Saturday, September 26, 2020

Graphic Novel Review of A Thief Among the Trees by Sabaa Tahir & Nicole Andelfinger & Illustrated by Sonia Liao


Read for: Graphic Novels/ Recently Added/ Love the Series

Synopsis: "New York Times bestselling author Sabaa Tahir joins writer Nicole Andelfinger and artist Sonia Liao for an all-new original graphic novel introducing the dangerous world of An Ember in the Ashes to new readers and revealing an untold story of Elias and Helene's beginnings at Blackcliff Academy in this stirring standalone chapter in the series' mythology. Before they were on different sides of a revolution, Elias and Helene were comrades at Blackcliff Military Academy. When they're sent on a dangerous mission to steal a heavily-guarded poison on Isle South, they soon find themselves up against surprising enemies -- including other recruits. As the true horror of their assignment is revealed, they will begin to confront the harrowing realities of Martial rule, their place in the system... and the choices they must make to survive."

My Review: I was really excited to see a little more in the Ember in the Ashes world, and a little more of the backstory with Helene and Elias. I struggled a bit getting into this book, maybe because it has been so long since I read the series. I did really like seeing the constant challenge between Elias and Helene for leadership but you can still see their friendship and loyalty. I also like seeing the beginning of Elias' questioning of the way the Empire is run and decisions are made. I don't think this is necessary to enjoy the series, but I also think it would be difficult to enjoy and follow without having read at least the first book in the series. It is a nice supplement to the series and one I am glad I did read, for a bit more backstory.

My Rating: I did enjoy this little bit of backstory for some of my favorite characters and I liked the illustration style, but I don't feel like it is a necessary addition to the series.  I give it a rating of Three Paws.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Bedtime Story: The Reading Dragon by Herb Leonhard


Read for: Recently added/ Children's Books

Synopsis: "The Story is a tale of a dragon who loves to read. With the help of his fairy friends, he goes on a quest to find a chess master dragon who can save his castle from being destroyed by giants."

My Review: I received this book as part of a Kickstarter campaign. I love Leonhard's illustration style, there are so many little details to look at on each page. The story is a fun one as well, who doesn't like dragons and libraries and quests? It also has a good bit of problem solving in the story. I think this is a book that kids will enjoy coming back to again and again to enjoy the beautiful illustrations that suck you into this magical world.

My Rating: This is such a beautiful book to have on our shelves.  I wish Munchkin was still really into picture books, though he did really enjoy looking at the details of these illustrations.  I give it a rating of Four Paws.

Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Review of Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia


Read for: Recently Added/ Audio Book

Synopsis: "An isolated mansion. A chillingly charismatic aristocrat. And a brave socialite drawn to expose their treacherous secrets. . . .

From the author of Gods of Jade and Shadow comes a novel set in glamorous 1950s Mexico.

After receiving a frantic letter from her newlywed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find - her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.

Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.

Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness.

And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind."

My Review: Mexican Gothic is not a book I would normally pick up but I just kept hearing so many people rave about it, so I thought I would give it a try and it was so worth it! It was so perfectly dark, twisty and eerie. It did take a while to really get into, it was very slow building but once you got invested, you are hooked. I absolutely loved the setting and atmosphere, a moldering old english home in Mexico in the 50s. The addition of a glamor/ society woman entering this place and trying to figure out what is going on gave it just the right vibe. It is really hard to properly put my thoughts down without spoiling the book for others. It is definitely a haunted house with a twist. It gives me similar vibes to a book I read last year, The Resurrectionist: The Lost Work of Dr. Spencer Black by EB Hudsbpeth, the whole playing with nature and the natural order of things. This is definitely a book to pick up in the fall and around Halloween.

My Rating: This definitely hit my need for something dark, eerie and mentally twisted. I get all the great gothic horror vibes from this book, right along with Picture of Dorian Gray and Frankenstein. I highly recommend this if you are looking for something a bit darker and atmospheric. It is not overly scary but just enough to really pull you in.  I give it a rating of Four Paws and a Stump Wag.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Review of Max Meow: Cat Crusader by John Gallagher


Read for: Requested Review/ Netgalley/ Munchkin Anticipated Release

Synopsis: "Calling all graphic novel fans! Do you like to laugh? Meet Max Meow, Cat Crusader--a secret superhero with CAT-ITUDE in this purr-fectly awesome, hiss-sterically funny new middle grade series!

Max is just a regular cat in Kittyopolis, trying to make it big as a podcaster UNTIL he accidentally takes a bite of an RADIOACTIVE SPACE MEATBALL at his best friend, scientist Mindy's, SECRET LAB. Then before you can say MEOWZA, Max becomes...(drum roll!)...The CAT CRUSADER! Being a super hero is fun (Super strength? Check! Flying? YES!!!)--but not if you get so cocky, you forget your best friend! Will Max learn to listen? Will he and Mindy make up? And together, can Max and Mindy save Kittyopolis from the evil Agent M and BIG BOSS?! Find out in Max Meow: Cat Crusader-a laugh out loud, furr-ociously funny, action-packed new series filled with so many twists, turns, and terrific jokes it makes bad guys FLEA and kids cheer with glee! BONUS: Includes how to draw Max Meow!"

My Review: My son is a big Dog Man and Bad Guys fan, so I am always looking for similar books for him to read, and when I came across this one I thought I would give it a shot. We both really enjoyed this book, we are big cat lovers and have a ginger cat of our own so that was a fun link to the book. I got Dexter's Laboratory vibes from this book, with the secret lab and the villain always trying to steal secrets. It was a fun adventure and some great messages woven into the story. Young readers of all types will love this but I have found reluctant readers really enjoy the graphic novels. We will definitely be adding this to our shelves and look forward to the next book in the series!

My Rating: This is a great book for young readers, Munchkin really enjoyed it. The images are bright and bold and the story is entertaining. You can't help but root for the characters.  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 John Gallagher and his book on his Goodreads Page or Website.

Max Meow: Cat Crusader is set to release on October 6, 2020 (with the next book expected in early spring 2021), so you can pre-order your own copy in print or digital format from Amazon or Barnes & Noble or requested it at your local library or independent bookstore. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Top 10 Tuesday: Fall 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.

Are you ready for fall because I am already there! I have already started in on my Fall/Autumn TBR but I still have a lot more books that I am super excited to read this season. Here are the 10 I am most excited to pick up . . .


I am beyond excited for this TBR!

Are you a seasonal reader? I never used to be but the past few years I have started reading more atmospheric books during the fall and loved the vibe.  

What do you reach for in the Fall? Cozy books? Horror books? Big chunky books to sink your teeth into?

Monday, September 21, 2020

Monday Reading List

It is Monday again, and it is 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

Soul Riders: Jorvik Calling by Helena Dahlgren
Ranger of Marzanna by Jon Skovron
Red Hood by Elena K. Arnold
Penguin Problems by Jory John (Bedtime Story)
Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston (Date Night with a Book/ After Dark)

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

Mexican Gothic
A Highlander is Coming to Town
Mastered by Her Mates
I Needed a Viking
Read it and Weep
Penguin Problems
Book Fiesta

Currently Reading:

You Can't F*ck Up Your Kids by Lindsay Powers - Print - on page 98 of 320
The Phoenix Empress by K. Arsenault Rivera - Audio/Print - on page 67 of 544
A Heartfelt Christmas Promise by Nancy Naigle - Ebook - on page 46 of 352

Pages Read/ Time Listened
715:33 Hours Listened (18:12 listened this week)
22,165 Pages Read (822 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 - READ
The Overdue Life of Amy Byler
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~End Birthday Waiver~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Red Hood (gift) - READ
Scavenge the Stars
Hades & Persephone
Dark Skies
No Country for Old Gnomes (gift)
About That Kiss
The Ranger of Marzanna - READ
The Girl and the Stars
A Choir of Lies
Loving Cara
This Will Kill That - UNHAUL
Girl of Fire & Thorns (gift)
Murder Past Due
All My Loving - READ
Fury of a Phoenix
Homicide in Hardcover (gift)
Unravel the Dusk
Ruthless Gods
Mexican Gothic - READ
Fable - READ


We are into our second week of life getting back to normal, Munchkin is in school full time, Hubby has been working a bit of overtime and I am able to work in the office full time without the little distraction of Munchkin.  All of that means more reading time for me! I do have a little less on the weekends and evenings with football being back on TV but I still have way more reading time than I used to and I think it is starting to show. 

I don't know about you but I am beyond ready for autumn to officially begin.  I have already started with the big knit sweaters and started diving into my more atmospheric and spooky books. Keep an eye on the reviews coming up because there have been some unexpectedly great ones already!

What are you currently reading?