Showing Posts From: Reading

24 Apr, 2020

Blogging from A to Z – U

/ posted in: Reading


Ultra

I’m a sucker for reading about long distance running or biking or walking or any long distance activity.  I don’t want to do it necessarily.  (Definitely not the running part.)  But I find it fascinating to read about.

These are just a few of the books that I’ve read along the way.

I’m currently reading: Spirit Run

“Growing up in Yakima, Washington, Noé Álvarez worked at an apple-packing plant alongside his mother, who “slouched over a conveyor belt of fruit, shoulder to shoulder with mothers conditioned to believe this was all they could do with their lives.” A university scholarship offered escape, but as a first-generation Latino college-goer, Álvarez struggled to fit in.

At nineteen, he learned about a Native American/First Nations movement called the Peace and Dignity Journeys, epic marathons meant to renew cultural connections across North America. He dropped out of school and joined a group of Dené, Secwépemc, Gitxsan, Dakelh, Apache, Tohono O’odham, Seri, Purépecha, and Maya runners, all fleeing difficult beginnings. Telling their stories alongside his own, Álvarez writes about a four-month-long journey from Canada to Guatemala that pushed him to his limits. He writes not only of overcoming hunger, thirst, and fear―dangers included stone-throwing motorists and a mountain lion―but also of asserting Indigenous and working-class humanity in a capitalist society where oil extraction, deforestation, and substance abuse wreck communities.”

23 Apr, 2020

Blogging from A to Z – T

/ posted in: Reading


Terry Pratchett

 

S and T are the two authors who most reflect my sensibilities.  Terry Pratchett has my style of humor combined with deep thought.  I already said that I want to be one his characters when I grow up.

I came here to link to a BBC Radio production of his novel Guards! Guards! that I quite enjoyed.  I listened to it while walking around my neighborhood while I was on self-isolation.  I promise I did.  I can’t find it on YouTube (where I listened to it).  I can’t find it in my history from that time period.  I promise.  It was very good.  I have obviously fallen through a crack in the universe to a parallel dimension where none of this happened.  Sorry to say that the guy is still President.

Anyway, read Terry Pratchett.  Read it all.  Reread as required.  

I actually have not read it all.  There is one book that I got out of the library when it was released.  I was sitting in a Mexican restaurant all ready to read the book and then I just couldn’t.  I knew he was dying.  That could have been the last book he ever published.  I couldn’t bring myself to read it.  I sent it back to the library.  Because that one unread book exists I was able to read his actual last book.  Maybe someday I’ll be able to read the one that got away.  Maybe…

22 Apr, 2020

Blogging from A to Z – S

/ posted in: Reading

Sherri S. Tepper

 

Sherri S. Tepper is a fascinating author who needs to be better known.  She wrote fiercely feminist science fiction and fantasy.  

I stumbled across her books in a library and was hooked.  Over the years I’ve collected many of her books (there are a lot) and do occasional rereads.

One book I read most often is The Fresco.  I want to live in this world. 

The bizarre events that have been occuring across the United States seem to have no bearing on Benita Alvarez-Shipton’s life. That is until she is approached by a pair of aliens asking her to transmit their message of peace to the Powers That Be in Washington.

Her obligation does not end once the message is delivered, however, for the Pistach have offered their human hosts a spectacular opportunity for knowledge and enrichment, with Benita as sole liasion between the two sentient races. The more she learns about the extra-terrestrials, the more her appreciation grows for their culture, their beliefs and their art – especially the ancient and mysterious Fresco that dominates their collective lives.

But the Pistach are not the only space-faring species making their presence known on Earth. There are others, cold, malevolent and hungry… ”

That synopsis doesn’t sum up the joy I find in this book.  Benita is an abused wife whose children are now college aged.  She is planning on suicide when she is interrupted by the arrival of two aliens.  They chose her as their contact with Earth because she could not be perceived as having an underlying agenda.  They help her move away from her husband to safety and then she lets the world know that aliens are real.  

In order for Earth to join an alliance that will protect us, we have to be found to be Neighborly.  We aren’t.  Usually there is time to work through this but the schedule is tight so the aliens force Neighborliness upon us.  They basically give religious leaders and politicians everything they say they want but not quite in the way those men thought it was going to go down.  I want to stand up and cheer every time I read this book.  

The book also discusses religion.  The aliens base their society and peaceful nature on their religion.  Their scripture is a fresco.  It is so holy it can’t be cleaned.  Now it is unreadable after centuries of wear.  Will their civilization fall if a forced cleaning reveals that their lives are based on a lie?

This is a book I’d love to force everyone to read.  Start here and then move through her other books.  

15 Apr, 2020

Blogging from A to Z – M

/ posted in: Reading

Movies

I absolutely love going to the movies.  In fact, we almost never watch movies at home because everything we’ve wanted to see we’ve seen in the theater.

For Christmas last year I got a pass that let me go to unlimited movies for a year.  We figured that in order for it to make financial sense I had to see at least 3 movies a month.  That was absolutely doable.  We usually went to a movie every week.  It was also nice for those movies you were on the fence about.  Did you want to spend money to see that?  Not an issue, it’s free!

Yeah, not so much now.  I didn’t figure a global pandemic into my cost/benefit ratios.

I used to pick the theater to go to based on food choices.  I was a sucker for pretzel bites with cheese sauce.  Yes it would kill my lactose-intolerant self but it was SO GOOD!  Then a movie theater that didn’t have pretzel bites got recliners.  We had to change loyalties.  That theater does have Cheetos popcorn though.  It is cheese flavored popcorn mixed with Cheetos.  Very good.

We’re spoiled now.  There was a day when a movie we wanted to see wasn’t at that theater.  We actually had a discussion about whether or not we’d go see it at another theater where we’d having to have our feet on the floor “like peons.”  We did and it was so traumatic after lounging in recliners. 

I like seeing special events in theaters too.  We’ve seen musicals and operas and special event television shows.  I can’t wait until we get to go back again.

 

08 Apr, 2020

Blogging from A to Z – G

/ posted in: Just for FunReading

It is always good to know who or what you want to be when you grow up. I have a goal in mind. I want to be

Granny Weatherwax.

 

 Granny is a witch from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series. She is in her 70s in most of the books. I love older female protagonists in books. When people refer to her coven structure they refer to the traditional set up of Maiden, Mother, and The Other One because no one is going to call her a crone to her face.

She is such a powerful witch that she rarely has to do any magic at all. All she has to do is give people a Look and they do what she wants. Because of this, some people accuse her of not having any powers at all. They don’t continue that nonsense for long. She believes in “headology” as much as magic.

She has some amazing abilities. She can Borrow. That involves letting your spirit go into the minds of passing animals to see what they see. When she does this she leaves her body in bed with a sign that says, “I ate’nt dead” so there is no confusion. She can also talk to bees.  She plays a mean hand of cards too if she has to.  

Granny Weatherwax appeared for the last time in The Shepherd’s Crown.  Terry Pratchett was dying of Alzheimer’s Disease when he wrote that book.  He wrote about her death as a way to talk to his loyal readers about his death.  She dies peacefully (because DEATH doesn’t sneak up on witches) but it was gut wrenching to read.  There is a point after she is buried where all the animals that she had Borrowed over the years come out of the woods to look at her grave.  I sobbed through the whole thing.  In typical Terry Pratchett manner he put all this at the very beginning of the book to make people move past it and get on with the story.  Granny is life goals and death goals.  

If you’ve never read the books, you really should.  They are both hysterically funny and deeply profound – sometimes in the same sentence.  To hear about Granny, start with Wyrd Sisters. 

May 2020 Foodies Read
01 Apr, 2020

April 2020 Foodies Read

/ posted in: Foodies ReadReading

 

Welcome to April 2020 Foodies Read!

  We had 31 entries in March!   The winner of the drawing is Marg for her review of With The Fire On High.

The Foodies Read Rules:

  1. Every post must feature a book about food.  Posts that don’t center a book will be removed.
  2. Every entry is entered into a monthly drawing to win a gift card.  Once you win a prize you are not eligible to win for 6 months.

 

 

 

 


You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter



31 Mar, 2020

March 2020 Wrap Up

/ posted in: Reading

Good Lord!  This has been the longest month of all time.  I was talking to coworkers who have been off on various self-isolations.  One said she was on day 12.  I swear I thought I hadn’t seen her in about a month.  Every day is lasting weeks.  Anyway, for an update on my status in all this see yesterday’s post.

I read all the books this month.  Seriously.  In retrospect I can see I was trying hard to distract my brain.  Once I stopped going to work my reading dropped off a cliff.

I present the biggest reading month (actually 3 weeks) ever:

I read this series.  I loved it.  Great world building and relationships between characters.  Go read it.

I read this series. This really should have been three books but she cut the story up whenever there was a cliffhanger. I wouldn’t have read the whole thing if it wasn’t on Kindle Unlimited.

 

I read another series.  This one was really good.  I 100% recommend.

I reread a favorite series and then realized that there is a new novel out.  I’m saving that.

I read a few books in other series I like.

I also managed to read a few standalone books.

I started some new series.  

 

That’s a total of 30 books.  What????

 

The books I read were:

  • 2 audiobooks
  • Set in the U.S. and fantasy lands.

 


From My Shelf

I’m adding a section to encourage me to read books that I’ve had sitting around for a long time.

What book didn’t you see above?  Yeah, the one I absolutely promised I was going to read in March.

I started it.  I just got distracted.  Will work on this.  


Reading All Around the World challenge from Howling Frog Books

  • Read a nonfiction book about the country – or
  • Read fiction written by a native of the country or someone living for a long time in the country.

Nothing new in my comfort reading month.

 

 


 

16 Mar, 2020

What Am I Reading?

/ posted in: Reading

So, how are all your self imposed social distancing efforts going?  Is it horrible that I’m quite enjoying myself?  I feel like I’ve been training to stay away from humans my whole life.  I’m still going to have to go to work for the time being but I’m not going to be surprised if Ohio ends up getting mandatory quarantine soon.  

A few days ago I signed up for a free month of Kindle Unlimited.  About this same time I saw a Tweet recommending Lily Archer’s books.  They were on Kindle Unlimited and now I’ve read 8 in the last two days.

Yes, there are a lot of abs in these stories.  These actually should be two or three books but they are broken up to have cliffhanger endings.  That really annoys me but with Kindle Unlimited I could just keep reading.  I probably wouldn’t have if I had to buy each book separately because I would have felt like I was being ripped off. 

I’ve also been binging this author.

I finished this whole series.  Actually, I finished it up to the last book that isn’t out yet.  VERY frustrating but she has other series out that I’m about to start.  

Caffeine
12 Mar, 2020

Caffeine

/ posted in: Book ReviewFoodies ReadReading Caffeine Caffeine: How Caffeine Created the Modern World on 2020
Length: 6 hours
Genres: Nonfiction
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible, Owned
Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)

Michael Pollan, known for his best-selling nonfiction audio, including The Omnivores Dilemma and How to Change Your Mind, conceived and wrote Caffeine: How Caffeine Created the Modern World as an Audible Original. In this controversial and exciting listen, Pollan explores caffeine's power as the most-used drug in the world - and the only one we give to children (in soda pop) as a treat.

Pollan takes us on a journey through the history of the drug, which was first discovered in a small part of East Africa and within a century became an addiction affecting most of the human species. Caffeine, it turns out, has changed the course of human history - won and lost wars, changed politics, dominated economies. What's more, the author shows that the Industrial Revolution would have been impossible without it. The science of how the drug has evolved to addict us is no less fascinating. And caffeine has done all these things while hiding in plain sight! Percolated with Michael Pollan's unique ability to entertain, inform, and perform, Caffeine is essential listening in a world where an estimated two billion cups of coffee are consumed every day.

Goodreads

This is a fairly short Audible original audiobook written and read by Michael Pollan.  Of course I had to listen to it!

It starts off with the author lamenting that to truly understand the affects of caffeine he had to go off of it for a while.  He procrastinated for a long time and then quit his fairly mild caffeine habit cold turkey.  This led him to believe that the whole idea of writing about caffeine was stupid and also that he would never write again.  He spiraled a bit until his brain got used to this new reality.  

I’ve never really been a person who absolutely needed caffeine to function.  I’ve always felt like it didn’t have a lot of affect on me.  Maybe I’m wrong about that.  It turns out even small doses can make major impacts on sleep quality.  I’m a good sleeper but who knows if I’m getting the best sleep I could be getting?

This audiobook covers a lot of ground in a short time.  There is the history of coffee and tea, the science of caffeine’s affects on the brain, and the affects of caffeine on Western civilization.  Did switching from beer to coffee drive the move out of the Middle Ages in Britain once everyone traded being mildly drunk all the time for being buzzed on caffeine?  

If you’re a Michael Pollan fan, this is a good addition to your library.

09 Mar, 2020

What Am I Reading?

/ posted in: Reading

I’ve actually been getting some quality audiobook time in more than reading books.

 

 

This is the fourth book in the Innkeeper Chronicle series. You need to have an idea what went on in the first ones to listen to this one. They are all very good though. I’m a sucker for a sentient house in a story.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


I’m also a sucker for “human stumbles into the magical world around her” stories. This is the beginning of a series that I can see myself binging even though I have a bunch of other books appearing on my iPad from the library that I need to get to.

It has been a while since I’ve found a new urban fantasy author that I liked.

March 2020 Foodies Read
01 Mar, 2020

March 2020 Foodies Read

/ posted in: Foodies ReadReading

 

Welcome to March 2020 Foodies Read!

You guys were on fire in February.  We had 38 entries!  That might be a new record.  The winner of the drawing is Stephanie for her review of Omnivore’s Dilemma.

The Foodies Read Rules:

  1. Every post must feature a book about food.  Posts that don’t center a book will be removed.
  2. Every entry is entered into a monthly drawing to win a gift card.  Once you win a prize you are not eligible to win for 6 months.

 

 

 

 


You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


29 Feb, 2020

February 2020 Wrap Up

/ posted in: Reading

The slacking continues.  I found myself reading a bunch of books that required THINKING so I wasn’t rushing through them like popcorn.  Then I didn’t even get through all of the thinking books so I only have a few finishes this month.

I was trying to focus on only Black authors for February but then library holds came in and other shiny things happened.  Here are the books by Black authors I read.

My other books

 

The books I read were:

  • 2 audiobooks
  • Set in Morocco, Egypt, and the U.S.

 

What were my favorites?

 

 


From My Shelf

I’m adding a section to encourage me to read books that I’ve had sitting around for a long time.

Yeah, um, moving along, nothing to see here. 

Ok, I’m getting up from the computer right now and picking a book off the shelf.  

I bought this book when I was giving out books as prizes for Foodies Read.  The cover was damaged though so I didn’t give it away.  It has been sitting on my shelf ever since.  It is now on my nightstand.  I WILL read it by the end of March.


Reading All Around the World challenge from Howling Frog Books

  • Read a nonfiction book about the country – or
  • Read fiction written by a native of the country or someone living for a long time in the country.

I need Morocco but the book I read that was set there didn’t meet the requirements for the author living there.  Sad. 

 

 


 

Roses of Marrakech
19 Feb, 2020

Roses of Marrakech

/ posted in: Book ReviewReading Roses of Marrakech Roses of Marrakech by Rachel Clare
on June 2018
Pages: 330
Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction
Format: eBook
Source: Book Tour, From author/publisher

Roses of Marrakech is a breath-taking romantic fiction, set between 1944 and 2016. The story
follows 36-year-old primary school teacher, Ivy Fielding, who suffers from a lack of self-esteem due
to a facial birthmark. Her great-aunt Rose, who has always been her main source of emotional
support, has just died, leaving her a bequest as well as her Lavenham cottage to Ivy and her mother.
Ivy discovers tragedies in her family’s past while reading her late great-aunt’s diary, and this inspires
her to fulfil a childhood dream and she jets off to Marrakech for the summer holidays.
Set against the backdrop of wartime Suffolk and the present-day spice-scented souks of Morocco,
Ivy follows a trail of discovery that will change her life and those around her, forever.
But when uncomfortable secrets of the past begin to surface, can she find the courage to confront
them, or is it easier to walk away?

Goodreads

This is an engaging fiction novel that tells stories in two different timelines.  The first is the story of Ivy, an elementary school teacher who decides to take a trip to Morocco that she has always said that she’ll do “someday.”  Her great-aunt recently died and while cleaning out her house Ivy comes across a diary where her aunt has recorded detail of her life that Ivy did not know about including the lives of her sisters and a romance with an American GI during World War II.

The author did a good job of making the trip to Morocco come alive.  She gives a lot of details about walking around through the different sections of the city.  It makes you want to go and experience it yourself.

I thought that the past timeline was fairly predictable but it was still well written and entertaining.

I wasn’t as fond of the decisions that were made at the end of the story.  

Overall this is a good story about the consequences of secrets in a family.

 


Author Bio

Rachel gained a BA (Hons) in French/English at Liverpool Hope University and an MA in Modern Languages Research at Lancaster University before training to be a journalist. She now lives in Lancaster and teaches French in a primary school. She has enjoyed writing stories since she was a child and coming runner up in a Sunday Express story competition gave her the confidence to write her first novel, Roses of Marrakech.

Whenever I go on holiday, I always take my notebook with me. Visiting Morocco and Lavenham a few years ago, I made notes of my impressions of the places I visited and began writing the book when I returned”, comments Rachel. “In the book, Ivy’s struggles with coming to terms with her birthmark are based on my own experiences with cerebral palsy, whilst the characters, Violet and Eleanor are based on my great-aunts who both died of TB in the late 1920s”.

03 Feb, 2020

What Am I Reading?

/ posted in: Reading

“Sixteen-year-old Portia White is used to being overlooked—after all, her twin sister Alex is a literal genius.

But when Portia holds an Egyptian scarab beetle during history class, she takes center stage in a way she never expected: she faints. Upon waking, she is stronger, faster, and braver than before. And when she accidentally touches the scarab again?

She wakes up in ancient Egypt—her sister and an unwitting freshman in tow.”

 

I wanted to like this one more than I did.  It can be hard for me to get invested in YA fantasy books.  I finished it and I’m still not super clear on exact why everything was happening.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



“Trinity Jordan leads a quiet, normal life: working from home for the Hive, a multifunctional government research center, and recovering from the incident that sent her into a tailspin. But the life she’s trying to rebuild is plagued by mishaps when Li Wei, her neighbor’s super sexy and super strange nephew, moves in and turns things upside down. Li Wei’s behavior is downright odd—and the attraction building between them is even more so. When an emergency pulls his aunt away from the apartment complex, Trinity decides to keep an eye on him…and slowly discovers that nothing is what it seems. For one thing, Li Wei isn’t just the hot guy next door—he’s the hot A.I. next door. In fact, he’s so advanced that he blurs the line between man and machine. It’s up to Trinity to help him achieve his objective of learning to be human, but danger is mounting as they figure out whether he’s capable of the most illogical human behavior of all…falling in love.”

This was a good one.  I don’t usually listen to romance on audio.  I like to skip the sex parts and that’s harder to do but this was only available on Audible.  I’d recommend this one anyway though.  Great worldbuilding in a near future world. 

 

 


I have so many books out from the library right now.  I went a bit overboard requesting things for Blackathon.  I never learn how to pace myself.

February 2020 Foodies Read
01 Feb, 2020

February 2020 Foodies Read

/ posted in: Foodies ReadReading

 

Welcome to February 2020 Foodies Read!

Welcome to another great month of Foodies Read.  We are off to a great start in 2020.

Since we are starting another year let’s review the rules:

  1. Every post must feature a book about food.  Posts that don’t center a book will be removed.
  2. Every entry is entered into a monthly drawing to win a gift card.  Once you win a prize you are not eligible to win for 6 months.

 

We had 28 reviews linked up in January.  The winner of the drawing is Wendy for her review of A New Way to Cake.

 

 


You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


31 Jan, 2020

January 2020 Wrap Up

/ posted in: Reading

You guys are totally not going to believe this.  I was such a slacker this month.  I even went on vacation and DIDN’T READ A SINGLE THING.  I know.  I was shocked too.

 

The books I read were:

  • I finally finished the audiobook of The Starless Sea!
  • Set in England, Argentina, and the U.S.
  • Troubled Waters was a reread

 

What was my favorite?


I’m going to be doing #Blackathon in February.  I already have a bunch of books coming from the library so that should get my reading mojo back.  

 

I’m still trying to figure out if I want to do any other reading challenges.  I could do the Year of Reading Asian challenge again.  I also found a challenge for reading more Latinx authors which is something I’d like to do.  I don’t know if I’m going to sign up for anything formally though.

 


From My Shelf

I’m adding a section to encourage me to read books that I’ve had sitting around for a long time.

Yeah, nothing this month. 

 


Reading All Around the World challenge from Howling Frog Books

  • Read a nonfiction book about the country – or
  • Read fiction written by a native of the country or someone living for a long time in the country.

Added Argentina this month!

 

 


 

#Blackathon
27 Jan, 2020

#Blackathon

/ posted in: Bookish LifeReading

I’ve been a blog slacker recently so I didn’t really think much about participating in any events.  I briefly looked at Blackathon because it is an event I have liked in the past.  Everything I saw about seems to show that it is living mostly on booktube, which I’m really not interested in.  (If I’m wrong about this, let me know!)

Then N.K. Jemisin happened.

Yeah, that is a thread to majorly blow up a person’s TBR just in time for Blackathon.

Here’s what I’ve either bought or requested from the library.

Shadow Blade (Shadowchasers, #1)Shadow Blade by Seressia Glass

“Kira’s day job as an antiquities expert, but her true calling is as a Shadowchaser. Trained from youth to be one of the most lethal Chasers in existence, Kira serves the Gilead Commission dispatching the Fallen who sow discord and chaos. Of course, sometimes Gilead bureaucracy is as much a thorn in her side as anything the Fallen can muster against her. Right now, though, she’s got a bigger problem. Someone is turning the city of Atlanta upside-down in search of a four-millennia-old Egyptian dagger that just happens to have fallen into Kira’s hands.

Then there’s Khefar, the dagger’s true owner-a near-immortal 4000-year-old Nubian warrior who, Kira has to admit, looks pretty fine for his age. Joining forces is the only way to keep the weapon safe from the sinister Shadow force, but now Kira is in deep with someone who holds more secrets than she does, the one person who knows just how treacherous this fight is. Because every step closer to destroying the enemy is a step closer to losing herself to Shadow forever.”


Riot BabyRiot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi

 

“Ella and Kev are brother and sister, both gifted with extraordinary power. Their childhoods are defined and destroyed by structural racism and brutality. Their futures might alter the world. When Kev is incarcerated for the crime of being a young black man in America, Ella—through visits both mundane and supernatural—tries to show him the way to a revolution that could burn it all down.”


The Record KeeperThe Record Keeper by Agnes Gomillion

“After World War III, Earth is in ruins, and the final armies have come to a reluctant truce. Everyone must obey the law—in every way—or risk shattering the fragile peace and endangering the entire human race.

Although Arika Cobane is a member of the race whose backbreaking labor provides food for the remnants of humanity, she is destined to become a member of the Kongo elite. After ten grueling years of training, she is on the threshold of taking her place of privilege far from the fields. But everything changes when a new student arrives. Hosea Khan spews dangerous words of treason: What does peace matter if innocent lives are lost to maintain it?

As Arika is exposed to new beliefs, she realizes that the laws she has dedicated herself to uphold are the root of her people’s misery. If Arika is to liberate her people, she must unearth her fierce heart and discover the true meaning of freedom: finding the courage to live—or die—without fear.”


This is a preorder that isn’t coming out until this fall.

The ConductorsThe Conductors by Nicole Glover

 

As a conductor on the Underground Railroad, Hetty Rhodes helped usher dozens of people north with her wits and magic. Now that the Civil War is over, Hetty and her husband Benjy have settled in Philadelphia, solving murders and mysteries that the white authorities won’t touch. When they find one of their friends slain in an alley, Hetty and Benjy bury the body and set off to find answers. But the secrets and intricate lies of the elites of Black Philadelphia only serve to dredge up more questions. To solve this mystery, they will have to face ugly truths all around them, including the ones about each other.”


She asked specifically about sci-fi/speculative fiction. I have a few other books on my iPad from black authors in other genres. Let’s see what the month brings. Usually this event adds so much to my TBR list.

The Cake Fairies
16 Jan, 2020

The Cake Fairies

/ posted in: Book ReviewFoodies ReadReading The Cake Fairies The Cake Fairies by Isabella May
Pages: 397
Genres: Fiction
Published by Independently Published
Format: eBook
Source: Book Tour, From author/publisher
Setting: England

1960's Somerset is no fun for cousins Polly and Annabelle Williams. Mourning their non-existent love lives, and the mundanity of village life, their only pleasure is baking - until a chance encounter has them magically transported to the bright lights of London... in 2019!

Promised a chance of love, first they must teach the people of the future about the simpler pleasures of life by becoming Cake Fairies. Over the course of a year they set off on a delectable tour of the UK, dropping off cakes in the most unexpected of places and replacing the lure of technology with much sweeter temptations.

But will their philanthropical endeavours lead them to everlasting love? Or will they discover you can't have your cake and eat it?

The Cake Fairies is the fifth novel by fantastical foodie author, Isabella May.

Goodreads

I jumped on the chance to read this book because of the title.  I love books about food and books with fairies.  Why not combine them?

I loved the idea that Polly and Annabelle meet their fairy godmother who is frustrated with them.  She has set them up to meet many good husbands but their lack of adventurous spirits has derailed every plan.  Now it is time to do something drastic.  

They are good bakers who are brought forward to 2019 to spread joy through random gifts of cake.  I always like time travel books where people need to figure out a new time.  I especially like it when people move into the future since that is a rarer storyline.  This book did make me a bit salty though.  The problem that they are brought forward to combat is that people spend all their time on mobile devices instead of talking to the people around them.  The fairy godmother wants people to look away from their screens. 

Holy Introvert Nightmare!  I am old enough to remember when people didn’t have screens to occupy themselves.  People didn’t just go around talking to random strangers.  We just had books and newspapers to hide behind.  Besides, what do you think people are doing when they are typing on their phone?  Communicating!  Why would we ever want to go back to a world where I have to wait until we get home and can check the encyclopedia to prove to my husband that I was right about whatever we might be discussing when I can google it in the moment?  Oh, and by the way, I read this ebook on my iPad in part while sitting in a restaurant apparently being antisocial and contributing to the downfall of society.  /rant, maybe.

So anyway, the idea that this utopia that they thought they were building equals my idea of a crushing defeat of civilization may have altered my enjoyment of the book just a bit.  I was sassy while reading especially when there was a reveal that the reason one character wasn’t nice was because her mother used to make cake for her father and not for the children.  Her mother loved her father more than she loved her children.  That’s the way I always thought things were supposed to work.  I didn’t think it was cause for alarm.  /rant, seriously this time.

If you are ok with the premise, it could be a cute, light read with a little bit of romance.  

 

 

The Polo Diaries
14 Jan, 2020

The Polo Diaries

/ posted in: Book ReviewReading The Polo Diaries Single in Buenos Aires (The Polo Diaries, #1) by Roxana Valea
on July 2, 2019
Genres: Fiction
Published by RV Publications
Format: eBook
Source: Book Tour, From author/publisher
Setting: Argentina

Roxy plays polo… but dreams of love.

Forty-one-year-old polo player Roxy arrives in Argentina with a to-do list that includes healing from a polo injury and falling in love with a handsome Argentine. From polo boots to tango shoes, the adrenaline of riding horses to glamorous after-game parties, Roxy learns to navigate this unfamiliar landscape with the help of new friends who teach her to take life as it comes. But will she find true love? Over three months in Buenos Aires, nothing goes according to plan, and yet, all the items on her list mysteriously get ticked off in the end. Just not the way she had imagined.

Fans of the Bridget Jones series will love the blend of humor, travel, and romantic comedy at the heart of Single in Buenos Aires, all topped off with the unforgettable flavor of life in one of the most sensual and passionate cities in the world.

Goodreads

I was interested in this book for the adventure of living in a new country and trying to meet people with the bonus aspect of horses.  For a while the book works as Roxy moves to Argentina with several goals in mind.  She wants to rehab her wrists after breaking both arms in a polo match.  She is taking Spanish lessons.  She wants to start playing polo again.  She also wants to fall in love. 

I enjoyed the parts of this book that dealt with her learning about Argentinian customs.  I liked the women around her coaching her on how to date in South America and how it is different than in Europe.  However, there is a point towards the end where her love interest yells at her for being shallow and I agreed with him totally.  She doesn’t seem to know what she wants.  She flips between wanting a boyfriend and then not wanting to commit and then being mad when the person she has refused to commit to has to work or doesn’t help her move.  I was exhausted by it and I wasn’t in the relationship. 

This book is based on the author’s real life so it seems churlish to say that I wanted the main character to be a better person but I did.  She has a life that lets her move to foreign countries to play for half the year without working but she is so “woe is me” about it all.  There is also some strange vibes given off at times.  There are a few references to fat people in the book that struck me as judgemental without actually saying anything mean.  It is hard to explain but the fact that the person was fat was not relevant to the story but she would make sure to point it out.  Likewise she has some real hangups about disabilities.  She labels herself disabled when she has a broken arm.  She talks about how no one will date a disabled person like her.  She refuses to dance because of her “disability”.  Who cares?  It’s a broken arm. 

For a book that supposedly centers around polo, there is very little of it here.  I come into horse sports from the perspective of loving horses.  I don’t get that from her.  She never talks about the horses.  She never refers to any by name or acknowledges them at all.  During the time she can’t play polo she never does anything else with horses.  Most horse people would still be hanging out with them or riding around while their arm heals enough to play again.  She appears to have no interest in them.  Now, there is a sequel to this book called A Horse Named Bicycle so maybe that changes.

Cat Daddy
07 Jan, 2020

Cat Daddy

/ posted in: Book ReviewReading Cat Daddy Cat Daddy: What the World's Most Incorrigible Cat Taught Me About Life, Love, and Coming Clean by Jackson Galaxy, Joel Derfner
on May 10, 2012
Pages: 304
Genres: Nonfiction, Personal Memoirs
Published by Tarcher
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library

Cat behaviorist and star of Animal Planet's hit television show My Cat from Hell, Jackson Galaxy, a.k.a. "Cat Daddy," isn't what you might expect for a cat expert. Yet Galaxy's ability to connect with even the most troubled felines -- not to mention the stressed-out humans living in their wake -- is awe-inspiring.

In this book, Galaxy tells the poignant story of his thirteen-year relationship with a petite gray-and-white short-haired cat named Benny, and gives singular advice for living with, caring for, and loving the feline in your home.

Goodreads

I am so disappointed in this book.  I’m a fan of Jackson Galaxy’s way of interacting with cats and his ability to work through their issues.  It always amazes me how clueless a lot of people are about what is going on in their cat’s mind.  I picked this book up to find some more inspiration about working with cats.  I did find that and I understood that a lot of this would also be about his life but I wasn’t expecting to also find that he seems to be a pretty awful human being.

Over half this memoir is dedicated to the story of his many addictions and how he dealt with them.  He acknowledges that he didn’t treat people well during these times but since this book is written afterwards you would hope that he would have gained some clarity.  Instead he is still quite a jerk when writing about people.  Perhaps I am a bit sensitive to this because the group he singles out for most of his abuse (besides his sexual partners) is veterinarians.  If he just hated us all that would be one thing.  I can deal with the conspiracy-theorist type client who thinks we are out to get their money and poison their cat.  He is a worse type of client.  He’s the type who bonds and likes you until an animal inevitably gets sick.  Then he turns on you viciously for either causing the problem or not fixing the problem or doing too much to fix the problem or usually all of these at once.  This happened several times in this book.  I also have a real problem with his using the names of the vets he did this too.  In some cases he only uses Dr. First Name which is better than the whole name but is still a jerk move to lash out at people who didn’t seem to do anything wrong even according to his own narrative.  He admits that he is a person who needs to place blame for everything.  Guess what, the blame very rarely lands on him.  He’s a victim in all these stories. 

In one case he had a diabetic cat.  He gets mad because no one talked to him about nutrition.  What?  Nutrition is the staple of treatment for diabetes in cats.  The goal is to get cats off insulin.  Even if the nutrition counseling wasn’t his preferred all natural diet, I can almost promise that nutrition was discussed at some point. 

In another case he had a dying cat.  He didn’t want to face that fact.  Then he gets mad because his cat is on a lot of meds.  Here’s what probably happened.  He went to the vet and didn’t want to hear about his cat dying.  He wanted to try everything.  Then when everything was tried he got mad because the miracle he expected didn’t occur.  Suddenly it is the vet’s fault for forcing all these meds on his cat.  Because it ALWAYS IS SOMEONE ELSE’S FAULT!

He even got pissed off at a vet who he went into business with who had the audacity to get heart disease.  She had to cut back on how much she was working.  Is she ok?  Is she dead?  We don’t know because we only hear about how this was a hardship on him. 

So read this book for the tips on cat behavior and skim/skip the rest in order not to lose all respect for him. 

 

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