Saturday, June 20, 2020

Graphic Novel: Banned Book Club by Kim Hyun Sook, Ko Hyung-Ju & Ryan Estrada

Read for: Netgalley/ Requested Review

Synopsis: "When Kim Hyun Sook started college in 1983 she was ready for her world to open up. After acing her exams and sort-of convincing her traditional mother that it was a good idea for a woman to go to college, she looked forward to soaking up the ideas of Western Literature far from the drudgery she was promised at her family’s restaurant. But literature class would prove to be just the start of a massive turning point, still focused on reading but with life-or-death stakes she never could have imagined.

This was during South Korea's Fifth Republic, a military regime that entrenched its power through censorship, torture, and the murder of protestors. In this charged political climate, with Molotov cocktails flying and fellow students disappearing for hours and returning with bruises, Hyun Sook sought refuge in the comfort of books. When the handsome young editor of the school newspaper invited her to his reading group, she expected to pop into the cafeteria to talk about Moby Dick, Hamlet, and The Scarlet Letter. Instead she found herself hiding in a basement as the youngest member of an underground banned book club. And as Hyun Sook soon discovered, in a totalitarian regime, the delights of discovering great works of illicit literature are quickly overshadowed by fear and violence as the walls close in.

In BANNED BOOK CLUB, Hyun Sook shares a dramatic true story of political division, fear-mongering, anti-intellectualism, the death of democratic institutions, and the relentless rebellion of reading."

My Review:  Honestly, when I first picked up this book, I did because of the title, having not read the synopsis. I had no idea how much politics were going to be in this book, but it wasn't a bad thing. It is amazing how this true story still has a connection and an impact today. This turned out to be a very timely book to read. I had no idea how much of an impact protests and young generations of university students had on the political climate in South Korea. I did enjoy the art style but with some of the smaller frames it was difficult to identify the various characters. Overall, this was a really good graphic novel and, like I said earlier, a very timely one.

My Rating: I found this to be a really interesting and eye opening read.  It was not a graphic novel you pick up and just power through in a single sitting, it takes more time to absorb.  I give it a rating of Three 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 the authors on their Goodreads pages: Kim Hyun SookKo Hyung-JuRyan Estrada

Banned Book Club was just released on May 19th, so you can pick up your own copy in print format from Amazon or Barnes & Nobles.  You can also request it at your local book store or comic book store or library.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Bedtime Story: Max Spaniel: Dinosaur Hunt by David Catrow

Read for: Bedtime Story

Synopsis: "Bestselling illustrator David Catrow has written and illustrated an easy-to-read story about a hilarious hound dog!

Max Spaniel is a daffy hound dog who one day decides to go on a dinosaur dig. But what Max thinks are dinosaur parts is just a lot of junk--or is it? As Max puts his fossils together, readers will see how the random objects Max finds--including a football, a hockey stick, and an old boot--transform into a living dino!

New readers will laugh out loud as they follow the fantastical thoughts of this wacky hound. The ingenious story, by David Catrow, is easy to read with lots of visual humor."

My Review: This was such a great book for young readers, about level 1 step up/leveled reader books. It is perfect for little dinosaur fans, and a great way to jump start some creativity and imaginative play. Max Spaniel is a fun character and I wish I had known about this series when Munchkin was little. The sentences were short with a lot of sight words and repetition. The print was also bold and easy to read. The illustrations were bright and colorful, so it works great for young readers to read to younger siblings and friends. It was very cute and fun, and a lot of young readers will really enjoy it.

My Rating: I really like how not only does this book include a fun and likable character on an adventure but it is also creative and can jump start some imaginative play for young readers.  I give it a rating of Four Paws!

Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag

I have been seeing this tag pop up all over the place lately and while I wasn't tagged, I did want to participate.  I believe the original was created by ReadLikeWildfire on Youtube, but feel free to correct me if I am wrong.  Obviously I am updating it to be current to this year. So on with my freak out  . . . 

Best Book You've Read So Far in 2020
This was completely unexpected, but once again thanks to Booktube SFF Awards for introducing me to another amazing book. This was a quick, super intense ride and I highly recommend the audio book!

Best Sequel You've Read So Far in 2019
After a super traumatizing first book in the Treading Water series for one character in particular, this sequel was a must read!

New Release You Haven't Read, But Want To
There are so many new releases I haven't gotten to yet, but here are a few priorities that have been calling to me . . .

Most Anticipated Release of the Second Half of the Year
Once again, there are so many books coming out that I can't wait to get into my hands. July seems to be a particularly busy month since so many releases were pushed back. But there are 3 in particular that I am super anxious for . . .


Biggest Disappointment
As you probably know, Frankenstein is my all time favorite book, so when a fellow fan decided to host a readalong of another one of Mary Shelley's books, I was so excited.  While it was a big disappointment not to love this book as much Frankenstein. I do have to say though, reading it February into March was definitely a perfect yet totally creepy time to pick it up.

Biggest Surprise
I finally gave into all the hype about this book, but I was going in with not huge expectations, but I was very pleasantly surprised!

Favorite New Author (Debut or New to You)
I have discovered a few new to me authors this year but two that really stand out to me

Newest Fictional Crush
This doesn't happen very often but I have such a girl crush on Razia! She is smart, quick witted, talented and completely unapologetic about who she is!

Newest Favorite Character
Not so much a single character but more of a group of characters (and this might be a bit spoilery but I will keep it as vague as possible), the sibling group from the Bridge Kingdom, again they are clever and strong and ruthlessly brutal, and I love it!

Book that Made You Cry
I have purposely been avoiding books that will trigger emotions for me, I already have enough going on, but this one book makes me tear up just from the pure beauty of the relationship in it

Book that Made You Happy
I am totally counting that I finally have this one after waiting for 2 years

Favorite Book to Film Adaptation You Saw This Year
I hardly ever watch movies, but I am super excited to see The One and Only Ivan!

Favorite Review You've Written This Year
You know what is fun?! Writing a review for a book you have re-read, when it came to The Bear and the Nightingale, I was excited to write my re-read review because I enjoyed it so much more the second time around.

Most Beautiful Book You Bought (or received) This Year
Okay, there is no way I could limit this down to just one book, so here are a few of the stunning books I have added to my shelves this year. Let me tell you that these cover pictures do them no justice, it is the combination of the cover, the naked hardback and added extra touches like deckled edges.

What Books Do You Need to Read by the End of This Year
HAHAHAHA So many books!! I had set out with a goal to read at least 100 books from my purchases in the last 3 years, so far I have only read or unhauled 27 of those books, granted I have also read 12 books that were already on my TBR shelf, so I guess when you look at it that way, I am not too far behind that goal.  But I do want to focus on a few more things.

First, I have been doing a really great job of finishing series this year (or at least caught up to publication), I have finished the Faithful and the Fallen Series, The Bargainer Series, The Folk of the Air series, the Winternight Trilogy and am on the last book in the Treading Water series.  So I want to keep that going and finish/read these series . . .

Their Bright Ascendancy Trilogy

Chronicles of the Warlands

The Great Library Series

Queens of Renthia Series

Warrior Wolves Series

So there are a few of the books I still want to get to this year LOL! I also have a bunch of reviews to read, which I hope to catch up on, especially since my new kindle should be arriving soon and I can stop trying to read on the computer all the time.

So are you freaking out yet because half the year is already gone?! If you also post this tag please let me know so I can come check out your answers!

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Review of Network Effect by Martha Wells

Read for: Anticipated Release/ Audio book/ Recently Added

Prior Murderbot Diaries Books:

Synopsis: "Murderbot returns in its highly-anticipated, first, full-length standalone novel.

You know that feeling when you’re at work, and you’ve had enough of people, and then the boss walks in with yet another job that needs to be done right this second or the world will end, but all you want to do is go home and binge your favorite shows? And you're a sentient murder machine programmed for destruction? Congratulations, you're Murderbot.

Come for the pew-pew space battles, stay for the most relatable A.I. you’ll read this century.

I’m usually alone in my head, and that’s where 90 plus percent of my problems are.

When Murderbot's human associates (not friends, never friends) are captured and another not-friend from its past requires urgent assistance, Murderbot must choose between inertia and drastic action.

Drastic action it is, then."

My Review: I absolutely love the Murderbot books and was really excited to get a full length novel, I was a little nervous about attempting a full length sci-fi. I am happy to say, since I was already familiar with the universe of the Murderbot Diaries, I didn't really struggle with the setting of this one, I was able to wrap my puny human brain around most of the unusual things we encountered throughout the story. That said, this book has been set up as a stand alone novel, so if you are used to sci-fi, you could probably jump right in, we do follow after the other 4 books of the series but it doesn't pick up right where they left off, some time has passed. Network Effect does jump into the action pretty quickly, with a few flash backs here and there, and it doesn't really stop the whole time. *spoiler alert* We get some more ART in this book, and we get right back to the banter between Murderbot and ART with a few new twists along the way. I loved some of the crazy twists that are thrown our way, especially near the end of the book! Those pesky emotions really get in the way. While this was a completely satisfying read, there is definitely an opening for future books and I cannot wait for more!

My Rating: I will read anything Murderbot related at this point! I am loving the direction that Wells is taking the story and characters.  I can't help but give this book a rating of Four Paws! It didn't even feel like we were reading a full length novel, the action kept such a fast pace. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Review of Queen's Peril by E. K. Johnston

Read for: Anticipated Release/ Audio Book/ Recently Added

Synopsis: "When fourteen-year-old Padmé Naberrie wins the election for Queen of Naboo, she adopts the name Amidala and leaves her family to the rule from the royal palace. To keep her safe and secure, she’ll need a group of skilled handmaidens who can be her assistants, confidantes, defenders, and decoys. Each girl is selected for her particular talents, but it will be up to Padmé to unite them as a group. When Naboo is invaded by forces of the Trade Federation, Queen Amidala and her handmaidens will face the greatest test—of themselves, and of each other."

My Review: This was one of my most anticipated releases of this year and as soon as it was released I dove right in. I loved this book, we get to see the beginning of Padme's journey as Queen Amidala, as well as the origin of the Handmaids and the persona of Amidala. Granted, I am still new to all the new cannon Star Wars books but I am really loving how we get so much off screen story that works with the movies and fills in the gaps, with this book we start a little before Phantom Menace but we do get bits and pieces that fill in during the movie as well. I love how we got to see more of Padme's strengths and intelligence in this book, she is such an underrated character in the movies, and I absolutely love seeing the way she manages to take what power she is given and manipulate it into something she is in control of instead. We also get to know the handmaids and the roles they play in developing the Amidala persona, the way they had to work to perfect it for all of them. In addition to all that (yes there is more) we get more background on other players in the movie saga, even Darth Maul and Palpatine! I so enjoyed the details this book fills in and I really hope there is more to come!

My Rating: I absolutely loved this book, I am so glad that Padme is starting to finally get the recognition she deserves! I can't help but give this a rating of Four Paws and a Stump Wag!

Monday, June 15, 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

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

Queen's Peril
Max Spaniel: Dinosaur Hunt
Network Effect
Evvie Drake Starts Over

Currently Reading:

You Can't F*ck Up Your Kids by Lindsay Powers - Print - on page 98 of 320
Realm by Alexandrea Weis - ebook - on page 46 of 397
The Ranger of Marzanna by Jon Skovron - print/ebook - on page 134 of 528

Pages Read/ Time Listened
459:31 Hours Listened (28:08 listened this week)
14,204 Pages Read (40 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 - READ
Dark Skies
No Country for Old Gnomes (gift)
The World According to Star Wars (gift) - READ
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
A Choir of Lies
Loving Cara
Queen's Peril - READ
This Will Kill That
One to Watch
Woven in Moonlight


Yet again, it was another transitional week around here.  Munchkin started summer camp (which is more of a regular babysitter).  I tried to use last week to get some stuff taken care of at home before being back in the office full time but that didn't really happen, work was just too crazy for me to accomplish anything.  I did however finally get my nails done again, and it is surprising how much more put together I feel just having that one little thing done.

In book news, due to having to run Munchkin back and forth, I am getting a lot more audio book time in.  I will probably continue leaning heavily on audio books in the car until I can catch up in the office and be able to read ebooks  a bit more. There are so many books I want to read right now! I haven't been doing the best job of reading the books that I have purchased in the past 3 years, but I did just go through and purge my shelves a bit, so I will have to go through my list some time this week and clear it out a bit.