Saturday, March 7, 2020

Graphic Novel Review of Real Friends by Shannon Hale & Illustrated by LeUyen Pham

Read for: Graphic Novel/ TBR/ Middle Grade March

Synopsis: "When best friends are not forever . . .

Shannon and Adrienne have been best friends ever since they were little. But one day, Adrienne starts hanging out with Jen, the most popular girl in class and the leader of a circle of friends called The Group. Everyone in The Group wants to be Jen's #1, and some girls would do anything to stay on top . . . even if it means bullying others.

Now every day is like a roller coaster for Shannon. Will she and Adrienne stay friends? Can she stand up for herself? And is she in The Group—or out?

Newbery Honor author Shannon Hale and New York Times bestselling illustrator LeUyen Pham join forces in this graphic memoir about how hard it is to find your real friends—and why it's worth the journey."

My Review: Boy can I sympathize with Shannon in this graphic novel! This book really captures the struggles of making and keeping friends from a young age all the way into middle school. I really enjoyed the illustration style of this one, the bright colors and the clear facial expressions added to the story. This is definitely a real life look at friendships, especially for young girls. It is always difficult to become one of the 'Group' and even harder to maintain that status, until you finally realize what real friendships should be like. This is a great book for young readers to pick up, no matter who it is, they will be able to find a character in the book to relate with, it might just open some eyes.

My Rating: I was never really one of the "Group" in my school but I was lucky to find a friend for life before I ever entered school.  That said I had my fair share of struggles with finding and keeping friends, much like every other kid as they go through those awkward stages of growing up.  I give this one a rating of Four Paws and a Stump Wag!

Friday, March 6, 2020

Bedtime Story: How to Tie a Shoe and Other Big Adventures by Skip Hill

Read for: Requested Review/ Netgalley

Synopsis: "Every kid knows that tying a shoe can be a big adventure, especially in a world full of spaghetti, birds' nests, camping trips, and seeing old friends after summer break.

How to Tie a Shoe & Other Big Adventures is the first in a series of handbooks by Penny Candy Books exploring and unraveling the complexities of some of childhood's most essential lessons."

My Review:  If you have ever been around little kids, you will know teaching how to tie a shoe is not the easiest thing in the world. I expected this book to have fun and easy ways to tie shoes and the like, however it was not exactly an instructional book. Even though it doesn't really teach you how to tie a shoe, it is a really good book that helps with the anxiety of learning and teaching. I love how this book compares learning to tie a shoe with other things that seem intimidating but turn out to be really easy, like twirling spaghetti on a spoon, or greeting old friends after not seeing them for a long time. I love the concept of this book and honestly would have liked more.

My Rating: Even though this wasn't exactly the book I was expecting, it turned out to be something pretty special.  I wasn't a huge fan of the illustration style but the idea is still conveyed nicely.  I give it a rating of Three Paws.

I received a complimentary copy of this book via Netgalley, the above is my honest review and opinion.

How to Tie a Shoe and Other Big Adventures is scheduled for release on Tuesday, March 10th so you can pre-order your copy now in print format from Amazon or Barnes & Noble or request it at your local library or independent bookstore.

Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Review of Pop Flies, Robo-Pets and Other Disasters by Suzanne Kamata

Read for: Netgalley/ Requested Review

Synopsis: "Thirteen-year-old Satoshi Matsumoto spent the last three years living in Atlanta where he was the star of his middle-school baseball team—a slugger with pro potential, according to his coach. Now that his father's work in the US has come to an end, he's moved back to his hometown in rural Japan. Living abroad has changed him, and now his old friends in Japan are suspicious of his new foreign ways. Even worse, his childhood foe Shintaro, whose dad has ties to gangsters, is in his homeroom. After he joins his new school's baseball team, Satoshi has a chance to be a hero until he makes a major-league error."

My Review:  I am always on the lookout for baseball themed books for Munchkin and I was rather curious about this one because of the title. What I wasn't expecting from this book is all the interesting Japanese baseball history, I had no idea about many of famous baseball players of the past. The Japanese setting of this book also added a unique element to the story and I feel like it brings a little more understanding that while people come from all parts of the world, there are still many similarities. While throughout the book Satoshi does tend to act like a typical middle school aged student with so much focus on favorite activities and occasional moody outbursts and worries about who to hang out with, Kamata does a great job of bringing the focus back to family and friends, responsibilities and dedication, and the way a simple decision and act can change the whole outlook.

My Rating: I really enjoyed this book and I think it will be one Munchkin will enjoy as well.  It is a great book for Middle Grade readers but anyone can enjoy it.  I give it a rating of Four Paws!

I received a complimentary copy of this book via Netgalley, the above is my honest review and opinion.

You can find out more about Suzanne Kamata and her books on her Goodreads Page or Website.

Pop Flies, Robo-pets and Other Disasters was just released on Tuesday, March 3rd and you can now pick up your own copy of it in print or digital format from Amazon or Barnes & Noble or ask for it at your local bookstore or library.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday: One Word Is All

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 for all those one word book titles. I didn't think that I would be able to find many but it turns out that, once I scrolled through Goodreads, many of my favorite books have one word titles.  So here are some of my favorites in no particular order . . .






So there are some of my favorite one word titles, have you read any of these? Do you prefer books to have simple titles or longer titles?

Monday, March 2, 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

The Raven's Tale by Cat Winters
Tucker: Eternity Springs by Emily March
If . . . by Sarah Perry (Bedtime Story)
The Good Ones by Jenn McKinlay (Date Night/ After Dark)

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

Ten Thousand Doors of January (DNF 72%)
Tucker: Eternity Springs
Pop Flies, Robo-Pets and Other Disasters
How to Tie a Shoe
There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed some Books
Talk to the Paw
Unspoken Name
Basil of Baker Street

Currently Reading:

Pages Read/ Time Listened
142:04 Hours Listened (12:30 listened this week)
7,191 Pages Read (1,404 this week)

Books Added to Shelves Recently: TBR
White Rose
Stealing Thunder (gift)
The Eyes of Tamburah (gift)
The Wolf in the Whale
~~~~~~~~~~March Birthday Waiver Books ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The Red Pencil
The Rain Dragon Rescue
The Order of the Unicorn
The Book of Boy
The Firefly Letters
All the Wandering Light
Life on the Leash
George and Lizzie
Phoenix Unbound
The Library of Ever
Family Pets
The Last Man


Wow! I can't believe March is already here.  This is usually my least favorite month (even though it is my birthday month), the weather is always cold and rainy and gloomy, there are no holidays off work and it just seems to take forever.  The good news is that the past couple of years have found March to be a much happier month with the Middle Grade March readathon all month long! I posted my sign up on Friday last week if you want to check out my TBR for the month.

 Since I have been doing so good on my reading goals and sticking to my limited book purchases, and being my birthday month, I decided to give myself a waiver for the first 2 weeks of this month. The books have already started rolling in, but luckily I already have plans to read many of these in the very near future. 

What did you pick up in your last book haul?

Sunday, March 1, 2020

February 2020 Wrap Up & March TBR

February is over and I am definitely getting spring fever already! While I didn't get as much reading done this month as I had hoped, what reading I did do was a lot of big books! I am feeling rather on track for this year for most of my challenges but I do need to step up my game working on the list of books from the last 3 years! 

First and foremost is my only actual challenge for the  year . . .

TBR Books from the Past 3 Years:
I read 4 books off the TBR list from the last 3 years, again, not as many as I wanted to read but with one pretty big book, I am okay with it.


I also read 2 more books off my older TBR (not included in the last 3 years of hauls):

2020 Books added to TBR & Read:
Since I am also limiting my book purchases this year and trying to keep up with reading them, I figured I better add a section to show you the new additions I have read.


February Additions:
I didn't do a great job of sticking to only one book per week purchased but since I was caught up on all the other books I had purchased so far this year, I figured why not! Also by the end of this month, it all evened out.  So far this year we have had 9 weeks and I have purchased 9 books and received 3 books as gifts. 

So of the 6 books I added this month, A Blight of Blackwings and Talk to the Paw have been read. Stealing Thunder and The Eyes of Tamburah were both gifts as well.  I am expecting this list to explode this next month due to the fact that it is my birthday month and I have an order from Book Outlet coming and a couple of little bookish shopping sprees planned for my birthday. But like I said at the beginning of the year, my birthday is one of the exceptions for my strict rules!

In other reading I am tracking this year, I read . . .

None this month

Borrowed Books:
2. Mooncakes
3. Ten Thousand Doors of January

Books Over 500 Pages:
3. Steel Crow Saga (528)
4. The Language of Fire (512)
5. Ruin (768) 

Requested Reviews:
Everything (Caffeinated PR)
Rescuing the Ranger (Caffeinated PR)
If . . . (Netgalley)
Pop Flies, Robo-Pets and Other Disasters (Netgalley)
Dewdrop (Netgalley)
How to Tie a Shoe (Netgalley)
Tucker: Eternity Springs (Publisher)
The Unspoken Name (Netgalley)

January Reading Stats:
I read a total of 23 books this month
4,178 pages read and 2 days, 16 hours and 8 minute of listening

Resolutions Check in:
1. Read that TBR: Once again I didn't quite meet my goal for reading books off my TBR with only 4 books plus 2 not included in the original lists; but like last month I am still really happy with the progress with one of the bigger books off that TBR.  - CHECK
2. Purchase Less Books: Technically I am still on target with only purchasing one book per week, even though they were more lumped together. I do need to work on catching up with reading those books though.- CHECK
3. Read Big Books: I am insanely happy with the progress on this front, thanks to Tome Topple, I read 3 books over 500 pages, one of which was over 750! I also read a couple that came very close as well.  With only 2 months in I have read over half of my goal of 10 books over 500 pages!  I am going to give myself a little pass for March (even though I have one on my TBR) - CHECK 
4. Interact: I haven't been doing as well with this as I had planned. It has been a bit chaotic in the office this month with both work and school holidays (Munchkin comes to the office with me and makes it even harder to keep up with work). I have however been making sure to interact here and on Instagram with those who comment and I have been linking up when needed for series posts (Can't Wait Wednesday). So I am going to call it a win for now but mark it down for needing further improvement. - CHECK


I wasn't quite able to read all the books on my TBR for last month but I find I am continuing to pile on overly ambitious TBRs.  March brings not only my birthday month but also Middle Grade March! So I am looking at pushing through a big pile of books (you can check out my Middle Grade March TBR posted last Friday, the list is too long to include here). With that said, as much as I love MG books, I do need some more adult books to balance things out and I am trying to squeeze in my last winter atmospheric reads before spring really gets in full swing here.

For TBR List
The Winter King
The Bromance Book Club
Queen of Nothing
The Test
The Winternight Trilogy
Treading Water Series (Books 1-4)
The Last Man (Instagram Readalong)

Yikes! Looks like I have a lot of reading to do this month but I am so looking forward to it! Do you ever make too large of a TBR for the month?