Saturday, October 5, 2019

Graphic Novel Review of Quiet Girl in a Noisy World by Debbie Tung

Read for: Recently Added & Graphic Novel Challenge

Synopsis: "Sweet, funny, and quietly poignant, Debbie Tung’s comics reveal the ups and downs of coming of age as an introvert.

This illustrated gift book of short comics illuminates author Debbie Tung's experience as an introvert in an extrovert’s world. Presented in a loose narrative style that can be read front to back or dipped into at one’s leisure, the book spans three years of Debbie's life, from the end of college to the present day. In these early years of adulthood, Debbie slowly but finally discovers there is a name for her lifelong need to be alone: she’s an introvert.

The first half of the book traces Debbie’s final year in college: socializing with peers, dating, falling in love (with an extrovert!), moving in, getting married, meeting new people, and simply trying to fit in. The second half looks at her life after graduation: finding a job, learning to live with her new husband, trying to understand social obligations when it comes to the in-laws, and navigating office life. Ultimately, Quiet Girl sends a positive, pro-introvert message: our heroine learns to embrace her introversion and finds ways to thrive in the world while fulfilling her need for quiet."

My Review: I have never read a book I could relate to more! These little comics about being an introvert and the landmines associated with the personality were so spot on. I loved reading it and have instructed both my son and husband to read it as well in hopes they can gain more understanding in what makes me tick. It was such an enjoyable read with such an impact.

My Rating: I have never found a book that I could connect with on the level of this one! I can't even put into words how perfect it is.  I have to give it a rating of Four Paws and a Stump Wag and encourage anyone who is an introvert or lives with/loves an introvert to go pick it up!

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Review of A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness and Illustrated by Jim Kay

Read for: Recently Added

Synopsis: "An unflinching, darkly funny, and deeply moving story of a boy, his seriously ill mother, and an unexpected monstrous visitor.

At seven minutes past midnight, thirteen-year-old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom window. But it isn't the monster Conor's been expecting-- he's been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he's had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments. The monster in his backyard is different. It's ancient. And wild. And it wants something from Conor. Something terrible and dangerous. It wants the truth. From the final idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd-- whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself-- Patrick Ness has spun a haunting and darkly funny novel of mischief, loss, and monsters both real and imagined."

My Review: I have heard so much about this book and I have eyeing it for quite a while, so when it went on sale at B&N I decided it was time to pick it up. I absolutely love the art in this book, it was stunning and adds so much to the story. As far as the story, it was a bit confusing at first but as the story goes along and we get more information, you really grow to care for the characters. I like how it depicts the stages of grief and the struggles of being a teen with an ill family member. Conor was a character so many can relate to and his emotions and actions as well. I do find that this book contained a lot of symbolism, which I was not interested in analyzing but it can be read and enjoyed at the surface or you can delve deeper into what lies beyond the words on the page. Truly a beautiful and emotional story that will have you riding that roller coaster right along with the characters.

My Rating: This was such an emotional story to read, beautifully written and the illustrations were beyond fantastic.  It was dark and mournful but still some lightness, really just a beautiful book whether you read it to the depths of the symbolism or for the surface story.  I give it a rating of Four Paws!

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Review of A Hero Born by Jin Yong & Translated by Anna Holmwood

Read for: Netgalley/Requested Review & Audio Book

Synopsis: "The epic Chinese classic and phenomenon published in the US for the first time!

A fantastical generational saga and kung fu epic, A Hero Born is the classic novel of its time, stretching from the Song Empire (China 1200 AD) to the appearance of a warlord whose name will endure for eternity: Genghis Khan. Filled with an extraordinary cast of characters, A Hero Born is a tale of fantasy and wonder, love and passion, treachery and war, betrayal and brotherhood.

And then a hero is born...

After his father, a Song patriot, was murdered, Guo Jing and his mother fled to the plains and joined Ghengis Khan and his people. Loyal, humble and driven, he learned all he could from the warlord and his army in hopes of one day joining them in their cause. But what Guo Jing doesn’t know is that he’s destined to battle an opponent that will challenge him in every way imaginable and with a connection to his past that no one envisioned.

With the help and guidance of his shifus, The Seven Heroes of the South, Guo Jing returns to China to face his foe and carry out his destiny. But in a land divided by treachery and war, betrayal and ambition, he’ll have to put his courage and knowledge to the test to survive."

My Review:  I have heard a lot about this book and have been curious to give it a try. I started off reading the digital version and it was slow going for me. This is not uncommon for me as I generally struggle a bit with books based on or set in eastern cultures. So when it was released on audio book I downloaded that to read side by side and it went much better. At times this story was super interesting and intriguing, I found the time we spent with Charity & Lily Li to be the most interesting, it read the smoothest of all the story. After that it started jumping from character story to character story line but I didn't spend enough time with any of them to really connect with them. One of the things that I really struggled with in this one (and all similarly set books) were the names, all the characters are referred to by several different names and they are often very similar to other characters, so it was extremely confusing; fortunately, this book included a character list at the front so you knew to refer to it as necessary. I think this would be great for those who are really interested in Martial Arts, even though I spent years watching my brother take classes, I still really struggled to wrap my head around all the various forms and moves described throughout this book. I also think that this would adapt to film really well and I would enjoy watching it (I am sure with it having been popular in the original language for so long it has already been adapted into non-english formats). I would also recommend not reading the introduction as it doesn't do a great job of setting you up for the story, it only served to confuse me. With that said, now that I have read it once and kind of understand the characters and the story a little more, I believe a re-read would be vastly more enjoyable.

My Rating: I feel if this book would have been broken up into 2 smaller books it would have been more enjoyable. It is clear that it follows 2 different generations and character groups with a large bit of time missing in the middle.  It made it a bit confusing to jump from Charity and Lily Li's story to their sons' story without really knowing.  I give it a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag. It is clear that this is quite the saga and it is suited to a particular audience, I would need to re-read it a few times to be able to fully grasp and appreciate the story.

I received a complimentary copy via Netgalley. The above is my honest review and opinion.

You can check out A Hero Born and the rest of the Condor Heroes series on Jin Yong's Goodreads Page.

A Hero Born has just been released in the US though it has been released throughout the world in previous years.  You can now obtain this new translation in print or digital format from Amazon or Barnes and Noble or check at your local library.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

September 2019 Challenge Update & October TBR

Children's Books
30-40 books
19. Thunder Horse
20. The Word Collector

Early Reader Books
30-40 books

Graphic Novel - COMPLETE
25 books
23. Girl from the Other Side Vol. 1
24. Quiet Girl in a Noisy World
25. Girl from the Other Side Vol. 2
26. Tea Dragon Festival
27. Plum Crazy Vol. 1

Audio Book Challenge - COMPLETE
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
29. Annihilation

15 books
10. Catwings Return

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)
25. Truth About Cowboys (Netgalley)
26. Thankful Unicorn (Pump Up Your Book)
27. A Hero Born (Netgalley)
28. Dragons in the Clouds (Pump Up YouR Book)
29. Clueless Cabot (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./ ) - UNHAUL
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/July)
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/September)
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/) - UNHAUL
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/July) 
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/) - DNF/UNHAUL
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/) - UNHAUL
96. The Case of the Perilous Palace (June/) - UNHAUL
97. The Strange Case of the Alchemists Daughter (June/)
98. The Beholder (June/) - UNHAUL
99. Lovestruck (June/) - UNHAUL
100. We Hunt the Flame (June/)
101. Romanov (June/)
102. Dark Shores (June/ June)
103. Dreaming the Bear (June/)
104. A New Hope (June/September)
105. The Trial of Joan of Arc (June/) - DNF
106. Midsummer's Mayhem (June/July)
107. Monsters (June/)
108. The Monsters We Deserve (June/)
109. Strange Star (June/September) *
110. Hephaistos: God of Fire (June/July)
111. Ghostly Tales from the Lost Summer of 1816 (June/)
112. Till There was You (June/July)
113. Sea Sirens (June/June)
114. The Bride Test (June/August)
115. The Kingdom (June/July)
116. Storm and Fury (July/)
117. Queen of Ruin (July/July)
118. Stepsister (July/August)
119. The Lost Vintage (July/) - UNHAUL
120. Becoming the Dark Prince (July/July)
121. Kingdom of Exiles (July/September)
122. The Beckoning Shadow (July/) - UNHAUL
123. The Thankful Unicorn (July/September)
124. Star Wars: Pirate Price (July/August)
125. Spin the Dawn (July/July)
126. Clue by Clue (August/August)
127. Honeybees and Frenemies (August/)
128 The Sticky Rice Caper (August/August)
129. Lando's Luck (August/August) 
130. Turning Darkness into Light (August/September)
131. A Monster Calls (August/September)
132. Master & Apprentice (August/) 
134. The Chosen (August/)
135. The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend (August/)
136. Mortal Engines (August/)
137. Evvie Drake Starts Over (August/)
138. Merciful Crow (August/)
139. The Bridge Kingdom (August/)
140. Girl From the Other Side Vol. 2 (August/September)
141. The Girl from the Other Side Vol. 1 (September/September)
142. Darkdawn (September/)
143. The Girl the Sea Gave Back (September/ August)
144. A Crash of Fate (September/)
145. Black Spire (September/)
146. Capturing the Devil (September/)
147. The Testaments (September/)
148. Quiet Girl in a Noisy World (September/September)
149. Plum Crazy Vol. 1 (September/September) *
150. The Missing Bookshop (September/)
151. Tea Dragon Festival (September/September) *
152. The Warrior Moon (September/)
153. A Thousand Roads Home (September/)
154. The Sasquatch Escape (September/)

155. The Lonely Lake Monster (September/)

January Reading Stats:
I read a total of 23 books this month
2,037 pages read and 1 days, 14 hours and 14 minute of listening

Resolutions Check in:
1. Borrow More Books: I did borrow one book this month  -  CHECK
2. Purchase Less Books: Last September I purchased 20 books and this year I purchased 15.- CHECK
3. Read Big Books: I read a few that were over 400 pages but none over 500 even though I have some I really wanted to read! - :(
4. Re-Read More: I re-read one of my favorites from childhood with Munchkin - CHECK
5. Put Less Pressure and Stress on Myself: I am really not doing good with this at all. I have myself so stressed out in life in general, it doesn't take much for this blog to become an added stress as well.  I am debating taking the month of November off regular posting and see how it goes and see if I can get back on track.  I have never in the 9 years of blogging taken a hiatus and it feels weird and almost like a betrayal to even think about it. - :(


So I have been doing pretty good on my challenges, it is exciting to see some with the COMPLETE next to them! But there are others that I really need to get going on.  I have also been saving up some spookier and atmospheric books to read in October and I ended up saving a few too many! This will be the TBR I die beside LOL! So many awesome books though that I just can't help but put them on my TBR.  I also need to get started on Advent Reads books, I need to have at least 5 done this month, 10 next month and 10 in December to keep on top of it.  And I have a romance convention to go to in October so I want to read some steamy books leading up to it as well.  So many books so little time!

For fun
Phoenix Empress
Capturing the Devil
Dark Harmony
Secret Hunger and Secret Need
A Thousand Roads Home
The Sasquatch Escape and The Lonely Lake Monster
The Missing Bookshop
Ghostly Tales from the Lost Summer of 1816
The Strange Case of the Alchemists Daughter
Gris Grimly's Frankenstein
The Monsters We Deserve
This Monstrous Thing
The Resurrectionist
The Dark Deep
The Picture of Dorian Gray
The Queens of Renthia Trilogy
An Endless Christmas
Dear Santa

and for requested reviews
Christmas Angels
Let it Snow
Its a Christmas Thing
Christmas Calendar Girls

What books are you reading during these months that suit the season (whether it be spring or fall where you are)?

Monday, September 30, 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

The Thankful Unicorn by Hayley Rose
Turning Darkness Into Light by Marie Brennan
Clark the Shark and the Big Book Report by Bruce Hale (Early Reader)
The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

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

A Hero Born
Dragons in the Clouds
Clueless Cabot
Tea Dragon Festival
Catwings Return
Plum Crazy Vol. 1

Currently Reading:

Pages Read/ Time Listened
477:07 Hours Listened (18:42 listened this week)
26,551 Pages Read (734 this week)

Books Added to Shelves Recently: TBR
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
Dark Harmony
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
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
Man Made Boy
This Monstrous Thing
Dear Santa
An Endless Christmas
Christmas Magic
Falling Softly
Christmas Town
The Christmas Star
Gris Grimly's Frankenstein
The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter
We Hunt the Flame
Dreaming the Bear
A New Hope
The Monsters We Deserve
Strange Star
Ghostly Tales from the Lost Summer of 1816
Storm and Fury
Kingdom of Exiles
The Thankful Unicorn
Honeybees and Frenemies
Turning Darkness into Light
A Monster Calls
Master & Apprentice
The Chosen
The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend
Mortal Engines
Evvie Drake Starts Over
Merciful Crow
The Bridge Kingdom
The Girl From the Other Side Vol. 2
The Girl from the Other Side Vol. 1
The Girl the Sea Gave Back
A Crash of Fate
Black Spire
Capturing the Devil
The Testaments
Quiet Girl in a Noisy World
Plum Crazy Vol. 1
The Missing Bookshop
Tea Dragon Festival
The Warrior Moon
A Thousand Roads Home
The Sasquatch Escape
The Lonely Lake Monster


I spent this last week listening to a lot of audio books and getting caught up on a few requested reviews. So while I am not knocking many off on my TBR list, I did read a lot! Can you believe that it is already October tomorrow?! We are having a beautiful fall so far and even though I really want to get into those more atmospheric books, it has been hard to pick them up when it is 70 and sunny! I have also been in the mood for some good tear jerkers, which is very much unlike me. I am not a mood reader and I am not a big crier so it has been a bit odd.   Anyway, things are odd all around here so I guess it is a good time to start heading into October!