Friday, March 22, 2019

Early Reader Bedtime Story: Start Your Engines by Ace Landers

Read for Early Reader Challenge

Synopsis: "It's race day at the track! These Hot Wheels cars are fast. Who will win? Simple words and short sentences for the newest readers."

My Review: Munchkin is of course a little gear head in the making, so when we found this in a used book bin, we had to pick it up. This is a great level one reader with simple sentences and words and bright images to keep those young readers interested. Munchkin has read this multiple times already and will probably read it many more in the future.

My Rating: This was the perfect find for Munchkin, even though he is already reader, it goes to show you that you just have to find the right book for young kids to get them going.  We give it a rating of Four Paws.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Review of The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

Read for: Borrowed Books, Audio Books & Middle Grade March

Synopsis: "With a bolt of lightning on my kicks . . .The court is SIZZLING. My sweat is DRIZZLING. Stop all that quivering. Cuz tonight I'm delivering," announces dread-locked, 12-year old Josh Bell. He and his twin brother Jordan are awesome on the court. But Josh has more than basketball in his blood, he's got mad beats, too, that tell his family's story in verse, in this fast and furious middle grade novel of family and brotherhood.

Josh and Jordan must come to grips with growing up on and off the court to realize breaking the rules comes at a terrible price, as their story's heart-stopping climax proves a game-changer for the entire family."

My Review: I was on a hunt for a Middle Grade book in verse and came across this one, it seemed to really fit my mood right now with March Madness starting up and Munchkin learning basketball at school. I really enjoyed this book and loved the family dynamics in it, the good and the bad. I like how a shared passion knit the family together and moved them all forward. I think that it would be great for the target audience to hear the similar struggles with talent, popularity, girls/boys, etc. I listened to an audio book and really loved the rhythm of the verse too, it seemed to alternate between a clear verse as well as regular narration which really kept the story moving.

My Rating: I really enjoyed, more so than I even expected.  I loved how prominent the family was, even with the basketball theme throughout. With the verse writing it made for a quick read, and would be great for reluctant, sports oriented middle grade boys. I give it a rating of Four Paws.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Top 5 Wednesday: Spring Reads

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

This week's topic is all about spring reads, I decided to take the approach of books I plan to reach for this spring.  Here in New England, Spring can be a bit up and down, we get some absolutely beautiful days and we get some days where it feels like we have slipped back into winter.  So in the spring I like to reach for books that are either chunky or have a few books in the series that I can sink into on those nasty days, but also maybe have a touch of romance to match my mood on the brighter spring days.  

Here are some of the books/series that I may be reaching for this spring

The Weathermages of Mystral
Now this looks like it would be a nice transition series going from winter to beach weather and the books are rather chunky too at nearly 600 pages each.  The downfall is that there is no date for the 3rd book. 

While this book does give me a bit of a fall vibe but it is chunky, has a series full of chunky books behind it and some romance, so I think it might suit my mood perfectly.

The Immortals
I was a big fan of The Song of the Lioness quartet but only in the past couple of years managed to get copies of all the books in this series.  With a total of 1400+ pages between all the books, clearly there will be something to dig into, and if they are anything like the other series, there might be a touch of clean romance in the mix. 

The Storyspinner
I have had this book sitting on my shelves for a while now, it isn't really all that chunky but does have another book after it, if I enjoy it.  I believe there is some romance too.

The Magical Arts Academy
And something a little different that has piqued my interest, a serial of 13 short books, or novellas, in a fantasy series. I am not sure how this will go but I love the covers so why not give it a try.

So what do you reach for in the spring?

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Review of Voices: The Final Hours of Joan of Arc by David Elliott

Read for: Anticipated Release/ ARC

Synopsis: "Author David Elliott explores how Joan of Arc changed the course of history and remains a figure of fascination centuries after her extraordinary life and death.

Told through medieval poetic forms and in the voices of the people and objects in Joan of Arc’s life, (including her family and even the trees, clothes, cows, and candles of her childhood). Along the way it explores issues such as gender, misogyny, and the peril of speaking truth to power. Before Joan of Arc became a saint, she was a girl inspired. It is that girl we come to know in Voices."

My Review: I traded several books in order to obtain this ARC from another reader. I was not sent it for review. The following is my honest opinion. I have been a fan of Joan of Arc's (though by no means an expert on the subject) since I was in high school and was very excited to see a new re-telling of her story in verse. I loved the variety of poetry and prose formats and font styles that were used throughout this book, and the author's attention to the type that were used in her time period was an added bonus. I enjoyed the way Elliott combined testimony from both the Condemnation and Nullification trials, but the best was the way he interpreted and added the statements of objects and the Saints themselves. It really added an extra element that took this from being a historical and heavily political and religious story to being a book many readers can enjoy and hopefully spark interest in the subject. If you are looking for an in-depth look at Joan, her life and trials, this may not be the book for you but if you are looking for an enjoyable and different view, pick this one up. I have already pre-ordered my finished copy!

My Rating: I really enjoyed the style of this book, with the multiple verse and poem formats as well as the combination of quotes and fictionalized testimony. It was really intriguing and has sparked my interest once again on her history.  I give it a rating of Four Paws!

You can find out more about David Elliott on his Goodreads Page or Website.

Voices is scheduled for release on March 26th but you can pre-order your copy in print or digital format from Amazon or Barnes & Noble or you can order a personalized copy from Main Street Book Ends or ask your local independent book store. 

Monday, March 18, 2019

Middle Grade March Challenge Update

All March long I have been focusing a lot of my reading on Middle Grade books for Middle Grade March, you can find out all the details in my sign up post .  We are just over halfway through the month so I thought it would be a good time to update you on how my challenge is going (and to see for myself what challenges I still need to work on.

So I am going to start with the challenges so far

1. A Nonfiction or based on true events 

2. Book with a Non-human MC

3. Fantasy

4. Book Written in Verse 
None yet

5. Diverse Read

So I think I am doing pretty good so far in this challenge.  I have yet to read a MG book in verse (of course I read one last month and read an adult one this month but neither count).  In addition to all of those I have also read these Middle Grade books . . .

And I am currently reading . . . 
with Munchkin (it has been slow, only a few pages a night but we are enjoying it)!

How is your Middle Grade March going? Do you have any suggestions for MG books in verse? 

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 One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

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

Hello, Universe
Mountain's Call
Binti: Home
The Last
Artificial Condition
Start Your Engines
Snowed in with the Pack

Currently Reading:
The Wild Robot by Peter Brown - Print - on page 100 of 279
Malice by John Gwynne - Print - on page 38 of 672

Pages Read/ Time Listened
185:14 Hours Listened (21:30 listened this week)
7,321 Pages Read (656 this week)

Books Added to Shelves Recently: TBR
The Snow Gypsy

I apologize for my lack of posts last week, I was knocked down and out with a three day migraine.  Luckily, it was only triggered by sight and I was able to lay in bed and listen to audio books to keep me going.  I did only finish one book for the Rereadathon, Mountain's Call, but I also forgot that this series are all pretty chunky books. I will continue working my way through the re-read of this series over the next month or so but I have a lot of books I still want to read this month.  Speaking of which, I had wanted to post an update on my Middle Grade March over the weekend, but that didn't happen, so I will post it later today.

What is the longest book you have picked up this month? Was it intimidating? Did you end up enjoying it?