Sunday, June 30, 2024

Bang Up by Jeff Strand


Bang Up by Jeff Strand is the fourth (maybe fifth book?) I've read by the author. Jeff Strand has a twisted sense of humor and he writes the quirkiest characters and plot twists ever. I look forward to reading more books by Jeff Strand.

I read the ebook edition of Bang Up by Jeff Strand, which is an erotica novel filled with tons of humor and crazy antics by the characters. Bang Up is a lighthearted read and a fast read at that. It's a nice summertime/beach read if you want to read something different that doesn't take up a lot of mental bandwidth.

Below is the publisher's plot summary for Bang Up by Jeff Strand I discovered on Amazon's website:

"You want to pay me to sleep with your wife?"

Kirk is extremely surprised by Ralph's proposition. He's even more surprised by the next part: Kirk is supposed to perform BADLY, to make Ralph look good by comparison. And Julie isn't supposed to know that any of this was planned. It's the kind of offer any smart, sane person would turn down.

But this is not a book about smart, sane people. This is "bad decisions spiral out of control" all the way. From the Bram Stoker Award-winning author of PRESSURE, DWELLER, and AUTUMN BLEEDS INTO WINTER comes something lighter, goofier, and way, way smuttier.

I am giving Bang Up by Jeff Strand a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Saturday, June 29, 2024

Ten Authors I Want To Read More Books Written By in the Future

I have read one or more books written by the following ten authors. I enjoyed reading books written by these authors so much, that I look forward to reading more of their books in the future. 

1. Margaret Atwood

2. Barbara Kingsolver

3. Geraldine Brooks

4. Robin LaFevers

5. Amy Engel

6. Joshilyn Jackson

7. Tracy Chevalier

8. Jeff Strand

9. Jerry Spinelli

10. Gary D. Schmidt

Which author's books do you want to read more of in the future?

Thursday, June 27, 2024

Humming Heroes: Inside The Nose That Almost Nobody Knows by John McMillan and Philip McMillan


I first learned about Humming Heroes: Inside The Nose That Almost Nobody Knows by John McMillan and Dr. Philip McMillan by periodically watching Dr. Philip McMillan's YouTube Channel, Vejon Health. It was by watching the Vejon Health channel on YouTube that I discovered Humming Heroes was a Kickstarter project. I am thrilled to see that this book was fully funded and has been published.

Humming Heroes by John McMillan and Philip McMillan is a nonfiction children's/young adult book and is geared for ages 8 to 18 years old. I read the paperback edition, which is 64 pages in length.

What did I love about this nonfiction book? I loved the illustrations for this book. The illustrations are charming and beautifully rendered by Isil GülI love the creative approach taken by the authors to explain how the immune system works to children and how humming supercharges one's immune system. The way this book is formatted is excellent... It's part poetry with added additional text to express in more detail for older audiences the science involved with our immune system.

What did I dislike about
 Humming Heroes by John McMillan and Philip McMillan? The cardstock used for this book feels flimsy to me. In fact, the book itself arrived already dinged from Amazon. So, I have doubts that the cardstock will hold up over time no matter how careful I am with this book itself. Additionally, the paperback edition of Humming Heroes by John McMillan and Philip McMillan sells for $15.99, which I think is pricey for a 64 page paperback book printed on what feels like flimsy cardstock. Everything else about this book is fine.

The publisher's summary for Humming Heroes: Inside The Nose That Almost Nobody Knows by John McMillan and Philip McMillan I found on Amazon's website states the following:
Set within a child’s nose, ‘Humming Heroes’ features a family of Lymphocytes led by a wise Mother, brave Father, determined Brother, and heroic Baby, confronting invading microorganisms. The story takes an imaginative turn, emphasizing the power of working together, when the child humming melody combines with the Lymphocytes’ song to repel the invaders and restore inner harmony. This project bridges the gap between scientific knowledge and public understanding, providing both children and adults with an opportunity to explore the fascinating world of the immune system.
I am giving Humming Heroes: Inside The Nose That Almost Nobody Knows by John McMillan and Philip McMillan a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Fire Cider by Rosemary Gladstar and Friends


I first learned about fire cider last year. Intrigued by the idea of fire cider, I read more about it online and even watched a few YouTube videos on the topic as well. I even found a video featuring Rosemary Gladstar making her very own recipe of fire cider for all to make, which was fun to watch.

I came across Fire Cider by Rosemary Gladstar and Friends for 43% off the cover price on Amazon. I almost didn't purchase this book because there are so many different fire cider recipes out there on the internet for free one can download... But I am glad that I made the leap and purchased Fire Cider by Rosemary Gladstar and Friends as it lived up to the glowing reviews!!

Fire Cider by Rosemary Gladstar and Friends is a physically gorgeous book! It's a nice sized paperback with lightly textured, matte pages. Both the exterior and interior of this book are beautifully illustrated. I enjoyed the layout and presentation of the material/information presented in Fire Cider by Rosemary Gladstar and Friends. The font style and font size used for Fire Cider made for easy ready on the eyes.

I've never made or tried fire cider before. There are a WIDE variety of fire cider recipes out there to choose from, which will suit all tastes. I am not sure I want to make fire cider from scratch as it sounds like quite a bit of work to make in the form of chopping, which will be too much for my CRPS issues at this time. The good news is that I've seen fire cider sold on various platforms, including Amazon! Have you ever made and/or used fire cider? What were your results with making and/or using fire cider?

There are also plenty of foodie related recipes using fire cider in Fire Cider by Rosemary Gladstar and Friends. 

Below is the publisher's summary for Fire Cider by Rosemary Gladstar and Friends I discovered on Amazon's website:
For more than 30 years, best-selling author and popular herbalist Rosemary Gladstar has been touting the health benefits of fire cider — a spicy blend of apple cider vinegar, onion, ginger, horseradish, garlic, and other immune-boosting herbs. Her original recipe, inspired by traditional cider vinegar remedies, has given rise to dozens of fire cider formulations created by fans of the tonic who use it to address everyday ills, from colds and flu to leg cramps and hangovers. Fire Cider! is a lively collection of 101 recipes contributed by more than 70 herbal enthusiasts, with energizing versions ranging from Black Currant Fire Cider to Triple Goddess Vinegar, Fire Cider Dark Moonshine, and Bloody Mary Fire Cider. Colorful asides, including tribute songs and amusing anecdotes, capture Gladstar’s passionate desire to pass along the fire cider tradition.
The following is a YouTube video of Rosemary Gladstar sharing her fire cider recipe.

I am giving Fire Cider by Rosemary Gladstar and Friends 5 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Tuesday, June 25, 2024

The 14th Dalai Lama: A Manga Biography by Tetsu Saiwai


The 14th Dalai Lama: A Manga Biography by Tetsu Saiwai was a book on my reading wishlist for quite some time. I finally read the paperback edition of this manga biography about the Dalai Lama in one day! It was a quick read due to it being filled with manga artwork and writing that tells the story of the Dalai Lama's life.

I liked the artwork for The 14th Dalai Lama: A Manga Biography by Tetsu Saiwai. I also felt like this manga biography gave a basic overview of the Dalai Lama's life. I enjoyed reading this book.

Below is the publisher's summary for The 14th Dalai Lama: A Manga Biography by Tetsu Saiwai I discovered on Amazon's website:

A new way of getting to know one of the world's most beloved spiritual leaders.

Featuring a charmingly illustrated format that will appeal to readers of all ages, this unique biography is an ideal introduction to the leader of the Tibetan government-in-exile. Born in 1935 to a peasant family in a small village, Tenzin Gyatso was recognized at the age of two as the reincarnation of his predecessor, the Thirteenth Dalai Lama. In 1950, His Holiness assumed full political power when China invade Tibet-a tragedy that forever changed him and shaped his efforts on behalf of world peace, for which he was award the Nobel Peace Prize. This graphic novel is an appealing and approachable depiction of the life and personality of an iconic figure.

I am giving The 14th Dalai Lama: A Manga Biography by Tetsu Saiwai a rating of 5 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!!

Monday, June 24, 2024

Alta Journal's California Book Club - Javier Zamora - Solito


I love attending author events!! Since the pandemic hit four years ago, all of the author events I've attended since then have been virtual ones. Virtual events are convenient for so many reasons.

On Thursday, June 20th @ 5pm Pacific Time, I attended Alta Journal's California Book Club virtual event featuring Javier Zamora discussing his memoir, Solito.

I have yet to read Solito. I look forward to reading it! Solito sounds amazing. I enjoy reading about the immigrant experience. In Solito, the author writes about his journey to the USA from El Salvdor as a 9 year old child back in 1999. He left behind his grandparents and aunt to join his mother whom he hasn't seen in four years and a father he barely remembers. The journey takes something like two months.

In general, I enjoy reading memoirs and learning about the lives of others that are so different from my own. I truly believe that we are all interconnected by the human condition. By understanding the lives of others, it helps us to become more compassionate and empathetic to the way others have lived their lives.

Have you read Solito? If so, what did you think of it?

Also have you attended any recent author events?

Sunday, June 23, 2024

New to Me Little Free Library in Danville, California


Two days ago, my husband and I visited a new
to us Little Free Library in the small town 
of Danville, California. This one was cute and well organized.

We made our visit to this LFL in the early
afternoon and boy, was the weather ever hot by then!
Summer surely has arrived in our next of the woods.

Have you visited any LFLs lately?

Saturday, June 22, 2024

Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt

I read the paperback edition of Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt. This is the third novel I've read and reviewed by Gary D. Schmidt in recent years. 

Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt falls into the children's/young adult genres. I find Gary D. Schmidt to be a terrific writer and love his storytelling, attention to plot details, and character development in the novels he writes.

Although, I enjoyed reading Orbiting Jupiter, I didn't love it as much as I did reading Schmidt's novels, The Wednesday Wars and Just Like That. Essentially, I felt like Orbiting Jupiter lacked the depth and detail I became use to while reading the two previous novels I'd read written by the author. Perhaps, Orbiting Jupiter didn't have the depth or detail because it was written for a younger audience? 

However, I did like the characters and storyline for Orbiting Jupiter. And, as usual, Gary D. Schmidt instills wonderful messages within his novels... In this case, second chances, not judging a book by its cover, the importance of always having someone's back, and strong family ties.

Below is the publisher's summary for Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt I found on Amazon's website:
In this riveting novel, two boys discover the true meaning of family and the sacrifices it requires.

Two-time Newbery Honor winner Gary D. Schmidt delivers the shattering story of Joseph, a father at thirteen, who has never seen his daughter, Jupiter.

After spending time in a juvenile facility, he’s placed with a foster family on a farm in rural Maine. Here Joseph, damaged and withdrawn, meets twelve-year-old Jack, who narrates the account of the troubled, passionate teen who wants to find his baby at any cost.

When Jack meets his new foster brother, he knows three things about him:Joseph almost killed a teacher.
He was incarcerated at a place called Stone Mountain.
He has a daughter. Her name is Jupiter. And he has never seen her.

What Jack doesn't know, at first, is how desperate Joseph is to find his baby girl. Or how urgently he, Jack, will want to help.

But the past can't be shaken off. Even as new bonds form, old wounds reopen. The search for Jupiter demands more from Jack than he can imagine.

This tender, heartbreaking novel is Gary D. Schmidt at his best. He is the author of the Printz Honor and Newbery Honor Book Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy; Okay for Now, a National Book Award finalist; and The Wednesday Wars, a Newbery Honor Book, among his many acclaimed novels for young readers.

I am giving Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Untill my next post, happy reading!!

Thursday, June 20, 2024

Do You Buy, Read, and Collect Books That Pertain to Your Hobbies?

A few of the recent editions to my knitting book collection!!

I knit. So, with that in mind, I do collect physical, nonfiction books that pertain to knitting. I do not have a huge collection of knitting books. My collection of knitting books is small. I hope to add more knitting books to my collection over time.

Do you have a hobby like cooking, gardening, knitting, crocheting, quilting, coin or stamp collecting, etc? If so, do you buy, collect, and read books that pertain to your hobby?

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson


I first became aware of Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson back in the mid-1990s while I worked in the textbook department at a university bookstore when I was an undergraduate student. Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson and also her book, Sexing The Cherry, were popular books assigned for English courses on campus. Although I didn't know what each book was about at the time, I found their titles interesting. I'd actually meant to read both Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit and Sexing The Cherry back in the 1990s, but I had forgotten about both books after graduating from college.

Then I came across Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson as an ebook deal on Amazon. I decided why not read it now? I began reading this short novel (it's less than 200 pages in length.) without reading the book blurb as to what it was about. I wanted to keep the element of surprise regarding the plot/storyline.

Let's just say that Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit is not what I expected it to be!! This book is a coming of age book that falls into the LGBTQ+ spectrum. I've also read that Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit is semi-autobiographical as well, which makes for interesting reading. There are also strong religious themes/elements throughout the novel. Literary fiction plays heavily in Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit as well. It should also be noted that Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson is the winner of the Whitbread Prize for best first fiction.

So, what did I think of Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit? I definitely think it is uniquely written. The author has found a rich and nuanced way of communicating various topics in an untraditional way. I found this refreshing. I think the topics and themes explored were good. BUT overall, I didn't like this book very much. Parts of the book were really good and other parts were definitely a miss for me. I'm not sure I will go on to read anything else written by Jeanette Winterson in the future, since Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit wasn't appealing to me.

Below is the summary for Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit from Amazon's website:

When it first appeared, Jeanette Winterson’s extraordinary debut novel received unanimous international praise, including the prestigious Whitbread Prize for best first fiction. Winterson went on to fulfill that promise, producing some of the most dazzling fiction and nonfiction of the past decade, including her celebrated memoir Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal?

Now required reading in contemporary literature, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit is a funny, poignant exploration of a young girl’s adolescence.

Jeanette is a bright and rebellious orphan who is adopted into an evangelical household in the dour, industrial North of England and finds herself embroidering grim religious mottoes and shaking her little tambourine for Jesus. But as this budding missionary comes of age, and comes to terms with her unorthodox sexuality, the peculiar balance of her God-fearing household dissolves. Jeanette’s insistence on listening to truths of her own heart and mind - and on reporting them with wit and passion - makes for an unforgettable chronicle of an eccentric, moving passage into adulthood.

I am giving Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit a rating of 2 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Monday, June 17, 2024

Hunted by Darcy Coates


I listened to the unabridged audio Hunted by Darcy Coates and narrated by Angela Dawe. Listening time for Hunted by Darcy Coates is 10 hours, 29 minutes.

Darcy Coates is a new to me author this year. Hunted is the third Darcy Coates novel I've listened to this year and it is the best novel of the three novels by far.

Hunted is part thriller/suspense and part horror. I liked the storyline and the twists and turns in the novel itself... Unfortunately, towards the end of the novel, I did figure out who the perpetrator is. Although I enjoyed the storyline and plot twists, the characters for me are the issue in Hunted as well as with the other novels written by Darcy Coates I've read. It's not that they're bad characters, I just think most of the characters could have more dimension to them. I've noticed that the male characters created by the author aren't that exciting overall in particular... The characters need some sort of extra punch to them to make them more interesting and engaging.

Below is the publisher's plot summary for Hunted by Darcy Coates from Chirp's website:

Her disappearance wasn’t an accident. Her rescue will be a mistake.

22-year-old Eileen goes missing while hiking in the remote Ashlough Forest. Five days later, her camera is discovered washed downriver, containing bizarre photos taken after her disappearance.

Chris wants to believe Eileen is still alive. When the police search is abandoned, he and four of his friends create their own search party to scour the mountain range. As they stray further into the dark forest and the unsettling discoveries mount, they begin to believe they’re not alone in the trees… and that Eileen’s disappearance wasn’t an accident.

By that point, it’s too late to escape.

I am giving Hunted by Darcy Coates a rating of 3.5 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Sunday, June 16, 2024

Ursula K. Le Guin’s Portland, Oregon Home Will Become a Writers Residency

I recently read an article posted on AP NEWS'S website titled,
Ursula K. Le Guin’s home will become a writers residency by Hillel Italie. In the article, I learned the following information:
Downes-Le Guin, who also serves as his mother’s literary executor, now hopes to give contemporary authors access to her old writing space. Literary Arts, a community nonprofit based in Portland, Oregon, announced Monday that Le Guin’s family had donated their three-story house for what will become the Ursula K. Le Guin Writers Residency.

No date has been set for when the residency will begin. Literary Arts has launched a fundraising campaign for maintaining the house and for operating an office in town.

I love this idea of using Ms. Le Guin's former residence in Portland, Oregon as the Ursula K. Le Guin Writers Residency! Hopefully, the residency program will start soon.

Click on the top link to read the entire article in full.

Saturday, June 15, 2024

Mayflower Lives by Martyn Whittock


I listened to the unabridged audio version of Mayflower Lives by Martyn Whittock and narrated by James Cameron Stewart.

Listening time for Mayflower Lives by Martyn Whittock is 11 hours, 59 minutes.

If you are at all interested in early American history, especially the lives of the Mayflower Pilgrims, then this is the book for you! Mayflower Lives by Martyn Whittock is packed to the gills with a plethora of information and is very well organized and written. 

Although, Mayflower Lives is packed with an abundance of pertinent information, I found myself (at times) tuning out while listening to this audiobook. I didn't care for the narrator for Mayflower Lives, which most likely is the reason why I tuned out occasionally. So, I'd recommend reading a physical copy of this book instead.

Below is the publisher's summary for Mayflower Lives by Martyn Whittock found on Chirp's website:
Leading into the 400th anniversary of the voyage of the Mayflower, Martyn Whittock examines the lives of the “saints” (members of the Separatist puritan congregations) and “strangers” (economic migrants) on the original ship. Collectively, these people would become known to history as “the Pilgrims.” The story of the Pilgrims has taken on a life of its own as one of our founding national myths-their escape from religious persecution, the dangerous transatlantic journey, that brutal first winter. Throughout the narrative, we meet characters already familiar to us through Thanksgiving folklore-Captain Jones, Myles Standish, and Tisquantum (Squanto)-as well as new ones. There is Mary Chilton, the first woman to set foot on shore, and asylum seeker William Bradford. We meet fur trapper John Howland and little Mary More, who was brought as an indentured servant. Then there is Stephen Hopkins, who had already survived one shipwreck and was the only Mayflower passenger with any prior American experience. Decidedly un-puritanical, he kept a tavern and was frequently chastised for allowing drinking on Sundays. Epic and intimate, Mayflower Lives is a rich and rewarding book that promises to enthrall anyone with an interest in early American history.
I am giving Mayflower Lives by Martyn Whittock a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Thursday, June 13, 2024

A Stir of Echoes by Richard Matheson


I listened to the unabridged audio version of A Stir of Echoes by Richard Matheson and narrated by Scott Brick

Listening time for A Stir of Echoes by Richard Matheson is 6 hours, 44 minutes.

A Stir of Echoes is the 3rd book I've read written by Richard Matheson. I can officially say I am now a HUGE fan of Matheson's writing and look forward to reading more of his books in the future. A Stir of Echoes is very well narrated by Scott Brick.

What did I love about A Stir of Echoes? Just about everything! There were only a couple of minor issues, which didn't deter from my overall rating. 

Richard Matheson is a masterful writer. He really knows how to pace his novels and build intrigue and suspense. With each passing chapter, I found myself wanting to keep listening to see what transpire with the characters, the plot, and storyline. 

A Stir of Echoes was published in 1958 and is set in the 1950s in Hawthorne, California. The main characters are Tom and Ann Wallace. They are a young couple with a young son and Ann is pregnant with their second child. 

At the start of A Stir of Echoes, Ann's brother, Philip, is visiting Tom and Ann. Tom, Ann, and Philip go to a neighbor's dinner party early on in the novel. After dinner, Philip hypnotizes Tom as a party trick as a way to entertain the dinner guests. 

After everyone goes home for the night, Tom begins to experiences strange things throughout the rest of the novel... Like reoccurring ghost sightings of the same woman in their home, premonitions, nightmares, the ability to sense what other people are thinking and feeling, automatic writing, and so on.

Initially, both Tom and Ann don't understand what's going on with Tom since the hypnosis session. Ann is concerned and scared that Tom's losing his mind, which causes stress and tension in their marriage. 

As Tom and Ann both try and figure out what's going on with Tom and why he's experiencing what he is, there's also the mystery of the ghostly apparition that keeps reaching out to Tom and who she is. Come to find, the ghost is a woman who was murdered in the very home in which they live. Tom and Ann eventually figure out who the murdered woman was and who murdered her.

There's so much more to A Stir of Echoes. I simply gave broad brushstrokes to the storyline to prevent giving away too much of the plot twists and finer details for those that may want to read this novel for themselves.

Below is the plot summary for A Stir of Echoes by Richard Matheson discovered on Amazon's website:

This eerie ghost story, from Richard Matheson, the award-winning author of Hell House and I Am Legend, inspired the acclaimed 1999 film starring Kevin Bacon.

Tom Wallace lived an ordinary life, until a chance event awakened psychic abilities he never knew he possessed. Now he's hearing the private thoughts of the people around him-and learning shocking secrets he never wanted to know. But as Tom's existence becomes a waking nightmare, even greater jolts are in store as he becomes the unwilling recipient of a compelling message from beyond the grave!

I am giving A Stir of Echoes by Richard Matheson a rating of 5 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Sunday, June 2, 2024

Silent Book Clubs Are Still Going Strong!


Roughly 6 years ago, I'd made a post here on my blog about the silent book club phenomena I'd just learned about online at the time. 

I'd largely forgotten about silent book clubs. I'd thought (perhaps) they'd fallen by the wayside due to the pandemic as I hadn't heard much news about them in recent years.

Then in the past week, I saw that Good Morning America created the above short segment about silent book clubs. Silent book clubs seem to be going strong! 

Have you attended a silent book club event? I haven't attended one yet. The silent book clubs featured in the above video sound amazing!

Saturday, June 1, 2024

Happy Audiobook Appreciation Month!!!


I am a HUGE audiobook fan! In fact, last year, the majority of the books I listened to rather than read. I definitely promote and appreciate audiobooks.