Saturday, July 1, 2017

Graphic Novel Review of Saga Vol. 6 by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples

Read for: Graphic Novel Challenge

Synopsis: "After a dramatic time jump, the three-time Eisner Award winner for Best Continuing Series continues to evolve, as Hazel begins the most exciting adventure of her life: kindergarten. Meanwhile, her starcrossed family learns hard lessons of their own.

Collecting: Saga 31-36"

My Review: After the last two slightly rambling, side story tangent, and overly explicit volumes, it feels like this is starting to make its way back to the original plot line and characters. I really appreciated the original story of family love over all, and a weird group of characters coming together to protect that family. I am glad I have stuck with the series because it does seem like we are going to merge back with the main story line again. There was still some side story in this one (and I am sure there will be some point to it in the future) and I really enjoyed some of the character development over the time gap between the previous volume and this one. I hope that it keeps improving as I already have volume 7 ready to go.

My Rating: This was an improvement over the previous two books in the series but still not quite what it was at the beginning. I hope that this is a sign that things are improving. From what I am reading this is going to be a 20+ volume series.  I give this one a rating of Three Paws.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Bedtime Story: Last Day Blues by Julie Danneberg

Read For: Children's Book Challenge & Munchkin's last day of Pre-K

Synopsis: "It's the last week of school, and Mrs. Hartwell's class is excited to leave for summer vacation. The only problem is that the kids don't want their teacher to miss them while they're gone. Once again Julie Danneberg and Judy Love bring to life the crazy antics of Mrs. Hartwell and her class and show that teachers and students are more alike than different."

My Review: I figured this would be a fun book to read the last day of school with munchkin. It does seem to suit older kids who are in elementary school, but it was still fun. There is a lot going on in the illustrations, they are too busy for my liking but kids will really enjoy everything there is to look at. A great story about how teachers will miss their kids after the last day so the kids think of a good surprise for her. I think this might make a fun teacher gift in years to come.

My Rating: This is a fun book to read to kids at the end of the school year or to give as a teacher gift. Kids and teachers will both miss each other after school is done but both have fun things planned for the summer.  We give this a rating of Three Paws.

Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Early Reader Review of Otter: Hello, Sea Friends! by Sam Garton

Read for: Early Reader Challenge

Synopsis: "Otter—the irrepressible picture book character sure to be adored by fans of Llama Llama—takes a trip to visit sea friends and meet all the animals that live in the ocean.

Otter: Hello, Sea Friends! is a My First I Can Read book, which means it’s perfect for shared reading with a child.

Read about more of Otter’s adventures in I Am Otter, Otter in Space, Otter Loves Halloween!, Otter: Oh No, Bath Time!, Otter: The Best Job Ever!, and Otter Goes to School."

My Review: We picked this book on a whim the other day. The illustrations are just too cute and you can't help but be drawn into the book. This is a great pre-level early reader. The sentences are brief, easy words and sight words. The story follows Otter and the Keeper on a trip to the aquarium and all the sea animals he finds there. It would be a great summer read to bring a little learning along with a trip to the local aquarium. 

My Rating: We really enjoyed this little book, Otter is just too cute and all the sights he sees in the aquarium made Munchkin want to go back again.  We give this one a rating of Four Paws!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Review of The Waking Land by Callie Bates

Read for: Netgalley/ Requested Review

Synopsis: "Lady Elanna Valtai is fiercely devoted to the King who raised her like a daughter. But when he dies under mysterious circumstances, Elanna is accused of his murder and must flee for her life.

Returning to the homeland of magical legends she has forsaken, Elanna is forced to reckon with her despised, estranged father, branded a traitor long ago. Feeling a strange, deep connection to the natural world, she also must face the truth about the forces she has always denied or disdained as superstition powers that suddenly stir within her.

But an all-too-human threat is drawing near, determined to exact vengeance. Now Elanna has no choice but to lead a rebellion against the kingdom to which she once gave her allegiance. Trapped between divided loyalties, she must summon the courage to confront a destiny that could tear her apart."

My Review:  Upon reading the synopsis this book sounded vaguely familiar but different enough that I wanted to give it a try. I have to say even with the interesting synopsis and beautifully detailed cover, the story itself fell rather short. I almost DNFed this book multiple times. The pacing is very slow, and not because it is building up to something either. We spend nearly 3/4 of the book following Elanna around as she waffles about who she wants to support, who she wants to be, what she believes or wants to do, all without knowing what exactly is going on. So basically she is in the dark, and so are we as the readers. We are always reading along the sidelines of the game changing events, always late to battles, hearing half whispered conversations, etc. until the very last battle so you aren't really invested in the outcome. The story also got lost with the romance, which should have stayed completely out of the picture because it came on sudden and then took over but with no real purpose in the long run. All in all this was really a long, slow read with no actual investment or excitement for the reader.

My Rating: This was really an unfortunate book, I so wanted to like it but it fell flat for me.  Everything about it felt undeveloped and incomplete, the world building, the characters and the overall point of book. I can only give this one a rating of One Paw and a Stump Wag.

I received this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

You can find out more about Callie Bates and her work on her Goodreads Page or Website.

The Waking Land was just released on June 27th so if you want to give it a try and see if it suits you better you can get your own copy in print or digital format from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Top 5 Wednesday: Hate to Love

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

So this week's topic is Hate to Love relationships, this is one of my all time favorite tropes so I had to participate. I was going to include some of my favorite friendship type relationships but there are just too many romantic ones that I wanted to share.  For me, fantasy does the hate to love relationship the best, because honestly if lives and whole countries aren't in the balance, then the stakes aren't high enough. Not saying that other genres don't pull it off well, I have read plenty of historical romance and even some contemporary romance that have great hate to love relationships, I just find my favorites are in the fantasy genre

Obviously this post will have SPOILERS as the transition from love to hate occurs in the stories, so just beware!

So here are some of my favorites

Fire and Brigan from Fire by Kristin Cashore.  I love this relationship, it develops so slowly and with little things here and there that you can't even quite pinpoint when it changes from hate to tolerance and then to friendship into love.

I absolutely adore Yelena and Valek in the Chronicles of Ixia series by Maria V. Snyder. Their relationship is just so dynamic, it starts off with him training her as a poison detector by putting poison in food and drinks, then develops from there.  There is so much push and pull, support and trust/distrust throughout their relationship, and not to mention the countries and border between them. I haven't read the final book in the series yet because I am not sure I can handle the goodbye. 

Oh my sweet little dearhearts, Elias and Laia from the Ember in the Ashes series by Sabaa Tahir. I guess theirs is more a relationship of distrust to love but they are from opposing sides, supposedly.  They do develop a beautiful relationship but there is always that undercurrent of distrust.

How could I not add the fiery Cat and Griffin from the Kingmaker Chronicles by Amanda Bouchet? He kidnaps her to have her help his sister secure her throne, she fights him every step of the way until they discover that they really have each other's backs.

And of course I had to add Feyre and Rhysand even though I am sure they will land on several other lists too. I don't think I really need to go into any detail here.

So there you have my list.  Are you a fan of Hate to Love relationships? What are your favorites? Do you find that a particular genre does them best?

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Review of The Simplicity of Cider by Amy E. Reichert

Read for: Audio Book Challenge & New Release Added to Shelves

Synopsis: "Fall in love with The Simplicity of Cider, the charming new novel about a prickly but gifted cider-maker whose quiet life is interrupted by the arrival of a handsome man and his young son at her family’s careworn orchard by the author of The Coincidence of Coconut Cake and Luck, Love & Lemon Pie.

Focused and unassuming fifth generation cider-maker Sanna Lund has one desire: to live a simple, quiet life on her family’s apple orchard in Door County, Wisconsin. Although her business is struggling, Sanna remains fiercely devoted to the orchard, despite her brother’s attempts to convince their aging father to sell the land.

Single dad Isaac Banks has spent years trying to shield his son Sebastian from his troubled mother. Fleeing heartbreak at home, Isaac packed up their lives and the two headed out on an adventure, driving across the country. Chance—or fate—led them straight to Sanna’s orchard.

Isaac’s helping hands are much appreciated at the apple farm, even more when Sanna’s father is injured in an accident. As Sanna’s formerly simple life becomes increasingly complicated, she finds solace in unexpected places—friendship with young Sebastian and something more deliciously complex with Isaac—until an outside threat infiltrates the farm.

From the warm and funny Amy E. Reichert, The Simplicity of Cider is a charming love story with a touch of magic, perfect for fans of Sarah Addison Allen and Gayle Forman."

My Review: This was one of my anticipated releases of this year, it really captured me with the title and the cover. I love cider and recently went to an apple farm to see them pressing cider. I also liked that it was a little contemporary romance set in a small mid-west town. I listened to the audio book and the narration was great with tones for different characters and inflection based on the story. I really loved the uniqueness of the characters and the setting. The story while slightly different from many other books, was still a nice light contemporary romance, a perfect summer read. I have to say though, my favorite character in the story was Bass, such a fun and unique side character who really added an extra element to the story.

My Rating: I really enjoyed this one, it was a light and fluffy but not too much. The characters and the unique setting of an orchard and cidery really sets it apart.  I haven't read anything else of Reichert's but I believe she might have interwoven a couple of characters from some of her other books into this one which is fun way to connect them without making them a series.  I give this one a rating of Four Paws.

Monday, June 26, 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

Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher (Audio book)

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

The Simplicity of Cider
Shadow and Bone
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Screenplay
Seduced by a Billionaire
Otter: Hello, Sea Friends
There is a Bird on Your Head

Currently Reading:

Waking Land by Callie Bates - Kindle - 34%
Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo - Print - on page 87 of  435

 Books to be Read Soon:

Pages Read/ Time Listened
126:03 Hours Listened (8:43 listened this week)
30,640 Pages Read (1,558 this week)

Books Added to Shelves This Month
Beauty and the Beast by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by JK Rowling
Samurai Rising by Pamela Turner
Dawn Study by Maria V. Snyder
The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher
Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
Saga Vol. 7 by Brian K. Vaughan
The Hundredth Queen by Emily R. King
A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
Seduced by the Billionaire by Carly Carson
The Simplicity of Cider by Amy E. Reichert
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

Books Read From My Shelves
Shadow and Bone
Fan Girl

Interesting Tidbits on the Web:


Boy another crazy busy week and a bunch of missed posts. I really need to get some posts scheduled ahead of time because there is so much I want to talk about, I just haven't had time to write up the posts yet.  We have been very busy at the office, but hopefully within the next week or so things will calm down.  Munchkin had is very last T-ball game last week, they decided to up the game a bit and pitched to all of the kids and they all did really well. Guess we might have a baseball player on our hands.  He also graduated from Pre-K this morning! I can't believe that he will be turning 5 in a couple of months and starting kindergarten!

I might have also gone on a bit of a book shopping spree! I listed all the books up above.  I have been so good so far this year and only have a few that I have purchased but not read yet.  One of the reasons for the sudden influx of books was because I decided to attend the Boston Teen Author Fest in September. So I wanted to read several of the author's books before the event, hence a large box of books arriving at my door.