Sunday, April 30, 2023

Funny Bunnies by Ann Omasta

While I was on vacation the week of April 16th, I listened to the unabridged audio version of Funny Bunnies by Ann Omasta for free via Ann Omasta's YouTube Channel. Click on the above link to listen to the above novella for free as well.

Funny Bunnies is the third installment of 'The Pet Set' series and is a contemporary romance novella. Listening time is approximately an hour and 12 minutes.

I've read a couple of other things written by Ann Omasta before with mixed feelings. I think that Funny Bunnies may be my last read by her. Funny Bunnies is narrated well enough, but the storyline was not that exciting, nor engaging enough to captivate me. In fact, the storyline was rather boring and too simplistic. The dialogue and interactions between characters was dull as well.

Below in the plot summary for Funny Bunnies by Ann Omasta that I found on Amazon's website:

Hope Montgomery has no doubt that she is the right person to become the next mayor of her beloved town, Nestlebrook Cove. She and her sweet pet, Honey-Bunny, won’t let anything stand in their way––especially not the current mayor––as they sway voters to their side.

Mayor Michael Snow loves his town, his job, and his country. He has big plans for growth in his thriving community, and he’s not going to let Hope or her cute little cottontail rabbit stop him.

Hope and Michael are vying for the same elected position. Neither is willing to admit to the dazzling spark of attraction simmering just beneath the surface between them. Will they find a solution that makes them both happy? The town’s snuggly bunnies may have to insist on it.

I am giving Funny Bunnies by Ann Omasta a rating of 1 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Saturday, April 29, 2023

Little Free Libraries in Eureka, California

The week of April 16th, my husband and I spent 4.5 days in Eureka, California on vacation. It was our 1st time visiting Eureka, which is a small coastal town in Northern California. 

We stayed in an adorable AirBnB that was in a residential neighborhood and close to all the touristy destinations we wanted to visit during our stay in Eureka, California.

And, of course, we found a few Little Free Libraries during our visit to Eureka... In fact, we found three Little Free Libraries during our visit. However, we forgot to take a photograph of the last one we found! 

The really cool thing is we discovered our 1st Little Free Library in front of the AirBnB we stayed at in Eureka! How cool is that?

Have you visited any Little Free Libraries recently?

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Top Ten Children's Books I'd love to Have Read As A Child

There are many children's books I never read as a child that probably would have been well worth the read at the time. Below are ten children's books I'd still love to read even as an adult. Yes, I realize that I kind of cheated in adding two box set collections.

1. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

2. The Wind and the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

3. The Trumpet of the Swan by E. B. White

4. Blubber by Judy Blume

5. Chronicles of Narnia Box Set by C. S. Lewis

6. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

7. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

8. Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

9. The Little House Collection Box Set by Laura Ingalls Wilder

10. National Velvet by Enid Bagnold

Have you read any of the above books?

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Little Free Library in Ukiah, California


On our drive home from our week long vacation last week, my hubby and I stopped off in Ukiah, California and discovered this Little Free Library in a residential neighborhood. I like the garden setting for this LFL. I even found a couple of good books. 

I find it super fun to discover Little Free Libraries on vacation or even on day trips!!

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday - Favorite Audiobook Narrators


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

I love audiobooks and have listening to them for years. Last year in fact, I listened to more audiobooks than read physical books or ebooks... And it looks like this same trend will be the case for me as well this year.

I now realize that in 2021, I made a post of my top 12 favorite audiobook narrators! Many of the same narrators made this list too. However, I've added three new favorite narrators in this post. Without further ado, below are my ten favorite audiobook narrators in no specific order of importance:

1. Simon Vance
2. Bahni Turpin
3. Bernadette Dunne
4. Traci Odom
5. Angela Dawe
6. Will Patton
7. Paul Boehmer
8. Stefan Rudnicki
9. Grover Gardner
10. Jayne Entwistle

Do you enjoy some of the same audiobook narrators as me? Let's compare notes!

Monday, April 24, 2023

Little Free Library in Cloverdale, California

Last week, my husband and I took a week long vacation. We stayed mainly in Eureka, California, which is a small, coastal town in the northern part of the state. We also stayed a couple of nights in Willits, California at the end of our vacation to break up the driving time on our way home. 

On our drive to Eureka, California, we stopped off in Cloverdale, California where we found this cute, new to us Little Free Library with stained glass doors and fun decorative exterior!

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Throw Back Thursday - Children's Books I Read As An Adult For the First Time

There's so many books I didn't read during my childhood that I would have enjoyed reading back in the day. In fact, there are still many children's books I'd love to read that I never read when I was youngster! I should probably make a list of those books I'd still like to read as an adult.

In the meantime, here's 12 novels I read as an adult and enjoyed reading from the children's genre.

1. Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume

2. Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren

3. Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers

4. Starring Sally J. Freedman As Herself by Judy Blume

5. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang by Ian Fleming

6. The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery

7. The Witches by Roald Dahl

8. War Horse by Michael Morpurgo

9. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

10. Nosebleed by Ged Maybury

11. The Giver by Lois Lowry

12. Anne of Green Gable by L. M. Montgomery

Have you read any of the above books?

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday - Non-book Freebie - Top Ten Favorite YouTube Channels

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.

My husband and I have become YouTube addicts over the past few years, ditching regular, cable television for YouTube instead. We don't always watch the same YouTube channels though. Below are ten of my favorite YouTube channels in no particular order of preference.

1. Dr. John Campbell PhD - I love Dr. Campbell's YouTube channel. He's a retired nurse teacher in England.

2. Dr. Eric Berg DC - you can find a lot of different health related topics presented on Dr. Berg's channel, including information on the keto diet and intermittent fasting.

3. Medicine with Dr. Moran MD - Dr. Moran's videos are on a wide variety of medical topics which include topics on diet, sleep and exercise.

4. So Woolly - A knitting channel with easy to follow tutorials! I am a knitter and this is one of my favorite knitting channels.

5. Studio Knit - Another knitting channel with easy to follow tutorials! I am a knitter and this is another one of my favorite knitting channels.

6. Marly Bird - Another knitting and crocheting channel that I also love! Marly Bird makes knitting and crocheting fun to learn.

7. The Mingled Yarncast - This is a newer yarn/knitting vlog! I love the enthusiasm of the host, Stephen aka Knitphen. His shows are never boring and his finished knitted items are amazing!

8. CriminOlly - Olly is a book tuber in the UK who focuses his vlog on crime, pulp, and horror genres for the most part. I don't read a lot of books from these genres, but I do like the content and how it is presented.

9. Brady Brandwood - I love his channel for his videos on Leon the Lobster. Leon is a lobster that was purchased/rescued from a grocery store and is now being kept in am aquarium vs being eaten. The videos are interesting as it is fun to watch a lobster in action. Who knew lobsters could be so entertaining?

10. Kuma's Kitchen - A cooking channel with original recipes. I've been watching this channel for quite a few years... I don'y even cook, BUT I love the host's (Kevin Riley) enthusiasm. Kevin Riley's tagline for his channel is "Make cooking fun again."

Do you have any favorite YouTube channels you like to watch?

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Throwback Thursday - Cozy Mystery Novels I enjoyed reading!

I enjoy a good cozy mystery novel every now and again. How about you? It's amazing how many cozy mystery novels I've read and reviewed here over the lifetime of my blog, Captivated Reader!! 

Below is a small sample of the cozy mystery novels I've enjoyed reading and reviewing since the start of 2012. Each title has been randomly selected and placed in no order of special importance. Click on the links below to read my review for each novel.

1. Lye in Wait (Home Crafting Mystery #1) by Cricket McRae

2. Louisiana Longshot: A Miss Fortune Mystery (Volume 1) by Jana Deleon

3. A Killer Kebab by Susannah Hardy

4. Deadly Readings by Laura Bradford

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

6. Mimi Gets A Clue by Jennifer J. Chow

7. Assault and Pepper by Leslie Budewitz

8. The St. Valentine's Day Cookie Massacre by Elisabeth Crabtree

9. Playing At Murder by Gillian Larkin

10. May Day by Jess Lourey

Have you read any of the above cozy mystery novels? Are there any cozy mystery series or novels you have really enjoyed reading over the years?

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday - Titles with Animals In Them and/or Covers with Animals On Them

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 ten books I've read in the past ten years that have an 'animal' in the title.

1. The Perfect Horse: The Daring U.S. Mission to Rescue the Priceless Stallions Kidnapped by the Nazis by Elizabeth Letts

2. Where the Lost Dogs Go: A Story of Love, Search, and the Power of Reunion by Susannah Charleson

3. The Book of Eels: Our Enduring Fascination with the Most Mysterious Creature in the Natural World by Patrik Svensson

4. The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness by Sy Montgomery

5. H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald

6. Magpie by Elizabeth Day

7. Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell

8. Ravens In The Rain: A Noir Love Story by Christie Santo and
Jeff Santo

9. Wolf Hunt Trilogy by Jeff Strand

10. Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

Have you read any of the books I have shared in this post? Leave me a comment below!

Thursday, April 6, 2023

I've NEVER Had This Happen On Blogger Before!!

In all of the years I've been a book blogger here on Blogger, I've never had a single blog post REMOVED/UNPUBLISHED before until recently.

Apparently, my book review for Sheriff in Her Stocking by Cheryl Gorman has been pulled because it 'supposedly' violates some sort of community guideline(s)!?!? I will have to look into the matter more deeply to figure out what the issue is exactly, because honestly I don't really know. I've never encountered this issue before and I am actually really flabbergasted. 

I wrote and published my review for Sheriff in Her Stocking by Cheryl Gorman sometime in 2014 I believe... And it remained published for a longtime before it was pulled.

Has anyone else encountered this situation before from the admins on Blogger?

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Cari Mora by Thomas Harris

I have read four previous novels written by Thomas Harris, Red Dragon, The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal, and Hannibal Rising. All four novels I enjoyed reading tremendously.

In early 2019, I was thrilled to learn that Thomas Harris had written a new novel titled, Cari Mora, to be published in May 2019. This would be the first novel published by Thomas Harris since 2006. Additionally, Cari Mora would not feature the infamous character, Hannibal Lecter. Needless to say, I was initially excited about the impending release of Cari Mora and looked forward to reading this novel when it debuted.

Upon the release of Cari Mora, the reviews were less than stellar for this novel. In fact, it seemed like most reviewers didn't care much for Cari Mora at all and that seems to be putting it mildly. Because of the lackluster reception for Cari Mora, I decided to take a hard pass on reading this novel and moved on to reading other books instead... That is until this year when my curiosity got the better of me. I purchased the eBook edition of Cari Mora from Amazon on sale.

After reading the first 20% of Cari Mora, I was left wondering if I should continue reading it or not. The writing wasn't engrossing in the least. In fact, I found Cari Mora very lackluster. Cari Mora contained too many characters to keep track of initially. I also felt like the writing style wasn't living up to what I expected from Thomas Harris, which left me seriously wondering if Mr. Harris had lost his writing mojo altogether.

I decided to push forward and read a few more chapters of Cari Mora to see if things picked up. I'm glad I finished reading Cari Mora. However, it wasn't a great read and definitely not one of the author's finest works of writing, in my opinion. 

Cari Mora, the main character, is a strong female character and has lived a difficult life. As a child, Cari was kidnapped and trained (brainwashed really) to work as a child soldier in Colombia before arriving in the US on a Temporary Protected Status. Since Cari's arrival in the US, she has lived in limbo trying to make the best of her precarious resident status. I would have loved to see more character development with Cari Mora. With the exception of the last two chapters and another chapter earlier in the novel showcasing Cari's life as a child soldier, she felt very two dimensional overall.

Additionally, the main bad guy, Hans-Peter Schneider, was freaky weird and more of a 'caricature' bad guy... Yes, Hans-Peter Schneider is pure evil, but just plain weird. Again, think two dimensional... Hans-Peter Schneider just seemed hollow to me. Whereas the character of Hannibal Lecter is so well developed by Thomas Harris. It just left me wondering what went wrong in creating the character of Hans-Peter Schneider?

I still think there were way too many characters for this novel to keep track of with all its action. Perhaps if there were less characters or a longer length novel to accommodate both character development for all the characters and the storyline as well, Cari Mora would have been a better read.

The most bizarre chapter was hands down chapter 25. Chapter 25 is told from the perspective of a saltwater alligator (or was it a saltwater crocodile??). This chapter felt so random. Like why was it even in the novel?

Below is the plot summary for Cari Mora by Thomas Harris from Amazon's website:
A resilient young woman must outwit a sadistic psychopath in this pulse-pounding thriller from the author of The Silence of the Lambs, a "master still at the top of his strange and chilling form" (Wall Street Journal).

Twenty-five million dollars in cartel gold lies hidden beneath a mansion on the Miami Beach waterfront. Ruthless men have tracked it for years. Leading the pack is Hans-Peter Schneider. Driven by unspeakable appetites, he makes a living fleshing out the violent fantasies of other, richer men.

Cari Mora, caretaker of the house, has escaped from the violence in her native country. She stays in Miami on a wobbly Temporary Protected Status, subject to the iron whim of ICE. She works at many jobs to survive. Beautiful, marked by war, Cari catches the eye of Hans-Peter as he closes in on the treasure. But Cari Mora has surprising skills, and her will to survive has been tested before.

Monsters lurk in the crevices between male desire and female survival. No other writer in the last century has conjured those monsters with more terrifying brilliance than Thomas Harris. Cari Mora, his sixth novel, is the long-awaited return of an American master.

The following YouTube video is a video review for Cari Mora created by Ron Charles, book critic, The Washington Post that I found intriguing.

I am giving Cari Mora by Thomas Harris a rating of 2 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday - Indie/Self-Published Books


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 indie/self-published books listed in no particular order of importance. It was difficult to narrow down my choices.

1. Final Stop Albuquerque by Alice Zogg

2. Bone Deep by Bonnie Dee

3. My Conversations With Black: 13 People, 1 Body by Bill Puett, Ph.D.

4. Ravens in the Rain: A Noir Love Story by Christie Santo & Jeff Santo

5. Books, Blogs & Reality by Ryan Ringbloom

6. Quirky Berkeley by Tom Dalzell

7.  All By My Selfie by Jo Noelle

8. Kentucky on the Rocks by Gwendolyn Grace

10. Love in the Light (Hearts in Darkness #2) by Laura Kaye

Have you read any of these books?

Monday, April 3, 2023

Little Free Library in Danville, California!


Here's another Little Free Library my husband and I found on Friday, March 31, 2023 in Danville, California. This LFL contained many books for both children and adults. 

I left three books and came away with three nonfiction books (The Trial of Lizzie Borden by Cara Robertson, Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen by Jose Antonio Vargas, and Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning by Cathy Park Hong) that I'm curious about and I look forward to reading all of them.

Also, when I leave books at Little Free Libraries, I've already registered them on the Bookcrossing website and attached a label to each book. I then make 'wild release' notes as to where I've left each book and what I've thought about them if I've read them. This way other Bookcrossers/avid readers can find the books and make journal entries for the book I've left behind. This way I can see what other readers think of the book and where it travels to next as long as the reader makes a journal entry for the book. 

Lucky for me, another local Bookcrosser grabbed the copy of The Last Train to London by Meg Waite Clayton I'd left behind at this Little Free Library. I can't wait to read what she thinks about the book once she has read it.

Sunday, April 2, 2023

Dublin Pioneer Cemetery Visit + Surprising Little Free Library Find!!


On Friday, March 31st, my husband and I visited the Dublin Pioneer Cemetery in Dublin, California. The Dublin Pioneer Cemetery is a small, beautiful, old cemetery that contains several interred founding families for the city of Dublin. Quite a few of those interred here are from Ireland originally.

We found this large eucalyptus tree located in the back left portion of the Dublin Pioneer Cemetery. It has a little, green door attached to it with a little hidey-hole behind the door. What is this and why is it located in a cemetery? Whatever it is, it is certainly interesting. There was nothing inside the hidey-hole itself.

After walking through the Dublin Pioneer Cemetery, my husband spotted this very cute Little Free Library in the park next to the the Dublin Pioneer Cemetery. We couldn't resist taking a look at it.

Have you found any Little Free Libraries lately?

Saturday, April 1, 2023

New Little Free Library in San Ramon, California!!


Yesterday on Friday, March 31st, my husband and I enjoyed finding this cute, new to us Little Free Library in San Ramon, California! I left two books and came away with two book to add to my ever growing 'to be read pile'. 

I always enjoy finding new to me Little Free Libraries. Especially if they contain books I want to read! Have you discovered any Little Free Libraries lately?