Saturday, November 10, 2018

Review of Heretics Anonymous by Katie Henry

Read for: Recent Purchase

Synopsis: "Michael is an atheist. So as he walks through the doors at St. Clare’s—a strict Catholic school—sporting a plaid tie, things can’t get much worse. His dad has just made the family move again, and Michael needs a friend. When a girl challenges their teacher in class, Michael thinks he might have found one, and a fellow nonbeliever at that. Only this girl, Lucy, is not just Catholic . . . she wants to be a priest.

But Lucy introduces Michael to other St. Clare’s outcasts, and he officially joins Heretics Anonymous, where he can be an atheist, Lucy can be an outspoken feminist, Avi can be Jewish and gay, Max can wear whatever he wants, and Eden can practice paganism. After an incident in theology class, Michael encourages the Heretics to go from secret society to rebels intent on exposing the school’s hypocrisies. When Michael takes one mission too far—putting the other Heretics at risk—he must decide whether to fight for his own freedom, or rely on faith, whatever that means, in God, his friends, or himself."

My Review: After seeing Sam from Sassenach the Book Wizard on Youtube talk about it, I knew I had to get a copy. I really enjoyed this book and found it to be so much more than expected. Not only do we get to see how Michael and his friends deal with the religious aspects, but also so many other prejudices seen in schools. We also learn the fine balance schools have to keep to maintain a learning environment. I really like how the views of many different religions were presented in a non-confrontational manner in much of the book. I also really appreciate how much it makes the reader think about their own beliefs along with the characters. Though going in, you need to have a bit of a sense of humor and an open mind. This is definitely not a book to pick up if you don't like hearing negative aspects of religion. In addition to all the religion and school dynamics, this book also had a lot of family dynamics. I was not really a fan of the romance in this one, it felt a little forced and unnecessary. I am finding it a little difficult to discuss this book without spoilers, but lets just say I appreciate the way the ending was formulated in regards to religion, especially from Michael.

My Rating: I did really enjoy many aspects of this book and I hope that others are able to read it with an open mind, but I know that it will not be for everyone.  I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.

So I feel like I need to explain a bit about why this book attracted me so much, my husband and I were both raised in very religious households (mine was Lutheran and his was Catholic) but neither of us really felt that faith or had our questions answered.  As adults we have come across far to many hypocrites who are super religious but clearly do not do as they preach. We have raised Munchkin to make his own decisions, answer his questions as he has them, but in order to provide him with the education and the learning environment he needs, we were left with few choices and the best suited was a private Catholic school. We do not agree with the religion but will allow him to make his own choice, we also make it very clear that he is allowed to believe what he wants to believe, currently that does not jive with what he is being taught at school. So I felt like this would be a great book to read with an open mind. 

Friday, November 9, 2018

Bedtime Story: You Don't Want a Unicorn! by Ame Dyckman

Read for: Children's Book Challenge

Synopsis: "When a little boy throws a coin in a well asking for a pet unicorn, he has no idea what kind of trouble he's in for. Unbeknownst to him, unicorns make the absolutely worst pets: they shed, they poke holes in your ceiling, and they make a big mess. With a knowing wink from Ame Dyckman, creator of Wolfie the Bunny and cheerful illustrations from Rory the Dinosaur creator and Tumblr star Liz Climo, this rollicking story shares all of the ways a pet unicorn can ruin your life, and is sure to have readers in stitches."

My Review: Munchkin received this in a book box and it turned out to be a great pick. It is definitely a quirky book that will have kids laughing (and parents too). It is all about the dangers of wishing for a pet unicorn and all the trouble that follows. Munchkin thoroughly enjoyed it and has requested to read it several times.

My Rating: I am sure there is a great message in this one about being careful what you wish for and the responsibility of having a pet, but honestly who cares, just enjoy a good laugh. We give it a rating of Four Paws!

Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Top 5 Wednesday: Tomes on TBR

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

So the Tome Topple Readathon, also run by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes is returning soon and the topic for today is to discuss the top 5 largest books on our TBR.  Funny enough, to keep Munchkin busy one day I sent him on a mission to find the biggest book on my TBR shelf (at least the one upstairs which contains the books I really want to get to soon). I am going to list the largest books on my TBR not the order I want to read them in or priority or series, etc.  Also I am only using books that I physically have on my shelves, if we went to books I want to read the list would be too difficult to narrow down, also excluded are books I have already read. There are different page counts for different editions, this is based on the page counts of my specific books.

So let's see what he found 

In a tie for 5th at 722 pages we have Name of the Wind and The Lies of Locke Lamora. 

At 4th we have the Forgetting Moon at 800 pages

In 3rd place we have Lonesome Dove at 858 pages

In second place stands A Wall of Storms with 880 pages

And coming in first place, which probably isn't much of a surprise for anyone, is The Wise Man's Fear at 1,000 pages

No wonder my physical shelves are running out of space with these chunky books on them! I find it a little crazy that to even get on the top 5 list a book had to be over 700 pages!  I had several that were in the 600 range too. I have been pushing myself to read bigger books and had challenged myself to 12 over 450 pages for the year (I think I am sitting at 10 so far), but I am thinking for next year I need to push the page count goal to 600.  I know a few of these are on my Must Read in 2019 list already. 

So what are some of the longest books on your TBR?  What has been your favorite long book to read?

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Review of Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate

Read for: Recently Added

Synopsis: "A man I helped to settle here
taught me a saying from Africa.
I'll bet you would like it: 
A cow is God with a wet nose.

Kek comes from Africa where he lived with his mother, father, and brother. But only he and his mother have survived. Now she's missing, and Kek has been sent to a new home. In America, he sees snow for the first time, and feels its sting. He wonders if the people in this new place will be like the winter--cold and unkind. But slowly he makes friends: a girl in foster care, an old woman with a rundown farm, and a sweet, sad cow that reminds Kek of home. As he waits for word of his mother's fate, Kek weathers the tough Minnesota winter by finding warmth in his new friendships, strength in his memories, and belief in his new country."

My Review: I picked this book up completely on a whim, after really loving Wishtree earlier this year. I simultaneously listened and read this one and it was so worth it! I loved that it was written in verse but it still told the story in a way that allowed you to connect with the characters and story. I found Kek to be a very inspiring character, after all the ugliness in the world he still finds good in small things and finds hope and joy against all odds. Hannah is a character that we should all strive to be, especially in the world we live in now, kind and understanding and willing to offer a hand in help and friendship. I don't know how anyone could read this story without shedding a tear or two and finding a bit of extra kindness blossoming in their soul.

My Rating: I really enjoyed this one and almost wish that I had read it slower so I could enjoy this first time reading it just a bit more, I will never get to read it for the first time again.  I highly recommend the audio, it was fantastic and I fully intend on reading this again in the next couple of years with Munchkin.  I give it a rating of Four Paws and a Stump Wag!

Monday, November 5, 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

This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel (Series Review)
Such Wicked Intent by Kenneth Oppel (Series Review)
The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White
Pete the Cat Goes Camping by James Dean (Early Reader)
Watersnakes by Antonio Sandoval (Graphic Novel)

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

The Winter Riddle
Home of the Brave
You Don't Want a Unicorn
Heretics Anonymous
Christmas Stories

Currently Reading:
Beneath the Same Stars by Phyllis Cole-Dai - Kindle - 15%
Only Human by Sylvain Neuvel - Audio - 12%

Pages Read/ Time Listened
542:36 Hours Listened (11:51 listened this week)
36,284 Pages Read (428 this week)

Books Added to Shelves Recently: TBR
To the Sky Kingdom by Tang Qi
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
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
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
Not Even Bones by Rebecca Schaeffer
May B. by Caroline Starr Rose
Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate
The Christmas Light by Donna VanLiere
The Phoenix Empress by K. Arsenault Rivera
Royals by Rachel Hawkins
Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke
Kill the Farm Boy by Kevin Hearne and Delilah S. Dawson
14,000 Things to be Happy About by Barbara Ann Kipfer


Sorry for the late post today, it has been an insane weekend and morning.  Tomorrow is election day here in RI and working in an office with a politician means we are all a little crazy right now.  Also, we had Munchkin's soccer awards on Saturday and Halloween last week and then Hubby and I were able to go to the Patriots v. Green Bay Packers game last night (and we didn't get home until 2:00am).  Now here I am at work trying to get everything done with only a few hours of sleep.  As you can see with all of that excitement in the past week, I didn't get much reading done, but it was to be expected. 

This week I also probably won't be getting much reading done, at least other than audio books.  It will be another very busy week in the office and I am also frantically trying to produce enough cards for potentially 2 Christmas bazaars.  I am also teaching my first crafting class at the local library, so I need to prepare for that as well. Yikes, goodness knows why I always over schedule myself.

On a happy note, I had a great Blogoversary month in October! I had a lot of fun interacting with all of you and planning giveaways.  Not only that but I finally reached 100 followers on here and 200 on Instagram! I am very thankful for all of you and I hope you will continue to visit and see all of the exciting books and chats I have planned for the future!

Don't forget my final giveaway for a copy The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein with a signed book plate is still going on, so be sure to enter!

I hope you all find yourself in a great book this week!