Thursday, November 16, 2017

Take Off Your Pants!: Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing by Libbie Hawker

Paperback Edition
I've had fantasies of writing a novel off and on for years now... But have yet to write or even attempt to write a novel to date. 

Writing a novel seems, well, quite daunting to say the least! I'm an avid reader, but am I able to successfully write a decent novel? How does one even begin going about writing a novel anyway? I scare myself out of trying to write anything before I even start writing my first sentence!

Over the years, I've thought of some great ideas/stories/characters for writing a novel... Or at least I thought the ideas I've had for writing a novel were creative enough to make for interesting reading. But, there is so much more too writing a novel than a so called 'great idea'. Putting all the elements together to write a cohesive novel that is interesting, well written, and something people will want to read has left me from even trying to write a novel at all.

November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and tons of people participate in this annual, month long writing event. And although, I am not even close to being prepared to begin writing a novel, I am very inspired by the idea of finding a way to write a novel in the future.

However, I did began looking for books online to help me move forward and think about writing that first novel. I came across Take Off Your Pants!: Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing by Libbie Hawker on Amazon. Libbie Hawker's book on writing has 450+ reviews on Amazon and also a 4+ star rating. 

After reading what Libbie Hawker's book was all about online, I took the leap and read Take Off Your Pants!: Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing in three days! I like Ms. Hawker's clear writing style and the outline techniques she lays out for those wishing to write a novel. Ms. Hawker's outline techniques make sense and she gives plenty of examples in her book on how and why the outline works so successfully.

The holiday season is upon us, so I most likely won't even be ready to start writing a novel until the beginning of 2018 at the soonest.

Below is a more information about Take Off Your Pants!: Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing by Libbie Hawker from Amazon:
When it comes to writing books, are you a "plotter" or a "pantser"? Is one method really better than the other? In this instructional book, author Libbie Hawker explains the benefits and technique of planning a story before you begin to write. She'll show you how to develop a foolproof character arc and plot, how to pace any book for a can't-put-down reading experience, and how to ensure that your stories are complete and satisfying without wasting any time or words. Hawker's outlining technique works no matter what genre you write, and no matter the age of your audience. If you want to improve writing speed, increase your backlist, and ensure a quality book before you even write the first word, this is the how-to book for you. Take off your pants! It's time to start outlining. This revised edition includes answers to the most popular questions regarding Libbie Hawker's outlining process.
I am giving Take Off Your Pants!: Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing by Libbie Hawker a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

If you are a a writer, which books/writing resources have you found to be helpful in your writing journey?  

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Christmas Promise by Donna VanLiere

I listened to the unabridged audio version of The Christmas Promise by Donna VanLiere on compact disc and narrated by the author. The Christmas Promise by Donna VanLiere is the 4th novel in the Christmas Hope series.

Listening time for The Christmas Promise by Donna VanLiere is 4 hours, 22 minutes.

With the Christmas holiday swiftly approaching, I thought it would be wonderful to get into the holiday spirit by listening to a Christmas themed novel by Donna VanLiere. 

The funny part is that I completely forgot that I listened to a Christmas themed novel by Donna VanLiere in 2013 titled, The Christmas Secret!! The Christmas Secret by Donna VanLiere is the 5th novel the Christmas Hope series. Apparently, I didn't enjoy The Christmas Secret by Donna VanLiere after rereading my review of it. Had I remembered my experience with The Christmas Secret back in 2013, I would not have listened to The Christmas Promise.

Anyway, onto my review of The Christmas Promise by Donna VanLiere. I thought that The Christmas Promise was well narrated by the author. The storyline and characters were interesting enough to keep me listening to this novel through to the end. I did laugh in parts at some of the story at some of the funny scenes. 

Overall, I enjoyed The Christmas Promise by Donna VanLiere even if the storyline was predictable it parts... And yes, I enjoyed this novel better than The Christmas Secret by Donna VanLiere.

The following is a plot summary for The Christmas Promise by Donna VanLiere from Audible:
Donna VanLiere's books movingly portray ordinary people reaching for more meaningful lives. In The Christmas Promise, she follows two seemingly separate individuals and shows how their lives intersect.
Chaz McConnell realizes that his life is empty - and that he's made it that way. He goes home every night to a bare apartment. For the first time in his life, he's working at a job that will last more than a few weeks, as security for Wilson's Department Store. Trying to reach out, he befriends four-year-old Donovan, whose mother is part of the janitorial team at Wilson's.
Gloria Bailey finds it easy to care for families in need, but she just can't seem to bridge the gap with her cantankerous neighbor, 60-something widow Miriam Lloyd Davies. When Miriam goes away for a week and a pipe bursts, she comes home to a house under water. Gloria, in an act of kindness, or maybe insanity, invites Miriam to stay at her house until a hotel room becomes available. They eventually realize they have more in common than they ever thought. In this beautiful, deeply poignant novel, we are reminded that the past is never far behind, and all of us are longing for a place to call home. 
Listen to more of Donna VanLiere's Christmas stories.
I am giving The Christmas Promise by Donna VanLiere a rating 3 out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday -- Top Twelve Books I Want My Future Book Club to Read

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

So, I decided to select books from my massive 'to be read pile' that I still want to read. The following are books I would love to read and discuss with a book club group.

1. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
2. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
3. Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese
4. Indian Killer by Sherman Alexie
5. Difficult Women by Roxane Gay
6. A Gentleman In Moscow by Amor Towles
7. The Tea Girl Of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See
8. Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
9. News Of The World by Paulette Jiles
10. The Twelve Lives Of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti
11. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
12. The Mothers by Brit Bennett

Saturday, November 11, 2017

The One Who Got Away edited by Kristina Wright

Erotica Anthology
Yes, on occasion, I do enjoy reading erotica and short story erotica anthologies are a great way to discover new to me authors... So, with that in mind, I chose to read The One Who Got Away edited by Kristina Wright, which is a collection of fourteen erotica short stories written by various authors.

I liked the theme/concept for this collection of erotica short stories of 'the one that got away'... It's what initially attracted me to this erotica anthology.

However, out of the fourteen erotica short stories presented in The One Who Got Away edited by Kristina Wright, I only enjoyed reading five of them... With 'Proof' and 'Danish Affair' being the best of the bunch. The rest of the short stories weren't all that great. 

The following is a plot summary for The One Who Got Away edited by Kristina Wright from Amazon:
We all have... that One, the one who got away. The one we fell for or simply were attracted to, but we never got. That One, but not necessarily The One, at least not the first time around. That One who slips into our fantasies late at night when we’re feeling melancholy or nostalgic. Maybe we took a chance once and it simply didn’t work out. Maybe we never took the chance... and we wish we had. We all have the name of the One Who Got Away tattooed on our heart, always with us, never forgotten. There is something hopelessly romantic about the idea of connecting with a long lost love. This luscious Cleis Press collection of second chance stories celebrates longing and loves that, whether by fate or by design, are at last requited and fulfilled.
I am giving The One Who Got Away edited by Kristina Wright a rating of 2 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Lost Library by Kate Baray

Unabridged Audiobook
I listened to the unabridged audio version of Lost Library by Kate Baray and narrated by Kelsey Osborne. Listening time for Lost Library by Kate Baray is 8 hours, 17 minutes.

Lost Library by Kate Baray is the first novel in a paranormal romance series... So, if paranormal romance novels involving werewolves and magic are your thing, then this may be the novel for you!!

Kate Baray is a new to me author. I thought her writing was good and I enjoyed listening to Lost Library by Kate Baray. Paranormal romances are a fun escape from reality and Lost Library is no exception. The characters in Lost Library are fun and the storyline moves along at a nice pace. Kelsey Osborne is a good narrator.

Although I thought Lost Library by Kate Baray was a good novel, I wasn't wowed by this novel. I will pass on reading or listening to the the rest of this paranormal series.

The following is the plot summary for Lost Library by Kate Baray from Audible:
Lost Library brings together a mysterious, magical book and a quirky heroine to create the adventure of a lifetime!
John Braxton arrives unannounced on Lizzie Smith's doorstep looking for answers she doesn't have. She may have a magical book, but she hasn't a clue what to do with it - or even how to read it. And John's revelation that he's a Lycan isn't making the job any easier. 
Before the code to the book can be cracked, Lizzie and John stumble into the middle of a power-hungry mastermind's plan. Caught up in one man's search for power, Lizzie soon begins to uncover surprising secrets about her past and powers. Can she and John put a stop to their new-found enemy's plans?
Take a romp through the life of the quirky and well-meaning Lizzie as she discovers magic, creatures that go bump in the night, and maybe love.
I am giving Lost Library by Kate Baray a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Amazon Books Storefront in Walnut Creek, California

My Hubby Outside Amazon Books!!
I've been hearing that Amazon has planned to open several bookstores around the USA for a long time now. So, I was excited to learn that one opened in Walnut Creek, California and another one in San Jose, California. Both locations are close to where I live, but the Walnut Creek Amazon storefront is closer to my home.

This past weekend, my husband and I visited the newly opened Amazon brick and mortar bookstore in Walnut Creek, California. We visited Amazon Books out of sheer curiosity to see what an Amazon bookstore would look like in person. Boy, was this bookstore packed with people, their children, and quite a few pet dogs too the day we made our visit!

We enjoyed our experience visiting Amazon Books in Walnut Creek. There was a greeter at the entrance as well as a Peet's Coffee onsite selling beverages and treats to eat and drink during one's visit. 

Plenty of books from nearly every genre are for sale with all the covers facing outward for readers to view easily. There are even tags below each book telling potential buyers how well the book is liked by Amazon readers/reviewers. 

Additionally, other Amazon products like the Amazon Echo and the Amazon Kindle are also for sale at their retail location. 

I enjoyed the size and layout of Amazon Books in Walnut Creek... It's a large bookstore without being overwhelmingly HUGE.

The staff members we encountered during our visit were friendly and helpful.

We weren't initially planning on making a purchase during our visit to the Amazon Books storefront as I already have way too many books that need to be read before buying more of them and my husband isn't an avid reader like me. I seem to acquire books much faster than I can read them... I'm sure other readers have the same problem I do with acquiring books and not being able to read them quickly enough to keep up with purchases. 

At any rate, my plans quickly fell by the wayside when I noticed upon entering Amazon Books that they had autographed copies of John Green's new novel, Turtles All The Way Down, for sale. I want to read this novel, so I decided to purchase John Green's new novel. 

Checkout was fast and easy at the Amazon Books cash wrap... Plus, we were able to purchase the latest John Green novel for the discounted price as seen on Amazon's website (40% off the cover price), which was awesome!

As cool as it was to visit a brick and mortar Amazon Books storefront, I think I'll be skipping on a return visit to their physical bookstore in the future. 

My husband and I already have an Amazon Prime Membership and we find it much more convenient to shop on Amazon's website day or night in the comfort of our own home. And with our Amazon Prime Membership, we receive free 2 day shipping regardless of the dollar amount spent... Because of these factors, it is less appealing to shop Amazon's physical storefront in my opinion, especially when we purchase more than books from Amazon. In fact, I tend to purchase/acquire books from many sources aside from Amazon (Indie Bookstores, Used Bookstores, FOL Used Bookstores, Little Free Libraries and Bookcrossers, Netgalley, InKitt, Goodreads Giveaways, etc.)

So, have you had the opportunity to visit an Amazon Books storefront? What was your experience like during your visit?

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Little Free Library In Walnut Creek, California

Yesterday afternoon, my husband and I visited a new to us Little Free Library in Walnut Creek, California!! It was a very cute Little Free Libray in a very quaint neighborhood in Walnut Creek.

I left three books at this particular Little Free Library and nabbed a hardback edition of The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead... The edition of The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead the I acquired from the Little Free Library has major coffee stains on it though, lol!! Not that I mind though as it was FREE!!

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead has been on my reading wishlist for quite awhile now, so I am happy to have a copy to enjoy reading.

Friday, November 3, 2017

50/50 Friday -- Best/Worst Book Read in October

50/50 Friday is a meme hosted by Carrie @ The Butterfly Reads and Laura @ Blue Eye Books. This fun themed meme focuses on the opposite sides of books (best/worst, differing opinions, etc). Every week a new topic will give bloggers the chance to showcase their answers.

This weeks topic is your  Best/Worst Book Read in October 2017!

My Worst Book Read in October 2017

(Click above link to read my review.) 

My Best Book Read in October 2017

(Click above link to read my review.) 

So, which books were your best and worst reads
in October 2017?

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

A Pie To Vie For by Kathryn Lin

A Pie To Vie For by Kathryn Lin is a digital cozy mystery short story approximately 33 pages in length.

I was able to download A Pie To Vie For by Kathryn Lin for FREE to my Kindle.

Below is my honest and unbiased review of A Pie To Vie For by Kathryn Lin.

I enjoyed reading A Pie To Vie For by Kathryn Lin. It's a fun, quick mystery with a female amateur sleuth that doesn't involve murder! If you love baking and cozy mysteries, then this short story may be the perfect fit for you.

The following is a plot summary for A Pie To Vie For by Kathryn Lin from Amazon:
This is a short story that can be read as a stand-alone or as a prologue to the Olivia Faulkner Mysteries series. It is shorter than the rest of the books in the series which are all full length novels.
Olivia planned on a summer road trip across the country, but she ends up stuck in her childhood home in Grand Arbor Township when her camper van breaks down. Good thing there's a $1000 grand prize in this year's Grand Arbor Cherry Festival Pie Baking Contest... The problem is--somebody is determined to make sure nobody wins.
Can Olivia find out who's sabotaging the contest or will this year be the last cherry festival in Grand Arbor?
I am giving A Pie To Vie For by Kathryn Lin a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Bakeries & Bones by Nic Roberts

Bakeries & Bones by Nic Roberts is a cozy mystery short story that comes in electronic format and is approximately 53 pages in length.

I was able to download Bakeries & Bones by Nic Roberts to my Kindle for FREE from Amazon.

Below is my honest and unbiased review of Bakeries & Bones by Nic Roberts.

I enjoy reading cozy mysteries, so was excited to read Bakeries & Bones by Nic Roberts, especially since it had such high reviews by readers on Amazon. But alas, I wasn't in love with this short at all!!

There's too much going on in this short story to make it a good read. There's definitely a dead body that the main character (a female amateur sleuth) ends up solving the murder is even though she's never solved a murder before in her life... The leading character also has a creep of a fiance that treats her with disrespect and she can't figure that out in enough time to dump his sorry a** to the curb before he dumps her... Additionally, the leading character's grandfather dies at the start of the short story and leaves her his bed and breakfast to run, but this bit of news isn't given the attention it properly deserves in Bakeries & Bones by Nic Roberts.

The writing for Bakeries & Bones by Nic Roberts wasn't that engaging. The characters were okay and the short story left something to be desired.

The following is a plot summary for Bakeries & Bones by Nic Roberts from Amazon:
Sticks and Bones and…Baker's Stones? 
To most people, Ally Wescott has an idyllic life. Engaged to a French banker, a quaint apartment in Greater London, an array of amazing friends and a family friend whose bakery she gets to spend her free time in, polishing her passion for making sweet treats. What could possibly go wrong? 
She’s about to find out. 
A surprise letter, a wavering fiancé and the discovery of bones are about to shake her peaceful world to the core, and this time, a cup of tea and a slice of apple pie won’t fix the major upheaval in her life… or will it?
I am giving Bakeries & Bones by Nic Roberts a rating of 1 star out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Dracula [Audible Edition] by Bram Stoker

I listened to the unabridged Audible audio production of Dracula by Bram Stoker and narrated by an all star cast.

Listening time for Dracula by Bram Stoker is 15 hours, 28 minutes.

I initially chose to listen to Dracula by Bram Stoker for a number of reasons as follows:

1. I've never read Dracula before, although I've seen the classic 'Dracula' movie starring Bela Lugosi movie years ago. Each year, I try to make an effort to read classics whenever I have time and interest. This year alone, I've read roughly seven classics so far... So, am happy that I've added another classic novel to my list this year.

2. Halloween is tomorrow, so I thought it would be fun to read this Gothic horror novel in celebration of Halloween.

3. My husband read Dracula by Bram Stoker back in high school and it was one of his favorite novels. So, I thought I'd go ahead and read yet another one of my husband's favorite novels he enjoyed reading in his youth.

Let's start with the Audible all star cast and narration of Dracula by Bram Stoker. I'd personally say that the cast/narration of Dracula is hands down my favorite part of my experience with Dracula by Bram Stoker.

There were a few other redeeming perks of reading Dracula, for me as follows: 

1. I liked the way in which the story is told from the viewpoints of several different characters through a series of journal entries throughout Dracula

2. I also liked that Mina Harker is a strong female leading character created by Bram Stoker, which I would imagine to be a rare thing to see in literature in 1897! It's wonderful to read that Mina Harker is one of the heroes of the novel. So, kudos and applause to Bram Stoker for being so forward thinking to create such a dynamic character as Mina Harker.

Otherwise, I was not impressed overall with Dracula by Bram Stoker. I thought the novel was way too long in length and could have been shortened. The language was too flowery at times for my taste. Yes, I like a thriller and how it can build tension and suspense in a novel... And yes, I did enjoy reading the pursuit of Dracula, by the other characters in the novel... But, once again I felt the pursuit of Dracula was way too drawn out and could have been done differently in some way that could have been more appealing.

One topic to mention from reading Dracula by Bram Stoker is that a few blood transfusions happen in the novel. It was interesting to learn that blood transfusions from one person to another were known about back in 1897 in the medical community. However, blood types were evidently not known about back in the late 1800s ... In fact, I just learned online through Wikipedia that blood types weren't discovered until 1900 by Austrian physician and immunologist, Karl Landsteiner! Karl Landsteiner actually won a Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine for his discovery... But I digress. One of the characters in the Dracula has a few blood transfusions from different people without regards to checking to see if the blood types were a match before the blood transfusion was given, which lead me to look into the history of blood transfusions and blood typing. 

Below is a summary for Dracula by Bram Stoker from Audible:
Audie Award, Distinguished Achievement in Production, 2013
Audie Award, Multi-voiced Performance, 2013
Audie Award Nominee, Classic, 2013
Because of the widespread awareness of the story of the evil Transylvanian count and the success of numerous film adaptations that have been created over the years, the modern audience hasn't had a chance to truly appreciate the unknowing dread that readers would have felt when reading Bram Stoker's original 1897 manuscript. Most modern productions employ campiness or sound effects to try to bring back that gothic tension, but we've tried something different. By returning to Stoker's original storytelling structure - a series of letters and journal entries voiced by Jonathan Harker, Dr. Van Helsing, and other characters - with an all-star cast of narrators, we've sought to recapture its originally intended horror and power.
This production of Dracula is presented by what is possibly the best assemblage of narrating talent ever for one audiobook: Emmy Award nominees Alan Cumming and Tim Curry plus an all-star cast of Audie award-winners Simon Vance (The Millenium Trilogy), Katherine Kellgren (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies), Susan Duerden (The Tiger’s Wife), John Lee (Supergods) and customer favorites Graeme Malcolm (Skippy Dies), Steven Crossley (The Oxford Time Travel series), Simon Prebble (The Baroque Cycle), James Adams (Letters to a Young Contrarian), Nicola Barber (The Rose Garden), Victor Villar-Hauser (Fun Inc.), and Marc Vietor (1Q84). 
These stellar narrators have been cast as follows:
Alan Cumming as Dr. SewardSimon Vance as Jonathan HarkerKaty Kellgren as Mina Murray/HarkerSusan Duerden as Lucy WestenraTim Curry as Van HelsingGraeme Malcolm as Dailygraph correspondentSteven Crossley as Zookeeper’s account and reporterSimon Prebble as VarnaJames Adams as Patrick HennesseyNicola Barber as Sister AgathaVictor Villar-Hauser as Arthur HolmwoodMarc Vietor as Quincey MorrisJohn Lee as Introductory paragraph, various letters
I thought Dracula by Bram Stoker was simply an okay read. I am glad I read this classic Gothic horror novel, but wouldn't go out of my way to recommend it to others. I am giving Dracula by Bram Stoker a rating of 2 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy

I listened to the unabridged audio version of The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy and narrated by Mary Sarah.

Listening time for The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy is 7 hours, 10 minutes.

I chose to listen to The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy because my husband once told me he really enjoyed reading this novel when he was in either middle school or high school. So, I thought it would be fun to read a novel he really enjoyed reading when he was younger.

I must admit that I felt like the first 20% of The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy didn't capture my interest very much. In fact, I almost gave up on it!! I am very happy that I didn't quit listening to this novel as the plot and storyline picked up and kept me interested to the very end. The story and characters are fun... And the writing is good.

Other than the slow start, The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy is a good novel.

I wasn't a huge fan of Mary Sarah's narration of The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy.

The following is a plot summary for the The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy from Audible:
Set during the Reign of Terror following the start of the French Revolution... The title character represents the original "hero with a secret identity" that inspired subsequent literary creations such as Don Diego de la Vega (El Zorro) and Bruce Wayne (the Batman). The popularity of the novel encouraged Orczy to write a number of sequels for her "reckless daredevil" over the next 35 years. The original play was performed to great acclaim in France, Italy, Germany, and Spain, while the novel was translated into 16 languages. Subsequently, the story has been adapted for television, film, a musical, and other media.
I am giving The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Little Free Library in Solana Beach, California

Last week, I discovered a new Little Free Library in Solana Beach, California!

I left three books at this particular Little Free Library and took two books with me to read at a later date. 

Ah, the simple joys of finding new a to me Little Free Library and being able to exchange books is priceless!

Do you visit Little Free Libraries often?

Saturday, October 14, 2017

I Love Yarn Day 2017

In addition to being an avid reader and book blogger, I am also an avid knitter. In fact, I love combining my two favorite hobbies by listening to an audiobook while knitting!

Today is I Love Yarn Day 2017, so I thought it would fun to celebrate yarn by sharing some fun and unique book titles that pertain to knitting. See my list as follows:

1. Faux Taxidermy Knits by Louise Walker
2. Literary Knits: 30 Patterns Inspired by Favorite Books by Nikol Lohr
3. Woodland Knits: Over 20 Enchanting Patterns by Stephanie Dosen
4. Highland Knits: Knitwear Inspired by the Outlander Series by Interweave Editors
5. Knitting Wizardry by Amy Clarke Moore 
6. Vampire Knits: Projects to Keep You Knitting from Twilight to Dawn by Genevieve Miller
7. The Best Of Jane Austen Knits: 27 Regency-Inspired Designs by Amy Clarke Moore
8. Charmed Knits: Projects for Fans of Harry Potter by Alison Hansel
9. Once Upon a Knit: 28 Grimm and Glamorous Fairy-Tale Projects by Genevieve Miller
10. Knits for Nerds: 30 Projects: Science Fiction, Comic Books, Fantasy by Toni Carr

I do not own any of the above knitting books, but I look forward to purchasing a few of them and knitting a few of the patterns. 

Life Lessons From Russian Literature

I graduated with a BA in Russian and love Russian literature. So, I enjoyed reading an article found on the The Guardian's website titled, Happiness is a salty potato – and other life lessons from Russian literature by Viv Groskop.

Viv Groskop shares life lessons from ten different pieces of Russian literature. Ms. Groskop's article was entertaining reading for me and probably also a pleasant read for Russian literature lovers.

Friday, October 13, 2017

A Paris Hotel Is Offering A Room Service for Books!!

Next vacation stop, Paris!! As if visiting Paris for its major landmarks, food, and culture weren't enticement enough to make it a vacation destination... Now one can stay at a hotel in Paris that is a book lovers dream.

Check out the article I discovered on Bustle, titled This Paris Hotel Is Offering A Room Service for Books by Kristian Wilson. In the article, Kristian Wilson wrote the following:
Have you planned your next vacation yet? If you have the time and the money, you might consider spending the summer in France, because a room service for books is available in this Paris hotel. Sure to become the ultimate in book-nerd destinations, Le Pavillon des Lettres provides each guest with hand-picked reading material for the duration of their stay.
Located in Paris' eighth arrondissement, Le Pavillon des Lettres has 26 guest rooms, each of which is named for a famous writer or character. Lending their names to rooms are Hans Christian Andersen, Charles Baudelaire, Gustave Flaubert, Victor Hugo, William Shakespeare, Voltaire, Virginia Woolf, and Émile Zola. According to the announcement about the Paris hotel's room service for books, "each room at Pavillon des Lettres holds its writer integral to the design, with lines from poetry, prose and novels inscribed on the walls."
If you plan to stay at Les Pavillon des Lettres, be sure to book your room early. Smaller accommodations for one or two people are available for less than €200 per night, but vacationers snatch them up quickly. And with the press attention that the hotel's room service for books has garnered, you can expect any room at Les Pavillon des Lettres to soon be in high demand.

Les Pavillon des Lettres sounds like a fun hotel to stay at during a visit to Paris! 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Another Reason to Feel Blessed About Being A Bookcrosser!! Lucky Me!!

Earlier this month, I wrote a post sharing the joys of Bookcrossing with my blog readers. 

Well, I have another reason to be grateful for being a member of Bookcrossing!

I keep a wishlist of books I want to read on Bookcrossing. This way I have a digital list of all the books I would like to read at my finger tips for when I am ready to acquire a copy of any book I wish to read.

Any member of Bookcrossing has access to my wishlist of books. If a Bookcrosser just so happens to have a copy of the book I'd like to read and feels like sharing it with me, then they can mail the copy of the book to me by requesting my mailing details.

It just so happens that I had News of the World by Paulette Jiles on my Bookcrossing reading wishlist. Earlier this week, I received the paperback edition of News of the World by Paulette Jiles in the mail from another Bookcrossing in Las Vegas. I was surprised to receive this novel as I had no idea it was coming my way.

I look forward to reading News of the World by Paulette Jiles.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Gone Fishing and Other Stories by Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child, & Others Authors

Unabridged Audiobook on CD
I listened to the unabridged audio version of Gone Fishing and Other Stories by Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child, Gregg Hurwitz, Heather Graham, Alex Kava, and David Dun.

There are five short stories in all to listen to in this collection and all of them are mysteries/thrillers. The short stories are as follows:

1. Gone Fishing by Douglas Preston & Licoln Child
2. Dirty Weather by Gregg Hurwitz
3. Face in the Window by Heather Graham
4. Spirit Walker by David Dun
5. Goodnight, Sweet Mother by Alex Kava

Each of the five stories are very well narrated by a different performer, which is wonderful as a good narrator can make or break a listening experience.

Overall, I really liked this collection of short stories. They are very entertaining especially if you enjoy mysteries/thrillers. All of the stories are good and give you a great introduction to each writer's style of writing and way of telling a story. 

My only minor complaint is that most of the stories were predictable in some way or another as I was able to guess what was going to happen before each story ended.

I am giving Gone Fishing and Other Stories a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

A Book Scout ~ A Literary Dream Job?

Aside from being a writer or an editor, what other careers in the publishing industry might be worth while? How about a career as a book scout? Learn more about being a book scout by reading an article I discovered on Bustle titled, What Is A Book Scout? Hanna Masaryk Takes You Behind-The-Scenes Of The Literary Dream Job by Kerri Jarema. In the article, Kerri Jarema writes the following:
"Literary scouts work on behalf of foreign publishers as consultants, helping them find books from the American market that they want to purchase translation rights to and publish in their markets," Masaryk tells Bustle. "Each scouting agency has a distinct, one on one relationship with their clients. We get to know not only the publishing trends in those countries, but our editors' tastes as well. We are their facilitators, their eyes and ears, and their public image here on the ground in New York."
And according to Masaryk, being the eyes and ears requires a lot: meetings with American agents, editors, and foreign rights managers to hear about the books they are working on and attempting to sell abroad; reading everything; and then writing to clients with detailed reports about why she thinks it would work for their list (or why it wouldn't). It's a particularly multi-level, fast paced subset of an industry that is already all go, go, go.
Click on the above link to read the entire article on what it takes to be a book scout!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Weight by Andrew Vachss

Unabridged Audiobook on CD
I listened to the unabridged audio version of The Weight by Andrew Vachss and narrated by Buck Schirner.

Listening time for The Weight by Andrew Vachss is 9 hours, 11 minutes.

I've heard Buck Schirner narrate another novel and loved his voice and narration a lot. So, I was happy to find another novel that he narrates. A good narrator really makes a huge difference when listening to an audiobook.

I enjoy reading thrillers and The Weight by Andrew Vachss is a decent read. Sugar, is the leading character and he's a career criminal. Sugar isn't the brightest bulb in the pack, but he is well meaning and won't rat out his cohorts. Sugar essentially does time for a crime he doesn't commit. When Sugar is released from prison he discovers there are a few things that don't exactly add up... Let's just say that pay back is a bitch and Sugar is the one who sets things straight.

Andrew Vachss's writing is good in The Weight. Although, I did feel like this novel was a bit slow in parts.

Below is a plot summary for The Weight by Andrew Vachss from Audible:
Andrew Vachss returns with a mesmerizing novel about a hard-core thief who’s about to embark on a job that will alter his life forever.
Sugar is that rarest of commodities: an old-school professional thief, tough and loyal as a pit bull, packing 255 pounds of muscle. When he’s picked out of a photo array in a vicious rape case, the cops find his apartment empty. A stakeout catches Sugar when he returns... carrying a loaded pistol. The sex-crime cops get nothing from their interrogation, but a streetwise detective figures out why Sugar offers no alibi: at the time of the rape, a holiday-weekend break-in job was being pulled at a jewelry store. The DA offers Sugar two options: give up his partners in the jewelry heist and walk, or plead to the rape he didn’t commit — and he’ll toss in the gun charge. For Sugar, that’s not two options; he takes the weight.

When Sugar finishes his time, his money is waiting for him, held by Solly, the mastermind behind the jewelry heist. But Solly tells Sugar that one of the heist crew was actually sent by another planner - and that planner has just died. In Sugar’s world, all loose threads must be cut. He suspects that there’s more to this job than what Solly is telling him. But nothing he suspects or imagines can prepare him for what he finds.
I am giving The Weight by Andrew Vachss a rating of 3 stars out of 5 Stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

12 Ways You Could Be Getting More Out Of Your Public Library!

I love libraries as they are filled with plenty of ways to fulfill ones needs and acquire new knowledge!! 

I discovered an article on Bustle's website earlier today titled, 12 Ways You Could Be Getting More Out Of Your Local Library by Charlotte Ahlin. It's amazing all that public libraries have to offer us. So make the most of your public library and take advantage of all they have to offer!!

When was the last time you visited your local public library???

Monday, October 9, 2017

Annie and the Swiss Cheese Scarf by Alana Dakos

I read the deluxe edition of Annie and the Swiss Cheese Scarf by Alana Dakos and illustrated by Neesha Hudson, which is a children's book about learning to knit and includes the hardback edition of the book, stickers, a puzzle, and a paper doll set based on the book.

I enjoyed reading this cute picture book geared towards children ages 4 and older. The story is about a little girl named,  Annie, who watches her mother knit and decides she wants to learn how to knit just like her mommy. Like any little girl, Annie is impatient as she wants to knit as fast as her mother does and have her projects come out perfectly. Annie also makes lots of mistakes while learning to knit and ends up giving up on knitting altogether. 

It isn't until Annie is at school one day and learns that her teacher wants each student to share a 'special talent' they have with the rest of the class. It's then that Annie decides she will finish knitting her scarf and share her 'special talent' to knit with the rest of the class. Annie's scarf isn't perfect by any means and has lots of holes in it. This makes the scarf look like it is a piece of Swiss Cheese. But with flaws and all, Annie's Swiss Cheese scarf looks delightful and is a huge hit with her teacher and her classmates. By the end of the book, Annie ends up teaching other students how to knit during recess.

I liked how Annie and the Swiss Cheese Scarf by Alana Dakos shows perseverance, that things don't have to be perfect to turn out beautifully, and that learning new hobbies and skills takes practice before one can master them with ease and agility. These are all good messages to impart on young readers.

Annie and the Swiss Cheese Scarf by Alana Dakos is also beautifully illustrated by Neesha Hudson, which makes for a great read for young children.

If you are an avid reader and knitter and/or want to give a gift to a young reader and (hopefully) inspire them to want to learn to knit, then this book is a delightful read to share. It gives a lesson at the end of the book on how to knit, which makes for a great introduction to knitting.

There is also a FREE pattern online on how to make Annie's Swiss Cheese Scarf. So check out the pattern for the scarf by clicking on the link in the previous sentence!! Wouldn't it be fun to read the book to a child and then make the scarf together??

I am giving Annie and the Swiss Cheese Scarf by Alana Dakos a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

The Joys of Bookcrossing!!!

I've been a member of Bookcrossing for just over 10 years now and I love Bookcrossing!!

I've enjoyed interacting with other readers around the world, exchanging books and gifts with other readers, and participating in the forums, etc.

I've read so many books that I would have otherwise never read if I hadn't received recommendations from other Bookcrossers, participated in Bookrays and Bookrings (this is where readers on Bookcrossing send books to other readers to read and pass on to the next reader on the sign up list), or been given books as gifts by other generous Bookcrossers.

Case in point, I signed up to participate in a Bookray on Bookcrossing to read Devil-Devil by G. W. Kent, which is a mystery novel by a new to me author. I recently received Devil-Devil by G. W. Kent in the mail from a Bookcrosser in Brazil and will begin reading this novel soon. 

The REALLY COOL part for me is that this physical copy of Devil-Devil by G. W. Kent has traveled around the world LITERALLY as this novel has been read by Bookcrossers in several European countries, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil and has now reached me in the USA!! 

The other really cool thing is that Devil-Devil by G. W. Kent has also been read by 18 Bookcrossers before me and I can read each journal entry made by each reader online and discover what each person thought about the novel. How cool is that? Once I am done reading Devil-Devil by G. W. Kent, I will be mailing it to another reader here in the USA.

I'll be sure and let you know what I think of Devil-Devil by G. W. Kent once I've finished reading it. Until then, happy reading!!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Travel as Transformation: Conquer the Limits of Culture to Discover Your Own Identity by Gregory V. Diehl

Unabridged Audiobook
I listened to the unabridged audio version of Travel as Transformation: Conquer the Limits of Culture to Discover Your Own Identity by Gregory V. Diehl and is narrated by the author.

Listening time for Travel as Transformation: Conquer the Limits of Culture to Discover Your Own Identity by Gregory V. Diehl is 3 hours, 22 minutes.

I was contacted by the author, Gregory V. Diehl, who is also the co-founder of Identity Publications and asked if I'd like to read one of the books published by his company in exchange for an honest review. I chose to listen to and review Travel as Transformation: Conquer the Limits of Culture to Discover Your Own Identity as it sounded like the most interesting book to me.

Below is my honest, unbiased review of Travel as Transformation: Conquer the Limits of Culture to Discover Your Own Identity by Gregory V. Diehl.

Travel as Transformation: Conquer the Limits of Culture to Discover Your Own Identity by Gregory V. Diehl isn't a travelogue by any means. It focuses more on discovering your authentic self beyond the limits of one's cultural beliefs and biases. 

I see a lot of value in finding one's authentic self/identity by moving beyond limiting beliefs and biases that are culturally ingrained or based, but I am not sure travel is always transformative in finding ones own identity or even the end all be all in discovering one's true identity. 

I think that being exposed to a lot of different ways of thinking, different religious beliefs, various philosophies, and other socioeconomic factors can help shape and enhance anyone's life in a positive way/manner without the need to travel outside one's country could possibly be very beneficial in discovering one's identity. Being open minded and inquisitive to what life has to offer and other ways of living can also help in discovering one's own identity I would imagine as well. 

I think that Gregory V. Diehl makes a lot of good points in his book, Travel as Transformation: Conquer the Limits of Culture to Discover Your Own Identity, that I agreed with and make it worth the read. But I think that people are able 'conquer the limitations placed on you by your home culture' without having to travel outside one's own home culture and become who they were meant to be in various other ways. 

Below is the summary for Travel as Transformation: Conquer the Limits of Culture to Discover Your Own Identity by Gregory V. Diehl from Audible:
From living in a van on the streets of San Diego, to growing chocolate with indigenous tribes in Central America, to teaching in the Middle East and volunteering in Africa, best-selling author Gregory V. Diehl has followed a worldly and unconventional path through life. Leaving his California home as a teenager, he fully immersed himself, living and working, in 45 countries across the globe - all by age 28. In Travel as Transformation, he puts his diverse cultural experiences on display and asks the listener to question how their own identity has been shaped by the lifestyle they live.
As you delve into Travel as Transformation, you will learn just how profoundly travel can influence your perception of yourself. Diehl teaches aspiring travelers, vagabonds, and nomads to let go of their internal inhibitions and former sense of self. To encourage world wanderers to embrace change, he shares his own stirring experiences of transformation across Costa Rica, China, Morocco, Armenia, Iraq, Monaco, Ecuador, and more. By embarking on this nomadic journey alongside him, you will learn to examine all of humanity through unbiased eyes and discover all that lies just beyond your backyard. A new, vast cultural experience awaits.
To travel with a truly open mind is to forget who you were when you started. It is to be constantly born anew, and identify with ways of existence you did not know were possible. Travel as Transformation will give you the wisdom, the inspiration, and the resources to conquer the limitations placed on you by your home culture. It's time to take advantage of everything the world has to offer and become everything you can be.
I am giving Travel as Transformation: Conquer the Limits of Culture to Discover Your Own Identity by Gregory V. Diehl a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars. 

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

English novelist Kazuo Ishiguro wins the 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature!

Congrats to English novelist Kazuo Ishiguro on winning the 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature! 

Every year around this time I am on pins and needles waiting to learn who will win the Nobel Prize for Literature... And it's so difficult to know who's going to actually win the Nobel Prize for Literature. Sometimes the Nobel Prize for Literature goes to an author I've heard of before and other times I've never heard of the author before ever... So the news as to the winner's identity of the Nobel Prize in Literature always makes for interesting reading to say the least.

Sometimes, I try to make a guess as to who I think will win this prestigious literary award... This year, I guessed the 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature would go to Japanese author, Haruki Murakami, as I've heard in previous years he'd been a potential front runner to win the the Nobel Prize For Literature... But alas, my guess was wrong!

Although, I've heard of Kazuo Ishiguro before, I've never read any of his novels to date. So, I'll be adding one of his novels to my ever growing 'to be read' pile at some point.

In the New York Times article titled, Kazuo Ishiguro Is Awarded Nobel Prize in Literature by Alexandra Alter and Dan Bilefsky, I learned the following information:
Mr. Ishiguro, 62, is best known for his novels “The Remains of the Day,” about a butler serving an English lord in the years leading up to World War II, and “Never Let Me Go,” a melancholy dystopian love story set in a British boarding school. In his seven novels, he has obsessively returned to the same themes, including the fallibility of memory, mortality and the porous nature of time.
“If you mix Jane Austen and Franz Kafka then you have Kazuo Ishiguro in a nutshell, but you have to add a little bit of Marcel Proust into the mix,” said Sara Danius, the permanent secretary of The Swedish Academy.
Ms. Danius described Mr. Ishiguro as “a writer of great integrity.”
“He doesn’t look to the side,” she said. “He has developed an aesthetic universe all his own.”
In a statement released by his publisher, Mr. Ishiguro expressed astonishment at the award, calling it, “amazing and totally unexpected news.”
Click on the top link to read the entire article.

Until my next post, happy reading!! 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Ice Cream Book Tag

I discovered the Ice Cream Book Tag  through Alexa Loves Books Vlog (Or is it called a Book Tube Channel on YouTube??) 

Alexa is a blogger I have followed for quite a few years now as she provides really good content on both her blog and vlog! Alexa's YouTube Channel is a lot of fun and regularly features her husband, Macky, as well. 

The above link takes you to the Alexa Loves Books video on YouTube, where Alexa and Macky give their answers to the Ice Cream Book Tag.

I decided to participate in the Ice Cream Book Tag. Read my answers below.


1. Vanilla - A book you wish had more flavor: 

The Exile: An Outlander Graphic Novel by Diana Gabaldon and Hoang Nguyen (Illustrator). I love the 'Outlander' series. So with that said, I was excited to obtain and read the graphic novel, The Exile, as it's told through the point of view of Jamie Fraser (verses Claire in the original series). 

Although, I enjoyed seeing Hoang Nguyen's illustrations (they are beautiful) for The Exile, I didn't think his illustrations looked like what I envisioned the male characters from the 'Outlander' series to look like... In fact, all the male characters look pretty much the same throughout The Exile and were difficult to tell apart throughout this graphic novel. The story/plot were pretty vanilla/watered down compared with an 800+ page novel. 

I felt like The Exile: An Outlander Graphic Novel by Diana Gabaldon and Hoang Nguyen had so much potential, but fell really short on delivering appeal.

2. Chocolate - A long book or an immersive world that you enjoyed indulging in: 

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon fits the bill for this category! At 850 pages, this historical novel deals with time travel and Scottish and English history. It is an amazing and captivating read!!

3. Strawberry - A romance that was super sweet: 

Hazel & Augustus Waters from The Fault In Our Stars by John Green --- These two teens in this novel have a very sweet romance.

4. Ice cream sundae - A book encompassing all the elements you love: 

Again so many novels fit the bill for this one that it is tough to narrow down my answer! I am going to choose a novel I read earlier this year titled, The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

This book was an arc that I'd received through Goodreads Giveaways. I'd never read anything by Amy Engel before, so I didn't know what to expect when I began reading this novel. Let's just say that I was blown away by Amy Engel's writing and storytelling! 

Here are a few of the things I liked most about The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel:

1. Writing style and storytelling are two important key factors in me loving a novel and The Roanoke Girls contains great writing and storytelling. 

2. The characters in The Roanoke Girls are dark, damaged, and flawed (not something I go for or like necessarily). The characters are very well developed and have you wanting to learn more about them as the novel unfolds, which is key for me to liking characters... Characters, whether likable or not, must provoke some sort of strong (and believable enough) reaction to be interesting enough that you want to see what happens to them over the long haul.

3. I like the alternating chapters in this novel told by the various Roanoke Girls with the longest chapters be told through the point of view of the leading character, Lane Roanoke.

5. Milkshake - A book that blends genres:

The Horse Mistress by R. A. Steffan.... This novel blends historical fiction with elements of erotica, paranormal, and lgbt themes altogether in one novel.

6. Sprinkles - A book with a colorful cover:

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert... This nonfiction book is an awesome read and not just for creative types either. I love Big Magic and highly recommend it.

7. Ice cream cake - A book worthy of a celebration Ice cream cookie sandwich or three scoops on a cone - a book with multiple perspectives:

The Vegetarian by Han Kang is a novel about a woman named Yeong-hye, who essentially goes mad... But The Vegetatian isn't told through Yeong-hye's point of view... It's about Yeong-hye through the point of view of her husband, brother-in-law, and her sister. 

The Vegetarian is a really well written novel. I really enjoyed reading it.

8. Waffle cone - A book you felt compelled to read very quickly: 

So, many books fit this category for me because if it is a book I am really enjoying, then I look forward to finishing it asap!!

Kentucky On The Rocks by Gwendolyn Grace fits the bill on this one!! Gotta love hot, sexy romance reads every so often.

9. Pint - A book you set aside but plan on going back to later:

The Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food by Jennifer 8 Lee. 

I love Chinese food and nonfiction books about food, so The Fortune Cookie Chronicles is right up my alley... But for some reason I put this book on hold last summer and have not gotten back to it yet. I do look forward to finishing this book at some point though.

10. Your preference - cup or cone? 

CUP most definitely!! I don't want to have to deal with ice cream dripping down the side of my cone and onto my fingers. Plus, if I need to be hands free for a second or two, I can't put the cone down.

11. Your preference - favorite flavor?

Oy, really??? I have to pick one single flavor I love the most?? Are you kidding me?? That's so difficult to do! I love so many different flavors of ice cream.... I love just about anything with chocolate, unless it contains marshmallows, as that's just YUCKY!! Can you tell I am not a Rocky Road fan? Coffee flavored ice cream is really good too. Plus, any ice cream that has crunchy bits in it like cookies or candies like toffee bits are yummy. I also enjoy unique flavors of ice cream like lavender, cardamom, eggnog, pistachio, bubblegum (not mixed together, of course), etc...

But if I had to pick just one flavor of ice cream to live with for the rest of my life, I'd go completely old school and pick Baskin Robbins Chocolate and Peanut Butter Ice Cream.

12. Your preference - toppings? 

It depends on my mood, whether I want a topping or not.

13. Your preference - favorite local ice creamery 

Smitten Ice Cream as this place has unique seasonal flavors you cannot find anywhere else.... Yum!

14. Best shared with friends - who do you tag?

Anyone reading this post who would like to participate in the Ice Cream Book Tag, please consider yourself tagged! Share a link to your Ice Cream Book Tag post in the comment section below as I'd like to read your answers for each section.

I hope you enjoyed reading my answers to the Ice Cream Book Tag! Until my next post, happy reading!