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 ;)
Saturday, February 27, 2021
Date Night with a Book: Hades and Persephone: The Curse of the Golden Arrow by Heidi Hastings & Erica Hastings
Friday, February 26, 2021
Everyone cries: little kids, big kids, grown-ups, and even scaly-skinned crocodiles shed tears! But even though they may make our cheeks salty, or our eyes red and puffy, our tears are nurturing a secret garden inside us, and helping us grow.
Tears strips away the shame of crying and encourages children to explore their feelings and where their tears come from. Intricate pencil drawings with splashes of vibrant color illustrate different types of tears. Some tears burst out in hot, heavy sobs, while other tears are quiet and slow. Sometimes they race down our cheeks, other times they bubble just beneath the surface. But as the book reveals, crying is really a way to let out what you’re feeling on the inside.
With accessible, comforting text, this timely picture book supports social-emotional learning and assures young readers that tears are an important, and sometimes necessary, part of healing."
My Review: Emotions are hard for little ones, and sometimes adults too. This is a great book about letting those big emotions out, and some times they come out as tears. It is simple to read and follow for youngsters. It has great illustrations demonstrating tears and how they are different for everyone and for different feelings. This would be a great book to read after a toddler or youngster meltdown to let them know it is okay to let it out and spark a conversation about those feelings.
My Rating: Sometimes its hard to remember that it is okay to let feelings show, sometimes as parents we are in a rush or overwhelmed and forget to let the littles know its okay to cry. I think this is a great book and reminder to both the reader and the listener. 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 Sibylle and her books on her Goodreads Page.
Good Night! Sweet Dreams!
Welcome to my brand new reading wrap up, now on Fridays. I have decided to move my reading wrap up from Mondays to make room for Mystery Monday and also because it is easier for me to wrap up the week while I am still in the office instead of trying to post it first thing Monday morning.
172:00 Hours Listened This Year(33:50 listened this week)
5,435 Pages Read This Year (704 Read this week)
Books Added to Shelves Recently: TBR
Thursday, February 25, 2021
So I decided it is time I start doing an anticipated release post every month. I feel like this will help me narrow down the books that I am super excited about and keep up with the books that are being released, especially with all the delays and changes that have been happening. Anyway, I thought I would break this down into categories, again to help myself, this time to keep my book buying under control. So how about we get started . . . .
Anticipated Releases Pre-Ordered:
I am allowing myself to pre-order only 4 new releases each month to help control my book buying habits. So here are the 4 books I was most excited to add to my shelves this month.
Anticipated Release ARCs:
There’s only one problem: Hunter isn’t sure he can kill an animal. To make things more complicated, when they arrive at the cabin, his cousin Yumi is there with her friend Annette, who Hunter secretly has a crush on. Anxious about the hunt and the humiliation of possibly failing, Hunter grapples with what it means to have the power of life and death in his hands, and must decide what role he wishes to play in his relationship to nature and to wildlife."
Ever since she was a puppy, Stella was trained to use her powerful beagle nose to sniff out dangerous chemicals and help her handler keep people safe. But during a routine security inspection, Stella misses the scent of an explosive. The sound of the blast is loud and scary. Unable to go back to work because of her anxiety, Stella is retired as a working dog.
When a young girl named Cloe wants to adopt Stella, the beagle knows this is her last chance to prove her worth. But how? When Stella smells a strange chemical inside Cloe’s body, a scent that surges just before the girl has a seizure, Stella’s nose makes the connection. But how can Stella warn her new family without them thinking she’s having an anxiety attack? How can she convince others that she can be a new kind of service dog and hopefully save Cloe’s life?
Told from Stella’s perspective, this story is about a special dog who must find the courage to overcome her fears in order to help save a young girl with epilepsy."
Then, one day she hears about a man who has an old disused telephone booth in his garden. There, those who have lost loved ones find the strength to speak to them and begin to come to terms with their grief. As news of the phone booth spreads, people travel to it from miles around.
Soon Yui makes her own pilgrimage to the phone booth, too. But once there she cannot bring herself to speak into the receiver. Instead she finds Takeshi, a bereaved husband whose own daughter has stopped talking in the wake of her mother’s death.
Simultaneously heartbreaking and heartwarming, is the signpost pointing to the healing that can come after."
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."
Clio can’t remember a time when she didn’t share a bond with the mare Grey Girl. On the whole island of Crete, she and her Trojan-born father are the only people who raise and ride horses—and she couldn’t live without it. Between the freedom of the pasture and the safety of her grandmother Leira’s pottery studio, Clio always has had everything she needed.
Then an accident stole Clio’s ability to ride, or even to walk without a crutch. The weather changed and summers grew drier. Now raiders are preying on nearby towns. As anxiety builds, a terrible pronouncement is issued by the palace: at the spring festival, a girl between the ages of twelve and fourteen will be chosen to save the town from disaster. She will be sacrificed as an offering to the mother goddess.
In Cuckoo’s Flight, internationally bestselling author Wendy Orr returns to the Bronze-Age setting of her critically acclaimed novels Dragonfly Song and Swallow’s Dance. With her signature blend of striking prose and emotionally taut verse, she immerses readers in a thrilling coming-of-age story as Clio battles the political power of the palace and her own feelings of inadequacy to save her town, her horses, and perhaps even herself."
But Byx and her new friends soon learned that it wasn’t just dairnes in jeopardy of extinction, but that everyone was at risk. With the world in unprecedented danger, Byx must rally creatures of all kinds to lead a revolution."
That is, until he is brutally murdered.
A year later, she discovers Alik is alive and being held against his will. To buy his freedom, she must lead a group of cutthroats and thieves on a perilous expedition to the very mountain that claimed her family. Only something sinister slumbers in the heart of Knnot.
And it has waited years for release."
England, 1895. An unsolved series of magician murders and opus thefts isn’t a puzzle to Elsie Camden. But to reveal a master spellcaster as the culprit means incriminating herself as an unregistered spellbreaker. When Elsie refuses to join forces with the charming assassin, her secret is exposed, she’s thrown in jail, and the murderer disappears. But Elsie’s hope hasn’t vanished.
Through a twist of luck, the elite magic user Bacchus Kelsey helps Elsie join the lawful, but with a caveat: they must marry to prove their cover story. Forced beneath a magical tutor while her bond with Bacchus grows, Elsie seeks to thwart the plans of England’s most devious criminal—if she can find them.
With hundreds of stolen spells at their disposal, the villain has a plan—and it involves seducing Elsie to the dark side. But even now that her secret is out, Elsie must be careful how she uses the new abilities she’s discovering, or she may play right into the criminal’s hands."
Since then, Kreya, the group’s leader, has exiled herself to a remote tower and devoted herself to one purpose: resurrecting her dead husband. But such a task requires both a cache of human bones and a sacrifice—for each day he lives, she will live one less.
She’d rather live one year with her husband than a hundred without him, but using human bones for magic is illegal in Vos. The dead are burned—as are any bone workers who violate the law. Yet Kreya knows where she can find the bones she needs: the battlefield where her husband and countless others lost their lives.
But defying the laws of the land exposes a terrible possibility. Maybe the dead don’t rest in peace after all.
Five warriors—one broken, one gone soft, one pursuing a simple life, one stuck in the past, and one who should be dead. Their story should have been finished. But evil doesn’t stop just because someone once said, “the end.”"
They are Warlord Princes, men born to serve and protect. They are the Queen's Weapons, men born to destroy the Queen's enemies--no matter what face that enemy wears.
Daemonar Yaslana knows how to be bossy yet supportive--traits he shares with his father, the Demon Prince, and his uncle, the High Lord of Hell. Within his generation of the family, he assumes the role of protector, supporting his sister Titian’s artistic efforts and curbing his cousin Jaenelle Saetien’s more adventurous ideas. But when a young Eyrien Queen, someone Titian thought was a friend, inflicts an emotional wound, Daemonar's counterattack brings him under the tutelage of Witch, the Queen whose continued existence is known only to a select few.
As Daemonar is confronted by troubling changes within and around the family, he sees warnings that a taint in the Blood might be reappearing. Daemonar, along with his father and uncle, must uncover the source of a familiar evil--and Daemon Sadi, the High Lord of Hell, may be forced into making a terrible choice."
Minnie and her rescue cat Eddie can often be found out and about in their bookmobile near Chilson, Michigan, delivering great reads to grateful patrons all over the county. But they always brake for trouble, and when Minnie sees a car speeding away down the road, and soon comes upon a dead bicyclist, she assumes she just missed seeing a hit-and-run.
Minnie is determined to discover who was behind the wheel, but it soon turns out that things are far more complicated than they seem and there's more to this case than meets the eye. Luckily, this librarian is ready to read the killer his rights."
Oak doesn’t understand why her family had to move to Southern California. She has to attend a new school, find new friends, and live in a new house that isn’t even ready—her mother had to cut down a tree on their property line in order to make room for a second floor. And now a strange boy next door won’t stop staring at her, like she did something wrong moving here in the first place.
As Oak and Alder start school together, they can’t imagine ever becoming friends. But the two of them soon discover a series of connections between them—mysterious, possibly even magical puzzles they can’t put together. At least not without each other’s help."
Tuesday, February 23, 2021
Emberfall is crumbling fast, torn between those who believe Rhen is the rightful prince and those who are eager to begin a new era under Grey, the true heir. Grey has agreed to wait two months before attacking Emberfall, and in that time, Rhen has turned away from everyone—even Harper, as she desperately tries to help him find a path to peace.
Meanwhile, Lia Mara struggles to rule Syhl Shallow with a gentler hand than her mother. But after enjoying decades of peace once magic was driven out of their lands, some of her subjects are angry Lia Mara has an enchanted prince and a magical scraver by her side. As Grey's deadline draws nearer, Lia Mara questions if she can be the queen her country needs.
As the two kingdoms come closer to conflict, loyalties are tested, love is threatened, and a dangerous enemy returns, in this stunning conclusion to bestselling author Brigid Kemmerer’s Cursebreaker series."
My Review: So this series started out really awesome for me with a bit of a drop with the second book but still really good, so I was excited to read this third and final book. I really enjoyed the way this book set up with siblings on opposing sides and of opposing views. It did read a little slower than I expected, there was definitely a lack of action and had a lot more internal turmoil to work through. I came to really dislike some of my previous characters but did enjoy the development throughout this book. This was definitely a satisfying conclusion to the series and I am glad I stuck with the series. I would highly recommend the audio books and this is a totally binge worthy series.
My Rating: I really enjoyed this conclusion to the series, it brought the plot lines together and the characters have developed so much. It was completely satisfying to read and I am happy with how Kemmerer brought the series to a close. I give it a rating of Four Paws.
Monday, February 22, 2021
Welcome to a brand new feature series here on Eastern Sunset Reads!
In the mess that was 2020, one exciting thing that came about is my discovery of Cozy Mysteries. Yes, I knew they existed before but I never had a desire to pick one up but last year I ended up reading 17 of them! Clearly they have become a regular thing for me to pick up and it is such a vast genre that I can't wait to dive into more of them. So Mystery Monday has become a thing and will be a (at least somewhat) regular thing here. So stop by on Mondays to see my reviews of new books I have picked up, new releases, chat about sub-genres and lots more.
So today I thought I would talk a bit about what a Cozy Mystery actually is. Now I am no expert on this genre and am in fact a newbie to it within the past year. In that time though I have really started exploring the genre, trying out a variety of authors and tropes/subgenres. I have read a variety of blogs, articles and watched a lot of Booktube videos, through all of that I have started to come to an understanding about what to look for in the Cozy Mystery realm.
Most places define a Cozy Mystery as a light mystery, nothing too dark, gruesome or explicit, with an amateur sleuth in a small town setting with a cast of unique and quirky characters. The main character is the amateur sleuth and pulled into solving the mystery puzzle either because of their access to information or connection to the victim/victim's friends & family. They often have a great support system of friends, family and co-workers. You find out tidbits and clues as the character does and piece together the puzzle the mystery presents throughout the story.
Cozy Mysteries also generally have a specific niche to go along with the interesting cast of characters and small town setting. They can take place around a specific location (ie: library, coffee shop, bed & breakfast, bakery, etc) or include a specific hoppy (ie: knitting, food preservation, writing, tea, etc.). These features help create sub-genres within the Cozy Mystery genre. There really is a book for everyone!
As far as the who-dun-it, the villain is often not an evil person, they are usually people who are pushed so far they felt they had no other choice. They make bad choices and take things to an extreme measure of murder. This plays into the theme in Cozy Mysteries of right and wrong, good and bad choices.
So to wrap this up, Cozy Mysteries are a great way to branch out from other genres, it holds similar themes to literary fiction and often romance as well. The lack of the truly brutal crimes and intense official detective investigations make Cozy Mysteries a little easier to digest for readers from other genres. A great way to start is to go on a bookseller site and search for Cozy Mystery-your favorite hobby/interest. Some of my favorites so far have revolved around libraries and food, but search using your favorite hobby, be it quilting or writing, breweries or dog walking. I will have another post in the future highlighting the wide variety of sub-genres/tropes.
Sunday, February 21, 2021
I am so excited to see one of my favorite reading challenges from last year back again, Middle Great March Readathon/Challenge. I came across this challenge on one of my favorite Youtube channels, Life Between Words. You can check out this year's Readathon announcement in her video HERE or her co-host's, Krista at BooksandJams, video HERE and Amanda from The Curly Reader, Video HERE for all the exact details but here are the basics:
There is also a Group Read book: