Saturday, April 1, 2017

March Challenge Update & April TBR

Yup so we are a quarter of the way through 2017 already and my goal of reading slower this year has gone completely out the window. I had probably one of my best reading months ever this last month with a total of 40 books!
So here are the books I read this month along with the challenges. (I have decided to just list the books read this month instead of full lists because it gets a little long towards the end of the year. If you want to see all the books I have read this year you can check out my challenges page).
Children's Book Challenge
Early Reader Challenge

Graphic Novel Challenge
Audio Book Challenge:
6. Winner's Kiss
7. The Siren
8. Watersmeet
9. Centaurs Daughter
Trilogy Challenge:
1.  Snow Like Ashes Trilogy: Book 1, Book .1, Book 2, Book 2.5, Book 3
2. Winner's Curse Trilogy: Book .5, Book 1, Book 2, Book 3
3. Sons of the Revolution Trilogy: Book 1, Book 2, Book 3
4. Watersmeet Series: Book 1, Book 2
Requested Reviews:
8. From Ant to Eagle (direct)
9. Letters to the Lost (netgalley)
10. Ashes (direct)
11. Given to the Sea (penguin first to read)
Books Added to Shelves
I am trying to read each book I receive (purchase, subscription box, download) within a month so as not to add more to my TBR shelves I will add links as I read them:
4. Winners Kiss
5. Bubble Trouble
6. Blaze Loves to Race
7. Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book
8. Heartstone
9. Beauty and the Beast
10. Norse Mythology
11. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
12. Beauty and the Beast: Belle's Library
13. Trapped
14. Samurai Rising

15. Pancho Bandito and the Amarillo Armadillo
16. The Mating
17. Hold Your Breath
18. Fan the Flames
19. The Keeper
20. Love and Muddy Puddles
TBR Shelf Books
22. Hidden Presences
23. The Rogue Pirate's Bride
24. Ruined
25. The Siren
26. A Cricket's Thanksgiving
27. Motocross Summer
28. Mad Tales
 29. Maid for Love
30. Watersmeet
31. Centaur's Daughter
32. Shoreline
33. A Grocery List & Other Poems
34. Tide Roaring In
RI Authors
6. Hidden Presences
7. Fables and Fiction
8. Why Not Call it Cow Juice
9. The Longest Game
10. Rhody Ram's RI Adventure
11. A Cricket's Thanksgiving
12. Dragonfly Magic
13. Motocross Summer
14. Mad Tales
15. Maid for Love
16. Shoreline
17. A Grocery List & Other Poems
18. Tide Roaring In
I think I managed to read all but 3 or 4 of the books I had picked out for March (and I am in the middle of 2 of those books now).  I am nearly prepared for my RI Author month, at least in reading and reviews, so I can start focusing on other challenges and Children's Book Week coming up in May.  I will also be participating in the Tome Topple Readathon from April 7 - 20th and then Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon is scheduled for April 29th, I don't know if I will be participating or not it really depends on Munchkin's Tball schedule and our upcoming construction project. So I guess the spring is already kicking off my busy season! With that said here is my TBR for April!
The Trail by Ray K. Anderson
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The Ralph S. Mouse Trilogy by Beverly Cleary
Loki's Wolves by K.L. Armstrong
Riders by Veronica Rossi
Journey to the Lights by Suzanne Francis
More Than Peaches by Christine Depetrillo
Pippi Longstockings by Astrid Lindgren
Sister Sister Fly Home by Nancy Bo Flood
R2-D2 to the Rescue by Ace Landers
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard Vol. 2 by David Petersen
Irish Rising by Marie Rose Dufour
Samurai Rising by Pamela S. Turner
The Mating by BJ Cunningham and Misty Clark
Hold Your Breath by Katie Ruggle
Fan the Flames by Katie Ruggle
Gone too Deep by Katie Ruggle
Love and Muddy Puddles by Cecily Paterson
Fyre by Katherine Bogle
Death's Queen by Janeal Falor
Book of Bera by Suzie Wilde
Jesper Jinx and the Mouse Mayhem by Marko Kitti
The Keeper by Ellen Jensen Abbott
Then of course some Children's books and Early Readers
What was your favorite book of March? What are your reading plans in April? Are you participating in any Readathons this month? Is there a book that you are eagerly anticipating?

Friday, March 31, 2017

Bedtime Story: Today I Will Fly! by Mo Willems

Read for: Children's Challenge & its Elephant & Piggie of course
Synopsis: "Gerald is careful. Piggie is not.
Piggie cannot help smiling. Gerald can.
Gerald worries so that Piggie does not have to.

Gerald and Piggie are best friends.

Today, I Will Fly! is the funny introduction to the characters. Piggie is determined to fly. But Gerald the elephant knows that's impossible--isn't it?"

My Review: We finally got around to reading the first of the Elephant and Piggie books and loved it just as much as all the others. This is a fun and cute play on flying pigs. I love that it has these unique characters and also shows kids that there are many different ways around a problem, all it takes is some thought, creativity and a little help.
My Rating: This is a fun book, and of course it is hard to go wrong with Elephant and Piggie.  We have read it countless times already! We give it a rating of Four Paws!
Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Early Reader Review of Shampoodle by Joan Holub and Tim Bowers

Read for: Early Reader Challenge
Synopsis: "Reading with help
It's picture day at the dog park. But before the first photo can be taken, an exuberant pack of pups needs a bit of grooming. So they’re off to Shampoodle, the local pet salon, where the eager dogs simply cannot sit still. And when some curious cats stop by, things go from messy to mayhem. Shampoodle is perfect for animal lovers and children who are just starting to read on their own, taking their cues from lively art and bubbly, rhymed text."

My Review: This was a cute and silly book for both boy and girl young readers. It does read more like a level 1 as the words and sentences are short and simple. It does have a fun storyline that will keep those just learning to read engaged in the book and wanting to read more. It also helps to teach a little about the work it takes to have a pet.
My Rating: This was a cute one, maybe not one of our favorites because Munchkin isn't really into animals right now but it is a really good one.  We give it a rating of Three Paws.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Review of Given to the Sea by Mindy McGinnis

Read for: Requested Reviews/ First to Read
Synopsis: "Khosa is Given to the Sea, a girl born to be fed to the water, her flesh preventing a wave like the one that destroyed the Kingdom of Stille in days of old. But before she’s allowed to dance – an uncontrollable twitching of the limbs that will carry her to the shore in a frenzy – she must produce an heir. Yet the thought of human touch sends shudders down her spine that not even the sound of the tide can match.

Vincent is third in line to inherit his throne, royalty in a kingdom where the old linger and the young inherit only boredom. When Khosa arrives without an heir he knows his father will ensure she fulfills her duty, at whatever cost. Torn between protecting the throne he will someday fill, and the girl whose fate is tied to its very existence, Vincent’s loyalty is at odds with his heart.

Dara and Donil are the last of the Indiri, a native race whose dwindling magic grows weaker as the island country fades. Animals cease to bear young, creatures of the sea take to the land, and the Pietra – fierce fighters who destroyed the Indiri a generation before – are now marching from their stony shores for the twin’s adopted homeland, Stille.

Witt leads the Pietra, their army the only family he has ever known. The stone shores harbor a secret, a growing threat that will envelop the entire land – and he will conquer every speck of soil to ensure the survival of his people.

The tides are turning in Stille, where royals scheme, Pietrans march, and the rising sea calls for its Given."

My Review: I was really intrigued by the synopsis and the cover is stunning. The first few chapters of the book through me off a little bit, I am not a fan of having so many perspectives (4 in total) and I really was not a fan of having 2 of the point of views in 1st person narration and the other 2 in 3rd person, it really pushes you out of the story and makes it difficult to connect with the story or the characters. This book also featured a lot of rather dark subjects, with that said the underlying theme of the book is the battle of right and wrong in human perspective and how it varies with each person's outlook, location and upbringing and I really enjoyed that constant theme and struggle. Obviously, there are a lot of characters and moving plotlines throughout this book, I found some of them more intriguing than others. I was not a huge fan of Khosa or Vincent, who seem to be the main characters, both of whom fail to take much action and just let life take them where it will. I much preferred Donil, Dara and Witt, all of whom were more of sub-characters but had very interesting back stories and cultures that I am curious about. There is also a lot of world building, while it is not entirely clear on some elements of the various cultures, you have enough information to work with so there aren't any major holes. I did receive an eARC but a map would have been very helpful with picturing the world, when groups started traveling I had a difficult time picturing their journey or how the lands are connected. All in all it was not a great read for me, I felt very disconnected from the story and the characters, I honestly didn't care what happened to them. There are several plotlines left open for a potential next book but it is closed out enough that you could be satisfied with this ending.
My Rating: While the execution of this book wasn't to my liking, the underlying themes were interesting as well as some of the cultures, I just want more of those and less of the other issues.  Some people will really enjoy this book, but it just wasn't quite up to snuff for me.  I give it a rating of Two Paws.
  I was lucky enough to be approved for this book through the Penguin First to Read program, I received this book in exchange for an honest review.
You can find out more about Mindy McGinnis and her work on her Goodreads Page or Website.
Given to the Sea is scheduled for release on April 11th, 2017 but you can pre-order your copy in print or digital format from Amazon or Barnes & Noble or your favorite book supplier.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Review of Heartstone by Elle Katharine White

Read for: Recently added books - Book Subscription
Synopsis: "A debut historical fantasy that recasts Jane Austen’s beloved Pride and Prejudice in an imaginative world of wyverns, dragons, and the warriors who fight alongside them against the monsters that threaten the kingdom: gryphons, direwolves, lamias, banshees, and lindworms

They say a Rider in possession of a good blade must be in want of a monster to slay—and Merybourne Manor has plenty of monsters.

Passionate, headstrong Aliza Bentaine knows this all too well; she’s already lost one sister to the invading gryphons. So when Lord Merybourne hires a band of Riders to hunt down the horde, Aliza is relieved her home will soon be safe again.

Her relief is short-lived. With the arrival of the haughty and handsome dragonrider, Alastair Daired, Aliza expects a battle; what she doesn’t expect is a romantic clash of wills, pitting words and wit against the pride of an ancient house. Nor does she anticipate the mystery that follows them from Merybourne Manor, its roots running deep as the foundations of the kingdom itself, where something old and dreadful slumbers . . . something far more sinister than gryphons.

It’s a war Aliza is ill-prepared to wage, on a battlefield she’s never known before: one spanning kingdoms, class lines, and the curious nature of her own heart.

Elle Katharine White infuses elements of Austen’s beloved novel with her own brand of magic, crafting a modern epic fantasy that conjures a familiar yet wondrously unique new world."

My Review: So I received this book in my January NovelTea Club subscription box and I was a little hesitant to read it. I have never been a fan of Jane Austen and I wasn't even able to finish Pride and Prejudice as enticing as dragons sounded I wasn't too keen on reading a retelling. I am glad I finally pushed myself to pick it up! Maybe if Austen had added dragons to her books I would have really enjoyed them because I inhaled this book. It did drag a tiny bit in the middle and it seemed like there were a couple of plot lines that got a little muddled but that may have been a result of trying to stick a little closer to the original story. With that said I loved all the mythical beasts in the story and I became attached to several of the characters. As crazy as it may sound, I could go for a sequel!
My Rating: I was so pleasantly surprised with this book, I expected a lot of dull Austen-esque chapters but it really kept the storyline moving for the most part. There were a few lulls and pointless tangents but for the most part the story and characters kept moving and the action (and romance) kept building. I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag!

Monday, March 27, 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

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
Ashes by Steven Manchester
PJ Masks Save the Library by Daphne Pendergrass (Early Reader)
We are Growing! by Laurie Keller & Mo Willems (Bedtime Story)
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson (Graphic Novel - I guess I scheduled this for the wrong Saturday)
The Siren by Kiera Cass (Mini Review)
Trapped by Michael Northop (Mini Review)
Belle's Library by Walt Disney Co. (Mini Review)
Ruined by Amy Tintera (Mini Review)
 Books Finished Last Week:
Reviews will be posted at a later date

Hidden Presences
Motocross Summer
Dragonfly Magic
A Cricket's Thanksgiving
Rhody Ram's Rhode Island Adventure

Currently Reading:

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - Print - on page 506 of 870
Given to the Sea by Mindy McGinnis - Ebook - on page 64 of 352
Watersmeet by Ellen Jensen Abbott - Audio - 32%

 Books to be Read Soon:


Pages Read/ Time Listened
75:50 Hours Listened (none listened this week)
14,479 Pages Read (1,004 this week)

Books Added to Shelves This Month
Viking Warrior Rising by Asa Maria Bradley
Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski
Bubble Trouble by Mary Tillworth
Blaze Loves to Race by Mary Tillworth
Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly
Heartstone by Ella Katharine White
Beauty and the Beast by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve
Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by JK Rowling
Beauty and the Beast: Belle's Library by Walt Disney Company
Trapped by Michael Northop
Samurai Rising by Pamela Turner
The Mating by BJ Cunningham & Misty Clark
Hold Your Breath by Katie Ruggle
Fan the Flames by Katie Ruggle

Books Read From My Shelves
Hidden Presences
Motocross Summer
A Cricket's Thanksgiving

Interesting Tidbits on the Web:



I always hate coming back from vacation, I am always way behind in everything but for some reason this week I was able to catch up quickly. I did get a bunch more reading done too.  I had such a great reading month this time around, so many books and so many great books too! I hope I can keep it up in the coming months.  I do have the RI Author Month next month, I haven't done as much for it as I usually do but I hope to share some great new books and authors with you. I do have a couple of giveaways planned but not as many as in years passed.

In other news, Munchkin starts Tball next month! I can't believe he is already old enough for it, but he is super excited.  We also have him signed up for soccer in the fall (I guess the soccer league in our town is very popular and fills up quickly so we were lucky we caught the signup on the first day).  Now if I could just convince him to take swim lessons again.

And lastly the not so great news, we found out yesterday that we have mice in our garage. Not normally an issue except that the garage doubles as our pantry and kitchen storage. So we spent all day going through all the food and now washing all of our extra kitchen gadgets and setting traps. We had been planning on starting our spring cleaning in the garage and at least this forced us to get started.  So I will probably be reading less physical books and more audio books in the next few weeks as I clean and purge.

Hope you all have a great week!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Mini Reviews: The Siren, Trapped, Belle's Library and Ruined

So with reading and reviewing so many books, I am running out of days in which to share them with you.  I am going to start posting Mini Reviews of books that I read through out the month but couldn't find the time to post on the last Sunday of each month.
After last month's rather disappointing books, March ended up being one of my best reading months ever. Some really fantastic books and a lot of them!  Here are a few of the books I wasn't able to share with you over the past month.
It was a light, fluffy read but not quite up to the standard set by The Selection. I did like the unique take on the Ocean and Siren's role.  Three Paws
A totally captivating read, suspenseful, realistic. The pages never stopped turning, though the abrupt ending and unanswered questions left me hanging. Four Paws
It wasn't quite what I was expecting but was so carefully done to fit the time period and books Belle would have had access to and the addition forward was great. Three Paws and a Stump Wag.
This was a good book, though it was kind of flat, nothing unexpected, characters were cookie cutters (except Olivia but we only see her a bit), possibly an intriguing story in future books but not much here to keep going. Three Paws.