Friday, June 11, 2021

Review: The Big Book of Monsters: The Most Ghastly Ghouls, Bloodcurdling Beasts, and Wicked Witches from Classic Literature by Hal Johnson and Tim Sievert

 


Title: The Big Book of Monsters: The Most Ghastly Ghouls, Bloodcurdling Beasts, and Wicked Witches from Classic Literature
Author: Hal Johnson
Illustrator: Tim Sievert
Publication Date: Sept 3, 2019
Publisher: Workman Publishing Company; Illustrated Edition
Source: Publisher

4 out of 5 cupcakes


I wasn't really sure what I was going to get from this book until I started reading through it.  I knew I was going to get monsters, of course, but I didn't know which ones or pay attention to where the monsters that were going to be discussed would be coming from.  I obviously lack the ability of reading the front cover or the title given for it on Goodreads.  I mean it says it right there in both of them, but I really had no idea...

Well, wouldn't you know it...a lot of the monsters have come from stories and written work!  Some of the monsters detailed within I knew about in some form or another.  Others, I knew from having read the actual work that they are featured in!

The way the book works is - it gives you a quick synopsis of the story the monster is from.  Then after that it will give you some other information relating to some aspect of the monsters story.  It may be a tidbit about the time period it came from, it may be a random fact in regards to the author, and it may even be other works where you can find similar monsters!  And some of these I found really interesting.

Now, as I said, I knew some of the monsters in the book before this from having read the actual source they are from.  I found the quick run down for those monsters a nice little refresher of their story.  Then for the monsters I had heard about before, but had not read about I found that I really had no idea what their stories were actually about!  I had no knowledge about The Invisible Man except for the part where he is invisible...  Now I know the synopsis of that book and it has definitely made me want to read the book so I can experience him in full!

Also, what is nice, is at the end of the book it gives some great resources.  There are some suggested readings, other monsters to look into and where to find them, some tips on picking translations for those that were not written in English in the first place, etc.

However, I will say that I was not a huge fan of the artwork, but that is very much just my own opinion.  I am also not a person in their targeted audience as this book is clearly aimed at older elementary and middle school kids.  I know my 6 year old found them a bit spooky, where I found them usually too bright and too cartoonish for my liking.

All in all, I enjoyed this book and the quick bits I got about literature and mythical monsters.  It was a great refresher for the ones I have read and a nice introduction into the ones I haven't encountered yet.

This review is based on an advanced reading copy.  All thoughts and opinions are mine and I received nothing in exchange for this review.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Behind the Blog: I'm Back!

 Once upon a time I had a book blog. I read a lot of books and wrote reviews on them. Sometimes I also had other book related content. In short, that blog was about books and only books.

Then I got burnt out on it.

About two years ago I more or less lost the desire to read. I went from reading over 100 books a year to maybe dragging myself through 10. I also didn't want to write reviews. I just felt so pointless.

In the time since then, I have branched out to other hobbies. And while reading stayed. I definitely was doing it less and less. I would color, play video games, craft, do a lot of different things really. While in the back of my mind I would be telling myself to get back into blogging.

And why shouldn't I? I enjoyed it. It was another creative outlet. But the idea of solely writing about the books I hadn't really been reading was just not very enticing to me. Neither was the idea of posting solely about anything else I am interested in.

For awhile now I have been thinking about how I shouldn't be only about books. I am into way more than the written word, even when I find those words to be quite lovely. And then, while reading tonight (yes reading! I am slowly getting back into it FINALLY), I decided that I am going to do it, that I am going to blog again!

So here I am. I really have no specific aim for this blog other than to share my interests with you. I will still share book reviews and bookish goodness with you, but I intend to share much more than that. I really hope you enjoy what you find here.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Behind the Blog: What Have I Been Reading

 It seems it is harder break old habits than I thought. So here I am, writing a post that involves books and reading.

My typical go to genres are almost anything that is labeled young adult, paranormal, or fantasy. However, at some point during my reading slump I found myself wanting to read books in the horror, psychological thriller, suspense genres.

I am not 100% why this switch happened. I think there are actually a few factors to this. The first and foremost one that comes to my mind is my 6 year old. She some how was discovering she liked kind of scary (but not too scary) things. So then I was trying to find age appropriate books to see if that would help get her to read more. The second was I had some pretty toxic people in my life not too long ago that were so against "darker" things that I think I may have been passive aggressively driven towards them. Yes, I realize that probably says a lot about me right there, but maybe we will cover that in a different post some day.

Also, this interestingly, does not extend to me watching shows or movies that are horror. I really have almost no desire to watch those. I prefer what my imagination can come up with from what I am reading to what some person decided would be cool to show me. And I am not really a fan of the pop out scare. Or the gross out for that matter. A nice, detailed description is all I need and my mind can take it where it needs to go.

Sadly, I don't usually find myself all that scared, psychologically thrilled, or dealing with too much suspense. Maybe I am just reading the wrong things. Maybe I have too high of expectations. Maybe this is the real reason I have been drawn to read these types of books lately. To see if I can find one that will get to me and satisfy what ever it is in me that needs to be satisfied.

This all being said, if you have any recommendations for me, from any age group, please let me know. I am always looking for something to help keep from falling back into my slump!

Friday, November 2, 2018

Sweet Treats to Eat While Reading a Frightening Tale

In celebration of this trilling middle grade read:


I am here to share with you some yummy treat ideas you could nom on while reading it!

First and foremost, seeing how Halloween has just happened I highly recommend grabbing a handful of that Halloween candy you collected before sitting down and snacking right on all that sugary goodness. 

Second, we cannot forget the cupcakes.  They are very necessary to all things and make everything better.  And there are so many flavor options.  You just cannot go wrong with this option.

For those who need caffeine in their life, another great option would be a frap coffee beverage.  Tasty, with many options, and it will help you out with your late night binge read. 

Cookies would be another yummy option.  And again, there are many different flavors.  White chocolate chip with macadamia sounds really good to me right now actually!

All in all, as long as it isn't too messy, nom on what you will!

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Behind the Blog: What's Been Going On

Hey Everyone,

I realize I have been absent a bit in the last few months.  Is there a real reason why?  No, honestly there isn't.

I just haven't found the will or drive to do too much creating of things.  I haven't been coloring, crafting, or making any sort of art....so in kind I haven't found the drive to write a blog post.

Really, I am pretty much forcing myself to do this just so you all know that I am still here and that this blog is still going to be updated.  I love it too much to give it up.  It was there when there really wasn't much else and I don't intend to let it go.

Have I at least been reading?  Yes, I most definitely have!  I have sooooo many reviews I need to sit down and write.  And I have read some really good ones!  Ahh.  I feel like I am failing you all!

Also, I opened up my own Little Free Library in my neighborhood.  A post about this will come your way.  I love my little library!  Not many use it yet, but it is there for them!

I also started a Facebook book club.  So many people I know love to read, but none of them live near enough to anyone else to really have a physical book club...so I figured that this would be the next best thing!

So, in short, I am still here.  I am still sharing the book love with others.  And I am going to be better about posting!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Review: The Piper's Apprentice by Matthew Cody


Title: The Piper's Apprentice
Author: Matthew Cody
Series: The Secrets of the Pied Piper #3
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 24, 2017
Source: Publisher



Well here we are.... with the third and final book in The Secrets of the Pied Piper series by Matthew Cody...

It has been a fun and wild ride.  The adventure was grand, the characters were (mostly loveable...dang villains!) and the story was a lot of fun.

The whole series is a take on the Pied Piper story.  You know the one....the Pied Piper comes in an plays his flute and all the rats follow him and leave the town.  Well in this one, the legend has it that the Pied Piper was angry at the town after he helped them, they didn't pay or something, so he came and took a bunch of their children away and never brought them back!

Then centuries later, our main characters, a set of siblings, find themselves neck deep in this legend.

As I already stated this book was a lot of fun.  It is the third installment to the series, so there isn't a lot that I can say that won't be a spoiler for some where in the story line for those that haven't read it yet.

But I can say that it is a continuation from where the 2nd book ended.  Not much time, if any has passed and the story does end in a way that is satisfying.  I will, however, miss these characters and this adventure.  I loved this creative world and the imagery it possessed.

Sorry, if this feels more like a review for the whole series rather than this book alone, but at this point, I can't really separate the books.  I enjoyed all of them, including the final one and did not find myself disappointed with it at all.

My Rating
4 Stars

This review is based on an eARC provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are mine and mine alone.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Review: The Magician's Key by Matthew Cody


Title: The Magician's Key
Series: The Secrets of the Pied Piper #2
Author: Matthew Cody
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: November 8, 2016
Source: Publisher



This series is just too much fun to pass on you guys!

The Magician's Key takes off where the first book in the series ended.  No pause in the story for us!  But I am definitely not complaining about that, it would have been weird if the author had left that gap.

That being said, if you haven't read book 1, but choose to read this review on book 2, you will most likely find yourself reading a spoiler or two for book 1.  You can find my review for book 1 right HERE though.

So in this story we still have our two main characters, but they are separated.  Max made it back to the regular world, but Carter is still hanging out on the Summer Isle.

Both have their separate adventures, but they tie in beautifully and it is very easy to follow the story even though it switches between the two and what each one is individually doing.

We also get to meet some new characters and get to know some of the old characters from book 1 even better.  It is quite a treat!

Carter is actually with the Pied Piper a good bit, so we really get to know him and some of his back story.  And Carter gets some great character development.

Max is the one who really ends up meeting most of the new faces that we come across in this story.  And, in my opinion, she probably has the harder adventure of the two.  She is the one who meets our newest villain in the story Vodnik.

We also get to learn more about the creatures that should be in the Summer Isle but are stranded back in the regular world not quite fitting it.

This book really brings the story even more to life than the first one did.  A great continuation to a wonderful adventure story!


My Rating
4 Stars

This review is based on an eARC provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are mine and mine alone.