Saturday, March 9, 2019

Graphic Novel Review of Aquicorn Cove by Katie O'Niell

Read for: Recent Addition & Booktube SFF Awards

Synopsis: "When Lana and her father return to their seaside hometown to help clear the debris of a storm, the last thing she expects is to discover a colony of Aquicorns—magical seahorse-like residents of the coral reef. As she explores the damaged town and the fabled undersea palace, Lana learns that while she cannot always count on adults to be the guardians she needs, she herself is capable of finding the strength to protect both the ocean, and her own happiness."

My Review: I picked this one up for the 2019 Booktube SFF Awards but I would have picked it up eventually anyway because I love O'Neill's art style. While her other graphic novels that I have read were purely fantasy, this one is more realistic with a modern setting and a fantastical twist. I like the way life situations, like recovering from a hurricane, are interwoven with a fantasy undersea world. It also all comes together in a message about taking care of the planet. Of course the art style was great, I love the slightly muted color tones, it adds to the mystical feel of the book and the Aquicorns remind me of Serendipity from the Cosgrove books when I was a kid.

My Rating: I, of course, enjoyed this one, I love the Aquicorns, the artwork and enjoyed the story. I do think that I prefer the Tea Dragon Society a little more but this one was still really enjoyable.  I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Bedtime Stories: Where Horses Run Free by Joy Cowley and Illustrated by Layne Johnson

Read for: Children's Book Challenge

Synopsis: "She is the lead mare of a herd of wild horses that run the range. When people come to capture them, she leads the herd in a run for safety. But trucks and helicopters drive the horses into pens. Imprisoned behind barbed wire, the fire in the mare's heart is reduced to embers. Her spirit is almost broken--until a cowboy comes and promises to set the horses free. Joy Cowley's deeply felt story, with breathtaking illustrations by Layne Johnson, is based on the true story of Dayton O. Hyde, founder of the Institute of Range and the American Mustang, a nonprofit organization that owns the eleven-thousand-acre Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary in the Black Hills of South Dakota. It is a special place, where the wild horse is allowed to be wild."

My Review: I managed to pick this one up for Munchkin at a library sale back in Wyoming. The illustrations are beautiful in it and I wanted to remind him of our visit. This was a beautiful way to tell the story of the Mustangs and the constant struggle over ranch land and free space for the mustangs to roam. It sparked a lot of questions for Munchkin and was a great way to start him thinking of things outside of himself and even our own surrounding area.

My Rating: While I appreciate the story and its basis in a true story, bringing to light the struggle of the Mustangs; without a doubt the artwork in this one is what really shines.  I could look at these pictures all day long.  We give it a rating of Three Paws.

Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Review of Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman

Read for: Borrowed Books

Synopsis: "The thrilling, wintry Nordic tale by Neil Gaiman, who weaves a magical story of legend and adventure that will enchant readers from beginning to end.

Odd, a young Viking boy, is left fatherless following a raid. In his icy, ancient world there is no mercy for an unlucky soul with a crushed foot and no one to protect him. Fleeing to the woods, Odd stumbles upon and releases a trapped bear…and then Odd's destiny begins to change.

The eagle, bear, and fox Odd encounters are Norse gods, trapped in animal form by the evil frost giant who has conquered Asgard, the city of the gods. Now our hero must reclaim Thor's hammer, outwit the frost giants and release the gods…"

My Review: I have found it difficult to read Neil Gaiman, but I did enjoy his Norse Mythology book, so I thought maybe this one would be a good book for me to try. I did really enjoy this one, I of course love the mythology woven throughout this story. I also like the folk tale feel to the story. The edition that I read had some really beautiful illustrations in it as well. It was a great book to read on a winter's day too, very atmospheric.

My Rating: After being a little hesitant to pick up another Neil Gaiman, I am glad I decided to pick this one up.  I really enjoyed the myths and the folk tale feel of this story, and the illustrations in this edition were fantastic.  I give it a rating of Four Paws.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Sci-fi and Fantasy Creatures

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

This week's topic is all about our favorite creatures in Science Fiction and Fantasy, it is also a Booktube SFF Babble topic and of course one that I couldn't resist joining in on.  I took this to be a rather generalized topic because I couldn't narrow it down to individual characters!

So of course we have Dragons! That is pretty much a given

 I prefer dragons that are ridden to battle or human/dragon shifters.  And if the dragon can communicate, it better be sarcastic and/or snooty, and have a temper and be a bit lazy. 

If you have been around here at all you know Pegasus, Winged Horses, Winged Unicorns, and any such version had to be on this list.
I used to day dream endlessly about having my own flying horse, and honestly I never out grew that one. 

Talking Cats is something that should be real!
Talking cats should always be protective of their chosen person, but yet be possibly plotting that person's death, you should always question.  They should also be sarcastic and act like everyone around them are idiots. 

I couldn't leave Ewoks off this list (a close Star Wars second is the Jawa)
Yes we have them in the movie, and the did get their own couple of movies and even a cartoon and a couple of books but let's be honest, the world needs more of these savage little teddy bears!

Finally, a new interest, Robots & AI
This is an new interest and I find myself enjoying the few books I have picked up so far that revolve around some robots. Especially ones who have bucked the system and are thinking for themselves.

So what are some of your favorites? Do you have a favorite type of creature or specific character?

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Review of Love That Dog by Sharon Creech

Read for: Borrowed books

Synopsis: ""I guess it does
look like a poem
when you see it
typed up
like that."

Jack hates poetry. Only girls write it and every time he tries to, his brain feels empty. But his teacher, Ms. Stretchberry, won't stop giving her class poetry assignments -- and Jack can't avoid them. But then something amazing happens. The more he writes, the more he learns he does have something to say"

My Review: Munchkin had picked this book out at the library because of the title. I really didn't know what to expect but we ended up really enjoying it. I did have to explain to Munchkin how it was like the journal he writes in at school and that is why it seems like a one sided conversation at times. We did also have fun exploring poetry, this has been Munchkin's first exposure to reading a book of poetry and was a little confused at first but grasped it more as we went on. I appreciated the way the poems that are discussed are also included in the back of the book for us and we had fun picking out our favorites. It is funny how a simple poem can bring out feelings, as I was reading the book to Munchkin, especially at the end I saw him looking at our own dog with tears in his eyes. This was a great introduction to poetry for Munchkin and I hope we can maybe find more books in this series at the library.

My Rating: It took us a bit to get into this book but Munchkin really grew to enjoy it as he discovered, along with Jack, how poems can tell a story.  We give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag!

Monday, March 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

The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner (Series Review)
The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner (Series Review)
King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner (Series Review)
Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner (Series Review)
Thick as Thieves by Megan Whalen Turner (Series Review)
The Dysasters by PC Cast & Kristin Cast
Rocket Writes a Story by Tad Hills (Bedtime Story)

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

The Dysasters
Book Nerds & Boyfriends
Thick as Thieves
Aquicorn Cove
100 Hugs
How Many Tow Trucks can a Tow Truck Tow
The Elephant
The One and Only Ivan

Currently Reading:
Homer's Odyssey by Gwen Cooper - Audio - 63%
The Wild Robot by Peter Brown - Print - on page 64 of 279
Refugee by Alan Gratz - Print - on page 26 of 352

Pages Read/ Time Listened
141:17 Hours Listened (12:38 listened this week)
5,920 Pages Read (1,349 this week)

Books Added to Shelves Recently: TBR
The Snow Gypsy

I had a really great reading week last week, having several snow days in a week will do that for you. I also took Munchkin to Barnes & Noble for their sale but honestly I was a little disappointed in their 'bookhaul' sale selection, I think we only picked up one book between the two of us that was on sale.  But we did get to finally spend the gift cards we had from Christmas.   We have been spending a lot of time curled up reading because Munchkin won't leave my side, we had an incident at school where another classmate told him horrible things about Momo, now we don't let him on youtube or any other site online without us. Munchkin is extremely sensitive when it comes to scary things, we can't even watch some Disney movies. Now he is completely terrified and is in panic mode nearly all the time. So after discussing the issue, we are down to trying to distract and comfort, which involves a lot of cuddles and reading.

As a result of all that reading I am well into my Middle Grade March TBR, I am really enjoying discovering some new MG books and authors, our newest favorite is The Wild Robot which we have been reading a little bit of each night.

What have you been reading lately?

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Booktube SFF Awards Readalong

So last year I discovered several Booktube channels that vote on the Booktube SFF Awards and through them and the series of videos and the Live Award Stream I discovered some new to me books and genres that I really enjoy.  Now this year I am actually on top of the ball and have paid attention to timelines and am going to read along as much as I can. 

You can find all the details about the Booktube SFF Awards on their Website and Goodreads Group or check out the list of Hosts/Judges on Youtube (Personally I follow Elena, Sam, Connor & Cass):

Now on to the fun stuff . . .  the short list books to read! Now I obviously won't be able to read all of these books, but I will link to the reviews of the ones I have already read and note which ones I plan to read.

 Best Fantasy Category:
Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett - (I need to see if the library has this one)

Best Science Fiction Category:
I don't plan on reading this category but if I have time I might read on or two
Record of a Space Born Few by Becky Chambers
The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal
Vengeful by V.E. Schwab

Best Young Adult Category:
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (review coming)
Skyward by Brandon Sanderson (maybe if I have time)
Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor (I still have to read Strange the Dreamer so doubtful)

Best Middle Grade Category:
Aru Sha and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi (on its way)
City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab
Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend (book 1 & 2 on hold at the library)

Best Debut Category:
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
Trail of Lightening by Rebecca Roanhorse (this one just arrived)

Best Graphic Work Category:
The Adventure Zone: Here There be Gerblins by Clint McElroy, et al (I need to see if the library has a copy because it is a little pricey)
Aquicorn Cove by Katie O'Neill (review coming)

Best Short Work Category:
Binti: The Night Masquerade by Nnedi Okafora (I need to read book 2 first but I have it and this one)
Artificial Condition by Martha Wells (on my TBR for this month)

So there are all the short list books, I have read a decent amount of them and already own several more so I am pretty excited that I will be able to actively follow along! We have from now until May 31st to read the short list books before voting opens on June 1st, so I better get reading! Luckily, I have already read 7 of the 21 books, already a third of the way there

Are you reading any of the short list books? Do you follow along with the Booktube SFF Awards?