Friday, February 8, 2019

Bedtime Story: Princess Puffybottom . . .and Darryl by Susin Nielsen & Illustrated by Olivia Chin Mueller

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

Synopsis: "What's a pampered cat to do now that she has to compete for attention with an ill-mannered puppy? Award-winning author Susin Nielsen delights in this laugh-a-minute twist on the classic sibling rivalry story.

Princess Puffybottom has the perfect life -- her subjects serve her delicious meals, clean up her "delicate matters" and wait on her hand and foot. Life is good . . . until Darryl arrives. Princess Puffybottom thinks he's disgusting, horrid and a true animal. Though she tries everything in her power to banish him (including hypnosis, trickery and even sabotage), it looks like this puppy is here to stay. Can Princess P. and Darryl find a way to co-exist? A hilarious picture book from acclaimed author Susin Nielsen, with adorable illustrations by Olivia Chin Mueller, Princess Puffybottom . . . and Darryl is perfect for not only warring siblings, but also anyone who loves cute pets (and some toilet humor)."

My Review: Having loved a black cat dearly for the past 15 years, I was instantly attracted to this cover. Munchkin is madly in love with our cat Valerie, so I thought it would be a fun book to share with him. This book was above and beyond anything I could have ever expected. This is kind of how my cat's life went, she was queen bee, ruled the house and had everything she could want, we brought home a big bouncy dog and she was not happy. It was so fun to read the progression in Princess Puffybottom's life and it was fun to revisit memories of our own household. I like how the message of change and new things can be good was subtle but clearly there. Also in the background we get to see a loving and stable relationship between two women, I love how it is there not hiding but also not being forced to the front. This is a very sweet story and it would be a perfect bedtime story for little ones. The soft illustration style and colors are soothing and the story is short enough to read to sleepy kids.

My Rating: I adored this story and while Munchkin didn't pick up on the subtler details he did latch on to the black cat being like our own and how the family has one cat and one dog.  It was so cute and sweet that we can't help but give it a rating of Four Paws!

 I received a complimentary copy of this book via Netgalley, thank you Penguin Random House Canada & Tundra Books. The above is my honest opinion.

You can find out more about Susin Nielsen and her books on her Goodreads Page or Website.

Princess Puffybottom  . . .  and Darryl was just released on Tuesday so you can obtain your own copy in print format from Amazon or Barnes & Noble or check with your favorite Children's Book Seller!

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Review of Who in the World is Carmen Sandiego? by Rebecca Tinker

Read for: Recently Added & Highly Anticipated/ Audio Book Challenge

Synopsis: "Based on the Netflix original series with a foreword by Gina Rodriguez. For decades, people have asked the question: Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego? But just who is this infamous and elusive globe-trotting criminal? 

A skilled thief on a mysterious mission, Carmen Sandiego is endlessly pursued by ACME and Interpol. But the woman in the red fedora is always one step ahead! In this novelization, based on the Netflix animated series, Carmen shares her own backstory for the first time ever. Now, it's time to find out.... Who in the world is Carmen Sandiego."

My Review: I was a huge fan of all things Carmen Sandiego as a kid, so when I saw this book coming out I had to pre-order it. I like how this is an origin story, it gives us a little something new. While she does tell us about how she came to be Carmen Sandiego, there are still a lot of questions left open. I really enjoyed this little bridge back to my childhood and I hope this will create a new generation of Carmen Sandiego fans!

My Rating: I really loved Carmen Sandiego and was so excited for this book. At times the audio book narration seemed a little young, but then I had to remind myself that this is a Middle Grade book.   I give it a rating of Four Paws!

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Top 5 Wednesday: Nostalgic Ships

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

So this week's top is all about those early romantic relationships we encountered that made our hearts flutter.  Now this is a difficult topic for me, I didn't read a lot of books when I was younger that had romantic interests and the ones that I did encounter are ones I seem to always talk about.  But what the heck, I always like shining a light on those old favorite books and ships; and since I am participating in Beat the Backlist challenge, why not give everyone some great backlist books to pick up too (all of these books are from 10 years and more ago)!  (Obviously this will contain spoilers for these books and series)

The earliest ship that I remember coming across was in the Song of the Lioness series. I always shipped Alanna with Jonathan, though I do adore George too, but he doesn't fit with Alanna the way Jonathan does.

If you have not read the Path's to Camelot series, you should do yourself a favor and go pick them up! Each book features one of King Arthur's round table knights and a love interest.  Camelot's Blood is the 4th and final book in the series, it wasn't published in the US (at least when I was actively reading the series) and it took me forever to track down a copy from Australia but it was so worth it to read about the relationship between Agravain and Laurel! In fact I think I need to revisit this series soon.

Another of the early ships I came across was Valeria and Kerrec in the White Magic Series, Song of Unmaking is the second book in the series and it made me feel too much! This series has already been put on my TBR for this year, it is over due for a re-read as well.

Then we have the book that sparked me love for Hades & Persephone, Goddess of Spring features a modern day woman named Lina who takes Persephone's place for the required 6 months with Hades and during her time there we get one of the most romantic scenes featuring soulmates I have ever read anywhere!

And finally we have my all time favorite ship, favorite book boyfriend and 2nd favorite book of all time! Fire and Brigan's relationship is classic hate to love and slow burn and oh so beautiful; it hurts my heart how much I love them and this book!

So have you fallen in love with any of the same ships I have? What were some of your favorite early loves?

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Review of Even the Darkest Stars by Heather Fawcett

Read for: TBR/ Beat the Backlist

Synopsis: "Kamzin has always dreamed of becoming one of the Emperor’s royal explorers, the elite climbers tasked with mapping the wintry, mountainous Empire and spying on its enemies. She knows she could be the best in the world, if only someone would give her a chance.

But everything changes when the mysterious and eccentric River Shara, the greatest explorer ever known, arrives in her village and demands to hire Kamzin—not her older sister Lusha, as everyone had expected—for his next expedition. This is Kamzin’s chance to prove herself—even though River’s mission to retrieve a rare talisman for the emperor means climbing Raksha, the tallest and deadliest mountain in the Aryas. Then Lusha sets off on her own mission to Raksha with a rival explorer who is determined to best River, and Kamzin must decide what’s most important to her: protecting her sister from the countless perils of the climb or beating her to the summit.

The challenges of climbing Raksha are unlike anything Kamzin expected—or prepared for—with avalanches, ice chasms, ghosts, and even worse at every turn. And as dark secrets are revealed, Kamzin must unravel the truth of their mission and of her companions—while surviving the deadliest climb she has ever faced."

My Review: First off, I love the cover of this book. But even with a beautiful cover, I wasn't sure if I would enjoy the story. The first chapter had me hooked and I ended up really enjoying this adventure/explorer fantasy more than I ever expected. It did have some slower moments but over all the pacing was pretty good and there were enough events to keep the heart rate up. I wasn't a fan of the love triangle that wasn't but the way the book ended with the relationships up in the air does have me wanting to read the next book. With that said, it does end rather abruptly and leaves you hanging on a cliff (literally & figuratively). I did see the twist coming rather early on and I think there might be another pretty big one coming in the second book. As far as the characters, I really enjoyed most of them, Kamzin is stubborn and determined, Tem is the ever loyal best friend, Lusha the infuriatingly perfect older sister, Ragtooth the little tenacious familiar whom I adore with all my heart, and of course River the aloof mystery. It was a great read for a chilly winter night with the constant cold wind howling, it suited the atmosphere of the book perfectly.

My Rating: This book really surprised me, I wasn't sure what to expect but I thought I might enjoy it and went well over that bar. I did find some things predictable but I didn't mind it too much because there are still questions to be answered and things to discover.  I give it a rating of Four Paws!

Monday, February 4, 2019

Monday Reading List

It is Monday again, and time to update with what I read last week, what I am currently reading and what to look forward to next week.

Reviews Posted Last Week:
Links will take you to my review

Snowhook by Jo Storm
The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang
Pete the Cat's Got Class by James Dean (Bedtime Story)

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

Even the Darkest Star
Who In the World is Carmen Sandiego
Boo's Dinosaur
Stick Man
Ruin of Kings - DNF at 45 %

Currently Reading:
Uprooted by Naomi Novik - Audio - 36%
Dreadful Young Ladies & Other Stories by Kelly Barnhill - Print - on page 15 of 304

Pages Read/ Time Listened
62:04 Hours Listened (4:27 listened this week)
2,983 Pages Read (928 this week)

Books Added to Shelves Recently: TBR
Dragon of Ash & Stars
The Snow Gypsy
Book Nerds & Boyfriends

I am super surprised with how much reading I managed to get in during such a busy week. I really hope that I can keep it up. As much as I love football, I am kind of glad that the season is now over (and that Hubby's team won so I don't have to deal with a grump until next season starts) and we can slow things down a bit at home and maybe have a few relaxing weekends before baseball starts for Munchkin.

I was starting to feel a bit slumpy later in the week, I think it was mostly just due to the crazy amount of stress piling up, but I decided to pick up Warprize, an old favorite that I recently purchased the full series in print. It pulled me right back and gave me something to look forward to after hosting 2 parties in 2 days.  I am looking forward to a week of clean up and recover and then a nice quiet weekend (maybe a trip to the bookstore too).