Saturday, April 21, 2018

Graphic Novel Review of The Park Bench by Christopher Chaboute

Read for: Recent Purchase/ Graphic Novel Challenge

Synopsis: "Chabouté's enchanting story of a park bench was first published to critical acclaim in France in 2012. Faber now brings his work to the English-speaking world for the first time.

Through Chabouté's elegant graphic style, we watch people pass, stop, meet, return, wait and play out the strange and funny choreography of life. "

My Review: This is an entirely wordless graphic novel that will really capture your attention. I really enjoyed the monotone art style, the small details of the story really pop out as the story goes on. I can definitely relate to many of the situations throughout the book and the ones I can't directly relate to I have definitely witnessed. I really like how this novel, without saying a single word, managed to convey many stories and makes you pause to think about your own life. A simple bench plays a role in so many lives, even in tiny ways, what can a person do?

My Rating: I really enjoyed this one, it makes you think and creates an enjoyable story.  I am definitely going to be picking up more of his books! I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag!

Friday, April 20, 2018

Early Reader Bedtime Story: Sleepy Dog by Harriet Ziefert

Read for: Early Reader Challenge

Synopsis: "It is time for Sleepy Dog to go to bed.
He gets a good-night kiss from Mom.
Sweet dreams, Sleepy Dog!"

My Review: The cover of this book reminded me of the show Kipper that Munchkin really enjoys on occasion, but the story is nothing like it. It is a very basic Level 1 book, it has great repetition and simple words for the young readers. It also does have a story line that will goes through a bedtime routine, including a nightmare and going back to sleep, which is great for us, and on into waking up again; all is set up with chapters, which does a good job of introducing young readers to the concept of chapters. The thing it lacks is a solid character, the dog is present throughout but is only referred to as dog with no name, so it lacks a bit of a personal connection and a character young readers can get excited about, there isn't much to draw them back to reading this one again.

My Rating: While this is good for those really just beginning to read, it is more on a level of pre-reader.  There also wasn't much to capture and keep those young readers attention.  We give it a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag.

Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Fantasy Fun Book Tag

It has been ages since I have last done a tag post and thought it would be a nice break from all the reviews I have been posting.  So I saw the Fantasy Fun tag on Piera Ford's Channel recently and thought it would be fun to participate since I have been reading so much fantasy lately.  The original tag was created by A World of Words  so check out the video and participate if you like.

1. What fantasy series would you want to be a part of? (You would be yourself, but a character in the series. Whether you survive would depend on your own abilities or abilities you could potentially learn in that world)

So I always have trouble with this question because I am rather ill-suited to any kind of fantasy world, usually there is magic needed or at least some kind of survival skills and the only thing I might be good at in that area is horseback riding.  I do think I would do okay in the Graceling Realm by Kristin Cashore, particularly the Dells (Kingdom featured in Fire) because I think I am pretty good at making myself seem invisible and would not be eaten by the Monsters.

2. What type of fantasy being do you want to be? Could be a human-like one; Elf, Shadowhunter, wizard, OR a mythological creature like a dragon or unicorn

Again a tough question, I think I would go with Centaur, the have the speed of a horse but can talk and use weapons like a human, and from the impression I get from books, they are rather large and intimidating so no one messes with a group of them.  The other option would be a shape shifting witch like Prof. McGunagall, to have magic and be able to sneak around like a cat, yes please!

3. Living your everyday life, would you rather have magic powers or have a mythological creature for a pet/BFF? (For example, have a dragon you could ride around)

Pet definitely a pet, can I have multiples?! I want a shadow pet like Mr. Kindly and a dragon and a unicorn and I want to be able to communicate mentally with them.

4. Who is your favorite fictional dragon? 

I think I kind of have to go with the first dragon I encountered and say Kazul from Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede. Mainly because I am drawing a blank, I know I have read books with great dragons, I love the sarcastic ones but am totally at a loss, clearly I need to read more dragon books!

5. What is your favorite fantasy movie? (This, of course, includes movies where modern-day people end up in fantasy worlds) 

Does Beauty and the Beast count?! If not then I have to go with Narnia.  I honestly don't watch a lot of fantasy movies, I read the books.

6. If you could pull any character out of a fantasy series, to live in the normal world (as your friend, or maybe love interest, who knows), who would you choose? (Note: this means they would no longer be in their book world--so think about what that might mean) 

Did you have to put consequences on this?! I kind of want to say Sal from Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller because they seem like a good person to have as a friend, if you can get them to be loyal.  I also want to say Rhys in ACOTAR because who wouldn't want that all to themselves or even Azriel, but Mor would also be a great option for a best pal, yeah I think I am going to go with Mor so that most of the storylines can stay relatively intact.  Or again, can I have Mr. Kindly?! Mia has more help now and can let him go right?!

7. If you could make a supporting character in any fantasy series the protagonist of that series, who would you make the new star?

I would love to have at least a full length novel if not a trilogy or series featuring Ari & Janco from the Ixian Chronicles by Maria V. Snyder, yes I know they do kind of have a novella and they are often in the books but I want so much more of them!


Helene from An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir, she really got the short end of the stick in all aspects, though that is what she signed up for. I would love to have a book all about her, yes we do get her POV in Torch and I think we might be getting more in Reaper but she deserves her own book!

I would love to hear some of your answers so let me know if you participate too!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Review of A Plague of Giants by Kevin Hearne

Read for: Recently Added to Shelf

Synopsis: "In the city of Pelemyn, Fintan the bard takes to the stage to tell what really happened the night the giants came . . .

From the east came the Bone Giants, from the south, the fire-wielding Hathrim - an invasion that sparked war across the six nations of Teldwen. The kingdom's only hope is the discovery of a new form of magic that calls the world's wondrous beasts to fight by the side of humankind. "

My Review: This cover kept catching my eye at the bookstore and I finally folded and picked it up. I started it a while ago but put it down, I was nervous about the way the narration and story were set up, but I shouldn't have been. I decided to pick it back up this month and read it in less than a week, I didn't want to stop reading. The reason I was originally nervous is that I really disliked the way that the Game of Thrones series was written, having to jump from character to character but often not being able to return to a favorite for several chapters; this story is also told from several perspectives but it also has an story long arc so you aren't just left jumping around, you have the Bard, Fintan, guiding and telling the story. I ended up really loving the way the story is told, the way that Fintan's Kenning allowed for us to become fully immersed in each character's story, and each new perspective continues to build the story. The world building is so smooth that it almost seems that you already knew all about this new land, though I did find myself checking the map often. The characters were all fantastic too, I really became attached to several of them and loved following their stories and developments, sometimes to their dramatic end. 

A Plague of Giants is everything I could want in a fantasy, magic, battles, politics, epic and tragic stories, heroes and so much more. I am going to anxiously be awaiting the next book!!

My Rating: I can't believe how much I loved this book, it was everything I could want.  I don't often say it but I want this to be the next Game of Thrones TV series, I actually want to see this on the screen and come to life (as long as it is done well) because I think this could be epic!  I can't help but give this book a rating of Four Paws and a Stump Wag!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Review of Grey Sister by Mark Lawrence

Read for: Highly Anticipated/ Penguin First To Read/ Requested Review

Synopsis: "In Mystic Class Nona Grey begins to learn the secrets of the universe. But so often even the deepest truths just make our choices harder. Before she leaves the Convent of Sweet Mercy Nona must choose her path and take the red of a Martial Sister, the grey of a Sister of Discretion, the blue of a Mystic Sister or the simple black of a Bride of the Ancestor and a life of prayer and service.

All that stands between her and these choices are the pride of a thwarted assassin, the ambition of a would-be empress wielding the Inquisition like a blade, and the vengeance of the empire’s richest lord.

As the world narrows around her, and her enemies attack her through the system she has sworn to, Nona must find her own path despite the competing pull of friendship, revenge, ambition, and loyalty.

And in all this only one thing is certain.
There will be blood."

My Review: I received this book through the First to Read program from Penguin. This is my honest review. I am so glad I waited to read Red Sister until I was able to pick this one up right after. I found Grey Sister to be an easier read and it lacked some of the lulls that Red Sister had; there was constant development of the story line and characters. As I said with the review of Red Sister, I am not a fan of Chosen One tropes, while this series does have a chosen one trope, it is so twisted on its head, you never know who exactly the chosen one is, that I really enjoy that element of the story. I wasn't too sure about the addition of Keot but I ended up really enjoying the extra character. I also love how at the beginning of the book Lawrence gives a great breakdown of the previous book so even if you didn't read them back to back like I did, you can still get the relevant information to jump right back into the story; which I will be super thankful for when the next book comes out because there is no doubt I will want to jump right in!

My Rating: I really enjoyed this book and didn't want to put it down! Definitely a Four Paws and a Stump Wag book!

Monday, April 16, 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

Red Sister by Mark Lawrence
Zen Ties by Jon J. Muth (Bedtime Story)

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

Adventures in Flatfrost
Beneath the Stone Forest
Let the Games Begin
Plague of Giants
The Park Bench
Zen Ties
Tsum Tsum book of Haiku
Grey Sister
Unicorn Wings

Currently Reading:

An Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim - Audio - 36%

Pages Read/ Time Listened
171:25 Hours Listened (none listened this week)
12,311 Pages Read (1,913 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
Hermes: Tales of a Trickster by George O'Connor
The Witch's Curse by Jordan Quinn
Emma's Dream by M. Lee Prescott
Eko by Loren Walker
Moving Targets by Cecil Castellucci
Caging the Merrow by Heather Rigney
The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Opel
The Traveling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa
Greedy Pigs by Matt Wallace
Lustlocked by Matt Wallace
Black Powder War by Naomi Novik
Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik
The Scandalous MacKenzies by Jennifer Ashley
The Wicked Deeds of Daniel Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley
The Stolen Mackenzie Bride by Jennifer Ashley
Ladycastle by Delilah Dawson
Frankenstein Alive! Alive! Trio by Steve Niles
Frankenstein, Alive! Alive! #4 by Steve Niles
The Long Walk to Valhalla by Adam Smith
Hard to Serve by Laura Kaye
Mastering Her Senses by Laura Kaye
Theirs to Take by Laura Kaye
The Sapphire Affair by Lauren Blakely
The Joy of Less by Francine Jay
Nightblade's Vengeance by Ryan Kirk
Circe by Madeline Miller
Tomorrowland by Steven Kotler


Now that I am starting to get caught up at home and work I have started getting caught up on reading! Boy was last week a great reading week or what?! April is looking like it will be one of the best reading months with some really fantastic books!  It is always so exciting when you are picking one great book up after another.  I really hope the trend continues and I can read a bunch of these books on my list (especially since it keeps growing too fast).

How was your week? Any books you are looking forward to this week?

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Fun with Munchkin: Fall & Winter Fun

I will be posting sporadically about some of the fun adventures we are having together.

Gosh I haven't posted a Fun with Munchkin since the Summer Fun post last year!  We have definitely been super busy since then and I figured I better post now before spring fun starts in full swing.

So let's start all the way back in October 2017 . . 

As part of his birthday present Uncles B & B got us all tickets to see PJ Masks Live! It may not seem like much to you but to a little kid it was a HUGE deal!

It was chilly but we squeezed in one more Touch a Truck event!

We had a little Christmas fun with special game nights

We went on the Polar Express yet again and even though it wasn't quite as magical during the day, Munchkin was just as into it, if not more so this year!

 After Christmas we had the opportunity to go see Bumble (Munchkin could care less about Rudolph but Bumble is the main event in his eyes!) and watch a 4D Rudolph movie at Mystic Aquarium, of course we had to see all the exhibits while we were there too and watch the staff feeding the Beluga whales.

Munchkin has been learning to use his new, real cooking utensils and making some delicious meals.

Being in Kindergarten means he has homework every week.  For this one he had to write consonants and vowels in different colors, this clever, ambidextrous little boy had a crayon in each hand and whipped through that homework like it was nothing!

As part of our Christmas present from Uncles B & B, we all got to go to the Blue Man Group, they are so awesome at providing unique experiences over material objects!

Of course we had Dr. Seuss Day!

We also got tickets to Monster Jam for this little gear-head in the making. Of course, being a kid he can sleep anywhere!

 Good Snowman snow has been limited this year but we managed one good snowman followed by a snowball fight (the snow was gone by the afternoon).

And finally we have a little St. Patrick's Day fun.

Wow! Looking back it is amazing that we managed to fit all of that and more into just a few short months, no wonder I am so exhausted all the time!

Now we are gearing up to a load of fun in the Spring in summer (obviously we already had Easter but I will include that in the next post).  We have Tball starting, May the 4th is coming soon (and momma has some major plans) and Kindergarten graduation coming, a big family vacation this summer, followed by turning 6 and starting 1st Grade!   Gosh I can't believe how time is flying!