Saturday, July 14, 2018

New Purchases Rewind 2017

So as you know I have been trying to keep track of the books I have purchased and read them as the come in, and of course this never works out well, but I think I have been doing a fairly decent job this year.  Since we are half way through 2018, and I kept track of all the books I purchased and read in 2017, I thought it would be interesting to take a look back at the books I purchased and hadn't read by the end of the year.  I had purchased a total of 234 books last year and at the end of 2017 I had read 106, leaving 147 books on my TBR shelf.   So how about we see how many of those remaining books I have read and/or unhauled so far this year . . .

1 Beauty and the Beast
2. Samurai Rising 

3. Dawn Study
Name of the Wind 
5. Wise Man's Fear 
6. How to Tame a Willful Wife
7. New World: Rising Unhauled
8. The Sandcastle Empire
9. And I Darken 
10. World Mythology in Bite Sized Chunks
11. Eliza and Her Monster
12. Frogkisser 

13. This Savage Song
14. The Beast's Garden
15. Addie on the Inside
16. Also Known as Elvis
17. Viking Warrior Rebel
18. Puss Without Boots
19. The Invisible Library 
20. Saints Blood 
21. P.O. Box Love 
22. Britt Marie Was Here
23. Nomansland Unhauled
24. The Secret Horses of Briar Hill 

25. The Secret Loves of Geek Girls 
26. Vengeance Road DNF/Unhauled
27. Keep Me Posted 

28. The Prince of Fools
29. The Nothing Girl
30. His Majesty's Dragon
31. Tortall and Other Lands
32. Wild Magic
33. Wolf Speaker
34. Emperor Mage
35. Realm of the Gods
36. The Winter King
37. The Christmas Secret
38. The Christmas Note
39. The Hearts We Sold
40. Jane Unlimited
41. Before She Ignites
42. Shadowcaster
43. Flamecaster
44. The Last Magician
45. Timekeeper
46. Bone Witch
47. Stalking Jack the Ripper
48. Hunting Prince Dracula
49. Vassa in the Night Unhauled
50. As You Wish Unhauled
51. Down and Across Unhauled
52. Naondel Unhauled
53. An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors Unhauled
54. Daughter of Smoke and Bone
55. Invention of Hugo Cabret
56. The Natural History of Dragons
57. Phantom Traces
58. Dear Margaret
59. The Staying Kind
60. Christmas Joy
61. Hearts Unloched
62. A Family for the Rugged Rancher
63. Passion's Palette
64. Never Dare a Dragon
65. Vampire King of New York
66. Crewel Work DNF
67. Trouble Looming DNF
68. A Shot at Love
69. Moment of Fate
70. The Promise
71. The Landscaper Series
72. Recipes from Raine's Roast
73. Caught up in Raine
74. Kilty Pleasures
75. Redeeming the Billionaire
76. The Billionaire's Best Friend
77. A Billionaire Playboy
78. The House of Four Winds
79. Warriors
80. Books of the South - Unhauled
81. Chronicles of the Black Company - Unhauled
82. If You Find this Letter
83. Dinosaur Lords
84. Dinosaur Knights
85. Voyage of the Basilisk
86. In the Labyrinth of Drakes
87. Nevernight
88. Christmas at Thompson Hall
89. The Nutcracker
90. Traitor's Blade
91. A Merry Christmas
92. Christmas Carol
93. Ink and Bone
94. The Night Before Christmas
95. The Grace of Kings
96. The Wall of Storms
97. The Traitor's Blade
98. From a Certain Point of View
99. The Dinosaur Princess
100. Wishtree
101. And I Love Her
102. It's Only Love
103. Hidden Figures
104. The Bookshop on the Corner
105. The Fall of Arthur
106. The Tropic of Serpents
107. Territory Unhauled
108. A Time to Dance
109. Go Ask Alice
110. A Cup of Christmas Tea
111. The Reluctant Queen
112. Wrath and the Dawn
113. Godsgrave
114. Picture of Dorian Grey
115. Pure - Unhauled
116. River of Ink - Unhauled
117. Park Bench
118. Pay it Forward
119. Letters to Sam
120. Staying Strong - Unhauled
121. Cold Forged Flame
122. Lightening in the Blood
123. Rose and the Dagger
124. Waiting for Dragons
125. Stupid Christmas
126. The Dragonet Prophecy
127. The Lost Heir
128. Hidden Kingdom
129. Dark Secret
130. Brightest Night
131. Gathering Blue
132. Messenger
133. Son
134. The Book of Three
135. The Black Cauldron
136. The Castle of Llyr
137. Taran Wanderer
138. The High King
139. Gilded
140. Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
141. Fablehaven: The Complete Series
142. Malice
143. Valor
144. Ruin
145. Paper and Fire
146. Burn - Unhaul
147. Fuse - Unhaul

Boy that is quite a list, I have added links to the books I have read so far this year. I have read or unhauled 37 books from this list, leaving still another 110 books that I purchase last year but have not read! Yikes!!  I guess I better get to reading some of these books, granted several of them were already on my planned TBR for this year, but that is a lot of books that were added to my bookshelves that have not been read yet.  This was pretty eye opening, especially considering that I have already added over one hundred more to my shelves so far this year. 

I think I may need to re-arrange my bookshelves to make these books waiting more visible,  I will also bring back my Try a Chapter challenge from earlier this year to maybe weed out some of these TBR books.

Have you tracked your book purchases? Do you read as the books come in or do you find books piling up on the TBR shelf?

Friday, July 13, 2018

Bedtime Story: Roar of a Snore by Marsha Diane Arnold

Read for: Children's Book Challenge/ Summer Reading Program

Synopsis: "All the Huffles are fast asleep, except for Jack. He heard a noise that rocked the floor. He heard a noise that shook the door. Jack heard . . . a snore! Just who is making this racket? Unable to sleep, Jack and his dog go searching. It must be Mama Gwyn, whose huffs and puffs set her curlers spinning, but when Jack wakes her . . . the snore roars on! And so it goes with Baby Sue, the twins, Papa Ben, even the farm animals. At last the Huffles follow their ears toward a surprising culprit."

My Review: Munchkin picked this book out at the library because someone in our house snores horribly loud. This is a fun read that has a lot of repetition for the young readers and pre-readers to pick up on. It will also get them laughing with quite a surprise at the end! We really enjoyed it and read it a few times before returning it to the library.

My Rating: Munchkin picked this one out and he really had a lot of fun reading it, he loved the repetition of the story and a lot of snickers happened while reading the story. We give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag!

Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Pen to Paper: Mid-Year Bullet Journal Update

I have been really inconsistent with these posts but I thought since we are halfway through the year I would give you and update on my bullet journal, especially the book pages. I am definitely finding out which tracker pages I am using and which ones I am not using.  So here is a little peek at my bullet journal for tracking my reading as well as a little glance at how I have been setting up my month/weekly spreads lately. If you want to look back at how I set it up originally you can look HERE and then I have an update from April HERE

So first let's take a look at my monthly set up:
I try to start with something fun at the start of each month, I am not super artistic without stamps and stickers so lately I have been using some die cuts from my mountains of craft supplies. I wanted July to have a beach theme.

I then set up my month at a glance, I haven't been real great about filling this in with my appointments or events but it is still nice to have that full month on 2 pages to use for reference.

Then I have a page dedicated to my reading and blog, here I list my blog posts and plan ahead, as well as list any challenges/ readathons happening or any hashtags I want to use for Instagram
Then on to my weekly spread, I have changed things up a bit and I really am enjoying this set up. I have been trying to focus on only giving myself 3 tasks a day that I have to get done, otherwise I really tend to overbook myself and get myself stressed out.  On the left side I add appointments or events and on the right I list my daily tasks. On the opposite page I also list any other tasks I need to get done during the week if time allows, and track my reading. I also have started using a weekly habit tracker because I wasn't flipping back each day to fill it out on a full month spread.  I am currently only tracking No Spend, Dishes, Daily Wipe Down, and Exercising (I am only doing halfway decent on the daily wipe down and dishes).

So now how about we go to my reading trackers, one of the main reasons for my bullet journal . . .

I have only one page bookmarked but it is the start of all of my reading trackers and that is my ratings and page counts. I have really been enjoying this spread, each month has a different color and I simply use hash marks to tally the book ratings and page counts. I have definitely noticed that I have a sweet spot for length of audio books and also that I don't give out 1 star ratings, if it is going to be that low I just DNF it.

I then have a quote page, which I am not great about using. I had plans to do a little doodle to symbolize the book the quotes are from but I never have time to do that and then I am also worries about messing up the page with my bad handwriting. So sticky notes it is but that is better than nothing and it allows for endless space. (Before this page there is actually a page for my favorite books with shelves doodled to put my favorite books on but I decided to hold off until near the end of the year before filling that page in).

Then we have the start of my challenge pages, here I list out the titles of the books for each challenge and highlight them according to the month I read them in. This is also really cool to see when I am reading books for which challenge. I did initially add the ratings as well but my stars are super sloppy and I think I would rather leave them off or use a stamp to add them later. 

  The last page of my challenges is the list of books I have added to my shelves, this is slightly different because I am tracking more than the month I read them in.  I list them in order and highlight the number with the month they were purchased, then I go back and add my star rating when I read each book and then highlight it the month it was read in (does that make sense).

 My final book tracking page is my anticipated releases. I started off crossing the ones that were read and reviewed but I didn't like the look of that so I added arrows instead. I also did not fill in the entire year because new books come up that interest me and other books have release dates pushed back, so I use a sticky note until the month gets closer.

So there you have my updated bullet journal pages.  I hope that maybe you found some of this helpful in planning your own bullet journal or maybe inspirational. I keep my pretty utilitarian just because I don't have a lot of time to use it. I don't have a lot of collection lists or other trackers. I did originally set up movie trackers, tv show trackers, savings trackers etc. but I haven't even looked at them again. I do have a couple of lists at the back of the book for purging and organizing tips but those are so I don't loose those notes. Otherwise it is kept to just the pages I use on a daily basis.

Do you use a bullet journal or some other planning system?  Do you track your reading in your planning? 

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Series Review of Six of Crows & Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

I have been trying to figure out a way to share all these books I read with you but still include other non-review posts on the blog.  One method I have come up with was to share the reviews for an entire series (or pair) of books in one post.  I will do my absolute best to keep spoilers out of these posts in case you plan to read the books, but there is a slight chance that even the synopsis of a book can give away the result of the previous book. So if you don't want to know anything at all about the later books in a series that might giveaway something in the first book STOP READING NOW!

So I enjoyed the Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo last year and I have heard that several people enjoyed this duology even more than the trilogy.  With King of Scars coming out next year and including a character from this series I thought I better get this read before the next series starts.   I listened to both books on Audio and really enjoyed the full cast of narrators to depict so many different points of view.  

 Synopsis: "Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price–and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…
A convict with a thirst for revenge.
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.
A runaway with a privileged past.
A spy known as the Wraith.
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.
Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first."

My Review: I was a big fan of the Grisha trilogy last year, so thought I better pick this duology up before the next series in the world starts next year. I have heard other readers rave about this book and the characters for a while now. It was a surprisingly easy book to get into, I enjoyed the heist feel to the story and the excitement of that, however, so many details of the plan were completely left hidden and that you didn't find out until the end, and I am not a fan of that element. I would have liked at least hints as to how they were going to pull it off and the various backup plans. I also was not a fan of most of the characters, I find most of them unlikable. Inej was the only one who appealed to me and while she is there throughout and does play a big roll, being the spider/ghost (whatever they called her) she was kept to the sides more than I would have liked. I will continue with the next book but I don't see my love for the characters or this particular story line growing much.

My Rating: I rather enjoyed this book, it did take some time to build up but once the actual heist started it was a better.  I give it a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag!


 Synopsis: "When you can't beat the odds, change the game. Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn't think they'd survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they're right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz's cunning and test the team's fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city's dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world."

My Review: I have heard so many great things about this book and this duology. I really enjoyed the original Grisha trilogy and even Six of Crows, but this one just didn't work for me. It really could have been cut in half and been so much better. I really didn't need all the additional back story and emotions involved in the center part nor did we need to make the guy we already knew was evil more evil and then yet again show how evil he is, it got a little repetitive and boring for me. I also still am not a fan of Kaz, yes he does kind of redeem himself a time or two but on a whole, I am not a fan. I did enjoy Inej and Matthias, who definitely had the most character development throughout the story. I love a good heist story but I would have liked a little more of the planning to be on the page, too many times both the reader and a few of the characters were just reacting to events because too much was hidden; I realize some things need to be kept secret to give some excitement to the story but I don't enjoy not knowing a single part of the plan. With that said I did really love the addition of some key characters from the previous trilogy, it was nice to tie it together and see some of my favorites return.

My Rating: I was not a fan of this one, and I did actually have to force myself to finish it.  I really think it could have been fantastic if it had been cut down in length.  I give it a rating of One Paw and a Stump Wag.


Full Series Review: I feel like so many people loved these two books that I must really be missing out on something. I do like the underdog but I don't always root for them, maybe that is where the loss is that the crew really didn't pull on my heart strings. I honestly couldn't stand several of the characters. I also found the second book in particular to be overly long. I am still looking forward to the King of Scars because at least a few of my favorite characters will be featured but this series is not high on my list.  I give it a rating of Two Paws overall.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Review of Cottage by the Sea by Debbie Macomber

Read for: Requested Review & I love her books

Synopsis: "After tragedy strikes, Annie moves in to the summer cottage where her family vacationed when she was a child. Soon Annie finds herself making new friends, even developing a romance with a quiet and mysterious painter. And as she becomes part of the community, Annie learns that the surest way to heal is by making a difference in the lives of those around her."

My Review:  It has been a while since I last read anything by Debbie Macomber, I have been hoping to get into another one of her series after finishing Rose Harbor. I don't know yet if this is going to be part of a series or a standalone (but I honestly hope that it does become a series). As usual with her books, there are a lot of emotional ups and downs, tragedy and a whole lot of hope. I absolutely fell in love with all the characters in this book and the interactions between them. I was completely drawn into the story and invested in it, I was not able to put it down and read it in a single day. If you want a book that will make you feel all the emotions definitely pick this one up!

My Rating: I absolutely loved the characters in this book and all of their individual personalities. Have I mentioned that I adore the tall silent guys?! This is definitely a book to hit you in the feels but then lift you back up. I give it a rating of Four Paws.

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

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

Cottage by the Sea will be released on Tuesday, July 17 but you can pre-order your copy in digital or print format from Amazon or Barnes & Noble (you can even pre-order a signed copy from Barnes & Noble), or ask your favorite bookstore to order it for you!

Monday, July 9, 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

A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir
A is for America by Tanya Lee Stone (Bedtime Story)
Baseball Buzz by C.C. Jovan (Early Reader Bedtime Story)
Princess Princess by Katie O'Neill (Graphic Novel)
The Astounding Broccoli Boy by Frank Cottrell Boyce (Mini Review)
Heir to the Jedi by Kevin Hearne (Mini Review)
Moving Targets by Cecil Castellucci & Jason Fry (Mini Review)
Circe by Madeline Miller  (Mini Review)
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir (Mini Review)
A Torch Against the Night (Mini Review)
The Elite by Kiera Cass (Mini Review)
The One by Kiera Cass (Mini Review)
The Sapphire Affair by Lauren Blakely (Mini Review)
The Marriage Arrangement  by Jennifer Probst (Mini Review)
My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrik Backman (Mini Review)

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

Wonders of America: Mount Rushmore
Grace and Fury
Pete the Cat: Scuba Cat
Snail Mail

Currently Reading:

The Tiger's Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera - Print - on page 257 of 526
Ruin of Stars by Linsey Miller - Print - on page 36 of  416
Grace of Kings by Ken Liu - Multiple Formats - 6%

Pages Read/ Time Listened
355:21 Hours Listened (none listened this week)
22,853 Pages Read (416 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
Reflections of Yesterday by Debbie Macomber
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
Frankenstein Alive! Alive! Trio by Steve Niles
Frankenstein, Alive! Alive! #4 by Steve Niles
Hard to Serve by Laura Kaye
Mastering Her Senses by Laura Kaye
Theirs to Take by Laura Kaye
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
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
Prince of Persia by Jordan Mencher
Zenith by Sasha Alsberg & Lindsay Cummings
In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick
The Queen of Sorrow by Sarah Beth Durst
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
Cruel Prince by Holly Black
Onyx & Ivory by Mindee Arnett UNHAULED
Princesses Behaving Badly by Linda Rodriguez McRobbie
The Marriage Arrangement by Jennifer Probst
Fight for Everything by Laura Kaye
Catching Stars by Cayla Keenan
Light as Air by Mari Carr
Furyborn by Claire Legrand
Sweet Tea and Sympathy by Molly Harper
Half Drowned King by Linnea Hartsuyker
A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir
The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows
The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows
The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner
Pride's Spell by Matt Wallace 
Idle Ingredients by Matt Wallace
Guardian of Whills by Greg Rucka
Such Wicked Intent by Kenneth Opal
The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig
And I Darken by Kiersten White
Frostbite by Joshua Williamson
The Assassin's Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke
The Pirate's Wish by Cassandra Rose Clarke
Pirateology by Dugald Steer
Polly and the Pirates: Vol. 1 by Ted Naifeh
Memoirs of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Theodore Roszak
Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
Grace & Fury by Tracy Banghart
LifeL1k3 by Jay Kristoff
Sweet Black Waves by Kristina Perez
The Bird and the Blade by Megan Bannen


I hope that those of you in the US had a wonderful holiday last week! We had a great day surrounded by friends and family. It was so hot we felt like we were melting but it was still a great week last week.  I haven't gotten a lot of reading done but that is due to the holiday in the middle of the week and starting a pretty dense fantasy for Tome Topple. 

What have you been reading lately? What was the last big book you purchased? Have you read it yet?

Oh and don't forget to enter my giveaway for a signed copy of Reaper at the Gates!

Sunday, July 8, 2018

2nd Quarter Mini Reviews: Re-Reads, Circe, Astounding Broccoli Boy, Star Wars Books & 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!

The title of this one just sounded so quirky and it was on sale so I had to give it a go.  It was pretty quirky and young middle grade readers would find it enjoyable too. Three Paws & Stump Wag.
Full Review

I like how Hearne was able to capture an early Luke personality in this one and how well it fit into the gaps of the cannon movies. Three Paws.

Really enjoyed this Princess Leia story, and the way it fits into the series, and it is also great for those young readers with sound effects in the audio book and pictures in the print. Four Paws!

I loved Song of Achilles, but my lack of familiarity with the characters & story in this one left me feeling a little bored. Not a lot of story movement. Two Paws and a Stump Wag.

A Re-Read for 3rd book's release. Still loved the story and the characters! Four Paws!

Still the best book of the series, some great character and story development. Four Paws & a Stump Wag!

I loved the Re-read of this book and paying attention to the tiny details, especially the subtle political statements. Four Paws.

I really wasn't able to slow down with the re-read of this book, things just got too intense! Four Paws.

Found this one on sale so thought I would give it a try, was looking for a good heist romance, found this one to be lacking. One Paw and a Stump Wag.

I loved this little prequel story to the Marriage to a Billionaire series, I loved the way the story was connected with the rest of the series. Four Paws and a Stump Wag!

I was a little disappointed with this book but in the end it did pull out a decent story, just a little weird and confusing to get there. Three Paws.

Phew! I think I got all of them and no repeats! That was a lot of books that I wasn't able to share throughout the past 3 months!