Saturday, April 13, 2019

Tome Topple Sign Up

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 April 13th at midnight and it will run for two weeks until 11:59pm on April 26th. 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 updated challenges are A) read an Adult tome, B) read the tome that has been on your TBR the longest, C) read a tome in a genre you don't usually read, D) read a tome that is part of a series, and E) read more than one 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:

Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend - 525 pages
I need to read this one for the Booktube SFF Shortlist. It is middle grade and even though it is pretty long, I imagine it should be a fairly easy read.

Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto - 496 pages
Yes, it is just under 500 pages but I felt like it was close enough. I had pre-ordered this one on Audible but hadn't picked it up yet, so I thought this would be good push to stay on top of those new purchases.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon - 850 pages
I have had this sitting on my TBR shelf for a couple of years now, but it is so gosh darn chunky! I may not get through the full thing but I hope to at least get a good chunk done and decided if I will be continuing the series. I have downloaded the Audio book on Audible and requested the ebook from the library to hopefully help keep the pages turning on this one.

Are you participating in the Tome Topple? If yes what are you reading?  What is your nemesis Tome?



Thursday, April 11, 2019

Series Review of the Binti Series by Nnedi Okorafor

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!

I originally started reading the Binti series last year after the first book made the Booktube SFF Award Shortlist.  The third book now made the list this year so I figured I might as well finish this trilogy of novellas.

Synopsis: "Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs.

Knowledge comes at a cost, one that Binti is willing to pay, but her journey will not be easy. The world she seeks to enter has long warred with the Meduse, an alien race that has become the stuff of nightmares. Oomza University has wronged the Meduse, and Binti's stellar travel will bring her within their deadly reach.

If Binti hopes to survive the legacy of a war not of her making, she will need both the gifts of her people and the wisdom enshrined within the University, itself - but first she has to make it there, alive."

My Review: I have been hearing a lot about this book over the past few months and it fit a couple of challenges for the Bibliophile Prints September Readathon so I gave it a try. I was very pleasantly surprised. I normally really struggle with science fiction books and wrapping my head around any of the futuristic buildings/ships and any math or science involved, and I was really worried about this one not having enough description in such a short book. While it did take me a bit to get into the story, and a few things were a little vague and out there for me, the overall story and character pulled me in anyway. I really enjoyed how Binti's character developed throughout the story, gaining in confidence, even when faced with new and frightening events. This is a shorter novella length book, and it is a satisfying and fully developed story but there are more books in the series, and I am intrigued enough to continue.

My Rating: I had originally rated this about a Three Paw book but having read it over 6 months ago and I am still thinking about it, I have decided to increase my rating to Four Paws!


Synopsis: "It’s been a year since Binti and Okwu enrolled at Oomza University. A year since Binti was declared a hero for uniting two warring planets. A year since she abandoned her family in the dawn of a new day.
And now she must return home to her people, with her friend Okwu by her side, to face her family and face her elders.
But Okwu will be the first of his race to set foot on Earth in over a hundred years, and the first ever to come in peace.
After generations of conflict can human and Meduse ever learn to truly live in harmony?"

My Review: I really enjoyed the first book in this novella series so wanted to continue it. I did find this story to be longer than the first, and I think the 3rd book is even longer almost to the point of not being novellas anymore. The first book was dark and dangerous but I honestly found this one to be even darker. I think it was due to all the emotional fall out from the trauma from the first book and the return to home. It was a great example of how we can return home physically but neither are we the same person nor is home the same place due to growth and experience. I didn't find this one as heart pounding and suspenseful but it was very interesting with all the emotional and mental turmoil.

My Rating: I wasn't as invested in this story, but I did like the premise of returning home and the portrayal of PTSD.  I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.


Synopsis: "The concluding part of the highly-acclaimed science fiction trilogy that began with Nnedi Okorafor's Hugo- and Nebula Award-winning BINTI.

Binti has returned to her home planet, believing that the violence of the Meduse has been left behind. Unfortunately, although her people are peaceful on the whole, the same cannot be said for the Khoush, who fan the flames of their ancient rivalry with the Meduse.

Far from her village when the conflicts start, Binti hurries home, but anger and resentment has already claimed the lives of many close to her.

Once again it is up to Binti, and her intriguing new friend Mwinyi, to intervene--though the elders of her people do not entirely trust her motives--and try to prevent a war that could wipe out her people, once and for all.

Don't miss this essential concluding volume in the Binti trilogy."

My Review: I started reading Binti last year and really loved the first book, and the second book was rather emotional. This the third and I believe final book was a bit of a let down for me. Things got very weird and we kind of lost a bit of focus. It was difficult to follow the various traditions and customs of so many as well as all the new abilities. I did find that I loved New Fish, such a unique character and concept. Though things did get a bit odd, I still enjoyed it as a whole.

My Rating: Things got a little lost in this one for me, it started to become almost a chosen one trope combined with so many other tangents that it was really difficult to follow. This definitely took the sci-fi element a little too far from my comfort zone. I give it a rating of Two Paws.


Full Series Review: I was super intrigued with the first book, it was far better than I had ever expected after avoiding Sci-Fi for so long. I really enjoyed Binti's story and was at the edge of my seat the whole time.  The second book felt a little anti-climactic for me, and more of an internalized/personal growth story as opposed to the adventure of the first book.  The third book was a big let down for me, there were a lot of elements that were not really explained enough to me and a lot of characters and events that I wasn't able to really follow. It may be a result of me just lacking experience in the Sci-fi genre but it just didn't click with me.  As a whole I give the series a rating of Two Paws, but I do highly recommend the first book!

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Glance Back at 2018 Purchases

As you may know, for the past two years (and this year as well) I have been tracking my book purchases and whether I read them or not.  As of the end of last year I had 89 books that I had purchased in 2018 but hadn't read yet.  I have been working really hard on reading books as they come in this year as well as focusing on the books I have purchased in the past 2 years.  So I thought being that we are just over a quarter of the way through the year I would do a status check on the books purchased in 2018.  You can see the full list of 219 books I purchased last year in my year end wrap up but for now I am just going to list the books I hadn't read yet.

2018 Purchases:
* denotes review to come (I am behind on reviews as always)
1. To the Sky Kingdom (Feb./ )
2. Dead Man's Walk (Feb./ )  - UNHAUL
3. Terrier (Feb./ )
4. Lonesome Dove (Feb./ )  - UNHAUL (I can get it at my library)
5. Reflections of Yesterday (March/)
6. Jedi Search (March/)
7. Caging Merrow (March/)
8. The Fifth Season (March/)
9. Black Powder War (March/)
10. Throne of Jade (March/)
11. The Scandalous Mackenzies (March/)
12. The Stolen Mackenzie Bride (March/)
13. The Wicked Deeds of Daniel Mackenzie (March/)
14. Hard to Serve (March/)
15. Mastering Her Senses (March/)
16. Theirs to Take (March/)
17. Nightblade's Vengeance (April/)
18. Tomorrowland (April/)
19. The Wolf (April/)
20. My Lady's Choosing (April/Feb. 2019)
21. Beyond the Darkened Shore (April/)
22. Defiant Heir (April/)
23. True North (May/)
24. The Sorting Room (May/ )
25. Lost Stars (May/ )
26. Frankenstein Dreams (May/)
27. The Belgaraid (May/)
28. Death Sworn (May/)
29. Zenith (May/ ) - UNHAUL
30. In the Heart of the Sea (May/ )
31. The Queen of Sorrow (May/ )
32. Cruel Prince (May/Feb. 2019)
33. Princesses Behaving Badly (May/)
34. Fight for Everything (May/)
35. Furyborn (May/)
36. Sweet Tea & Sympathy (May/)
37. Half Drowned King (May/)
38. The Orphan Queen (June/ )
39. The Mirror King (June/ )
40. The Thief (June/ Feb. 2019)
41. The Queen of Attolia (June/ Feb. 2019)
42. King of Attolia (June/ Feb 2019)
43. A Conspiracy of Kings(June/ Feb 2019 )
44. Memoirs of Elizabeth Frankenstein(June/ )
45. The Bird and the Blade(July/)
46. The Slow Regard of Silent Things(July/) 
47. Unhooked (August/)
48. Uprooted (August/Feb 2019)
49. Spinning Silver (August/Jan 2019)
50. Peace Like a River (Sept./) - UNHAUL
51. Lies of Locke Lamora (Sept./)
52. Red Seas Under Red Skies (Sept./)
53. Assassin's Gambit (Sept./) - UNHAUL
54. Refugee (Sept./March 2019)
55. Forest of a Thousand Lanterns (Sept./)
56. Isle of Blood and Stone (Sept./)
57. None of the Above (Sept./)
58. Words We Don't Say (Sept./) - DNF
59. Not Even Bones (Sept./)
60. Phoenix Empress (Oct/)
61. Monster: The Story of a Young Mary Shelley(Nov./)
62. Anything but Okay(Nov./) - UNHAUL
63. The Storyteller(Nov./)

64. The Carols of Christmas (Dec./)
65. Special Gifts(Dec./)
66. Pioneer Sisters(Dec./March 2019)
67. Animal Adventures(Dec./April 2019) *
68. Laura & Nellie(Dec./April 2019) *
69. School Days(Dec./April 2019) *
70. Carne the Ruby(Dec./) 
71. Wolf Kiss(Dec./) 
72. Wolf Fire
73. Wolf Vow(Dec./) 
74. Wolf Angel(Dec./) 
75. Waiting for You(Dec./)
76. All of Me(Dec./) 
77. Pangaea: Sunslinger (Dec./) 
78. Pangaea: Revelations(Dec./) 
79. Wastelander: Awakening(Dec./April 2019) *
80. Come, Bos (Dec./) 
81. The Promise: A Perilous Journey(Dec./) 
82. Wrath(Dec./) 
83. Dashing Through the Snow(Dec./)
84. Santa Cruise(Dec./)
85. Dreadful Young Ladies and other Stories(Dec./)
86. I'd Rather be Reading(Dec./Jan 2019)
87. Fire and Heist(Dec./Jan 2019)
88. The Storm Crow(Dec./)
9. Amber and Dusk(Dec./) - DNF

Wow, I am actually really happy with the progress I have made on this list! I have already read 16 of the books on this list and DNFed or Unhauled 8 books!  So I am already down to 65 books on this list left to read, and I think so far this year I have 22 recently added books to read. I feel like these are doable numbers. Hopefully I can keep this momentum rolling and at the halfway point of this year I can have an updated of all 2017, 2018 and 2019 books purchased. 

Do you read books as soon as they come in or do you find that a lot of them sit on the shelves for a year or more?

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Review of City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

Read for: Recently Added & Booktube SFF Shortlist

Synopsis: "Cassidy Blake's parents are The Inspecters, a (somewhat inept) ghost-hunting team. But Cass herself can REALLY see ghosts. In fact, her best friend, Jacob, just happens to be one.

When The Inspecters head to ultra-haunted Edinburgh, Scotland, for their new TV show, Cass—and Jacob—come along. In Scotland, Cass is surrounded by ghosts, not all of them friendly. Then she meets Lara, a girl who can also see the dead. But Lara tells Cassidy that as an In-betweener, their job is to send ghosts permanently beyond the Veil. Cass isn't sure about her new mission, but she does know the sinister Red Raven haunting the city doesn't belong in her world. Cassidy's powers will draw her into an epic fight that stretches through the worlds of the living and the dead, in order to save herself."

My Review: I picked this book up because it made the Booktube SFF Shortlist for this year and I wanted to give it a try. It was my first time reading Schwab's writing. I am not generally a fan of ghost stories or much along the lines of scary. I did find that it was pretty easy to slip into the writing and get to know the characters. It was a lot spookier than I expected and maybe it is because I am not used to those kinds of things but it would have freaked me out as a pre-teen/young teen. I was honestly a little disappointed that Grim the cat didn't play a larger role, I assume that it is him on the cover. Overall it was an easy read but it didn't blow me away. I won't be continuing with the series and I don't really find myself eager to read any other of Schwab's books.

My Rating: I think a lot of my opinion and my overall rating has more to do with my taste in books as opposed to the actual book. This was not a genre I ever reach for and as a result didn't capture my attention.  I give it a rating of Three Paws.

Monday, April 8, 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

Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (Series Review)
Wicked King by Holly Black (Series Review)
The Panda Problem by Deborah Underwood (Bedtime Story)
The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins by Clint McElroy, (Graphic Novel)

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

Animal Adventures
Laura & Nellie
School Days
Saga Vol. 8
Saga Vol. 9
Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard Vol. 2

Currently Reading:
Malice by John Gwynne - Print - on page 368 of 672

Pages Read/ Time Listened
213:17 Hours Listened (none listened this week)
9,728 Pages Read (786 this week)

Books Added to Shelves Recently: TBR
The Snow Gypsy

So this last week of reading did not go as well as I had hoped, even Dewey's was a bit of a slack off.  It was a busy week and I did get a lot read in my chunky read but I am loosing steam after focusing sole on it.  Saturday Dewey's was a bit of a bust too, I had a ton of errands to run and I had Munchkin most of the day while Hubby worked. While I did convince him to do some reading, that was quickly pushed aside for the first beautiful weekend day. We ended up outside playing baseball and basketball a good chunk of the day. Honestly, I am not even that sad about it. All that sunshine and fresh air wore us out so we all went to bed pretty early (which after bedtime is my usual reading time).  Then Sunday was another beautiful day so we went for a nice long 3 mile walk and then we had WildKratts Live in the afternoon, followed by extended family visiting in the evening. 

We are definitely already well into our busy season, baseball starts on Thursday this week and we have a birthday party this weekend.  It is looking like it will be another slow reading week. My main goal is to finish Malice and maybe one other shorter read before diving into Tome Topple starting this weekend!

Do you find it hard to read when the weather gets nice?