Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Friday, December 27, 2019

What I'm Reading - January 2020

2020 is almost here and I'm so excited for #2020yearofthereread and all of the new books that are coming out. Here is my reading plan for January. Click on the titles to see them on GoodReads. 

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Book Review: The Gilded Wolves

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

"You know you've read a good book when you turn to the last page and feel a little as if you've lost a friend" - Paul Sweeney

So people spent the better part of six weeks prior to this book's release telling me how much I was going to like it because it was SO much like Six of Crows.

So I got it. And then I didn't start it. When people tell me a book is going to be amazing, I usually end up hating it. Then people were saying it was like Ace of Shades which was okay, but not really comparable to Six of Crows. So I avoided it some more.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Book Review: Wicked Saints

Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow. WOW.

I'll be honest, I'm always quick to judge a book by the cover and this book ... well, it lacked a cover that drew me in. I almost passed on reading it. This would have been a regretful decision for sure.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Rant about the ending ... Four Dead Queens

Okay wait a second, have you read this book already? Awesome, because we are discussion all the spoilers. Haven’t read it yet? No, stop, don’t keep reading, you’ll spoil the whole ending. Just don’t do it friend. 

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Book Review: We Are the Gardeners

We Are the Gardeners by Joanna Gaines

On the surface this is a beautifully illustrated story of a family that teaches about important aspects of taking care of plants. This surface story presents wonderful facts about how to care for plants, the realities of overwatering or the dangers of certain bugs in your garden. When I was a little girl I was obsessed with the Klutz Gardening Book; I think I would have loved this book as well for the facts it presents.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Book Review: Daisy Jones and The Six

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Tragic, gritty, poignant. Still with me days afterwards. It has just that touch of "ick" that makes you shift in your seat a little while reading.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Book Review: Ace of Shades

Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So for the first 75% of this book it was only three stars, but the last 25% was five stars so I had to average them out at a four.

Ace of Shades starts slow. Enne (what kind of name is that, seriously, we've spelled out a letter) arrives in the City of Sin to find her missing mother. Within moments of arrival she's lost her luggage, is on the run from the police, and gets tied up with a street gang.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Book Review: The Novice

The Novice by Taran Matharu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

About five years ago (ugh, don't look at how long books have been on my TBR) a patron at my library who didn't really like to read, recommended this book to me. I added it to my TBR and even bought it on Audible. I just never read it.

I think that books kids love, especially boys who don't like to read, deserve a closer look sometimes. Why, after recommending a hundred books over a few weeks time he picked up this random book I'd never heard of before and devoured it ... enjoying it so much that he waited for me outside my office to tell me how excellent it was. This is the kind of book I have to read.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Book Review: Good Omens

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Let me start by saying I LOVE Neil Gaiman. His way with words is so enchanting ... on the other hand, I don't really care for Terry Pratchett. His way with words isn't my favorite. Which made this book an unusual ready.

The storyline is brilliant. The whole pebble under the cup game (which they tell you to pay careful attention to) effects the endgame in ways that I totally saw coming, but enjoyed the ride.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Book Review: The Scorpio Races

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Re-reading #6, some new notes.
Nearly every year I re-read this book in the spring. Even though the entire book takes place late fall, it just brings the peacefulness of spring with it.

Monday, February 25, 2019

First Five Chapters - Four Dead Queens

Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Nooooo ... you can't leave me hanging like this. I'm so glad my copy will be at my house in a few short days.

Okay, so here are my initial thoughts on Four Dead Queens, but just on the first five chapters because, that's all I've gotten to read so far (I'm dying here ... the end of five chapters came WAY too fast).

There are two main points of view in this story - that of Keralie and that of the four queens (so really there are five POVs, but that is splitting hairs). Keralie's story already has me so pulled in that I was holding my breath at the end of chapter five.

I'm getting some serious Kaz/Inej vibes from Keralie and Mackiel. They are like a younger version, the version that hasn't quite had as many adventures just yet to have them totally trusting each other. But I feel like they will get there.

I'm not into the story of the queens at all so far. But I've only had two chapters with them, so it's probably too soon to say that I don't care for their part of the storyline.

Alright, so if you liked Six of Crows, or if you like that quick paced fantasy book (okay, that's everyone, can I just say everyone will like this? No, okay fine), then you're going to love this. It's so hard to write a review when I've only had a little sneak at the story, but so far I'm totally sold. I know I'm going to love it, I just don't know where this story is going!

Is it Tuesday yet?

Preview of Four Dead Queens generously provided by NetGalley in exchange for a honest review. They didn't ask me to gush, I just did #sorrynotsorry

View all my reviews

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Book Review: Kingdom of Ash

Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Five stars. All the stars. Let's borrow stars from other reviews ... they didn't deserve them. Am I gushing? Well, it is appropriate.

This book, the completion to this story, was beyond extraordinary. With the exception of Harry Potter, I really never stick with long series. But this, this was another story entirely.

Because I want to avoid spoilers in my reviews, let's sing the praises of Sarah J Maas instead.

Book Review: Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve

 Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Well. Um. That wasn't as good as I'd hoped.

I wanted to read this because the MOVIE looks amazing. And I have a rule. You have to read the book first. So I did.

The premise is intersting - the cities MOVE. Like, they are on wheels and drive around. And eat other cities. Not literally (honestly, I didn't quite get that at first), but rather they overtake them and dismantle them. I'm not entirely sure what happens to the people who lived there. I feel like it was glossed over. Are they killed? Do they become prisoners? I don't get it.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Book Review: The Artful Parent 2nd Edition

Artful Parent - Simple Ways to Fill Your Family's Life with Art and Creativity by Jean Van't Hul
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Because I adore Jean Van’t Hul and I was silently hoping the second version of The Artful Parent would contain thousands of ideas of awesome projects to do with kids. But, then I remind myself that isn’t the POINT of the book. Although there are dozens of amazing books full of ideas to do with kids, this one TEACHES parents and other adults about the why and the how.

I own the first iteration of The Artful Parent and it has served me well in two ways. First, I’ve used the information she provides as a resource when teaching parents the importance of creating art, being creative, and the general “why” art is important when you have kids. The second way I’ve used this book is as a resource of art projects to do with kids both in storytimes and in art classes I’ve been fortunate enough to teach the past several years.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Untitled: Book Review and Storytime Plan

Untitled by Timothy Young*
Five Stars

YES! There have been so few picture books to make me honestly laugh recently and this one had me cracking up. I can't wait for it to come out so I can read it during storytimes at the bookstore.

First, I love a book about the writing process - it makes a book have greater value. It is a funny story to read to preschoolers, but is a useful tool when teaching the writing process in grade school.

Carlos and Ignaz are hilariously confused in this delightful picture book by Timothy Young. A coatimundi and a capybara (who began the book as a porcupine until the illustrator changed his mind) are just waiting for the author to actually start writing their story. They dream about what might happen and when something FINALLY does, they are taken by surprise.

This story is hilarious for all ages and would be a fun tool when teaching the roles of author and illustrator.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Book Review: The Witch's Kind

The Witch's Kind by Louisa Morgan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hello friends, it's time for another book review. This time I'm reviewing an ARC (that is an Advanced Reader's Copy) of The Witch's Kind. This book is released March 19th, 2019.

The Witch's Kind told a different story than I expected. Judging the book by the title and cover, I expected a story about witches ... and it might have had witches, but that simply isn't what the story was about.

I LOVED this book. Seriously, the pacing was slow and melodic (which isn't always to my taste, but it felt relaxing to read this story), the characters were interesting, flawed, and real. The story came alive on the page, which I think it really all you can ask for when reading a story.

Book Review: King of Scars

King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow. WOW.

First, I regret not re-reading all the previous books first. So, if you haven't read it yet, take a minute and reread at least the last book in both series first. I spent too much time not quite understanding what was happening at the beginning.

Okay, now for the book. Nikolai was always my favorite character in the Shadow and Bone series. I'm serious, go back and look at those reviews. I'll wait. Okay, believe me now? Let's continue.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Book Review: Echo North

Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm still in the magical glow that is the aftermath of this book ... however I think the five stars is well deserved here.

In this book Meyer weaves an intricate retelling of East of the Sun, West of the Moon, a Norwegian fairytale with similar roots of Beauty and the Beast. Know how much I love a Beauty and the Beast retelling (did I read four or five last year?) I thought this was going to be right up my alley.

The beginning FEELS like Beauty and the Beast, but a little darker with Echo having not the charmed childhood Belle has. The story itself dives into the dark woods and in immersed in dark magic.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Book Review: Girls of Paper and Fire

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Here is a good question - does this book deserve all the hype? Yes ... maybe. Let's talk about it.

I added this to my TBR last year after reading so many good things about this book from Natasha Ngan. My sister gave it to me for Christmas and since I had the GORGEOUS book in hand it quickly moved to the top of my list. My first impression was those PINK pages are so amazing!

This year I'm dedicated to reading more books that are "different" - books I don't see myself in. More books with male protagonists, more books with LGBTQ characters, more books from different cultures, and more books outside of my preferred genres.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Book Review: Bar Harbor Retirement Home for Famous Writers

The Bar Harbor Retirement Home for Famous Writers by Terri-Lynne DeFino
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

DNF at 54%

Okay, okay, okay, I know! How do I give something two stars, but not finish it? Well ... it's a good question lol. The reality is that the book was good. The further reality is, it just wasn't good for me.

Welcome to Bar Harbor Retirement home, where retired authors come to live their final days amongst an unusual assortment of nurses, doctors, and assistants. A place where no one seems to be truly happy, but merely existing.

Book Review: A Discovery of Witches

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was okay.

I have had at least a dozen people tell me to read this series. Other than their recommendations I knew nothing of the book when I bought it. They recommended it to me because I love books about magical realism. However, they neglected to notify me it was about vampires.

A book would have to be shockingly fantastic for me to really love to read about vampires. They were just overplayed in the wake of Twilight's success ... in fact, this whole book just reads like a more grown-up version of Twilight.

Normally I'd have just stopped reading, but SO many people recommended it to me, I couldn't just give up.

I liked the story. I liked the characters. I like how it ended. But I didn't love it. It wasn't captivating for me. If I'd read it right when it came out, I might have LOVED it. If I'd read it right after I read the first Twilight book I know I would have loved it.