Friday, July 31, 2020

First Line Fridays: July 31st

This weekly meme is hosted by Hoarding Books.  Here's a book I listened to a few weeks ago and highly enjoyed: 

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Thursday, July 30, 2020

SOHO Crime Present: Getaway Live--Virtual Author Event Series

I used to read crime books all the time in my early 20s. Now, it's rare when I pick one up. I encountered a few crime book companies when attending the LA Times Festival of Books and I believe that I saw a booth for SOHO Crime, but sadly, I never really stopped at the booth. So when I saw that there was going to be an online event with two SOHO Crime authors, I figured I should check it out. And boy, I'm sure glad I did!

This online event was a conversation with John Straley and Ed Lin, lead by Juliet Grames. 
These two authors were absolutely hilarious! They gave a brief synopsis of where they were from and what lead them into writing crime stories. Both John and Ed had great chemistry that they were able to lead the discussion mostly on their own; there was no need for too many questions from the facilitator or from the audience. If anything, Juliet Grames just commented to what the authors were talking about or gave side facts to the audience about the authors. 

I was highly entertained with this online event that it made me a little sad when it ended. But hey, this event did encourage me to check out crime books again, especially books written by John Straley and Ed Lin. 😁

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Audiobook Review: Troublemaker, Surviving Hollywood & Scientology

Written and read by Leah Remini
Duration: 7 hours 12 minutes
Leah Remini has never been the type to hold her tongue. That willingness to speak her mind, stand her ground, and rattle the occasional cage has enabled this tough-talking girl from Brooklyn to forge an enduring and successful career in Hollywood. But being a troublemaker has come at a cost.

That was never more evident than in 2013, when Remini loudly and publicly broke with the Church of Scientology. Now, in this frank, funny, poignant memoir, the former King of Queens star opens up about that experience for the first time, revealing the in-depth details of her painful split with the church and its controversial practices.

Indoctrinated into the church as a child while living with her mother and sister in New York, Remini eventually moved to Los Angeles, where her dreams of becoming an actress and advancing Scientology's causes grew increasingly intertwined. As an adult, she found the success she'd worked so hard for, and with it a prominent place in the hierarchy of celebrity Scientologists alongside people such as Tom Cruise, Scientology's most high-profile adherent. Remini spent time directly with Cruise and was included among the guests at his 2006 wedding to Katie Holmes.

But when she began to raise questions about some of the church's actions, she found herself a target. In the end, she was declared by the church to be a threat to their organization and therefore a "Suppressive Person," and as a result, all of her fellow parishioners—including members of her own family—were told to disconnect from her. Forever.

Bold, brash, and bravely confessional, Troublemaker chronicles Leah Remini's remarkable journey toward emotional and spiritual freedom, both for herself and for her family. This is a memoir designed to reveal the hard-won truths of a life lived honestly—from an author unafraid of the consequences.


Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Review: We Are Displaced

Written by Malala Yousafzai
Nobel Peace Prize-winner Malala Yousafzai will start with her own story of displacement as an Internally Displaced Person to show what it means to lose your home, your community, and the only world you've ever known. She will also share the personal stories of some of the girls she has met on her various journeys to refugee camps and the cities where refugee girls and their families have settled.

In a time of immigration crises, war, and border conflicts, We Are Displaced is a reminder from one of the world's most famous people who experienced displacement that everyone deserves universal human rights and a home.

Monday, July 27, 2020

#FitReaders: July 20th-26th

FitReader 2020 logo image
#FitReaders2020 is hosted by Felicia the Geeky Blogger and Jen from That's What I'm Talking About

I was very happy with how active I was last week. Though I did not meet every single goal I set, I was still able to do a lot of it. 

Here's how my third week of the challenge went:

Monday 7/20:  Did 15 minutes of dumbbells with "12 Minute Upper Body Workout" by MadFit (I restarted the video to make sure I had my full 15 minutes); walked 1.26 miles at a local park; did over 20 minutes of salsa with the hubby with "Salsa Mix 2020" music. 

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Review: I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced

by Nujood Ali with Delphine Minoui6818019
Nujood Ali's childhood came to an abrupt end in 2008 when her father arranged for her to be married to a man three times her age. With harrowing directness, Nujood tells of abuse at her husband's hands and of her daring escape. With the help of local advocates and the press, Nujood obtained her freedom—an extraordinary achievement in Yemen, where almost half of all girls are married under the legal age. Nujood's courageous defiance of both Yemeni customs and her own family has inspired other young girls in the Middle East to challenge their marriages. Hers is an unforgettable story of tragedy, triumph, and courage.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Reading & Conversation from Evenbrite

Here's another fun online event that I participated in: Reading & Conversation with Anthony Cody, Tatiana Figueroa Ramirez, and Tanya Shirazi. This event was hosted by White Whale Bookstore in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

All three poets read a few pieces from their works then had conversations with each other to compare and contrast the themes of each other's works. Their works centered around the issues of being a person of color, specifically the meaning of "borderlands." I am not a huge poetry person, but I was able to appreciate their readings. Many of the poems moved me and encouraged me to buy their books. 

First Line Fridays: July 23rd

This weekly meme is hosted by Hoarding Books.  Here's a book I listened to a few weeks ago: The Hate U Give eBook: Thomas, Angie: Kindle Store

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Audiobook Review: The Storm Runner

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Author: J.C. Cervantes
Narrator: Ozzie Rodriguez
Duration: 11 hours 51 minutes
Zane has always enjoyed exploring the dormant volcano near his home in New Mexico, even though hiking it is challenging. He'd much rather hang out there with his dog, Rosie, than go to middle school, where kids call him Sir Limps a Lot, McGimpster, or Uno—for his one good leg. What Zane doesn't know is that the volcano is a gateway to another world and he is at the center of a powerful prophecy. A new girl at school, Brooks, informs him that he's destined to release an evil god from the ancient Maya relic he is imprisoned in—unless she can find and remove it first. Together they return to the volcano, where all kinds of crazy happens. Brooks turns into a hawk, a demon attacks them in a cave, and Rosie gives her all while trying to protect Zane. When Zane decides to save his dog no matter the cost, he is thrust into an adventure full of surprising discoveries, dangerous secrets, and an all-out war between the gods, one of whom happens to be his father. To survive, Zane will have to become the Storm Runner. But how can he run when he can't even walk well without a cane? 

Feisty heroes, tricky gods, murderous demons, and spirited giants are just some of the pleasures that await in this fresh and funny take on Maya mythology, as rich and delicious as a mug of authentic hot chocolate. 

Monday, July 20, 2020

#FitReaders: July 13th-19th

FitReader 2020 logo image
#FitReaders2020 is hosted by Felicia the Geeky Blogger and Jen from That's What I'm Talking About

Last week I didn't do so well so I set the goal to be active 3-4 days this week. I'm happy to report that I met that mini goal!

Here's how my second week of the challenge went:

Monday 7/13:  Did 15 minutes of dumbbells with "15 minute NO JUMPING Full Body Strength" by MadFit; walked 1.12 miles at a nearby park; 15 minutes of salsa dancing with the hubby using video tips from Dance Papi. 

Saturday, July 18, 2020

A Conversation with Keah Brown

Disability Book Series

Disability Book Series: A Conversation with Keah Brown ...
image from Evenbrite

I attended my first virtual author discussion! As a RSP teacher (special ed), I always try to find ways to educate myself to be a better teacher. I love to read about people with disabilities that have succeeded (big or small) or have broken the norm in some way. So I looked forward to this discussion. 

About the Disability Book Series:
This wonderful series, organized by the Senior and Disability Action group, highlights authors and writers with disabilities. They educate and bring awareness to societal conceptions of disability as well as fight for individual rights and social justice.  The series aims to be inclusive and accessible to all people. 

Friday, July 17, 2020

Audiobook Review: Kitchen Confidential

Written and Narrated by: Anthony Bourdain
Duration: 8 hours 15 minutes

Kitchen Confidential Audiobook by Anthony Bourdain - 9780375417726 ...
A deliciously funny, delectably shocking banquet of wild-but-true tales of life in the culinary trade from Chef Anthony Bourdain, laying out his more than a quarter-century of drugs, sex, and haute cuisine—now with all-new, never-before-published material.

New York Chef Tony Bourdain gives away secrets of the trade in his wickedly funny, inspiring memoir/expose. Kitchen Confidential reveals what Bourdain calls "twenty-five years of sex, drugs, bad behavior and haute cuisine.

First Line Fridays: July 17th

This weekly meme is hosted by Hoarding Books.  Here's a book I listened to a few weeks ago: 

King and the Dragonflies audiobook cover art

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Audiobook Review: With the Fire on High

Written and Narrated by Elizabeth Acevedo
Duration: 7 hours 27 minutes

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With her daughter to care for and her abuela to help support, high school senior Emoni Santiago has to make the tough decisions, and do what must be done. The one place she can let her responsibilities go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness. Still, she knows she doesn’t have enough time for her school’s new culinary arts class, doesn’t have the money for the class’s trip to Spain — and shouldn’t still be dreaming of someday working in a real kitchen. But even with all the rules she has for her life — and all the rules everyone expects her to play by — once Emoni starts cooking, her only real choice is to let her talent break free.

Monday, July 13, 2020

#FitReaders: July 6th-12th

FitReader 2020 logo image
#FitReaders2020 is hosted by Felicia the Geeky Blogger and Jen from That's What I'm Talking About

Here's how my first week of the challenge went:

Monday 7/06: Not much. On Sunday we drove 16 hours to Portland for a funeral so today we did a lot of sleeping and visiting my sister-in-law (safely) who lost her newly wed husband. 

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Audiobook Review: The Hate U Give

Author: Angie Thomas
Narrator: Bahni Turpin
Duration: 11 hours 40 minutes

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Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Monday, July 6, 2020

Graphic Novel Review: Colorblind

By Johnathan Harris, Garry Leach (Illustrations)
Johnathan Harris is fifteen, and lives in Long Beach, California, where he loves playing soccer with his friends, and listening to their favorite rapper, Snoop Dogg, a Long Beach native. His mom, dad, and three brothers are tight, but one of the most influential family members for Johnathan is his Uncle Russell, a convict in prison, serving fifteen years to life . . .

Uncle Russell taught Johnathan from a very young age to see people from the perspective of their cultures, and not just their skin color. He imbued a pride of his ancestry and cautioned against letting hatred into his heart.

But when Johnathan was just eight years old, something happened that filled him with fear and the very hatred that Uncle Russell had warned him about. What happened to Johnathan made him see that a dream of a colorless world was just that. A dream.

That event shook him to his core. Anger grew inside him like a hot coal. Uncle Russell had told him to “throw it away or you will get burned,” but Johnathan was young and frightened. He was having a hard time forgiving, much less forgetting.

Colorblind is Johnathan’s story of confronting his own racism and overcoming it. It is a story of hope and optimism that all, young and old, should heed.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

His and Her Reviews: Bossypants Audiobook

Bossypants (Audiobook) by Tina Fey |
The hubby and I listened to Tina Fey's book during our Northern California trip. 

Read by Tina Fey
Duration: 5 hours 35 minutes

Before Liz Lemon, before "Weekend Update", before "Sarah Palin", Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV.

She has seen both of those dreams come true.

At last, Tina Fey's story can be told. From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon - from the beginning of this paragraph to this final sentence.

Tina Fey reveals all, and proves what we've all suspected: you're no one until someone calls you bossy.

Includes special, never-before-solicited opinions on breastfeeding, princesses, Photoshop, the electoral process, and Italian rum cake!

Friday, July 3, 2020

#FitReaders 2020

FitReader 2020 logo image
I found another weekly meme that I'm excited to participate in. #FitReaders2020 is hosted by Felicia the Geeky Blogger and Jen from That's What I'm Talking About. This is a fitness oriented challenge where readers are encouraged to get up and do some sort of workout. The #FitReaders have a Facebook Group and are on Twitter. There will be weekly check-in posts to keep participants accountable. 

For now, I will do my posts on Mondays and see how it goes. :)


First Line Fridays: July 3rd

While browsing through some blogs today, I encountered this fun weekly post hosted by Hoarding Books.  And I thought to myself, why not? 

Here's a book that I recently read and absolutely loved: 


Audiobook Review: King and the Dragronflies

King and the Dragonflies audiobook cover art
Author: Kacen Callender
Read by: Ron Butler
Duration: 5 hours 3 minutes

Twelve-year-old Kingston James is sure his brother Khalid has turned into a dragonfly. When Khalid unexpectedly passed away, he shed what was his first skin for another to live down by the bayou in their small Louisiana town. Khalid still visits in dreams, and King must keep these secrets to himself as he watches grief transform his family.

It would be easier if King could talk with his best friend, Sandy Sanders. But just days before he died, Khalid told King to end their friendship, after overhearing a secret about Sandy-that he thinks he might be gay. "You don't want anyone to think you're gay too, do you?"

But when Sandy goes missing, sparking a town-wide search, and King finds his former best friend hiding in a tent in his backyard, he agrees to help Sandy escape from his abusive father, and the two begin an adventure as they build their own private paradise down by the bayou and among the dragonflies. As King's friendship with Sandy is reignited, he's forced to confront questions about himself and the reality of his brother's death.