Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Review of Heartstone by Elle Katharine White

Read for: Recently added books - Book Subscription
Synopsis: "A debut historical fantasy that recasts Jane Austen’s beloved Pride and Prejudice in an imaginative world of wyverns, dragons, and the warriors who fight alongside them against the monsters that threaten the kingdom: gryphons, direwolves, lamias, banshees, and lindworms

They say a Rider in possession of a good blade must be in want of a monster to slay—and Merybourne Manor has plenty of monsters.

Passionate, headstrong Aliza Bentaine knows this all too well; she’s already lost one sister to the invading gryphons. So when Lord Merybourne hires a band of Riders to hunt down the horde, Aliza is relieved her home will soon be safe again.

Her relief is short-lived. With the arrival of the haughty and handsome dragonrider, Alastair Daired, Aliza expects a battle; what she doesn’t expect is a romantic clash of wills, pitting words and wit against the pride of an ancient house. Nor does she anticipate the mystery that follows them from Merybourne Manor, its roots running deep as the foundations of the kingdom itself, where something old and dreadful slumbers . . . something far more sinister than gryphons.

It’s a war Aliza is ill-prepared to wage, on a battlefield she’s never known before: one spanning kingdoms, class lines, and the curious nature of her own heart.

Elle Katharine White infuses elements of Austen’s beloved novel with her own brand of magic, crafting a modern epic fantasy that conjures a familiar yet wondrously unique new world."

My Review: So I received this book in my January NovelTea Club subscription box and I was a little hesitant to read it. I have never been a fan of Jane Austen and I wasn't even able to finish Pride and Prejudice as enticing as dragons sounded I wasn't too keen on reading a retelling. I am glad I finally pushed myself to pick it up! Maybe if Austen had added dragons to her books I would have really enjoyed them because I inhaled this book. It did drag a tiny bit in the middle and it seemed like there were a couple of plot lines that got a little muddled but that may have been a result of trying to stick a little closer to the original story. With that said I loved all the mythical beasts in the story and I became attached to several of the characters. As crazy as it may sound, I could go for a sequel!
My Rating: I was so pleasantly surprised with this book, I expected a lot of dull Austen-esque chapters but it really kept the storyline moving for the most part. There were a few lulls and pointless tangents but for the most part the story and characters kept moving and the action (and romance) kept building. I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Monday Reading List

Its Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Shelia at Book Journey. Share what books you have finished in the last week, are currently reading and what might be coming up next!

Reviews Posted Last Week:
Links will take you to my review

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
Ashes by Steven Manchester
PJ Masks Save the Library by Daphne Pendergrass (Early Reader)
We are Growing! by Laurie Keller & Mo Willems (Bedtime Story)
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson (Graphic Novel - I guess I scheduled this for the wrong Saturday)
The Siren by Kiera Cass (Mini Review)
Trapped by Michael Northop (Mini Review)
Belle's Library by Walt Disney Co. (Mini Review)
Ruined by Amy Tintera (Mini Review)
 Books Finished Last Week:
Reviews will be posted at a later date

Hidden Presences
Motocross Summer
Dragonfly Magic
A Cricket's Thanksgiving
Rhody Ram's Rhode Island Adventure

Currently Reading:

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - Print - on page 506 of 870
Given to the Sea by Mindy McGinnis - Ebook - on page 64 of 352
Watersmeet by Ellen Jensen Abbott - Audio - 32%

 Books to be Read Soon:


Pages Read/ Time Listened
75:50 Hours Listened (none listened this week)
14,479 Pages Read (1,004 this week)

Books Added to Shelves This Month
Viking Warrior Rising by Asa Maria Bradley
Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski
Bubble Trouble by Mary Tillworth
Blaze Loves to Race by Mary Tillworth
Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly
Heartstone by Ella Katharine White
Beauty and the Beast by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve
Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by JK Rowling
Beauty and the Beast: Belle's Library by Walt Disney Company
Trapped by Michael Northop
Samurai Rising by Pamela Turner
The Mating by BJ Cunningham & Misty Clark
Hold Your Breath by Katie Ruggle
Fan the Flames by Katie Ruggle

Books Read From My Shelves
Hidden Presences
Motocross Summer
A Cricket's Thanksgiving

Interesting Tidbits on the Web:



I always hate coming back from vacation, I am always way behind in everything but for some reason this week I was able to catch up quickly. I did get a bunch more reading done too.  I had such a great reading month this time around, so many books and so many great books too! I hope I can keep it up in the coming months.  I do have the RI Author Month next month, I haven't done as much for it as I usually do but I hope to share some great new books and authors with you. I do have a couple of giveaways planned but not as many as in years passed.

In other news, Munchkin starts Tball next month! I can't believe he is already old enough for it, but he is super excited.  We also have him signed up for soccer in the fall (I guess the soccer league in our town is very popular and fills up quickly so we were lucky we caught the signup on the first day).  Now if I could just convince him to take swim lessons again.

And lastly the not so great news, we found out yesterday that we have mice in our garage. Not normally an issue except that the garage doubles as our pantry and kitchen storage. So we spent all day going through all the food and now washing all of our extra kitchen gadgets and setting traps. We had been planning on starting our spring cleaning in the garage and at least this forced us to get started.  So I will probably be reading less physical books and more audio books in the next few weeks as I clean and purge.

Hope you all have a great week!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Mini Reviews: The Siren, Trapped, Belle's Library and Ruined

So with reading and reviewing so many books, I am running out of days in which to share them with you.  I am going to start posting Mini Reviews of books that I read through out the month but couldn't find the time to post on the last Sunday of each month.
After last month's rather disappointing books, March ended up being one of my best reading months ever. Some really fantastic books and a lot of them!  Here are a few of the books I wasn't able to share with you over the past month.
It was a light, fluffy read but not quite up to the standard set by The Selection. I did like the unique take on the Ocean and Siren's role.  Three Paws
A totally captivating read, suspenseful, realistic. The pages never stopped turning, though the abrupt ending and unanswered questions left me hanging. Four Paws
It wasn't quite what I was expecting but was so carefully done to fit the time period and books Belle would have had access to and the addition forward was great. Three Paws and a Stump Wag.
This was a good book, though it was kind of flat, nothing unexpected, characters were cookie cutters (except Olivia but we only see her a bit), possibly an intriguing story in future books but not much here to keep going. Three Paws.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Graphic Novel Review of Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

Read for: Graphic Novel Challenge
Synopsis: "The graphic novel debut from rising star Noelle Stevenson, based on her beloved and critically acclaimed web comic, which Slate awarded its Cartoonist Studio Prize, calling it "a deadpan epic."

Nemeses! Dragons! Science! Symbolism! All these and more await in this brilliantly subversive, sharply irreverent epic from Noelle Stevenson. Featuring an exclusive epilogue not seen in the web comic, along with bonus conceptual sketches and revised pages throughout, this gorgeous full-color graphic novel is perfect for the legions of fans of the web comic and is sure to win Noelle many new ones.

Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren't the heroes everyone thinks they are.

But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona's powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit."

My Review: I didn't know a lot about this graphic novel when I picked it up, it just came highly recommended by a fellow reader and friend of mine. I ended up really enjoying this one, it was fast paced with some great art and an interesting story. What really makes this book are the characters! They are each so unique, something you haven't quite seen before and they are also a diverse set of characters. I love the point of view from the villain's side of the story and the grey areas of good and evil throughout the book. I think readers anywhere from middle grade on up through adults would really enjoy this one!
My Rating: I wasn't too sure how this one would go, I was a little disappointed with the LumberJanes because the characters kind of blended together. I am so glad I took a chance on this one! I loved it and I hope that we will see more like this one from Noelle.  I give it a rating of Four Paws and a Stump Wag!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Bedtime Story: We Are Growing! by Laurie Keller & Mo Willems

Read for: It was a gift to Munchkin (Thank you Kami & Gnome!)and a fun story!
Synopsis: "Walt and his friends are growing up! Everyone is the something-est. But . . . what about Walt? He is not the tallest, or the curliest, or the silliest. He is not the anything-est! As a BIG surprise inches closer, Walt discovers something special of his own!"

My Review: We received this book from a very kind friend. I never knew about the Elephant & Piggie like reading collection. This is a fun and silly book that kids will love reading. It starts off with a nice introduction from Gerald and Piggie and then goes right into the story. It has a nice message about everyone being unique but also the same in many ways. Munchkin really had fun with this book and it will be fun to read again when the grass starts growing.
My Rating: This was such a fun book and one I hadn't seen before! Munchkin and I had a blast reading this and can't wait to read it more this summer.  We give it a rating of Four Paws and a Stump Wag!
Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Early Reader Review of PJ Masks Save the Library by Daphne Pendergrass

Read for: Early Reader Challenge & Munchkin Loves the PJ Masks!
Synopsis: "Head into the night to save the library with Catboy, Owlette, and Gekko in this Level 1 Ready-to-Read based on PJ Masks, the hit preschool series airing on Disney Junior!

The villain Romeo has a new machine. It erases stories from books so he can put his picture inside. Can Owlette save the library, and the day?"

My Review: Munchkin loves the PJ Masks so this is a great way to get him started reading books. This is a great level one book with short sentences, fairly easy words and of course the familiar characters. This book does follow one of the TV episodes exactly, just simplified. That may help your young reader figure out some of the unknown words and draw their interest.
My Rating: While this did follow an episode exactly, Munchkin still loved it and knowing what is happening has been helping him grow in confidence with the words.  We give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Inside & Out Book Tag

So I failed to get anything together for my usual Pen to Paper Thursday posts so figured I would do a Book Tag instead.  In my hunt I stumbled across this tag at Backpack Full of Adventures.  It was originally created by MathomBooks on youtube (Here is the original video).  Feel free to join in if you like!
I Inside flap/Back of the book summaries: Too much info? Or not enough (Discuss)
             I honestly don't read them, if I see a book I am interested in at the store I pull up Goodreads so I can see the synopsis, rating and some reviews all at once.

N New book: What form do you want it in? Be honest: Audiobook, E-Book, Paperback, or Hardcover?
              If the cover is really beautiful I want it in either Hardcover or print, but as my bookshelves are very much so out of space I often get books in Ebook or Audio format (then if I really love it, will get it in print).

S Scribble while you read? Do you like to write in your books, taking notes, making comments, or do you keep your books clean clean clean? (Tell us why)
              Always clean, I very rarely will put a sticky tab in where a line I like is but I never write in my books.  I read for entertainment and am often so wrapped up in a book I don't even think to mark anything. (I do highlight in ebooks though).

I In your best voice, read for us your favorite 1st sentence from a book.
               I don't have a favorite first sentence and since this is a blog you will just have to imagine it (and note I have a high pitched voice that people often mistake for a young teen).

D Does it matter to you whether the author is male of female when you're deciding on a book? What if you're unsure of the author's gender?
               Nope, it doesn't matter one iota if the author is male or female. I have read great books and horrible books in all the genres by both genders. Either gender is capable of writing fantastic work. (And who does this? Do you really think one gender is better than the other at writing? I have more thoughts on that and a few harsh words but will leave it at that).

E Ever read ahead? or have you ever read the last page way before you got there? (Do confess thy sins, foul demon!) :)
               I can't say that I have, at least as far as I remember. What would be the point of reading the adventure if you already know the end. I have occasionally glanced a couple paragraphs ahead but that is it.


O Organized bookshelves, or Outrageous bookshelves?
                Organized, at least as much as I can. Sometimes they get a little chaotic and I only have time to organize once in a while. And by the way my shelves are organized by target age group then by genre within the age group. (I usually have them also in alphabetical order by author but ran out of time last time organizing).

U Under oath: have you ever bought a book based on the cover (alone)?
                 Of course, who honestly hasn't done that?! After reading so many books and seeing so many covers you can sometimes tell if the book is something that will interest you, even though sometimes there are great books with horrible covers and horrible books with great covers but that is the risk you take!

T Take it outside to read, or stay in?
               I do enjoy reading a paperback outside but only if it is the absolute perfect weather, 80+ degrees, only a slight breeze and sunny with shady options.  Other than that, put me inside with a fuzzy blanket!
Wasn't that fun? I think this may become my permanent option for failed Pen to Paper Thursdays. If you also post this tag let me know so I can check out your answers too!