Saturday, July 6, 2019

Graphic Novel Review of Sea Sirens by Amy Chu and Illustrated by Janet K. Lee

Read for: Graphic Novel Challenge & Review copy received

Synopsis: "Dive into this middle-grade graphic novel about a Vietnamese American surfer girl and her talking cat who plunge into a fantasy world of oceanic marvels . . . and mayhem!

Trot, a Vietnamese American surfer girl, and Cap'n Bill, her cranky one-eyed cat, catch too big a wave and wipe out, sucked down into a magical underwater kingdom where an ancient deep-sea battle rages. The beautiful Sea Siren mermaids are under attack from the Serpent King and his slithery minions--and Trot and her feline become dangerously entangled in this war of tails and fins.

This graphic novel was inspired by The Sea Fairies, L. Frank Baum's "underwater Wizard of Oz." It weaves Vietnamese mythology, fantastical ocean creatures, and a deep-sea setting."

My Review: It was such a pleasant surprise to receive this book in the mail. It was a perfect book to kick off my summer. The colors of this one are so bright and vibrant and I really enjoyed the illustration style. The story is supposed to be based on a fairy tale and mythology but I am not familiar with those original materials, so I was able to just enjoy the story for what it was. I really enjoyed the characters, Trot, while a little rebellious was still a good kid, concerned about her grandfather. I, of course, loved Cap'n Bill he is such a cat a little snobby and stubborn but still loyal and loving to his people. The underwater world is beautiful and unique, and the adventure offers some fun and surprising twists. It is meant for a younger audience but can be enjoyed by everyone.

My Rating: I really enjoyed this one, the story, the illustration style and characters were all so enjoyable.  I give it a rating of Four Paws!

 I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The below is my honest review and opinion. 

You can find out more about Amy Chu and her other graphic novels and comics on her Goodreads Page or Website.

Sea Sirens was just released June 11th so you can now pick up your own copy in print or digital format from Amazon or Goodreads or ask for it at your library or local comic book store!

Friday, July 5, 2019

Bedtime Story: Silence Slips In by Alison Hughes and Illustrated by Ninon Pelletier

Read for: Children's Book Challenge

Synopsis: "When the party's over and the baby finally falls asleep, when the dog is all barked out and the screens are dark, the Silence pads in on soft, furry feet. A warm, comforting presence, the Silence curls up in a sun-beam like a cuddly cat and helps you read, think and be still. The Silence is friends with the Dark. Together they soothe the jagged edges left when the Noise has rolled on and gently launch the boats of your dreams into the night. When the day becomes overwhelming or other feelings become too big, the Silence slips in.

With soft illustrations and soothing text, this is a quiet story about learning to find calm in the busy world around you."

My Review: You know how a book hits you at just the right time, you didn't even know you needed it but you did? Well this was the book for both Munchkin and I! I picked this one up randomly at the library (and have since ordered our own copy). With the hectic rush of summer and Munchkin starting summer camp with a lot of new kids and location, he gets very overwhelmed. But this calming book about silence and how it comforts, and how to draw it in when needed has really helped. The soft illustrations and story are great for bedtime or times of relaxation. We both really enjoyed this book.

My Rating: We both really loved the calming effects of this book, it is so soothing in the hectic chaos of life.  We give it a rating of Four Paws and a Stump Wag!

Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Thursday, July 4, 2019

TBR Thursday (1)

So I stumbled upon this feature at Purple People Readers (I am totally in love with the blog name LOL) and was originally created by Kimberly Faye Reads.

As you may know, I like so many other book lovers out there am struggling with a towering TBR.  I have been currently working on narrowing it down a little (check out my Instagram stories for Trash My TBR Thursdays). But I thought I would also bring that idea to my blog, where you can get a bit of a say in what stays on my TBR and what books it may be time to let go.

So let me know, should I keep it on my TBR, prioritize it, or let it go.  Have you read it? Let me know your thoughts on . . . 

 Title: Flamecaster
Author: Cinda Williams Chima
Series: Shattered Realms Series - Book 1 (Branch off Series from Seven Kingdoms)
Genre: YA Fantasy
Format: Paperback 
Length: 560 pages
Average Rating on Goodreads: 4.05 stars
Time on TBR: Since Sept. 29, 2017
Synopsis: "A burning vengeance.

Adrian sul’Han, known as Ash, is a trained healer with a powerful gift of magic—and a thirst for revenge. The son of the queen of the Fells, Ash is forced into hiding after a series of murders throws the queendom into chaos. Now Ash is closer than he’s ever been to killing the man responsible, the cruel king of Arden. As a healer, can Ash use his powers not to save a life but to take it?

A blood-based curse.

Abandoned at birth, Jenna Bandelow was told the mysterious magemark on the back of her neck would make her a target. But when the King’s Guard launches a relentless search for a girl with a mark like hers, Jenna assumes that it has more to do with her role as a saboteur than any birth-based curse. Though Jenna doesn’t know why she’s being hunted, she knows that she can’t get caught.

Destiny’s fiery hand.

Eventually, Ash’s and Jenna’s paths will collide in Arden. Thrown together by chance and joined by their hatred of the king, they will come to rescue each other in ways they cannot yet imagine.

Set in the world of the acclaimed Seven Realms series a generation later, this is a thrilling story of dark magic, chilling threats, and two unforgettable characters walking a knife-sharp line between life and death."

So I picked this book up at a Boston Teen Author Festival after hearing Cinda Williams Chima talk about it (and I must be honest I always get a bit of FOMO (fear of missing out) when it comes to these events, I might never see an author again and miss having a favorite book signed). At the time I didn't realize that it was the start of a new series that was a branch off a previous 4 book series, all of which are between 500 and 600 pages. While I probably don't need to read that series to read this one, I am one of those people who needs all the back story but I kind of don't want to add 4 more books to my TBR right now.  I should also note that I picked up the second book at the same time.

So have you read this or even her previous series? Heard anything about it good or bad? Should I read the previous series first or just jump right into this one?

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Mid-Year Book Freak-Out Tag

I have been seeing this tag pop up all over the place lately and while I wasn't tagged, I did want to participate.  I believe the original was created by ReadLikeWildfire on Youtube, but feel free to correct me if I am wrong.  Obviously I am updating it to be current to this year. So on with my freak out  . . . 

Best Book You've Read So Far in 2019
So far this year I have read nearly 140 books, so it can be hard to narrow the list down to just one book but Proud was such a fantastic book, so inspiring and eye-opening, it is definitely the stand out book so far this year!

Best Sequel You've Read So Far in 2019
This is where I am really struggling! I have read some really great follow up books this year but I think one of my favorite sequels is Artificial Condition, and the following two books in the Murderbot Diaries series.

New Release You Haven't Read, But Want To
I have picked up so many books in recent months but there are a few I am more eager to read (and hopefully will be read this month).  Midsummer's Mayhem seems like a perfect summer read with lots of yummy food in it (and of course I will be trying some of the recipes with Munchkin).  Then I have been highly anticipating the next book in the Green Mountain/Butler Vermont series so I am eager to read Till There Was You. And finally, I was curious about The Kingdom, but then I received my Shelf Love Crate copy and the custom art on the dust jacket has a flutter pony on it!!!

Most Anticipated Release of the Second Half of the Year
There are so many fantastic releases coming out later this year! Of course we have the popular DarkDawn, Capturing the Devil and The Girl the Sea Gave Back that we are all insanely excited for but there are two other books that are coming out later this year that I am super excited for . . .
Kiersten White blew me away with her And I Darken series and The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein, and now she is taking on one of my all time favorites, King Arthur & Guinevere!  Then we have a romance novel about men having a book club reading romance novels, I feel like fun and comedy will be abundant!

Biggest Disappointment
I have had several DNFs this year and several highly hyped books that just fell short for me but I think my biggest disappointment was Cruel Prince and Wicked King.

Biggest Surprise
If you are ever looking for a book recommendation, ask your librarian! The Children's librarian in our local library was recommending some books for Munchkin since he is reading Middle Grade books already at 6 years old, we do still have to be very careful with what he reads.  She suggested we try The Wild Robot. It took us a while to read it since we were reading together but it was a fantastic book with some great characters!

Favorite New Author (Debut or New to You)
I had heard a lot about this series, both good and bad but the new covers made me jump in head first.  Granted it is super disappointing that I pushed to read all the books prior to the final book's release, only to find out a couple of weeks before it was due to release that it had been delayed a full year! Oh well, I guess I will just get to revisit all these awesome characters!

Newest Fictional Crush
I have been up and down with Des from the Bargainer series, I loved him in the first book, not so much in the second book and then loved him again in the novella between the second and third books.  I have yet to read the third and final book but I have high hopes for him.

Newest Favorite Character
I totally did not expect to enjoy the book or the characters but I loved Miryem from Spinning Silver, she is so intelligent, clever and stubborn.

Book that Made You Cry
Yup, nothing like animals to make you bawl your eyes out!

Book that Made You Happy
I know this might be odd but this Children's book made me so happy, it is meant to encourage young kids but honestly I found it to be a great reminder about what is important.

Favorite Book to Film Adaptation You Saw This Year
I haven't seen any yet but I plan to watch Crazy Rich Asians within the next couple of weeks and I think I will enjoy it more than the book.

Favorite Review You've Written This Year
This is a bit of a toss up but I think my review of Malice has been the most popular (and I haven't even posted it on the blog yet)

Most Beautiful Book You Bought (or received) This Year
I have picked up some truly beautiful books this year and I just can't pick so I have a tie between Descendant of the Crane and A Conspiracy of Truths.  Descendant has the most beautiful colors and is so detailed, it is truly a work of art.  Truths has this embossed texture on the dust jacket that makes it feel like an old leather book and I love picking it up and holding it.

What Books Do You Need to Read by the End of This Year
Gosh there are so many books on my TBR that I want to read by the end of the year and so many more books coming out between now and the end of the year too! I have been picking up a lot of Frankenstein re-tellings and adaptations (and backstory of Mary Shelley) and I really want to read Monsters.   It has also been a year since I read The Tiger's Daughter and I absolutely loved it, but for some reason I have been putting of The Phoenix Empress, so I hope I can pick that up in August.  Finally, I loved Malice but even though I thoroughly enjoyed it, I have still remained intimidated by the rest of the series but I am determined to finish them before the end of the year!

Gosh, looking back at that post, I am drooling over all these beautiful covers! No wonder my shelves are stuffed full of books.

So are you freaking out yet because half the year is already gone?! If you also post this tag please let me know so I can come check out your answers!

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Review of Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Read for: Recently Added & I wanted to see what the hype was

Synopsis: "When New Yorker Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home and quality time with the man she hopes to marry. But Nick has failed to give his girlfriend a few key details. One, that his childhood home looks like a palace; two, that he grew up riding in more private planes than cars; and three, that he just happens to be the country’s most eligible bachelor. 
On Nick’s arm, Rachel may as well have a target on her back the second she steps off the plane, and soon, her relaxed vacation turns into an obstacle course of old money, new money, nosy relatives, and scheming social climbers."

My Review: So I have been curious about this series, so many people have loved it and I kind of wanted to see the movie (but of course you have to read the book first). I had no idea how long this book was, I had expected a quick, light summer read but it was definitely more than expected. In a way it reminded me of the epic poems like Iliad and Odyssey with the amount of listing of names and family lines and dropping of designer and artist names and on and on about the description of clothes and jewelry. I realize that a big portion of the book rests upon the insane amount of extravagance of their lifestyles but it got to be a little too much. I did enjoy the characters we go to know, Nick, Rachel, Astrid, Collin, etc. With that said, there just was not enough movement in the plot for me, especially for how long this book was, and the ending was so lack luster for me. I don't think I will continue with the series, but I will watch the movie and I think I will be satisfied with that (less time to show the opulence).

My Rating: While I did like how the relationships shifted and changed throughout the book, I don't feel like it was quite worth all of this book. If it was at least beautiful, lyrical writing maybe but it was not.  I can only give this one One Paw and a Stump Wag.

Monday, July 1, 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

Manticore's Vow & Other Stories by Cassandra Rose Clarke
Once and Future by Amy Rose Capetta & Cori McCarthy
Bike Lesson by Stan & Jan Berenstain (Early Reader)

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

Emperor of the Evening Stars
Innings and Outs of Baseball
Bike Lesson
Sea Sirens
Crazy Rich Asians
Dark Shores

Currently Reading:


Pages Read/ Time Listened
351:45 Hours Listened (13:53 listened this week)
17,246 Pages Read (837 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
Shadow of Doubt
Gates of Stone
A Conspiracy of Truths
Vortex Visions
Through the White Wood
Descendant of the Crane
Holy Sister
The Emperor of Evening Stars
Dark Harmony
We Rule the Night
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
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
The Monsters We Deserve
Strange Star
Hephaistos: God of Fire
Ghostly Tales from the Lost Summer of 1816
Till There Was You
Sea Sirens
The Bride Test
The Kingdom


So while it wasn't the most fantastic reading week last week, I feel like I am finally getting back to somewhat normal. Of course this week being a holiday week here, I doubt I will have much time to read between all the BBQs and Fireworks. I am super excited to be diving into this month's TBR.

What book are you most excited to read this month?

Sunday, June 30, 2019

June 2019 Challenge Update & July TBR

The year is half over! Yes you heard that right, we are halfway through 2019!  How on earth did that happen?!  June was not a great reading month for me, we had company at our house nearly all month, hubby was on vacation almost all month, school got out, baseball ended and major house construction is in full swing.  With all of that I am just happy I got any reading done.

Children's Books
30-40 books

Early Reader Books
30-40 books
11. Minions: Who's the Boss?
12. The Innings and Outs of Baseball
13. The Bike Lesson

Graphic Novel
25 books
14. The Iliad
15. Sea Sirens

Audio Book Challenge
50 books - (Caffinated Reader hosted)

35. Crazy Rich Asians

Classic Books
5 books
None (DNFed The Alchemist)

Big Books
10 books over 500 pages
6. Crazy Rich Asians

RI Authors
20 books

Borrowed Books
30-40 books
15 books

Beat the Backlist
75 books - (Novelknight hosted) - only using books I already own

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)
12. Sniper's Pride (Penguin First to Read)
13. The Iliad (Netgalley)
14. My Corner of the Ring (Blog Tour- Direct Request)
15. Manticore's Vow (Netgalley)
16. Sea Sirens (Direct from Publisher- Unsolicited)

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./ May) 
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/) - UNHAUL 
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/May) 
40. Shadow of Doubt (March/)
41. Gates of Stone (March/)
42. In Her Sights (March/April)
43. Nevermoor (March/May)  
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/May) 
54. A Strange Hymn (April/May) 
55. The Emperor of Evening Stars (April/June)
56. Dark Harmony (April/)
57. The Black Bull of Norroway (April/May) 
58. We Rule the Night (April/)
59. The Unbound Empire (April/)
60. The Opposite of Always (May/) - UNHAUL
61. The Sea Queen(May/)
62. The Mountain of Kept Memory(May/)
63. Metamorphica (May/)
64. Misfits of Avalon Vol. 1 (May/)
65. Misfits of Avalon Vol. 2 (May/)
66. The Sea King (May/)
67. Ride Hard (May/)
68. Ride Rough (May/)
69. Ride Wild (May/)
70. Irresistible Force (May/June)
71. Force of Attraction (May/)
72. Primal Force (May/)
73. Rival Forces (May/)
74. A Rogue by Any Other Name (May/)
75. A Scot in the Dark (May/)
76. The Day of the Duchess (May/)
77. The Pirate Bride (May/)
78. Pirate Stories (May/)
79. Man Made Boy (May/)
80. This Monstrous Thing (May/)
81. The Case of the Missing Moonstone (May/June) *
82. Dear Santa (May/)
83. An Endless Christmas (May/)
84. Christmas Magic (May/)
85. Falling Softly (May/)
86. Christmas Town (May/)
87. The Christmas Star (May/) 
88. Crazy Rich Asians (May/June) *
89 Once and Future (May/June)
90. Highland Crown (May/)
91. Her Royal Highness (May/May) 
92. Things My Son Needs to Know About the World (May/May) 
93. Seal's Honor (May/May) 
94. Gris Grimly's Frankenstein (June/)
95. The Case of the Counterfeit Criminals (June/)
96. The Case of the Perilous Palace (June/)
97. The Strange Case of the Alchemists Daughter (June/)
98. The Beholder (June/)
99. Lovestruck (June/)
100. We Hunt the Flame (June/)
101. Romanov (June/)
102. Dark Shores (June/ June) *
103. Dreaming the Bear (June/)
104. A New Hope (June/)
105. The Trial of Joan of Arc (June/)
106. Midsummer's Mayhem (June/)
107. Monsters (June/)
108. The Monsters We Deserve (June/)
109. Strange Star (June/)
110. Hephaistos: God of Fire (June/)
111. Ghostly Tales from the Lost Summer of 1816 (June/)
112. Till There was You (June/)
113. Sea Sirens (June/June) *
114. The Bride Test (June/)
115. The Kingdom (June/)

January Reading Stats:
I read a total of 18 books this month
3,008 pages read and 1 day, 8 hours and 1 minute of listening

Resolutions Check in:
1. Borrow More Books: I did borrow a couple of books this month, though at least for next month this will be cut back because I just have too many on my shelves to read. - CHECK
2. Purchase Less Books: Lat year in June I added 20 books to my shelves, this year I added 21. For the second month in a row I failed at this, time for a bit of a shopping ban! - :(
3. Read Big Books: I squeaked in just at the end of the month with a 527 page book, I didn't even realize Crazy Rich Asians was that long! - CHECK
4. Re-Read More: I have not re-read anything in the past couple of months but again I have so many new books to get to, I am okay with this for now. -  :(
5. Put Less Pressure and Stress on Myself: With how busy this month is, I had no choice but to let some things slide. I am actually surprised with how calm I have been about the missed posts on here and on my Instagram, even the lack of reading going on. - CHECK


I think I have been a little too laid back with my TBR, I am a goal oriented person and need that extra drive sometimes to read more.  While I am giving myself a tougher TBR this month, I am picking some lighter reading.   So in addition to my Medieval Readathon TBR (posted yesterday) here are the books I want to read in July . . .

For fun
Holy Sister
Highland Crown
The Pirate Bride
Force of Attraction
Till There was You
Midsummer's Mayhem
Descendant of the Crane
Hephaistos: God of Fire
Misfits of Avalon Vol. 1 and Vol. 2

and for requested reviews
Spin the Dawn
Window on the Bay
The Book Charmer
Unbreak Me

So how are your challenges going? Are you behind on a few like me? Or are you right on track or even a little ahead of the game?