Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Review: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden


Title: The Bear and the Nightingale
Author: Katherine Arden
Series: Winternight Trilogy #1
Publisher: Del Ray
Publication Date: January 10, 2017
Source: Publisher



I am going to be honest here.  This is yet another one of those books I picked up to read not knowing a dang thing about it.  I had the ARC and then I received the ARC for the 2nd book, and decided to move it way up my reading list.  I also kept hearing about it.  I was intrigued and wanted to find out why everyone was recommending the book.

The cover is really pretty too.

So it turned out this book is kind of a historical fantasy novel.  You have a girl who lives during the time period where a more Christian based religion is becoming popular in Russia and the old ways are being pushed out.  And it is the pushing out of the old ways that is the basis of the story and what causes a lot of things to happen.

Our main character, Vasilisa, is not a super pretty girl and she is a strange girl  She gets up to mischief a lot and has abilities that not many other have.  Her mother died giving birth to her and eventually her father remarried a women who did not want to be married in the first place.  This causes a lot of problems for Vasilisa...it is actually a huge factor in what happens in the story.

I am being very vague on purpose.  I don't really know how to describe what goes on in this book without giving away too much and accidentally giving you a spoiler.

But what I can tell you is this, this book reads like a fairy tale.  And it has a lot of fairy tale (especially Russian) fairy tale elements within the story.  It is actually quite a fun and magical read.  I enjoyed it a lot.

I did find that this book read a little slower for me, but it wasn't a bad thing per say.  It was like my brain was taking extra time to process and picture the story as I was reading it so that it got the elements down correctly.

Character wise, I found the priest to absolutely vile.  Katherine Arden wrote him pretty wonderfully.  Actually I think she wrote them all pretty well, but he sticks out the most.  Probably because every time he was mentioned I could feel my skin crawl with repulsion.

And I felt like I kind of learned a bit about Russian fairy tale and lore too, which is always an excellent thing to happen when you read.  Especially when you don't really realize it is happening.

I definitely enjoyed it and I am super happy I made it a priority read.  And I will be reading the rest of the series for sure!

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 are mine and mine alone.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Review: The Tao of Bill Murray by Gavin Edwards


Title: The Tao of Bill Murray -  Real Life Stories of Joy, Enlightenment, and Party Crashing
Author: Gavin Edwards
Series: Stand Alone
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: September 20, 2016
Source: Publisher



I picked up this book thinking "hey I know who Bill Murray is!" and that I have enjoyed the majority of the movies I have seen him in. 

I figured it would be cool to get to know a bit more about the comedic genius that is Bill Murray.

And then...I actually read this book.

The Tao of Bill Murray shares a bunch of stories about Bill Murray over the years.  You learn a little bit about his start in life...but then you learn stories about him.  Things that happened on sets of movies, weird places he popped up and did things, strange adventures, etc.

And yes, some of it was kind of interesting.  And I definitely learned a good bit about Bill Murray.

But that is the problem.  What I learned about Bill Murray changed my perception about him a little bit.  And I really do not think that was supposed to be the intention of this book.

There were many times that it was mentioned in this book that Bill Murray is the kind of guy who does what he wants when he wants and how he wants.  You may want him to show up some where at a certain time, but if he doesn't feel like it, he won't be there.  But that is okay!  Because that is just Bill Murray....and that it is acceptable.  And I personally just found it hard to find that an acceptable trait in a person and felt that it was kind of rude...

And when I read this book, I really didn't want to find my opinion of Bill Murray to change towards the negative direction.  I wanted to continue to think of him as the comedic genius that is a little eccentric.  But that isn't what I got with this book.  And honestly?  I really don't think this was the intention of the author at all!

Personal problem?  Yes, it quite obviously is.  But it really hampered my enjoyment of the book.

But in the end, I did learn quite a bit of random information about him.  I really enjoyed the section about the movies.  There were stories from almost every single movie he has been in or has appeared in.  The exception being (as far as I could tell) the newest Ghostbusters movie.  And it was out already.  It was randomly mentioned in a different story, so I really thought it would have been included.  I did read the ARC though, so if it ended up being included in the final version, please feel free to correct me.

The other part I really enjoyed was the part where it wasn't really just random stories about Bill Murray...which was in the very beginning.  We get a brief description of his life and his beginning, and I found it fascinating and a very good read.

The rest of it...was more or less...stories of things he did, people he surprised, stuff that happened on movie sets, etc.  Sad to say, it got a little boring sometimes.

But I read it.  I learned things.  My opinion of him was changed, sadly not for the better, but maybe it won't be that way for you.

My Rating
3 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.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Review: Bookish Goodies from Literatee (with a giveaway!)

Hi Everyone!

I am so excited that I get to share with you a place to go and buy yourselves and/or your bookish loving people amazing bookish things!

I promise, this is a review, but I am not going to hold you in any sort of suspense for wanting to know how I truly feel about the products that this store has to offer.....  I LOVE THEM!

Okay okay.  Obviously I am getting ahead of myself here, I mean... I haven't even told you the NAME of the store yet!  Geesh!

So this cool and amazing bookish store that I am here to tell you about today is called Literatee  (www.literatee.com).  Isn't that just a fun name to say?  And super easy to remember if you ask me (and I am a person who does forget random things kind of often).

So in exchange for an honest review, Literatee  offered to let me pick out a couple of items of my own choosing so that I could check them out and let you guys know what I think about them.  And well, I couldn't pick.  I had to tell the lovely owner of Literatee, Larissa, to go ahead and pick for me.



And this here...this is what she sent me!  Isn't it the absolute cutest!  Both items were perfect for me and I absolutely love them.  They fit so perfect into my book loving life.  And I mean....a Harry Potter quote?  YES PLEASE!

In regards to the qualities of the items, I must say that I am please with both items.  The tote appears to be really sturdy.  The color of it is perfectly neutral and will go with most everyone.  The shirt (though I am not normally allowed to buy white for myself....I tend to stain it looking at it from a distance) is very soft and quite lovely too.  The images for both the t shirt and the tote are printed on too, not painted or appearing to just be sitting on the surface.  So the images (this is especially important for the tote I think) will be able to withstand use and not disappear on you.

Now, in regards to Larissa, I had the pleasure of talking back and forth with her via email as we discussed me doing a review, what I wanted, when she would send it, etc.  And I found her to be incredibly responsive and on top of things.  She is definitely the sort of person I like to buy items from - very responsive and great with communication.  I would not feel any sort of hesitation having to go to her if I ever did have any problems with one of her products.

And then there is the website itself.  I think it is absolutely beautiful and well done.  It is super easy to navigate.  And there are a lot of different categories - literary shirts, sweatshirts, mugs, book tote bags, and a lot more.  The only thing I kind of wish were available, that don't appear to be there at this time are hoodies and more color options for various shirt designs.  But all in all, these not being currently available at Literatee does nothing to how I feel about their product over all.  It would just make it just tad bit more awesome.

So, yes, I like Literatee.  And when I need to buy some gifts for book loving friends, it is definitely going to be on my list of stores to shop at.  I know more than one person who could really use the Cat Lover Tee in their lives!

This review is based on items received in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are mine and mine alone.

Giveaway

You didn't think I would leave you all a raving review about Literatee and not give you a giveaway where you can with a $30 eGiftcard to spend on the website did you?  This giveaway is for US residents only!  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Book Review: A Poison Dark and Drowning by Jessica Cluess


Title: A Poison Dark and Drowning
Author: Jessica Cluess
Series: Kingdom on Fire #2
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 19, 2017
Source: Blogging for Books



Color me excited when I got a hold of a copy of A Poison Dark and Drowning to review!  I even made myself reread book one, A Shadow Bright and Burning (find my review HERE) before I let myself read it since it had been such a long time.

This being said, this is a 2nd book in a series....so there may be spoilers for book 1.  Consider yourself warned.



This book takes place not too long after the first book ends.  Henrietta is living with Blackwood at his estate as his guest/friend.  She is working to try to find a cure for Rook.  The world is still in ever worsening danger.  And the Ancients are demanding that the Sorcerers hand her over.

This book is definitely action packed.  And filled with a lot of twists and turns.  Some of which I expected and others surprised me.  And of course, new ones were brought up, and I have my suspicions on how they will turn out...

As far as character development goes in this story, I am kind of disappointed in how some of the guys have gone.  Actually I think I am disappointed in all of them.  Except Rook.  I still do not care about Rook.  Two books have gone by and I still could do without him.  He feels like a background character that isn't actually supposed to be a background character.  But he feels so flat compared to other characters.  Flat and boring.  And I really hope the other guys get redeemed in the third book.  I am really not happy with how either Magnus and Blackwood have developed/or failed to develop so far.

And the love square?  I am kind of really over that.  A triangle is bad enough...but a freaking square?  That is probably my biggest complaint with this series.  Our heroine just seems to be ready to go to which ever guy will flutter his pretty lashes in her direction.  She just keeps flipping and flopping all over the place with them.  I still have my preference as to which one I like the best, and I have them ranked.  But, I am very ready for her to decide and stop dragging that part on.

And we did get some new characters and new bits of the world explained to us.  All of which was pretty cool and interesting.  The weird feeling between Magicians, Sorcerers, and Witches has a bit more development.  We learn a lot more about the Ancients too.  A whole lot more!

It will be really interesting to see how book 3 goes for this series.  I love the characters and the world.  And I really want to see how they make it through their new challenges!

My Rating
4.5 Stars

This review is based on a copy provided by Blogging for Books in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All thoughts are mine and mine alone.


Friday, December 22, 2017

Book Review: History's Mysteries by Kitson Jazynka


Title: History's Mysteries: Curious Clues, Cold Cases, and Puzzles From the Past
Author: Kitson Jazynka
Series: Stand Alone
Publisher: National Geographic Children's Books
Publication Date: October 17, 2017
Source: Publisher




Oh my freaking goodness!  I had no idea I would love this book as much as I actually did!  Truth be told, I am actually kind of sad that it ended.

History's Mysteries is filled to the brim with bits of stories and information on a lot of different topics.  All of which are unsolved or things not quite figured out (and may never be).  And it covers quite a range of topics - buildings/structures, creatures, lost things....

Some of the things in the book I kind of knew about, but not really.  An example of this would be Stonehenge.  I of course have heard about it, but I haven't really looked into much information on it.  And while this book doesn't have a lot of information on any one thing, it does have some pretty good information for each thing.  So I definitely learned some new stuff on something I already knew a little about.

Then there were the things I had no idea about!  Like the "money pit" up in Novia Scotia.  Oh my goodness!  That thing sounded so cool!  I actually ended up doing some Googling on it and learned that there is a show on the History Channel just about that!  So now I need to see if I can find that show to watch it!

This book, while it doesn't have a lot of information on any one thing, it has enough information to get your feet wet and to entice you to want to learn more on the subjects that it covers.  This is a great book for those who like to learn random bits of information about things.  And it may just convince them to do some further research onto some of the topics like it did for me!

If you can't tell, I totally recommend this book!

My Rating
5 Stars

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

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Review: The Peddler's Road by Matthew Cody


Title: The Peddler's Road
Author: Matthew Cody
Series: The Secrets of the Pied Piper
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 27, 2015
Source: Publisher



A retelling!  For a story I don't normally run into a retelling for!  So of course I had to give it a shot.

And boy am I glad I did!

This particular retelling, if you cannot tell from the title is of the Pied Piper story.  You know the one?  The one where the pied piper comes and plays his music and removes all the rats from the town.

Well in this one, once upon a time, he did do that...and then the village didn't pay the price that he asked, so he came and took all the children.  Minus one - that kid couldn't make it.  Or at least that is the story the town tells.  But everyone else just believes them to be fairy tales.

Then we come to more of a now time in history and there are two kids, Max and Carter, are in the town of the story with their dad (a person who researches fairytales) and things start happening.

First they see a strange person hiding out in the shadows.  Then they have their house flooded with rats....and then they find themselves in a strange place with all the children of Hamelin that were taken over 100 years ago!

Then from there the adventure starts.  They, obviously, want to find their way home.  And they want to help the kids find their way back too.

Of course, there are giant evil rats in the way.  And some wizards.  And some fairies....  And other creatures...

It is quite a fun story!  I really enjoyed it!  The adventure was actually quite fun, filled with little twists and turns.  The world was very creative too.  There were so many different types of "creatures" and "beings" that we encountered through the whole story.  You never really knew who would turn up next.  And the characters themselves were quite enjoyable.  They all had their distinct personalities, and I found myself enjoying the crass old wizard guy.

There are more books in this series, and yes I am totally going to read them!

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 are mine and mine alone.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Review: Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer


Title: Spindle Fire
Author: Lexa Hillyer
Series: Spindle Fire #1
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: April 11, 2017
Source: Glasstown Entertainment


Color me excited when I was asked if I wanted to review Spindle Fire.  If you are follower of my blog you already know how much I love a fairy tale retelling.  I only tell you all every single time I read one how much I love them.  If you are new here...well...be warned... I really like fairy tale retellings!

Spindle Fire is actually a retelling of Sleeping Beauty!  This story has seeds of the story that we know, but there are some considerable differences (yay!).

In this version Aurora cannot talk and she cannot feel pain.  Those traits have been tithed (traded) away from her thanks to her parents for other fairy gifts that they deemed more important for a princess to have.  And she has an older half sister named Isabelle.  Isabelle cannot see.  Her eyesight has also been tithed away by her parents.

The two have an amazing relationship despite them being so different.  Aurora is light and beautiful where Isabelle is dark.  Aurora finds solace in stories and Isabelle loves adventure.  Two sides of the same coin almost, but their love for each other transcends all.

This is actually where the regular Sleeping Beauty story comes into play.  Isabelle was going to be sent away to live in a convent once Aurora was married to a prince (originally supposed to be Prince Phillip) so Isabelle ran away with her friend Gil.  Aurora then chased after her sister... and one thing led to another and she pricked her finger on the ever famous spinning wheel that puts her to sleep.

Then things happen to both of them and the story unfolds.

The writing of Spindle Fire feels as though you are reading a fairy tale which only adds to its flavor.  It is almost musical in the way that it reads.  It instantly pulled me into the world and drowned me.  I loved it.  I had absolutely no problem imagining this story and the characters within.

I also loved that the story only had little seeds of the original fairy tale and then takes it on to its own new story.  There is enough there that you can tell where it has come from, but it is different enough that you don't feel like you are reading the same old story.

I also enjoyed the characters.  I actually cannot tell you which sister I liked the most.  They each have their own traits that made them their own.  They had things I liked and things I didn't, but that only made them more real in my mind.  I mean, who likes everything about anyone?  And I definitely felt that, especially Aurora, had some character growth and I can only hope to see even more of that in the next book.  I do think some of the side characters and their relationships with our main characters fell a little short though and felt some what forced at times.  However, the main characters definitely shined.

In short, I really enjoyed this retelling and thought it was done very well!

My Rating
4 Stars

This review is based on a digital copy provided by Glasstown Entertainment in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are mine and mine alone.