Friday, September 20, 2019

Bedtime Story: Thunder Horse by Eve Bunting and Illustrated by Dennis Nolan

Read for: Children's Challenge

Synopsis: "When a girl receives a small horse from her aunt, she doesn't quite know what to do with it. It turns out that this horse is a very special horse: it has wings.

As the horse grows and grows, so does the girl's love for it, but as everyone knows, sometimes you have to let go of those you love so they can grow in their own way. But you can always hope they come back to you someday.

Eve Bunting's Thunder Horse is a beautifully crafted tale that will work its way in to the hearts of readers, and the good thing is, they never have to let it go."

My Review: This is a book I would have loved as a little girl, heck I still love it now. A sweet story about a little girl and a magical horse and a whole lot of love. It was simple but has so much depth too. The illustrations are soft and absolutely stunning, and use nice muted colors, perfect for a calming bedtime story. This would be great for any little horse lovers in your life, I know my nieces are going to love it!

My Rating: Definitely a book I wished I had when I was little but I highly recommend it for little horse lovers!  We give it a rating of Four Paws (or hooves).

Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Football Book Tag

While I haven't reminded all of you recently, I am a huge football fan! When I saw the Football Book Tag on What Cass Read on Youtube, I knew I had to post this tag!  This tag was originally created by Elliott Brooks on Youtube.

So without further ado, here is the Football Book Tag . . .

1. False Start--What's a book you had to start more than once?
I had heard great things about this one but I should have known when it is compared to Harry Potter that it just wasn't the book for me. I tried it 3 times and was finally able to push through with the audio book.
2. MVP--What are your Most Valued Pages, aka, which books do you value the most?
It is a toss up between my signed and personalized ARC of Fire and my collection of Frankenstein which consists of some beautiful limited editions and some vintage editions dating back to 1919.
3. Offensive Lineman--Name a really big book or series?
How is that for an O-line? Clocking in at a hefty 2,848 page series, I think this constitutes as a big series.  I know I have been talking about this series for a while but these chunky books are the ones that keep taunting me from my TBR shelf, taking up almost half a shelf by themselves.  I am determined to get through them!
4. Rookie--Name a debut novel you want to read or that you loved.
I absolutely fell in love with Amanda Bouchet's writing as soon as I read her debut novel, A Promise of Fire.  She has become one of my auto-buy authors.
5. Peyton Manning--Name an author who has written two different books or series you love?
Years ago I read the Doppelganger duology by Marie Brennan and then last year I fell in love with her Lady Trent series, I have also read her Ree Varekai duology and really enjoyed it as well.

6. Lambeau Field--Name a book that's very atmospheric.
The Scorpio Races has been one of the most atmospheric books I have read, perfect to read in the fall on a cold rainy night!
7. Hail Mary--Name a book with a great ending.
While I may not have rated this super high, it still had quite a statement ending, one you won't forget!

8. Raiders--Name a book or series with intense fans.
There isn't a fandom out there with more rabid and intense fans than the Harry Potter series. For those of us who didn't enjoy it, we are kind of left in the cold and looked down upon for not enjoying some of the greatest books out there (at least according to the fandom).
9. Walter Payton Man of the Year--Name an author who's really charitable?
I don't often follow authors and find out what they are doing but I enjoy Jay Kristoff's personality. I have found over the past year or so that he is not only generous with his charity of choice but he is also generous with his fans.
10. Patriots--Name a book or series you're SO TIRED of hearing about.
I only made it through book 4 of this series and couldn't stand the MC anymore, but people just don't stop talking about this series!  (Note: I kind of live in Patriots nation and am a fan by default and really enjoy watching the machine in play).
11. Brett Favre--What's a book or series you thought was over but then more books were written?
I barely found out about this book a couple of weeks before release but it is a continuation of the Lady Trent Series (well kind of a companion novel) and follows Isabella's Grand-daughter.

12. Cowboys--Name a book or series that people either love or hate.
I have heard people raving about this book and series and I have heard people who just can't get through it.  I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that it was pushed by a lot of YA readers but it is in fact an adult book and with it comes all the brutality of a world at war and with a lot of drug trafficking.  I actually landed in the middle of this one, I loved the beginning but the ending was so chaotic and rushed.

13. Trick Plays--Name a book or series with a plot twist.
I put off this series for so long because of the mixed reviews, but I am obsessed. There are so many twists and turns and you never know what is going to happen thanks to a rather unreliable narrator/character.

14. Cheerleaders--A book with a flashy cover.
I am probably one of the few people who isn't a fan of this cover, it is too bright, shiny gold for my liking.

15. Roughing the Passer--Name a book that you would love to throw at the author.
Give me the rest of the story dang it! This was supposed to be a 3 book set but after 9 years I have zero hope of ever seeing the ending.

Let me know if you also participate in this tag, it was really fun to bring these two vastly different loves of mine together.  Now back to your regular season program.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Top 5 Wednesday: Series to Finish this Year

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

So I am scheduling this a little in advance and at the time Sam is still on Hiatus, so I came up with my own topic.  This week I wanted to discuss the series that I still need to finish by the end of the year (at least the top 5 anyway).  Believe it or not we have just about 3 1/2 months left in this year and goodness knows I am going to need every second of that to squeeze in all the books I still want to read.   But here are the series I am focusing on finishing before the end of the year (in no particular order).

I read the first book in this series 2 years ago and was caught completely off guard, I loved it way more than expected.  Then I waited for the final book to come out, was super eager to binge all three, and yet here they are still waiting on my shelves.  The Queen of Blood was a perfectly atmospheric fall read and I think that October will be the month to binge this series.

I read the first four books in this series ages ago, then the last two books came out without me noticing.  I started re-reading the series this year so I can finally read those final two books, and guess what  . . .  I made it through book 4 and no further.  I really want to get to these last two books!

The covers on this series have been calling to me for a couple of years now and I finally gave in this year.  I absolutely loved book 1, struggled a bit in book 2 and fell back in love with book 2.5.  All that remains is the final book, and I think the reason I have been putting it off is because I finally fell back in love with Des after really not liking him in book 2 and I don't want to end the series not liking him, so I just haven't given it a chance.  But this will change, hopefully by the end of this month.

Like so many of my other fellow bloggers, I have been highly anticipating the conclusion to this series and now I have it in my hot little hands.  But it has been over a year since I read Godsgrave and I think I need a bit of a refresher, at least need to read the last few chapters before diving into this but it will happen before the end of the year!

This is another series that had taunted me from the Barnes and Noble shelves for a while before I gave in and brought them home.  I read the first book earlier this year and found it surprisingly easy to read and get into for such a large epic fantasy but haven't picked up the rest of the books yet.  Luckily the second book just had the audio book released this month so I can read it in all three formats to keep the pages turning.  It might be a long shot to get this series done by the end of the year, with each of the remaining books having between 688 and 800 pages, but this is a goal. 

Obviously these are not all the books I want to read by the end of the year but these are the series I am going to try to focus on completing.  Do you have any series you want to finish up this year?

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Review of Holy Sister by Mark Lawrence

Read for: Audio Book/ Recently Added & Highly Anticipated

Synopsis: "The third instalment in a brilliant fantasy series from the international bestselling author of Prince of Thorns
Nona Grey’s story reaches its shattering conclusion in the third instalment of Book of the Ancestor.
They came against her as a child. Now they face the woman.
The ice is advancing, the Corridor narrowing, and the empire is under siege from the Scithrowl in the east and the Durns in the west. Everywhere, the emperor’s armies are in retreat.
Nona faces the final challenges that must be overcome if she is to become a full sister in the order of her choice. But it seems unlikely that Nona and her friends will have time to earn a nun’s habit before war is on their doorstep.
Even a warrior like Nona cannot hope to turn the tide of war. The shiphearts offer strength that she might use to protect those she loves, but it’s a power that corrupts. A final battle is coming in which she will be torn between friends, unable to save them all. A battle in which her own demons will try to unmake her. A battle in which hearts will be broken, lovers lost, thrones burned."

My Review: This was one of my most highly anticipated books of this year, I absolutely loved Red Sister and Grey Sister and couldn't wait for the conclusion. Sadly, I really struggled to get into this one, even with the refresher Lawrence puts at the beginning of the book (which by the way I wish every author did for books in a series). It may have been the fact that it has been over a year since I read both Red Sister and Grey Sister back to back, or it could have been that Grey Sister just absolutely blew me away and set the bar extremely high for this one. I was not a fan of the story jumping between the past (that actually happened right after the second book) and present time (3 years later). So much of the development of the story happens off the page in that time period that I felt a little cheated (note: I just discovered there was a short story that should be read between the second book and this book, it would have been nice to know this ahead of time!!). With that said, once I finally did settle in and the major conflict began I really enjoyed it. I loved the odd twists and turns that kept popping up in the story, especially with the magic system and technology of the age. It was a good conclusion to the series, not everything was wrapped up nice-nice but what in life ever is, but we had some great closure (and maybe some satisfying revenge).

My Rating: While it may sound like I didn't like this book, I really did, it was still a great conclusion to the series, it just didn't live up to my anticipation of it or my love for the previous books.  I give it a rating of Three Paws.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Monday Reading List

It is Monday again, and time to update with what I read last week, what I am currently reading and what to look forward to next week.

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

Becoming the Dark Prince by Kerri Maniscalco
The Queen of Ruin by Tracy Banghart
Freckleface Strawberry: Backpacks by Julianne Moore (Early Reader)
The Truth About Cowboys by Lisa Renee Jones

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

Turning Darkness into Light
A Monster Calls
Girl From the Other Side Vol. 1
Thunder Horse
Girl from the Other Side Vol. 2
Clark the Shark and the Big Book Report
Quiet Girl in a Noisy World

Currently Reading:
Kingdom of Exiles by Maxym Martineau - Audible - 18%

Pages Read/ Time Listened
453:19 Hours Listened (11:35 listened this week)
25,075 Pages Read (561 this week)

Books Added to Shelves Recently: TBR
Year One
Girl Who Drank the Moon
King of Scars
Dactyl Hill Squad
The Darkdeep
Lord of the Fading Lands
Shadow of Doubt
Gates of Stone
A Conspiracy of Truths
Vortex Visions
Through the White Wood
Descendant of the Crane
Holy Sister
Dark Harmony
The Sea Queen
The Mountain of Kept Memory
Misfits of Avalon Vol. 1
Misfits of Avalon Vol. 2
The Sea King
Ride Hard
Ride Rough
Ride Wild
Force of Attraction
Primal Force
Rival Forces
A Rogue by Any Other Name
A Scot in the Dark
The Day of the Duchess
The Pirate Bride
Man Made Boy
This Monstrous Thing
Dear Santa
An Endless Christmas
Christmas Magic
Falling Softly
Christmas Town
The Christmas Star
Gris Grimly's Frankenstein
The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter
We Hunt the Flame
Dreaming the Bear
A New Hope
The Monsters We Deserve
Strange Star
Ghostly Tales from the Lost Summer of 1816
Storm and Fury
Kingdom of Exiles
The Thankful Unicorn
Honeybees and Frenemies
Turning Darkness into Light
A Monster Calls
Master & Apprentice
The Chosen
The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend
Mortal Engines
Evvie Drake Starts Over
Merciful Crow
The Bridge Kingdom
The Girl From the Other Side Vol. 2
The Girl from the Other Side Vol. 1
The Girl the Sea Gave Back
A Crash of Fate
Black Spire
Capturing the Devil
The Testaments
Quiet Girl in a Noisy World


It was a much better reading week this last week, though most of the books I read were short ones, I did end up enjoying them more than I expected! I do have a few new books that are some of my most highly anticipated releases this year and I am getting ready to dive into those this week.  I had my second to last craft bazaar this last weekend too, so there is that pressure off for this week as well. We have also finally settled into a bit of a routine around the house, Munchkin has adjusted to his school and soccer schedules and is actually getting his homework done without too much of a fight. Hubby still has crazy work hours but we are once again making progress on the house.  If the weather holds out this weekend we will be ripping a big hole in the side of the house to install a french door and window, then it is only one more window, half a side to paint, retaining wall, regrading the yard and installing sprinklers, and a new patio to get done before winter strikes in full force LOL! It seems like a lot but the final few steps we are actually hiring people to take care of, thank goodness!

I have been gearing up my TBR with some nice autumn/spooky books but suddenly I find myself really wanting to start picking up those Christmas books! I know I am not one for wanting to skip over Halloween or Thanksgiving (both holidays I really, really love) but I just really want a book that feels like a big warm hug.

What books give you those warm hug feelings?

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Review of The Truth About Cowboys by Lisa Renee Jones

Read for: Netgalley/ Requested Review

Synopsis: "While I was off pitching in the big leagues, my family was back in the small town of Sweetwater, Texas, running the family ranch. Then tragedy hit and I discovered there were secrets that my family kept, problems they hid. I went home, left behind the money, women, and fame. I took over the ranch and took care of my grandmother. I took over hiding the secrets. Then she came to town. A smart-mouthed, clumsy, too-smart-and-too-pretty-for-my-own-good city girl hiding out to write a book. She's right here, on my property, in the cottage my grandmother rented her without my permission, and she sees too much. She knows too much.

Now suddenly my world is spinning, and she's shoving a baseball back in my hand while baking cookies with my grandmother. She's the devil and an angel all in one fiery little package. I decide I'll wait her out. She'll go back to the city. Only suddenly I don't want her to leave, and everything I’ve settled for in my life isn't enough. I want to play ball and I want her, but there's that secret that won't let go, but neither will she."

My Review: I have really been in the mood for some good cowboy romances lately and I really liked the idea of the jaded, high power woman stepping out of the city into the country. Sadly, I really struggled with this one, normally I consume romance novels in a day or two and this one took me well over 2 weeks to read. I didn't connect with the characters much and found a lot of the story to be disjointed and it felt forced with bits of inspired dialog that really flowed. It took until the last third of the book for me to really get into the story and feel like I was picking it up to find out what happened next instead of because I needed to finish it. It just really didn't work for me, maybe Jones' writing style just doesn't jive with my reading preferences. The redeeming factor, Grandma Martha, Roarke, the neighbor and Kelly that cat, two rather minor characters but they seemed to have more natural personalities that flowed on the page.

My Rating: I really can't believe how much I struggled with this book, romances, specifically cowboy romances, are my cup of tea and I usually fly through them.  It really felt like a struggle to get from one inspired bit of the story to the next, it almost felt like a debut or even an early draft as opposed to a finished work.  It was not at all what I was expecting, but with that said I am debating giving the next book a shot because it follows one of the side characters I actually enjoyed.  I give it a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag.

I received a complimentary copy of this book via Netgalley. The above is my honest opinion

Friday, September 13, 2019

Early Reader Bedtime Story: Freckleface Strawberry: Backpacks! by Julianne Moore & Illustrated by LeUyen Pham

Read for: Early Reader Challenge

Synopsis: "Academy Award–winning actress and New York Times bestselling author Julianne Moore brings us more adventures from Freckleface Strawberry! Freckleface and her best friend, Windy Pants Patrick, each have something secret in their backpacks: sticky, gooey gum and a squished, messy donut. When it comes time to pull their homework from their backpacks to hand in to the teacher, suddenly their snack choices seem like a really bad idea.
With predictable sentence patterns, simple words, frequent repetition, and bright, colorful illustrations, this is a new Freckleface Strawberry book that young readers can read all by themselves!"

My Review: This was a great book to pick up for kicking off the new school year. This is a great level 2 book, consisting of short, simple sentences, lots of repetition and introduces chapters. I like how it demonstrates how some kids like different things, and also weaves in what should and shouldn't be going into backpacks to school. This was an easy read for Munchkin but he found it funny that the teach thought the donuts were mountains. A little comedy keeps young readers coming back for more!

My Rating: This was a fun and quirky story to read for the school kids.  We enjoyed it and look forward to more Freckleface Strawberry books.  We give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.

Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Review of Queen of Ruin by Tracy Banghart

Read for: Recently Added & Highly Anticipated

Synopsis: "Nomi and Malachi find themselves powerless and headed towards their all-but-certain deaths. Now that Asa sits on the throne, he will stop at nothing to make sure Malachi never sets foot in the palace again.

Nomi's sister, Serina, is far away on the prison island of Mount Ruin - but it is in the grip of revolution and Serina leads. The women there have their sights set on revenge beyond the confines of their island prison. They will stop at nothing to gain freedom for the entire kingdom. But first they'll have to get rid of Asa, and only Nomi knows how.

Separated once again, this time by choice, Nomi and Serina must forge their own paths as they aim to tear down the world they know, to build something better in its place."

My Review: I absolutely loved Grace and Fury last year and the cliffhanger ending has been haunting me ever since, so I had to pick this one up right away once it was released. I was a little nervous about where the story would go, especially since it is a duology and would be wrapped up in this book. It was a quick read with all the action throughout the book, it kept the pages turning quickly. I really loved the development of each of the characters and how while they pulled strength from each other, they also became strong individually. I love where the story ended up, though it was a bit predictable for an ending. I would like to have a small after the fact novella but I am pretty satisfied with how the story-lines were tied up.

My Rating: I really enjoyed diving back into this book and following these powerful women as their struggles continued.  While I am glad it was all able to wrap up in a duology, I think there is certainly a lot left to be told in this world. I give it a rating of Four Paws!

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Top 5 Wednesday: Reasons I Keep Skipping that Book on my TBR

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

I believe that Sam is still on Hiatus and I have a few more ideas for Top 5 Wednesday posts. 

This week I wanted to talk about all those reasons I have for skipping over books on my TBR instead of picking them up. We all have those little reasons we tell ourselves and here are a few brutally honest reasons I haven't picked up the books that I bought and am really excited to read but just don't pick them up.

1. I don't have time, this book is too big!
Yup we all have this excuse not to pick up those big books, I always skip over them on the shelves but at the same time I know I usually end up enjoying them over many of the shorter books. 

This is the reason I have been skipping over The Forgetting Moon at 800 pages.

2. This is the last book in the series, maybe if I never read it, I won't have to say goodbye!
I find myself saying this more and more often, if I can binge right through the series I am fine but if I have to wait for a final book, I really struggle to pick it up, afraid to say goodbye to those favorite characters.

I still have Dawn Study sitting on my shelves, it has been out for nearly 2 years but I just can't bring myself to say goodbye to Yelena and Valek after 8 books and 4 novellas!

3. The Hype is too much! What if I am disappointed?!
Ugh, the dreaded hype, others get your expectations so high that you are guaranteed to be disappointed, and you know this so you keep waiting for the hype to die down along with your expectations.

For this very reason I haven't picked up King of Scars, the hype has died down now but the disappointing reviews are rolling in and it is making me even more hesitant to pick it up.

4. It's a Classic, they are so tedious!
Some of my favorite books are classics but on the flip-side some of my least favorite books are classics. You never know what you are going to get when you read one until you are in it and have potentially spent hours reading it.

Hence the reason The Picture of Dorian Gray is still sitting there mocking me from the shelf.

5. I don't have the Audio book yet and there are hard words.
With a lot of books that are inspired by non-english speaking regions, there are often words that are difficult to pronounce or read. I like to have an audio book to listen to while reading so that I can get the names and words correct.

Books I have struggled with in the past become instant favorites once I combine them with audio books, so I have to pick up both formats at the same time.  This is the reason I have held off picking up We Hunt the Flame and Descendant of the Crane, both of which I believe now have audio books available.

So what are some of your favorite excuses for not picking up a book on your TBR? Which excuse should I push through first to pick up one of these books?  What is your response when you start giving yourself excuses?