Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Top 5 Wednesday: Books Before Blogging & Goodreads

Top 5 Wednesday is a group on Goodreads hosted by Sam from Thoughts on Tome on Youtube.

It has been a while since I participated in Top 5 Wednesday but I had to participate this week for a few reasons (1) I had suggested this topic, (2) I love finding books that I hadn't heard of due to limited research abilities at the time, and (3) I love sharing my favorite backlist books that don't get nearly enough love.  

I have been trying to go back and re-read some of my favorite books from before blogging and Goodreads to add reviews and bring them to light again.  For this list I decided to only mention ones that I have not gotten to re-read and review since I started blogging (and putting this list together has me wanting to read them again very, very soon).  I am cheating again of course because often I can't single out the best book in a series so just share the series as a whole.

Years and years ago I was consuming every available fantasy book available to middle grade and young adults (of course at that time I don't think there really was a distinction between the two) and after reading the Song of the Lioness Quartet I was in need of another series to dive into, lucky for me my library had The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia Wrede to fulfill my need.

In late Jr. High and High School I had blown through every fantasy novel I could track down in my library and had moved on to much darker books.  I quickly became obsessed with the Hannibal Lecter Series by Thomas Harris.

Later in High School I had settled on seeking a degree in the medical field and found a real love of medical thrillers, especially those by Robin Cook.  

In College and soon after I once again returned to the realm of fantasy, with the ability to search more authors and book suggestion sites, as well as more bookstores in RI (and shopping online) I was able to find what has now become my perfect niche, Fantasy Romance. The White Magic Trilogy by Caitlin Brennan was on of the great finds for me. 

Following on the heels of that series, I discovered the Summoning Series by Robin D. Owens that sucked me further into the genre (and also introduced me to one of my favorite authors).

I then of course started blogging here in 2010 and then I think I joined Goodreads in 2011. There are many, many more books I would love to share with you and I hope these aren't ones that I repeat super often either. 

Have you read any of these books? What are some of your favorites before joining the online book community? Share some of your backlisted loves!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Audio Book Review of Pax by Sara Pennypacker

Read for: Audio Book Challenge

Synopsis: "Pax was only a kit when his family was killed, and “his boy” Peter rescued him from abandonment and certain death. Now the war front approaches, and when Peter’s father enlists, Peter has to move in with his grandpa. Far worse than being forced to leave home is the fact that Pax can’t go. Peter listens to his stern father—as he usually does—and throws Pax’s favorite toy soldier into the woods. When the fox runs to retrieve it, Peter and his dad get back in the car and leave him there—alone. But before Peter makes it through even one night under his grandfather’s roof, regret and duty spur him to action; he packs for a trek to get his best friend back and sneaks into the night. This is the story of Peter, Pax, and their independent struggles to return to one another against all odds. Told from the alternating viewpoints of Peter and Pax."

My Review: I have been wanting to read this book, the cover is stunning and the story sounds like something right up my alley. I downloaded it on audio and Munchkin wanted to listen too, admittedly this book is well advanced for him. Being as I was listening with Munchkin and could only listen to about 15-20 minutes a day, this story took a very long time to finish. The writing is very descriptive and for someone who is younger several of the descriptions really didn't make sense to him, as an adult I enjoyed it but for the target audience that is often on the verge of becoming a reader or start to hate reading it was maybe a bit much. I did enjoy the characters though and the way each of them developed. The story does tackle some tough subjects from war and PTSD to finding who you are and what is important to you as an individual. The ending was a little lackluster for all the build up and Munchkin kept asking what happened to the war, how did Peter get home, where did he go home? So we were left a little disappointed and almost bored with the ending, it is too bad because it had some really great developments.

My Rating: I really enjoyed this one and it will probably be great for young teens who are already bookworms. While it did take us a while to get through this audio book, it was still a very slow moving story with a lot of set backs that didn't always seem to add to the story.  The ending was so abrupt that it almost seems like there should be another story, I understand leaving an open end for you to imagine  your own but to leave so many questions that were presented in the story unanswered seems like it might leave young readers with a lack of closure.  We give this one a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Monday Reading List

Its Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Shelia at Book Journey. Share what books you have finished in the last week, are currently reading and what might be coming up next!

Reviews Posted Last Week:
Links will take you to my review

American Street by Ibi Zoboi (Audio Book Review)
Summer Treasure by Margaret McNamara (Early Reader)
Dear Teacher by Amy Husband (Bedtime Story)
Monstress Vol. 2: The Blood by Marjorie M. Liu (Graphic Novel)

 Books Finished Last Week:
Reviews will be posted at a later date

Ban This Book
Heir to the Shadows
Prince's Gambit
David Goes to School

Currently Reading:

Scythe by Neal Shusterman - Print - on page 265 of 435
The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee - Print - on page 37 of 513

 Books to be Read Soon:

Pages Read/ Time Listened
150:23 Hours (about 6 Days) Listened (18:48 listened this week)
38,100 Pages Read (620 this week)

Books Added to Shelves Recently TBR
Beauty and the Beast by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve
Samurai Rising by Pamela Turner
Dawn Study by Maria V. Snyder
Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
Saga Vol. 7 by Brian K. Vaughan
Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
Dragon Teeth by Michael Crichton
Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh
How to Tame a Willful Wife by Christy English
New World: Rising by Jennifer Wilson
The Sandcastle Empire by Kayla Olson
And I Darken by Kiersten White
Finding Wonders by Jeannine Atkins
World Mythology in Bite Sized Chunks by Mark Daniels
Eliza and Her Monster by Francesca Zappia
Turning Pointe by Katherine Locke
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
Truthwitch by Susan Dennard
Windwitch by Susan Dennard
Done Dirt Cheap by Sarah Nicole Lemon
Frogkisser by Garth Nix
Lawn Boy by Gary Paulsen
Code Talker by Joseph Bruchac
Princess Leia: Royal Rebel by Calliope Glass
Northern Exposure by Jayne Rylon & Mari Carr
Southern Comfort by Jayne Rylon & Mari Carr
Eastern Ambitions by Jayne Rylon & Mari Carr
Western Ties by Jayne Rylon & Mari Carr
American Street by Ibi Zoboi
Pax by Sara Pennypacker
This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton
The Beast's Garden by Kate Forsyth
Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee
The Misfits by James Howe
Totally Joe by James Howe
Addie on the Inside by James Howe
Also Known as Elvis by James Howe
Viking Warrior Rebel by Asa Maria Bradley
New Leash on Love by Debbie Burns
Puss Without Boots by Shari L. Tapscott
Monstress Vol. 2 by Marjorie M. Liu
Everyone is an Aliebn when ur are an Aliebn too by Jomny Sun
The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman
Saints Blood by Sebastien de Castell
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Books Read From My Shelves

Interesting Tidbits on the Web:


It doesn't seem like I got much reading done last week until you look at the amount of time listened.  I am so glad I have the ability to listen to audio books! I was super busy last week with cleaning the house (yes it still stinks like skunk a little bit) and getting ready for Munchkin's 5th Birthday Party this weekend.  

I am trying to kick off my Bout of Books today, but I will not be in the office much as Munchkin and I will be heading to a Planetarium about an hour away so that we can watch the eclipse.

I hope you all have a wonderful reading week!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Bout of Books #20: Sign Up & Updates

I have been very busy with the readathons lately but Bout of Books is one I try to never miss. I love the flexibility of a week long readathon.  This time around it will be an extremely busy week and I will not be able to read from Friday through Sunday at least (maybe not even Thursday) so I will have only a few days to participate but I will still do the best I can.

Here is the information you need in case you want to sign up too!

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 21st and runs through Sunday, August 27th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 20 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team


So this post is going to be my base for the week, I will continue to come back and update it each day with my progress (as I already have a lot of posts planned for this week and don't want things too jumbled up).  I will also be updating on Instagram @EasternSunset9

Time Devoted to Reading

I would like to read between 2-3 hours each day and read about 200 pages each day.
Averaging about 1.5 hours and work and another 1.5-2 at home after Munchkin goes to bed.

My Goals

Read a total of 1,000 pages
Read at least 2 hours each day
Read 4 books

Books to Read

Totally Joe - 224 pages
Lawn Boy - 88 pages
When Dimple Met Rishi - 380 pages
Saga Vol. 7 - 152 pages
Finish The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue - 360 pages remaining

Other Possible Books

Kings Rising - 385 pages
On the Chase - 416 pages
Under a Painted Sky - 10:11 (384 pages)
Songlines - 320 pages


Number of Pages I've read today: 23
Total Number of Pages: 23
Time spent reading today: 1/2 hour
Total number of books I've read: 1 (Totally Joe)
Books completed: None
Thoughts:  So I am off to a crawling start! I took Munchkin to see the solar eclipse at a planetarium about an hour away, I had planned on listening to an audio book to and from but he put the veto on that since he was trying to nap and it kept him awake.  By the time I got home (after long lines, a flat tire and lots of traffic) and finished my chores, I only had the energy to read for half an hour before crashing hard.  I had hoped to have a better Tuesday but it has been super busy in the office today too, so we will have to see how the rest of the day goes.


Number of Pages I've read today: 277 
Total Number of Pages:  300
Time spent reading today: 2.5 hours
Total number of books I've read: 3 (Tea Dragon Society, Totally Joe, Gentleman's Guide)
Books completed: 1 (Tea Dragon Society)
Thoughts: I got a little more reading in yesterday but not quite as much as I had hoped.  Luckily today should be a slow day at the office so I should be able to really start diving in.  I also woke up early to finish Totally Joe before work, it will go towards Wednesdays numbers but still very happy with that.

Number of Pages I've read today: 68
Total Number of Pages: 
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Books completed: 2 (Tea Dragon Society, Totally Joe)
Number of Pages I've read today: 
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Time spent reading today:  
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Books completed:  
Number of Pages I've read today:
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Saturday & Sunday
Number of Pages I've read today:
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I will not be participating in any of the challenges this time around, I am just have too much to do in prep for Munchkin's Birthday, Annual Summer Party and Best Friend visiting from out of state.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Graphic Novel Review of Monstress Vol.2: The Blood by Marjorie M. Liu

Read for: Graphic Novel Challenge

Synopsis: "The Eisner-nominated MONSTRESS is back! Maika, Kippa, and Ren journey to Thyria in search of answers to her past... and discover a new, terrible, threat. Collects MONSTRESS #7-12"

My Review: I understand that is not a very good synopsis, but honestly I don't really know how to describe this one because I am not even really sure what is going on. There is a bit of a gap in the timeline from the previous issues and I am not sure how the characters got here or what the plan is, I am just along for the ride. I do really enjoy most of the characters, and as I said before the art is absolutely amazing!! I will continue this series, if only for the artwork and Kippa and Ren are favorite characters, but in all honesty the storyline really isn't making sense to me yet.

My Rating: As I said, this is a rather confusing storyline to follow and I am rather lost, but I do enjoy the elements of the story, just not the story as a whole.  I highly recommend this for the art though, the illustrations are so detailed and absolutely stunning!  I give this one a rating of Three Paws.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Bedtime Story: Dear Teacher by Amy Husband

Read for: Children's Book Challenge

Synopsis: "This hilarious collection of letters from Michael to his new teacher comes packed with alligators, pirates and rocket-ships, and much, much more. Can Michael's imagination save him from the first day of school?"

My Review: There comes a time when kids will start to dread going back to school and this fun book shows the creativity Michael has to avoid going to school on the first day. I like how this is written in letter format between the new teacher and Michael. Each letter gets a little more creative and is full of illustrations of the adventures Michael comes up with. I think a lot of kids will enjoy this book though the kids who don't like school are probably too old to be picking up a picture book.

My Rating: This was such a fun and unique book and a great one to read if a kid is having some anxiety about returning to school. We had a lot of laughs with this book and I am sure it will be re-read again.  We give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.

Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Early Reader Review of Summer Treasure by Margaret McNamara

Read for: Early Reader Challenge

Synopsis: "A Robin Hill School first-grader gets a summertime surprise in this sunny Ready-to-Read!Since it's summer, instead of attending Robin Hill School, Hannah gets to do other fun things, like go to the beach with her family. Imagine her surprise when she sees her teacher, Mrs. Connor! In a bathing suit! Turns out, teachers don't live at school--and they are just as friendly outside of the classroom. Together, Mrs. Connor and Hannah look for treasure on the beach and share a beautiful summer day."

My Review: This is such a fun book to read during summer vacation, it has silly elements and fun things to do during the school break. It has simple words and sentences and will be a story that young beginning readers will enjoy. Munchkin really enjoyed this book since it surprised him the first time he saw a teacher at the grocery store.

My Rating: This was such a fun book to read during summer vacation and Munchkin really enjoyed it.  Young readers will think it is great and will be able to connect with the story.  We give it a rating of Four Paws.