February 19, 2015

This Past Weekend

The Bunker is a great place to grab a bite to eat and relax. The calm and artsy atmosphere is ideal for writers, artists, students, and introverts. I don't really enjoy places that are filled with chatter and too many humans. I went on a Sunday, so maybe it was just slow that day. I can't imagine why this place wouldn't get business. Their chicken salad croissant and iced chai tea latte were tasty!

It suddenly occurred to me as I stepped over the threshold. This is a 1920s speakeasy prohibition style coffee shop. The name should have revealed that to me, but somehow it didn't. For those who don't know, a blind tiger is another term used  during Prohibition to describe an establishment which illegally sold alcohol. The coffee is Buddy Brew, a local here in Tampa, so I already knew it would be fantastic.

After I ate, I walked around Ybor for a bit to clear my head and enjoy my surroundings. I've been here many times before, but it's always nice to come back. Mostly I kept thinking about how much I miss photography and that I need to buy a camera soon. My problem is that the market is so large and there are so many cameras to choose from. My ideal camera would be small enough to carry around with me every day, no interchangeable lens, and great image quality. I currently have my heart set on the Panasonic LX100, but that may change.

Last, but not least, I visited Oxford Exchange. This enchanted bookstore reminded me of who I truly am and how much I've strayed away from that girl, now woman.

November 23, 2014

Inkwood Books

Drum roll please. At last, I can write about Inkwood Books! Oh yes, it's basically a house. I'm so happy that I get to call this gem my local bookstore. It's perfect. It feels like home. Sure, the book selection isn't as grand as Barnes & Noble, however they do have a great selection of new books. I always purchase at least one book from there whenever I visit. I love being able to support local businesses and it's something I firmly believe in. This bookstore does serve local coffee from Buddy Brew and one of my favorite things about this place is the porch. I like to sit there and pour my heart out on a page or two. It's the perfect place to spend an afternoon. Now, I do have a confession. My last visit there was not my favorite. The person who was working that day didn't even speak to me. I wasn't greeted or acknowledged when I walked through the door. What am I, a ghost? The first time I visited the bookstore I met the owner, Stefani. She greeted me, offered me coffee, talked to me. She was very warm and friendly. She had the personality and charisma fit for someone who owns a quaint little bookstore. I will continue to revisit this bookstore. I do love it! If you wish to know a little more about Inkwood Books and its recent history, feel free to read this.

November 8, 2014

Mojo Books & Records

Two weekends ago I visited a new bookstore near the University Square in Tampa. This is my second favorite independent bookstore I have been to all year. Hands down. I've been to several of them in the Bay Area this year. So far, my favorite has been Inkwood Books which I have yet to make a blog post about. Most of the books at Mojo Books & Records are used, but in great condition. I only purchased one book simply because I was short on time to thoroughly see all of the books, but I did have time to get a coffee. Their artisan coffee bar is whimsical and their server is very polite and helpful. I decided to get a spicy caramel latte and let me to you, it was the best one that has ever graced my lips (run, Jessica, run). Oh! And they do have quite the selection of vinyl records. I definitely plan on visiting again soon and actually sticking around for more than an hour. To conclude: great book selection, much more organized than other used bookstores I've been to, outstanding coffee, lovely atmosphere, friendly people.

Again, I only had my iPhone 5S in my possession. Excuse the poor quality photographs.

October 13, 2014

Wilson's Book World

This weekend I went to Downtown St. Petersburg to grab a bite to eat at The Moon Under Water, a neat little tavern by the water that serves British cuisine (I ate fish and chips). I also visited Wilson's Book World which was nearby. This bookshop sells used books and comics in decent condition at a bargain price. I loved it! There were several rooms dedicated to specific genres. I wish I had taken more photographs, but I only had my iPhone with me. I'm still working on getting a portable pocket camera, and hopefully that will motivate me to blog more. Anyway, the owner was welcoming, helpful, and friendly. Him and I talked for a while about my latest  obsession: Game of Thrones. He even found me a copy of the first book in the series. I really do hope I enjoy the books as much as I enjoy the show. I've heard there are far more characters in the book series and it is difficult to keep up. We shall see!

June 2, 2014

Book Review | Tell The Wolves I'm Home.

Title: Tell The Wolves I'm Home
Author: Carol Rifka Brunt
Narrator: June, first person
Publisher: Random House, 2012
Genre: Fiction
Source: Target
Review: 1 star out of 5 stars

Tell The Wolves I'm Home is probably one of the most boring books I have ever attempted to read. To top it all off, the story is disturbing. This book is about a fourteen year old girl named June whose uncle just died of AIDS. She has a weird obsession with her dead uncle, Finn, and it seems as though she may have had inappropriate feelings for him when he was alive. Finn had a "special" friend named Toby. Toby, a man who is roughly thirty years age, reaches out to June after Finn's death and writes her a letter in which he explains that he thinks they should meet to bond over the death of Finn (basically) and to not mention it to her parents. Um, creepy. Neither of them have a social life or anything remotely interesting about them. It's hard to sympathize with characters who aren't likable. They did meet, and it was awkward. Toby is desperate and June is naive. I've read several books with slow beginnings, but this one tops them all. I don't even care what happens next. All of the characters, including June's family members, are just so impersonal. I'm usually a fast reader, but this book turned me into a slow reader. Great books pull me in and this one just kept pushing me farther and farther away.

I did not finish reading this book. I have way too many books on my to-read list and I just don't have the energy to force myself through a book I don't find interesting. I wanted to give this book, or at least the first one hundred pages, zero stars to be quite honest. The only reason I am giving this book one star is because I like Carol Rifka Brunt's style of writing. However, I cannot recommend this book. I feel bad for saying that, but when I decided to write about books and my personal experiences with them I told myself that I would be completely honest and write only the truth. This is my first real negative book review. Fact: not every book is a good book. This one just wasn't my cup of tea.

May 29, 2014

Book Haul · May 2014

My birthday was this month so of course many books were a result from that.
One new "fun" book, eight new paperback novels, three new hardcover novels.

14,000 Things to be Happy About (2007)
A list of happy things.

The Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles (2013)
A book sensation gets published under the wrong sister's name.

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand (2010)
A local man falls in love with a foreign woman in a village where their bond may not be so welcoming.

The Baker's Daughter (2012)
A German bakery owner with a dark past of the last year of WWII.

The Perfume Collector (2014)
A young woman receives an inheritance from a mystery woman.

Tell the Wolves I'm Home (2013)
After a girl's uncle dies, she meets a strange man who may hold the answers to all her questions.

The Fault in Our Stars (2012)
A girl and boy meet at a cancer support group. They fall in love, I think.

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore (2013)
A mystery of some sort taking place inside of a bookshop.

Whistling Past the Graveyard (2014)
A child runs away from her grandmother's home.

The Inventor's Secret (2014)
An alternate universe where the American Revolution failed and refugees struggle to survive under a brutal British Empire.

A Burnable Book (2014)
1385 London. The "burnable book" is an ancient prophetic book that foretells the deaths of England's kings.

All The Light We Cannot See (2014)
The lives of a French girl and a German boy collide in occupied France as they try to survive the horror of WWII.

May 24, 2014

Book Review · The Life List

Title: The Lift List
Author: Lori Nelson Spielman
Narrator: Brett Bohlinger, first person
Publisher: Random House
Genre: Chick Lit, Fiction
Source: Barnes & Noble
Review: 5 out of 5 stars

A book about loss and gain, The Life List quickly found a spot on my list of favorites. My heart was with the main character, Brett Bohlinger, the entire time. I was rooting for her. This book is about a woman in her mid-thirties who has just lost her mother, Elizabeth Bohlinger, and that is where the story begins: a grieving Brett in her mother's bedroom during the funeral luncheon. The next day Brett hits rock bottom when she finds out her mother didn't leave her an inheritance. Also, she loses her job at her mother's multimillion dollar company. Yikes! What her mother did leave behind for only daughter was a life list that once belonged to a teenage Brett who has since forgotten about it. Elizabeth believed that these were the true desires of her daughter's heart and before she succumbed to cancer she hired a lawyer by the name of Brad Midar to help guide her daughter. The life list is to be completed within a year or Brett doesn't receive a single dime. Brett gains so much in the next few months after her mother's death and in many ways she finds her true self. This book is about personal growth, discovery, reunion, forgiveness, finding courage, and living life without regret. As the story progressed it occurred to me that this wasn't going to be a story about a woman chasing an inheritance, but instead about a woman building her very own fortune. I really loved the main character, Brett, and all of her quirks. I highly recommend this book! Well-written and heartfelt.

Favorite quote: "After twenty-seven years of slumber, love has arrived and awakened me from my sleep. The old me would say this is wrong, it's immoral. But the woman I've become feels helpless to stop it. For the first time in my life, my heart has found its rhythm."