Saturday, June 15, 2019

Date Night with a Book: Sniper's Pride by Megan Crane

Read for: Requested Review/ Penguin First to Read

Book 1: Seal's Honor

Synopsis: "Return to Alaska's Grizzly Harbor where danger strikes with arctic precision and love thaws the coldest hearts in the newest romantic suspense from the USA Today bestselling author of SEAL's Honor.

After Mariah McKenna lands in the hospital with a life-threatening anaphylactic reaction she knows she didn’t cause, she realizes her cheating, vindictive husband would rather have a dead wife than a divorce. Afraid that he will succeed in killing her next time, Mariah goes to Grizzly Harbor to hire one of the Alaska Force special operatives to help her survive long enough to finally live a little.
Griffin Cisneros traded in a comfortable future for boot camp, where he learned the virtue of patience and focus—skills that served him well as a Marine sniper. Few things get to him these days, but something about Mariah’s mix of toughness and vulnerability gets right under his skin. Until it’s clear she’s the one thing in the world that might melt the ice in stoic, reserved Griffin, whether he likes it or not. 

If he can just keep her alive..."

My Review:  I was intrigued by this book and requested it without having read the first book (which I did read prior to starting this one). I like the combination of military men, small town in Alaska and the thriller element. I really loved Mariah in this one, she has a stubborn streak a mile wide and I can really appreciate that. I was not as much a fan of Griffin, he had a lot going on internally that while it was very believable, I just didn't jive with him. I was also a little disappointed that I had most of the mysteries figured out well in advance of the ah ha moment in the book. With that said, I did enjoy the story and the way the characters developed and interacted. I am still curious about some of the other members of Alaska Force and will be on the look out for future books.

My Rating: While this one was a bit predictable, it was still an enjoyable read and I really liked Mariah's character.  I am still intrigued by some of the other Alaska Force characters and am looking forward to more.  I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.

I received a complimentary copy of this book via the Penguin First to Read program. The following is my honest opinion.

You can find out more about Megan Crane and her other books on her Goodreads Page or Website.

Sniper's Pride was just released May 7th, so you can now get it and the first book in the series in both digital and print format from Amazon or Barnes & Noble or check at your local bookstore.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Early Reader Bedtime Story: Minions: Who's the Boss by Lucy Rosen

Read for: Early Reader Challenge/ Borrowed Books

Synopsis: "The story of Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment's Minions begins at the dawn of time. Starting as single-celled yellow organisms, Minions evolve through the ages, perpetually serving the most despicable of masters. Continuously unsuccessful at keeping these masters-from T. rex to Napoleon-the Minions find themselves without someone to serve and fall into a deep depression.

But one Minion named Kevin has a plan, and he-alongside teenage rebel Stuart and lovable little Bob-ventures out into the world to find a new evil boss for his brethren to follow."

My Review: Munchkin is a big Minion fan and wanted to read this book. It was good level 2 reader, even though Munchkin is reading above this level, the sentences were simple and the text wasn't overwhelming. If you have seen the Minion movie, this is similar to the beginning before Kevin, Bob & Stuart set out on their journey. It simply runs through the bosses and how they never seem to survive long. It was cute, it was funny and young Minion fans will enjoy reading it.

My Rating: This is a fun book but doesn't add anything new to the movie.  Young readers will enjoy the familiar characters and story.  We give it a rating of Three Paws.

Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Review of Saving Winslow by Sharon Creech

Read for: Borrowed Books

Synopsis: "Perfect for fans of Charlotte’s Web and The One and Only Ivan, Saving Winslow is an uplifting modern classic in the making about a young boy who befriends an ailing newborn donkey and nurses him back to health, from New York Times bestseller and Newbery Medal winner Sharon Creech.

Louie doesn't have the best luck when it comes to nurturing small creatures. So when his father brings home a sickly newborn mini donkey, he's determined to save him. He names him Winslow. Taking care of him helps Louie feel closer to his brother, Gus, who is far, far away in the army.

Everyone worries that Winslow won't survive, especially Louie’s quirky new friend, Nora, who has experienced loss of her own. But as Louie's bond with Winslow grows, surprising and life-altering events prove that this fragile donkey is stronger than anyone could have imagined.

Written in the spirit of Creech favorites Moo and Love That Dog, this standout tale about love and friendship and letting go will tug at the heartstrings."

My Review: I picked this one up on a whim after Munchkin and I really enjoyed Love That Dog. While the other book was written in verse, this was a narrative. I think I enjoyed this one even more. I adored Winslow and think I might be in need of a mini donkey foal. It is touching and heart warming, you really come to love all the characters that are brought together by this little donkey. I am curious if there are further books following these characters, I want to spend more time with all of them. This is a great book for young readers, the chapters are short and while it does hard subjects, it does keep it light enough for those young readers to understand the emotions and connect with them.

My Rating: As an adult reader I thoroughly enjoyed this quick read and it would be great for the target audience, I think Munchkin will have to give this one a try.  I give it a rating of Four Paws!

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Review of Beyond a Darkened Shore by Jessica Leake

Read for: Beat the Backlist/TBR/ Audio Books

Synopsis: "The ancient land of Éirinn is mired in war. Ciara, Princess of Mide, has never known a time when Éirinn’s kingdoms were not battling for power, or Northmen were not plundering their shores. 

The people of Mide have thankfully always been safe because of Ciara’s unearthly ability to control her enemies’ minds and actions. But lately, a mysterious crow has been appearing to Ciara, whispering warnings of an even darker threat. Although her clansmen dismiss her visions as pagan nonsense, Ciara fears this coming evil will destroy not just Éirinn, but the entire world. 

Then the crow leads Ciara to Leif, a young Northman leader. Leif should be Ciara’s enemy, but when Ciara discovers that he, too, shares her prophetic visions, she knows he’s something more. Leif is mounting an impressive army, and with Ciara’s strength in battle the two might have a chance to save their world. 

With evil rising around them, they’ll do what it takes to defend the land they love…even if it means making the greatest sacrifice of all."

My Review: I really enjoy books revolving around vikings and Norse mythology so was pretty excited to read this one, but it fell by the wayside until now. I did listen to the audio book which I am glad I did because it really cleared up a lot of the pronunciations in this one. It took me a bit to get into the story because it starts out more Celtic than I was expecting but I quickly grew to enjoy both the setting and the characters. I really liked Leif immediately, and I did grow to really like Ciara's standoffish and tough personality. I did find that the pacing of the story was rather slow with a few rushed sections when the action happened, which made the overall story seem overly long. With that said, this is a standalone which was a big bonus and made it all worth it to have a conclusion at the end of the book.

My Rating: While this wasn't quite what I was expecting, it was very enjoyable. I love blending of Celtic and Norse Mythology and beliefs. It was a little slower pace than expected and that I usually read but it was nice to have that slow down.  I give it a rating of Three Paws.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Hear My Roar Blog Tour: 10 Middle Grade Reads with Girls Who Come out Swinging

I am here today as a stop on a blog tour celebrating 3 new Middle Grade books that all bring loads girl power.  Penguin Random House was kind enough to send me a complimentary copy of My Corner of the Ring by Jesselyn Silvia.

 Synopsis: "The Middle Grade Memoir of a Girl Boxer and Future Olympian.

In this Lean-In style inspirational memoir, twelve-year-old Jesselyn Silva offers a ringside seat to girl power and what it takes to win in the ring and in life: punch by punch. My Corner of the Ring shows kids what it means to be true to yourself and stick with your dreams even when facing adversity and ridicule. Supported by her single dad, Jesselyn (JessZilla in the ring) first donned her boxing gloves at seven years of age, making her one of very few female boxers in the country. My Corner of the Ringcharts Jesselyn's oft times exhilarating and heartbreaking journey to success in a male dominated sport where she struggles to find partners to spar with and combats the viewpoint that no one wants to see a girl fight. Despite an inhospitable environment, Jesselyn still has her sights set on the Olympics. With the help of her very dad, Pedro, who has instilled in her a strong work ethic, she just might make it. It is an exciting and motivational read that will provide kids with the roadmap and encouragement to accomplish whatever goals they set for themselves. Jesselyn's positive can-do attitude and determination make this a must read."

Throughout her book Jesselyn talks about how she is working towards her goals of winning Junior Olympics, boxing in Madison Square Garden and making the boxing ring a place where a boxer is a boxer, whether they are male or female, they are all boxers boxing.  She is very inspirational and definitely doesn't pull her punches. You can see my full review HERE

I was inspired by her tenacity and no backing down attitude, and decided to bring you a list of more great Middle Grade books with female characters that don't back down because of their size, gender or what society thinks they should be or do. 

Roller Girl: "Twelve-year-old Astrid has always done everything with her best friend Nicole. So when Astrid signs up for roller derby camp, she assumes Nicole will too. But Nicole signs up for dance camp with a new friend instead, and so begins the toughest summer of Astrid's life. There are bumps and bruises as Astrid learns who she is without Nicole...and what it takes to be a strong, tough roller girl."

 Ban This Book: "An inspiring tale of a fourth-grader who fights back when her favorite book is banned from the school library--by starting her own illegal locker library!

It all started the day Amy Anne Ollinger tried to check out her favorite book in the whole world, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, from the school library. That's when Mrs. Jones, the librarian, told her the bad news: her favorite book was banned! All because a classmate's mom thought the book wasn't appropriate for kids to read.

Amy Anne decides to fight back by starting a secret banned books library out of her locker. Soon, she finds herself on the front line of an unexpected battle over book banning, censorship, and who has the right to decide what she and her fellow students can read."

Out of Left Field: "A story about the fight for equal rights in America's favorite arena: the baseball field!

Every boy in the neighborhood knows Katy Gordon is their best pitcher, even though she's a girl. But when she tries out for Little League, it's a whole different story. Girls are not eligible, period. It is a boy's game and always has been. It's not fair, and Katy's going to fight back. Inspired by what she's learning about civil rights in school, she sets out to prove that she's not the only girl who plays baseball. With the help of friendly librarians and some tenacious research skills, Katy discovers the forgotten history of female ball players. Why does no one know about them? Where are they now? And how can one ten-year-old change people's minds about what girls can do?
Set in 1957--the world of Sputnik and Leave It to Beaver, saddle shoes and "Heartbreak Hotel"--Out of Left Field is both a detailed picture of a fascinating historic period and a timelessly inspiring story about standing up for equality at any age."

 Naya Nuki: "After being taken prisoner by an enemy tribe, a Shoshoni girl escapes and makes a thousand-mile journey through the wilderness in search of her own people."

Dealing with Dragons: "Cimorene is everything a princess is not supposed to be: headstrong, tomboyish, smart - and bored. So bored that she runs away to live with a dragon - and finds the family and excitement she's been looking for."

 Proud: Living My American Dream: "The inspiring all-American story of faith, family, hard work, and perseverance by Olympic fencer, activist, and Time"100 Most Influential People" honoree Ibtihaj Muhammad

At the 2016 Rio Olympics, Ibtihaj Muhammad smashed barriers as the first American to compete wearing hijab, and made history as the first Muslim-American woman to medal. But it wasn't an easy road--in a sport most popular among wealthy white people, Ibtihaj often felt out of place. Ibtihaj was fast, hardworking, and devoted to her faith, but rivals and teammates (as well as coaches and officials) pointed out her differences, insisting she would never succeed. Yet Ibtihaj powered on. Her inspiring journey from a young outsider to an Olympic hero is a relatable, memorable, and uniquely American tale of hard work, determination, and self-reliance."

I Am Malala: "When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education.

On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive.

Instead, Malala's miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she has become a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest nominee ever for the Nobel Peace Prize.

I AM MALALA is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls' education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons.
I AM MALALA will make you believe in the power of one person's voice to inspire change in the world."

 Shred Girls: Lindsay's Joyride: "An empowering new series from the cyclist who runs is guaranteed to give readers an adrenaline rush--and the confidence girls gain from participating in sports! 

It's time to ride and save the day!

Lindsay can't wait to spend her summer break reading comics and watching superhero movies--until she finds out she'll be moving in with her weird older cousin Phoebe instead. And Phoebe has big plans for Lindsay: a BMX class at her bike park with cool-girl Jen and perfectionist Ali.

Lindsay's summer of learning awesome BMX tricks with new friends and a new bike turns out to be more epic than any comic book--and it's all leading up to a jumping competition.

But some of the biker boys don't think girls should be allowed to compete in BMX. Now it's up to Lindsay, Jen, and Ali to win the competition and prove that anyone can be great at BMX."

Finding Wonders: Three Girls who Changed Science: "Three biographies in verse about three girls in three different time periods who grew up to become groundbreaking scientists.

Maria Merian was sure that caterpillars were not wicked things born from mud, as most people of her time believed. Through careful observation she discovered the truth about metamorphosis and documented her findings in gorgeous paintings of the life cycles of insects.

More than a century later, Mary Anning helped her father collect stone sea creatures from the cliffs in southwest England. To him they were merely a source of income, but to Mary they held a stronger fascination. Intrepid and patient, she eventually discovered fossils that would change people’s vision of the past.

Across the ocean, Maria Mitchell helped her mapmaker father in the whaling village of Nantucket. At night they explored the starry sky through his telescope. Maria longed to discover a new comet—and after years of studying the night sky, she finally did.
Told in vibrant, evocative poems, this stunning novel celebrates the joy of discovery and finding wonder in the world around us."

I hope that you find a book or two on this list to read and that JessZilla and some of these other strong young women inspire you to strive for more!

Monday, June 10, 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

Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend
The Magic is in You by Colin Hosten & Brook Vitale (Bedtime Story)
Saga Vol. 8 by Brian K. Vaughn & Fiona Staples (Graphic Novel)

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

Sniper's Pride
The Magic is In You

Currently Reading:

Proud by Ibtihaj Muhammad - Audio - 14%
The Iliad by Gareth Hinds - Ebook - on page 179 of 272
My Corner of the Ring by Jesselyn Silva - Print - on page 159 of 256

Pages Read/ Time Listened
318:44 Hours Listened (None listened this week)
14,912 Pages Read (374 this week)

Books Added to Shelves Recently: TBR
The Snow Gypsy
Lost Boy
Year One
Girl Who Drank the Moon
King of Scars
Dactyl Hill Squad
The Darkdeep
Lord of the Fading Lands
A Curse So Dark and Lonely
Shadow of Doubt
Gates of Stone
A Conspiracy of Truths
Vortex Visions
Through the White Wood
Descendant of the Crane
The Princess and the Fangirl
Holy Sister
A Strange Hymn
The Emperor of Evening Stars
Dark Harmony
The Black Bull of Norroway
We Rule the Night
The Opposite of Always
The Sea Queen
The Mountain of Kept Memory
Misfits of Avalon Vol. 1
Misfits of Avalon Vol. 2
The Sea King
Ride Hard
Ride Rough
Ride Wild
Irresistible Force
Force of Attraction
Primal Force
Rival Forces
A Rogue by Any Other Name
A Scot in the Dark
The Day of the Duchess
The Pirate Bride
Pirate Stories
Man Made Boy
This Monstrous Thing
The Case of the Missing Moonstone
Dear Santa
An Endless Christmas
Christmas Magic
Falling Softly
Christmas Town
The Christmas Star
Crazy Rich Asians
Once and Future
Highland Crown
Her Royal Highness
Things My Son Needs to Know About the World
Seal's Honor
Gris Grimly's Frankenstein
The Case of the Counterfeit Criminals
The Case of the Perilous Palace
The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter
The Beholder
We Hunt the Flame
Dark Shores
Dreaming the Bear
A New Hope
The Trial of Joan of Arc
Midsummer's Mayhem


I have been really slacking on my reading, not out of lack of desire but just of time! Hubby is on vacation for 3 weeks straight right now so that we can get some major construction projects done on the house.  That means that not only do I have to still work, and keep up on my regular chores but also assist as much as possible with the construction projects. It has left me so exhausted at the end of each day that I can only manage to read a chapter or two of a book.  I also had a friend of mine come visit for a few days and we took a short road trip, I had to do all of the driving so again, no reading time.  Now with the school year ending, family coming later this week for a 10 day vacation and the on going construction, I don't see myself getting much reading time soon either.