Saturday, March 31, 2018

March 2018 Challenge Update & April TBR

Wow! This year is absolutely flying by! I cannot believe that we are already a quarter of the way through the year and spring is here already! I have done a ton of reading this month, even though most of it was Middle Grade books.  I also managed to really sort through a lot of my books and Unhaul a bunch on my TBR which I am very happy about too.  All in all a rather successful month.

Children's Book Challenge:
30 - 40 books

Early Reader Challenge:
30-40 books

Graphic Novel Challenge:
23-28 books

Audio Book Challenge:
28-32 books

Classics Challenge:
5 books (1 re-read)
2. Frankenstein (re-read)
3. The Jungle Book: Mowgli's Stories

Series Challenge:
4 full series & 6 duologies
Memoirs of Lady Trent Series (5 books & 1 novella): Book 1Book 2Book 3Book 3.5Book 4Book 5 - COMPLETE
Butler VT/Green Mountain Series (9 books & 2 novellas): (Books 1-3 read in 2017) Book 4Book 4.5Book 5Book 6Book 7Book 8
Nevernight Chronicles (3 books so far): Book 1
Winternight Trilogy (3 books): Book 1Book 2
Unicorn's Secret (8 books): Book 1Book 2Book 3Book 4
Ree Verakai Duology (2 books): Book 1Book 2 - COMPLETE
Ixian Chronicles: Book 1
The Selection Series (5 books & collection of novellas): Book 1Book 2
Kingdom of Wrenly (13 books so far): Book 1Book 2Book 3Book 4

Requested Reviews:
No more than 25
None this Month

TBR Challenge:
50-75 books that I already own as of 12/31/2017
26. Dinosaur Racing
27. The Jungle Book: Mowgli's Stories

Books Added to Shelves in 2018:
As I read the books I purchase this year I will add a link (I will also note the month they were purchased/ read)
1. Plague of Giants (Jan./)
2. Moonsilver (Jan./ Jan.)
3. Silver Thread (Jan./Jan.)
4. The Silver Bracelet (Jan./ Jan.)
5. Mountains of the Moon (Jan./ Feb.)
6. Practical Magic (Jan./)
7. I Love My Love (Jan./ Feb.)
9. Gods of the North (Jan./March)
10. We Have Always Lived in a Castle (Jan./)
12. Heart on Fire (Jan./ Jan.)
13.To the Sky Kingdom (Feb./ )
15. Letters from Wolfie (Feb./March )
16. Ketchup Clouds (Feb./ )
17. Dead Man's Walk (Feb./ )
18. Luck Love and Lemon Pie (Feb./ )
19. Beartown (Feb./ )
21. Listen, Slowly (Feb./March) - DNF
22. Ravenous (Feb./ ) - UNHAUL
23. Monstrous (Feb./March )
24. The Astounding Broccoli Boy (Feb./March ) *
25. Terrier (Feb./ )
26. Lonesome Dove (Feb./ )
27. As Brave as You (Feb./ March )
28. Smuggler's Run (Feb./Feb. )
29. The Lost Stone (Feb./March )
30. The Scarlet Dragon (Feb./ March)
31. Sea Monster (Feb./March )
32. Daughter of the Pirate King (Feb./ )
33. The Wolves of Winter (Feb./ )
34. Heaven on Earth (Feb./ Feb. )
35. Into the Fire (Feb./ March)
36. Still Waters (Feb./ )
37. Red Sister (March/March) *
38. Reflections of Yesterday (March/)
39. Sleeping Giants (March/)
40. Heir to the Jedi (March/)
41. Jedi Search (March/)
42. Heart of Iron (March/)
43. Here Comes the Sun (March/)
44. Hermes: Tales of the Trickster (March/ March)
45. The Witches Curse (March/March)
46. Emma's Dream (March/)
47. Eko (March/)
48. Star Wars: Moving Target (March/)
49. Caging Merrow (March/)
50. The Fifth Season (March/)
51. His Dark Endeavor (March/)
52. The Traveling Cat Chronicles (March/)
53. Greedy Pigs (March/)
54. Lustlocked (March/)
55. Black Powder War (March/)
56. Throne of Jade (March/)
57. The Scandalous Mackenzies (March/)
58. The Stolen Mackenzie Bride (March/)
59. The Wicked Deeds of Daniel Mackenzie (March/)
60. Lady Castle (March/)
61. Frankenstein Alive, Alive (March/)
62. Frankenstein Alive Alive Trio (March/)
63. Long Walk to Valhalla (March/)
64. Hard to Serve (March/)
65. Mastering Her Senses (March/)
66. Theirs to Take (March/)
67. The Sapphire Affair (March/)

March Reading Stats:
I read a total of 32 books this month
3,629 pages read and 1 days, 13 hours and 28 minutes of listening

Resolutions Check in:
1. Read Less Books: I read 40 books in the month of March last year and 32 this year so - Check!
2. Be More aware while reading: I made a ton of notes for the readalongs, especially Frankenstein - Check!
3. Read More Chunky Books (12 books over 450 pages in 2018): I did read one book over 450 pages this month, squeaked it out at the very end - Check
4. Use Library & Overdrive more: I have borrowed a bunch of books but only one I hadn't already purchased, I do have a couple on hold though. - Check!
5. Purge & Re-organize shelves: I DNFed 3 books and pulled 3 more off the shelves for donation. I also used Try a Chapter go to through all my subscription box books and added 11 (at least at the time of typing this) to my Unhaul pile - Check!


I read nearly all the books I set out to read last month, except the big chunky ones, so that will be one of my focuses this month. I also really need to buckle down and read some of my RI author books.  As Spring is finally arriving I need to start getting ahead since the busy season will be starting, in fact Monday already marks the first Tball Practice!  So here is the TBR I have set for April

Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff
A Plague of Giants by Kevin Hearne
Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young
The One by Kiera Cass (buddy read)
Grey Sister by Mark Lawrence
Still Waters by Mari Carr
Secret Hunger by Satin Russell
One White Lie by Jeannette Winters
The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim
Here Comes the Sun by Marie Force
The Reluctant Queen by Sarah Beth Durst
From a Certain Point of View (various authors)
Traitor's Blade by Sebastian De Castell
The Trail by Ray K. Anderson
Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder

And several children's books and early readers in preparation for Children's Book Week!

How did your March go? What book did you not get to in March that will be top of your TBR for April?

Friday, March 30, 2018

Bedtime Story: Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss

Read for: Children's Book Challenge & Dr. Seuss Month

Synopsis: "Meet Horton the elephant, one of the most commendable heroes in children’s books. 
“I meant what I said, and I said what I meant. . . . 
An elephant’s faithful, one hundred per cent!” 
Horton is kind and trustworthy, but unfortunately, the lazy bird Mayzie takes advantage of his good nature when she leaves Horton to watch her unhatched egg. Told with Dr. Seuss’s signature rhymes and trademark illustrations, this is a tale that will be enjoyed over and over, by reader and listener alike."

My Review: Horton has always been one of my favorite characters from Dr. Seuss and it was exciting to share him with Munchkin. I love this story and how Horton is so dedicated to what he committed to do. There is obviously a great rhythm and rhyme to this story but there is a lot less of the made up words that can really hang you up when reading aloud. The best part is how Horton is rewarded for his time and effort. Munchkin has decided that this is his favorite Dr. Seuss story so far.

My Rating: This is one that I adore and am so glad Munchkin does too, it has the same rhyme as the other Dr. Seuss books but without as many tongue twisters or made up words.  We give it a rating of Four Paws and a Stump Wag!

Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

March Readalong/ Readathon/ Challenge Update #4

I cannot believe we are only days away from April, this month absolutely flew by (and it is a month that usually drags for me), I credit having all these ongoing interactive book events all month long to making it fly.  I am normally a very isolated reader with so few bookish friends near by and it has been a lot of fun reading and interacting with everyone throughout this month, even though I haven't been as active as I would have liked!

Anne of Green Gables Read-Along
This week's discussion post will be on Jenni's Blog on March 31st and will cover the last chapters of the book.   I have finished the book and as much as Anne drove me crazy and the overly dramatic reaction she has with everything, I found the point at about chapter 35 or 36 when she finally started maturing to be the point where the story finally captured me.  I enjoyed this more mature and controlled Anne, though at this point the story also seemed to really start glossing over and rushing the story instead of so many intricate details of interactions.  And with all the talk about Gilbert, why did none of you warn me about Matthew?!  I blame all of you for that mess the other night!! And speaking of Gilbert, I finally get what you were all talking about, it took until the very end of the book but I get it now.   Anyway, the final questions will be posted this weekend and I will have my full review along with those questions answered in a post next week.


The Selection Buddy Read
I am all caught up with my Sister in Law in this book, in fact I have passed her by because I couldn't stop.  I am again completely frustrated by Aspen and America, I am totally team Maxon.  I did slow down enough to appreciate how much thought went into providing a history of Illea to go along with the new government system, and that is part of the appeal for me, the government, the unrest, and the way they are handled throughout the development of the story.


Middle Grade March Read-A-Thon
While I haven't been able to read quite all the middle grade books I had hoped, they have made up a good chunk of my reading this month.  This last week I finished 4 more books, and I am in the process of reading the Astounding Broccoli Boy and I hope to squeeze in one or two more, including a childhood favorite if possible.
1. Read an award winner: Letters from Wolfie
2. Read a book to movie adaptation: Anne of Green Gables
3. Read a children's classic: 
4. Read a childhood favorite: 
5. Read a diverse book: As Brave As You


Try a Chapter Challenge

I may not quite get through all the books I had hoped to try a chapter on but I am very happy and satisfied with this process.  On Monday I tried out three books from past OwlCrate boxes,  The Glass Spare was eliminated before the chapter was done, and The Hearts We Sold and Before She Ignites are both tentative yeses (I am not sure about them but am willing to give them more of a shot).  Last night I decided to try to get a couple more done and tried The Wolves of Winter from a recent Magic Chest Box was a yes, and The Haunted House Next Door from the first Bookish Treehouse Box is a maybe, not real thrilled with it and definitely not suited for Munchkin and King from an early Bookworm Box, I was really looking forward to this one but sadly it is a no, there is so much cursing in it (something I usually do not have a problem with) that I just couldn't get through the first chapter.   As I have been working on this challenge I have discovered several books that I had forgotten were from subscription boxes so there are a few more books than were originally on there.  I have a total of only 4 more books (at least I hope, I better do one more sweep of the shelves) and I am sure I can get those last ones done between Easter Prep and completing the rest of my challenges.


Frankenstein Read-Along
So last week I was sorely behind on this read along, which I really felt bad about because I had really pushed Stef to have this read along.  But I am now caught up and am updating with the 2 rounds of questions I have missed.  The final questions will be going up tomorrow, so next week I will answer those final questions along with  a little bonus for me, something I have been working on all month. You can check out the updates, questions just chat with Stef at Noveltea Corner.

Now because I am reading the older format, some details have been changed and some of the timing is slightly different so I did my best to adjust the questions and answers to suit both versions.  This has been my first time reading the 1818 version as opposed to the 1831 version (most often published) and it has been a year or two since I last read the standard edition I am doing my best to remember the differences or glance at my other edition while reading when time allows.

So first we will have the questions for the 2nd update which covered from Volume 1, Chapter 4 through Volume 2, Chapter 3.

1. Who is at fault for William’s death? Is anyone other than the murderer responsible for what happened? 

This is such a difficult question, if the creature committed the murder, does that make Frankenstein an accomplice, as he was responsible for the creature? Are parents responsible for their child's every action? There definitely is some responsibility to teaching right from wrong but in the end unless actually knowing of the act and condoning it by inaction or action, in my opinion only the murderer is responsible

2. How might Justine’s trial have differed in today’s court system?

Being someone who works in a law office, though not often in connection with the courts, I would like to say that the trial would have been much more carefully run, a defense attorney to assist in Justine's defense and prevent a confession under duress and that emotions of the judge and jury would not be swayed by the actual crime, but they are all human and acts against children must be the hardest to hold back and judge based on facts and not circumstantial evidence.

3. How does Victor’s guilt affect his health? What is Shelley’s purpose in this recurring plot device?

His guilt sends him once again into a fit of madness, I think the outward and clear reaction to the emotion is a way to make the results of his actions and the emotions connected to those results a little more evident.  I think with the theme of taking both life and death into one's own hands and the responsibilities and consequences of doing such is what Shelley was trying to convey, it is not horror in the sense that there is the monster out there but more about the actions and results themselves when defying the laws of nature.

And now on to the questions for the 3rd update that covers from Volume 2, Chapter 4 through

1. What imagery does Shelley employ when the character describes his “awakening?” What does his reaction remind you of?

This is partly where I think the two editions very quite a bit, in the one I am reading the first bit (which I believe includes the first 2 days of the creature's existence) were glossed over.  The confusion of it all and the establishment of his senses really makes it clear how he is nearly starting from square one. The wonderment is like that of a child.

2. How does the change in narration to the creature’s point of view affect the reading of the novel? Do you feel sympathy for the creature when he is rejected by humanity?

Since first reading this book I have always really sympathized with the creature, I love his narration and how he finds beauty and wonder in simple things, and grows to master more complicated things and for the most part is gentle and caring until show the ugliness of people.

3. What crucial role in the creature’s development is played by the DeLacey family?

I don't think he could have made the strides that he did with out the observation of the DeLacey family.  The way they showed care and affection towards one another was a great way for the creature to also learn the gentleness of people, at least towards the ones they care about.

4. What is the motivation behind the creature’s vow of “eternal hatred and vengeance to all mankind?”

His hatred of humans is clearly a result of their rejection of him and his isolation in the world.

5. Is the creature’s demand for a female companion a valid request? Examine the pros and cons of Victor’s compliance. Consider evidence provided by both Victor and the creature.

It is human nature to want the love and affection of another, and the creature was created from human parts and has modeled himself after humans.  But I don't know that it will solve the problem for the creature because you can't force affection and love, who knows if the new creation would have the same temperment or would grow to love in return, and I don't think that argument was presented at all in the back and forth between them.


So all in all a great month, and the next few days should wrap it up so nicely!! I will have reviews and wrap up posts over the next few weeks for all of these challenges. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Review of Monstrous by MarcyKate Connolly

Read for: Middle Grade March & Recently Added

Synopsis: "The city of Bryre suffers under the magic of an evil wizard. Because of his curse, girls sicken and disappear without a trace, and Bryre’s inhabitants live in fear. No one is allowed outside after dark.

Yet night is the only time that Kymera can enter this dangerous city, for she must not be seen by humans. Her father says they would not understand her wings, the bolts in her neck, or her spiky tail—they would kill her. They would not understand that she was created for a purpose: to rescue the girls of Bryre.

Despite her caution, a boy named Ren sees Kym and begins to leave a perfect red rose for her every evening. As they become friends, Kym learns that Ren knows about the missing girls, the wizard, and the evil magic that haunts Bryre. 

And what he knows will change Kym’s life."

My Review: I have been eyeing this book for a while, I was very intrigued by the idea of this Frankenstein type creation in a fantasy setting; I was thrilled when I was able to grab both this book and second book in the series. Unfortunately, this one fell a little short for me. The book is narrated by the creation, Kym, and starts off when she starts life, she is a bit confused and relies on her father for a lot of information. The supposed twist in the story, what the whole mystery is based on, can be spotted a mile off, I was left trudging through the pages knowing what was going to happen and just wishing Kym would figure it out and get on with it. There were a few interesting characters but they lacked development and active roles in the story. I was rather happy with the ending as Connolly took it to the level that so many others hold back from and it was really appreciated. But all in all it wasn't really worth the many hours of reading, I have since also donated the second book as I don't see myself ever wanting to pick it up.

My Rating:  I have so been looking forward to this book and was so disappointed.  I can understand making things easier for middle grade readers but even young readers would have been able to spot the twist.  I do have to say I appreciate the ending but not enough to wipe the slate clean.  I give it a rating of One Paw and a Stump Wag.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Dewey Spring Prep 24 Hour/1 Week Readathon - Sign Up & Updates

Can you believe that it is almost time for the Spring Dewey 24 Hour Readathon?! I am hoping to participate in it this year.   To help everyone prepare for reading a whole day, there are several challenges and readathons being hosted in the Goodreads Group.  This week there is a Readathon/Challenge to read 24 hours total in the week from Sunday March 25th through Saturday March 31st.  I know I am getting this post up a little late (and I will do my best to estimate times from the past couple of days), but I thought this would be a great way to get that extra push through the end of the month.  

- Read 4.5 to 5 hours per day
- Read a total of 1,000 pages (or equivalent with audio books)
- Finish/read 6 books total

Monstrous (finish - 35% remaining)
Anne of Green Gables (finish - 38% remaining)
Frankenstein (finish - 104 pages remaining)
Red Sister (finish - 250 pages remaining)


Time Reading: 5.25 hours
Pages Read: ~250 pages
Books Read: 3
Total Pages Read: 250
Total Time: 5.25
Total Books Finished: Monstrous, Hermes, Sleepy Dog

Time Reading: 4.5 hours
Pages Read: ~200 pages
Books Read: 5
Total Pages Read: 450
Total Time: 4.75 hours
Total Books Finished: Monstrous, Hermes, Sleepy Dog, Anne of Green Gables, The Witches Curse

Time Reading: 4.5 hours
Pages Read: ~ 225
Books Read: Red Sister & The Elite
Total Pages Read: 675
Total Time: 14.25
Total Books Finished: Monstrous, Hermes, Sleepy Dog, Anne of Green Gables, The Witches Curse

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Monday, March 26, 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

Addie on the Inside by James Howe
Escape from Darth Vader by Michael Siglian (Early Reader Bedtime Story)
Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi (Mini Review)
Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder (Mini Review - Re-Read)
The Selection by Kiera Cass (Mini Review - Re-Read)
Gods of the North by Lucy Coats (Mini Review)
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo (Mini Review)

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

Sleepy Dog
Stuck in the Mud
Horton Hatches the Egg
 Hermes: Tales of the Trickster

Currently Reading:

Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery - Audio - 63%
Frankenstein (the original 1818 Version) by Mary Shelley - Print - on page 63 of 167
Red Sister by Mark Lawrence - Kindle - on page 217 of  469

Pages Read/ Time Listened
151:49 Hours Listened (12:20 listened this week)
8,996 Pages Read (191 this week)

Books Added to Shelves Recently: TBR
Plague of Giants by Kevin Hearne
Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
We Have Always Lived in a Castle by Shirley Jackson
To the Sky Kingdom by Tang Qi
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
Ravenous by MarcyKate Connolly
Monstrous by MarcyKate Connolly UNHAUL
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
Heaven on Earth by Jayne Rylon and Mari Carr
Into the Fire by Jayne Rylon & Mari Carr
Still Waters by Jayne Rylon & Mari Carr
Red Sister by Mark Lawrence
Reflections of Yesterday by Debbie Macomber
Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel
Heir to the Jedi by Kevin Hearne
Jedi Search by Kevin J. Anderson
Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston
Here Comes the Sun by Marie Force


I didn't get as much reading done as I wanted on vacation but it was still great to get some down time.  We did end up having a bit of an extension with an extra snow day cancelling flights.  I used this weekend to get caught up on some house work and some crafting.  I have fallen a bit behind on some of my reading but am hoping to catch up this week.  I have to say I am a little surprised to find March coming to an end already this week! How did this month end up flying by so quickly! Sunday is already April, and Easter, and Tball season will be starting soon and we have enroll Munchkin in First Grade!! Yikes! Time is flying!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

1st Quarter Mini Reviews: Re-Reads, The Star-Touched Queen, Gods of the North & More

So with reading and reviewing so many books, I am running out of days in which to share them with you.  I am going to start posting Mini Reviews of books that I read through out the year but couldn't find the time to post on the last Sunday of each quarter.

I used to post Mini Reviews each month but I have decided to post them each quarter.  With lumping my reviews for series and reading less books, there is a little more time to keep up with posting reviews, hence less Mini Reviews are needed.  So at the end of every three months I will post my mini reviews for that quarter.  I hope you like this new way of posting them!

This was a re-read and I really enjoyed it, even though I knew what happened.  I did find myself picking up new small details (and maybe a few issues).  Four Paws

Another re-read/ readalong that was just as engrossing the second time around.  It was fun to slow down and really take in the details and pick up more of the little nuances. Four Paws and a Stump Wag.

I so wanted to like this story! Stunning cover and re-telling of Hades & Persephone but it was a big let down, rather confusing and didn't enjoy the characters (except the people hating/soul eating snarky undead horse). One Paw and a Stump Wag

7th book in this series and I was loosing faith, this restored it a bit but not fully. I did like the integration of Norse Mythology and may continue the series if more types of mythology are added.  Two Paws and a Stump Wag.

I have heard so many say this was a favorite from their childhood, I was a little disappointed. It has a nice message but I don't think it is ever fully reached. Not exactly a happy story to read with kids.  Two Paws