Thursday, July 29, 2021

Review of Half Sick of Shadows by Laura Sebastian

 

Read for: Requested Review/ Netgalley/ Anticipated Release

Synopsis: "Everyone knows the legend. Of Arthur, destined to be a king. Of the beautiful Guinevere, who will betray him with his most loyal knight, Lancelot. Of the bitter sorceress, Morgana, who will turn against them all. But Elaine alone carries the burden of knowing what is to come--for Elaine of Shalott is cursed to see the future.

On the mystical isle of Avalon, Elaine runs free and learns of the ancient prophecies surrounding her and her friends--countless possibilities, almost all of them tragic.

When their future comes to claim them, Elaine, Guinevere, Lancelot, and Morgana accompany Arthur to take his throne in stifling Camelot, where magic is outlawed, the rules of society chain them, and enemies are everywhere. Yet the most dangerous threats may come from within their own circle.

As visions are fulfilled and an inevitable fate closes in, Elaine must decide how far she will go to change fate--and what she is willing to sacrifice along the way.

The Lady of Shalott reclaims her story in this bold feminist reimagining of the Arthurian myth from the New York Times bestselling author of Ash Princess."

My Review:  I am always excited for new Arthurian re-tellings, especially ones focused on the characters that are more on the side lines, because their stories can be played with a bit more. I was really excited for the premise of this story, Lady of Shalott taking control of her own destiny, more feminist driven story. Unfortunately, I struggled quite a bit with this one. I really didn't get much of a feminist voice from this one, yes we know how the story goes, but I was hoping for a bit more of a backbone from the ladies, more of a leadership role. I also really struggled with the way the timeline jumps around throughout the book with no warning or break you jump from current timeline, to a memory and into the visions of the future, it gets rather difficult to keep straight and really slows the pacing of the book down. Sebastian did throw some twists on the original stories which were intriguing but I wanted them to be taken further. Sadly, I found this one a bit unsatisfying and not really jumping for more.

My Rating: I am honestly a bit bummed about this one, I think maybe I hyped it up a bit too much in my mind after reading some really fantastic re-tellings in the past couple of years.  Maybe if I was in the mood for a slower more meandering story it would have hit me better. I give it a rating 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 Laura Sebastian and her books on her Goodreads Page or Website.

Half Sick of Shadows was just released July 6th so you can obtain your own copy in print or digital format from Amazon or Barnes & Noble or request it at your local library or bookstore.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Review of A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers

 

Read for: Anticipated Release/ Audio book

Synopsis: "It's been centuries since the robots of Earth gained self-awareness and laid down their tools.
Centuries since they wandered, en masse, into the wilderness, never to be seen again.
Centuries since they faded into myth and urban legend.

One day, the life of a tea monk is upended by the arrival of a robot, there to honor the old promise of checking in. The robot cannot go back until the question of "what do people need?" is answered.

But the answer to that question depends on who you ask, and how.
They're going to need to ask it a lot.

Becky Chambers' new series asks: in a world where people have what they want, does having more matter?"

My Review: I don't read a lot of science fiction but I have really come to love sci-fi novellas and this book really captured my attention so I had to read it pretty quickly after it came out. I really enjoyed the story, a bit of an after an world changing event (many years after in fact). I really enjoyed Dex, they are not what you would imagine a monk to be, a bit restless and a bit curious. I love the concept of a tea monk though, (can we have some who come visit now?!) the idea of having someone just know what type of tea will suit your mood and then allowing you to talk if you need to or just sit in silence as you enjoy your tea, it sounds so perfect. It did take a while to get to the point in the story that started actually moving the plot along, but it was an enjoyable journey learning a bit about the world. It has a clear feel of laying the ground work for a series, not a book that you can really read an enjoy on its own. I know I will be anxiously waiting for more books in the Monk & Robot series.

My Rating:  Even though it took a while for this book to gain momentum for me, I still really enjoyed the premise of it.  It just barely brushes the surface of what it can be so I expect quite a series and I am looking forward to it. I give this one a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag!

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Review of All Together Now by Matthew Norman

 

Read for: Enjoyed other books by the author/ Requested Review/ Netgalley

Synopsis: "A dying man brings his oldest friends together for one last beach blowout in this witty, heartfelt novel from the author of Last Couple Standing.

At just thirty-five, reclusive billionaire Robbie Malcolm is a renowned financial prognosticator, a celebrated philanthropist, and a mathematical genius. Also, he’s dying, which is a fact he’s carefully concealing from the world.

As he takes stock, Robbie realizes that his wealth means nothing if he can’t help the people who matter most. So he invites his oldest friends—Blair, Cat, and Wade—to their beloved Fenwick Island on the coast of Delaware to share his secret and to reveal plans for each of them that he believes will change their lives forever.

However, Robbie isn’t the only one with secrets. The bonds the friends formed as teenagers still exist, but adulthood has brought a whole new set of complications, like unrequited loves, marriages on the brink, and so much unfulfilled potential. Robbie’s plans may look good on paper, but are they any match for the utter disaster that is real life?

As everything comes to light over a wild weekend full of surprises, Robbie learns there are still some things money can’t buy, and a group of friends who thought their best years were behind them realize just how much they have to look forward to."

My Review:  I first read a book by Matthew Norman last year and really enjoyed it and appreciated how relatable it was at this point in my life, so when I saw a new book coming out I was excited to try it. I have to say this one was a much more emotional journey but still had those great comic relief moments. Once again the characters were so relatable, real life issues and situations (well for the most part). I loved that this story brought it all back to friendships and those we have let slip a bit in the craziness of life. I laughed and cried throughout this book and I really enjoyed every minute of it, now I need to go call a few friends I haven't seen in the past year and a half.

My Rating: I am definitely going to be tracking down more of Norman's books, I so enjoyed this one.  It is also a great summer read, setting on a small island town, on the beach at the end of summer. It definitely is a great book as people are reconnecting after the past year in lock down.  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 Matthew Norman and his books on his Goodreads Page or Website.

All Together Now was just released on June 15th, 2021 so you can pick up your own copy now in print or digital format from Amazon or Barnes and Noble or request it from your favorite bookstore or library.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Review of Paws and Prejudice by Alanna Martin

 

Read for: Requested Review & Adore the previous book

Previous Books in Series: 

Synopsis: "It's up to a trio of adorable rescue huskies to make two lonely hearts in a coastal Alaskan town realize that true love is worth too much to turn tail and run.

Glaciers have nothing on Kelsey Porter when she decides to freeze someone out. After getting burned once, she's not about to let it happen again. And right now all that icy contempt is focused on one annoyingly attractive and entitled interloper: Ian Roth. Not only is he looking to take advantage of her quaint, coastal community, tainting the small-town charm of Helen, Alaska, but he has committed the one crime she can never forgive—he doesn't like her dogs.

Unlike what Kelsey believes, Ian loves Helen's charms as much as she does. That's partly why he's determined to open a brewery there, and he's not about to let anything or anyone stop his dream from coming true. But he didn't count on the beautiful, prickly woman getting under his skin. Or having to be within hand-biting proximity of her three huge huskies.

When Kelsey's family conscripts her into helping Ian get his brewery off the ground, she finds herself caught between a rock and a hard . . . muscular . . . man who has a fear of dogs. But the longer they work together, the more she can feel herself begin to thaw. Now she'll have to choose: let sleeping dogs lie to protect her heart, or mush head-on toward love."

My Review: I just started this series earlier this year and fell in love with all the dogs and the setting. I also really enjoyed the play with classic novel influences. I was really looking forward to this book and following Kelsey's story, she really intrigued me as a strong, independent woman who might have a stubborn streak a mile wide but will do anything for those she loves. This book certainly didn't disappoint, I might have loved it even more than the first book! I loved how we not only got the enemies to lovers element but also that small town mentality of us versus the outsiders, and both those elements really came into play in this book. I also enjoyed the internal growth not only did Kelsey have but so did Ian with all of his emotional baggage. All in all these are characters you really want to get behind and cheer on all the way to the end. I can't wait for more books in this series!

My Rating: This is such a cute series and this book did not give me second slump vibes at all, I loved it even more than the first book. It is also a great book to read towards the tail end of summer, when things start to cool down and the tourists start to leave town and you are thinking about cool fall evenings.  Anyway I enjoyed the story and give it a rating of Four Paws, I can't wait for the next book and luckily don't have long to wait!


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

To find out more about Alanna Martin and the Hearts of Alaska Series check out her Goodreads Page and Website.

Both Hearts on a Leash and Paws and Prejudice are available now and you can get them in print or digital format from Amazon or Barnes & Noble or request them at your local library or bookstore.  You can catch up on the series now and be ready for the third book,  Love and Let Bark, out on November 30th of this year!

Monday, July 12, 2021

June 2021 Wrap Up & July TBR

Yet again I have been a little lax in my posting, we ended up hitting our out door house update hard over the past month and have finally completed the daunting task we started 3 years ago! All new windows, doors, paint, yard grade, patio, retaining walls, grass, driveway, flag pole, mail box and gardens, phew, that was a ton of work! I am also still adjusting to the new job, and the lack of computer time is really cutting into my blogging. I am also finding it difficult to fit reading time in that isn't Audio books.  But I am happy to report I am making my way through a lot of books.

We will start with my main challenge this year . . .

TBR Books Read:
Not quite the 5 books a month I want to be reading off my TBR but I am still pretty happy with this progress. 
 
 



2021 Books added to TBR & Read:
Well, my newly added shelf is definitely getting a bit full, I am happy that I have continued to read a nice balance of new books and TBR books. I have added a lot of chunky fantasy books but have been leaning into a lot of romance lately. 


 



Other Recent Additions:
I did end up going a bit overboard on adding books to my shelves, of course they are all pretty chunky books too! I hope to start working on a bit more big fantasy books as I learn to multi task audio books and work more and more. 
 
 
 
 




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

Re-Reads:
Goal: Re-read 15 books
None


Borrowed Books:
Goal: Borrow 30 books


Books Over 500 Pages:
Goal: 10 books
8. Empire of Sand (669)

Requested Reviews: 
22. The Secrets of Star Whales (Netgalley)
23. The Shell Collector (Direct)

 Reading Stats:
I read a total of 20 books this month
2,909 pages read and 4 days, 1 hour and 27 minute of listening
*** I have not been able to keep up with my reading stats, these are the numbers as of the end of February. Maybe at some point I will get around to calculating but honestly, I am not minding not knowing exactly the pages read and hours listened ***


Resolutions Check in:
1. Read that TBR: I still didn't quite reach my goal of 5 books per month but am definitely making progress and I am super happy with the balance of new additions and TBR books, I just need to work more requested reviews in. - Close
2. Re-Read More: I have taken a bit of a break with re-reading after a big spurt of it, I am planning a binge of a couple of series soon so I can get final books done- Eh
3. Purchase Less & Read More: I still have not been holding myself tight to my purchase limit but I am pretty happy that I haven't gone hog wild lately. Maybe the balance is evening out a bit. - CHECK
4. Keep Trying New Genres/Authors: I have been really using the library lately to try new cozy mystery authors and have started using the Kindle Unlimited a bit more to try more romance authors as well.  - CHECK

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


July TBR
I didn't do quite as bad as I expected on my TBR last month but I really, really need to make review books a priority this month so I am trying to limit myself to 4 new books on my TBR and 4 books off my old TBR and then really hit the reviews hard.

For TBR books: 
The Prince's Son *Currently Reading
Fated Mates *Currently Reading
Half-Drowned King *Currently Reading
A Touch of Darkness *Currently Reading


ARCs:
Local Star *Currently reading


I swear, I will get my blogging in order soon! I haven't even been able to write reviews for the books I have been reading, just basic ratings unless they are requested books. I am so glad our house project is done for the year and maybe I will be able to get a bit more reading and computer time. 

I hope you are all finding yourselves on great adventures in your books!


Thursday, June 24, 2021

Review of The Shell Collector by Nancy Naigle

 

Read for: Requested Review/Netgalley/Love the Author's Other Books!

Synopsis: "From USA Today bestselling author Nancy Naigle, The Shell Collector is a touching novel of a friendship that crosses generations, and learning how even the smallest gifts can change a life for good.

Two years after her husband's death, Amanda Whittier has two children to raise alone, an abandoned dream of starting a business, and a fixer-upper cottage by the sea. She has no room in her life for anything else and little interest in moving on after losing the man she loved.

Paul Grant is a relative newcomer to the area, and his work with former military dogs needing rehabilitation has been good for the town. Though he loved once before, he's convinced he's not suited for romance and is determined to find meaning--alone--through his work and role in the community.

Widowed Maeve Lindsay was born and raised on Whelk's Island. Spirited, kind, and a little mischievous, she pours her life into the town. But she carries a secret that shapes her every move.

Together, these three souls find encouragement in the most mysterious places and discover a love that's bigger than their pain, healing their wounded hearts in ways none of them could have hoped for or expected."

My Review: I have come to really count on Nancy Naigle to give me a great book when I need it, and she did not disappoint with this one. Forewarning, be prepared with tissues for this emotional journey, I was in tears within the first half hour of picking this book up and I can't tell you how many times they came back while reading it. With that said it isn't just a said story, it is also beautifully hopeful and uplifting. I absolutely loved the mentor feel in this book, I seriously loved Maeve! I also really enjoyed Paul and Amanda's characters though the romance does come on rather quick and strong but the back story is developed though we find it later in the book. It was definitely an emotional book but (now give me a bit of freedom with my words here) a cleansing emotional book, it felt good to cry with the characters. I definitely recommend picking this one up and it makes such a great summer read.

My Rating: While I have loved every other one of Nancy Naigle's books I have read, this might be my favorite! It was beautiful, emotional, hopeful and just a perfect book to kick off summer.  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 Nancy Naigle and her books on her Goodreads Page or Website.

The Shell Collector was just released last month on May 11th, so you can now pick up your own copy in print or digital format from Amazon or Barnes & Noble or request it at your local library or bookstore. 

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Review of The Secrets of Star Whales by Rebecca Thorne

 


Read for: Requested Review/ Netgalley

Synopsis: "On the small space station Azura, Maxion Belmont is constantly torn between his two passions—engineering and music. Both are hobbies handed down from his father, which is bittersweet since his death two years ago. While his hydrodriver is great for repairing starship parts, his father’s old string instrument tugs at the latent grief Max hides from his mom and classmates with each chord he strums.

When a foreign starship appears on the horizon, Azura welcomes their first tourist in years. Enter Mr. Hames, starship captain and space-brained traveler. But there’s something weird about the stranger-turned-substitute teacher. He has no idea how to teach and thinks enlisting a group of twelve-year-olds to become his starship “crew” is totally normal. Or maybe it’s the fact he keeps raving about the existence of alien creatures in the vacuum of space: star whales.

As Max and the rest of Mr. Hames’s class/crew uncover the mysteries of the star whales, they discover they aren’t the only ones looking for the elusive creatures—and not every whaler has good intentions. Confronted with questions about his own father’s history with the star whales, Max must decide how far he’ll go to understand not only his father, but also the boy he’s become since his death . . . even at the expense of the star whales themselves."

My Review: I originally picked up this book because of the beautiful cover but I got so much more than expected. As someone who has only just begun reading Science Fiction books, I wasn't sure what a Middle Grade would be like. It was actually pretty easy to get into and imagine through the descriptions Thorne gives, making it a vivid setting. I also enjoyed the undertones in this coming of age story of friendships growing and changing. We also get to see a variety of adult to kid interactions and some great lessons about whom to trust. Don't get me wrong, this is definitely not all emotion, there is some great action and awe inspiring moments. I was left really hoping there is such a thing as Star Whales out there in the universe.

My Rating: I was very pleasantly surprised with this book, Thorne did a fantastic job of intertwining real life situations young readers face with a out of this world setting so vivid you can picture it.  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 Rebecca Thorne and her books on her Goodreads Page or Website

The Secrets of Star Whales was released earlier this year 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. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Review of Boone by Emily March

 

Read for: Netgalley/ Requested Review

Previous Books in Series: 

Synopsis: "In Eternity Springs: The McBrides of Texas, New York Times bestselling author Emily March presents a brand new arc set in the Lone Star State that features a family-linked trilogy within the author's romantic series.

With his smooth talk, rugged good looks, and deep pockets, native Texan Boone McBride appears to be a man who has it all. Few people know about the heartbreak behind his decision to leave home, family, and career for the isolation of a small town in the Colorado Rockies. Luckily, time and life in Eternity Springs has worked its healing magic upon his wounded soul, so when he meets obviously troubled Hannah Dupree, Boone sees a chance to pay his good fortune forward. The last thing he anticipates is tumbling into love.

Tragedy has taken everything Hannah loves, and her will to keep going is failing. So when Boone strides into her life determined to save her, it’s easier to go along with him than to resist. Soon she is drawn into the fabric of life in Eternity Springs, and as her spirit begins to heal, her strength returns, and she’s able to go toe-to-toe with this hardheaded, big-hearted Texan. But just when love blooms and happiness is within their grasp, shadows from the past threaten. Hannah and Boone must stand strong and united in order to defeat old ghosts—if they are to create a brand-new life together."

My Review:  I have really been enjoying the McBrides of Texas branch off the Eternity Spring series even though I never read the original series. With that said, this book was a bit of a struggle without that original series of background information. But when you break it down and just focus on the story between Hannah and Boone, it was an emotional and really engrossing story. It would hit you hard with emotion and then lighten up a bit, then hit you hard again but all the while raising the hope. I really enjoyed the twist on a classic romance trope, I can't really give it away because that would be spoilers, even one I am not usually a huge fan of. The story seemed to fly by and while it was a satisfying conclusion, I did want more time with them. I will say though there are some very hard hitting topics in this book and I would advise anyone who might be a sensitive reader to check into any trigger warnings before picking it up.

My Rating: I have been enjoying this series and this one might have been one of my favorites so far, I really enjoy Boone as a character, he is definitely a hero you can fall for.  I give this one 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 Emily March and her books on her Goodreads Page or Website.

Boone was released late last year so you can obtain your own copy now, and binge read the whole series so far, in print or digital copy from Amazon or Barnes & Noble or check your local bookstore or library.


Tuesday, June 1, 2021

March, April & May 2021 Wrap Up and June TBR

So it has been a while huh?! I am very sorry about how absent I have been lately.  While I am absolutely loving my new job, it just doesn't allow time for me to blog as much, but thankfully I have been able to pick up on my reading with audio books when the office is quiet.  So now the only blogging time are in the evenings after Munchkin has gone to bed and it is tough to fit between reading print books, chores and sleep, but I am trying to spend an hour one or two nights a week scheduling posts, so I hope you will be seen just as much from me in the future.  Anyway, shall we play catch up and wrap up the last 3 months of reading? 

We will start with my main challenge this year . . .

TBR Books Read:
So I had figured out that I needed to read at least 5 books off my TBR to meet my goals for this year. Over the past 3  months I have managed to read 10 of those books, which in all honesty I am pretty happy with all things considered.  In addition to these 10 books, I also unhauled 3 more, so not too bad.  I do have a pretty good plan in place to work my way through so more of my current TBR books in the coming months. 
 
 
 

 

 



2021 Books added to TBR & Read:
So while I didn't quite meet my goal of reading my TBR books, I think I did a pretty fantastic job of reading a bunch of my newer books over the past three months.  I managed to read 12 of my recent additions and I am pretty darn thrilled with that number!

 
 
 

 

 

 



Other Recent Additions:
So while I did read a ton of my recent additions, I did have a bunch more I haven't gotten to reading yet.  Granted I did have a birthday in March and went on a bit of a shopping spree with my gift cards, but other than those books, I have been super well behaved. The one good thing that comes with less time on the computer at work, less time shopping and adding even more books to my TBR piles. So anyway, here are the other books that have been added to my shelves that I haven't quiet gotten to yet. . . 
 
 


 
 

 

 
 
I know that seems like a lot, but this is over a 3 month period! Also, there are 16 here and this is the entirety of the books I have purchased this year that I have read yet, out of 36! I am super happy with that balance.  I do have plans to read at least 5 of these books in June too!



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

Re-Reads:
Goal: Re-read 15 books


Borrowed Books:
Goal: Borrow 30 books


Books Over 500 Pages:
Goal: 10 books


Requested Reviews: 
9. Summer of Brave (Netgalley)
10. Arrowed (Pump Up Your Book)
11. Hunter's Choice (Netgalley)
13. Big and Little (Netgalley)
14. Furbidden Fatality (Netgalley)
15. Guinevere Trilogy (Pump Up Your Book)
16. Stella (Netgalley)
17. Heart on a Leash (Direct)
18. My Body in Pieces (Netgalley)
19. Catnip, Toilet Paper and Lasers (Pump Up Your Book)
20. Called into Action (Caffeinated PR)
21. Boone (Direct)



 Reading Stats:
I read a total of 20 books this month
2,909 pages read and 4 days, 1 hour and 27 minute of listening
*** I have not been able to keep up with my reading stats, these are the numbers as of the end of February. Maybe at some point I will get around to calculating but honestly, I am not minding not knowing exactly the pages read and hours listened ***


Resolutions Check in:
1. Read that TBR: While I didn't quite make it with my original goal, I am having to adjust my expectations and am calling it a win for the past 3 months. - CHECK
2. Re-Read More: Did you see how many books I re-read in the past three months?! I am really happy with that number. - CHECK
3. Purchase Less & Read More: While I didn't do so hot with the number of books I purchased, I am still really happy with the number of the new books I have been reading. - CHECK
4. Keep Trying New Genres/Authors: I have been trying a lot of new authors in the Cozy Mystery genre and have also tried a couple of memoirs and non-fiction books recently.  - CHECK

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


June TBR
So as I said at the beginning, almost all of my reading is audio books now due to my work and life schedules. What reading I do manage to do in print or ebook are going to mostly be my indie TBR books and requested review books. With that said, I did go a bit crazy with the recent Audible sale and have picked up a bunch of my TBR books on audio and I have a bunch more on hold at the library.


For TBR books: 
Descendant of the Crane *Currently Reading
The Prince's Son *Currently Reading

ARCs:
Local Star *Currently reading




Sorry for such a giant post but I wanted to get you guys at least somewhat caught up with what I have been up to with my reading. I have really been focusing a lot of my reading time on catching up on requested reviews.  I haven't been taking on any new requests until I can fully catch up on the ones I owe right now, but I am nearly there! I am also really hoping to get my TBR down a bit more over the next couple of months. Starting in July I hope to start binge reading entire series, mostly so I can get to those final book in the series that have been lingering on my TBR shelves. 

I hope you all have been having a wonderful reading year so far!