Saturday, March 21, 2020

Graphic Novel Review of The Arrival by Shaun Tan

Read for: Graphic Novel/ Borrowed Books

Synopsis: "In a heartbreaking parting, a man gives his wife and daughter a last kiss and boards a steamship to cross the ocean. He's embarking on the most painful yet important journey of his life- he's leaving home to build a better future for his family.

Shaun Tan evokes universal aspects of an immigrant's experience through a singular work of the imagination. He does so using brilliantly clear and mesmerizing images. Because the main character can't communicate in words, the book forgoes them too. But while the reader experiences the main character's isolation, he also shares his ultimate joy."

My Review: This book has been on my wishlist for quite a while, so when I saw it available in the library I grabbed it. This is a completely wordless graphic novel, but the sentiment of the story is conveyed beautifully through the illustrations. The fact that it is wordless also works with the story as our character tries to learn the language and ways of a new country. I love the way we are taken on a journey to meet new characters from all kinds of new and different places. It is a wonderful example of working together to make a great society. I loved this book and will definitely be tracking down my own copy.

My Rating: This might have been one of the most beautiful graphic novels I have ever read, both in the story and the illustrations! I cannot fully express how wonderful this one is and I can't wait to get my own copy.  So of course, I give it a rating of Four Paws and a Stump Wag!

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Middle Grade Book Tag

It has been quite a while since I have done a book tag but when I saw Life Between Words, one of our hosts, post this Middle Grade Book Tag during our Middle Grad March Readathon, I thought it was about time to post one again.  As I said I saw this tag on Life Between Words but it was originally created by The Curly Reader.  So here we go . . .

What is the last MG book you read?
What is a MG book someone read to you as a child?
My Mom was constantly reading to us as kids, definitely instilled a love of books in me. But I most remember her reading the Little House on the Prairie series to us. I think my favorites were Little House in the Big Woods, Farmer Boy and On the Banks of Plum Creek.
What was your favorite MG book as a child?
I was a complete horse nut and loved all of Marguerite Henry's books but my favorite was probably King of the Wind.
What is your favorite MG book as an adult?
Gosh there are so many, how could I possibly narrow it down?! For the past 3 years I have been participating in Middle Grade March and now Munchkin is reading MG too, so I have read countless books in the past few years, but I think one that really stands out and that I recommend to everyone is The Wild Robot.
Who is your favorite MG author?
I have in the past few years discovered Katherine Applegate, I have been working my way through her backlist and I have to say, I don't think I have come across a book of hers that I didn't like. Each one has been unique and touching.

What MG book do you think should be required reading in school?
There are so many fantastic MG books that should be read and discussed in school, and many of them already are currently. One in particular that I think would be great for schools is Gone Fishing by Tamera Will Wissinger. This book not only tells a story about family but the reader also gets to experience a wide variety of poetry and prose styles, and they are all explained in the book as well.

What is your favorite MG book cover?

What is your favorite MG book to screen adaptation?
I don't tend to watch a lot of movies, so I kind of struggle with this one. I guess maybe Black Stallion would qualify.  I do need to rectify this and watch some more movies, especially The Book Thief and Because of Winn Dixie.

So tell me about some of your Middle Grade favorites and memories.  Or post your own Middle Grade Book Tag.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Review of The Last Dogs by Joe Siple

Read for: Requested Review/Netgalley/ Middle Grade March

Synopsis: "In a time when nearly all dogs have been euthanized as a safety precaution, fifth-grader Ashley Dubois and her friend Mason discover a book that claims something unbelievable—that people and dogs once lived happily together. They seek a mad scientist named Dr. Bukowski to discover the truth.
Meanwhile, Amy-Bell, a Great Dane mix, is separated from her owners during a round-up of the few remaining dogs. As the reluctant leader of a small group of dogs who escaped, Amy-Bell tries to care for them.
When Ashley and Mason find Dr. Bukowski and his pack of renegade dogs, they’re shocked to find the animals aren’t vicious killers. So they join the quest to save the last dogs—Amy-Bell and her pack—before it’s too late."

My Review: Can you imagine life where dogs are the mortal enemy and being exterminated to extinction? Yeah, me neither, so as a dog lover I was really intrigued by this book. It was a perfect book to pick up during Middle Grade March. It is great for young readers from 7 to 10 but I think readers of all ages would really enjoy it. The story takes place in Colorado in a setting about 70-80 years in the future, so it makes it easy for young readers to picture. I enjoyed the characters and quirky Dr. Bukowski was a great character, a grown up figure but like that odd great uncle. We also get the point of view from one of the dogs, Amy-Bell, which I think a lot of dog lovers will really enjoy. As an adult reader, I really enjoyed the story but it feels like just the tip of the iceberg, there is so much more that can happen after this story ends.

My Rating: This was a really great book that gives readers a little something different than I have seen in a lot of Middle Grade books. I think young readers and older readers alike will really 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 Joe Siple and his books on his Goodreads Page or Website.

The Last Dogs was released in January, so you can obtain your own copy in print or digital format from Amazon or in print format from Barnes & Noble or request it at your local library or independent bookstore.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday: Spring TBR

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.

Can you believe it is already time to start talking about Spring TBRs?! I can't, but here we are anyway.  Here are the top ten books on my spring TBR.  


So there are the books that are at the top of my TBR from now until the end of May. I am really excited about the variety of genres and new releases and backlist books on this list. What books are you planning to read this spring?

Monday, March 16, 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 Unspoken Name by A. K. Larkwood
The Test by Sylvain Neuvel
There Was an Old Lady who Swallowed Some Books by Lucille Colandro (Bedtime Story)
Last Couple Standing by Matthew Norman (Date Night with a Book)

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

Bromance Book Club
The Black Cauldron
The Library of Ever
The Last Dogs

Currently Reading:

Last Man by Mary Shelley - Audio/Print - on page 180 of 432
Spark by Sarah Beth Durst - Print - on page 86 of 320

Pages Read/ Time Listened
190:26 Hours Listened (14:38 listened this week)
8,835 Pages Read (319 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 - READ
All the Wandering Light
Life on the Leash
George and Lizzie
Phoenix Unbound
The Library of Ever - READ
Family Pets
The Last Man
Magic Bites
Fantasy Lover
Night Pleasures
The Midnight Lie
You Can't F*ck Up Your Kids  (gift)
Mary Shelley Monster Hunter Vol. 1
The Caged Queen
The Mum Who'd Had Enough
Ash and Quill
The Voyage to Magical North
I Needed a Viking
Smoke and Iron
Hurricane Dancers
The Overdue Life of Amy Byler
The Test - READ
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~End Birthday Waiver~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


This week's reading wasn't quite as successful as last week's, but like everyone else it has been a mad scramble around here to prepare for working and schooling from home.  As I type this, I am running the office from home and trying to do my best to home school Peanut with little guidance or preparation.  The good news is that we are all healthy and safe, and I hope you and all your loved ones are as well.

I am hoping that having this time at home will allow for some extra reading time but I highly doubt that will happen as I will still be working full time and taking on the role as educator as well. This will be a big test to my patience.

What comfort books are you reading to get through these anxious times?