Thursday, September 16, 2021

Review of Whiskey in a Teacup by Reese Witherspoon


Read for: Audiobook

Synopsis: "Listening length: approximately 3 hours

Academy award-winning actress, producer, and entrepreneur Reese Witherspoon invites you into her world, where she infuses the Southern style, parties, and traditions she loves with contemporary flair and charm.

Reese Witherspoon's grandmother Dorothea always said a combination of beauty and strength made Southern women "whiskey in a teacup". We may be delicate and ornamental on the outside, she said, but inside, we're strong and fiery.

Reese's Southern heritage informs her whole life, and she loves sharing the joys of Southern living with practically everyone she meets. She takes the South wherever she goes with bluegrass, big holiday parties, and plenty of Dorothea's fried chicken. It's reflected in how she entertains, decorates her home, and makes holidays special for her kids - not to mention how she talks, dances, and does her hair (in this audiobook, you will learn Reese's fail-proof, only slightly insane hot-roller technique). Reese loves sharing Dorothea's most delicious recipes as well as her favorite Southern traditions, from midnight barn parties to backyard bridal showers, magical Christmas mornings to rollicking honky-tonks.

It's easy to bring a little bit of Reese's world into your home, no matter where you live. After all, there's a Southern side to every place in the world, right?"

My Review: I have had this book sitting in my audible account for a while now, and one of the library's reading challenges for the summer was to read a non-fiction, so here we are. I would really recommend the audio book, listening to Reese narrate the story just added to that southern charm this book exudes. While I was hoping for a bit more, it was a rather short story that really glazes over basic manners. With that said there are a lot of great tips in this book, some playlists, party menus and recipes, many of which I am really looking forward to trying.

My Rating: This definitely felt like a scratching the surface type book but it was still a really enjoyable audio book. I do really want to go back and download the extra content like recipes and playlists.  I give it a rating of Three Paws. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Review of Willodeen by Katherine Applegate


Read for: Requested Review/ Netgalley/ Favorite Authors/ Anticipated Release

Synopsis: "The earth is old and we are not, and that is all you must remember . . .

Eleven-year-old Willodeen adores creatures of all kinds, but her favorites are the most unlovable beasts in the land: strange beasts known as “screechers.” The villagers of Perchance call them pests, even monsters, but Willodeen believes the animals serve a vital role in the complicated web of nature.

Lately, though, nature has seemed angry indeed. Perchance has been cursed with fires and mudslides, droughts and fevers, and even the annual migration of hummingbears, a source of local pride and income, has dwindled. For as long as anyone can remember, the tiny animals have overwintered in shimmering bubble nests perched atop blue willow trees, drawing tourists from far and wide. This year, however, not a single hummingbear has returned to Perchance, and no one knows why.

When a handmade birthday gift brings unexpected magic to Willodeen and her new friend, Connor, she’s determined to speak up for the animals she loves, and perhaps even uncover the answer to the mystery of the missing hummingbears."

My Review: Applegate is my all time favorite Middle Grade author so I definitely was excited about a new book from her. This one is just adorable and really captures some important issues without being heavy handed. The setting is unique but easy to imagine, with some creative creatures. I really enjoyed the way Applegate encourages acceptance of people for who they are with all their quirks. The emphasis on the environment and the way different elements of nature effects other elements, it is definitely a book that will spark up some great conversations. I read an eArc of this one but I will definitely be picking up a hard copy and I really hope there are some illustrations to really draw you even further into the story.

My Rating: Applegate always manages to deliver books that are so relatable with great messages but that are also imaginative and easy to read, and this book was no different. I give it a rating of Four Paws and Stump Wag!

I received a complimentary copy of this book via Netgalley; the above is my honest review and opinion. 

You can find out more about Katherine Applegate and her books on her Goodreads Page or Website.

Willodeen was just released on September 7th so you can pick up your own copy now in print or digital format from Amazon or Barnes and Noble or request it at your local library or bookstore.

Friday, September 3, 2021

Bedtime Story: So You Want to Build a Library by Lindsay Leslie & Illustrated by Aviel Basil


Read for: Requested Review/Netgalley/Children's Books

Synopsis: "There is no better place in the world than a library. Especially a library that kids create! A million stories high? Sure. Bathtubs? Absolutely. A full-service sundae bar? Of course. Everything is possible in this library--just like in books!

Author Lindsay Leslie puts the reader in charge as the architect of a fantastical library in this imaginative picture book celebrating libraries and the joys of reading."

My Review:  It has been a while since I have had the opportunity to pick up a children's book but this one caught my eye immediately. I love the concept and idea, you never know what kids can come up with and it makes for a great conversation starter. It is full of fun and silly ideas of what could be put in a library and it will get those creative minds running. I loved the illustrations, they were bold and bright and will be great at capturing the attention of even the youngest readers. It is short and easy to read, perfect for those never ending bedtime story times. All in all a fun book to add to your collection.

My Rating: It is books like these that made me wish kids never grew up and we could share these stories forever. Even though Munchkin isn't into picture books anymore, I still love reading them. This is definitely one I would have added to our reading library, it is cute and silly and inspiring.  I give it a rating of Four Paws!

I received a complimentary copy of this book via Netgalley, the above is my honest opinion and review.

You can find out more about Lindsay and her books on her Goodreads Page or Website.

So You Want to Build a Library was just released on August 16th so you can obtain your own copy now from Amazon or Barnes & Noble or request it at your local bookstore or library.

Good Night, Sweet Dreams!

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

August 2021 Wrap Up & September TBR

 I feel like I am back in full swing finally! It only took from February until now but I am getting my reviews up a little more regularly and I am getting a lot more reading done. I might not be quite hitting my goals but I am still super happy with my August reading.

We will start with my main challenge this year . . .

TBR Books Read:
While I didn't quite finish 5 books off my TBR I did read 4 and DNFed & unhauled one, so it equals out in the end.


And DNFed one other

2021 Books added to TBR & Read:
I didn't do quite as well this month with my reading of the new books on my shelves but still I read 3 of my recent additions this year and unhauled one other that just wasn't jumping out at me.

Other Recent Additions:
I was super bad this month about additions (an honestly it is only going to get worse). In addition to Korgi Book 5, I also added all of these to my shelves (granted I do have most of them planning to be read in the next month or so).

In other reading I am tracking this year, I read . . .

Re-Reads: - COMPETE-
Goal: Re-read 15 books
I just have to say, I totally blew this challenge out of the water this month and I have so many more re-reads I can't wait to get to this year.

Borrowed Books:
Goal: Borrow 30 books

Books Over 500 Pages: - COMPLETE-
Goal: 10 books
Another challenge completed! Again, I have a few more chunky books to get to still this year!
10. The Sea King (598)

Requested Reviews: 
28. Twelve (direct)
29. Hush (Netgalley)
30. Six Crimson Cranes (Netgalley)
32. Heartbreak for Hire (Netgalley) 

 Reading Stats:
I read a total of 27 books this month

Resolutions Check in:
1. Read that TBR: A total of 5 books came off my TBR this month so Yay! A big win for me - CHECK
2. Re-Read More: After a couple of months without any re-reads I might have gone a bit crazy and re-read 10 books! - CHECK
3. Purchase Less & Read More: Not quite a win but I read more books total than I purchased so I am counting that as a win, and really working on that this next month as pre-orders start rolling in - CHECK
4. Keep Trying New Genres/Authors: I tried 7 new to me authors and gave 2 others a second shot,  I also tried some slightly different genres then my normal go tos - CHECK


September TBR
I am still really liking the goal of 4-5 books from my TBR, 4 books from my recent editions and as many review books as I can squeeze, it has a nice balance for me and keeps things interesting with all the different authors, ages and genres.

For TBR books: 

From the Library:

For Re-Reads:

Recent Additions:

Local Star *Currently reading
Stories for Christmas

I am so happy to finally be getting back to a normal schedule around here. I am working on a few new regular features that will link my Instagram account with my blog more and hopefully draw a bit more activity this way soon. Either way, I am so happy to be getting back to my normal reading groove even though I have had to switch to almost exclusively audio books to work with my schedule.

I hope you are all finding yourselves on great adventures in your books!

Monday, August 30, 2021

Mystery Monday: Dead Drop by PK Norton


Read for: Mystery/ Recently Added/ RI Author

Previous Books in Series:

Synopsis: "Does the past ever really leave us? Not in Amy Lynch's world.
What starts out to be a well-deserved vacation for Amy - volunteering at an archaeological dig on the outskirts of Paris - turns ugly when the head archaeologist is found dead at the dig-site. A recently uncovered relic from World War II threatens to expose treachery and betrayal from the time of the German Occupation. It endangers the life of anybody bold enough to delve into its significance.

New England Casualty and Indemnity, the insurance company where Amy works as a claims investigator, is insuring the dig. Amy's world turns upside-down as she reverts from vacation mode to conduct a full-blown investigation. She meets with obstacles, resistance and threats to her own safety - as well as an adorable Frech detective - in her quest to unmask a traitor."

My Review Before I really got into Cozy Mysteries I had read the first book in the Amy Lynch series and enjoyed it, so it was about time I got to this next one. I found this one super intriguing with flash backs to the the WWII era and events that lead up to this mystery. It did feel like Amy got kind of dragged around in this one as opposed to really leading much of an investigation but it was still interesting watching everything unfold and come to light. There were quite a few twists in the story and definitely a big one that I didn't see coming. I would have liked to be able to connect the dots on my own along with the characters but I did like the multiple view points giving hints. While this is bit darker than the other mysteries I have been picking up, I did really enjoy it and think I need to continuing following this series and author!

My Rating: I enjoyed the setting and concept of this one, it was a little darker than my usual but I really appreciated the way it was all connected.  I give it a rating of Three Paws.


Saturday, August 28, 2021

Graphic Novel Review of Korgi Book 5: End of Seasons by Christian Slade


Read for: Anticipated Release/Graphic Novel/ Love the Series!

Previous Books in Series:

Synopsis: "The beloved wordless fantasy graphic novel series reaches its stunning conclusion -- with plenty of thrills, laughs, and exquisitely illustrated animal magic.

Winter has arrived in Korgi Hollow... and with it, the end of the Korgi story. As Ivy and her Korgi pup Sprout frolic in the frozen weather, an ancient power is stirring. At long last, saddle up for the conclusion of this "silent" epic fairytale told entirely through detailed pen-and-ink drawings. Fire and ice will collide in a timeless battle between good and evil. Will the residents of Korgi Hollow survive the harsh cold? One thing is for sure: nothing will ever be the same."

My Review: It feels like I have been waiting ages for another Korgi book and am beyond happy to finally have it but at the same time kind of sad it has come to an end. I really like the way Slade brought the series to a satisfying end and also managed to do it with pictures. It was a lot of fun to be able to have my son read it with me this time around, in fact he finished before I did! I love the complexity of the world, a wealth of characters and a good amount of magic, and once again all shown to us with simple ink drawings. This is a story readers of all ages can enjoy, but especially those animal lovers! I am happy to have this whole series gracing my shelves!

My Rating: I thoroughly enjoyed this series and really loved the way this last book brought it all to close. It was beautifully illustrated with unique characters and a fun connection to our world.  I give it a rating of Four Paws and a Stump Wag!

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Review of The Summer Dragon by Todd Lockwood


Read for: TBR Book/ Audio/ Dragons!

Synopsis: "The debut novel from the acclaimed illustrator—a high fantasy adventure featuring dragons and deadly politics.

Maia and her family raise dragons for the political war machine. As she comes of age, she anticipates a dragon of her own to add to the stable of breeding parents. Her peaceful life is shattered when the Summer Dragon—one of the rare and mythical High Dragons—makes an appearance in her quiet valley. Political factions vie for control of the implied message, threatening her aspirations, her aerie, her entire way of life.

The bond between dragons and their riders is deep and life-long, and Maia’s desire for a dragon of her own to train, ride, fly, and love drives her to take a risk that puts her life at stake. She is swept into an adventure that pits her against the deathless Horrors, thralls of the enemy, and a faceless creature drawn from her fear. In her fight to preserve everything she knows and loves, she exposes a conspiracy, unearths an ancient civilization, and challenges her understanding of her world—and of herself."

My Review: I have had this book on my TBR for a couple of years now, intending to read it in the summer and I finally managed. I have to say that this book is stunning physically, the illustrations are absolutely amazing! I was immediately drawn into the is story with the idea of riding and breeding dragons, clearly they were going to have an active role in the story. This book runs from one action packed moment to the next, I kind of feel bad for the poor characters, they never seem to have a moments rest. With that said it was a bit of a mixed bag for me. I loved the bits we get to see of Maia learning to interpret dragon language and all the growth she has as a character in these difficult situations. On the other hand it turns into a lot of theological debate, not all of which is easy to understand because we don't quite have the full picture. It really felt like common sense was bowled over in favor of theology and religion which then takes on a more political angle as well. I don't mind these aspects in a book if I get a bit more of the picture. And maybe that was coming in future books but this one is now 5 years old, are we going to get another book? I may continue on with the series if it comes out in the near future, otherwise it might just go down as a good book but a lost cause series.

My Rating: This one definitely feels like we just saw the tip of the iceberg and that there is so much more to see, a lot more world to explore.  I am super curious but at the same time hesitant if too much time passes before the next book comes out, if at all.  I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.