Friday, February 28, 2014

Bookish Quote of the Day!!

Friday Finds #29

Friday Finds is a book meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Friday Finds is a chance to share and show off the books you discovered during the week and would like to add to your reading list...

Or a place to simply feature the books you've actually purchased throughout the week and have added to your to be read pile!

This week I've only added one new book to my reading pile. It's an unabridged audiobook titled Spilt Milk by Brazilian writer Chico Buarque.This will be my first experience with anything written by Chico Buarque. I'm looking forward to experiencing this novel in audiobook format as I've really become addicted to listening to audiobooks versus reading them. 

Which books have you added to your reading pile or reading wishlist this week?

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Payback's A Beach by Falafel Jones

Unabridged Audio Version
I recently finished listening to the unabridged audio version of Payback's A Beach by Falafel Jones and narrated by Rob Ellis... Lucky me, received this audio edition for free from!! Receiving this audiobook for free in no way affects my review of it! I share only my honest opinion of how I felt about what I read or listen to here on my blog.

Payback's A Beach is the second novel in the Max Fried Mystery Series. Last year, I read and reviewed the first novel in the Max Fried Mystery Series titled, Life's A Beach Then You Die by Falafel Jones, and I have eagerly awaited for the release of the second book in this series. 

So, when I finally learned about the second installment of the Max Fried Mystery Series, Payback's A Beach, I looked forward to reading it... In this case, I had fun listening to Payback's A Beach as I've become quite the audiobook addict!!

So, what did I think of Payback's A Beach by Falafel Jones? I enjoyed listening to it very much. I liked most of the characters, especially the lead character of Max Fried, who is witty and has a really good sense of humor. I was also happy to see more of Mariel (Max's wife) in this novel as well. The storyline was good and well developed. I didn't guess who the killer was until close to the ending, which was a good thing as who wants to guess the killer to early in the storyline?!?! I liked a lot of the red herrings that were thrown into this novel and kept me guessing as to whodunnit. I also felt that Rob Ellis did a really good job of narrating Payback's A Beach.

I'd rate Payback's A Beach by Falafel Jones 7 stars out of 10 stars! It's an engaging novel and one I finished listening to in two days.

As an added bonus, Falafel Jones is offering readers a FREE CODE for the version of Payback's A Beach! This offer is on a first come, first served basis until Falafel Jones runs out of these Free Codes. So, if you'd like to receive one of them, you'll need to email Falafel Jones... For more details on where to email Falafel Jones, check out the following blog post on Falafel Jones's blog.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Grace, Jack & Magical Cats by Mary Matthews

Lucky me, I received a free copy of the unabridged audio version of Grace, Jack & Magical Cats Cozy: Mystery Boxed Set, Volume 1 by Mary Matthews and read by Sheila Book from Receiving a free copy of this audiobook in no way affects the thoughts expressed in my review as follows below. 

This unabridged audiobook contains the following four titles:

Splendid Summer
Emeralds, Diamonds & Amethysts
Cheri Ami
A Christmas Feral

I was disappointed with the audiobook on many different levels. First off, I that Sheila Book wasn't a very good narrator/dramatic reader. She is one of the worst dramatic readers I've listened to during my audiobook listening experience. When trying to impersonate a man's voice or some female voices, Ms. Book sounded like she had marbles in her mouth... It just sounded stiff and unnatural.

As far as the stories are concerned, I thought they were all boring. I don't think Mary Matthews is a very good writer. She used a lot of the same canned phrases in each storyline. She repeated some of the same information in the same story... Like how many times do you want to hear about Orange Avenue being line with citrus trees in the same story?? 

The stories themselves were boring, fluffy, drivel with no real substance to them. Some mystery would be thrown in to the mix and solved haphazardly with the help of the 'magical cat(s)'. The worst story of them all was A Christmas Feral, which was Mary Matthews take on the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol and it involved cats. 

I also didn't like any of the characters in the stories. Let's just say, I was happy when I was done listening to these audiobooks. I'd give Grace, Jack & Magical Cats Cozy: Mystery Boxed Set, Volume 1 a rating of two stars out of ten stars.

Until my next post, happy reading! 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Amtrak Launches Writers Residency

Okay, so I discovered through and LA Times article written by Carolyn Kellogg that Amtrak launches writers residency after author request. In the article, Ms. Kellogg writes the following:
Ask and ye shall receive. At least when it comes to authors and Amtrak.

Amtrak has launched a still-unstructured writers residency program thanks to an offhanded remark by Alexander Chee and some impassioned pleas on Twitter.

In a PEN Ten interview that posted Dec. 23, Chee, author of the forthcoming novel "The Queen of the Night," said that trains are his favorite place to write. He then commented, "I wish Amtrak had residencies for writers."

Not two months later and Amtrak does. The first writer to accept its residency and blog about it is Jessica Gross, who traveled from New York City to Chicago and back.

That's kind of cool that Amtrak is now offering a writer's residency! I like taking Amtrak from my home here in Carpinteria, California down to San Diego to see my parents. If I'm traveling alone, I find myself reading a book during my five hour train ride... Just imagine the writing one could accomplish in five hours?

Monday, February 24, 2014

Do YOU Want to Write Ernest Hemingway??

Well, guess what?? There's now an app out that will help you write just like Hemingway! I came across an article titled Learn to Write Like Papa With the "Hemingway App" by Jennifer Miller. In her article, Miller writes:
"Most technical writing is awful," says Adam Long, who works in marketing. "Ever read the full manual for a new gadget, or even for your car? Me neither--they’re verbose, confusing, and use jargon the rest of us don’t know." He says that lawyers are also chronically poor wordsmiths. "There’s a good reason why it takes you three years to learn how to screw up the English language," he says. Adam and his brother Ben Long have created the Hemingway app to counter all of the horrendous prose used across all areas of business writing. It may not turn you into a great storyteller, but, drawing inspiration from Hemingway's lean style, it does promise to strip the extraneous, the weak, and the complicated from your writing.
After reading Miller's article, it appears that the "Hemingway App" was created for technical/business writing... But, I wonder if the "Hemingway App" could be used by those writing novels? Would you want to use the "Hemingway App"?

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Anais Nin --- Erotica 101

I just read an article titled Erotica 101: Meet the first woman of erotica, Anais Nin by Sara Dobie Bauer. In the article, Sara Dobie Bauer writes:
Nin is best known for her diaries, scrupulously kept from 1931 through 1974. Her diaries were published in several volumes, which together fill over 40,000 pages. For a woman writing in her time, she was groundbreaking. She openly discussed sex, marriage and feminism. Her writings are controversial even today; imagine the row they caused in the mid-1900s.

Nin herself was a highly sexual creature. She was a dancer and model, praised for her beauty. Although she married at 20, she had a string of lovers, which included famous author Henry Miller and his wife June.
Click on link above to read the entire article written by Sara Dobie Bauer. 

Sure, I've heard of Nin's work Delta of Venus and her affair with Henry Miller, but that pretty much sums up what I know about Anais Nin. I've never read anything by Anais Nin before and am not sure that I will.

Has you read anything written by Anais Nin? Is her writing any good? Is her writing style still relevant today?

Are These Really the 5 Worst Books Ever Written by Great Authors?

I came across an article written in the New Republic titled The Five Worst Books Ever Written By Great Authors by Isaac Chotiner. Curious as to which authors and book titles were referenced in
Isaac Chotiner's article, I decided to take a peek at the article. 

Interestingly enough, I've only hear of one of the book titles mentioned in Isaac Chotiner's article and the remaining titles were unknown to me. More than likely, I'll never read the book titles sited by Isaac Chotiner.

Are the books mentioned in Isaac Chotiner's article really the worst books ever written by great authors? Who's to say really. They may be the worst ones out there, but there may be other book titles that are worse. 

Until my next post, happy reading!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Read An Interview Featuring Joyce Carol Oates

I read an article on the Huffington Post website titled A Brief Interview With Joyce Carol Oates. This was a very brief interview with Joyce Carol Oates indeed! But it was enlightening.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Spotlight Video on Joyce Carol Oates

Above is a video of author Joyce Carol Oates talking about her writing. The video is under four minutes in length and gives interesting insight about her writing and life.

Which Book Reader Species Are You?

I found an article titled Which Book Reader Species Are You? through Shelf Awareness. In the article it reads:
We all live in the Domain of Readers—but what species of book reader are you? This fun, appropriately wordy infographic is my homage to the classic Linnaean classification charts of plants and living things. In this case, we're describing and classifying close to 50 reader species—from the folks who see books as precious display objects to those who sort of hate reading.
Curious about which type of 'book reader species' I was, I decided to read the article. I kind of fall into a few different categories!

Friday Finds #28

Friday Finds is a book meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Friday Finds is a chance to share and show off the books you discovered during the week and would like to add to your reading list...

Or a place to simply feature the books you've actually purchased throughout the week and have added to your to be read pile!

This past week, I've added five new books to my ever growing reading pile as follows:

1. The Jade Cat by Suzanne Brogger (Hardback)
2. Sex For America: Politically Inspired Erotica edited by Stephen Elliot (Paperback)
3. A Version of the Truth by Jennifer Kaufman & Karen Mack (Audiobook)
4. Payback's A Beach by Falafel Jones (Audio Version)
5. S. by J. J. Abrams and Doug Dorst (Hardback)

What have you added to your reading pile?

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Author James Patterson Is Giving $1 Million Dollars to Bookstores

I learned through an article titled Author James Patterson Giving $1M to Bookstores from ABC News, the following information:
Best-selling author James Patterson is giving away $1 million of his own money to independent bookstores.

On Wednesday, Patterson announced the first round of 55 stores to receive over $267,000 in funds. The remaining $750,000 will be given out in stages throughout the year.
I think it is pretty cool that James Patterson is helping independent bookstores!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Here Are 11 Reasons to Date a Bookworm

I read an article titled 11 Reasons to Date a Bookworm by Book Bub. All the reasons why to date a bookworm are totally cute and were fun to read. Yes, bookworms can be fun to date!! Click on above link to read why!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Celebrate These 10 Literary Holidays!!

I read an article on the Mental Floss website this morning titled 10 Literary Holidays by Hannah Keyser. I was aware of two of the ten literary holidays mentioned in Keyser's article... I now look forward to learning about and perhaps even celebrating the rest of the literary holidays mentioned. 

I was a bit surprised to see that World Book Night didn't make the list of literary holidays. Were you surprised by what was on the list of literary holidays and which holidays were not??

Monday, February 17, 2014

True Believer by Nicholas Sparks

Unabridged Audio Edition
I recently listened to the unabridged audio version of  True Believer by Nicholas Sparks. This is my first experience listening to or reading anything written by Nicholas Sparks.

Overall, I really liked this novel. It was read by David Aaron Baker, who did a fabulous job of breathing life into each character and moving the storyline forward in away that kept the listener riveted to the storyline. I think an audiobook reader can really enhance one's listening experience dramatically or be a total distraction... Thank goodness David Aaron Baker did a terrific job reading True believer and completely enhanced my listening experience.

I actually liked all of the characters in True believer, which is something I find rare to write as I usually find some characters that I don't like or could care less about at all. The character that was a tad trying at times was the leading female character, Lexie Darnell... I initially liked Lexie Darnell's character a lot, as she's sassy and bold in a quiet sort of way. But towards the end of the novel, Lexie's character kind of grated my nerves, because she was too hurt by past wrongs to move forward and take a leap of faith when it came to love.

My favorite character was that of Jeremy Marsh, the leading male character who is a journalist that specializes in debunking supernatural/paranormal activity for Scientific American.

Book description is as follows from Barnes and Noble:
As a science journalist with a regular column in Scientific American, Jeremy Marsh specializes in debunking the supernatural and has a real nose for the strange and unusual. A born skeptic, he travels to the small town of Boone Creek, North Carolina, determined to find the real cause behind the ghostly apparitions that appear in the town cemetery. What he doesn't plan on, however, is meeting and falling hopelessly in love with Lexie Darnell, granddaughter of the town psychic. Now, if the young lovers are to have any kind of future at all, Jeremy must make a difficult choice: return to the life he knows, or do something he could never do before-take a giant leap of faith.

A story about taking chances and following your heart, TRUE BELIEVER will make you, too, believe in the miracle of love.
I give True Believer a rating of 7 stars out of 10 stars.

Until my next post. happy reading!!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Love-A-Thon Mini Challenge #6 ---- Love-A-Thon Awards

Here are my favorite blogs for each of the following categories!
1. Best Blog Design:

Evie's Bookish Designs is such a lovely designed book blog!! It's pretty and feminine, without being too frilly or cluttered looking!

The Book Nympho also has a beautifully designed book blog as well, which I enjoy visiting often.

2. Friendliest Blogger: 

Geez, this is a tough one to answer as most of the book bloggers I've encountered are friendly! But Angela @ Angela's Anxious Life is who'd I select as the friendliest.... And since I've participated in this Love-A-Thon, I've come across more friendly bloggers than I could possibly imagine!! Thanks to you all for making this a special event for me. :-)

3. Most Helpful Reviews:

I feel that the two following book bloggers write really good book reviews.

Riv @ Bookish Realm and Nidhi @ Literature Martini.

4. Best Weekly Feature

I like Friday Finds, a book meme I discovered on the Should Be Reading blog, as the best weekly feature. 

5. Favorite Author Blog

My favorite author blog is author Falafel Jones's blog! I discovered the writing of Falafel Jones in the past couple of years and enjoyed reading 'Life's a Beach & then You Die'.


Falafel Jones left a comment to this post with a special offer as follows:
If anyone is interested in a code good for a free copy of the audiobook edition of Payback's a Beach, I've got a few left. Payback's a Beach is the sequel to Life's a Beach Then You Die. All folks need to do is send an email to and ask for a code. This offer is only good until I run out of free codes. First come. First served.
I've already read 'Life's a Beach Then You Die' and enjoyed it! I look forward to listening to the audiobook sequel to this book titled --- "Payback's a Beach'.

Enjoy and happy reading!!

Love-A-Thon Mini Challenge # 5 --- Letter to Yourself

For this next Love-A-Thon Mini Challenge the goal for me is to: 

Write a letter to your future blogging/writing self: What goals do you want to set? What do you want to accomplish with your blog/writing? What do you want to start doing and what do you want to stop doing?

Dear Me,

I'd like to set a few goals for the year ahead! I like the look of my book blog, but perhaps it's time for a design change... I feel like my blog needs a new updated look! So, I'll start thinking about what I want my book blog to look like and determine how to implement the change.

I also want to continue participating in online book blogging events ---- Blog hops, reading challenges, book memes, read-a-thons and the like! I really enjoy interacting with other readers and book bloggers, which also includes reading and commenting on other book related posts made by other book bloggers.

As far as my blog writing goes, I'd like to write better book reviews. I feel like (for the most part) that I relay the basics when it comes to my book reviews, like plot description and my general overall opinion of the book. I'd like to add a little more pizzazz to my book reviews... You know, the type of review that will inspire other readers to want to read the book I've just read... Or at the very least leave a comment on the book review I've posted.

Last, but not least, I'd like to figure out how to attract more readers and followers to my blog. I've done the basics, like let family and friends know about my book blog and added my book blog to a couple of book directories. But, I'd like to figure out how to increase readership/page views!

Well, that about sums it up for my blogging goals for now! It's time for change!

Mini Challenge #4 --- Mash Up!!

For this challenge we are going to ask you to mash-up your bookish life with a non-bookish hobby/passion/talent you have in real life. For example, if you are passionate about travel, maybe discuss books you want to travel to in real life, life, authors/characters you’d want to road trip with, etc.

1. In real life I really do like to travel! 

I enjoyed reading 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne, so I think it would be fun to travel on Captain Nemo's submarine, as Captain Nemo is a character who is intriguing!

If I took a road trip and had to select an author I'd want most want to travel with on said road trip, I'd probably choose author Diana Gabaldon. I think she's smart (she earned a Bachelor of Science in zoology, a Master of Science in marine biology, and a PhD in behavioral ecology) and she's an incredible storyteller. I love the Outlander series.

2. I also enjoy geocaching as a hobby and it's a hobby that I enjoy doing with my hubby! 

I think it would be fun to go geocaching in Harry Potter's world and be able to use all the magic tricks and gadgets that one would be able to use in his world as a wizard!

I also think it would be fun to go geocaching with another fictional couple. One of my favorite fictional couples ever is, Claire Randall & Jamie Fraser, from the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon!

3. I also enjoy scrapbooking!!

However, I've hit a creativity wall, if you will, and am majorly behind on putting together some scrapbooking pages. I seriously need to learn some new tips and tricks to make my scrapbook pages stand out from what I'm already doing. 

So, I think it would be great to learn some new scrapbooking techniques from fictional character, Kiki Lowenstein. Kiki Lowenstein is the leading character in a series of cozy mystery novels written by Joanna Campbell Slan. Kiki is not only an amateur sleuth, but she owns and operates a scrapbooking store... So, I'm sure I could learn a thing or two from her on how to make my scrapbook pages look better!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Love-A-Thon Mini Challenge #3 -- Mad Lib!

As a kid, I loved Mad Libs, so I had fun participating in the following Mad Lib Love-A-Thon Mini Challenge #3 -- Read on!!

One day, I was hiking with Rod. Out of the blue, a wolf came out of nowhere! It was so large, gray and rabid. At first, we were afraid, we were petrified, but we ran. We hopped on jeep to make our getaway.

As we escaped, we turned up the radio because Gangnam Style came on and made me want to dance. Everything was extremely smooth sailing until an deer appeared in the middle of the road. We swerved to avoid it, but while Rod stayed in the jeep, I got thrown onto my side in the woods.

I couldn't get up, and felt tingly all over as I lay there staring up at the trees.What was I going to do? I heard a crunchy among the leaves, and felt spooked. Surely, this was going to be my end. As my eyes fluttered shut, the last thing I saw was a head of red hair and green eyes.

When I woke up again, I was on a couch. My body hurt a whole lot less, and I could sit up. There was a music and candles in the room,
along with chocolate and wine. The door suddenly opened to reveal Ivan, a concerned look on his face. I blushed and averted my gaze, but he smiled and said, "Don't be shy. It's okay."

He came over to sit by me, and we started talking after I told him my name.We chatted about reading, geocaching and scrapbooking and realized we had a ton in common! I thought he was sexy and couldn't help feeling a little swoony.

Just as he reached out for my hand, the door crashed open and in came Jaime. "Don't let him charm you away, my love!" He yelled, running at Ivan. They each had rolling pins in their hands and began to fight. "Stop!", I yelled, feeling so conflicted. They didn't listen to me. Before I could intervene, Ivan fell to the floor and disappeared in a cloud of smoke.

"What was that?" I asked, staring at the empty space. Jaimie dropped his weapon, and came over to me. "Magic, but you are safe now, Precious" He hugged me close, and I suddenly knew that this was the real deal and not just a dream.

Just as I Will Always Love You started playing in my head, I woke up. I cursed my good luck. Why had it only been just a dream?

Love-A-Thon Mini Challenge #1 --- Book Spine Poetry!!

There's nothing like bringing on a creative spark by creating Book Spine Poetry!! I personally always find it a bit difficult to create poetry using only book spines, but then again, that's half the fun!! Checkout my Book Spine Poetry below and tell me what you think!!

Book Blogger Love-A-Thon Interview

Today is the first day of the 2014 Book Blogger Love-A-Thon!! This is my first time participating in the Book Blogger Love-A-Thon. I'm really excited about participating in this event, which is dedicated to promoting and spreading the love of book blogs and the awesome book bloggers behind them. 

I had the wonderful opportunity of interviewing Diana at Little Miss Drama Queen for the Book Blogger Love-A-Thon Interview Swap! Please read the interview as follows:

1) Do you have an all time favorite book? If so, what makes it so special/meaningful to you?

I don’t know about all time favorite, but Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine has always been a special one for me. It’s the first book that I read and immediately went back to the start when I finished. I don’t even know how many times I read it in the three years I was in middle school.

And I totally judged it by its cover when my teacher gave it to me, so that’s another reason it’s special, it completely changed my mind.

2) When did your love of reading begin?

I’m not sure when my love of reading began, I always had a book around. I guess officially I’d say I became a bookworm when I was 13. That’s when I became a regular at the bookstore and found Meg Cabot’s The Princess Diaries; after that I was all about books.

3) What was your favorite book growing up?

I loved the Ramona Quimby series by Beverly Cleary. My favorite was Ramona Forever.

4) If you were to host a dinner party and could invite any author (living or dead), who would you invite?

Oscar Wilde. I don’t think it would end well though, he’d probably try to start a battle of wits and get me mad. Not that I’ve given it much thought.

No really I haven’t!

5) Which fictional character would you most like to meet and why?

First character that came to mind was Dimitri from Vampire Academy, I’m gonna blame all the movie promotions going on. Partially anyway.

Not going with the first thing that came to mind, I’d say any of the characters from Michele Jaffe’s Bad Kitty they all seem like a lot of fun to hang around with.

6) Which book have you read in the last year that you enjoyed and would most recommend to other readers?

I don’t normally like recommending books, especially books that I really liked. I always feel vulnerable when I do, I start wondering “what if they don’t like it at all?” Books are that much a part of me that I might as well be showing them who I am.
That being said; to answer the question I’d say Libba Bray’s Beauty Queens, because it is and is not for everyone. Is; because it has so many diverse characters it’s hard not to connect with one. Not, because it is satire and I’ve noticed that’s the problem most had with it.

And as long as I’m recommending books I’d also like to add Escape from Eden by Elisa Nader, I’d never read anything like it before.

7) What has been the best experience you've had as a book blogger?
Last year when asked a similar question I said starting the Meg-a-Readers blog event in honor of Meg Cabot with Mandy from The Romance Bookie two years ago, especially since Meg herself contributed to it, (which she did again last year too.)

But I have to say one of my best experiences is this love-a-thon. I’ve been joining it since Kate started it two years ago and it really is the best time I have as a blogger. And I’m sorry to say that it’s probably the most time I spend, not only on my own blog, but visiting other blogs. That’s what’s great about this event; it’s like saying “Hey let’s just slow down for today and spend some time together.”

Last year I compared it to a day at summer camp.

8) What do you enjoy doing for fun when you aren't reading and blogging?

Trying to figure out how to get more reading time usually.
I’m always trying to make something, at the moment I have a started scarf, a scrapbook somewhere, a quilt that is in two pieces and beading books everywhere. And those are the things I can see right now, I probably have something hidden somewhere.

Thank you so much, Diana, for taking the time to answer my questions for the Book Blogger Love-A-Thon Interview Swap! I wish you all the best life has to offer, as well as continued success in your book blogging endeavors!

Visit Diana's blog, Little Miss Drama Queen at the following link:

Little Miss Drama Queen

Friday, February 14, 2014

Friday Finds # 27

Friday Finds is a book meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Friday Finds is a chance to share and show off the books you discovered during the week and would like to add to your reading list...

Or a place to simply feature the books you've actually purchased throughout the week and have added to your to be read pile!

Last weekend, my hubby and I watched the documentary titled Salinger, which is about the life of author J. D. Salinger. I really didn't know much about Salinger's life other than he was a recluse. I found the documentary informative and learned a lot about Salinger's life.

Anyway, I read Salinger's novel, The Catcher in the Rye, while I was a junior in high school. I remember really enjoying this particular novel at the time. It's been years since I've read The Catcher in the Rye, so I decided to purchase a copy of it last weekend after watching Salinger. I wonder if I'll enjoy rereading The Catcher in the Rye as an adult? I guess there is only one way to find out!

Have you reread any classic novels recently? 

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Dear Readers,

I hope you have a fabulous day filled with an abundance of love and one surrounded by those you love!! 

For me, Valentine's Day isn't just about romantic love... It's also about the love you have for yourself, life, family and friends. Valentine's Day also reminds me to find one's passion/purpose in life, whether it's a chosen career, hobby, or simply the relationships we have with one another.
One of my favorite passions is reading, of course. So, in case you're looking for that perfect book to read about love, checkout the following article titled 9 Ways To Say 'I Love You' With Books and posted by Zola Books on The Huffington Post Blog. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Sensory Fiction?? I've Now Heard It All!!

I first read about sensory fiction a few days ago through Google News. I just read an article on the HLN TV website titled Virtual empathy: Book lets you feel characters' pain by Karyn Lu. In the article, Lu writes the following about 'Sensory Fiction':
Appropriately named “Sensory Fiction,” an interesting project out of MIT is designed to do exactly that. The setup (a prototype) is a book-plus-vest combo, where an e-book is plugged into the vest, which is worn by the reader. The book is outfitted with numerous LED lights for ambient lighting, and it too was carefully chosen: a digital version of James Tiptree Jr.’s 1974 sci-fi novella “The Girl Who Was Plugged In.”

According to the project video, "The book senses the current page, and changes the ambient lighting and vibration to match the mood." In addition, the connected vest features a body compression system, heartbeat and shiver simulator, and localized body temperature controls -- all working together to induce and simulate various emotions in sync with the story arc.

According to the four students who created the project: "Traditionally, fiction creates and induces emotions and empathy through words and images. By using a combination of networked sensors and actuators, the Sensory Fiction author is provided with new means of conveying plot, mood, and emotion while still allowing space for the reader’s imagination."
I don't know about you, but the entire notion of 'Sensory Fiction' really creeps me out!! I don't need or even want to be hooked up to some device to feel emotions or have a sensory experience. I'm already quite familiar with a wide range of human emotions, thank you very much.... And I'm also quite familiar wide a wide range of physical sensations  as well and once again do not need some machine showing me what something feels like. 

Call me old fashion, but let me read a book and feel/experience the emotions or physical sensations I envision with my own mind's eye... Not emotions or physical sensations which are artificially induced by a machine!

What are your thoughts about 'Sensory Fiction'?

10 Russian Novels You Probably Haven’t Read

I like the Flavorwire website for book related news. I was a Russian language major in college and I love promoting Russian language books. So when I came across an article on Flavorwire titled, 10 Wonderful Russian Novels You Probably Haven’t Read by Emily Temple, I couldn't resist posting it here on my blog! I have added two of the book titles in Emily Temple's article to my reading wishlist!!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Ever Wonder What the Future of Reading Will Bring??

I came across an article in Publishers Weekly that answers this very question in an article aptly titled The Future of Reading: 10 Trends for 2014 and Beyond by Rob Salkowitz. 

Do any of these reading trends surprise you? For me, the concept of 'Bookstores as Print-on-demand Showrooms' was a novel concept. I like the idea of bookstores becoming 'Print-on-demand Showrooms'. That way I wouldn't have to special order the book and wait for it to arrive. Nothing like instant bliss!!

Until my next post, happy reading!!

The Maestro's Butterfly by Rhonda Leigh Jones

Late last night, I finished reading The Maestro's Butterfly by Rhonda Leigh Jones for the VA-VA-VOOM Read-A-Thon I participated in from February 6-10, 2014.

The Maestro's Butterfly is the first novel I've ever read by Rhonda Leigh Jones. It is an erotica novel that is the first in the Maestro Trilogy. 

As a writer, I thought Rhonda Leigh Jones was good. She created a decent storyline filled with plenty of tension and intrigue.... And, of course, plenty of sex scenes for those that enjoy the erotica genre.

If you're a fan of vampire erotica novels... Along with novels that are filled with characters that fit into the dominant/submissive roles and take part in bondage, spankings and the like, then The Maestro's Butterfly may be the one for you.

Here is a quick plot overview of The Maestro's Butterfly from the Barnes & Noble website:
Miranda O'Connell has just made a dangerous bet with her mysterious, sexy music teacher that will change her life forever. She doesn't know Claudio du Fresne is a vampire who keeps human submissives as feeders and sex slaves, or that he is quick to punish with a sound spanking. Or that he has secretly brought his ruthless brother in on the bet. Victoire "Jack" du Fresne wants a piece of the action. He will help Claudio ensure the survival of his risqué stage show, if Claudio agrees to his terms. If Miranda decides to stay after 30 days, she becomes Claudio's property. If she decides to leave, she becomes Jack's. Those 30 days will open Miranda to a world of sexual possibility and dark desire, where fear and lust become one. If she can handle the intensity. Will she fall in love with the kinky vampire Maestro and submit to life as his feeder slave? Or will she escape the confines of his estate for the dashing, dangerous charms of his brother?

Personally, I found The Maestro's Butterfly too violent for my tastes to enjoy reading it. The use of violence or the threat of violence by the leading characters (mainly Claudio and Victoire) as a means of controlling submissives/sex slaves/feeders is not cool in my book... At one point in The Maestro's Butterfly, Miranda (the leading female character) talks of being raped! Not to mention other types of physical (spankings, use of whip or belt or the threat of it) or emotional violence were employed by the leading characters.

Yet, this dominant/submissive relationship between the leading characters (it is the men who are dominant over women in this novel) not only causes fear and obedience, but arousal as well. Some people may like this sort of thing, DEFINITELY not me.

I won't be reading another novel in the Maestro Trilogy. I'm simply not into violence towards women or the use of violence to cause fear/intimidation towards anyone.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Bookish Quote of the Day!

Is This Really the BEST Sci-Fi Pop Song of the Year??

Okay, I literally stumbled upon an article on the Io9 website titled "Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury" is the best scifi pop song of the year and posted by Annalee Newitz. 

Lol, the pop song title made me laugh and so did the video. It's all PG-13 and very benign stuff, despite the song's title! 

So, what do you think?? Is This Really the BEST Sci-Fi Pop Song of the Year??

Friday, February 7, 2014

Hot Stories For Cold Nights by Joan Elizabeth Lloyd

I recently read Hot Stories For Cold Nights by Joan Elizabeth Lloyd for VA-VA-VOOM Read-A-Thon that I participated in from February 6-10, 2014.

Hot Stories For Cold Nights is an erotica anthology filled with thirty short stories written by Joan Elizabeth Lloyd. This was my first exposure to anything written by Joan Elizabeth Lloyd. The stories in Hot Stories For Cold Nights were filled with various sexual fantasies of kinds --- From a leprechaun inspired story, a female on female story, role playing and fantasy stories, and more!

I wasn't overly impressed with the collection of stories as a whole in Hot Stories For Cold Nights. I wouldn't say the stories were horrible, but I wouldn't say they were fabulous either. Shaving was my favorite followed by Electric Pencil and Thongs.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Friday Finds # 26

Friday Finds is a book meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Friday Finds is a chance to share and show off the books you discovered during the week and would like to add to your reading list...

Or a place to simply feature the books you've actually purchased throughout the week and have added to your to be read pile!

I've become an avid audiobook listener. So, when I learned about the Humble Audiobook Bundle, a pay what you want price for audiobooks, I couldn't resist taking advantage of the awesome deal presented through their website! I have acquired eleven new MP3 audiobooks, which are DRM-Free. Part of the money goes to support a charity! Click on the above link to see the names of the eleven titles I purchased. :-)

Which new books have you added to your reading list this week??

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Looking For Nonfiction Books to Read for Black History Month?

I came across an article on Flavorwire titled 10 Recent Nonfiction Books to Read for Black History Month by Michelle Dean. I like the list of book titles presented by Michelle Dean in her article. They are new book titles to me and sound like good ones worth reading. Click on above link to see the book titles listed in Michelle Dean's article.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Great News For Me Regarding US World Book Night 2014

Yes!! I've been selected once again to be a USA World Book Night USA Book Giver for the third year in a row!! I'm so excited!! I just received my email a few minutes ago from the folks at World Book Night. 

I'll be passing out twenty free copies of my first choice book, The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman, April 23, 2014 within my community. World Book Night is such an awesome annual event. I'm glad to be participating in it once again this year. I'm all about promoting the love of reading one person at a time!

Just Had a Romance End???

I recently discovered an article titled 10 books to read after a break-up by Anna Breslaw. In the article, Breslaw suggests ten books to read after a break up. Check them out.

Franklin Loves Lucy by Mary Matthews

Lucky me!! I received a free downloadable copy of Franklin Loves Lucy by Mary Matthews from Receiving a free copy of this book in no way affects the thoughts expressed in my review as follows below. 

Franklin Loves Lucy is a novella that falls into the historical romance genre and is unabridged. I thought that Franklin Loves Lucy was well read by Lee Ann Howlett. Audio length for Franklin Loves Lucy is approximately one hour and ten minutes, so it makes for a quick read.

The following is a description of Franklin Loves Lucy from Amazon:
Franklin finds me standing at my desk. Standing behind me, he whispers, “Lovely Lucy,” and his hands meet around my waist.
“You’re a thin girl.”
“Some would say I’m in reduced circumstances. I like to think of it as reducing circumstances.”

Lucy Mercer fell on hard times when her family lost their money. She took a job as Eleanor Roosevelt's social secretary. Told from Lucy's perspective, Franklin Loves Lucy is the story of a relationship that began when Franklin Roosevelt was Assistant Secretary of the Navy and ended when he was President and took his last breath with Lucy by his side.

"Never, ever did I feel more desired than I did during the hot summer days and nights with him. Our glorious existential world. Everyone deserves one great affair in their lives. Franklin was mine."
I found the storyline and characters in Franklin Loves Lucy to be less than captivating. It wasn't that this was a good read, nor a bad one in and of itself... In fact, I thought the premise of the storyline to be a good one. I just felt that the author could have added more dimension/substance to the story. A lot of the same things were said and repeated over and over again like Lucy being able to sense when death would happen is one example I can think of off hand.

I also think it would have been wonderful if Franklin Loves Lucy could have been made into a full length novel with more substance to the main characters and their lives with relationship to other characters in the story as well as their own. Like, what was Lucy's relationship like with Eleanor when she was Eleanor's social secretary?? What did Eleanor really think of Lucy and Franklin's affair??? We read Franklin's take on his relationship with his wife, but what was their relationship like from Eleanor's point of view? 

Lucy eventually marries and has her own family. It would have been interesting to read more details about the relationship Lucy had with her family instead of the few details the author shares with us.

I felt like Franklin Loves Lucy had so much potential to be awesome, but was a little lackluster.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Which Literary Destinations Would You Most Like to Visit??

As a reader and lover of books, there are many literary destinations around the world I'd love to visit. I've made a very short list of a literary places I'd like to visit. This literary list is by no means comprehensive!!

1. The Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford, Connecticut. 

I think it would be fabulous to visit the former home of Mark Twain. I hear it is haunted!!

2. National Steinbeck Center in Salinas, California.

I'm a huge fan of John Steinbeck's writing, so think it would be lovely to visit the National Steinbeck Center.

3. The Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum in Key West, Florida.

I'd like to take a tour of this home and see the six toed cats!

4. The Library Hotel in New York, New York.

A luxury hotel based on the Dewey Decimal System Concept!! 

5. Onegin Restaurant in New York, New York. 

This restaurant is based Pushkin`s literary masterpiece of the same name. Russian fusion cuisine is served.

6. The Morgan Library & Museum in New York, New York.

According to an article titled, The Seven Best Libraries In America (To Bring A Date) by Chiara Atik the Morgan Library & Museum is described as follows: "It’s full of illuminated manuscripts and drawings by old Masters like Raphael, Michelangelo, and Rembrandt."

7. The Library of Congress in Washington DC.

The following quote also comes from The Seven Best Libraries In America (To Bring A Date) by Chiara Atik:
In terms of shelf space and number of volumes, it’s actually the largest library in the world. The library houses “1 million newspapers from the last three centuries, over 5 million maps, 6 million pieces of sheet music, and more than 14 millions photos and prints.” 

8. The Book Barge is a floating bookstore that sails the waterways of the UK!!

I love the idea of a floating bookstore that sails canals!

9. The Peabody Library in Baltimore, Maryland.

This library looks awesome! It looks so beautiful inside The Peabody Library and they even rent the library out for weddings!

10. The National Pushkin Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia.

The National Pushkin Museum is one of the oldest and largest literary museums in Russia. 

11. Bulgakov House Museum in Moscow, Russia

I enjoyed reading The Master & Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov, so would like to see this museum.

12. Bulgakov Museum in Kiev, Ukraine.

I enjoyed reading The Master & Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov, so would like to see this museum.

Which literary destinations would you most like to visit?

Saturday, February 1, 2014

An Unabridged Audiobook Giveaway!!

Do you ENJOY listening to audiobooks? I love listening to audiobooks!! Last month, I listened to The Asylum by John Harwood and read by Rosalyn Landor. I enjoyed this audiobook. Click on the above link to read my review of The Asylum by John Harwood.

Because I enjoyed listening to The Asylum by John Harwood, I'd like to offer my used copy of this unabridged audiobook for this giveaway.

Enter below by filling out the Giveaway Tool form below for an opportunity to win one used, unabridged audiobook (on 8 compact discs) of The Asylum by John Harwood. The "An Unabridged Audiobook Giveaway!!" is open to US Residents ONLY and ends on Sunday, February 16th at 11:59pm PST.

NOTE: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY! All participants must be 18 years or older. The winner will be selected at random and contacted via email. Once contacted, the winner has 72 hours to respond with the required information. If the winner does not respond within the time frame specified, another winner will be selected at random. I am not responsible for shipping mishaps and/or damage caused in transit. Void where prohibited.