Saturday, February 22, 2020

Graphic Novel Review of Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker and Illustrated by Wendy Xu

Read for: Graphic Novels & Borrowed Books

Synopsis: "A story of love and demons, family and witchcraft.

Nova Huang knows more about magic than your average teen witch. She works at her grandmothers' bookshop, where she helps them loan out spell books and investigate any supernatural occurrences in their New England town.

One fateful night, she follows reports of a white wolf into the woods, and she comes across the unexpected: her childhood crush, Tam Lang, battling a horse demon in the woods. As a werewolf, Tam has been wandering from place to place for years, unable to call any town home.

Pursued by dark forces eager to claim the magic of wolves and out of options, Tam turns to Nova for help. Their latent feelings are rekindled against the backdrop of witchcraft, untested magic, occult rituals, and family ties both new and old in this enchanting tale of self-discovery."

My Review: I have heard so much about this book so decided to pick it up from my library. It was such a cute little story with an interesting cast of characters. Many readers will really enjoy the diversity and representation in this story that just seems so smooth and just fits. It was also a fun magical journey, it would have been great to read around Halloween, but it wasn't spooky. The romance element was nicely done, it plays a role in the plot but doesn't take over the story. I loved the illustration style, it was colorful and quirky that matched the tone of the story and the characters.

My Rating: This was cute and it was worth the read but I am glad I borrowed it from the library as I don't think this is one that I need to add to my collection.  It certainly feeds into the need of the masses for diverse books and adds a bit of whimsy and magic.  I give it a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Review of The Language of Fire by Stephanie Hemphill

Read for: Recently Purchased & Tome Topple

Synopsis: "The Language of Fire is a lyrical, dark, and moving look at the life of Joan of Arc, who as a teen girl in the fifteenth century commanded an army and helped crown a king of France.

This extraordinary verse novel from award-winning author Stephanie Hemphill dares to imagine how an ordinary girl became a great leader, and ultimately saved a nation.

Jehanne was an illiterate peasant, never quite at home among her siblings and peers. Until one day, she hears a voice call to her, telling her she is destined for important things. She begins to understand that she has been called by God, chosen for a higher purpose—to save France.

Through sheer determination and incredible courage, Jehanne becomes the unlikeliest of heroes. She runs away from home, dresses in men’s clothes, and convinces an army that she will lead France to victory.

As a girl in a man’s world, at a time when women truly had no power, Jehanne faced constant threats and violence from the men around her. Despite the impossible odds, Jehanne became a fearless warrior who has inspired generations."

My Review: In high school I was completely fascinated by Joan of Arc (referred to as Jehanne in this book), and I am so happy to see a few new books coming out inspired by her. I finally got a chance to pick this book up and it was so worth it. This book was written in verse and tells a story about her life from a young age before she began her journey to liberate France. This book was beautifully written and I found myself unable to put it down. Hemphill did a wonderful job of filling in gaps in the actual history with fiction that is believable and weaves nicely with the truth. While it is a book that is over 500 pages, between the verse style and the engrossing story, the pages flow beautifully. If you are looking for something a little different but beautiful, definitely pick this book up!

My Rating: This book was beyond what I expected, I read Voices last year and didn't expect anything to be able to compete with it, but this one certainly did.  I love how we were able to really follow her journey from before the beginning to after the end. I give it a rating of Four Paws!

Oddly enough, I am finding that so far (even though it is early) I am reading a book in verse or poetry every month. Do you have any great suggestions so I can keep this trend moving along?

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday: Recent Book Hangovers

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.  It is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, and you can find the list of topics on her page HERE.

This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic is all about those books that give us hangovers, make it hard to move forward to another book and new characters.  I usually manage to avoid book hangovers by binge reading series and by reading multiple books at once, but it is still inevitable that as a reader, I will get a book hangover occasionally. Here are the most recent books that I recall giving me book hangovers. . . .

Okay so this is a weird one to see pop out while I was looking back, but even though this was a pretty short book, and one outside my normal reading comfort zone, I could not stop thinking about this book! Even now, months after reading it, I still think about it.  It was such a bizarre book, it really toes that line of is it fact or fiction so well and makes you really wonder if there was this crazy doctor out there during that time period.  I have only seen one other friend even pick it up and I so want more people to talk to about this one!

Even Children's books can give you a hang over.  This book hit me and Munchkin at just the right time and it really made us pause to think about it.  I can't tell you how many times we re-read this book, or how long Munchkin carried it around in his backpack just to have it with him (I probably would have too if we had a second copy). 

This is book 5 in the Queen's Thief series, last year I spent an entire month in this world and with these characters catching up with the series in anticipation of the 6th and final book to come out.  Only after I had finished this one did I find out that the final book was pushed back almost a year and a half! Now my beloved characters are just left hanging, waiting for a conclusion and I am dying! 

This book! If you have been around here at all you will know Frankenstein is my all time favorite book and I tend to torture myself reading all these inspired by and re-telling books but they never hold up to the original, until this book!  It was so heart breaking that it is a standalone and I will probably never get as close to the original perfection as this book. I could only read it for the first time once!

And for the second time in as many months Kiersten White killed me! This was the third and final book in the And I Darken series.  I was listening to the end of this audio book on my way to an event to meet White and she killed me! The end of this series was brutal and heart breaking and so beautiful! Just thinking about it makes me NEED to re-read this series!

If you are looking for a book that will completely devastate you, leave you curled up under a blanket drowning in your own tears, unable to pick up another book, read this one.  I promise it is totally worth the pain! It has been over a year and a half since I read this book and I really want to read it but I know I am not ready for that kind of pain and heartache again so soon.

Oh man, this book, it was tedious and long and beautiful and bittersweet! This was one of my favorite books of 2018 but it broke my heart with how beautiful it is.  I haven't been able to bring myself to finish this series because of how this first book touched me. 

Okay so here is an example of a not so good book hangover.  I loved this series (well mostly, A Court of Wings and Ruin was a bit of a disappointment), but this book was such a let down.  It was a chance to get to revisit favorite characters without the threat of death for a change, but I was left with a completely bleh feeling.  It also landed in the middle of a string of eh books so it really made me start to question whether my taste in books was drastically changing or if I had just over read so much that I ran out of love for reading.  Let me tell you, that was the worst kind of book hangover.

When I first read this book 2 years ago, there was no news or date for the 2nd book, which when I picked it up I didn't realize it was the first book in a series.  So by the end of it I was insanely attached to the story and the characters, then it leaves off at a pretty big cliffhanger. I was frantic! I couldn't find anything that could compare, for months I tried recommendations from the library and the bookstore but nothing quite pulled me in the way this book did.  Thankfully, I finally got to re-read it just last month and immediately jump into the second book, but now comes the painful wait for the 3rd and final book!

Finally, the 10th most recent book hangover came from A Man Called Ove, this book had me right from the beginning and I couldn't stop reading, even though I kind of guessed where it would end up.  I loved this so much and was so glad I got to read it.  It was again one of my favorite books I read that year and so worth the hangover!

Isn't it funny how the books that gave us hangovers, so often end up being favorite books?! Have you read any of these, did they give you hangovers as well?  What was your most recent book hangover?

Monday, February 17, 2020

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

Everything by D.C. Stone
This is Not a Valentine by Carter Higgins ( Bedtime Story)
Faker by Sarah Smith
Rescuing the Ranger by Nicole S. Patrick

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

Love Is
This is Not a Valentine
The Language of Fire
Steel Crow Saga

Currently Reading:

Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow - Audio - 18%
The Good Ones by Jenn McKinlay - Audio/Print - on page 189 of 324
Basil of Baker Street by Eve Titus - Print - on page 36 of 113

Pages Read/ Time Listened
121:06 Hours Listened (23:20 listened this week)
4,639 Pages Read (592 this week)

Books Added to Shelves Recently: TBR
The Drum that Beats Within Us - READ
A Heart so Fierce and Broken - READ
Nameless Queen - READ
The Raven's Tale (gift) - READ
Steel Crow Saga - READ
The Language of Fire - READ
A Blight of Blackwings - READ
White Rose
Stealing Thunder (gift)
The Eyes of Tamburah (gift)
Talk to the Paw
The Wolf in the Whale


I have been so proud of myself with my reading lately, not only have I been mostly keeping up with my requested reviews, and reading books from the library, been doing pretty good on my TBR pile and controlling my book purchases and reading them as they come in . . . . until this week! Ooops I may have picked up a few new books, but at least 2 of the books don't count towards my purchases as one was a gift and one was a Goodreads giveaway book.   I am also feeling pretty accomplished, as we head into our second week of Tome Topple, I already have 2 books over 500 pages completed! I am in the process of reading 2 library books and I need to read one requested review (but that is also over 500 pages), but I am hoping to at least get well into Ruin before the end of Tome Topple.  I have today off work and Munchkin has the next week off of school so we will maybe take a couple of half days this week and squeeze in a little extra reading time.

I hope that you all enjoyed my week of romance books last week, it has been a few years since I have done a romance week and it was really fun.  I have been reading more romance this year than I have in the past few years and it has been refreshing, and a nice way to break up all those heavy, dense fantasy books.

Have you ever taken a day off work/school/life to read?

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Date Night with a Book: Rescuing the Ranger by Nicole S. Patrick

Date Night with a book is the new After Dark series of posts on my blog, books posted for Date Nights contain Adult  Romance themes and scenes. From now on I will keep my reviews of all books I read that have explicit scenes in them for Date Night posts for those of you who prefer to avoid them or easy to find for those of you who seek them out ;)

Read for: Requested Review

Synopsis: "Gabe Preston’s been sent on a mission: clean out his beloved grandmother’s house in Havenport and help move her into senior living—or so he thinks. Havenport had always been a special place to visit while growing up, but during this ride into town he finds more than he bargained for. Surviving multiple deployments as an Army Ranger hadn’t ever proved this type of challenging. All Gabe desires is to ride his motorcycle, enjoy his time out of the Army, and figure out his next stop in life. The best laid plans don’t necessarily work out when you’ve got a meddling, matchmaking grandmother.

Francesca Montefiore loves Havenport, and her recently acquired florist shop. She’s finally made a fresh start in her life, one stem at a time. When she’s “adopted” by the local Garden Club members she treasures the ladies as family, something she’d been sorely lacking. When her past comes back to threaten her contentment, she’ll need the help of one hunky, visiting Army Ranger, the Garden Club President’s grandson to come to her rescue. But will she be the one doing the rescuing instead?"

My Review: I love reading books with familiar settings, and even though Havenport is a fictional town, it is still has all the shore town Rhode Island feel. I love how even though this was a short book (under 200 pages), Nicole Patrick was still able to convey a backstory and connection between the characters with previous letters sent back and forth, so when they finally met the tension was already simmering. I did feel like we had a lot of character and connection build up but the conflict was rather rushed as was the resolution. I really wish we could have had a little more time in the book to let that danger build and let Gabe's alpha male, Army Ranger side have a little more time to shine. With that said, I really enjoyed this one and the connection between the characters and the characters themselves, even the side characters. I really hope we get a bit more of them in the future.

My Rating: This book was just perfect for a busy night read. It was short enough to read in a single sitting (or two) but still had characters and backstory enough to make the connections and relationships feel real. I do wish there was more build up of the plot and conflict but it was still a satisfying read.  I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.

 I received a complimentary copy of this book from Caffeinated PR, the above is my honest opinion.

You can find out more about Rescuing the Ranger and Nicole S. Patrick's other books on her Goodreads Page or Website.  You can also find more books set in the fictional town of Havenport Rhode Island on Goodreads.

Rescuing the Ranger was just released on Tuesday, February 11th so you can now pick up your own copy in digital format from Amazon or check your library's digital catalog.

And with that, my Romance week is complete.  I hope you enjoyed this week of a variety of romance books and posts, and I hope you will stop in on my Date Night with a Book features every other Saturday evening in the future.