Feb 28, 2021

Building the Book Pile #338

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

Hello Readers, Bloggers, and Awesome people! 

Happy Sunday Everyone! 

I hope you had a nice week. Mine was busy with work. Luckily, it is only the 1st week (of my 2nd to last class!), so that was not too much yet and I didn't have too much homework yet. But I am tired. 

Today I am having another planner fun -time zoom with some friends. We chat about things and them plan out our weeks in planners with stickers and notes and checklists - loads of checklists. It is a lot of fun. Are you doing anything fun today?

I cannot believe it is already March! Aside from the fact that this year is flying by, pretty soon it will be at a whole year of working from home. It feels like I/we have been doing it for a lifetime now. It is weird. I like working from home, it give me a chance to read more at lunch, and throw some laundry in on short breaks, but I miss the short breaks of just chatting about random things too. I suspect we are all feeling this way in some respects. So hi, I hope you are well. I miss you all. 

Anywho... It was a good review week and there are more reviews to come this upcoming week. Excited to be really reading again and trying to keep it up. What great things have you been reading?

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

Coming up on the Blog

Early Reader Review: Curious about Insects by Cathryn Sill (Youth)

Recent Reads: Inside Jobs: Tales from a Time of Quarantine by Ben Winters (Adult)

Early Reader Review: Stanley's Toy Box by William Bee (Youth)

Recent Reads: A Murder of Manatees (Tom Stranger, Interdimensional Insurance Agent #2) by Larry Correia (Adult)

Books Received Recently...

Vicious by V.E. Schwab (Villains #1) - bought, I need to stop going to the bookstore...

Have you missed anything lately?

Comment or leave me a link and I will see you online again soon.
Happy Reading!

Feb 26, 2021

Recent Reads: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab 
Series: Shades of Magic #1
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Publication Date:  April 21, 2015

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27405327-pop-manga-coloring-book?from_search=true  https://www.amazon.com/Pop-Manga-Coloring-Book-Beautiful/dp/0399578471?ie=UTF8&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0399578471&linkCode=as2&redirect=true&ref_=x_gr_w_bb&tag=x_gr_w_bb-20

Format: Audible Audiobook
Source: Bought (Audible membership credits)


Goodreads Synopsis: 

Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.

Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they'll never see. It's a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they'll first need to stay alive. 
I have heard so many good things about this book and this series, and as with most hyped books, it has taken me FOREVER to finally jump in. I was not disappointed. Full transparency, I listened to this book on Audible and now I have to go by the paperback for my shelf. I was not sure I was going to get into it as much as I did and in the end I was fully invested in Kell and these worlds. 

The audiobook was wonderful, the reader was so good and the story was painted so well by him and I really appreciate that. Sometimes it is hard to get into an audiobook because the reader is just off but you aren't sure how, that was NOT the case here. 

Anywho, enough about the way I read the book... I loved this world SO much. It is so interested the layered Londons and the magic system, or lack thereof. Kell's coat is life for me, the way it transitions to what he needs it to be and he isn't even sure how many layers or options there are... that he loses things in it, I giggled and loved this aspect of the book so much and want more of it.

Schwab does such a great job with her character development and growth in this book, I cannot wait to read more of the series to learn more. There is just enough to keep you interested, but also enough mystery that you need to dive deeper. Kell is mysterious from the very beginning, even as the main character and I love that he keeps that mystery through the novel. Lila is so stubborn and sure of herself that I wanted to be her. She is strong and determined, but still honest that sometimes she is scared but needs change in her life. Everything about these characters was so good.

The plot started out slow, but the build-up was perfectly timed though each chapter and I cannot wait to dive into the next book (that is already on my shelf). 

As I am writing this review, fawning over this book, I need to up my rating...5 stars all the way for this one! Great magic system, interesting worlds, mysterious and broody characters - all for it. 

Feb 25, 2021

Early Reader Review: When Sharks Attack with Kindness by Andres Colmenares

Source: From Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way alters my opinion or review. 

When Sharks Attack with Kindness by Andres Colmenares
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Pblishing
Publication Date: March 2, 2021  

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27405327-pop-manga-coloring-book?from_search=true  https://www.amazon.com/Pop-Manga-Coloring-Book-Beautiful/dp/0399578471?ie=UTF8&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0399578471&linkCode=as2&redirect=true&ref_=x_gr_w_bb&tag=x_gr_w_bb-20

Format: Ebook


Goodreads Synopsis: 
Cute, clever, and comically ingenious, Andrés Colmenares’ popular shark comics are a sweet, sincere tonic for these anxious, troubled times.

This hardcover collection features the cute, uplifting and ingenious aquatic cartoons of Andrés Colmenares, the creator of Wawawiwa Comics, followed by millions of fans around the globe. While sharks are one of the ocean’s deadliest predators, these sharks can smell insecurity, doubt, and gloom, and are quick to strike  — with kindness, cuteness, and positivity!
If you are looking for a comic series about love, kindness, friendship, and positivity, look no further than this one. This adorably bright and happy book follows sea creatures and a "sea human" in their day to day and the kindness and love they share with each other. It is so cute and inspiring and I loved every single strip and spread. Some pages were interactive and there were pages to introduce all the animals that would be throughout the book.

It will hit you right in the feels with every page turn. I won't give specifics because I really don't want to spoil anyone's experience with this book. It is worth a look, a flip through, and a read and a few times when you need some happy in your life. This was a good time for this book to be released and I hop that everyone enjoys it as much as I did.

Feb 23, 2021

Early Reader Review: Aster and the Mixed-Up Magic by Thom Pico

Source:  From Netgalley and Random House Graphic in exchange for an honest review. This in no way alters my opinion or review. 

Aster and the Mixed-Up Magic by Thom Pico

Series: Aster #2
Publisher: Random House Graphic
Publication Date: March 2, 2021

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27405327-pop-manga-coloring-book?from_search=true  https://www.amazon.com/Pop-Manga-Coloring-Book-Beautiful/dp/0399578471?ie=UTF8&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0399578471&linkCode=as2&redirect=true&ref_=x_gr_w_bb&tag=x_gr_w_bb-20

Format: Ebook


Goodreads Synopsis: 
Aster is charming, resourceful, and fun." - Dana Simpson, author of Phoebe and Her Unicorn

Magic turned Aster's life upside-down -- and it's not over! Get ready for more family, more fun, and even more magic in this graphic novel adventure.

Moving to the middle of nowhere has been less of a disaster than Aster expected. Her mom's science experiments are actually pretty cool; her dad's cooking has gotten much better; her new dog is possibly the best canine companion anyone could ask for.

And she's gotten to save the day -- and her family -- and the whole valley she lives in -- from various magical calamities in what even she has to admit were extremely fun adventures. So now she can have a break, right?
Guess what?

Oh no; things get even more interesting.
Often I am on Netgalley looking for books to read and review and do not realize that they are the 2nd+ in a series and that was the case with this one. Aster and the Mixed-Up Magic is number two in the series and is a few stories in one book. The compellation is easy to follow even though I had not read book one, there were enough clues throughout to allow readers to understand what was going on. 

This installment was fun and funny, there is adventure and magic and talking animals as well as some drama. It is geared toward a middle grade audience. Aster is magical but only half of her family knows. She has a talking dog and a fox that can also talk to her and help her along the way but often is sarcastic and choses not to. She is faced with defeating and evil sheep and other magic creatures that want to take over the human realm for themselves. 

This was a cute book. While it was easy to figure out the premise from book one, I didn't feel as tied to the characters as I might have been if I had read book one. Overall, it was a fun and interesting take on magic in a middle grade graphic novel and I believe that younger audience will really enjoy it. 

Feb 22, 2021

Recent Reads: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Series: Six of Crows #1
Publisher: Square Fish
Publication Date:  

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27405327-pop-manga-coloring-book?from_search=true  https://www.amazon.com/Pop-Manga-Coloring-Book-Beautiful/dp/0399578471?ie=UTF8&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0399578471&linkCode=as2&redirect=true&ref_=x_gr_w_bb&tag=x_gr_w_bb-20

Format: Paperback (and Audible audiobook)
Source: Bought/Own


Goodreads Synopsis: 
Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone. . . .

A convict with a thirst for revenge

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager

A runaway with a privileged past

A spy known as the Wraith

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes

Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first. 
This book has been on my TBR for far too long. I wanted to get into the Grishaverse without committing to a full trilogy so the Crows duology seemed like a good place to begin.  

This was such a fun read, a dark and immersive fantasy with a world that is strange but familiar. It is told from multiple point of view and each character is stubborn, determined, and has their own demons to deal with. The plot follows a team of misfit, criminals who were paid to go retrieve a person from a fortress city and return him in order to keep the secrets of a drug that makes the Grisha all-powerful all the more secret. They have to buy, steal, and cheat their way through and it is an epic adventure.

Each character is fun to read, there was not POV that I wanted to skip through. It seems like they are all in their teens but they read as much older and either way is fine. The world that they live in makes them grow up and mature quickly, it is nor a soft world.  Although they are all alike in many ways, each was also very different in their reasons for wanting to escape their home city and get the payout. The banter between them all was so funny and had me hooked from the first few lines.

Some things of note, this book is not for the faint of heart, there were a few very graphic and gory moments...they are criminals after all. There are themes of slavery and brothels, so while some see this as a YA book, I put it more in the New Adult/Adult category for more mature themes and violence. 

If you like a book with twists, adventure, multiple POV, fantasy, magic, and LOADS of characters to follow, this is a great book. Overall, I loved this book and already have recommended it...and bought the next one to keep reading. 

Feb 21, 2021

Building the Book Pile #337

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

Hello Readers, Bloggers, and Awesome people! 

Sorry I have been a bit MIA again...busy busy.
After #24in48 I was exhausted but also needed to write reviews... but also needed to write a 20+ page final paper for a class, so I took the time to focus on that and put off reviews. 

I was off this week and did a lot of house stuff and played Animal Crossing for a while instead of blogging but I finished a few Audiobooks while playing. 

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

Coming up on the Blog

Recent Reads: Six of Crows (#1) by Leigh Bardugo

Early Reader Review: Aster and the Mixed-Up Magic by Thom Pico (Aster #2)

Recent Reads: A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1)by V.E. Schwab 

Early Reader Review: When Sharks Attack With Kindness by Andrés J. Colmenares

Books Received Recently...

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo - bought
Finale by Stephanie Garber - bought
A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab - bought

Bought at the Dollar Tree (FOR $1 each)

Have you missed anything lately?

Comment or leave me a link and I will see you online again soon.
Happy Reading!

Feb 18, 2021

Recent Reads: Legendary by Stephanie Garber

Legendary by Stephanie Garber
Series: Caraval #2
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publication Date:  May 28th, 2018

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27405327-pop-manga-coloring-book?from_search=true  https://www.amazon.com/Pop-Manga-Coloring-Book-Beautiful/dp/0399578471?ie=UTF8&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0399578471&linkCode=as2&redirect=true&ref_=x_gr_w_bb&tag=x_gr_w_bb-20

Format: Paperback
Source: Bought/own


Goodreads Synopsis: 
A heart to protect. A debt to repay. A game to win.

After being swept up in the magical world of Caraval, Donatella Dragna has finally escaped her father and saved her sister, Scarlett, from a disastrous arranged marriage. The girls should be celebrating, but Tella isn’t yet free. She made a desperate bargain with a mysterious criminal, and what Tella owes him no one has ever been able to deliver: Caraval Master Legend’s true name.

The only chance of uncovering Legend’s identity is to win Caraval, so Tella throws herself into the legendary competition once more—and into the path of the murderous heir to the throne, a doomed love story, and a web of secrets…including her sister's. Caraval has always demanded bravery, cunning, and sacrifice, but now the game is asking for more. If Tella can’t fulfill her bargain and deliver Legend’s name, she’ll lose everything she cares about—maybe even her life. But if she wins, Legend and Caraval will be destroyed forever...

Welcome, welcome to Caraval . . . the games have only just begun.
I am really enjoying this series. In this installment, we read from Tella's point of view instead of Scarlett's. I found this a very interesting twist and it made the plot of the first book all the more appealing because we learn a lot about Tella and her reasons for thrusting herself and her sister into Caraval in the first book. Tella is stubborn, reckless and determined where her sister in book one was anxious and afraid most of the time. Tella is also not as aloof as she appeared to be in book one, she has a plan and will see it through. 

The villain in this book is still, kind of, Legend, but also the Fates that have been sealed away for many years, some say by Legend and that is how he gets his power for Caraval. Tella, though, is determined to find and save her mother by any means necessary and plays Caraval again. This time she is an actual player though not the theme/prize. 

Although some might say the world building of these books falls flat, I really like the way the characters are the world. It is an interesting concept to have Caraval take over cities and magic everything around you. Normal things become different, enchanted and enchanting, and the reason for that is the people that have taken over. Having the characters be the setting is a very intriguing concept and I really like that it can be picked up and moved and all-encompassing in every place it goes.

I liked that we got more character development from Tella and that we learned a lot about Legend himself not just the event that he hosts. I loved the mystery weaved throughout and there were so many twists. Some were noticeable but others really threw me. The mystery always had me guessing and I cannot wait for Finale (gotta go buy it!). 

If you are looking for a world of magic, mystery, and love this is a great series to fall into.

Feb 8, 2021

Building the Book Pile #336

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

Hello Readers, Bloggers, and Awesome people! 

Hi friends, I hope you all had a great weekend! I am bringing my Sunday book post to you a day late because I was focused on ALL the reading over the weekend. I participated in #24in48 and my total was 18 hours and 21 minutes of read time, which was awesome. I finished two books and was excited to use the weekend primarily for reading time.

Other than that, we also worked on the raised beds for my new veggie garden (new house so we have to build them). We got two built and I put together a nice archway entrance to the side of the house that the garden will be. I will post some photos as it looks more complete..

What are you reading this week? How are you holding up/ or not (that is ok too)? Did you participate in #24in48? how did you do?

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

Coming up on the Blog

Recent Reads: Legendary by Stephanie Garber

Recent Reads: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Books Received Recently...

Bought with Audible credits 2 for 1:

Have you missed anything lately?

Comment or leave me a link and I will see you online again soon.
Happy Reading!

Feb 5, 2021

#24in48 Running Recap

24in48 is back and very much needed for me to catch up this year with some reading (already). If you don't know, 24in48 is the challenge and goal to read for 24 hours out of 48 hours. We start at 12:01 AM ET on Saturday, February 6th and run through 11:59PM ET on Sunday, February 7th. There are no prizes this round, it is all for bragging rights.

For more info here visit their site: https://24in48.com/

Let's Talk "the plan"
Here are the books I hope to read in my 24 hours:
If my reading math is correct that should get me to 24 hours of reading as long as I read as quickly as I normally do. I will be updating this page and my Instagram with updates through the weekend if you want to follow along. I am not going to push it, but I would like try to make the 24 hours. 

With that said... I also still need to find time to prep my planner for next week and complete a short presentation for class (eh it will all work itself out right?...riiiight!)

Here we goooooooooooooooooooooo!

Start time: 7:00 am Saturday

Started at 7am and read until about 9am this morning and read my chapters for book club, did a run to the Farmers Market and Home Depot for some stuff. The hubs is working on my planter boxes while I read this weekend.

I got some listening to Six of Crows audiobook done while lounging and added on a few more hours to my total. 

As I am updating this it is 9:15ish pm on Saturday and I am on page 300 of Legendary and pushing as long as I can tonight. Currently at 7.5 hours total of reading!

Hour/Progress: 12:02 am
About to head to bed after reading for 9 hours and 36 minutes today. Not the 12 I wanted but still pretty good. 
I finished Legendary, started Six of Crows, did my book club reading, and listened to some of Andy’s book about pirates 
Not sure I will get to the full #24in48 but I am setting a good pace.

Hour/Progress: 8:30 am Sunday
I am up. I just spent 1.5 hours on homework so that I don't have to deal with it later. I am hoping to get a good amount of reading in today again. Starting on page 68 of Six of Crows this morning and hoping to finish it. 

Hour/Progress: 11:45 pm Sunday
Finishing out the night with 18 hours and 21 minutes read in 48.

My accomplishments
  • Reading first!
    • Read for Book Club, 
    • Finished Legendary, 
    • Finished Six of Crows, 
    • got another 2 chapters into A Darker Shade of Magic (wasn't on my list)
    • Listened to a book about pirates for about 30 minutes with the hubs (his read)
    • Read my the Echo Dot instructions and got that set up to play music and my books for me.
  • Other stuff:
    • I also was able to finish a Powerpoint presentation for class, respond to two discussion posts, and add to a draft for my final paper.
    • I only had one Red Bull... (so surprising it was not more)
    • I helped start putting together raised beds for my garden - Photos soon in a BTBP.

Feb 4, 2021

Early Reader Review: Anonymouse by Vikki VanSickle and Anna Pirolli

Source: From  Netgalley and Tundra Books in exchange for an honest review. This in no way alters my opinion or review.

Anonymouse by Vikki VanSickle and Anna Pirolli
Publisher: Tundra Books
Publication Date: February 9, 2021 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27405327-pop-manga-coloring-book?from_search=true  https://www.amazon.com/Pop-Manga-Coloring-Book-Beautiful/dp/0399578471?ie=UTF8&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0399578471&linkCode=as2&redirect=true&ref_=x_gr_w_bb&tag=x_gr_w_bb-20

Format: Ebook


Goodreads Synopsis: 

Animal-friendly street art is popping up all over the city, but who is creating these masterpieces? There is no explanation, only a name: Anonymouse. For fans of Sidewalk Flowers and Art & Max.

Art for the birds.
Art for the ants.
Art for the dogs, cats and raccoons.
Art to make them laugh, make them think, make them feel at home.
But who is creating it?
Only Anonymouse knows for sure . . .

This clever tale mixes street art, animals and gorgeous illustrations to create a meditation on how art can uplift any creature's spirit -- human or animal -- when it speaks directly to them. Every page of Anna Pirolli's stunning artwork is its own masterpiece with its bold pops of colour and sly humor, elevating Vikki VanSickle's subtle but evocative text. 
Anonymouse is a children's book about a mouse that is creating art all over the city in a sneaky way. It is mostly a picture book for younger readers with large image spreads and bright pink throughout to showcase Anonymouse's artwork. 

I enjoy children's books about art, I think that they begin their journey into art in a fun and enlightening way. This book is essentially a showcase of art like that of  Banksy, who uses this pseudonym to 'tag' or spray paint in public areas in order to create satirical pieces for the masses. Here the little mouse is using his art to go some of the same things. He shows missing trees in a park, satellite dishes as giant flowers, and targets for doggie potty time. 

While the book does not spell it out, the mouse is emphasizing issues around him and the other animals are inspired.  So why only 3 stars? Well, if you don't know about Banksy and that background, this book could be confusing. It is also hard to explain to young readers that the mouse has essentially defaced these items to get a point across and how that is good for the point he is trying to make, but actually illegal. I think it is a great introduction into the world of  underground art for young readers, but has a few hiccups in the explanations that might have to occur along the way.

I would like to add this book permanently to my collection of art books, but my review is for those looking for children's books to spread knowledge and enrichment. This book does both of those, but I am not sure it is the message some would like to share with their youth until they have a better understanding of right and wrong and all they grey in between.