Friday, April 26, 2019

Early Reader Bedtime Story: Mr. Putter & Tabby Drop the Ball by Cynthia Rylant & Illustrated by Arthur Howard

Read for: Borrowed Books & Early Reader Challenge

Synopsis: "Mr. Putter and his fine cat, Tabby, love to take naps — too many naps. What they need is a sport! Luckily Mrs.Teaberry and her good dog, Zeke, know of a baseball team they can join. It's not long before Mr. Putter is ready to play ball, but will his creaky knees cooperate? And can Zeke avoid wreaking havoc on the field? Win or lose, this baseball team will never be the same!"

My Review: How did I never discover this series on the shelves?! Mr. Putter is an older, retired gentleman and Tabby is his cat, and they are looking for things to do. Munchkin really loves hanging out with our elderly neighbors and this was a fun book to read with him. It is easy for beginning readers to read and gain confidence with a lot of simple sentences and sight words. It is a very cute story that is silly and yet sweet at the same time. I will definitely be checking out more Mr. Putter & Tabby books!

My Rating: I really enjoyed this book and so did Munchkin. I think this would be a great one for the Grandparents to read to the little ones.  It was also a great way to kick off baseball season!  We give it a rating of Four Paws!

Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Top 5 Wednesday: Rainy Day Reads

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

Well this week's topic works out well for our current weather cycle, books to read on rainy days. There are definitely different types of rainy days, those cold gloomy days, the light spring drizzle, the sudden down pour followed by a beautiful sunset.  So I thought I would pick a different read for each of my rainy day moods.

Cold, Gloomy Rainy Day
This calls for something dark and maybe a touch scary. I find this the perfect time to read Frankenstein (again) or one of the re-telling books.

Another great option for a good fall rainy day is 

Light, Drizzly Day
Nothing says Spring like those light, drizzly days, when it showers off and on all day but never really gets more than a drizzle.  One of the books I have set out to pick up one of these lighter rainy days is Bambi.

Booming Thunderstorms
When the thunder is rattling the windows and the power will potentially go out, I want a book I have re-read or know so well that I know what will happen next and don't necessarily need to see the words to continue the story.  For this it could be a lot of books but for some reason the one that is coming to mind now is the Merry Gentry Series.

Damp, Chilly Rainy Day
You know those days, when it really isn't that cold but it is so damp that you just get chilled to the bone and can't get warm no matter what, you just want to put on your coziest socks and wrap up in the biggest blanket.  For these days I feel like a big epic adventure is appropriate, something that will take you away to a far away land. Can you pick a better destination than this . . .

Rain All Day Followed by a Brilliant Sunset
I love those days when it rains all day, keeping me inside but it warms up and clears out just as the sun is setting, the colors on the clouds are amazing! For these days I want a nice romance with a happily ever after ending! Small Town/Big Family works great for this like the Green Mountain/Butler Vermont series.  Or a Billionaire Series like Marriage to a Billionaire.

So what do you read on rainy days? Are you a mood reader when weather strikes?

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Series Review of The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells

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 picked up the first book in the Murderbot Diaries after hearing about it from several of my favorite Booktubers.  It had made the Booktube SFF shortlist last year and I thought I would give it a try even though I am very new to Sci-Fi.  The second book made the shortlist this year in the Short Work category again this year, so I thought I would continue the series, and ended up finishing all 4 books currently out.

Synopsis: "In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety.

But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn’t a primary concern.

On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid — a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is.

But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it's up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth."

My Review: I have been hearing really great things about this book and I am starting to branch a little more into sci-fi. I like that this is a shorter book so it isn't as intense as a lot of the other sci-fi out there. I was a bit confused at first since we are just dumped into MuderBot's mission and it takes a bit to get everyone straight. Once you start to get into the story though, you really grow attached to the characters, even though Murderbot tries to distance itself from the humans and the human emotions. I enjoyed the mystery and action as well, it wasn't heavy on the science or math terms, and for the most part I was able to picture a lot of the tech described. This was a good one to dip your toes in the sci-fi genre. I may be picking up more in this series.

My Rating: I had originally rated this one middle of the road but even nearly a year after reading it, I am still thinking about it a lot so I decided to up my rating slightly and give it a Three Paw and a Stump Wag Rating. 


Synopsis: "It has a dark past – one in which a number of humans were killed. A past that caused it to christen itself “Murderbot”. But it has only vague memories of the massacre that spawned that title, and it wants to know more.

Teaming up with a Research Transport vessel named ART (you don’t want to know what the “A” stands for), Murderbot heads to the mining facility where it went rogue.

What it discovers will forever change the way it thinks…"

My Review: I am fairly new to the world of Sci-Fi and this was one of the series I kept hearing about that got me interested. I really enjoyed All Systems Red and was excited to read this one. I listened to the audio while reading a print copy and it really helps me grasp the various character tones and AI elements. I loved seeing Murderbot become more aware of himself as compared to altered humans and I especially enjoyed him discovering more bots that are functioning somewhat independently like him. ART was great comic relief with the heavy subjects and intense action. I can't wait to continue the series.

My Rating: First off, I don't know when or why I started thinking of Murderbot as a male, I think because I listened to the audio book and it had a male narrator.  Anyway, I really enjoyed the development of Murderbot's character but ART totally made this one for me.  I give it a rating of Four Paws!


Synopsis: "SciFi’s favorite antisocial A.I. is again on a mission. The case against the too-big-to-fail GrayCris Corporation is floundering, and more importantly, authorities are beginning to ask more questions about where Dr. Mensah’s SecUnit is.

And Murderbot would rather those questions went away. For good."

My Review: I so adore Murderbot and this next book in the series did not disappoint! I love how more humanized Murderbot seems in each book yet he keeps his SecUnit/Bot skills. This book had plenty of excitement and the pages were turning quickly. We find out a lot more about the over arcing conspiracy plot line. I really enjoy the way pieces are being put together but some bits are still waiting to be discovered, leading to needing to pick up the next book right now!

My Rating: The adventures of Murderbot continue to pull me in, I love the relationships being built even against Murderbot's social anxieties.  I give this one a rating of Four Paws!


Synopsis: "The fourth and final part of the Murderbot Diaries series that began with All Systems Red.
Murderbot wasn’t programmed to care. So, its decision to help the only human who ever showed it respect must be a system glitch, right?
Having traveled the width of the galaxy to unearth details of its own murderous transgressions, as well as those of the GrayCris Corporation, Murderbot is heading home to help Dr. Mensah—its former owner (protector? friend?)—submit evidence that could prevent GrayCris from destroying more colonists in its never-ending quest for profit.
But who’s going to believe a SecUnit gone rogue?
And what will become of it when it’s caught?"
My Review: I have been absolutely loving this series, it is a great introduction to the genre. I love how Murderbot has become more humanized throughout his adventures but yet still remains aloof. This is quite an exciting adventure and picks up pretty much where the previous book left off, diving right back into the action. The stakes seem even higher in this one than the previous two and it lends to an exciting, page-turning read. I really enjoyed how this story arc concluded but find there are still some open questions regarding Murderbot's own history, so I am eager to see if more will be coming.
My Rating: I really could not put this series down, once I got going the action kept the pages turning and the characters kept me coming back for more.  I couldn't wait to see what tight spot Murderbot got in (and out of) again.  I give it a rating of Four Paws!

Full Series Review: While I wasn't too keen on being dumped right into Murderbot's mind already mid mission on a strange planet, the characters really started to draw me into the story.  Murderbot is such a quirky character, full of social anxieties but yet a caring robot core.  I love the short novella length of these books, it made it a little easier for me to pick up the newer genre to me without being overly intimidated.  It does at times get a little technical in the later books, but it didn't put me off at all, the characters and plot kept me involved.  I definitely recommend this series for Sci-Fi newbies like myself.  

Note: I did also recently hear that Martha Wells will be releasing a full length Murderbot book sometime in the future, and I am so ready for it!

Monday, April 22, 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

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

A Court of Thorns & Roses
A Court of Mist & Fury
In Her Sights

Currently Reading:

Pages Read/ Time Listened
239:14 Hours Listened (25:57 listened this week)
11,118 Pages Read (626 this week)

Books Added to Shelves Recently: TBR
The Snow Gypsy

Another crazy busy week, as should probably be expected for a school vacation week, and Hubby working crazy hours.  We all survived and had a nice Easter with the rest of the family. I am ready to get things back to normal though, but it will take another week for that to happen.  I have my first craft bazaar coming up on Saturday and am in crunch time getting the rest of the card inventory made and the setup finalized before Saturday morning. Munchkin also kicks off baseball season this week with games and opening ceremonies. So Audio books will be my best friend this week!

The good news is that it was a good idea to revisit ACOTAR & ACOMAF because it battled back that book hangover/slump for me. ACOMAF is also a book over 500 pages and even though it was a re-read and I was able to speed read most of it, it still counts as a book for Tome Topple!  My TBR has kind of been thrown to the wind, I was hoping to start Outlander but my audio book hold on the library for Foundryside became available so I will be picking that up, it is also over 500 pages so it will count. Foundryside is also one of the books on the Booktube SFF shortlist so I will knocking down that goal as well.  I did have to put down Nevermoor and as a result sideline Wundersmith but the Middle Grade books just weren't working, I needed something more adult for the time being and I needed a bit of romance.

I am super far behind on writing reviews, so I will be working on that this week and hopefully get some new posts scheduled and up too!  Sometimes life just gets in the way of our passions.