Saturday, June 6, 2020

Graphic Novel: Forté by Manon Heugel and Illustrated by Kim Consigny

Read for: Graphic Novel, music, Netgalley/Requested Review

Synopsis: "Flavia Antunes grew up in a favela. Her father was a casualty of gang warfare; her mother, a cleaning lady, is all she has left. That is, until she meets Mr. Lima, a wealthy old man who introduces her to her future: the piano. Music will take her far from home, all the way to a prestigious Paris conservatory. Being a foreign student is hard: low-paying jobs, prejudiced landlords, competitive peers. But Paris also has its perks, like love, friendship, and undreamt-of opportunities... Can Flavia find a way to balance the demands of the heart and her demanding art?"

My Review:  I was so excited to discover this graphic novel, I love when there is a focus on the arts in this format of story writing. Flavia's story is beautiful and bittersweet, from a childhood I couldn't imagine to working toward lofty goals and reaching them. The art style was beautiful and the color tones used in the illustration added an extra element to the story. This has also been translated into English and the translation is great, there are some lines that are not in English but I don't mind that as it also adds to the story and settings. Really a beautiful graphic novel, a bit of a hidden gem!

My Rating: I really enjoyed this graphic novel, the way that Flavia's life changed through determination, dedication and the support and love from others translated into a beautiful story.  I give this one 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 Manon Heugel's work on her Goodreads Page.

Forte was just released in English in April, so you can now obtain your own copy in digital format from Amazon, or request it at your local library.

Friday, June 5, 2020

Bedtime Story: Alya and the Three Cats by Amina Hachimi Alaoui & Illustrated by Maya Fidawi

Read for: Children's Books/ Netgalley/ Requested Review

Synopsis: "The arrival of a new baby seen by three adorable cats.

Maryam and Sami have three cats: Pasha the black angora cat―proud as a pasha really!―Minouche the grey tabby cat found in the street and Amir the playful Siamese. One day Maryam’s belly starts to get bigger and something starts to stir in it. Maryam disappears for a few days and comes back home with something that screams and demands a lot of attention. Their three cats are very confused. What’s going on?"

My Review: This is a very cute book about the changes in cats lives when a new baby is added to the family. I like how we got to know each of the cats before the story moved forward, they are each individuals and have their own stories and personalities. I loved the illustration style of the book too. While the book focuses on there being enough love in the family for the baby and 3 cats, this book could be used to introduce the idea to a child who will be getting a sibling, that there will be enough love for them still as well. This book does a great job of being soothing and caring while changes are coming.

My Rating: This is a beautifully done book, I didn't realize until after the fact that it was a translated book as well, the translation was so well done.  I think this book is a great book for bedtime, it is so soothing and has a great message.  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 this book and  Amina Hachimi Alaoui on her Goodreads page.

Alya and the Three Cats is scheduled to be released June 16th but you can pre-order your print copy now from Amazon or Barnes & Noble or request it at your local bookstore or library. 

Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Can't Wait for . . . Return of the Thief by Megan Whalen Turner

Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hoste at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they're books that have yet to be released. It's based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine. If you're continuing with WOW, feel free to link those up as well! Find out more here.

I was pretty late to the Queen's Thief world, only joining in last year but I totally binged the entire series and fell in love with it.  This was one of my most highly anticipated books of last year and was so sad when it got pushed to this year, but now it is almost here (hopefully for real this time). 

Return of the Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
Release Date: October 6, 2020 (but Audio book release date is August 25, 2020


Synopsis: "The thrilling, twenty-years-in-the-making, conclusion to the New York Times–bestselling Queen’s Thief series, by Megan Whalen Turner. This beloved and award-winning series began with the acclaimed novel The Thief. It and four more stand-alone volumes bring to life a world of epics, myths, and legends, and feature one of the most charismatic and incorrigible characters of fiction, Eugenides the thief. Now more powerful and cunning than ever before, Eugenides must navigate a perilous future in this sweeping conclusion. Perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo, Marie Lu, Patrick Rothfuss, and Sarah J. Maas.

Neither accepted nor beloved, Eugenides is the uneasy linchpin of a truce on the Lesser Peninsula, where he has risen to be high king of Attolia, Eddis, and Sounis. As the treacherous Baron Erondites schemes anew and a prophecy appears to foretell the death of the king, the ruthless Mede empire prepares to strike. The New York Times–bestselling Queen’s Thief novels are rich with political machinations, divine intervention, dangerous journeys, battles lost and won, power, passion, and deception."

Is there a fandom you were late to join but have come to love?

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Review of The Betrothed by Kiera Cass

Read for: Anticipated Release/ Recently Added/ Audio Book

Synopsis: "When King Jameson declares his love for Lady Hollis Brite, Hollis is shocked—and thrilled. After all, she’s grown up at Keresken Castle, vying for the king’s attention alongside other daughters of the nobility. Capturing his heart is a dream come true.

But Hollis soon realizes that falling in love with a king and being crowned queen may not be the happily ever after she thought it would be. And when she meets a commoner with the mysterious power to see right into her heart, she finds that the future she really wants is one that she never thought to imagine."

My Review: The Selection series is one of my guilty pleasure reads, so I was super excited to be getting a new book from her with a somewhat similar idea. I dove right into this book, not really checking the synopsis. We jump right into what feels like the middle of Hollis' story, she is clearly already into a relationship with King Jameson. We don't get to see what draws them together, and don't really get a warm and fuzzy feeling from their relationship. It is clear there is supposed to be a love triangle but it is definitely skewed, making it so there is little to no tension building. I felt like I never got a clear picture of who the characters are or even the world. It all felt a little rushed and glazed over, instead of fully immersing me in the world and story. Maybe it is just that the target audience is definitely a younger teen and I have outgrown much of a tolerance for the style of writing, and have come to expect much more depth in the books I read. I will still read the second book because I can't leave a duology unfinished but it definitely won't be a high priority.

My Rating: What a disappointment! I don't know if it is the fact that I am over Cass' writing or that she just isn't coming up with anything new or growing as an author but I was so underwhelmed.  The characters were flat, there was no connection or chemistry. The wow moments weren't there, and what was there just seemed like afterthoughts and purely there for the effect of 'wow, she went there'.  I finished this book less than a week ago and already had to look up the character names to write my review, so very forgettable.  So very sadly I give this a rating of One Paw and a Stump Wag.

Monday, June 1, 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

Of Literature and Lattes by Katherine Reay
Thank you, Omu! by Oge Mora (Bedtime Story)

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

Of Literature and Lattes
Marking Time

Currently Reading:

You Can't F*ck Up Your Kids by Lindsay Powers - Print - on page 43 of 320
Realm by Alexandrea Weis - ebook - on page 27 of 397

Pages Read/ Time Listened
431:23 Hours Listened (17:55 listened this week)
14,164 Pages Read (574 this week)

Books Added to Shelves Recently: TBR
White Rose  - READ
Stealing Thunder (gift) - READ
The Eyes of Tamburah (gift)
The Wolf in the Whale
~~~~~~~~~~March Birthday Waiver Books ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The Rain Dragon Rescue
The Order of the Unicorn
The Book of Boy
All the Wandering Light
Life on the Leash
Phoenix Unbound
Magic Bites - READ
Fantasy Lover
Night Pleasures
The Midnight Lie - READ
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
The Overdue Life of Amy Byler
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~End Birthday Waiver~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Red Hood (gift)
The Worst Best Man - READ
Scavenge the Stars
Hades & Persephone
Beachside Beginnings (gift) - READ
Finding Forever
Uncommon Type
Red, White & Royal Blue
The Monster of Elendhaven - READ
Sorcery of Thorns - READ
Beach Read
One and Only Bob - READ
Network Effect
Dark Skies
No Country for Old Gnomes (gift)
The World According to Star Wars (gift)
About That Kiss
The Ranger of Marzanna
The Betrothed - READ
Nightchaser - READ
Starbreaker - READ
A Heart of Blood and Ashes (gift)
The Girl and the Stars


Last week was such chaos! Both in the world and at home. We had a very busy schedule, figuring out the summer schedule for Munchkin, more hours in the office, final weeks of school, and hitting the house project hard.  I am looking forward to Munchkin finishing up this distance learning for the year, this is our final week! I am also really looking forward to him going to summer care so that I can get back to a normal schedule.  Even though it has been really nice  to be able to work from home, it is so much easier to do my job at the office (without distractions like a kid who needs to be entertained).

Here is to hoping the world finds a little comfort, peace and safety.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

May 2020 Challenge Wrap Up & June TBR

I spent most of this month listening to audio books, if I couldn't get a copy of a book from audible or the library Overdrive app, I really wasn't able to read it.  With that said, I did manage a lot more reading this last month than I had expected. I am hoping for an even better June since my schedule will be returning to something a little closer to normal. Audio books will still probably rule the day because I am now going to have an additional hour in the car each day traveling from and to Munchkin's summer care location. But enough about that, on to the books I read in May!

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

TBR Books from the Past 3 Years:
I only read 1 book off the TBR list from the last 3 years, but it was a big one!


I also read 1 book 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.  I actually read a lot more new releases this month than usual but it was nice to read so many of my new additions instead of just adding them to the massive TBR count.

May Additions:
I am one of the few people in the world who is thankful for some release dates getting pushed back, because otherwise this list would have been a lot worse than it already is, but luckily I have been relatively on top of reading these books.  I also picked up some books I have previously read to add to my physical shelves.

So of all those new books on my shelf, 2 were belated birthday gifts and 5 have already been read and 3 are top priorities for June, so I am pretty happy with only 7 being added to the TBR (soon to be only 4)

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


Borrowed Books:

Books Over 500 Pages:

Requested Reviews:
Stealing Thunder (Direct/Netgalley)
Beachside Beginnings (Pump Up Your Book)
Of Literature and Lattes (Netgalley)
Forte (Netgalley)

January Reading Stats:
I read a total of 18 books this month
________ pages read and ____ days, ____ hours and _____ minute of listening

Resolutions Check in:
1. Read that TBR: I definitely didn't hit my goal of reading 8-9 off my existing TBR, this was definitely a month for new books and re-reads. But I am okay with that. - :(
2. Purchase Less Books:I definitely did better than I have in previous years, partly due to release dates being pushed and partly because I have just been so darn busy I can't even find the time to go book shopping. But last year I purchased 34 books in May and the previous year it was 25, so this year's 12 is a pretty big success for me! - CHECK
3. Read Big Books: I read 2 books over 500 pages, not quite as many as I had hoped but I am still pretty thrilled, especially since Wrath was over 700! - CHECK 
4. Interact: Again, another month of barely keeping up with real life has led to much less online interactions, but I have been trying to keep up with at least story posts on Instagram and a few messages back and forth on there. - :/ 


I didn't quite conquer my May TBR so some of that has been pushed to June, I also have some books that have just been calling my name on my shelf, and of course the summer reading mood is hitting full swing, so once again this TBR is starting to get out of control a bit.

For TBR List
Uncommon Type
Queen's Peril
The Girl and the Stars
Network Effect
Books 3-5 Treading Water Series
The Mum Who'd Had Enough
I Needed a Viking
Beach Read
The World According to Star Wars
Get a Life, Chloe Brown
Undercover Bromance
A Heart of Blood and Ash
The Phoenix Empress
The Summer Dragon
How is everyone doing? Are you escaping into books or having a hard time fitting it into your new schedules?