Friday, April 3, 2020

Bedtime Story: Dewdrop by Katie O'Neill

Read for: Requested Review/Netgalley/ Anticipated Release

Synopsis: "The tale of an axolotl who cheers on his underwater friends as they each bring their talents to the pond's sports fair! 

Dewdrop is an easygoing, gentle axolotl who enjoys naps, worm pie, and cheerleading. When the yearly sports fair nears, he and his friends—Mia the weightlifting turtle, Newman the musical newt, and three minnows who love to cook—get ready to showcase their skills to the whole pond! However, as the day of the fair gets closer, Dewdrop's friends can't help putting pressure on themselves to be the best. It's up to Dewdrop to remind them how to be mindful, go at their own pace, and find joy in their own achievements."

My Review:  I have come to absolutely adore Katie O'Neill's art and writing, so of course I jumped at a chance to read her newest release. This is written as a graphic novel but it reads like a children's picture book. It is a great story for all ages, full of finding ways to help others even if you don't have the ability to physically help them. The illustrations are absolutely adorable and I love all the different critter characters. Definitely a book to be adding to the shelves.

My Rating: I absolutely adore Katie O'Neill's illustration style and she always has such great messages in them, and this story was no different. I loved this story and think it is great for everyone! I give it a rating of Four Paws and a Stump Wag!

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

You can find out more about Katie O'Neill and her books on her Goodreads Page or Website.

Dewdrop releases on Tuesday April 7th, but you can pre-order your copy now in print or digital format from Amazon or in print format from Barnes & Noble or request it at your local independent bookstore or library.

Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Review of Spindle and Dagger by J. Anderson Coats

Read for: Requested Review/Netgalley/ Anticipated Release

Synopsis: "This rich literary novel follows Elen, who must live a precarious lie in order to survive among the medieval Welsh warband that killed her family.

Wales, 1109. Three years ago, a warband raided Elen’s home. Her baby sister could not escape the flames. Her older sister fought back and almost killed the warband’s leader, Owain ap Cadwgan, before being killed herself. Despite Elen’s own sexual assault at the hands of the raiders, she saw a chance to live and took it. She healed Owain’s wound and spun a lie: Owain ap Cadwgan, son of the king of Powys, cannot be killed, not by blade nor blow nor poison. Owain ap Cadwgan has the protection of Saint Elen, as long as he keeps her namesake safe from harm and near him always.

For three years, Elen has had plenty of food, clothes to wear, and a bed to sleep in that she shares with the man who brought that warband to her door. Then Owain abducts Nest, the wife of a Norman lord, and her three children, triggering full-out war. As war rages, and her careful lies threaten to unravel, Elen begins to look to Nest and see a different life — if she can decide, once and for all, where her loyalties lie. J. Anderson Coats’s evocative prose immerses the reader in a dark but ultimately affirming tale of power and survival."

My Review:  I am a big fan of books set in medieval times and when I came across this book I was really intrigued. It was a fairly short book but it took quite a while to read. I really wanted to enjoy this book and at times I really did but overall it was a bit lack luster. A lot happens but at the same time not a lot does, it has a slow pace with not a lot of ups and downs. I couldn't connect with the characters or story. With that said, the way the world at the time is portrayed shows the brutal and harsh world women were forced to navigate with little to no power. I think it was a pretty accurate portrayal. There is also a theme of PTSD running throughout the story, Elen is forced to deal with the past trauma on her own and in her own way. While it wasn't a book that was easy reading, it was a well researched portrayal of the life of women at the time.

My Rating: I was a little disappointed with this book, it was a slow and tedious read but it was well researched. I just lacked any kind of connection with the characters or story.  I give it a rating of Two 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 J. Anderson Coats and her books on her Goodreads Page or Website.

Spindle and Dagger was released on March 10th so you can obtain your own copy now in print or digital format from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

March 2020 Wrap Up & April TBR

Well, what started off as a really great reading month, dissolved quickly.  Like for so many others in the world, our life was flipped on its head but at least we have a life still. Between setting up a home office and diving head first into homeschooling/ distance learning, there has been little time for reading since the first couple weeks of March.  But I did get some reading done this month!

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 3 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.


March Additions:
I clearly didn't do go a good job of limiting my purchases this month but I gave myself a waiver for my birthday (and I went a little crazy), I also picked up a bunch more later in the month after they closed the libraries and were closing the bookstores as well, but April I will be getting myself back on the railroad tracks!


So that is  lot, I added 32 books to my shelves this month, not at all what I had planned on for this year but I am still okay with it, books are comfort.  But of those 32 books, 2 of them were gifts and 7 have been read and 1 DNFed.  So when you break it down I only have 24 left to read from this month, totally doable!

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


Borrowed Books:
4. The Test (borrowed, read & then purchased)
5. The Arrival
6. The Queen of Nothing
7. Sorcery of Thorns

Books Over 500 Pages:

Requested Reviews:
Last Couple Standing (Netgalley)
The Last Dogs (Netgalley)
The Alekizou (Direct)
The Elephant's Guide to Hide and Seek (Netgalley)
Spindle and Dagger (Netgalley)

January Reading Stats:
I read a total of 24 books this month
2,294 pages read and 4 days, 8 hours and 50 minute of listening

Resolutions Check in:
1. Read that TBR: I have not been doing great at this and once again fell short of my goals. I am going to call this a miss for the month. - :(
2. Purchase Less Books:Even though this was my birthday month I still purchased way morn books than I should have this month.- :(
3. Read Big Books: After the past couple months of getting through a lot of big books, I decided to give myself a pass this month. - CHECK 
4. Interact: I have been so completely overwhelmed this month that I have been pretty bad about interacting, but honestly real life and mental health comes first. - :(


I have not been reading very much in the midst of all this chaos, simply due to time constraints. It is so hard to read while working at home and teaching and still maintaining the house. So while I want to read a lot, I am going to have to cut down on my TBR list.

For TBR List
White Rose
Murderbot Series
Magic Bites
Honeybees and Frenemies
Dark Harmony
The Deep
To be Taught, if Fortunate
This is How You Lose the Time War

How is everyone doing? Are you escaping into books or having a hard time fitting it into your new schedules?

Monday, March 30, 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 Library of Ever by Zeno Alexander
The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black
Not the Girl You Marry by Andie J. Christopher (Date Night/After Dark)

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

The Last Man
Sorcery of Thorns
Hurricane Dancers

Currently Reading:

You Can't F*ck Up Your Kids by Lindsay Powers - Print - on page 43 of 320
Spindle and Dagger by J. Anderson Coats - Ebook - on page 52 of 305

Pages Read/ Time Listened
246:54 Hours Listened (34:19 listened this week)
9,485 Pages Read (160 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 - READ
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 - DNF
Phoenix Unbound
The Library of Ever - READ
Family Pets - READ
The Last Man - READ
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 - READ
The Overdue Life of Amy Byler
The Test - READ
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~End Birthday Waiver~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Red Hood
The Worst Best Man
Scavenge the Stars

We have been working hard here, trying to settle into our new normal and I think we have started to get there.  I am so glad Munchkin is such a mellow and studious kid, it is not hard to get him to focus on his work each day.   On the other hand, my reading has suffered the most in all of this.  I used to have time at the office to read in between clients and phone calls, now all that spare time is used to help the little man with his school work. I am finding the only time I have to read is at the end of the day and only audio books while I scramble to get the house chores done and set up for the next day of school and work.  I find myself a bit envious of those who are off work and have time to purge and organize their homes, or spend large chunks of time reading, crafting or playing games with the family, but I know how fortunate I am that both Hubby and I are still both working and collecting pay checks.

With that thought in mind, I am going to start a bit of a new feature on both my blog and instagram pages.  If you have been around here for a while, you will know that I really like supporting my local authors.  I am going to take this a step further and try to feature local and independently published authors as well as small businesses. While I still have the ability and the means I will be trying to order/shop at small businesses and purchase from independent authors, I will then post both here and on instagram with a feature of them and link so you, if you have the ability, can also join me in supporting them.  On that note, I would like to hear from you about some of your favorite shops and authors to support or feature.  So please let me know!