Saturday, July 21, 2018

Graphic Novel Review of Prince of Persia by Jordan Mechner

Read for: Graphic Novel Challenge

Long ago in Persia, there lived a Prince -- a man of honor, of valor, and full of strength -- a man for his people, who lived with them and took on their trials and hardships.  And he was loved.
His name is no longer remembered.  When people speak of him, they call him merely, 'The Prince of Persia,' as if there have been no others, and his descendants are enjoined to live like him, to be like him, to the ends of their days.
Long ago in Persia, there were many princes, one following another, sometimes quick, sometimes slow, sometimes fat, clever, joyous, and all more or less honorable.  And in some of those princes there shone the spirit of The Prince of Persia, for in Persia time spins like a wheel, and what is to come has already happened, and then happens again, year in and year out. 
This is the story of two of those princes, and of the destiny that threads their lives together. 
Created by Jordan Mechner, the Prince of Persia graphic novel is beautifully written by poet A.B. Sina and opulently illustrated by LeUyen Pham and Alex Puvilland."

My Review: I picked this book up in a swap, I really liked the cover and thought I would give it a shot. I don't know the story of the Prince of Persia but this was not at all what I imagined. I really struggled following this story, it has 2 timelines running side by side throughout the book but there isn't a lot of definition to make it clear which you are reading when, and the connection between the timelines isn't clear either, possibly a prophecy playing out. The story definitely needs a lot more filling out and clarification. Aside from that, the artwork that originally drew me in was stunning if taken as just artwork and not a part of the whole.

My Rating: I was so confused for most of this story that there just wasn't any way to enjoy it. I didn't connect with any characters and other than the art, there wasn't any draw for me. I give it a rating of Two Paws.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Early Reader Bedtime Story: Biscuit Goes Camping by Alyssa Satin Capucilli

Read for: Early Reader Challenge

Synopsis: "Flashlight—check! Tent—check! Blankets—check! Biscuit is ready to go camping! From blinking fireflies to croaking frogs, there are so many new sights and sounds when you sleep under the stars. But are those rain clouds in the sky? How will Biscuit go camping now?
This is the first Biscuit I Can Read that takes place at night, which makes it the perfect story to grab before curling up under the covers with a flashlight!"

My Review: This was a great summer time read for Munchkin. We have been trying to camp out for a month but we can't seem to string two storm free days together on a weekend, so this story was definitely relatable for him. It was also great for growing his confidence with reading. It was an easy pre-level reader so contained simple sentences, sight words and plenty of repetition. The story is of course a cute and fun adventure with Biscuit the dog.

My Rating: We really enjoyed this one and Munchkin really gained confidence in reading it because he could read all the words without stopping to sound them out, sometimes it is good to go back to something simple. We give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.

Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Review of Fawkes by Nadine Brandes

Read for: Requested Reviews/ Netgalley

Synopsis: "Thomas Fawkes is turning to stone, and the only cure to the Stone Plague is to join his father’s plot to assassinate the king of England.
Silent wars leave the most carnage. The wars that are never declared, but are carried out in dark alleys with masks and hidden knives. Wars where color power alters the natural rhythm of 17th century London. And when the king calls for peace, no one listens until he finally calls for death.
But what if death finds him first?
Keepers think the Igniters caused the plague. Igniters think the Keepers did. But all Thomas knows is that the Stone Plague infecting his eye is spreading. And if he doesn’t do something soon, he’ll be a lifeless statue. So when his Keeper father, Guy Fawkes, invites him to join the Gunpowder Plot—claiming it will put an end to the plague—Thomas is in.
The plan: use 36 barrels of gunpowder to blow up the Igniter King.
The problem: Doing so will destroy the family of the girl Thomas loves. But backing out of the plot will send his father and the other plotters to the gallows. To save one, Thomas will lose the other.
No matter Thomas’s choice, one thing is clear: once the decision is made and the color masks have been put on, there’s no turning back."

My Review:  I kept hearing about this book in Instagram, it has a beautiful cover so I was pretty excited when I was approved on Netgalley for an ARC. I went into this story a little blind, I only vaguely knew it was a historical fiction with a fantasy twist (and the fantasy is what drew me in), and honestly this is a book not to go into blind. I really struggled with this book, the pacing is really slow and if you are not invested in the characters or the story you will quickly loose interest. I ended up downloading the audio book in hopes of getting the story moving a little better for me and the voice fluctuation did help identifying the characters but it really didn't help the story too much for me. I appreciate the amount of research that went into this story to keep it as close to accurate as possible but I feel like that added to the story dragging, it became too dense and too detail oriented. There were also a few statements that were made throughout the story about race, beliefs and getting to the truth but again they didn't add to the story and were a bit of a filler, even though they are important topics, it just didn't fit with this story for me. Clearly a lot of other readers really enjoyed this story and that is great but it didn't work for me.

My Rating: I so struggled with this book, for a book just over 400 pages and using the ebook with the audio book it should have taken me only a few days to get through it but it took nearly 10 days. I really had to force myself to keep picking it up. Sadly this is a One Star and a Stump Wag book for me.

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

You can find out more about Nadine Brandes and her books on her Goodreads Page or Blog.

Fawkes might be the book for you, if so you can find it in digital or print format from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Top 5 Wednesday: Books Removed from My TBR

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

So this week's topic is the books we have recently removed from our TBR list or pile. This is a great subject for me as I have been working on clearing out some of the books that I don't plan to read both on Goodreads and on my physical shelves.  So I thought I would post a list for each, my Goodreads TBR contains books that I either have on my kindle or want to purchase (well wanted to at one point) and then obviously the physical TBR books are ones that I have recently taken off my bookshelves and either sold or donated.

So first the books I removed from my Goodreads TBR:

I honestly don't remember adding City of Thieves to my TBR, though I do really enjoy WWII books, but this one just doesn't sound like what I look for in those books. 

I had originally added The Last Wish and all of the Witcher Series to my TBR because the story sounded intriguing, but the more I thought about it the less appealing it became, it is a long series of 10 books, that have been translated to English but don't seem to be easily found, and it is based off or was the basis for a video game (a subject I have struggled with in the past), and quite honestly there are so many other big fantasy series I would rather get into.

I have tried to read Under the Tuscan Sun several times and have DNFed it each time, this is a case where the movie was better. So both it and the companion novel Bella Tuscany had to go.

I added Pitch Perfect to my TBR way back when I saw the original movie, and it has sat on there ever since. Honestly, I loved the movie and just can't be bothered to read the book on this one.

Years ago I used to read a lot of historical fiction and historical romance, again I really enjoyed the Other Boleyn Girl movie and added the entire Tudor Court Series to my TBR, now I really have little interest, I may eventually have interest again but for now it is coming off the TBR.

Physical Books Removed from My TBR:

I received Vassa in the Night last year and it just hasn't called to me, even though it is a stunning book. After trying a chapter I decided it just wasn't for me.

I purchased Landry Park ages ago, probably right after reading Hunger Games and Divergent, but I am definitely over a lot of these dystopian novels.

A Thousand Nights was completely a cover by and my try a chapter on this did not go well, but it was still such a hard book to let go because it is absolutely stunning in person.

My husband bought Darkborn for me many many years ago, and I hate to get rid of any of the books he has bought for me because he isn't a reader and did go out of his way to try to pick something I would like but sadly I am just not into these paranormal/urban fantasy books anymore.  Luckily, I don't think he remembers what he got me so I can just say he bought one of my favorite books instead.

I tried with Wonder Woman: Warbringer I really did, but honestly I just prefer the graphic novel format for super hero stories.

Now that I have started removing books from my TBR, I am in the mood for a good clean out! Be prepared for a lot of books being removed from my shelves in the near future!  How about you? What were books you recently removed from your TBR? Did you just loose interest or did you just not like the book?

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Series Review of The Wayward Children by Seanan McGuire

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!

I have been holding off reading this series for a while now, I thought I wouldn't find it too interesting but I found the second book on sale and received the first book as a gift and found the third book available at the library, so I figured it was the book gods telling me to read it. And of course they are always right!

Synopsis: "Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children
No Solicitations, 
No Visitors, 
No Quests
Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere... else.
But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.
Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced... they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.
But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.
No matter the cost."

My Review: I know I am a little late to this ballgame but it is so worth it to join in! I kept holding off on this series, not entirely sure why because I have loved magical doorway books in the past like Narnia and this takes the story beyond the door to the struggle back home. It was a pretty short book so the introduction to the characters and the setting were a little rushed but I expect that more will be explained as the series continues. I really adored Kade and Nancy, they are the characters I found the most connection with but I also loved Jack. A lot happens to and around these characters in such a short amount of time and all that action kept the story moving and the pages turning. The ending was rather abrupt but I look forward to where the next book takes the story.

My Rating: I was really pleasantly surprised with this book, even though it was short, it was fully developed with some interesting characters, a story that draws you in and enough quirks to make it really unique. I give it a rating of Four Paws.


Synopsis: "Twin sisters Jack and Jill were seventeen when they found their way home and were packed off to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.
This is the story of what happened first…
Jacqueline was her mother’s perfect daughter—polite and quiet, always dressed as a princess. If her mother was sometimes a little strict, it’s because crafting the perfect daughter takes discipline.
Jillian was her father’s perfect daughter—adventurous, thrill-seeking, and a bit of a tom-boy. He really would have preferred a son, but you work with what you've got.
They were five when they learned that grown-ups can’t be trusted.
They were twelve when they walked down the impossible staircase and discovered that the pretense of love can never be enough to prepare you a life filled with magic in a land filled with mad scientists and death and choices."

My Review: I was expecting this story to move forward on the timeline from the end of the first book, but instead it takes us to Jack & Jill's first visit to their doorway world, the moors. I found the characters of Jack and Jill to be really interesting and the way they developed as the story moved forward. I really enjoyed this full back story on them and a lot of their quirks and personality of the first book became really clear. Jack is without a doubt a special character to love and care for her sister at the end of this book and to have also stayed near her and cared for her throughout the events of the first book of the series. I really hope we get to continue seeing each of my favorite character's doorway worlds. 

My Rating: Though this book wasn't what I was expecting, it really did add a lot to the story and explained a lot, even if it was just about two of the characters.  I give this one a rating of Four Paws.


Synopsis: "Beneath the Sugar Sky returns to Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children. At this magical boarding school, children who have experienced fantasy adventures are reintroduced to the "real" world. 
Sumi died years before her prophesied daughter Rini could be born. Rini was born anyway, and now she’s trying to bring her mother back from a world without magic."

My Review: I wasn't quite as keen on this book as with the previous two books, maybe because some of my favorite characters didn't play a large role in this story, or maybe because a large portion of the story was set in a nonsense doorway world, which is clearly not a doorway that would have opened for me. I did like the unusual twist McGuire threw at us right at the beginning of the story to set up for this book. It was quite an adventure with some of the same characters and several new characters. We also get a peek into a few of the doorway worlds where the characters came from, and so far I would have been right next to Nancy. It is honestly a little funny how much you learn about yourself while reading these books.

My Rating: This wasn't my favorite of the series so far, but it does fit well with the rest of the books and I really do appreciate the way the series continues, I just am clearly not meant for a nonsense world as a large portion of this story just had me confused or uninterested.  I give this one a rating of Three Paws.


Full Series Review: I realize that this series is not complete, there is another book coming out in January and at least one more planned for this series, but I thought I would give my opinion of the series thus far, especially since I read all three books in less than a week. I really enjoyed this series, it is unique and interesting with some really great (and diverse) characters. The books are short and can be read in a single sitting or two and are completely satisfying.  I am really looking forward to reading more books in this series and more books in general by McGuire.  I give this series a rating of Four Paws on a whole so far.

Monday, July 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

Cottage by the Sea by Debbie Macomber
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (series review)
Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo (series review)
Roar of a Snore by Marsha Diane Arnold (bedtime story)

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

The Tiger's Daughter
Every Heart a Doorway
Down Among the Sticks and Bones
Prince of Persia
Biscuit Goes Camping
Jerome Camps Out
Ocean Meets Sky

Currently Reading:

Ruin of Stars by Linsey Miller - Print - on page 36 of  416
Fawkes by Nadine Brandes - Kindle/Audio - on page 63 of 448

Pages Read/ Time Listened
359:27 Hours Listened (4:06 listened this week)
23,868 Pages Read (1,015 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
The Tiger's Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera
Grace & Fury by Tracy Banghart
LifeL1k3 by Jay Kristoff
Sweet Black Waves by Kristina Perez
The Bird and the Blade by Megan Bannen
The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss


It was a pretty good reading week last week, I wrapped up my Tome Topple a little early with The Tiger's Daughter which I buddy read with a complete stranger, but it actually turned out really good, we both have similar reading speeds and tastes in books so it was definitely a great match for a reading buddy. I could have picked up another tome and gotten halfway through it but I opted to catch up on some other books that have been calling my name.

I have so many books that I want to read this month, I wish I could take a vacation just to read but that is not going to happen. I do have a family vacation coming up soon though and I have already informed everyone that I will be spending time reading!

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Tome Topple Readathon Wrap Up

I have been participating in the Tome Topple Readathon that was hosted as a Goodreads Group.  It was a 2 week challenge from the June 29th through July 13th, and your goal was to read books over 500 pages. You can see my original sign up post HERE.

 So I had a pretty ambitious TBR pile for the challenge but I did really accomplish a lot of reading these two weeks and completed 3 books and managed to complete all of the challenges!

So here are the books I actually read and finished:
Crooked Kingdom - 536 pages (part of a series)

The Invention of Hugo Cabret - 530 pages  (as close to a graphic as I could get)

Tiger's Daughter - 526 pages (Adult & buddy read)

In addition to those books I also read several other shorter novels in between to break things up. I really struggled with Crooked Kingdom and am glad I was forced to put a time limit on it.  I enjoyed The Invention of Hugo Cabret more than I ever expected and Tiger's Daughter completely blew me away!  I do wish I could have gotten to Grace of Kings, especially since it has been on my TBR a few times and I have even started it but put it down a couple of times.

I have to say, this is one of my favorite readathons, it is nice and long to allow for varying reading speeds and it pushes you to pick up these big books that have been put off, but can turn out to be great books that you love!

Did you participate? What book did you read? How was your reading experience?