Saturday, May 4, 2019

Graphic Novel Review of Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea by Ben Clanton

Read for: Munchkin's Pick at the Bookstore & Graphic Novel

Synopsis: "Narwhal is a happy-go-lucky narwhal. Jelly is a no-nonsense jellyfish. The two might not have a lot in common, but they do they love waffles, parties and adventures. Join Narwhal and Jelly as they discover the whole wide ocean together."

My Review: I never expected Munchkin to get into these books but he picked this one up at the bookstore and has fallen in love with it. We have already read it many, many times. It is funny and quirky. It is pretty easy to read, with a few words that Munchkin needs help with but all in all nearly any reader can enjoy it. The characters are fun, with a few individual stories within the book that can be read on their own. The art style reminds me a lot of Elephant and Piggie with simplistic backgrounds and very clear and identifiable characters. It is really a fun book and I think we will be diving into the rest of the series.

My Rating:  I hadn't really paid attention to these books until Munchkin insisted he wanted them, now we both love them! Munchkin loves that he can read them on his own and while they are so fun, he also comes out with facts he learns.  We give it a rating of Four Paws and a Stump Wag!

Friday, May 3, 2019

Early Reader Bedtime Story: Pete the Cat and the Tip-Top Tree House by James Dean

Read for: Early Reader Challenge

Synopsis: "In Pete the Cat and the Tip-Top Tree House, Pete invites all of his friends over to spend time in his tree house. When they climb up, they realize the tree house is not big enough to fit everyone! They all work together to build the coolest tree house ever.

Pete the Cat and the Tip-Top Tree House is a My First I Can Read book, which means it’s perfect for shared reading with a child."

My Review: Even though Munchkin is getting a little old for these books, we still love a good Pete the Cat book! This was a fun one to read with lots of imagination and friendships. It was easy to read and great for young readers, the text is bold, with lots of sight words and repetition. I like how each of the friends got to add something they enjoy in the tree house but I love the way it ends!

My Rating: This was really a fun book, as are all the Pete the Cat books, Munchkin loves that he can read these on his own now.  We give it a rating of Four Paws!

Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Review of Swindle by Gordon Korman

Read for: TBR/Beat the Backlist

Synopsis: "Ocean's 11... with 11-year-olds, in a super stand-alone heist caper from Gordon Korman!
After a mean collector named Swindle cons him out of his most valuable baseball card, Griffin Bing must put together a band of misfits to break into Swindle's compound and recapture the card. There are many things standing in their way -- a menacing guard dog, a high-tech security system, a very secret hiding place, and their general inability to drive -- but Griffin and his team are going to get back what's rightfully his . . . even if hijinks ensue. 
This is Gordon Korman at his crowd-pleasing best, perfect for readers who like to hoot, howl, and heist."

My Review: I have had this book sitting on my shelf waiting for Munchkin to get a little older, he is about at the age to read it now so I thought I would give it a try first. We have a doberman and that was why I originally picked it up, not realizing the doberman in the book was not at all like our dopey marshmallow. While I think this book will certainly appeal to the target audience and young readers will enjoy the suspense and adventure in it, as an adult thinking about letting my child read it, I see and encouragement of the distrust between kids and adults as well as the acts of defiance and adults just not understanding. It may be a great read for a lot of young readers but it will be a few more years before Munchkin is ready for this book, he is already quick to fear and I do not need him becoming afraid of our dog.

My Rating: This one is a little tough for me to rate because I think it is a great book for young boys who understand the difference between fiction and reality, the heist would certainly draw in those young adventure seekers, but at the same time it is not at all appropriate for Munchkin due to his own personality.  I give it a Three Paw rating but remind parents to always be conscious of what your child is reading. 

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Bedtime Story: P is for Pterodactyl: The Worst Alphabet Book Ever by Raj Haldar

Read for: Children's Book Challenge

Synopsis: "Let's get real—the English language is bizarre. A might be for apple, but it's also for aisle and aeons. Why does the word "gnat" start with a G but the word "knot" doesn't start with an N? It doesn't always make sense, but don't let these rule-breaking silent letters defeat you!

This whimsical, funky book from Raj Haldar (aka rapper Lushlife) turns the traditional idea of an alphabet book on its head, poking fun at the most mischievous words in the English language and demonstrating how to pronounce them. Fun and informative for word nerds of all ages!"

My Review: As soon as I saw this book I had to have it! While it really isn't a great book for reading with kids, unless they are a little older and will understand that some words break the rules, it will go right over their heads. Also, even with pronunciation and word guides in the back of the book, it was still difficult to read. This one is more for entertainment value than anything else (think Go the F**k to Sleep). As a sleep deprived parent, this is hysterical, Munchkin was a bit confused as to why I thought it was so fun but laughed along with me and enjoyed looking at the pictures.

My Rating: While this may not be the best bedtime story, or the easiest to read out loud, it will definitely spark some giggles.  We give it a rating of Three Paws.

Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Review of The Wild Robot by Peter Brown

Read for: Borrowed Books/ Middle Grade March

Synopsis: "When robot Roz opens her eyes for the first time, she discovers that she is alone on a remote, wild island. Why is she there? Where did she come from? And, most important, how will she survive in her harsh surroundings? Roz's only hope is to learn from the island's hostile animal inhabitants. When she tries to care for an orphaned gosling, the other animals finally decide to help, and the island starts to feel like home. Until one day, the robot's mysterious past comes back to haunt her...."

My Review: Munchkin picked this book out at the library based on a recommendation from the librarian, so we read it for Middle Grade March. It took us the whole month to read it since we only read a few chapters a night. We really enjoyed the story, it was easy enough for him to read on his own but some of the story would have been outside his grasp (he is only a 1st grader so this isn't a negative for the book, just something to be aware of with younger readers). We both loved Roz and the adventures she has on the island and the way she grew as a character and learned new things. Upon finishing the book together, Munchkin has decided to start re-reading it before we begin reading the next book in the series.

My Rating: This was such a great story, full of empathy and friendships.  Both Munchkin and I really enjoyed it and we can't wait to read the next book!  We give it a rating of Four Paws and a Stump Wag!

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Early Reader Bedtime Story: Fox the Tiger by Corey R. Tabor

Read for: Borrowed Book & Early Reader Challenge

Synopsis: "Winner of the 2019 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award 

Fun-loving, mischievous Fox wishes he were a tiger. Tigers are big and fast and sneaky. So he decides to become one!

Soon Turtle and Rabbit are joining in the fun. But will Fox want to be a tiger forever?

In Fox the Tiger, this winning trickster character and his animal friends learn that the best thing to be is yourself.

Fox the Tiger is a My First I Can Read book, which means it’s perfect for shared reading with a child. Other Fox books include: Fox Is LateFox and the Jumping Contest, and Fox and the Bike Ride."

My Review: I have seen this book recommended a lot at the local library so I figured it was time to see what the fuss was all about. It is great pre-level reader with lots of sight words and easy to read text with simple sentences. It also has a great message about having fun pretending to be someone else but still being happy with who you are and how great you are too. It was a bit easy for Munchkin but he liked the silliness of the animals wanting to be so different from what they were.

My Rating: This was definitely a book we recommend, it was fun, easy to read and had great illustrations.  We give it a rating of Four Paws!

Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

April 2019 Challenge Update & May TBR

I am in complete denial that it is already May, never mind the fact that it is barely 50 degrees and raining constantly, but also it has been completely hectic all year already! I normally have some nice quiet time between the end of football season and the start of Munchkin's baseball season to cuddle up and do a lot of reading but I have not had that this year.  I am already into the start of the crazy half of the year with no let up in sight. I really hope I can continue reading as much but I already feel like I am starting to fall behind on some of my challenges for the first time ever!

Children's Books
30-40 books
7. Zen Shorts
8. P is for Pterodactyl
9. Aliens Love Underpants

Early Reader Books
30-40 books
5. Mr. Putter & Tabby Drop the Ball
6. Newt
7. Fox the Tiger

Graphic Novel
25 books

Audio Book Challenge
50 books - (Caffinated Reader hosted)

Classic Books
5 books

Big Books
10 books over 500 pages

RI Authors
20 books

Borrowed Books
30-40 books
15 books

Beat the Backlist
75 books - (Novelknight hosted) - only using books I already own
13. Animal Adventures
14. School Days
15. Laura & Nellie
16. Malice

The Never Ending Series
Warland Chronicles: Book1, Book 2, Book 3, Book 4,

Requested Reviews
No more than 25 new acceptances (& catch up on old requests)
8. The Unicorn Anthology (Netgalley)
9. Her Royal Highness Sampler (Netgalley)

Recently Added to Shelves
Limited purchases (must total less than 200) and read soon
1. Dragon of Ash & Stars - (Jan./ Jan.) DNF
2. The Snow Gypsy (Jan./ )
3. Book Nerds & Boyfriends (Jan./Feb. ) *
4. WarDance (Jan/ )
5. Warsong (Jan./ )
6. The Only Harmless Great Thing (Jan/Jan.)
7. Who in the World is Carmen Sandiego (Jan./ Jan.)
8. Lost Boy (Jan/ )
9. Year One (Jan/ )
10. Girl Who Drank the Moon (Jan/ )
11. King of Scars (Jan/ )
12. Dactyl Hill Squad (Feb./)
13. The Darkdeep  (Feb./)
14. Voices (Feb./Feb.) 
15. Wicked King (Feb./March) 
16. Lord of the Fading Lands (Feb./)
17. Crown of Feathers (Feb./)
18. Argos: The Story of Odysseus as told by his Loyal Dog (Feb./)
19. 100 Hugs (Feb./ Feb.) 
20. Binti 2: Home (Feb./March)
23. Binti 3: Night Masquerade (Feb./March) 
24. Artificial Condition (Feb./March)
25. Rogue Protocol (Feb./March)
26. Trial of Lightening  (Feb./)
27. The Last (Endling) (Feb./March)
28. Aquicorn Cove (Feb./Feb.) 
29. Thick as Thieves (Feb./ Feb.)
30. Aru Shah and the End of Time (March/) - DNF
31. Foundryside (March/ April)
32. Wundersmith (March/)
33. City of Ghosts (March/March) 
34. Saga Vol. 8 (March/ April)
35. Saga Vol. 9 (March/April)
36. Warrior of the Wild (March/March)
37. Book Love (March/March)
38. Queen's Shadow (March/March) 
39. A Curse So Dark and Lonely (March/)
40. Shadow of Doubt (March/)
41. Gates of Stone (March/)
42. In Her Sights (March/April)
43. Nevermoor (March/)
44. A Conspiracy of Truths 
45. The Wild Robot (March/March)  
46. The Resurrectionist (March/) 
47. Viper (April/)
48. Vortex Visions (April/) 
49. Through the White Wood (April/)
50. Descendant of the Crane (April/)
51. The Princess and the Fangirl (April/April)
52. Holy Sister (April/)
53. Rhapsodic (April/)
54. A Strange Hymn (April/)
55. The Emperor of Evening Stars (April/)
56. Dark Harmony (April/)
57. The Black Bull of Norroway (April/)
58. We Rule the Night (April/)
59. The Unbound Empire (April/)

January Reading Stats:
I read a total of 22 books this month
2,647 pages read and 2 days, 6 hours and 34 minutes of listening

Resolutions Check in:
1. Borrow More Books: I only borrowed one book (and a couple of kids books) this month, it isn't much but I think it counts. - CHECK
2. Purchase Less Books:  I only purchased 10 books in April last year and 13 this year, so that isn't great but I am still 18 less than last year at this point so I am calling it a win - CHECK
3. Read Big Books: Yes, Yes, Yes!  I read 2 books over 600 pages and another book over 500 pages! - CHECK
4. Re-Read More: I did re-read 2 books this month, and they pulled me out of a slump.  I have been wanting to re-read more books. - CHECK
5. Put Less Pressure and Stress on Myself: I have been letting some posts slide, I have been busy with other aspects of my life lately so while I have been posting pretty consistently but have missed a couple of days. I haven't gotten myself too worked up about missing them either. I have also dropped the ball with Instagram lately but again I haven't gotten myself too worked up about it. - CHECK


I feel like I have been really flexible with my TBRs so far this year and I have been running a little behind on some challenges and also reading the books coming in (I know I have a large Book Outlet order arriving tomorrow so I really need to get to reading the books I am purchasing).  Even thought this will be another busy month, I feel like it might be a little less busy than it has been lately.  So I am setting a pretty lofty TBR and really buckling down to get it all read.  We also have a couple of readathons going this month, Bout of Books but also Scallywagathon (which I am still debating joining).

A Curse So Dark and Lonely *currently reading
Holy Sister
A Conspiracy of Truths
Crown of Feathers
Trail of Lightning
Nevermoor *currently reading & Wundersmith
Beyond A Darkened Shore & Through the White Wood
The Black Bull of Norroway
The Bargainer Series
SEAL's Honor & Sniper's Pride
In an Absent Dream
Her Royal Highness
Printed Letter Bookshop
Swords & Fire Trilogy
The Manticore's Vow

I am way over estimating my reading abilities this month but it is nice to have options and goals! I also want to see that TBR going down a little quicker.   What does your TBR look like this month?

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Bedtime Story: Zen Shorts by Jon J. Muth

Read for: Children's Book Challenge

Synopsis: ""Michael," said Karl. "There's a really big bear in the backyard." This is how three children meet Stillwater, a giant panda who moves into the neighborhood and tells amazing tales. To Addy he tells a story about the value of material goods. To Michael he pushes the boundaries of good and bad. And to Karl he demonstrates what it means to hold on to frustration. With graceful art and simple stories that are filled with love and enlightenment, Jon Muth -- and Stillwater the bear -- present three ancient Zen tales that are sure to strike a chord in everyone they touch."

My Review: Munchkin and I previously read Zen Ties, which I guess is the 2nd book in this series, while this is the first, but it doesn't really seem to matter the order you read them in. Zen Ties had a lot of Haiku poems in it which we really enjoyed and I was expecting the same with this one, but that was not the case. This instead included a few wonderful folk tales. These folk tales had some really great lessons and messages about frustration, the value of things and people. They are great lessons for both children to hear and adults and they sparked some great conversations between Munchkin and I. The story about holding on to anger and frustration really resonated with me personally. While it wasn't what we had expected, it was a fantastic book to read.

My Rating: We really enjoyed this book and all the wisdom packed into simple stories.  We give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.

Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Review of The Last by Katherine Applegate

Read for: Middle Grade March/ New Purchase/ Audio Books

Synopsis: "Byx is the youngest member of her dairne pack. Believed to possess remarkable abilities, her mythical doglike species has been hunted to near extinction in the war-torn kingdom of Nedarra.

After her pack is hunted down and killed, Byx fears she may be the last of her species. The Endling. So Byx sets out to find safe haven, and to see if the legends of other hidden dairnes are true.

Along the way, she meets new allies—both animals and humans alike—who each have their own motivations for joining her quest. And although they begin as strangers, they become their own kind of family—one that will ultimately uncover a secret that may threaten every creature in their world."

My Review: I really have loved all the Applegate books I have read in the past 2 years and have been seeing this one around. While I did enjoy it, I did find it to be more appropriate for the target audience, I wasn't able to get into this book as much as I had hoped. I did enjoy it just not to the extent I had expected. I did enjoy the characters personality and the classic fantasy feel of the ragtag group of characters on a quest with dangers along the path. I have always struggled with anthromorphism, I always feel like they just don't keep enough of their animal characteristics and instincts, this was particularly true of Byx for me, she seemed so human but was somehow able to pass as a dog for parts of it. Again this might be because I am an adult and am used to more complex characters and descriptions and details. I think the actual target audience will really enjoy it.

My Rating: While I did struggle to get into this book, it was a great classic fantasy style book for the Middle Grade audiences.  I listened to the audio book version and come to find out really missed out on some illustrations, that might have helped me grasp the characters more.  I give it a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag, but like I said the target age will probably enjoy it more.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Early Reader Bedtime Story: Newt by Matt Novak

Read for: Early Reader Challenge

Synopsis: "Meet Newt, surely the most amiable amphibian ever, as he discovers the secret to having a perfect day, finds a strange, fuzzy, bug, and makes a new friend on a dark night. A perfect match of warm, funny text and glowing illustrations, Newt is a book to delight and inspire beginning readers--even as Newt himself charms the hearts of all."

My Review: This book was in a box of used books I received and it was a nice little gem. It is great for those young readers who can read on their own but my be intimidated by chapter books. There are 3 chapters in this one but they are short and each reads as a standalone story. Newt learns a lot throughout this book about friendship and caring for those around him. Munchkin enjoyed reading this aloud to me. We both really enjoyed the illustrations and the stories themselves. It was a perfect bedtime story to unwind from the day with this simple happy story.

My Rating: This was a really cute and fun book.  It says it is a level 2 but I felt it was more of  level 3 but of course every company has their own way of ranking, and the older ones seem to be more advanced anyway.  Munchkin and I really enjoyed reading this book and give it a rating of Four Paws!

Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

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

All Systems Red by Martha Wells (Series Review)
Artificial Condition by Martha Wells (Series Review)
Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells (Series Review)
Exit Strategy by Martha Wells (Series Review)
Mr. Putter & Tabby Drop the Ball by Cynthia Rylant (Early Reader)

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

P is for Pterodactyl
Zen Shorts
Craving Her Mates

Currently Reading:

Princess & The Fangirl by Ashley Poston - Print/Audio - on Page 223 of  320

Pages Read/ Time Listened
258:48 Hours Listened (19:34 listened this week)
11,525 Pages Read (407 this week)

Books Added to Shelves Recently: TBR
The Snow Gypsy

Let's hope my crazy weeks are at an end! Last week was once again a high stress busy week. Super busy week at the office and at home. I had a booth at my first local bazaar on Saturday and was scrambling all week long to get ready (I was still making cards the night before the bazaar). I also had a fundraiser event for Munchkin's school on Saturday evening. It was a lot of socializing for me.  I spent most of yesterday just getting caught up around the house and enjoying the relative peace and quiet of just Hubby, Munchkin and Niko. 

I spent this morning running around to medical appointments, my Father in Law was unable to drive to his so I did that as well as getting my own xrays done.  I don't think I have said anything on here, but I have been struggling with tendoniosis in my right wrist since December.  I have been unable to do more than get my office work done and cards made.  Finally I have been sent for xrays, then MRI and probably on to a specialist.  It has been a long painful road so far but hopefully I can get some answers soon.

Anyway, it was quite a week, but the good news was that I successfully read 2 books for the Tome Topple! I read some very large books this month! I have gone a little overboard with the books coming in but I think I earned a few bookish spending sprees.

This week is also the 100th Children's Book Week! I have been saving up some fun Children's books to share with all of you and will have a Bedtime Story every night this week!

What is the most recent book you purchased?

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Booktube SFF Shortlist Readalong Update

You may recall, I have been trying to read as many of the Booktube SFF Award Shortlist books that I can (see my original post HERE).  It has been slowly working my way through the list and have found some really enjoyable books and some not so enjoyable books.  I think we are a little over halfway through the reading period so I figured it was time I updated on my progress. 

 Best Fantasy Category:
Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett  *Just finished - Review coming

Best Science Fiction Category:
I will not be reading this category but here are the shortlist books in case you want to
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:
Skyward by Brandon Sanderson - Not Going to get to this one
Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor - Still haven't read the first one, won't get to it

Best Middle Grade Category:
Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi - I Ended up DNFing this one
Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend - I still have to read the first book and was struggling so I have requested the Audio book from the library to hopefully speed things along

Best Debut Category:
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi - Not going to get to this one
Trail of Lightening by Rebecca Roanhorse - This is on my TBR for May!

Best Graphic Work Category:

Best Short Work Category:

So there is my updated, I am really pleased with my progress, 12 books out of 21 is not bad. I have finished reading the 3 main categories I wanted to read and found some really great books.  I hope to be able to read both books in the Morrigan Crow series and maybe try Aru Shah again, it may have just been a bad time for me to read it.  I also will at least finish Trail of Lightening.  I haven't really been looking at anyone else's reviews on these books yet but will be doing that soon.  I am so excited to see what the outcome is during the live show. 

Have you been reading any of the short list books? Do you have any favorites yet? Are there any books that you think should be up on the list but aren't?