Saturday, May 19, 2018

Graphic Novel Review of Enchanted Chest by Jean-Fran├žois Chabas & Illustrated by David Salas

Read for: Requested Review/ Netgalley/ Graphic Novel Review

Synopsis: "Raised by a fisherman from the depths of the sea, an ornate chest soon attracts the attention of the greedy King, always searching for more treasure. But the King has a problem: nothing and nobody can open the chest. A thousand keys, a thousand tools, and a thousand swords were tried. He calls his most talented subjects to open it: the Locksmith, then the Strong Man, the Magician, and even the Alchemist—they all try their skills, and none can do it! Only the Lynx, whose magical eyes allow her to see through anything, can finally satisfy the King's curiosity. The story, like the chest, contains a beautiful and mysterious core for the intrepid reader to open, about how the treasures we crave may not be what we truly desire."

My Review: I was intrigued by the tapestry style of the cover of this one and the synopsis really continued with the same tone. It definitely has that classic folk tale feel to it between the illustrations, the story itself and even the font used for the text. It was a little short compared to a lot of the graphic novels I have read, but it makes it enjoyable for all ages. It does seem a little at odds with the moral presented at the end of the story, you are expecting it to be about greed, but it instead veers off to the value of the idea of things we have versus the actual things we have, which is a bit odd but it does work. All in all an enjoyable book with really stunning art.

My Rating: This is a really beautiful book, I would like to see what it is like in person, they could really do a lot with it to feed into the old world feel.  It was a bit brief and the moral got a bit lost in the end but it was still enjoyable and all ages could read it.  I give it a rating of Three Paws.

I received this book via Netgalley, the above is my honest opinion.

You can find out more about the author on Goodreads.

Enchanted Chest will be released in English on May 22nd and you can pre-order your copy in print or digital format on Amazon or print version at Barnes & Noble or of course as always you can check with your local book store or comic store.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Bedtime Story: Llama Llama Loves to Read by Anna Dewdney

Read for: Children's Book Challenge

Synopsis: "Anna Dewdney's Bestselling Llama Llama series continues with Llama learning to read!

Llama Llama learns at school. 

Counting, writing, reading, rules. 
Friends and school -- there's nothing better. 
Llama learning all the letters!

Anna Dewdney's beloved Llama Llama is growing up and learning to read! Throughout the school day, the teacher helps Llama Llama and the other children practice their letters, shows word cards, reads stories, and brings them to the library where they can all choose a favorite book. By the end of the day, Llama Llama is recognizing words and can't wait to show Mama Llama that he's becoming a reader!"

My Review: I love that we are getting new Llama Llama books! Munchkin loves these books and they always have such a great rhyme and rhythm when reading. This Llama Llama book is a little longer than some of the earlier ones but it follows Llama all the way from learning letters and their sounds to writing them and building them into words and sentences and more. It was a fun book to read with Munchkin as he recognized the different steps he went through to learn how to read. It does seem to show that Llama learns all of this in a single day, so those still learning and maybe struggling it might be a little frustrating or it could be encouraging to see the end result, this is when knowing your child really comes into play when picking a book. We loved it though and are thrilled to add it to our collection.

My Rating: We really enjoyed this book and loved having a new Llama Llama book to enjoy together. I just love the way these roll of the tongue while reading aloud.  Please just be aware that if you child is struggling to learn to read, this book could be a bit discouraging as Llama learns in a day.  We give it a rating of Four Paws and a Stump Wag!

Good Night!  Sweet Dreams!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Review of From a Certain Point of View

Read for: Mount TBR & Star Wars!

Synopsis: "40 Years. 40 Stories. 

In honor of the 40th Anniversary of Star Wars: A New Hope, this unique anthology features Star Wars stories by bestselling authors, trendsetting artists, and treasured voices from Star Wars’ literary history. Over 40 authors have lent their unique vision to 40 “scenes,” each retelling a different moment from the original Star Wars film, but with a twist: every scene is told from the point of view of a seemingly minor character. Whether it’s the X-wing pilots who helped Luke destroy the Death Star or the stormtroopers who never did find the droids they were looking for, Star Wars: From A Certain Point of View places the classic movie in a whole new perspective celebrates the influence and legacy of the unparalleled cultural phenomenon, Star Wars.

Contributors include: 

Ben Acker and Ben Blacker - Renee Ahdieh - Tom Angleberger - Meg Cabot - Rae Carson - Zoraida Cordova - Delilah S. Dawson - Paul Dini - Alexander Freed - Jason Fry - Christie Golden - Claudia Gray - E. K. Johnston and Ashley Eckstein - Paul Kemp - Mur Lafferty - Ken Liu - Griffin McElroy - John Jackson Miller - Nnedi Okorafor - Daniel Jose Older - Mallory Ortberg - Madeleine Roux - Gary D. Schmidt - Cavan Scott - Sabaa Tahir - Glen Weldon - Chuck Wendig - Gary Whitta - And more!"

My Review: I held off for a while on this book due to the price but finally caved, it was totally worth the cost! I also downloaded the audio book because I really wanted the sound effects as well. I loved the short little stories that are put into chronological order to coincide with A New Hope. Each of the stories follows one of the side characters that we come across in the original movie. I loved the backstories and getting to know these lesser known characters. It really added something new when watching the movie again. I think my favorite story was the one about the Rebellion's mechanic, that story brought me to tears. It certainly has a wealth of styles of stories and perspectives from both the Empire and the Rebellion and those outside the law on the Outer Rim. I would love if they continue to release books with the other movies in the original trilogy.

My Rating: I am so glad I finally picked this one up.  Not all the stories were for me, but the wide variety of writing styles really supported the wide variety of character perspectives. I really highly recommend this one for avid fans, and then go back and watch the movie and tell me how much it changes how you watch it!  I give this one a rating of Four Paws and a Stump Wag!!!

I promise this is the last Star Wars book for a while ;)

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Top 5 Wednesday: Assigned Reading I Could've Done Without

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

So this whole month is freebie topics, you could go back and pick a previous topic all the way back through 2013, but I just don't have the time to wade through all those posts so I decided to come up with my own list.  So for this week's topic I decided to compile a list of the assigned school reading that I really didn't like and didn't really make an influence on me at all.  (Next week I will list the books that did in fact change my life).

So here we go, the Top 5 Assigned Books I Could've Done Without

In 6th grade my advanced reading group was assigned to read Jane Eyre, I tell you what that book was far too slow for a bunch of 6th graders to appreciate, it has earned a place as one of my most disliked books EVER as a result.

Oh gosh, middle grade English class reading was awful! We had to read Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn in back to back years and I absolutely despised them both. I think it was the way the accent was written, I may appreciate them more if I had access to an audio book but I guarantee I won't be picking them up again to try.

Another book that just couldn't be fully grasped by a young teen mind, I had to read this one in early high school and it was just so dull and nearly unbearable for the entire class, myself included.

I think this is the one and only assigned reading books that I never finished!! I could not deal with the run on sentences and fell asleep after less than 2 pages every time I tried to read this one.  Luckily my grades were great in all other areas for that English class and I passed with flying colors.

So what assigned reading could you have done without? Any of these on your list of dreaded books, or did they instead make an impact on you as a reader?

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Review of Out of Left Field by Ellen Klages

Read for: Requested Review

Synopsis: "A story about the fight for equal rights in America's favorite arena: the baseball field!

Every boy in the neighborhood knows Katy Gordon is their best pitcher, even though she's a girl. But when she tries out for Little League, it's a whole different story. Girls are not eligible, period. It is a boy's game and always has been. It's not fair, and Katy's going to fight back. Inspired by what she's learning about civil rights in school, she sets out to prove that she's not the only girl who plays baseball. With the help of friendly librarians and some tenacious research skills, Katy discovers the forgotten history of female ball players. Why does no one know about them? Where are they now? And how can one ten-year-old change people's minds about what girls can do?

Set in 1957--the world of Sputnik and Leave It to Beaver, saddle shoes and "Heartbreak Hotel"--Out of Left Field is both a detailed picture of a fascinating historic period and a timelessly inspiring story about standing up for equality at any age"

My Review: Being that baseball season is in full swing and this one features a young girl fighting for a chance to play with the boys in Little League, I knew I needed to read this one. I really ended up loving Katy, and especially her Mom and sisters (even though they never make an appearance), they are such great examples of going after what you want and believe in no matter what society tells you. They really support and push Katy, but they also don't do the work for her, which I was really happy to see. While I didn't feel like the focus on the space race was entirely necessary to the story (though it makes sense when you read up on the author) but it did help to keep the setting in the appropriate time period of the late 50s. With that said, this was a very well researched story, I had seen the movie A League of Their Own many times but I had no idea about all the history of women in baseball. This is definitely a book that young readers will enjoy, just as much as adult readers. Don't forget to continue after the story is finished for some facts about the great women of baseball history, I learned so much about them and am intrigued to continue my own research!

My Rating: I found this book so intriguing, I loved all the research, the characters and the setting, and of course the message about equal rights.  I definitely give this book a rating of Four Paws and a Stump Wag!!

I received this book from the Publisher, the above is my honest opinion.

You can find out more about Ellen Klages and her work on her Goodreads Page or her Website.

Out of Left Field was just released on May 1st so you can go pick up your copy in print or digital format now from Amazon or Barnes & Noble or of course ask your favorite book provider to track down a copy for you!

Monday, May 14, 2018

Bout of Books #22: Sign Up & Updates

Time again for my favorite readathon! I love how Bout of Books stretches throughout the whole week and allows for me to work it around my schedule. This does seem like it will be a pretty light week for me so hopefully I can do a better job of updating!

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 22 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 3-4 hours each day and read about 300 pages each day.
Averaging about 1-2 hours and work and another 2 at home after Munchkin goes to bed.

My Goals

Read a total of 1,500 pages
Read at least 3 hours each day
Read a total of 6 books
Read 1 Requested Review Book

Books to Read


Number of Pages I've read today: 488 pages 
Total Number of Pages: 488 pages
Time spent reading today: 5.5 hours
Total number of books I've read: 4
Books completed: Ladycastle, Bard & the Beast
Thoughts: I managed a lot more reading than I was expecting yesterday. I read Bard & the Beast at work, then listened to the audio book of Daughter of the Pirate King while in the card and while doing chores and then read Ladycastle until finished last night and then decided to pick up A Court of Frost and Starlight.  I stayed up way too late last night reading but oh well, I still managed to get back up and start the day this morning. 


Number of Pages I've read today: 372 pages
Total Number of Pages: 860 pages
Time spent reading today: 4 hours
Total number of books I've read: 6
Books completed: Ladycastle, Bard & the Beast, Pegasus Quest, A Court of Frost and Starlight
Thoughts: Another really good reading day, though I could have read more.  I am very happy with the progress on my TBR, I have been finishing two books a day so far and I hope to continue that trend with two more today.  I do have to say that while last month the books I read were all fantastic reads, by comparison the books I have read this week have only been mediocre.  Luckily, I picked a stack of pretty short and easy reads. 

Number of Pages I've read today: 265 pages
Total Number of Pages: 1,125 pages
Time spent reading today: 3 hours
Total number of books I've read: 7
Books completed: Ladycastle, Bard & the Beast, Pegasus Quest, A Court of Frost and Starlight, Daughter of the Pirate King
Thoughts:  I didn't get as much reading done as I had hoped yesterday and today isn't looking too good either. Oh well, I am already very close to meeting most of my goals!
Number of Pages I've read today: 361 pages
Total Number of Pages: 1,486 pages
Time spent reading today:  4.5 hours
Total number of books I've read: 8
Books completed:  Ladycastle, Bard & the Beast, Pegasus Quest, A Court of Frost and Starlight, Daughter of the Pirate King, One White Lie
Thoughts:  I have been making excellent progress with this readathon.  I have left my TBR list temporarily, I wasn't in the mood to read the books I had selected yesterday, so I picked up Sleeping Giants instead and have been completely consumed by the story so it was a good move.  I do still plan to complete at least Joy of Less and The Red Racecar, and I will definitely be completing Sleeping Giants!
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Saturday & Sunday
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I don't often participate in the challenges but if I do they will be posted here.

Year of You Challenge:
The challenge was to post a picture of a book that was published the year you were born or a book that was significant to your childhood.
Luckily, I found a book that satisfies both at the same time!  I had no idea that Alanna: First Adventure (Song of the Lioness Quartet) was first published in 1983, of course I didn't read it until several years later but this was the book that first started my love for fantasy books!
The original cover isn't quite as beautiful as the newer releases but I love the font!

Show Me Your Precious:
There are only a few books that I love inside and out, and even less that I actually collect various editions.  I have a few editions of Fire by Kristin Cashore but I my true collection is my Frankenstein collection, this is my all time favorite book and there are so many unique and beautiful editions out there!  Here are some of the editions that I have collected over the years:
Aren't they all so beautiful?!  I am not a fan of the Pop Culture version of the creature, so luckily there are so many other unique versions! I am going to continue adding to my collection and hope to some day have a very early edition on my shelves.

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

Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston
Boying Up by Mayim Bialik
Unicorn Wings by Mallory Loehr (Early Reader)

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

From a Certain Point of View
Boying Up
Wolves of Winter
Secret World of Mermaids
Sabine's Art Attack
Llama Llama Loves to Read
Enchanted Chest
Out of Left Field
Pete the Cat and the Cool Caterpillar

Currently Reading:

The Joy of Less by Francine Jay - Audio - 46%
Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller - Audio/Print - 28%

Pages Read/ Time Listened
230:43 Hours Listened (15:04 listened this week)
15,870 Pages Read (1,076 this week)

Books Added to Shelves Recently: TBR
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
Terrier by Tamora Pierce
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller
Reflections of Yesterday by Debbie Macomber
Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel
Jedi Search by Kevin J. Anderson
Eko by Loren Walker
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
The Wolf by Leo Carew
My Lady's Choosing by Kitty Curran & Larissa Zageris
Sweet Dreams, Sweet Death by P.K. Norton
Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young
Beyond the Darkened Shore by Jessica Leake
Defiant Heir by Melissa Caruso
True North by Marie Force
The Sorting Room by Angelina Singer
Lost Stars by Claudia Gray
Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire
Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day by Seanan McGuire
Frankenstein Dreams by Michael Sims
The Belgaraid by David Eddings
The Rhode Island Short Story Club presents The Club
Death Sworn by Leah Cypess
Sherlock Holmes and the Army of Dr. Moreau by Guy Adams
A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas


Thank goodness, last week was a much quieter and calmer week around here, work was still busy and super stressful but I have come to understand this will just be the constant state for the foreseeable future.   I have once again been really enjoying the books I am reading, I have gotten pretty good at picking my books lately, the problem is becoming choosing what to read next!

Hope you all have an adventure filled week!

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Crafty Times: Mother's Day Cards

Crafty Times is a new thing I am trying on the blog where I can share some of the art and crafts I have created (you can too of course). I really dabble in a wide variety of crafts and hope you can find something that sparks your interest or inspires you!

Happy Mother's Day to all you moms out there, if it weren't for you none of us would be here!

Here are the cards I made for Mother's Day this year, I honestly struggled coming up with a variety of cards, my mind tends to go to soft and sweet cards, but I really love the funny cards too.  What about you? Do you send your mom sweet and sentimental cards or comical cards?