Friday, November 23, 2018

Bedtime Story: The Cookie Fiasco by Dan Standat

Read for: Children's Book Challenge

Synopsis: "Four friends. Three cookies. One problem. 
Hippo, Croc, and the Squirrels are determined to have equal cookies for all! But how? There are only three cookies . . . and four of them! They need to act fast before nervous Hippo breaks all the cookies into crumbs!"

My Review: Munchkin picked this book out at the library, we really love Elephant and Piggie books. Munchkin got a huge kick out of seeing Gerald and Piggie reading the same book he was reading and their brief interaction at the beginning of the book gives us a clue as to what the book is about. He of course loved the illustrations and the silly tone the book takes. It is definitely a math book, and even introduces fractions without it actually being clearly math or fractions. It is also a great book about sharing again without being an actual statement that might sound like nagging. Definitely a fun book that young readers will really enjoy!

My Rating: This was really a fun book to read, we of course love Piggie and Gerald so seeing them reading a book is always a great way to draw kids into reading.  We give it a rating of Four Paws!

Good Night!  Sweet Dreams!

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Thanksgiving Bedtime Story: Olaf Gives Thanks by Colin Hosten

Read for: Children's Book Challenge & Thanksgiving

Synopsis: "This picture book is full of delights from beautiful and fun stylized illustrations to a rhyming story about our favorite snowman reminding readers how wonderful each day can be and how much there truly is to be thankful for."

My Review: I was looking for a fun book to read to my nieces over Skype for Thanksgiving and found this one at the store. This is a cute book for those little Frozen fans. It is a simple story with some fun rhymes and of course all the things Olaf is thankful for. The illustrations are of course adorable and bright for those young eyes. The story is short and sweet for those little attention spans. It is a great way to get the conversation started about what thankful means and what we each might be thankful for in our own lives for the older kids.

My Rating: This was a great way to get Munchkin thinking about Thanksgiving and the whole holiday season in general and talking about what we are thankful for, with the addition of favorite Frozen Characters too.  We give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.

Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

And Happy Thanksgiving to those of you in the US!

I am thankful for all of you, all around the world, I have found some of the most amazing bookish friends. Thank you!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Christmas Gift Guide 2018 (With Discount & Sales Codes)

Is it freaking you out a bit that we are only about a month from Christmas?! It is me a little, but luckily I started my Christmas shopping early.  A couple of years ago I posted a Bookish Christmas Gift Guide but I didn't get one posted last year.  I have throughout this year discovered some really awesome shops full of book themed items, the book merchandise world has come such a long way in just a couple of years! It used to be so hard to find book themed items but now they are everywhere.  I thought I would help you wade through all the items and shops to find unique items and great shops.  All the shops I will be featuring today are shops I have purchased from and had excellent experiences and great quality items.  I will also give you any discount codes I have and any sales that they might be having over the Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday sales.  Please keep in mind that these shops are all over the world and shipping deadlines might be coming soon!


Let's start with Bibliophile Prints who makes bookmarks,  art prints, readathon journals and more!

I have been a big fan of Erin's since June or July. I have absolutely loved her themed packages that include a booklet of readathon challenges and reading suggestions.  Her bookmarks and prints are always printed on thick high quality card stock and she has a huge variety!

There is a big sale going on at Bibliophile prints which includes a bunch of freebies and bonus discounts for the rest of this week! She also just released some great Christmas themed bookmarks and her new shaker bookmarks are each unique.

Wednesday & Thursday you get 15% off everything when using code THANKSGIVING you will also get a free be Thankful bookmark with orders over $20

Friday you get 25% off everything when using the code BF18 and a freebie Christmas book themed bookmark with orders over $10. Additionally, first come first serve on a freebie pack with item samples from other bookish shops.

Small Business Saturday she is offering 30% off all bookmarks using code SHOPSMALL and she will have special doorbuster sales on select items up to 70% off (you will need to check out her Instagram stories @bibliophileprints to see those items)

Cyber Monday sale includes Buy 2 Get 1 Free on all bookmarks and freebies (Diecut sticker with $10 purchase, Dicut Sticker & Christmas bookmars with an order over $20, diecut sticker, christmas bookmark and diecut snowflake bookmark with an order over $50)

Just a side note too, Erin currently has a kickstarter going for princess themed booklover enamel pins!


Next we have Literary Tea Company which has a great variety of loose leaf teas inspired by classic books and authors!
You can shop on their Website or Etsy shop

Back in March when I put together my first Frankenstein box, I included Mary Shelley tea and it was so delicious! And it came in this great tin that I can use for pens and pencils, small bookmarks, or refill with more tea!

A post shared by TheLiteraryTeaCompany (@theliteraryteacompany) on

They have recently added a wide selection of holiday themed teas to warm you up on these winter nights! I know I will be adding some to my Christmas list!  Note that they are located in the UK and the order deadlines for US and International orders is December 7th and in the UK orders need to be in by December 15th to receive them by Christmas.


Next we have Literary Book Gifts with a selection of shirts and tote bags inspired by classic book covers.

In my 2nd Frankenstein box, I ordered one of Melissa's tote bags and this sucker is huge and super durable! I also purchased the Moonlight Sonata Tshirt which is super soft (I will try to get a picture soon).  Every time I look at her site I find more items that I want to order, maybe the Emily Dickinson design next.
Melissa has offered my followers a 20% discount when you use the code EASTERNSUNSET20 and you can use it as many times as you shop and on any items in the store. 


And finally we have IceyDesigns with great variety of book inspired pencils, notebooks, candles and enamel pins.
You can shop on the Etsy Shop or Website and check out the Instagram page @_Iceydesigns

I discovered IceyDesigns with their final monthly box Embers and Ashes and I was blown away by the quality of the items.  I particularly loved the calendar that was included and the quote pencils!

Hafsah is currently having a sale at Icey Designs

Now through the 26th use the code CYBER2018 to save 20% off an order over $14.95
Using the same code on an order over $25 and you will also get an Enamel Pin or with an order over $50 you will get the pin plus a notebook!  You can use the code on the website or in the Etsy shop.


So I hope I have helped you find some new favorite shops and maybe gotten a little of your Christmas shopping done (for a bookish friend or maybe a little treat for yourself).  I of course could have gone on and on with more bookish items and shops but these are some shops that I have loved and trust to provide great service and quality products!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Series Review of The Themis Files by Sylvain Neuvel

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!

This series came to my attention earlier this year when I started watching Book-Tube more often. It is a much beloved series of many of the fantasy/sci-fi channels I watch on there.  They often indicated that it was an easy read even if you weren't into science fiction much, so I thought I would give it a try.  I did listen to the audio books of these along side reading the print versions, which I highly recommend!

 Synopsis: "A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square-shaped hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.

Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved - the object's origins, architects, and purpose unknown.

But some can never stop searching for answers.

Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top-secret team to crack the hand's code. And along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the relic they seek. What's clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unravelling history's most perplexing discovery-and finally figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?"

My Review: I hear everyone raving about this book and it came highly recommended by several readers I trust so I figured I would give it a shot. It was much different than I was expecting and it continued to be different from expectations throughout the book. First off the narrative format is interviews and personal journal entries, which really does make the story move pretty quickly. It started out being a bit technical and keeping to strict scientific and discovery facts but it did take a more personal and relationship turn, which really kind of threw me for a loop but at the same time hooked me in further. The premise behind it is pretty intriguing and I am definitely now invested in the series and plan to continue.

My Rating: This first book definitely hooked me! I enjoy the audio narration with the full cast of voices and it is really approachable for non-sci-fi readers.  I was surprised with the format and the genre how attached I became to the characters, definitely a Three Paws and a Stump Wag book!


Synopsis: "As a child, Rose Franklin made an astonishing discovery: a giant metallic hand, buried deep within the earth. As an adult, she’s dedicated her brilliant scientific career to solving the mystery that began that fateful day: Why was a titanic robot of unknown origin buried in pieces around the world? Years of investigation have produced intriguing answers—and even more perplexing questions. But the truth is closer than ever before when a second robot, more massive than the first, materializes and lashes out with deadly force.

Now humankind faces a nightmare invasion scenario made real, as more colossal machines touch down across the globe. But Rose and her team at the Earth Defense Corps refuse to surrender. They can turn the tide if they can unlock the last secrets of an advanced alien technology. The greatest weapon humanity wields is knowledge in a do-or-die battle to inherit the Earth . . . and maybe even the stars." 

My Review: So I finally started this series earlier this year, and enjoyed and was intrigued by the first book but wasn't sure how the rest of the series would go. I don't usually enjoy a lot of sci-fi books but have heard too many good things about this series to pass it up. I am so glad that I continued the series. I have been listening to it on audio book while reading the print version and I think that has really helped raise the enjoyment level, I love the full cast audio but also reading it in it's unusual format of logs, interviews and broadcasts. I honestly did not realize how invested I had become in the characters until we started getting into the conflict of this book, I have been utterly destroyed by this book! I can't remember the last time a second book in a series build up the story and move things along without loosing momentum and actually gaining it exponentially. I definitely do not want to wait before picking up the third and final book! 

My Rating: This book definitely took me on a whirl wind journey and I loved every minute of it. I really enjoyed the action in this one as well as the character development.  I give this one a rating of Four Paws!


Synopsis: "In her childhood, Rose Franklin accidentally discovered a giant metal hand buried beneath the ground outside Deadwood, South Dakota. As an adult, Dr. Rose Franklin led the team that uncovered the rest of the body parts which together form Themis: a powerful robot of mysterious alien origin. She, along with linguist Vincent, pilot Kara, and the unnamed Interviewer, protected the Earth from geopolitical conflict and alien invasion alike. Now, after nearly ten years on another world, Rose returns to find her old alliances forfeit and the planet in shambles. And she must pick up the pieces of the Earth Defense Corps as her own friends turn against each other."

My Review: I have eagerly been awaiting this final book in the Themis Files series, though not as long as some (it did have holds in the double digits at the library though so it took a while to get to me). This book starts off quite a bit after the ending of the second book, which was a bit of a disappointment. We do get some flash backs to what happened during those 10 years but I would have liked a bit more. It did feel a little bit anti-climatic and I did find myself a little let down with this book (maybe because 2 of my favorite characters from the previous books were missing from this one). I also found the lack of communication between the characters to be very irritating but many of the conflicts were based on the issues that arose from that problem. I did like the more political look at what happens to the world after the appearance, attack and disappearance of the alien robots. It was a rather interesting look at how we react and interact with one another. All in all, for being my first non - Star Wars sci-fi series, I found it very enjoyable and approachable, definitely a must read for those who are looking to get into the genre!

My Rating: This being the final book was a bit of a let down for me, I missed the excitement and danger of the second book and my favorite characters as well. I still enjoyed it but it didn't quite hold me like the previous two books did, I give it a rating of Three Paws.


Synopsis: An early interview by the Unnamed friend that started the ball rolling and has been missing until now.

My Review: I didn't read this until I had completed the rest of the series, but it was still just as enjoyable. I feel like I need to go back to the first book and see if there is a missing file number. I enjoyed this quick peek at how it all got started, and I liked revisiting the unnamed interviewer/meddling man. I don't think it is necessary to the story but it is a nice little tidbit for fans of the series.

My Rating: I really loved this extra little tidbit, it was nice to go back and find the beginning of the story and revisit the Interviewer.  I give this a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.


Full Series Review: For being one who avoids science fiction (except Star Wars) and who has really struggled with it in the past, I really went out on a limb with this series and trusted other readers.  I am so glad I gave it a chance! I really enjoyed the unique format, the eclectic cast of characters and unusual circumstances that brought it all together.  This series was very approachable with only limited amounts of science and math chatter. I did feel a bit of a let down with the final book in the series and the conclusion felt a bit too easy, but I honestly couldn't have come up with a different way to resolve the issues presented in the series.  I did love the characters and the way the developed, I was surprised how quickly I became attached to them! I will say that while I am devastated with where some of them ended up, I am still appreciative of Neuvel going the distance and not shying away from hard results.  I definitely would recommend this series, even if you are not a sci-fi fan, it is even a great crossover for YA readers. I give this series an overall rating of  Three Paws and a Stump Wag!

Monday, November 19, 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

Fierce Fairytales by Nikita Gill
Aversion by Kenechi Udogu
Thanks for Giving by Abby Klein (Early Reader)
Frostbite by Joshua Williamson (Graphic Novel)

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

All Systems Red
Hope at Christmas
Turkey Trouble
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
14,000 Things to be Happy About

Currently Reading:
Beneath the Same Stars by Phyllis Cole-Dai - Kindle - 15%

Pages Read/ Time Listened
573:30 Hours Listened (22:11 listened this week)
38,228 Pages Read (818 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
Alaskan Holiday by Debbie Macomber
Monster: The Story of a Young Mary Shelley by Mark Arnold
Mammoth by Jill Baguchinsky
Seasons Galloping by Chloe Rider
Anything but Okay by Sarah Darer Littman
The Storyteller by Traci Chee


Ugh, not a great reading week last week. Thank goodness for audio books! I ended up getting a nasty cold last week and it has been lingering. I haven't even been able to focus on the words on the page. So I have been doing so light reading, but I really need to get cracking on my Tome Topple Challenge and the Fall into Fantasy readathon books.

I think in order to really cut down on some of these newer books, I may have to resort to the Try a Chapter challenge again! I wanted the list down to 40 or less books (not counting the pre-planned books for 2019) and I am sitting at 55, Yikes!

Anyway, I hope that you are all having a great November so far, and those in the US, I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving surrounded by the ones you love.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Tome Topple Readathon Sign Up & Updates

The end of the year is looming and so is my stack of big books to read before the end of the year! Thank goodness it is time for another Tome Topple Readathon!

By the time the post goes up, the readathon will have already started, it started on Nov. 16th at midnight and it will run for two weeks until 11:59pm on Nov. 29th. I hopefully will have started my first book but since I have been sick we will see how far I get.

 I discovered the Tome Topple Challenge through Sam at Thoughts on Tomes on Youtube and the Readathon is hosted as a Goodreads Group. The goal for this challenge is to tackle the Tomes on your shelf, books over 500 pages.  There are a few challenges to help you along, but are not a requirement.  Those challenges are A) read 2 or more tomes, B) read a Graphic Novel, C) buddy read a tome, D) read a tome that is part of a series, and E) read an adult tome.  (There is also a photo challenge this time around on Instagram, check it out @ThoughtsonTomes)

I will try to post updated at the bottom of this post every few days but I will also be posting on Instagram @EasternSunset9

So here is my Tomes to be Toppled:

The Phoenix Empress by K. Arsenault Rivera - 544 pages
I read the first book The Tiger's Daughter for the previous Tome Topple in July. This satisfies both the Adult and the Series challenges.

The Storyteller by Traci Chee - 512 pages
This is the third and final book in this series and one of my most anticipated releases this year!

So there you have my Tome Topple TBR, kind of small compared to usual but with the holidays I have a lot going on and I also have a lot of requested reviews to get done by the end of the month. And I need to get to working on my books for the Advent Reads in December!

Are you participating in the Tome Topple? If yes what are you reading?  What chunky book do you find most intimidating?