Mar 31, 2019

Building the Book Pile #295

Welcome to Building the Book Pile!  A Weekly meme inspired by Stacking the Shelves

Hello Readers, Bloggers, and Awesome people! 

Work trip 1 is done --- yay!!! I was in Boston Thursday - Saturday and it was great and I am glad to have one work trip under my belt. I have another one at the end of this week. 

All that said, the blog is looking great for this week. I have a bunch of reviews ready to go and I am so excited that I have gotten some reading done. Now I just need to finish my next homework assignment.... :) 

If you enjoy the blog and want to share some love and caffeine, you can buy me a coffee via Ko-fi

Share about your week with me in the comments below!

  Giveaways  on Cover2CoverBlog! 

  Coming up on the Blog

April TBR Pile
Early Reader Review: Mera -Tidebreaker by Danielle Paige (GN)
Recent Reads: Ben Braver and the Incredible Exploding Kid by Marcus Emerson (MG)
Early Reader Review: The Mutts Summer Diaries by Patrick McDonnell (GN)

No Books Received Recently...

But that is ok because I have a list to get through.


Have you missed anything lately?
Comment and leave me a link to your Round-up/ STS/ Weekly...anything, post and I will happily stop by and say hello!
Happy Reading!

Mar 29, 2019

Monthly Re-Cap: March 2019

Hello Readers, Bloggers, and Awesome people! 

Wow it almost April! 
I loved my month of March, it was busy but wonderful. We visited family in Florida and had such a great time. We even got to go down to Key West for the first time and I got to see a bunch of alligators in the Everglades. 

Today I am in Boston for work and tomorrow the hubs an I are spending the day in the city - I think we are going to go to a few museums. 

I finished a class and started a new one, and luckily it is still going well. I love learning and I am still excited about school stuff (I know I am super nerdy).

Sadly, with all that fun, it is still cold in Vermont. We have had a good amount of snow melt and sun but mornings are still rough and I cannot wait until it is finally spring here.... normally that doesn't happen until Mid-April though. 

I hope that your month was wonderful, let me know in the comments something fun that you did in March or a great book you read! Is it spring where you are yet? 

~~Books I Read in March~~
  I Kill Giants  The Mutts Summer Diaries   Mera: Tidebreaker  The Minimalist Way: Minimalism Strategies to Declutter Your Life and Make Room for Joy  Unicorn Bowling (Phoebe and Her Unicorn #9)  Truman the Dog  Witchcraft and Monsters  Ben Braver and the Incredible Exploding Kid

How did I do on my March TBR
I finished 2.5 / 4 books. Not the greatest TBR showing but school, work and vacation are keeping me busy. I did read a lot of others that were shorter and I will have reviews for them up soon.

    ~~Links to Some Reviews from Books Read in March.~~
    The Minimalist Way by Erica Layne (Adult) - 3 stars
    I Kill Giants by Joe Kelly (GN)- 5 stars

    ~~Links to Some Reviews from Books Read Previously.~~

    Muddy: The Raccoon Who Stole Dishes by Griffin Ondaatje (Youth) - 4 stars
    ~~Coming Soon Still~~ 
    So Many...
    Ben Braver and the Incredible Exploding Kid by Marcus Emerson (MG)
    Witchcraft and Monsters by Kala Godin (Poems)
    Unicorn Bowling by Dana Simpson (MG, GN)
    Mera: Tidebreaker by Danielle Paige (GN)
    The Mutts Summer Diaries by Patrick McDonnell (GN)
    My Furry Foster Family: Truman the Dog by Debbi Michiko Florence  (MG)

    Mar 28, 2019

    Early Reader Review: Muddy the Raccoon Whole Stole Dishes by Griffin Ondaatje

    Source: From Netgalley and North South Books in exchange for an honest review this in no way alters my opinion or review.

    Muddy: The Raccoon Who Stole DishesMuddy the Raccoon Whole Stole Dishes by Griffin Ondaatje
    Publisher:  NorthSouth Books
    Publication Date:  April 2, 2019

    Format: Ebook


    Goodreads Synopsis: 
    Every raccoon knows it’s wrong to steal people’s leftovers, but Muddy can’t help himself. 
    Muddy the raccoon loves leftovers--and he likes to eat them on plates. “Our son’s a picky eater,” his parents say. When Muddy gets caught, the oldest, wisest raccoon insists he make amends. But when all 27 raccoons enter the restaurant to return Muddy’s stolen plates, what happens next is not what anyone expects. Mischievous Muddy will steal your heart!

    Muddy is a little raccoon who loves food - especially leftovers, and especially on dinner plates. His parents and other raccoons tell him not to take plates but he loves them so much.

    This book was very cute and I learned a lot about raccoons while reading it. Muddy likes to eat his food on a plate, so he steals them ... sadly the other raccoons are not ok with this because one of them stealing gets them all in trouble. Muddy is fun to follow through this tale and how they decide to return all the plates he has taken is very fun and funny to read. 

    If your young one likes animals, this would be a fun read for the whole family.

    Mar 27, 2019

    Early Reader Review: The Minimalist Way by Erica Layne

    Source: From Callisto Publishers Club in exchange for an honest review. This in no way alters my opinion or review.

    The Minimalist Way: Minimalism Strategies to Declutter Your Life and Make Room for JoyThe Minimalist Way: Minimalism Strategies to Declutter your Life and Make Room for Joy by Erica Layne

    Publisher: Althea Press
    Publication Date:  March 12, 2019 (Coming soon!)

    Format:  Paperback


    Bring Minimalism to Your Home, Work, and Relationships
    Discover how to apply the minimalist mindset to every aspect of your life by changing the way you think about your home, career, relationships, family, and money. The Minimalist Way will help you take it one step at a time with simple exercises and activities. Ease into minimalism at your own pace and learn how to let go. 
    Filled with practical philosophy and easy-to-use strategies for removing unnecessary distractions and stress, this is the essential guidebook for anyone looking to clear out their physical, mental, and emotional clutter. 
    The Minimalist Way includes:

    • MINIMALIST PHILOSOPHY―outlines the principles of minimalism and shows you how to define the practice to fit your life.
    • THE MINIMALIST LIFESTYLE―teaches you how to apply minimalism to your spending, food, clothing, family, leisure time, work, and more.
    • REAL SOLUTIONS―that help you spend time and energy wisely, including checklists, activities, and troubleshooting tips.
    Live simpler. Live better. Live minimalism.
    The idea of going minimalist has been talked about a few times in our household, and the biggest issue for me is ... well... all the books. I love books and I love being surrounded by them. So, I picked up this book hoping to learn more about the overall idea of minimalism and what it is like. I feel like I gained a lot of very useful information from this book and that there was also a lot of pretty repeated information.

    I have been reading more "self-development" books this year, in hope of sparking motivation and joy in my life... because it is super busy and I like to learn anyway so why not more reading! 

    The Minimalist Way is a great starting point for anyone interested in learning more about it, but if you have read any books about organization and tidying, this book has a lot of the same information so it may not all be life changing. 

    The set up of the book is great, it is easy to read and has activities throughout, I did a few of them mentally but they suggest journaling while you are reading through. The sections are divided up into home, work, family, finance, time management and so on and each section can be read as a stand alone if you need a pick me up in one of those areas. 

    My main take away from the book is that I can live as a minimalist if I really put my mind to it, and I will be decluttering quite a bit, but I may not really jump in all the way just yet... those books, they make me happy.

    Mar 26, 2019

    Blog Blast: Giveaway - The Rebel Mages by Laurie Forest

    About the Book
    The Rebel Mages by Laurie Forest
    Series: The Black Witch Chronicles
    Paperback: 608 pages
    Publisher: Inkyard Press; Original edition (March 26, 2019)
    Language: English
    ISBN-10: 133555677X
    ISBN-13: 978-1335556776

    Journey to the magical world of Erthia in these two exciting prequels to The Black Witch by critically acclaimed author Laurie Forest.


    Twenty years before Elloren Gardner enrolled at the illustrious Verpax University, Erthia was rent asunder during the devastating Realm War. When Tessla Harrow is driven from her home by the fighting, she discovers a depth of power she never knew she had...and an irresistible draw toward Vale Gardner, the son of the most powerful mage her people have ever known-the Black Witch.

    Light Mage

    Before Elloren Gardner came to possess the White Wand of myth, the Wand was drawn to another bearer: Sagellyn Gaffney. Sage's affinity for light magery, a rare skill among Gardnerians, makes her the perfect protector for the one tool that can combat the shadows spreading across Erthia. But in order to keep the Wand safe from the dark forces hunting for it, Sage must abandon everything she once knew and forge a new path for herself...a dangerous course that could lead to either triumph or utter ruin.

    You can purchase The Rebel Mages at the following Retailers:

    Praise for THE BLACK WITCH Chronicles 

    “Elloren learns to question authority and Gardnerian history, while developing real empathy for different races and species. Forest uses a richly imagined magical world to offer an uncompromising condemnation of prejudice and injustice.” —Booklist, starred review

    “Exquisite character work, an elaborate mythology, and a spectacularly rendered universe make this a noteworthy debut, which argues passionately against fascism and xenophobia.” —
    Publishers Weekly, starred review

    “This briskly paced, tightly plotted novel enacts the transformative power of education, creating engaging characters set in a rich alternative universe with a complicated history that can help us better understand our own.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review 

    About the Author
    Laurie Forest lives deep in the backwoods of Vermont where she sits in front of a wood stove drinking strong tea and dreaming up tales full of dryads, dragons and wands. The Black Witch (Book 1.0, The Black Witch Chronicles – OUT NOW) & Wandfasted (Book 0.5, The Black Witch Chronicles Prequel) are her first published novels. Coming in 2018 are Light Mage (Book 1.5, The Black Witch Chronicles) & The Iron Flower(Book 2.0, The Black Witch Chronicles). She is currently ensconced in the woods, hard at work on The Shadow Dryad (Book 3.0, The Black Witch Chronicles).

    Photo Content from Laurie Forest

    *JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Mar 24, 2019

    Building the Book Pile #294

    Welcome to Building the Book Pile!  A Weekly meme inspired by Stacking the Shelves

    Hello Readers, Bloggers, and Awesome people! 

    It has been a few weeks since I have posted a Book Pile post - I am still alive :) I have just been busy, and the blog has fallen a bit out of the schedule :/ Sorry. 

    We just got back from a vacation in Florida. We visited some family and had a wonderful time in the warm weather. We were staying the Cape Coral but spent St. Patty's weekend in Key West and it was so much fun. It was our first time down. I will post a few pictures here and on Instagram of the trip and all the fun animals I stalked while I was there.

    Not much on the blog lately because of travels and my new course starting - but there will be more soon. I read a bunch of books that are coming out in April and the end of March and those reviews will be up as fast as I can write them/ close to the books release date. 

    I have two work trips coming up one at the end of this week and one at the end of the following week, so hopefully I still be able to get on track and post regular weekend posts again..... we will see :/

    If you enjoy the blog and want to share some love and caffeine, you can buy me a coffee via Ko-fi

    Share about your week with me in the comments below!

      Giveaways  on Cover2CoverBlog! 

    Coming up on the Blog

    Blog Blast: The Rebel Mages by Laurie Forest (YA)
    Recent Reads: The Minimalist Way by Erica Layne (Non-Fiction)
    Early Reader Review: Muddy by Griffin Ondaatje (Youth)
    March Re-Cap (WOW it is almost April)

    Books Received Recently

     The Mutts Summer Diaries  The Door to Witchcraft: A New Witch's Guide to History, Traditions, and Modern-Day Spells  A Mind of Her Own  Wishes and Wellingtons

    Unicorn Bowling (Another Phoebe and her Unicorn Adventure) by Dana Simpson - from Netgalley and Andrews McMeel Publishing for review.

    The Mutts Summer Diaries (Sampler) by Patrick McDonnell - from Netgalley and Andrews McMeel Publishing for review.

    The Door to Witchcraft: The New Witch's Guide to History, Traditions, and Modern- Day Spells by Tonya Brown - from Althea Press and Callisto Publishers Club for review.

    Audible Originals from March - Freebies with Audible Subscription
    A Mind of her Own by Paula McLain
    Wishes and Wellingtons by Julie Berry

    Have you missed anything lately?
    Comment and leave me a link to your Round-up/ STS/ Weekly...anything, post and I will happily stop by and say hello!
    Happy Reading!

    Mar 22, 2019

    Blog Tour: Excerpt and Giveaway! Friendroid by MM Vaughan

    About the Book
    Stranger Things meets robots in this sweet story about an unlikely friendship between two boys—one human, one android.

    Eric Young is an android, but he doesn’t know. He does know that he’s just moved to Ashland, so it’s important to make the right kind of friends—the kind that would be interested in skateboarding and the new Slick sneakers his Uncle Martin sends him.

    Danny Lazio doesn’t have any friends, but he doesn’t care. Even if his classmates don’t accept him, he still has Land X, the online role play game that he’s actually really good at. But then Eric takes an interest in Land X, and suddenly Danny thinks he might have found a real friend…if he can figure out the mystery behind Eric’s sudden disappearances and strange lifestyle.

    It becomes harder to ignore the weird events that happen only around Eric. But uncovering the secret behind Eric’s identity is an act that might cost them both as powerful forces soon move in around them.

    This heartfelt story about friendship and what it means to be human is sure to tug at your soul—or your soul-chip if you’re like Eric.  

    Praise for FRIENDROID

    "A timely parable for this generation of digital natives." ―Kirkus

    "Vaughan presents another noteworthy sf middle-grade offering peppered with mystery." ―Booklist

    "For middle-grade readers who are ready to fight the power." ―Publishers Weekly

    Slick: Wednesday, October 31 
    We left the house at 6:12 p.m. to go trick or treating. I was carrying my Baltic Wave skateboard under one arm and a black bag with a skeleton on it to collect candy in the other. I looked up what a zombie was this morning, and they are only interested in eating human flesh and organs, so I don’t think they’d be carrying skateboards around, or bags to collect candy. But as zombies are not real, I guess nobody can say that they definitely wouldn’t. Even so, I thought other people might think it was weird, but nobody said anything, so maybe they didn’t. Or maybe they were being polite, like how nobody mentioned that Tyler was dressed as an entertainer for little kids parties. 
    I had never been trick or treating before, but it looked like everybody in Ashland had. Harry’s street was already full of kids when we went out. The younger kids had adults with them. We were old enough to trick or treat without an adult, so we went on our own. 
    The streets looked very different from how they normally look at night. This is because most people decorate their houses for Halloween with lights, pumpkins, candles, spiderwebs, ghosts, bats, and witches. Some people had put gravestones and dead bodies on their front lawns. Not real ones. 
    We did not decorate our house. I will tell Mom and Dad to decorate our house next year. 
    We went to thirty-two houses. Sometimes we had to wait a long time to get to the door as there were so many kids in front of us. Some of the houses ran out of candy. The code for running out of candy is to leave an unlit pumpkin outside your home. 
    One of the houses had a big basket filled with candy on the front porch. The owners of the house were not there. The basket had a sign saying TAKE ONE. Harry, Luke, and Tyler grabbed handfuls of the candy even though the sign was stuck on the handle of the basket and the words were written in large orange letters, so they couldn’t have missed it. 

    Mar 12, 2019

    Blog Blitz: Excerpt & Giveaway! The Witch's Tower by Tamara Grantham

    The Witch’s Tower 
    by Tamara Grantham 
    (Twisted Ever After #1) 
    Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
    Publication date: March 11th 2019
    Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

    About the Book

    Gothel is a witch. Punished for the actions of her mother, her choice is simple: either she stands guard over Princess Rapunzel—or she dies. But just because a choice is easy doesn’t mean it’s pleasant. Protecting Rapunzel means watching as the princess lays trapped in a tower, bedridden by hair that is so long and heavy it’s slowly driving her insane. Gothel’s life has become one of imprisonment and solitude as well—until a prince and his handsome squire appear at the tower.

    Only one object can cut Rapunzel’s hair and end the curse: a pair of magical shears. But the shears are guarded by the most terrifying witches in the land, who also happen to be Gothel’s aunts. As Gothel and the prince’s squire, Raj Talmund, work to form a plan, she finds herself more and more drawn to the mysterious young man from the Outerlands. Unfortunately, his destiny is far more dangerous than she wants to admit: to save a princess, he must kill the witch who’s been forced to guard her.

    THE WITCH’S TOWER is the first in an inspired new series of fairy-tale retellings from award-winning fantasy author Tamara Grantham.

    99¢ for release week only!
    Blood. My blood.  
    Rapunzel was getting bolder. A gust of rain-scented wind rushed through the clearing as I pulled a scrap of rolled linen from my cloak. I wrapped it around my wrist where she’d clawed my skin. Droplets soaked through, staining the fabric.  
    Sighing, I straightened to stare at the moonlit tower looming over me. I didn’t know what to do with Rapunzel. She was growing more unstable. It didn’t help that my mother had placed a curse on her. How could Rapunzel’s mind be right when she was forced to lie in bed all day, a prisoner to her hair that was so heavy, it prevented her from moving? 
    The clouds thickened, covering the sky, making the tower seem to disappear. I lit my lantern. The flame burned bright inside the glass as I started down the trail through the forest. As I walked, twigs snapped under my boots. The sounds of chirping crickets, and the occasional hoot from an owl, filled the air.  
    The scent of rain lingered on the wind. I hoped it held off until I made it to the village. The trail sloped downward, and I followed it over a narrow footbridge spanning a stream. As I crossed, my footfalls echoing over wooden planks, I reminded myself why I was traveling through these cursed woods. We needed supplies. Going into the village was the only way to get them, although leaving the tower was risky. If the high sorcerer found me gone, he’d hang me for sure, but what choice did I have? The flour was growing rancid, I would eat dirt before I touched another wild beet, and I was certain the dirt would taste better. It would help if I had skills in gardening, but I’d always had rotten luck when it came to growing things.  
    A breeze rushed through the woods, stirring the turquoise blue strands of my hair. I tucked it beneath my cowl, hoping to keep it hidden. It made me easily identifiable, and if anyone saw its strange color, they’d start asking questions. I hated questions. I hated answering them even more.The trees grew thicker along my path, making it hard to see anything.  
    A noise caught my attention.  
    Hoof beats came from up ahead. I ducked behind a briar bush as two forms emerged from the trail. Dousing my lantern’s flame, I stared at the shapes of two men on horseback approaching me.  
    I held my breath, my own heartbeats sounding too loud. 
    “Halt!” one of the men called. “I see you there.” 
    “Come out,” the other man shouted.  
    Under the light of their lanterns, the gleam of their swords’ pommels shone, peeking from their scabbards strapped to their backs. Would they use their weapons? 
    Breathing deeply, I attempted to keep my cool. They had no reason to harm me. I kept that in mind as I stood and stepped away from the bush. 
    “What are you doing out here?” one of the men asked. 
    “I’m on my way to Willow Wood village.”

    Mar 6, 2019

    Recent Reads: I Kill Giants by Joe Kelly

    I Kill Giants

    I Kill Giants by Joe Kelly
    Series: I Kill Giants
    Publisher:  Image comics
    Publication Date:   2009

    Format:  Paperback
    Source: Borrowed from a friend.


    Goodreads Synopsis: 
    Barbara Thorson, a girl battling monsters both real and imagined, kicks butt, takes names, and faces her greatest fear in this bittersweet, coming-of-age story called "Best Indy Book of 2008" by IGN.
    I pulled a reader no-no and watched this movie before I read the graphic novel, either way I was NOT prepared for the ending and I won't spoil it in case you are still waiting to read it. 

    This graphic novel is a mix of fantasy and the horrors that reality can bring. They are mashed together in a way that is interesting and only sheds light when needed. The reader is pretty much kept in the dark throughout the novel until the very end and then it all hits you like a wrecking ball.

    The main character, Barbara, is super strong and brave for her age. She has been through some things and won't put up with anyone that she thinks is dumb, which is most of her peers and even the teachers and principal. She is a hero surrounded by the oblivious. 

    The fantastical aspects of this book were subtle but also very over the top and they meshed really well into the story. At some point I will compare the movie to the graphic novel but for now, I have to say that I really liked the book as a stand alone. It has everything it needs to and while it may seem strange, I was not left questioning the giants or fantasy elements, it all just makes sense.

    All that being said, if you are not ready for an emotional roller-coaster, this book isn't for you; but if you are, you will love this book.