, I've discovered many new to me authors and also acquired many of my wishlist books through buying audiobooks through Chirp's limited time deals. I am DEFINITELY a Chirp convert for sure! I recommend Chirp to those that enjoy listening to audiobooks.

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Today Marks My 10 Year Blogiversary!!! Plus Farewell!!


Wow, it was ten years ago today I started 'Captivated Reader' and what a journey it has been the past ten years! Honestly, I never expected to be blogging this long.

How Did I Start Blogging?

It all started with a desire to start blogging a few year before I actually began blogging on January 1, 2012. I kind of toyed with the idea of blogging off and on for a few years before I gave it some serious thought in the Autumn of 2011. During the Autumn of 2011, I checked out blogging platforms, decided that I wanted my blog to be about all things books and anything pertaining to books, and then finally coming up with blog name... My first choice for a blog name wasn't 'Captivated Reader'. I can't even remember now what my first choice name was for my blog was. In fact, I had to choice several names before I finally discovered 'Captivated Reader' was available on this platform.

Finding My Blogging Groove

Over the years, I played around with blogging topics for my book blog. I discovered memes, quotes, Little Free Libraries, and more to write about over the course of the past ten years. I searched Google endlessly for bookish related news. Essentially, I tried to be as creative as possible when it came to blog topics that fit into the realm of all things book related. I even played around a bit with book reviews in the beginning before my reviews came to be what they are presently. 

I learned a lot about various book related topics that I may not have learned about before I began blogging. All this work in the name of coming up with new topics to blog about to attract and keep readers interested in my blog.

Making Connections With Readers & Bloggers

I am so grateful for all of my blog readers, followers, and all of those that have left comments on my various blog posts over the past ten years. I feel truly blessed in making connections with other book lovers, readers, and fellow bloggers! Thank you for making 'Captivated Reader' a success over the years. Your readership has kept me motivated in creating new content over the year.

Final Thoughts & Farewell

As much as I have thoroughly enjoyed keeping 'Captivated Reader' going the past decade, it's time for me discontinue posting to my blog for now and move on to other endeavors. 

I have truly enjoyed keeping a book blog and interacting with other readers and bloggers over the years. However, I have other areas of my life that require my attention at the moment. So, it's time for me to move on. I will miss reviewing books I've read, posting about my Little Free Library discoveries, and so on.

I will keep 'Captivated Reader' up as it is currently... Perhaps one day, I will return to blogging in the future. In the meantime, I will miss you all! Happy reading to you all now and in the future. Hope you have a happy, joyous, peaceful, and healthy 2022 and beyond. Warm wishes, Lisa @ Captivated Reader.