Friday, January 12, 2018

Bedtime Story: Don't Forget Dexter by Lindsay Ward

Read for: Prime Early Reads/ Children's Book Challenge

Synopsis: "Introducing Dexter T. Rexter, the toughest, coolest dinosaur ever. At least he likes to think so.

When his best friend, Jack, leaves him behind at the doctor’s office, Dexter T. Rexter panics. First he tries to find Jack. Then he sings their special song. Then he sings their special song even louder. But when Jack still doesn’t appear, Dexter starts to wonder. What if he’s being replaced by another toy? It can’t be—after all, he can STOMP, RAWR, and CHOMP! Right? Right?!

This hilariously neurotic dinosaur will do whatever it takes to get his friend back—even asking the reader’s advice—in this first book of a brand-new series."

My Review: This is a really adorable book told from the point of view of a forgotten toy. As a parent we always have those panic moments where that special toy goes missing and it was fun to read a book from the different point of view. It is a great conversation starter if you want it to be about taking care of our things and being responsible. It can also be interactive as Dexter asks for your advise on what to do throughout the book. Really a fun and unique book to share with little ones.

My Rating: This was such a cute book and unique concept. It was a little young for Munchkin but he still enjoyed it. I think it would be great for kids 2-4 years old.  We give it a rating of Four Paws.

Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Review of The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

Read for: Recent Purchase (2017)/ Mount TBR (2018) and look at that cover!

Synopsis: "At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn't mind--she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse's fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

After Vasilisa's mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa's new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.

And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa's stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed--this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse's most frightening tales."

My Review: So this was a struggle for me to get through, nearly a full month to read, but in the end it was totally worth pushing through to the end. I think the hardest part for me was the terminology used to refer to each character, sometimes different names were used and then also terms of endearment (that I wasn't aware of) but at the end I discovered a glossary to clear up those issues (I have a whole other argument about putting important info like that at the back of the book where you don't find it until you stumble your way through). It was also very slow to develop, we are introduced, in detail, to each party to the story and the settings before everything is finally put together. I didn't really get into it until well over half way through the book. With that said by the end I was rather attached to Vasilisa and was rooting for her, but I could also see the other side of every disagreement throughout the story. I absolutely adored all the little spirits and the role they play and would love to see even more of them. I must also add that this is a must read in the winter, it was so atmospheric, the snow and chill outside only lent to drawing you into the story. Once I finished with this one, I immediately picked up Girl in the Tower and am enjoying that one much more.

My Rating: This is a tough one to rate because if I went by my feeling at the end it would rate very high but for a less than 400 page book to take me more than a month to read I just can't justify that; so I am having to give it a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag, right in the middle.

Have you read this one? What did you think of it? If not, do you read any Eastern Folk Lore/ Retellings?

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Top 5 Wednesday: Books I Didn't Get to in 2017

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

So this week's topic is about the top books that we didn't have time to read in 2017 that we really wanted to read, and will now be prioritizing in 2018.

Well, as all bookworms know, there is never enough time for all the books we want to read! For me the second half of 2017 really went by faster than I would have liked and it left some books on my TBR shelf that I really did want to read.  Now this is a bit of an eclectic TBR but here are the books that I just didn't have time for but will be reading early in 2018.

I have really been enjoying this King Arthur retelling, even though there isn't any magic and Arthur is not all that great of a person.  This is the final book in the trilogy and I really wanted to read it but with them all being near 500 to 500+ pages it made it hard right at the end of the year.

I am a little horrified that this book actually came out at the end of 2016 and was a much awaited book in a long series I have been enjoying.  It has been so long that I may need to revisit the previous 11 books in the series but this will be one to read very soon!

I have wavered back and forth on this book but I do really love a good western. Not to mention the fact that the second book is also out now. Definitely going to read this one and the second book pretty early this year.

If you have been a visitor here very often you will know I am a huge Kristin Cashore fan, and have been anxiously awaiting another book from her. But when this one came out and I read the synopsis, it has me a little scared. It is not the genre I was hoping for and sounds so obscure that I don't know if I will like it, but with that said other fans of her books have loved it.  I think this is one that I will have to force myself to pick up but will end up enjoying.

It took me a while to pick this one up after it came out (even though I really wanted it) because of the price and now I am delaying reading it until I can download the audio book because there is a great cast of narrators and I think that would just amplify my enjoyment of the stories.  (That and I kind of want to share it with Munchkin as we approach May the 4th and his first time seeing the movies).

So what books did you miss out on reading in 2017 and want to read this year?

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Review of The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli

Read for: Received in the Unicorn Crate & Dragons!

Synopsis: "In the beginning, there was the Namsara: the child of sky and spirit, who carried love and laughter wherever he went. But where there is light, there must be darkness—and so there was also the Iskari. The child of blood and moonlight. The destroyer. The death-bringer.

These are the legends that Asha, daughter of the king of Firgaard, has grown up learning in hushed whispers, drawn to the forbidden figures of the past. But it isn’t until she becomes the fiercest, most feared dragon slayer in the land that she takes on the role of the next Iskari—a lonely destiny that leaves her feeling more like a weapon than a girl.

Asha conquers each dragon and brings its head to the king, but no kill can free her from the shackles that await at home: her betrothal to the cruel commandant, a man who holds the truth about her nature in his palm. When she’s offered the chance to gain her freedom in exchange for the life of the most powerful dragon in Firgaard, she finds that there may be more truth to the ancient stories than she ever could have expected. With the help of a secret friend—a slave boy from her betrothed’s household—Asha must shed the layers of her Iskari bondage and open her heart to love, light, and a truth that has been kept from her."

My Review: The cover of this book and the synopsis instantly drew me in and I had to have it, and I was thrilled when it came in a Unicorn Crate book subscription box. I did try listening to it first on an audio book from the library but I was very confused as there are old stories mixed into the book and there wasn't any clear definition in the audio book. So I read it in print instead. It was a very slow to start book but once all the pieces fell into place it really picked up speed. I love the play on the enemies to friends/lover theme that is in this book on multiple levels. I did find it odd that the 'old stories' really aren't that old and some of them even happen in Asha's life time, it was rather confusing, and honestly still puzzles me bit. I did really enjoy the side characters and the way that all the characters developed as the story moved along, often the line between good and evil blurred and then re-aligned, sometimes a few times. It was really an interesting story. It is a first book in a series but honestly I am pretty satisfied with the conclusion of this book.

My Rating: Once I figured out the format issue with the audio book and switched over to print, I was really drawn into the story.  I enjoyed the characters and the story and the play with friends and enemies is my favorite trope type. I give it a rating of Four Paws!

Monday, January 8, 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

Snow Dance by Erica Farber (Bedtime Story/ Early Reader)
Above the Timberline by Gregory Manchess (Graphic Novel)

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

The Bear and the Nightingale
Breath of Fire
Don't Forget Dexter
Secret Horses of Briar Hill

Currently Reading:

Pages Read/ Time Listened
15:18 Hours Listened (15:18 listened this week)
594 Pages Read (594 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


Welcome to the official first weekly wrap up of 2018! Gosh, I really can't believe we are already into this new year! It was an interesting week around here with a massive blizzard and then bitter cold, so school was out for Thursday (and Friday for most of the state but not us) and a weekend hunkered down in the house.  I must admit that I have been totally out of it all around the past week, I did get some reading done but am still trying to get a grasp on plans for the year. I still haven't set up my planner for the year yet!  I have also been completely out of it at the office, forgetting who is on the phone, not remembering that a client was in the office only half an hour before, I am hoping it is all just a result of exhaustion and a time of recovery after all the stress.

With that said, today kicks off my first Readathon of the year, Bout of Books.  I love this readathon because it lasts a whole week and makes it easier to work around a busy schedule.

What was the first book you finished or started in 2018?

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Bout of Books #21: Sign Up & Updates

I have always looked forward to Bout of Books right at the beginning of the year! All those books on the shelf just waiting to be read and Bout of Books is the readathon to kick off the year on the right foot.  This year however I am struggling to even get together a simple TBR for January, let alone what book to read first, but I will be joining anyway in hopes that it gives me a push to get going on my reading for this year!

Here is the information you need in case you want to sign up too!

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 8th and runs through Sunday, January 14th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 21 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team


So this post is going to be my base for the week, I will continue to come back and update it each day with my progress (as I already have a lot of posts planned for this week and don't want things too jumbled up).  I will also be updating on Instagram @EasternSunset9

Time Devoted to Reading

I would like to read between 2-3 hours each day and read about 200 pages each day.
Averaging about 1.5 hours and work and another 1.5-2 at home after Munchkin goes to bed.

My Goals

Read a total of 1,000 pages
Read at least 2 hours each day
Read a total of 6 books
Read 1 Requested Review Book

Books to Read

Heart on Fire - 380 pages
Girl in the Tower - 363 pages
Wishtree - 224 pages
Kilty Pleasures - 73
Down and Across - 336 pages
Kindred Spirits - 96 pages
Pancho Bandito and the Avocado Desperadoes - 39 pages

Other Possible Books

And I Love Her - 10:03
As You Wish - 432 pages
Vengeance Road - 327 pages
Staying Strong: 365 Days a Year - 365 pages


Number of Pages I've read today: 219
Total Number of Pages: 219
Time spent reading today: 2.5 hours
Total number of books I've read: 5 
Books completed: Pancho Bandito & The Avocado Desperadoes, Kindred Spirits, Kilty Pleasures
Thoughts:  So it was kind of a screwy kick off for me, I barely got any reading done at the office. Then I probably screwed up my week by picking up all the really short easy reads first thing, but I think maybe that momentum will help me along. I did end up picking up a book that wasn't even on my list and am totally obsessed with it, Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan, so it might take precedence. I do still really want to read Heart on Fire though, too many good books that I want to read is not a problem to be complained about right?!


Number of Pages I've read today: 2.5 hours audio (about 125 pages) + 24 = 154 pages
Total Number of Pages:  373
Time spent reading today: 2:45
Total number of books I've read: 5
Books completed: Pancho Bandito & The Avocado Desperadoes, Kindred Spirits, Kilty Pleasures
Thoughts: I didn't get as much read as I had expected but all that I did read was super enjoyable.  As hard as it was for me to get into The Bear and the Nightingale, The Girl in the Tower has me pulled right in.  Also, I am so in love with the audio book of Natural History of Dragons and wish that I could listen to it all day but only in the car and after everyone else in the house goes to bed.

Number of Pages I've read today: 3 hours audio (about 182 page) + 5 = 182 pages
Total Number of Pages: 555
Time spent reading today: 3 hours
Total number of books I've read: 5
Books completed: Pancho Bandito & The Avocado Desperadoes, Kindred Spirits, Kilty Pleasures, Natural History of Dragons.
Thoughts:  I have been so busy in the office that I haven't had much time to read The Girl in the Tower but I did finish Natural History of Dragons last night while working on setting up my bullet journal. As much as I really want to dive into the next Lady Trent book I do want to focus on the books I originally listed first.
Number of Pages I've read today: 83 + .5 hour audio (about 30 pages) = 113
Total Number of Pages: 668
Time spent reading today:  2 hours
Total number of books I've read: 7
Books completed:  Pancho Bandito & The Avocado Desperadoes, Kindred Spirits, Kilty Pleasures, Natural History of Dragons
Thoughts:  When you get an email from Overdrive telling you that your hold is now available, you drop all other books and start reading that one! Lucky for me it is one of the books on my TBR list (and one of my most anticipated 2018 releases), Heart on Fire!  So that is probably going to take precedence over the next day or two.  I also started listening to the audio book And I Love Her because I have a bunch of crafting to do this weekend. I am not quite where I want to be for the week but I think I can make it up.
Number of Pages I've read today:
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Time spent reading today: 
Total number of books I've read:  
Books completed:  
Saturday & Sunday
Number of Pages I've read today:
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I don't often participate in the challenges but if I do they will be posted here.

Monday Challenge: In Six Words
 My 6 words posted on Instagram - Escaping Daily Stress in Fictional Worlds

Tuesday Challenge; 2018 Reading Goals
So besides the goals I posted last week (HERE) I think I have finally settled on my actual reading challenges & numbers.
Children's Books: 30-40
Early Reader: 30-40
Audio Books: 25-35
Classics: 4
Chunkers (books over 450 pages): 12
Requested Reviews: 25
RI Authors: 25
I also want to do better about reading the books I purchase (not to mention less purchasing this year)
Total Books to read in 2018: 250