Thursday, February 22, 2018

Review of The Storied Life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

Read for: Highly Recommended/ Recent Purchase

Synopsis: "As surprising as it is moving, The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry is an unforgettable tale of transformation and second chances, an irresistible affirmation of why we read, and why we love.

We are not quite novels.

We are not quite short stories.

In the end, we are collected works.

A. J. Fikry's life is not at all what he expected it to be. His wife has died; his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history; and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. Slowly but surely, he is isolating himself from all the people of Alice Island—from Chief Lambiase, the well-intentioned police officer who's always felt kindly toward him; from Ismay, his sister-in-law, who is hell-bent on saving A.J. from his dreary self; from Amelia, the lovely and idealistic (if eccentric) Knightley Press sales rep who persists in taking the ferry to Alice Island, refusing to be deterred by A.J.'s bad attitude. Even the books in his store have stopped holding pleasure for him. These days, he can only see them as a sign of a world that is changing too rapidly.

And then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore. It's a small package, though large in weight—an unexpected arrival that gives A.J. the opportunity to make his life over, the ability to see everything anew. It doesn't take long for the locals to notice the change overcoming A.J., for the determined sales rep Amelia to see her curmudgeonly client in a new light, for the wisdom of all those books to become again the lifeblood of A.J.'s world. Or for everything to twist again into a version of his life that he didn't see coming."


My Review: I have had a lot of people recommend this book to me, saying it is a book for book lovers, so I finally caved. It really took me a good 50 pages to get into the story but eventually the characters found their way in and I was able to sink into the story. I found the characters unique and relatable, and I loved the small town, island setting (also relatable being in the Island State). I loved the little notes at the beginning of each chapter with a bit of life advice, though again it took a few to figure that out. It was a slow moving story with some twists but they were pretty easily spotted but still added an element to the story anyway. Some how this book did end up getting pretty emotional for me and I my eyes may have leaked a time or two. Definitely glad I read it.

My Rating: It took me a while to finally pick this book up but it was worth the wait, as said in the story, books have to find you at just the right time.  I enjoyed it and would recommend it though it doesn't have to be a must read but a worth while read.  I give it a rating of Four Paws.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Personal March Reading Challenge: Try A Chapter - Subscription Box Books



If you have visited either here or on my Instagram (@EasternSunset9) you will know that I have tried out quite the variety of Book Subscription Boxes, everything from the popular Owlcrate to the no longer existent NovelTea Club and Geek At Heart boxes, and in that time period I have accumulated quite a few books that have not exactly been on my radar but seem within my reading genre tastes (at least somewhat, I don't subscribe to mystery boxes because I don't read mystery), and many of them have remained unread.


Part of my goal this year is to clear out quite a bit of my bookshelves of books I don't like or will never read.  So I was inspired by the Try a Chapter Challenge that I saw on Little Book Owl's Youtube Channel and the recent Owlcrate-a-thon readathon for all these unread Owlcrate Books (that I missed in February). 

So my goal is to try a chapter from each one of these books on my Book Subscription Box TBR shelf and see if it is something that I will be reading within the year or if it is a book I should unhaul.  I will complete this challenge during the month of March, with 20 books that means about 2-3 books at least a week.  I will have a wrap up at the end of March to let you know my thoughts on these books.


Have you ever done this before? How do you handle clearing out your TBR shelves? If you receive book boxes are you good about reading them right away or are you like me and let them pile up?






Tuesday, February 20, 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

Survive the Night by Katie Ruggle (Romance Week)
Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage by Jennifer Ashley (Romance Week)
Landscaper Series by Robin Stone (Romance Week)


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

Smuggler's Run
You'll Be Mine
Ain't She Sweet
Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage
Poison Study


Currently Reading:

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin - Print - On Page 79 of 260
The Star Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi - Audio - 27%
In the Labyrinth of Drakes by Marie Brennan - Audio - 48%
The Plague of Giants by Kevin Hearne - Print - on page 28 of 624



Pages Read/ Time Listened
86:32 Hours Listened (19:04 listened this week)
5,652 Pages Read (790 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
I Love My Love by Reyna Biddy
The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
Gods of the North by Lucy Coats
We Have Always Lived in a Castle by Shirley Jackson
Life Changing Manga of Cleaning Up by Marie Kondo
To the Sky Kingdom by Tang Qi
Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage by Jennifer Ashley
Letters from Wolfie by Patti Sherlock
Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher
Dead Man's Walk by Larry McMurtry
Luck Love and Lemon Pie by Amy E. Reichert
Beartown by Fredrik Backman
The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert
Listen, Slowly by Thanhha Lai
Ravenous by MarcyKate Connolly
Monstrous by MarcyKate Connolly
The Astounding Broccoli Boy by Frank Cottrell Boyce
Terrier by Tamora Pierce
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
As Brave as You by Jason Reynolds
Smuggler's Run by Greg Ruka
The Lost Stone by Jordan Quinn
The Scarlet Dragon by Jordan Quinn
Sea Monster by Jordan Quinn
Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller
The Wolves of Winter by Tyrell Johnson



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I hope that you all had a great week last week and enjoyed my romance week here on the blog. It was a nice break from all the fantasy to sit and read a bunch of romances.   I am definitely a little all over the place with my reading this year, I am not sticking to my TBR lists like usual but reading more of the books that I recently purchase or that I just feel like reading.  It is kind of refreshing and I may try to have a bit of a smaller TBR next month so I can play it a little loose and see how it goes.  I do have a couple of readathons and a personal challenge coming up next month so that will be exciting and I will be seeing a lot of books leave my TBR shelves!

How has your February been going? Have you stuck to the books you selected to read this month or are you a mood reader?

Friday, February 16, 2018

Romance Week: The Landscaper Series by Robin Stone

Romance Week

Read for: TBR & Romance Week


Steam Level
6 out of 6: And I should have added that hi as an over the top option because this is definitely it! This story verges on the line between erotic romance and erotica, but luckily it has a solid story and fully developed characters to go with it. But it is extremely explicit and if you aren't into that then maybe pick one of the other books I featured this week; if you are looking for something to get your water boil, this is the book for you!


Synopsis: "She said her husband was at work. He wasn't. Kyle enjoys working outdoors as the owner of a small landscaping business. Most of his customers stay inside while Kyle and his crew take care of their yards. But not Tracy Dawson, the rich housewife who lives on the hill. Tracy spends summer afternoons beside the pool, watching Kyle from behind her dark sunglasses. Her flirtatious banter and low-cut bathing suits fuel Kyle's fantasies. Tracy invites him into the guest house for a little afternoon delight. But when Tracy admits her husband was watching, Kyle gets ready for a beat-down. Instead, Mr. Dawson makes Kyle an offer he can't refuse... Kyle begins a relationship with Tracy and Eric that takes him places he never imagined. The chemistry between the threesome intensifies over time, and Kyle joins them on vacations. But when Tracy bursts into tears and Eric shares his doubts about the relationship, Kyle is thrown into a tailspin. Can they resolve their differences and stay together forever?"

My Review: I started this series a couple of years ago with just the first book, but I am glad I was able to get the complete series bind up. I really enjoyed this series, the characters were all great and well developed, and their dynamic relationship with all of its ups and downs was great to follow from start to end. The love and connection each of the characters had came through on each page, as did the tension and heat of that connection. We follow Kyle, the landscaper throughout the series as he has the most development of character and story, but I really loved Eric as a character. Definitely some ups and downs throughout the story and at times you will have your heart in your throat and maybe even be brought to tears. All in all a great story with plenty of steam and yet a solid story that works through some difficult issues and forces the characters do evolve with the relationship.

My Rating: If you are up for a polyamorous book definitely give this series a shot! I really enjoyed this bind up and give it a rating of Four Paws.



Thursday, February 15, 2018

Romance Week: Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage by Jennifer Ashley

Romance Week:



Read for: Recent Purchase/Audio Challenge

Previous Book in Series:


Steam Level
5 out of 6: While it may not happen often, but they are a scandalously married couple and they certainly start some fires! 


Synopsis:  "Only one man could match a lady like this—scandal for scandal.

Six years ago, eighteen-year-old Lady Isabella Scranton scandalized all of London by eloping the night of her come-out ball with the notorious rake, Lord Mac Mackenzie. After three turbulent years of marriage, she scandalized London once again—this time by leaving him. 

Now Mac has resurfaced, every bit as charismatic, and with one goal: to seduce Isabella back into his life and his bed even if it means acting like a real gentleman. But when Isabella rises to the challenge of posing nude for Mac's erotic paintings, her pent-up hunger for the decadent rake is exposed as well, and she finds herself unable to resist the smooth strokes of an artist at work.

But someone's been watching them—dangerously close. This ingenious forger with designs on Mac's paintings also sets his sights on Isabella herself. Deciding to become Isabella's protector, Mac vows to never leave her side, whether his independent and proud lady likes it or not."


My Review: I have been meaning to read the second book in this series after absolutely loving the first (Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie) sometime last year. I finally got around to picking this one up and am wondering why I waited so long again. I really enjoyed that there was a history there, Isabella & Mac already had the whirlwind romance and marriage. Now we find them at odds and living separately. I enjoy the way they obviously care for each other and all of the Mackenzie family, but there is still all the push and pull between them. I also like that it wasn't a issue of miscommunication that tore them apart but as it comes out there were actual things that needed to be worked on. I really enjoyed the development of the story and the characters, and especially the inclusion of all the side characters.


My Rating: I really enjoyed this one and hopefully won't be waiting quite as long to continue the series with the next two books.  I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Romance Week: Favorite Couples that Give Me Relationship Goals

Romance Week

So I wanted to have a little chat today, so I didn't have to play favorites with romance books by featuring one on Valentine's Day.  So instead I thought we could chat about our favorite couples from books, in particular the ones that stand the test of time and trials, the ones that our goal relationships.  For me this often means an older couple in a story that might be sub-characters that guide the main character throughout the story.  I am the first to admit that I am not the best at keeping track of details from books I have read (I am trying to improve this) so I may miss a few but these were the ones that really stood out to me when I thought of this topic.  I feel like it isn't often that we get to see a long standing relationship in romance novels, so often the main characters have single parents (often bitter and hates love) or absentee parents, they are so far in the background you don't get to really see them or don't have any parents at all; so when a book comes along with parents who have a good solid relationship to set an example for the main characters, I really love it!


So here are some of my all time favorite couples I hope to be like someday . . .


This is going to surprise some of you who have followed me for a while, but there is something I actually like about the Harry Potter series!  Mr. & Mrs. Weasley are definite relationship goals.  They stand up for each other and their family. They managed to survive the initial rise of he who should not be named even openly against him.  Their marriage also managed to survive raising so many children, especially the twins. 


So this was my favorite book of last year and one of the many reasons was the relationship with Ove and his wife.  Their marriage lasted so many years and he is so dedicated to her. Even though we don't get to meet her in the story, you can't help but feel the love and devotion they have for each other.


I mentioned this just the other day in my review, but Gertrude and Otto have quickly jumped to the list of top couples.  They weren't even the focus of this story but they are there in the background the whole time, together and solid and encouraging love the whole time. I can only hope that I still feel that close to my husband years down the road.


JD & Vivi from both the Compass Brothers and Compass Girls series rank right up there.  They have an underlying story line throughout the two 4 book series that will tug on your heart strings.  The love they have for each other and the love they have for their families is so strong.  They support each of their children and grandchildren in their life decisions and are available for when they need help.


  
Molly and Lincoln Abbott are my absolute goals! They are the parents of most of the characters throughout the Green Mountain/ Butler VT series and I just adore them.  They have managed to own, run and grow a business for years and then have 10 (yes you read that right 10) children and still remain strong in their love and marriage. They are also protective of their family but at the same time are willing to let their children make their own mistakes and will catch them on the fall.  The kids all look up to them and turn to them with problems.  I can only hope that I am as supportive and loving to my husband and one child.


It has been 5 years since I read this book and I still remember the relationship that John and Alice had.  This isn't a romance but their life played a large roll in the story.  As what will happen when you look at relationships that have stood the test of time, you eventually come to the end and that is where this story finds us.  Alice suffers from Alzheimer's but John stays by her side the whole way, caring for her even when she doesn't remember the bond they share.  If that isn't love then I don't know what it is.


Steven Manchester is a master at these books, like Rocking Chair, he brings us Bella and Don when Don is down to his last 12 months. Bella remains strong for him the whole way, making sure that he gets to fulfill as many of his bucket list items as possible, and he makes sure that it isn't all about him too. Talk about staying strong together when things could have torn them down.





Yes, I know they are all fictional and life is never perfect but even in these fictional stories, real life problems are given to the couples and the way they respond is very real too. I can only strive for the type of relationships these couples all have.  What are some of your favorite couples that you look up to in books?

Happy Valentine's Day to you and those who you love and love you!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Romance Week: Survive the Night by Katie Ruggle (New Release in the Rocky Mountain K-9 Series)

Romance Week:

Read for: Netgalley/ Requested Reviews & Love this series & Author


Previous books in series:

Steam Level
3 of 6: A good amount of tension and definitely some bedroom time but it was moderate and can be skimmed over if it isn't your thing.


Synopsis: "He's always been a haven:
For the lost. The sick. The injured.
But when a hunted woman takes shelter in his arms, this gentle giant swears he'll do more than heal her battered spirit―he'll defend her with his life.

K9 Officer Otto Gunnersen always had a soft spot for anyone in need. As Monroe's very own Dr. Doolittle, he dedicates himself to rehabilitating the injured souls that cross his path―but for all his big heart, he's never been in love.

Until he meets Sarah Clifton's haunted eyes. Until he realizes he'll do anything to save her.

All Sarah wants is to escape a life caught between ambitious crime families, but there's no outrunning her past. Her power-mad brother would hunt her to the ends of the earth...but he'd never expect Sarah to fight back. With Otto and the whole of Monroe, Colorado by her side, Sarah's finally ready to face whatever comes her way.

It's time to take a stand."

My Review: I have been an avid Katie Ruggle fan and will continue to consume all of her books. I have really enjoyed this series so far and of course jumped at the opportunity to read the next book in this series. I must say that Ruggle does an outstanding job of writing the male heroes that capture my heart, the silent and intimidating yet marshmallow and cuddly inside type of guys. I absolutely adored Otto and his soft way with the animals. I must say though that Sarah didn't really appeal to me, I prefer my female characters to have a little more spine, but near the end when her love of animals really comes out she did really win me over too. I did really like that the romance really took a step back in this book and the action came to the forefront, there is still the romance and a bit of steam but with everything else going on I am glad it didn't take over the book. I also love the twist at the end, it was starting to sound like the series was ending here but we got one more little shock to keep it going. Only 6 more months to wait!

My Rating:  This one had some ups and downs for me, I adore Otto (though he can't beat George from the previous season) but I wasn't a huge fan of Sarah until she actually did something. It was also very action packed, which I am okay with but it just didn't seem like that much was really feasible.  I still give it a rating of a solid Four Paws!  Also note, when are we going to see a doberman?! Poor Niko is getting a bit of a complex.


I received this book via Netgalley, the above is my honest review.

If you want to find out more about Katie Ruggle and her work, and I really urge you to, check out her Goodreads Page or Website.

Survive the Night was just released on February 6th so you can get your own copy in print or digital format from Barnes & Noble or Amazon or request it from your local book provider.


Also be sure to enter my giveaway going on now for a chance to win her first full series, Rocky Mountain Search and Rescue.  - Enter HERE

Monday, February 12, 2018

Romance Week: #Giveaway - My Biggest Ever

Romance Week

So what would a big feature week be without a giveaway?! I have been stashing little goodies away for some time now just waiting for the right time to give it all away and I think now is the time. 

I have 2 big prizes for you guys . . .
 One is a physical prize packages that includes 4 print books and a ton of romance author swag, bookmarks, magnets, key chains, etc.  (I have been collecting these goodies over the past 2 years at the Fall In Love in New England Romance Convention)


The other is a set of 4 full series of some of my favorite romances from the past couple of years, including: 
Rocky Mountain Search & Rescue Series by Katie Ruggle (4 Books)

Firebrand Series by Elisabeth Naughton (3 Books)

Elsker Saga by S.T. Bende (3 Books)

and 

  
The Kingmaker Chronicles by Amanda Bouchet (3 Books)
(I may add a few more individual books as well, I need to sort through my Amazon gifts folder)




Below is the Rafflecopter entry form, follow me on my various social media platforms, you can tweet once a day to earn points, and I want to hear about your favorite couple, the one you hope to have a relationship like some day.  


Of course with anything else we have rules
~You must be 18 or older to enter (books are adult books)
~Enter the giveaway via the below Rafflecopter methods
 ~This is open internationally too (any incurred customs fees are your responsibility)
~ Must give me a mailing address to send them to (believe it or not I have had winners in the past who didn't want to give an address so was unable to claim their prize)
~ Giveaway runs from now through February 18th at 12:00am EST
~Rafflecopter will randomly select the top 2 (1st name drawn will have their pick of prizes)
~After I contact you, you will have 48 hours to pick your prize or I will move on to the next name and select a new winner. 





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

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
5 Minute Star Wars Villain Stories (Bedtime Story)
Heart on Fire by Amanda Bouchet (Romance Week)
The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert (Romance Week)


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

7 Ate 9
The Water Hole
It's Only Love
Mountains of the Moon
Goodnight, Little One
The Coincidence of Coconut Cake
Landscaper Series
I Love My Love



Currently Reading:

Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage by Jennifer Ashley - Audio - 62%



Pages Read/ Time Listened
67:28 Hours Listened (9:31 listened this week)
4,862 Pages Read (978 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
I Love My Love by Reyna Biddy
The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
Gods of the North by Lucy Coats
We Have Always Lived in a Castle by Shirley Jackson
Life Changing Manga of Cleaning Up by Marie Kondo
To the Sky Kingdom by Tang Qi
Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage by Jennifer Ashley
Letters from Wolfie by Patti Sherlock
Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher
Dead Man's Walk by Larry McMurtry
Luck Love and Lemon Pie by Amy E. Reichert
Beartown by Fredrik Backman
The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert
Listen, Slowly by Thanhha Lai
Ravenous by MarcyKate Connolly
Monstrous by MarcyKate Connolly
The Astounding Broccoli Boy by Frank Cottrell Boyce
Terrier by Tamora Pierce
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
As Brave as You by Jason Reynolds
Smuggler's Run by Greg Ruka
The Lost Stone by Jordan Quinn
The Scarlet Dragon by Jordan Quinn
Sea Monster by Jordan Quinn
Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And just like that we are already mid-February!! It was a busy week last week and I decided to throw together a romance week this week for Valentine's day.  I know not everyone is into it or has a valentine, but I love romance books and when better to share them?!  So I will be having a few reviews, a giveaway later today and a few discussion posts so I hope you have time to come back and join me!  Also, my book orders over the past month and a half all decided to come in at the same time (Hubby was not amused). I really need to get better about checking the library before I buy a book, because several of the ones ordered are available for immediate borrowing or have a very short wait list.

We have been having beautiful weather here lately and got to spend a bunch of time this weekend outside. Munchkin and I had an intense game of hide and seek, which was really fun. Then the whole family went for a walk, it was so nice but gosh I need to start exercising because I was a bit sore after the 3 miles up and down hills. We also got to go out to dinner, something we don't do often, but after reading The Coincidence of Coconut and all the talk about cheese curds and hard cider, I needed to have some!  All and all last week was a pretty great week and I am looking forward to more weeks like that, hopefully the weather can hold out!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Romance Week: The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert

Romance Week

Read for: Enjoyed the author in the past & Recent Purchase


Steam Level:
2 of 6: There is a bit of bedroom scene in the later part but it isn't overly descriptive but the scene leading up to it certainly builds the temperature.



Synopsis: "YOU'VE GOT MAIL meets HOW TO EAT A CUPCAKE in this delightful novel about a talented chef and the food critic who brings down her restaurant—whose chance meeting turns into a delectable romance of mistaken identities.

In downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Lou works tirelessly to build her beloved yet struggling French restaurant, Luella’s, into a success. She cheerfully balances her demanding business and even more demanding fiancé…until the morning she discovers him in the buff—with an intern.

Witty yet gruff British transplant Al is keeping himself employed and entertained by writing scathing reviews of local restaurants in the Milwaukee newspaper under a pseudonym. When an anonymous tip sends him to Luella’s, little does he know he’s arrived on the worst day of the chef’s life. The review practically writes itself: underdone fish, scorched sauce, distracted service—he unleashes his worst.

The day that Al’s mean-spirited review of Luella’s runs, the two cross paths in a pub: Lou drowning her sorrows, and Al celebrating his latest publication. As they chat, Al playfully challenges Lou to show him the best of Milwaukee and she’s game—but only if they never discuss work, which Al readily agrees to. As they explore the city’s local delicacies and their mutual attraction, Lou’s restaurant faces closure, while Al’s column gains popularity. It’s only a matter of time before the two fall in love…but when the truth comes out, can Lou overlook the past to chase her future?

Set in the lovely, quirky heart of Wisconsin, THE COINCIDENCE OF COCONUT CAKE is a charming love story of misunderstandings, mistaken identity, and the power of food to bring two people together."

My Review: I really enjoyed Reichert's Simplicity of Cider last year and it linked up with her previous books, so I am finally getting around to reading them. I really enjoyed this book even though I have seen the theme of food critic/chef and the conflict several times before. With that said, I loved the food descriptions, I ended up starving the entire time I was reading the books (even woke Hubby up and told him we are going for cheese curds ASAP). I really enjoy when an author can describe a food so well that you will die if you don't get to eat it right away! I also enjoyed the easy way between the characters and the local fun they enjoyed. It has me looking at my own area a little differently. Also Gertrude and Otto have my heart, I do adore them. It was a light, fun and easy read. I hope that we get to revisit some of the side characters in other books soon!

My Rating: I rather enjoyed this book, I adored the characters, though not the trope so much but it was pulled off really well. I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag!


Note: There is a recipe for the infamous coconut cake in the back of the book. I have not tried it because no one in my family really like coconut but I want the special vanilla!!

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Romance Week: Heart on Fire by Amanda Bouchet

Romance Week


Read for: Recently Added to Shelves & Love this series!!



Steam Level:
4 out of 6: Less than the previous books but when Griffin & Cat get together they certainly create a lot of steam!  


Synopsis: "Who is Catalia Fisa?
With the help of pivotal figures from her past, Cat begins to understand the root of her exceptional magic, her fated union with Griffin Sinta, and Griffin's role in shaping her destiny.

Only Cat holds the key to unlocking her own power, and that means finally accepting herself, her past, and her future in order to protect her loved ones, confront her murderous mother, and taking a final, terrifying step--reuniting all three realms and taking her place as the Queen of Thalyria.

What doesn't kill her will only make her stronger...we hope."

My Review: This is going to be a tough book to review, it is the last in this trilogy but it appears that it maybe isn't the last in the world. There is also a lot packed into this book, it is pretty much non stop action with little down time for Cat and Griffin or Beta team. I have said before that I am not a big fan of the Chosen One trope but the previous books in this series really softened the blow of that concept with a big team effort, but this book kind of veers more down that path than I would have liked. It becomes more and more clear throughout the book that Cat has to step up on her own and is the only one who can fight many of the battles, I much preferred the earlier books in this aspect. With that said there are some great lesser known mythological stories woven into this one and it was a great addition. There were also some great twists, epic heartbreaks and highs that kept the pages turning. Be warned that this doesn't wrap everything up in a nice little bow, there are a lot of dangling plot lines and I really hope we don't have to wait too long for more books with the Beta Team!

My Rating: We didn't get much down time and Cat & Griffin spent a good portion of the book separated so I kind of miss those moments. While it wasn't my favorite book in the trilogy, I did really enjoy the development several of the sub-characters went through. I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.




Friday, February 9, 2018

Bedtime Stories: 5 Minute Star Wars Villain Stories

Read for: Children's Books & STAR WARS!

Synopsis: A collection of 5 stories from throughout the Star Wars Saga featuring the villains and dark side. Each story is illustrated with the classic characters and stories, all stories are brief but stick to original scripts of the movies.

My Review: I picked these up for Munchkin from the Kohls Cares for Kids display and am so glad that I did. They are a great introduction to the events of the movies with all the classic characters and events from both the original trilogy and the pre-quel trilogy and even from the more recent releases. The illustrations aren't exactly like the originals but are drawn in a more cartoon style for young readers. The stories were all brief and while this book features the villains, none of them were too scary for a young child. We have really enjoyed this collection of stories and can't wait to start the hero stories next.
 

My Rating: We really enjoyed this collection of stories and I like the broad range from the original trilogy to the prequels and even the newer movies. We give it a rating of Four Paws!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Review of Nevernight by Jay Kristoff


Read for: TBR & came highly recommended

Synopsis: "In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.

Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?"

My Review: I kept hearing about this book over the past year and everyone raved about it, but I put it off in fear of the book not holding up to the hype. I have to say that there was no need to hold off and it held up to all of my expectations! While this book may not be suited to everyone, there is a lot of cursing and brutality and is definitely not for the faint of heart but if you are up for it, do not hesitate to pick this one up. It did start off a little rocky for me since I tried the audio book first, but it wasn't making a whole lot of sense, turns out it has footnotes on nearly each page to build the history of the world, so the narrator didn't really distinguish when it was a foot note was being read (a different tone would have been helpful). Once I picked up the print version and digital from the library, I quickly became absorbed. The other thing that kind of threw me for a loop was the first couple of chapters jump between flash back and current, but other than italics defining the two, we don't really know what is going on. It becomes much more clear as the story continues and the flashbacks are lumped together instead of broken up in a chapter. Regarding the footnotes, I read them at first but I don't think they are really 100% necessary for the enjoyment of the book, it may help with world building and piecing things together in later books, but I only read them for about half the book and then just became to absorbed into what was going on in the main part of the story. The cast of characters in this one is wide and each intriguing in their own way; I have a bit of of a love hate relationship with Mia, is she villain or hero, is she violent and uncaring but at other times she is sentimental and emotionally attached. I did love several of the side characters Lotti, Lord Cassius, Naev and of course Tric but Mister Kindly is the ultimate side kick! The pace of the story builds as we near the conflict of the story and by the end we are being steamrolled and the pages are flying. This is definitely a story that will grab hold of you and take you for a ride. I cannot wait to pick up Godsgrave!

My Rating: I know that was a long review but there are a lot of elements that factor into this book, but when it all comes to an end this is without a doubt a Four Paw and a Stump Wag book for me!

Monday, February 5, 2018

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

Marabel and the Book of Fate by Tracy Barrett
Ice Ice Puggy by Disney (Early Reader)
Little Tails on the Farm by Frederic Brremaud & Federico Bertolucci (Graphic Novel)


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

Nevernight
Silver Bracelet
Life Changing Manga of Tidying up
Survive the Night



Currently Reading:

It's Only Love by Marie Force - Audio - 82%



Pages Read/ Time Listened
57:57 Hours Listened (none listened this week)
3,884 Pages Read (1,102 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
I Love My Love by Reyna Biddy
The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
Gods of the North by Lucy Coats
We Have Always Lived in a Castle by Shirley Jackson
Life Changing Manga of Cleaning Up by Marie Kondo




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Gosh the day has gotten away with me, right along with the month of January.  It was a late night last night with the super bowl but sadly not the outcome Hubby wanted. Hard to believe football season is over, but it will open up our weekends to more fun! Even though I was busy getting the house ready for the party on Sunday, I still got a surprising amount of reading done! With that said I have a lot of books to read this month, I really need to put myself on a book buying ban!  Luckily, my house is already cleaned up after the party, I have a bunch of card making to do so I will be either reading books or listening to books all week this week.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Graphic Novel Review of Little Tails on the Farm by Frederie Brremaud & Federico Bertolucci

Read for: Netgalley/ Requested Review/ Graphic Novel Challenge

Synopsis: "Little Tails is a series of young readers graphic novels created by Eisner Award–nominated illustrator Federico Bertolucci and writer Frédéric Brrémaud, creators of the world-famous, multi-award winning Love series of silent, wildlife graphic novels.

In each volume of Little Tails, Chipper and Squizzo set out on a fun, educational journey to a different location, encountering the real-world animals found there in beautiful illustration and fun cartoon strip antics. In this new volume, they visit a nearby farm and meet a wide variety of new and interesting domestic and wild animals!
--
Chipper and Squizzo set out on a hunt for some fresh milk for their breakfast, taking the adventurous duo across the fields of a nearby farm, where they meet horses, pigs, goats, bulls, and more!"


My Review: I have been wanting to give on of the Little Tails issues a try after they attracted my attention a year or so ago, so when this one came available on Netgalley I jumped at the opportunity. I love that there are more and more graphic novels and comics being made available to younger reading audiences, it is a great way to bridge the gap from illustrated picture books to novels and chapter books. Graphic Novels are also a great way to help young readers who may not be as interested in the activity to focus on a book. With that said, I don't think I have ever seen one done quite the way that Little Tails is done. It combines the classic comic cartoon strip with beautiful and artistic illustration. On each page is a short comic featuring the characters Chipper and Squizzo in simple cartoon pencil style and then the scene or animal on the farm they are discussing fills the remainder of the page in a beautiful artistic and realistic style. It really took me a bit to wrap my head around it but the funny adventure that the pair were on drew me in, along with the use of facts throughout the story. I don't know how well young readers will be able to make the connection between the comic and the images but it is certainly a unique book to share.
 

My Rating: This was an unusually formatted book, even for a graphic novel. I am not sure how that will translate for everyone but I found it unique and I love that it is written for children but enjoyable for all.  I give it a rating of Three Paws.


I received this book via Netgalley, the above is my honest review.

For more information about Frederie Brremaud and his work please check out his Goodreads Page.

Little Tails on the Farm was just released on January 16th and you can obtain your own copy in print format from Barnes & Noble or in print and digital formats from Amazon or check with your favorite comic book store or book supplier.