Saturday, October 13, 2018

Graphic Novel Review of Monstress Vol. 3: Haven by Marjorie M. Liu

Read for: Graphic Novel Challenge

Synopsis: "Maika has spent most of her life learning how to fight, but how will she fare when the only way to save her to make friends?"

My Review: I have been following this series since it began, I have been drawn in by the beautiful and detailed art and some really unique characters. With each progressive volume I have fallen more and more out of love with it. There is a lot that happens and multiple story arcs to keep track of and I have found it really difficult to do so. I still love the art and I still love several of the characters, I just am really struggling to follow the story. I think I will give it one more go with the release next year and do a re-read of all the previous releases leading up to it, hoping that it will help me understand the full scope of the story.

My Rating: I really just want to follow Ren & Kipa they are the characters I enjoy most while reading, Maika just has too much going on. I give this one a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Bedtime Story: Time to Get Started by Bryan Smith

Read for: Children's Book Challenge & Netgalley/Requested Review

Synopsis: "Blake doesn't understand why he has to clean his room RIGHT NOW. He'll get to it eventually!
Luckily for Blake, his mom is there to help him understand why it's important to get started on tasks right away. By exploring his reasons for putting off the things he is supposed to do, Blake soon realizes that he is simply making excuses.
Join Blake as he and his mom go through a few simple steps to help him take initiative and get things done."

My Review: I am always looking for new non-fiction books to read with Munchkin, but had never really seen a self-help type book written for kids, so I was thrilled to be able to read this one.  I was very pleasantly surprised, it takes the approach of a kid talking to the kid readers, and commiserating with them about parents nagging them to get started.  It then provides a great approach for both parents and children about how to approach the issue of procrastinating and how to take initiative.  It was a great conversation starter about how we can work better together and accomplish things we don't want to do without arguing or nagging. While we haven't seen much progress yet it has become a great resource to fall back on.

My Rating: I am not a huge fan of self help books for myself, but this is a great one for kids and their parents/guardians.  It is short and to the point, and gives clear steps to help overcome the problem.  I give this one a rating of Four Paws! I am also really looking forward to checking out Bryan's other books for kids.

I received Time to Get Started via Netgalley, under no obligation or compensation. The above is my honest opinion.

You can find out more about Bryan Smith and his children's book on his Amazon Page.

You can pre-order your own copy on Barnes & Noble and it will be available soon on Amazon in print and digital formats.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Finally Fall Book Tag

For some reason I thought I had done this tag before but after looking back I never did it. Luckily, it has come around again and I have the opportunity to participate! The original tag was created by Tall Tales on Youtube I believe, so check it out and join in the fun.

1. In fall, the air is crisp and clear: name a book with a vivid setting!
I think one of the most vivid settings for me has to be Scorpio Races, just thinking about this book even on a sunny warm day, gives me the chills and an eerie feeling.

2. Nature is beautiful… but also dying: name a book that is beautifully written, but also deals with a heavy topic like loss or grief.
I have only read a few books this year along these lines but of the few the best ones were And Every Morning the Way Home gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman, which deals with Alzheimer's, and Three Shoeboxes by Steven Manchester, which deals with PTSD & Depression and more,  have to top the list.  

3. Fall is back to school season: share a non-fiction book that taught you something new.
I tend not to reach for Non-fiction books much but Munchkin does and I do learn a lot from the non-fiction children's books, maybe I had know some of the information at one point and forgotten it but i find them to be great books.  I actually learned quite a bit about pirates from Who Was Blackbeard, and was surprised by some of the information.

4. In order to keep warm, it’s good to spend some time with the people we love: name a fictional family/household/friend-group that you’d like to be a part of.
I have read some really fantastic books with siblings, families and found families this year but of all of them the top of my list is the Abbott family from Marie Force's Green Mountain/Butler VT series. They are a big family with some of your typical family issues but when it comes down to it they all there to support their family. 

5. The colourful leaves are piling up on the ground: show us a pile of fall-colored spines!

6. Fall is the perfect time for some storytelling by the fireside: share a book wherein somebody is telling a story.
The book that comes to mind for this one is Tiger's Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera, it is written as a letter from one character to another, telling the story of their lives together. It is so beautiful and will be one of my favorite books this year!

7. The nights are getting darker: share a dark, creepy read.
Of course you know I always recommend Frankenstein, but I wanted to add something new this time. So if you haven't read Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco yet, definitely pick it up.

8. The days are getting colder: name a short, heartwarming read that could warm up somebody’s cold and rainy day.
Again I have two answers for this one, both of them great for single sitting reads. They are vastly different but both give me warm fuzzy feelings (though The Traveling Cat Chronicles also had me sobbing).

9. Fall (luckily, it’s my favourite season) returns every year: name an old favourite that you’d like to return to soon.
A book I always find myself reaching for in the fall is Fire by Kristin Cashore, but this year a different series is calling out to me (and has been for several months).  I think I may be picking up the White Magic Series by Caitlin Brennan for a re-read, it has been years possibly even before blogging since I last read them.

10. Fall is the perfect time for cozy reading nights: share your favourite cozy reading “accessories”!
I definitely love cozy reading accessories, I love warm socks, hoodies, leggings, fluffy blankets, tea and of course furry reading buddies!

Don't forget to check out my review of the And I Darken series and enter my giveaway for this week!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Review of Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

Read for: Borrowed Books & Bibliophile Prints Challenge

Synopsis: "Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs.

Knowledge comes at a cost, one that Binti is willing to pay, but her journey will not be easy. The world she seeks to enter has long warred with the Meduse, an alien race that has become the stuff of nightmares. Oomza University has wronged the Meduse, and Binti's stellar travel will bring her within their deadly reach.

If Binti hopes to survive the legacy of a war not of her making, she will need both the gifts of her people and the wisdom enshrined within the University, itself - but first she has to make it there, alive."

My Review: I have been hearing a lot about this book over the past few months and it fit a couple of challenges for the Bibliophile Prints September Readathon so I gave it a try. I was very pleasantly surprised. I normally really struggle with science fiction books and wrapping my head around any of the futuristic buildings/ships and any math or science involved, and I was really worried about this one not having enough description in such a short book. While it did take me a bit to get into the story, and a few things were a little vague and out there for me, the overall story and character pulled me in anyway. I really enjoyed how Binti's character developed throughout the story, gaining in confidence, even when faced with new and frightening events. This is a shorter novella length book, and it is a satisfying and fully developed story but there are more books in the series, and I am intrigued enough to continue.

My Rating: While this is a short book, and a science fiction as well, I found it to be pretty easy to grasp and well developed.  I rather enjoyed the audio book and found it to be really intriguing.  I give it a rating of Three Paws.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Series Review of And I Darken by Kiersten White & Giveaway

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 had And I Darken on my radar for some time now but never picked it up.  For some reason I really didn't pay attention and was expecting a fantasy, but it is really a historical fiction. This series is a re-telling of Vlad the Impaler, with a gender swap. I wasn't sure I would get into it but saw that Kiersten White would be at the Boston Teen Author Festival and wanted to read some of her books before the event.  So here we go with the series review . . . 

Synopsis: "No one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.

Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.

But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point."

My Review: I didn't know a whole lot about this book going in, but with Kiersten White coming to the Boston Teen Author Festival this year I thought I should give it a go. For some reason I was thinking it was a fantasy book but clearly it is a historical fiction and I was not disappointed by that fact. Maybe it was just that it has been ages since I last read in the genre but I was really drawn in and consumed this book very quickly. I absolutely loved Lada, she was exactly the type of character I enjoy reading; strong, confident, protective but brutal, she gets the job done no matter the cost to her or others. I also really enjoyed the characters around her and how they fit into the puzzle of the story, and it was a bit of a puzzle with all the political intrigue and maneuvering. That was possibly my favorite part about this book are all the politics. Definitely a series I cannot wait to continue!

My Rating: As much as this wasn't what I was expecting, I was totally consumed by it! I loved so much about this book, the characters were awesome, the time period and setting were awesome, the story line was awesome; so of course I give it a rating of Four Paws and a Stump Wag!


Synopsis: "Lada Dracul has no allies. No throne. All she has is what she’s always had: herself. After failing to secure the Wallachian throne, Lada is out to punish anyone who dares to cross her blood-strewn path. Filled with a white-hot rage, she storms the countryside with her men, accompanied by her childhood friend Bogdan, terrorizing the land. But brute force isn’t getting Lada what she wants. And thinking of Mehmed brings little comfort to her thorny heart. There’s no time to wonder whether he still thinks about her, even loves her. She left him before he could leave her.

What Lada needs is her younger brother Radu’s subtlety and skill. But Mehmed has sent him to Constantinople—and it’s no diplomatic mission. Mehmed wants control of the city, and Radu has earned an unwanted place as a double-crossing spy behind enemy lines. Radu longs for his sister’s fierce confidence—but for the first time in his life, he rejects her unexpected plea for help. Torn between loyalties to faith, to the Ottomans, and to Mehmed, he knows he owes Lada nothing. If she dies, he could never forgive himself—but if he fails in Constantinople, will Mehmed ever forgive him?

As nations fall around them, the Dracul siblings must decide: what will they sacrifice to fulfill their destinies? Empires will topple, thrones will be won . . . and souls will be lost."

My Review: Again, why did I wait so long to read this series?! I think I actually enjoyed this, the second book, more than the first and that is a rare thing. I loved the character development of each character on their own and the way their relationships change as the world around them changes. Lada is such a strong character, she has so much determination and will stop at nothing to achieve the goal she set out for, no one can stand in her way. She is brutal and punishing to those who oppose her but she feels that it is necessary to improve the country she loves and make it a better place for those around her. Radu faces a whole different struggle, while he might not be as physically brutal as his sister, he does have to make just as hard of decisions. I feel like Radu really developed in this story, he found the lines he will and will not cross and begins to question how far he will go for someone who does not love him the way he wants. Both siblings face insurmountable obstacles and decisions but they are stronger for it. I cannot wait for the final book!

My Rating: I really enjoyed seeing the character development in this series.  Lada especially, she is tough and confident and goes after what she wants, but she isn't above learning.  Now I Rise also didn't have the second book slump that I have come to expect, I give it a rating of Four Paws and a Stump Wag!


Synopsis: "Haunted by the sacrifices he made in Constantinople, Radu is called back to the new capital. Mehmed is building an empire, becoming the sultan his people need. But Mehmed has a secret: as emperor, he is more powerful than ever . . . and desperately lonely. Does this mean Radu can finally have more with Mehmed . . . and would he even want it? 

Lada's rule of absolute justice has created a Wallachia free of crime. But Lada won't rest until everyone knows that her country's borders are inviolable. Determined to send a message of defiance, she has the bodies of Mehmed's peace envoy delivered to him, leaving Radu and Mehmed with no choice. If Lada is allowed to continue, only death will prosper. They must go to war against the girl prince.

But Mehmed knows that he loves her. He understands her. She must lose to him so he can keep her safe. Radu alone fears that they are underestimating his sister's indomitable will. Only by destroying everything that came before--including her relationships--can Lada truly build the country she wants.

Claim the throne. Demand the crown. Rule the world."

My Review: Like many others I have heard of Vlad the Impaler, but I was not familiar with his exact story, so I had no idea where this retelling would take us. Boy was this final book in the trilogy a ride! It was full of ups and downs and of course brutal truths and battles. I still really love how intense Lada is in reaching her goal and maintaining it. She has never hidden who she is or where her goals and loyalties lie. Radu though has had a lot to over come, has had to hide so much and discover so much even about himself and his loyalties. Throughout the series I have loved following the dynamics of the sibling relationship, obviously far more dramatic than my own but still something I can see in some degree in my own life. How far will you go to reach your goals? What will you do for those you love and what line will you not cross? I do not want to leave these characters behind but White, as brutal with her writing as Lada is with a blade, has given us no choice and I love it!

My Rating: We really got to see dynamics and life paths shift in this book and the epic result of those choices. I was totally not ready to see this series come to an end but was thrilled with the journey and the conclusion. This book definitely gets another Four Paws and a Stump Wag rating!


Full Series Review: Wow! I was not expecting so much out of this series, and some of it may have to do with the fact that it is so different than what I have been reading lately so it was like a breath of fresh air. No matter why, it was a fantastic series that completely consumed me for a few weeks! I loved the characters and the way they each developed individually and in relation to one another. I was also thrilled with how Kiersten White portrayed the story of Vlad the Impaler, she definitely did not hold back and put all of his brutality out there on the page.  I highly recommend this series and if you can definitely try the audio books, I switched between print and audio books and it was fantastic.  I give this series a rating of Four Paws and a Stump Wag like I could give it anything else!

I loved this series so much that I want to give one of you the opportunity to read it as well. So I am having a giveaway for a paperback copy of And I Darken and the ARC of Now I Rise to get you started.  The rules are same as before . . .

~You must be 16 or older to enter 
~This giveaway is for my followers, as a thank you for sticking with me over the years, or joining me now, I, of course welcome new followers!
~Enter the giveaway via the below Rafflecopter methods (I will be checking the required items and if you are not a follower as required, your entry is void, I have had too many entries in the past looking for quick handouts and not actually interacting with my blog).
 ~Open internationally but the winner is responsible for any extra customs fees that your country may add on.
~Giveaway ends midnight on the 15th, winners will be selected the next day (I will be contacting you via email)

Monday, October 8, 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

And the Ocean was Our Sky by Patrick Ness
The Pumpkin Patch by Margaret McNamara (Early Reader)
The Wolves of Winter by Tyrell Johnson
Waiting for Unicorns by Beth Hautala (Mini Review)
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith (Mini Review)
American Panda by Gloria Chao (Mini Review)
The House of Four Winds by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory (Mini Review)
Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller (Mini Review)
Letters to Sam by Daniel Gottlieb (Mini Review)
Nate the Great by Marjorie Weinnam Sharmat (Mini Review)
Ash by Malinda Lo (Mini Review)

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

Hunting Prince Dracula
Ketchup Clouds
Mutts and Mistletoe
Monstress Vol. 3

Currently Reading:
Ruin of Stars by Linsey Miller - Print - on page 36 of  416
Beneath the Same Stars by Phyllis Cole-Dai - Kindle - 15%

Pages Read/ Time Listened
489:51 Hours Listened (19:05 listened this week)
33,766 Pages Read (488 this week)

Books Added to Shelves Recently: TBR
Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
To the Sky Kingdom by Tang Qi
Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher
Dead Man's Walk by Larry McMurtry
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
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
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
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
Such Wicked Intent by Kenneth Opal
Frostbite by Joshua Williamson
Memoirs of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Theodore Roszak
The Bird and the Blade by Megan Bannen
The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss
Gunslinger Girl by Lyndsay Ely
Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell
All Systems Red by Martha Wells
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
Peace Like a River by Leif Enger
Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch
Assassin's Gambit by Amy Raby
Refugee by Alan Gratz
Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao
Isle of Blood and Stone by Makiia Lucier
Heretics Anonymous by Katie Henry
None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio
Words We Don't Say by K.J. Reilly
The Light Between Worlds by Laura E. Weymouth
Misty Inn Collection Books 1-4 by Kristen Earhart
Adventures of Laura and Jack by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Escaping from Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco
Not Even Bones by Rebecca Schaeffer
Fierce Fairytales by Nikita Gill


It has been a super hectic week getting the ball rolling for this month! I have a lot of posts to schedule out and giveaways to plan.  I haven't read as much as usual but what I have been reading has been a lot darker than my usual books and I am totally eating it up!! I don't usually like these really thriller type books but I guess when the mood strikes, definitely in October, I enjoy it.

Don't forget to enter my giveaway for a signed copy of Sky in the Deep! I will have a new giveaway for you tomorrow. 

In the mean time, Munchkin and I have a day off and we are going to cozy up for some craft time, reading and maybe a movie or two.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

3rd Quarter Mini Reviews: Waiting for Unicorns, I Capture the Castle, American Panda and 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.

So I forgot to post these last week, so here are my mini reviews for the past three months . . .

This was a quick Middle Grade book that was a complete cover/title buy. It turned out to be highly emotional and better than expected. Four Paws

I received this in a book box and loved the cover, but after listening to the audio book was rather disappointed. Two Paws

I listened to the audio book for this one over the summer, though it would have better in the winter, but it was cute and fun to listen to. Three Paws and a Stump Wag.

This has been sitting on my shelf for over a year but it was highly intriguing. It was a bit slow, but I do appreciate the slow burn romance and how it doesn't take over the story completely, I am a little sad that it doesn't appear that they are going to continue this series. Three Paws.

This was a re-read for me getting ready for the second book, I listened to the audio book and it was outstanding! I adore Sal, Elise & of course Maud! Four Paws and a Stump Wag!

I was hoping for some words of wisdom and a lot of sentimental moments, and while it did have those, they are clearly meant for Sam. One Paw and a Stump Wag.

I don't ever remember reading these but Munchkin really enjoyed it and loved the similarities between him and Nate and being able to read it on his own. Four Paws!

I have heard a lot of great things about this one but sadly the audio book didn't capture my attention. Two Paws.

I have decided to add in the books I have DNFed because I have not really been listing them anywhere here and I want you to know the books I have tried but couldn't get through.

Recent DNFs