Saturday, August 18, 2018

Arrg-ust Graphic Novel Review of Polly and the Pirates Vol. 1 by Ted Naifeh

Read for: Graphic Novel Challenge & Arrgust

Synopsis: "Polly is caught between the prim-and-proper boarding school set she's grown-up with and the legendary legacy of the Pirate Queen that she never knew she was a part of! But which is the cruel, cold world and which is the care-free paradise? And does it even matter when there's a dashing pirate prince involved? Hoist the sails and batten the hatches on this brand new adventure!"

My Review: I was on the hunt for a pirate comic and came across this graphic novel. I love women pirates and had to give this a try. Though I found Polly to be a little young, it was a fun and exciting book to read. I loved the art style and what seems to be an alternate United States shore line. I loved Polly's character development throughout the story and her clever, outside the box ideas. It was quite the adventure and one I really want to continue reading.

My Rating: I am really glad I discovered this series! Polly does seem awfully young but she is entertaining and I loved the unique art style as well. I give it a rating of Four Paws!

Friday, August 17, 2018

Arrg-ust Early Reader Bedtime Story: Pirate Mom by Deborah Underwood

Read for: Early Reader Challenge & Arrgust

Synopsis: "Yo ho ho! Pete loves pirates, but his mom thinks they are rude and messy. Then Pete and his mom go to see the Amazing Marco, and Marco hypnotizes Pete’s mom into thinking she’s a pirate! Now Pete’s mom won’t behave. She chases the neighbors. She steals underwear off other people’s clotheslines. She’s even flying the Jolly Roger over the house. Pete has to find the Amazing Marco. He wants his real mom back!"

My Review: This was such a fun and silly book to read with Munchkin. We both had some laughs watching the mom act like a pirate. Munchkin loved that she used a wooden spoon for a sword. It is a good level 3 book for those readers who have gained a lot of confidence and who have a little bit longer of an attention span. The illustrations in this one also added to the quirky and funny story, it will definitely keep young readers interest.

My Rating: This was definitely a fun and silly book to read with kids, a goofy role reversal where the kid has to take care of his hypnotized mom. We had a blast reading this book and give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.

Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Blog Tour: Adrian Simcox Does Not Have a Horse by Marcy Campbell & Illustrated by Corinna Luyken

Synopsis: "A classic in the making, this heartwarming story about empathy and imagination is one that families will treasure for years to come.
Adrian Simcox tells anyone who will listen that he has a horse--the best and most beautiful horse anywhere.

But Chloe does NOT believe him. Adrian Simcox lives in a tiny house. Where would he keep a horse? He has holes in his shoes. How would he pay for a horse?

The more Adrian talks about his horse, the angrier Chloe gets. But when she calls him out at school and even complains about him to her mom, Chloe doesn't get the vindication she craves. She gets something far more important.

Written with tenderness and poignancy and gorgeously illustrated, this book will show readers that kindness is always rewarding, understanding is sweeter than judgment, and friendship is the best gift one can give."

My Review: When given the opportunity to read this book, I had to jump at it. As I am sure you know by now I am a huge fan of all things horses and I was really intrigued by the synopsis, it sounded like a great message. This book is absolutely stunning in person, the artwork is almost watercolor like but still with definition, and a very fall like color palette. The story was just as beautiful too, a great message for kids and adults to hear. Munchkin picked up on it right away, so it is presented easily enough for their little minds. It did take him a bit to find the horse but once he did he was so excited and was flipping all the pages to see what else he could spot. This is really a beautiful book and story to add to any bookshelf.

My Rating: I am so thankful I was given the opportunity to read this book, it is absolutely beautiful both with the story and the illustrations and it has such an important message.  I give this one a rating of Four Paws!

 I received Adrian Simcox Does Not Have a Horse from the publisher. The above is my honest and voluntary review.

This book was released on  August 14th 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.

Marcy Campbell lives in Ohio with her family and menagerie of rescued pets. Her writing for adults has been published widely in journals and magazines, including Salon. She grew up on a farm filled with cows, chickens, cats, and dogs, but she never had a horse. Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have a Horse is her debut picture book. You can visit her at

Corinna Luyken grew up in different cities along the West Coast, and after studying at Middlebury College, she settled in Washington State, where she draws inspiration from nature, her family, and the human form. Her debut picture book, The Book of Mistakes, received four starred reviews and has been praised by Entertainment WeeklyThe Wall Street Journal, Nerdy Book Club, and more.

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

August 6 – Lost in Storyland – Personal Story + Q&A
August 7 – The Readathon – Review
August 8 – []Happily Ever Elephants – Review
August 9 – Read. Learn. Repeat – Review
August 10 – Kid Lit Frenzy – AGP: what did the author and illustrator collaboration for this book look like? And what was the hardest concept to get across in both text and art?
August 13 – Here Wee Read – Review
August 14 – DoodleMom – Review + Interactive Moodboard
August 15 – Eastern Sunset Reads – Review
August 16 – Critter Lit – Interview
August 17 – Unleashing Readers – Dual Review + Teacher’s Tools for Navigation

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Arrg-ust Series Review of The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

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 found out Heidi Heilig is going to be making an appearance at the Boston Teen Author Festival next month and this series seemed like a perfect fit for both my Duology challenge and Arrgust. I went into this series not knowing a thing about it other than they are time traveling pirates and the covers are really cool.  So let's get into it . . . 

Synopsis: "Nix has spent her entire life aboard her father’s ship, sailing across the centuries, across the world, across myth and imagination.

As long as her father has a map for it, he can sail to any time, any place, real or imagined: nineteenth-century China, the land from One Thousand and One Nights, a mythic version of Africa. Along the way they have found crewmates and friends, and even a disarming thief who could come to mean much more to Nix.

But the end to it all looms closer every day.

Her father is obsessed with obtaining the one map, 1868 Honolulu, that could take him back to his lost love, Nix’s mother. Even though getting it—and going there—could erase Nix’s very existence.

For the first time, Nix is entering unknown waters.

She could find herself, find her family, find her own fantastical ability, her own epic love.

Or she could disappear."

My Review: I picked this book up for my duology challenge and my pirate month, I didn't know much about it going in and that may have been a bit of a mistake. This is much more than a pirate book, it is also a historical fiction and time travel story that has a lot of intricacies that may not have been thoroughly explained and often let me a little confused. I was also disconnected with the characters, I definitely did not like Slate and Nixie wasn't high on the list either. There was one non-human character that eats pearls that I loved but he was just a minor blimp. Some of the more minor characters were really likable, I would love to have a novella about Bee and her backstory as well as one for Kashmir. I did however really enjoy the way that myths and fantasy worlds are interwoven into the story, it added a really fun element. While the story is intriguing, it really just needed more explanation and world building (even though it is set in our world and history for the most part), there is just too much left for you to try to figure out, hopefully the next book will clear some of that up.

My Rating: There was definitely a lot of history involved in this book and you really needed to be familiar with parts of it. You also really needed to be familiar with ships and various sailing terms.  I did find this a bit difficult and the magic wasn't very well explained. I give it a rating of Three Paws.


Synopsis: "
Some things should not be stolen.

After what seems like a lifetime of following her father across the globe and through the centuries, Nix has finally taken the helm of their time-traveling ship. Her future—and the horizon—is bright.

Until she learns she is destined to lose the one she loves. To end up like her father: alone, heartbroken.

Unable to face losing Kashmir—best friend, thief, charmer extraordinaire—Nix sails her crew to a mythical utopia to meet a man who promises he can teach her how to manipulate time, to change history. But no place is perfect, not even paradise. And everything is constantly changing on this utopian island, including reality itself.

If Nix can read the ever-shifting tides, perhaps she will finally harness her abilities. Perhaps she can control her destiny, too.

Or perhaps her time will finally run out."

My Review: I was a bit on the fence about starting this book after reading the first one, but I already owned it so figured I would take the plunge. I did enjoy this one a little more, I think because we got Kashmir's viewpoint in this and he seems to be a little more clearheaded about everything. Nixie still drove me crazy and I still really dislike Slate and their relationship is a toxic one that I really don't care to read. The time travel became a lot more relevant in this book, and was explained a tiny bit more but still not clear enough to really figure out. I don't know if the author herself wasn't able to figure out how to make things work so muddled it up so much no one would notice, or if it was intentionally left so vague that it became a chicken or the egg type situation. If you read it simply for the romance, then it will be a good book because the relationships that develop are pretty powerful (gosh I love Bee!) but if you are like me and read fantasy and enjoy a well developed world, this may not be the series for you.

My Rating: This book continued with the confusing magic system and the interwoven time jumps got a bit convoluted.  Having Kashmir's perspective really saved this story, as did Bee.  I give this one a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag.


Full Series Review: I really struggled with this series, they are not small books and I tried both print and audiobooks with these.  I think part of the issue was extremely unlikable main characters, I did not like Nix and I definitely did not like Slate.  I think it is also partly a matter of trying to fit too much into 2 books. With all the time travel by multiple characters that are interwoven but not as clearly as I needed, I think Heilig knew in her mind but it wasn't clear enough on the page. I feel like I needed an actual time line drawn out to figure out all the various interactions throughout time.  As with The Daughter of the Pirate King, I really wanted to think about why I wasn't a fan of these books or the characters and I think it boils down to difficult timelines, poor magic system development and most importantly drug abuse, Slate is addicted to opium and I really dislike when characters use drugs in books I read.  All that said many other people have really enjoyed this series, but it just wasn't for me. I give it a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Arrg-ust Review of The Pirate by Harold Schechter

Read for Arrrgust & recent purchase

Synopsis: "In 1860, a sloop drifted into New York Harbor. Not a soul on board—just blood from cabin to deck. Looted coins led to Bowery thug Albert Hicks, the ax slayer who turned his shipmates into chum.
His crimes were absolutely fiendish. His execution was pure ballyhoo. It drew nearly ten thousand bloodthirsty sightseers to the city—including the enterprising showman P. T. Barnum. Refreshments were served as the most notorious and unrepentant mass murderer of the era made history as one of America’s first celebrity killers.
The Pirate is part of Bloodlands, a chilling collection of short page-turning historical narratives from bestselling true-crime master Harold Schechter. Spanning a century in our nation’s murderous past, Schechter resurrects nearly forgotten tales of madmen and thrill-killers that dominated the most sensational headlines of their day."

My Review: I picked this book up because I was looking for a slightly different Pirate book as opposed to fantasy and romance. I also found it interesting that it was a historical book and a short listen. While it is a historical non-fiction book about a murder and the subsequent hunt, trial and execution. Based on the synopsis I was expecting a pretty bone chilling story, something that maybe shouldn't be read alone at night; unfortunately that didn't end up being the case. Instead of dramatizing it a little or at least elaborating a little, it really was a statement of facts. I have read a few true crime books in the past and have found them a lot more interesting, this seemed like something you would find on a reference site, brief and bare bones facts. I think the narrator also added to this with a monotone reading of the story with a nearly complete lack of emotion or reaction to what he was reading. It was still an intriguing story but just a little too lackluster for me.

My Rating: I was really expecting to be terrified after this book, especially listening to it on audio book but it was very short and to the point, almost like an encyclopedia entry.  I guess it would be great if you like true crime and just the facts but it really wasn't what I expected.  I give it a rating of Two Paws.

Monday, August 13, 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

Three Shoeboxes by Steven Manchester
Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller (Series Review)
Daughter of the Siren Queen by Tricia Levenseller (Series Review)
Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
Pirate's Lullaby: Mutiny at Bedtime by Marcie Wessels (Bedtime Story)
High Seas & High Stakes by Tamara Gill (After Dark)
The Assassin's Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke (Series Review)
The Pirate's Wish by Cassandra Rose Clark (Series Review)

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

The Assassin's Curse
Pirates Guide to First Grade
Pirate's Wish
Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day

Currently Reading:

Ruin of Stars by Linsey Miller - Print - on page 36 of  416
Magic Marks the Spot by Caroline Carlson - Digital - 21%

Pages Read/ Time Listened
412:58 Hours Listened (21:22 listened this week)
27,164 Pages Read (432 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
The Pirate by Harold Schechter
Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell
Bob by Wendy Mass


By the time you read this post I will be well into my family vacation! It has been so hectic lately getting ready for everything happening this month and I am really looking forward to this vacation. Much of the time I will be completely unplugged and in the mountains, hopefully enjoying family time and some good books.

In the mean time, I hope you are enjoying my month of pirate books, it has been a lot of fun hunting down some lesser known ones as well as books for kids and graphic novels.  If pirates aren't your thing, don't worry, I have scheduled at least one post a week that isn't a pirate book and in September we will return to the usual variety of books.

I don't know if I will be able to post a Monday Reading List until after I get back so I hope you all have a great couple of weeks!

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Arrg-ust Series Review of The Assassin's Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke

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 eyeing these books for some time now and am so glad I finally picked them up. Admittedly there are 2 novellas that should be included in this series but I just didn't have the time to pick them up this month, maybe some time in the future.  Again, this series fit so perfectly with my duology challenge and Arrgust event that I couldn't pass it up.  

Synopsis: "Ananna of the Tanarau abandons ship when her parents try to marry her off to another pirate clan. But that only prompts the scorned clan to send an assassin after her. When Ananna faces him down one night, armed with magic she doesn't really know how to use, she accidentally activates a curse binding them together."

My Review: I kept seeing this book on shelves in youtube videos and in photos on instagram and was really attracted to the cover. I am so glad I managed to get my hands on a copy of it. I really enjoyed the story even though Ananna was awfully naive and just plain lucky at times and Naji was a bit too mysterious and annoying. We are left in the dark a lot with the magic system, as is Ananna and while it did bother me a little it wasn't as bad as normal. There is quite a bit of action and adventure that kept the pages turning. Even though the characters kind of annoyed me, I ended up really attached to them by the end and of course had to pick up the next book immediately.

My Rating: As much as there are elements to this book that bother me, little annoying things like unexplained magic system and characters that get grate on your nerves, I was able to look past it all and really enjoy the story. I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.


Synopsis: "After setting out to break the curse that binds them together, the pirate Ananna and the assassin Naji find themselves stranded on an enchanted island in the north with nothing but a sword, their wits, and the secret to breaking the curse: complete three impossible tasks. With the help of their friend Marjani and a rather unusual ally, Ananna and Naji make their way south again, seeking what seems to be beyond their reach.

Unfortunately, Naji has enemies from the shadowy world known as the Mists, and Ananna must still face the repercussions of going up against the Pirate Confederation. Together, Naji and Ananna must break the curse, escape their enemies — and come to terms with their growing romantic attraction."

My Review: I am so glad I had a chance to pick this book up right away after Assassin's Curse. I really enjoy this world and have really grown attached to the characters, and that definitely didn't change. The pace definitely slowed down a bit in this one and we got to understand the magic system a little more. Some new adventures and locations were introduced along with some really unique characters. I absolutely fell in love with the Manticore, Ongraygeeomryn, she added some much needed humor to this story. I also loved the development of Naji and Ananna's characters and their relationship, definitely a great slow burn done right! And then the ending! What?! And there aren't anymore books with them?! Talk about an open ending and a good but painful way. This is definitely one to pick up if you like slow burn, angsty romance, traveling fantasy worlds and unusual side characters you will love.

My Rating: I really enjoyed the development of the world and all the characters in this book, it really built upon the previous book and added so much more to love.  I give it a rating of Four Paws.


Full Series Review: I think this is a series you are either going to love or hate. I ended up really loving it, I loved the characters by the end, I loved the world and the romance was just right (and totally clean for those of you worried about that, definitely a fade to black situation). There were a lot of twists that I just never saw coming, unusual places and characters that just pop up out of no where and surprise you.  The ending was a bit unusual, not everything is wrapped up, not everything is happy go lucky and while I do really appreciate that in some aspects, it is also a bit of torture not knowing what happens.  There is a companion series that is set later in the same world that I may just have to check out but it doesn't revolve around these characters. I give this series as a whole a rating of Four Paws.