Saturday, January 20, 2018

Graphic Novel Review of The Owner's Manual to Terrible Parenting by Guy Delisle

Read for: Graphic Novel Challenge

Synopsis: "Guy Delisle, the author of Jerusalem: Chronicles from the Holy City and A User's Guide to Neglectful Parenting, shares hilarious new comic strips that pay tribute to all the ways parents can drive their kids crazy, and vice versa, in The Owner's Manual to Terrible Parenting.
Slipping grammar lessons into bedtime stories, being challenged by difficult toys, and pretending to forget you even have a son: it's all in a day's work for Delisle. In The Owner's Manual, Delisle doesn't hesitate to make a slightly bumbling, fictionalized version of himself the butt of the joke, though his children often contribute zingy repartee and laugh-out-loud insight in the stories on display here.
The Owner's Manual is the perfect antidote to frustrating car rides filled with "Are we there yet?" and epic battles over homework. Delisle's effortless pacing and witty punch lines reign supreme here, making each vignette zip along to its conclusion."

My Review: I picked this book on a whim, I have really enjoyed snarky parent humor since I am all for telling it like it is. This was a fun book to read, each comic is a few pages long and would be funny for both kids and parents. Each one was rather relatable, though it is geared around children who are school aged. It was entertaining to watch all the hard work of teaching kids lessons come back and bite the dad in the butt, so true of so many situations. It was all in all a quick and fun read that finds the comic relief in trivial daily life with kids.

My Rating: Parents all need a good laugh sometimes and a reminder that life isn't perfect, especially when operating without an instruction manual, so this was a fun and short book to read.  I give it a rating of Three Paws!

Friday, January 19, 2018

Bedtime Story: Early Reader - Dinotrux: The Snow Blazers by Justus Lee

Read for: Early Reader Challenge

Synopsis: "A fun and action-packed leveled reader based on Dinotrux, an original animated series on Netflix!
The Dinotrux are lost in the snow, but Skya has bigger problems. She is afraid of snow! Can the Trux find their way home and will Skya overcome her fear?
Passport to Reading Level 1 "

My Review: Munchkin is of course obsessed with Dinotrux, but we don't have Netflix so we have to rely on books. This was a perfect one for winter and it has made a step up from the quality of the first few books we picked up. This one has a bonus of 4 new words for young readers to search for and focus on while reading the book. Munchkin really enjoyed that aspect and being able to sound out the simple words and read some of the sentences.

My Rating: This one was much improved upon from the earlier Dinotrux books and Munchkin really enjoyed it.  We give it a rating of Four Paws!

Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Review of The Secret Horses of Briar Hill by Megan Shepherd

Read for: TBR & that cover and horses!

Synopsis: "There are winged horses that live in the mirrors of Briar Hill hospital. In the mirrors that line its grand hallways, which once belonged to a princess. In those that reflect the elegant rooms, now filled with sick children. It is her secret.

One morning, when Emmaline climbs over the wall of the hospital’s abandoned gardens, she discovers something incredible: a white horse with broken wings has left the mirror-world and entered her own.

Tucked into the garden’s once-gleaming sundial, Emmaline finds a letter from the Horse Lord. He is hiding the wounded white horse, named Foxfire, from a dark and sinister force—a Black Horse who hunts by colorless moonlight. If Emmaline is to keep the Black Horse from finding her new friend, she must collect colorful objects with which to blind him. But where can Emmaline find color when her world is filled with gray?"

My Review: This was a complete cover buy for me, you give me magic and flying horses and I am all over it! I was really intrigued by this story, it had an interesting setting and time period, and the cast of characters were also really unique and well developed. This is one of those books that can be read in different ways and it isn't clear exactly how the author intended it to be read, but you can read it as a straight up fantasy, or you can read it as if it is all symbolism. There is always that question whether Emmaline is imagining this to make herself feel better, is it a symptom of her illness or is it something more. The ending is also left up to your own interpretation and I absolutely love when an author can do this with a book.

My Rating: This was such an interesting book and I love that it could mean so many different things to so many different people, there is also so much left open to interpretation.  This book definitely earns a rating of Four Paws and a Stump Wag!  Also never be afraid to pick up a Middle Grade book!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Top 5 Wednesday: Forgettable Books

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

So I almost forgot to post this week's Top 5 Wednesday, which kind of works for the topic of the Top 5 Forgettable books.  The books that you have read and just can't remember what they are about. Maybe they were fantastic at the time but they just didn't stick with you or they were just so blah that it wasn't worth remembering.

I remember I read Firethorn in my college days and it was super intriguing, dark and gritty historical fantasy and takes place during a war and there was something about her being with the troops but that is about it.  I definitely want to re-read this one since I have had the second book sitting on my shelf for ages.

Hades' Daughter was one of the first books I listened to on audio (it was a cassette tape set with at least 12 tapes if that tells you how long ago it was).  I remember it was really interesting but with it being such an intricate fantasy with mythology interwoven I can't remember the details.  It was also the first book in a series that I meant to continue on with but with the first book being so forgotten I would have to re-read it first (and it is not a small book by any means).

I read this one back in High School and I know it packed a real punch but at the time I was reading a lot of memoirs and some of them had similar themes throughout so my memory is a little muddled.  

I know this is horrible to say but I really don't remember much from the Diary of Anne Frank/Young Girl, I think I read it way back in Elementary school and never read it again. Probably something I should pick up and re-read.

My most forgettable book is without a doubt Great Expectations.  I have read this book at least 3 times for classes and every time I start reading and it takes me a good 1/3 of the book before I figure out that Hey I have read this before!

So there are my totally forgettable books, I think I might re-read some of these but at least the last one seems to be better left forgotten.  What books have you completely forgotten about?

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

It's Not 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

The Last Namasara by Kristen Ciccarelli
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
Don't Forget Dexter by Lindsay Ward (Bedtime Story)

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

Pancho Bandito & the Avocado Desperadoes
Kindred Spirits
Kilty Pleasures
Natural History of Dragons
Heart on Fire
And I Love Her
Dinotrux and the Snow Blazers

Currently Reading:

Wishtree by Katherine Applegate - print - on page 21 of 224

Pages Read/ Time Listened
35:33 Hours Listened (20:15 listened this week)
1,180 Pages Read (586 this week)

Books Added to Shelves Recently: TBR
Plague of Giants by Kevin Hearne
Moonsilver by Kathleen Duey
Silver Thread by Kathleen Duey
The Silver Bracelet by Kathleen Duey
Mountains of the Moon by Kathleen Duey
Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman


Bout of Books was really a great way to kick off my reading year, at first I didn't think it was going so great because I wasn't able to do much reading during the day but it turns out I had a pretty awesome reading week! I am definitely happy with all the audio books so far this year, I have had a lot of crafting to do so I love having a book going at the same time.   With that said, I had some great posts planned for the weekend but due to the schedule at the office I just wasn't able to get them done.  Hopefully I will get them in this week and weekend.

In other news, Go Vikings!! As you probably know by now, I am a huge NFL fan, particularly a Minnesota Viking fan and I am still in complete shock over the game this last weekend.  I have watch that final play over and over again because I just can't get over it!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Bedtime Story: Don't Forget Dexter by Lindsay Ward

Read for: Prime Early Reads/ Children's Book Challenge

Synopsis: "Introducing Dexter T. Rexter, the toughest, coolest dinosaur ever. At least he likes to think so.

When his best friend, Jack, leaves him behind at the doctor’s office, Dexter T. Rexter panics. First he tries to find Jack. Then he sings their special song. Then he sings their special song even louder. But when Jack still doesn’t appear, Dexter starts to wonder. What if he’s being replaced by another toy? It can’t be—after all, he can STOMP, RAWR, and CHOMP! Right? Right?!

This hilariously neurotic dinosaur will do whatever it takes to get his friend back—even asking the reader’s advice—in this first book of a brand-new series."

My Review: This is a really adorable book told from the point of view of a forgotten toy. As a parent we always have those panic moments where that special toy goes missing and it was fun to read a book from the different point of view. It is a great conversation starter if you want it to be about taking care of our things and being responsible. It can also be interactive as Dexter asks for your advise on what to do throughout the book. Really a fun and unique book to share with little ones.

My Rating: This was such a cute book and unique concept. It was a little young for Munchkin but he still enjoyed it. I think it would be great for kids 2-4 years old.  We give it a rating of Four Paws.

Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Review of The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

Read for: Recent Purchase (2017)/ Mount TBR (2018) and look at that cover!

Synopsis: "At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn't mind--she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse's fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

After Vasilisa's mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa's new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.

And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa's stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed--this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse's most frightening tales."

My Review: So this was a struggle for me to get through, nearly a full month to read, but in the end it was totally worth pushing through to the end. I think the hardest part for me was the terminology used to refer to each character, sometimes different names were used and then also terms of endearment (that I wasn't aware of) but at the end I discovered a glossary to clear up those issues (I have a whole other argument about putting important info like that at the back of the book where you don't find it until you stumble your way through). It was also very slow to develop, we are introduced, in detail, to each party to the story and the settings before everything is finally put together. I didn't really get into it until well over half way through the book. With that said by the end I was rather attached to Vasilisa and was rooting for her, but I could also see the other side of every disagreement throughout the story. I absolutely adored all the little spirits and the role they play and would love to see even more of them. I must also add that this is a must read in the winter, it was so atmospheric, the snow and chill outside only lent to drawing you into the story. Once I finished with this one, I immediately picked up Girl in the Tower and am enjoying that one much more.

My Rating: This is a tough one to rate because if I went by my feeling at the end it would rate very high but for a less than 400 page book to take me more than a month to read I just can't justify that; so I am having to give it a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag, right in the middle.

Have you read this one? What did you think of it? If not, do you read any Eastern Folk Lore/ Retellings?