Saturday, August 8, 2020

Date Night with a Book: Flirtasaurus by Erin Mallon

 Date Night with a book is the new After Dark series of posts on my blog, books posted for Date Nights contain Adult  Romance themes and scenes. From now on I will keep my reviews of all books I read that have explicit scenes in them for Date Night posts for those of you who prefer to avoid them or easy to find for those of you who seek them out ;)

Read for: Anticipated Release/ Recently Added/ Audio Book

Synopsis: "My name is Calliope and "I bone for a living." Kidding. I am studying to be a paleontologist though. It's the only thing I've ever wanted to be, and I have finally landed the perfect museum internship to make all of my dino-loving dreams come true.

Trouble is, everyone wants me to be a gentle, loving sort of creature, but I'm more of the T-Rex type by nature - the kind who is determined to stomp and tear her way through any obstacle in order to get what she wants.

But when a sexy, rumbly-voiced astronomer plummets into my orbit and threatens to break open my hard little heart, my career and my whole way of looking at the world is suddenly on the line.

The dinosaurs didn't see their asteroid coming.

And I sure as hell wasn't prepared for mine."

My Review: Well, I don't think I have ever had a book make me laugh this hard! With that said, it is not going to be for everyone. This is definitely an adult themed book with lots of cursing, sex scenes and more adult themes throughout. There is definitely opportunity for some readers to find some things offensive in it but again, this is a work of fiction that is meant to have a bit of a comedy of error humor to it. I loved Calliope, she was determined and confident but had a bit of an immaturity to her that screams early 20s first real job. Her lack of humor and narrating of the story just got me. The banter between her and Ralph for the most of the book was epic. Normally characters like Ralph would irritate me, just being a little too perfect to imagine being real, but he was necessary to balance out the over the top Calli. Like I said, this book made me laugh like crazy, and it was just what I needed. It was short, fast and completely entertaining. The author also narrates the books and I highly recommend because she puts the spin and emphasis on the parts that she intended to give it that extra dose of humor. I am really looking forward to more books in this series!

My Rating: You kind of know what is coming with this book, but getting there is just so funny. I laughed so hard my son started to get worried because he has never heard that level of full gut busting laughter. I was thoroughly entertained and couldn't stop reading. I give it a rating of Four Paws!

Friday, August 7, 2020

Bedtime Story: Chicken on Vacation by Adam Lehrhaupt and Illustrated by Shahar Kober


Synopsis: "Zoey the chicken needs a vacation!

Zoey knows you don’t need to go to the shore to have the perfect beach day...but you do need a great imagination and a treasure map! Will Zoey lead her barnyard pals to buried treasure?

Chicken on Vacation is a Level One I Can Read, which means it's perfect for children learning to sound out words and sentences.

From the author-illustrator duo that brought you the hilarious Chicken in Space, Chicken in School, and Chicken in Mittens, a Level One I Can Read that School Library Journal calls “a fun book that is perfect for budding readers.”"

My Review: I am new to the Chicken books but it looks like there are quite a few. It maybe would have been helpful to start with a book that introduces the characters but it isn't necessary. This is a great book for this summer where so many of us are having to vacation near home. It sparks a bit of imagination and creates a fun adventure from nothing. Young readers will have a blast creating their own mini vacations at home. This was a great level one book, simple words and a lot of repetition, bold text and great illustrations.

My Rating: This is such a great book to spark creativity and new ideas on how to make this time at home fun and special.  I give this one a rating of Four Paws!

Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Blog Tour & Review of Her Second Chance Cowboy by Makenna Lee

Read for: Requested Review/ Tour/ Cowboy Romance!

Synopsis: "Wealthy cowboy, James MacLachlan, is content running his massive family ranch and starting an equine therapy program for special needs children. After his mother died in childbirth, and witnessing his father’s destruction at the loss of true love, James sticks to casual affairs. Marriage and children are risks he won’t take.

Reese Turner visits Cypress Creek, Texas, to complete a photo assignment for National Geographic and buy back her grandparents’ cottage. After disastrous romances, she’s sworn off men to focus on her career. Marriage and the babies she longs for can wait. When she runs into an old flame, she decides she can live out a fantasy, then leave town to pursue her dreams. But love doesn’t play by the rules…"

My Review:  I am such a sucker for cowboy romances! I haven't read anything by Lee before and I was excited to see if she brought anything new to the cowboy romance sub-genre. She did not disappoint me. I loved the blend of small town/ranch life with a bit of mystery and some twists on some common tropes. I admit that I was a little worried when one of my least favorite tropes started being foreshadowed early in the book but I am really happy with the way she twisted it in a different way. I really enjoyed James and Reese as characters, both of them were well developed with a lot of backstory and many, many flaws. I enjoyed how their relationship grew, it had to overcome many obstacles and missteps. I am really hoping we get to see more of them, maybe in a story about Finn (because we need to find out what happened and what will happen).

My Rating: I really enjoyed this book, it has been a while since I last got to pick up a cowboy romance (they were all starting to be a little too similar), and this was so much more than a simple romance.  I enjoyed the characters and the way Makenna Lee twisted some of those too often seen tropes.  I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Pump Up Your Book, the above is my honest review and opinion.

Her Second Chance Cowboy was released on July 20th, so you can obtain your own copy now in print or digital format from: 

Amazon →

Entangled Pub

She opened the driver’s side door, then turned to tell him good night. “Thanks for dinner.” Was that her voice sounding all breathy and wanton?
“You’re welcome. If you come out first thing in the morning, we can get an early start and go for a ride. And work on my great-great-grandfather’s mystery.”
“I like that idea.” Get in, Reese. Drive away. Instead, she brushed a leaf from his shoulder.
His full lips lowered to the corner of her mouth. The caress was gentle. Brief.
The simple, innocent kiss hit a switch inside her. One that hadn’t been tripped since their last kiss, over eleven years ago. One that other men had not managed to tap into. Her entire body warmed, sparking a shiver and a desire to stay, but she needed tonight to gather herself.
This was her chance to stay in the cottage and convince him she could take care of it. Not the start of a summer romance.
But could she manage a temporary romantic reunion?

Makenna Lee is an award-winning romance author living in the Texas Hill Country with her real-life hero and their two children. Her oldest son has Down syndrome and taught her to appreciate the little things, and he inspired one of her novels. As a child, she played in the woods, looked for fairies under toadstools, and daydreamed. Her writing journey began when she mentioned all her story ideas, and her husband asked why she wasn’t writing them down. The next day she bought a laptop, started her first book, and knew she’d found her passion. Makenna is often drinking coffee while writing, reading, or plotting a new story. Her wish is to write books that touch your heart, making you feel, think, and dream. She enjoys renaissance festivals, nature photography, studying herbal medicine, and usually listens to Celtic music while writing. She writes for Entangled Publishing and Harlequin and believes everyone deserves a happy ending.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Review of The Book of Dragons Edited by Jonathan Strahan

Read for: Anticipated Release/ Netgalley/ Requested Review

Synopsis: "Scott Lynch, R.F. Kuang, Kate Elliott, Ken Liu, Todd McCaffrey, Garth Nix, Peter S. Beagle, and other modern masters of fantasy and science fiction put their unique spin on the greatest of mythical beasts — the dragon — in never-before-seen works written exclusively for this fantasy anthology compiled by award-winning editor Jonathan Strahan and with art by Rovina Cai!

Here there be dragons . . .

From China to Europe, Africa to North America, dragons have long captured our imagination in myth and legend. Whether they are rampaging beasts awaiting a brave hero to slay or benevolent sages who have much to teach humanity, dragons are intrinsically connected to stories of creation, adventure, and struggle beloved for generations.

Bringing together nearly thirty stories and poems from some of the greatest science fiction and fantasy writers working today — Garth Nix, Scott Lynch, R.F. Kuang, Ann Leckie & Rachel Swirsky, Daniel Abraham, Peter S. Beagle, Beth Cato, Zen Cho, C. S. E. Cooney, Aliette de Bodard, Kate Elliott, Theodora Goss, Ellen Klages, Ken Liu, Patricia A McKillip, K.J. Parker, Kelly Robson, Michael Swanwick, Jo Walton, Elle Katharine White, Jane Yolen, Kelly Barnhill, Brooke Bolander, Sarah Gailey, and J.Y. Yang — and illustrated by award-nominated artist Rovina Cai with black-and-white line drawings specific to each entry throughout, this extraordinary collection vividly breathes fire and life into one of our most captivating and feared magical creatures as never before and is sure to become a treasured keepsake for fans of fantasy, science fiction, and fairy tales."

My Review:  How could I not be excited about a book full of dragons, not to mention some of the top authors in fantasy and science fiction! While this was a pretty chunky book, the stories were pretty easy to read in single sittings. I loved the variety of genres in this book, I expected mostly high fantasy style books but there were a lot of sci-fi and urban fantasy style stories. There were also several poems scattered throughout the book. As with any anthology collection, there are going to be stories that suit you, some that blow you away and some that just don't work for you; but I have to say, overall I really enjoyed every story in this book! Even though the authors sometimes had to create a whole world and story within a few pages, each one felt so complete and satisfying. This book also featured several authors that I wanted to read but have been hesitant to pickup due to the size of their books, so it was a great way to see if their writing style works for me (and I can say, I am not going to hesitate any longer). Some of my favorites from the collection include La Vitesse by Kelly Robson, The Long Walk by Kate Elliott, Hoard by Seanan McGuire and The Nine Curves River by R.F. Kuang. This was a fantastic collection of stories and I am definitely going to be adding a copy to my shelves.

My Rating: This was a book I am very glad I took my time to savor, it took me nearly a month to read it with only reading a story a day or every few days.  It was one of my favorite anthology collections to date. I loved so many stories throughout this book and am excited to explore more works from several of the authors.  I give it a rating of Four Paws!

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

You can find out more about this book and the authors involved in the Goodreads Page or Website.

The Book of Dragons was released on July 7th, so you can obtain your own copy now in print or digital format from Amazon or Barnes & Noble or request it at your local library or bookstore.  It is also available in audio, which I did sample and it is great!

Monday, August 3, 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

Steel Tide by Natalie C. Parker
Shielded by KayLynn Flanders
Lola Hopscotch and the First Day of School by Marie Whittaker (Bedtime Story)
Beauty and the Beast by Jessica Gunderson (Graphic Novel)

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

Book of Dragons
Her Second Chance Cowboy

Currently Reading:

You Can't F*ck Up Your Kids by Lindsay Powers - Print - on page 98 of 320
The Ranger of Marzanna by Jon Skovron - print/ebook - on page 134 of 528
Death by Dumpling by Vivien Chien - print - on page 109 of 328

Pages Read/ Time Listened
587:34 Hours Listened (7:05 listened this week)
17,527 Pages Read (976 this week)

Books Added to Shelves Recently: TBR
The Eyes of Tamburah (gift)
The Wolf in the Whale
~~~~~~~~~~March Birthday Waiver Books ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The Rain Dragon Rescue
The Order of the Unicorn
All the Wandering Light
Life on the Leash
Phoenix Unbound
You Can't F*ck Up Your Kids  (gift)
Mary Shelley Monster Hunter Vol. 1
The Caged Queen
The Mum Who'd Had Enough
The Voyage to Magical North
I Needed a Viking
The Overdue Life of Amy Byler
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~End Birthday Waiver~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Red Hood (gift)
Scavenge the Stars
Hades & Persephone
Red, White & Royal Blue
Dark Skies
No Country for Old Gnomes (gift)
About That Kiss
The Ranger of Marzanna
A Heart of Blood and Ashes (gift)
The Girl and the Stars
A Choir of Lies
Loving Cara
This Will Kill That
Woven in Moonlight
Girl of Fire & Thorns (gift)
Murder Past Due
Books Can Be Deceiving
Due or Die
Book Line and Sinker
Apple Cider Slaying
All My Loving
Fury of a Phoenix
Homicide in Hardcover (gift)
Unravel the Dusk
Ruthless Gods
Mexican Gothic
Happy and You Know It - READ
Flirtasaurus - READ
At Wolf Ranch (gift)


I can't believe we are in August. While the year seems to be flying by quicker than I can read, it is also really dragging in live in general.  I am really hoping that school is back in session this fall (safely) because I need a little separation and alone time from Munchkin. Having him by my side nearly all day every day has really made all aspects of life so much more difficult. I also want to get back at least a little of my reading time!  With all that said like so many other parents, I am still worried about his health and safety going back to school. 

So about that reading list, I have kind of given up on my goal of reading 100 of the books I purchased last year.  Instead I am working on focusing on the books I have purchased so far this year.  So that is what I will be reading more than anything right now.  That and getting caught up on requested reviews.  I made a good dent in them over the past couple of weeks, still a few more to catch up on and some to get ahead with too. 

What books are you focusing on reading?

Sunday, August 2, 2020

July 2020 Wrap Up and August TBR

Well, July was a bit of a disappointing reading month, probably one of my worst reading months in years.  With that said, I set out this month planning to focus on purchasing less books and getting catching up on my requested reviews.  With that in mind, it was a pretty successful month. I only purchased 6 books (and read 4 of the books I have picked up this year), I also read 3 borrowed books, 1 book over 500 pages and read 9 of my requested review books!

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

TBR Books from the Past 3 Years:
I only read/ DNF 1 book off the TBR list from the last 3 years, also ended up Unhauling the rest of the series as well.

I didn't read any books off my older TBR (not included in the last 3 years of hauls):

2020 Books added to TBR & Read:
As I said above, this might have been one of my worst reading months. I did manage to read some recent purchases and a couple of them were amazing!

June Additions:
I set out at the beginning of the year to only purchase 1 book per week with a couple of exceptions. Obviously the past couple of months, I have kind of failed at that goal.  But the good news is that i have nearly gotten myself back on track with it.

So in the 5 weeks of this month, I have only added 6 books and one of them was a gift so it doesn't count.  I also read 2 of them.  So based on the last couple of months, I feel like this is major progress. Now with all the releases coming out in the next 2 months, I can't guarantee I will be able to stick with this goal!

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


Borrowed Books:

Books Over 500 Pages:
9. Book of Dragons (579)

Requested Reviews:
Lola Hopscotch and the First Day of School (Direct)
Book of Dragons (Netgalley)
Her Second Chance Cowboy (Pump Up Your Book)

July Reading Stats:
I read a total of 19 books this month
2,191 pages read and 3 days, 5 hours and 58 minute of listening

Resolutions Check in:
1. Read that TBR: I have pretty much given up on this goal, if I can just focus on not adding to it at this point I will be happy. - :(
2. Purchase Less Books:Last year I had purchased 10 books in July, this year it was 6. Less, definitely, 1 book a week? Still not yet but I am happy with it.  - CHECK
3. Read Big Books:I manage to squeeze in one book over 500 pages. It was a requested review, so not one from my TBR but still a big one - CHECK
4. Interact: Still struggling with balancing in person life and online life. I haven't even posted on Instagram in ages. I just need to find that balance again.  The good news is that we made a ton of progress on a whole house purge and organize, so I feel like I don't have as much hanging over my head constantly. - :/ 


So last month,  didn't even come close to reading all the books on my TBR, but I did make some progress on my requested reviews.  I am going to continue focusing on that list and try my best to get it mostly caught up this month. With that said, we also have the Tome Topple readathon in August and Bout of Books in August, so I want to really push myself this month.

For TBR List
A Heart of Blood and Ash
So this might be a little overly ambitious but I really want to try to get to as many of these as I can in August. I do have a vacation coming up in August, a little getaway outside of the house and into no cell/internet zone, so I hope to work on some of these at that time too! 

Does your TBR feel out of control lately?