Saturday, August 11, 2018

Arrg-ust After Dark Review of High Seas and High Stakes by Tamara Gill

Read for: Arrg-ust

Synopsis: "~His Lady Smuggler~ 

After two failed seasons in town, May Stanford sees her future no longer with her family, but in a nearby convent where she’ll not be anyone’s financial burden. But before she can embark on her new life, May must complete her dealings with the local smugglers, men who have kept a roof over her family’s head during frugal times. One last Christmas at home and her life would change forever. So when William Scott, the Earl of Grandison arrives and crumbles her perfectly planned future to rubble, May is less than pleased. 

William, Lord Grandison works for the Crown, and is determined to catch the nuisance Englishmen who dare smuggle along the Cornwall coast. William has never veered from his pursuit of these men working against the law, that was until he meets May Stanford, the maddening daughter of his host for Christmas. May drives him to distraction and forces him to admit to feelings he has never felt before. 

But when May and William discover the crippling truth of each other, their secrets will threaten to tear them apart. 

~Her Gentleman Pirate~ 

Kidnapped by a smuggling pirate, Miss Arabella Hester is appalled by the circumstances that have befallen her. Imprisoned on a ship in the most scandalous of company, her reputation as a lady betrothed to a English Viscount is in tatters. 

Captain Stephen Doherty aka Blackmore was left with little choice but to kidnap the daughter of Sir Ronald Hester, a man who’s payment for services rendered is long overdue. The ransom due on Arabella will settle her father’s debt, and allow Stephen to restore his family’s fortune. 
Pursued across an ocean by those determined to restore a daughter to her rightful place, Arabella and Stephen navigate high seas and high emotions. But when their time is up, it remains to been seen whether this lady wishes to be caught by anyone other than her pirate..."

My Review: I picked this bundle up for my pirate month, I haven't read a lot of pirate themed romances but I have enjoyed them in the past. This bundle included 2 short companion stories. The first was His Lady Smuggler and I really enjoyed this story. I love how some of the normal roles were reversed in this story. It did progress very quickly as to be expected with such a short story and I found their behavior to be outside of the norm for the era but didn't mind it because I was enjoying the story and their banter so much. The second story was Her Gentleman Pirate and I didn't find this story quite as enjoyable. Arabella and Stephen had much more traditional roles, it did take a lot longer for their relationship to develop, which I did appreciate but their banter felt more forced. I also a lot more editing issues in the second story, errors in spelling, word use and inconsistencies in events (ie. gagged mouth but then spitting, blindfolded but sees hair color) and that really pulled me out of the story. All in all it was entertaining but as you can get these books individually, I would stick with just May and William's story.

My Rating: This is such a tough one to rate with having really enjoyed the first story but not really the second story.  I think I have to give it a middle of the road rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag but I do really recommend His Lady Smuggler!

Friday, August 10, 2018

Arrg-ust Bedtime Story: Pirate's Lullaby: Mutiny at Bedtime by Marcie Wessels

Read for: Arrgust & Children's Book Challenge

Synopsis: "Yo, ho, ho! It’s bedtime! But this little swashbuckler will do anything to avoid going to sleep. Read along as he stalls for time—searching for peg-legged Captain Teddy, stowing his toys in the ship’s treasure chest, and even playing a game of walk-the-plank! Snuggle up with your own little pirate for a fun and delightful high-seas adventure as you wind down your exciting day together."

My Review: This was the best children's pirate book we have read so far! It is not spooky at all, it has really cute illustrations but still has a clear pirate theme. The rhythm and rhyme of the story were fantastic even with the pirate vernacular. It was a fun story to read and there were a couple of interactive moments where your child can look for certain things in the pictures to keep them engaged. At the same time it is a great bedtime story with soothing images and words and a clear bedtime routine.

My Rating: We had a lot of fun reading this book and it was the perfect pirate story for young children. We give it a rating of Four Paws!

Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Arrg-ust Review of Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie

Read for: Arrgust/ Audiobook Challenge

Synopsis: "Fly away with Peter Pan to the enchanted island of Neverland! This first chapter book adaptation of the classic novel, originally published in 1911, tells the story of the boy who never grows up. And when they join Peter on his magical island, Wendy and her brothers are in for exciting encounters with mermaids, an Indian princess, and pirates! Let the amazing adventures begin!"

My Review: With all my time reading, I don't think I have ever read the original Peter Pan story, I have read several retelling books but never the original story. I listened to the audio book and the narrator did a fantastic job with the voices, unfortunately I wasn't a fan of the story. First, I expected Hook, Tinkerbell and Tigerlily to have a much larger role in the story than they did. I also found Peter Pan to be a very unlikable character, he was annoying and conceited and was a habitual liar. He was also a bully. I feel like this was more a tale of caution against talking to strangers, too vivid imaginations and eccentric individuals. The one thing that I did love about this book is that it shows a mother's love and holds it above all else.

My Rating: I don't know why I never read the original story, but having read and seen so many adaptations of this story I was a little disappointed. I really wanted more Hook! I give it a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Arrg-ust Series Review of Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

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 seen this series around, it was really hyped last year when the first book came out but I never really picked it up. I recently was able to pick up Daughter of the Pirate King for a really good price and figured why not, it worked for my Duology Challenge.  I must tell you that this series is the whole reason for the Arrg-ust month long event here!  So on with the reviews. . . 

Synopsis: "There will be plenty of time for me to beat him soundly once I’ve gotten what I came for.

Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map—the key to a legendary treasure trove—seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship.

More than a match for the ruthless pirate crew, Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate, Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King."

My Review: I have been hearing so much about this book and series, so when this went on sale I thought I would give it a shot. I listened to the audio book and it was okay, I probably should have read the print version because it was a bit too easy to gloss over and zone out while reading the book. I did really enjoy Alosa's personality, though I felt like we were told how powerful she is but only got to see a tiny bit, I really hope we get to actually see her being bad ass in the next book. Riden was a bit cliche but I still adored him. It was definitely a quirky and entertaining book to read with all the mishaps and banter. I will be picking up the second book.

My Rating: Since having read this book, I have seen a lot of other reviews and many people really enjoyed it more than I did. I still enjoyed it and give it a rating of Three Paws but it just didn't strike me as that amazing.


Synopsis: "
Alosa's mission is finally complete. Not only has she recovered all three pieces of the map to a legendary hidden treasure, but the pirates who originally took her captive are now prisoners on her ship. Still unfairly attractive and unexpectedly loyal, first mate Riden is a constant distraction, but now he's under her orders. And she takes great comfort in knowing that the villainous Vordan will soon be facing her father's justice.

When Vordan exposes a secret her father has kept for years, Alosa and her crew find themselves in a deadly race with the feared Pirate King. Despite the danger, Alosa knows they will recover the treasure first . . . after all, she is the daughter of the Siren Queen."

My Review: Even though I found the first book to be mediocre, when the library had this one available I thought I would continue anyway. I still found this one to be an okay book but I really felt like there was so much more potential. It was a really slow book, I didn't find the action to be overly exciting because it all seemed too quick for all the slow build up. Alosa does drive me a little crazy, but at the same time I can really appreciate the way her blood is a combination of two morally grey character types and opposing forces as well, and that battle between what is good and what is evil added enough interest to keep me reading. Riden fell completely flat for me, I really wanted to like him but he was really just there as a prop for Alosa. I think a younger teen audience would enjoy this book and series but it just missed the mark for me.

My Rating: I did really enjoy the couple of twists Levenseller put into this story but again I lacked a connection with the characters.  I give this one a rating of Three Paws.


Full Series Review & Rating: After hearing how so many people really loved this series and finding myself not as blown away by it, I really sat down to think about just why it didn't rate highly with me.  I did listen to both of these books on Audio and I had found Alosa so annoying and overly conceited; I have begun to wonder if it was possibly the narrator that gives me this impression.  As of right now I give this series a rating of Three Paws, but I think I might try to revisit it after a little while and read the print formats instead and find out if I enjoy them more and get a different impression from Alosa.  I do have to say though, that these covers are so beautiful, I love the art style; it is a clever way to feature a character on the cover without an actual picture and it really works. 

Have you read the series? Do you think I should give it another try?

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Blog Tour for Three Shoeboxes by Steven Manchester: Review and Giveaway

Synopsis:  "Mac Anderson holds life in the palm of his hand. He has a beautiful wife, three loving children, a comfortable home, and a successful career. Everything is perfect—or so it seems. Tragically, Mac is destined to learn that any sense of security can quickly prove false. Because an invisible enemy called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has invaded Mac’s fragile mind and it is about to drop him to his knees. He does all he can to conceal his inner chaos, but to no avail. Left to contend with ignorance, an insensitive justice system, and the struggles of an invisible disease, he loses everything—most importantly his family. 

One shoebox might store an old pair of sneakers. Two shoeboxes might contain a lifetime of photographs. But in Three Shoeboxes, a father’s undying love may be just enough to make things right again."

My Review: I am a big fan of Steven Manchester and never turn down an opportunity to read his books. They are always guaranteed to hit you hard with emotions, and this one was no different. With that said it was also a tough one to read, I really related to the situation the Anderson family faced in this story as I have seen it in real life and it played out in much the same way. Manchester certainly did not pull any punches with portrayal of a family being torn apart by the result of untreated mental disorders and alcohol abuse. Even through all that darkness, there is still that glimmer of hope and faith that keep you reading and the characters pushing forward. This is definitely a story many readers will relate with and it will be quite an emotional journey but one with hope. 
My Rating: As usual, Steven Manchester knocked it out of the park with a very emotional, human story that so many can connect to.  It was a hard book to read but was totally worth it.  I give this book a rating of Four Paws and a Stump Wag!

 I received Three Shoeboxes via Netgalley and from the author. The above is my honest and voluntary review.

Three Shoeboxes was released on  June 12th and you can now obtain your own copy in print or digital format from Amazon or Barnes & Noble or check with your local independent bookstore, if they don't have it in store ask if they can order it for you.

Steven Manchester is the author of the #1 bestsellers Twelve Months, The Rockin’ Chair, Pressed Pennies, and Gooseberry Island, the national bestseller Ashes, and the novels Goodnight, Brian and The Changing Season. His work has appeared on NBC’s Today Show, CBS’s The Early Show, CNN’s American Morning, and BET’s Nightly News. Recently, three of Manchester’s short stories were selected “101 Best” for the Chicken Soup for the Soul series.

Please stop by the other stops on this tour for more reviews, excerpts, interviews with the author and other great content.

Tour Host Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!  


This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Steven Manchester. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Gift Card and 3 winners of one (1) print copy of Steven Manchester’s ASHES. The giveaway begins on July 1, 2018 and runs through September 1, 2018. Open to U.S. addresses only. Void where prohibited

Find Your Next Great Read at Providence Book Promotions!

Monday, August 6, 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

Riff Raff the Pirate Mouse by Susan Schade (Early Reader)
Pirateology: A Pirate Hunter's Companion by Dugald A. Steer (Graphic Novel)
The Pirate Pig by Cornelia Funke

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

The Ship from Beyond Time
Peter Pan
Who Was Blackbeard
Pirate Mom
The Pirate
Pirate's Lullaby: Mutiny at Bedtime
Pirate Pig
Korgi: Short Tales
Dinosaur Train

Currently Reading:

Ruin of Stars by Linsey Miller - Print - on page 36 of  416
The Assassin's Curse by Cassandra Rose Clark - Audio - 62%

Pages Read/ Time Listened
391:36 Hours Listened (17:46 listened this week)
26,732 Pages Read (353 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
Caging the Merrow by Heather Rigney
The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Opel
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
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
Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day by Seanan McGuire
Frankenstein Dreams by Michael Sims
The Belgaraid by David Eddings
Death Sworn by Leah Cypess
Sherlock Holmes and the Army of Dr. Moreau by Guy Adams
Zenith by Sasha Alsberg & Lindsay Cummings
In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick
The Queen of Sorrow by Sarah Beth Durst
Cruel Prince by Holly Black
Princesses Behaving Badly by Linda Rodriguez McRobbie
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
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
Guardian of Whills by Greg Rucka
Such Wicked Intent by Kenneth Opal
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
Memoirs of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Theodore Roszak
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
Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel
You'll Miss Me When I'm Gone by Rachel Lynn Solomon


Thank goodness for Audiobooks, without them I wouldn't have gotten any reading done last week, or any during this upcoming week. My schedule is a little chaotic this week, a lot to do and not enough hours in the day.  Last week I finished the first phase of my jumbo file project at work! YAY! I also got Munchkin all set for school and his birthday party.  I also completed a huge book unhaul and shelf reorganization. I can't wait to show you my updated shelves! It was great to let go of over 150 books that I just wasn't going to get around to reading. I now only have 2 shelves in the basement and my upstairs bookshelf of TBR books.

I hope you have enjoyed the kick off of my Arrg-ust special! I have had so much fun finding different pirate themed books and reading them. I have a couple other books coming up that are not pirate themed, just in case you get sick of those.

Well I better get to working, because those hours are just ticking away!

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Arrg-ust Review of The Pirate Pig by Cornelia Funke

Read for: Arrgust

Synopsis: "Who needs a treasure map when you have a pirate pig with a nose for gold? Stout Sam and his deckhand, Pip, find a pig washed up in a barrel on the beach. They want to keep her as a pet, but they soon realize Julie is no ordinary pig. She can sniff out treasure! What happens if Barracuda Bill, the greediest and meanest pirate who ever sailed the seas, hears about Julie’s special talent?"

My Review: Other than Inkheart, I have never really paid attention to other books by Funke, but when I was searching for some pirate books I came across this one. With a cover and a title like this one, who could resist? This was a fun and quirky book to read and would be great for young readers who love Roald Dahl books. There are a lot of alliterations in this book and may be helpful to some young readers who may have trouble with certain letter sounds. Sam and Pip were in for quite a shock when they discovered their rescued pig could sniff out treasure and they end up on quite an adventure. I had a lot of fun with this light-hearted story.

My Rating: This was such a fun book with great illustrations, but it is definitely meant for a young audience, Munchkin will probably enjoy this one within the next year or so. I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag!