Friday, November 16, 2018

She Did It! & Little Dreamers
[Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway]

Hello! Welcome to the last stop for both the She Did It!: 21 Women Who Changed the Way We Think and Little Dreamers: Visionary Women Around the World blog tours hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. I'm really happy to share my thoughts on these two inspiring books with you!

Title: SHE DID IT! 21 WOMEN WHO CHANGED THE WAY WE THINK
Author: Emily Arnold McCully
Pub. Date: November 6, 2018
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Pages: 272
Find it: Goodreads, Amazon, B&N, iBooks, TBD

Prepare to discover new heroes among these twenty-one women who challenged the status quo, championed others, and made their voices heard. From Jane Addams to Alice Waters, from groundbreaking artists and social justice advocates to scientific pioneers and business innovators, a strong thread of trailblazing women runs through American history. Written in compelling, accessible prose and vividly illustrated by Caldecott Medalist Emily Arnold McCully, this collection of inspiring and expertly researched profiles charts the bold paths these women forged in the twentieth century. 

The subjects profiled include:
Jane Addams, Ethel Percy Andrus, Ella Baker, Gertrude Berg, Rachel Carson, Shirley Chisholm, Joan Cooney, Isadora Duncan, Barbara Gittings, Temple Grandin, Grace Hopper, Dolores Huerta, Billie Jean King, Dorothea Lange, Patsy Mink, Vera Rubin, Margaret Sanger, Gladys Tantaquidgeon, Ida M. Tarbell, Madame C. J. Walker, Alice Waters, Second Wave Feminism 

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I didn't know who most of these women were before reading She Did It!: 21 Women Who Changed the Way We Think. However, I thought their stories were fascinating, and their accomplishments were truly remarkable. I'm really glad I had an opportunity to read this book and learn about some of the women who have greatly impacted the world we live in today. 

Each person has a few pages dedicated to their lives and their achievements. I really liked how detailed the information was, and that it wasn't dense or done in way that made me feel like I was drowning in facts. The author tells a short story about each individual woman, their lives and contributions, and small details that referred to their personal as well as professional lives.

My husband and I took turns reading this one to our kids. The girls are still too young to understand most of it, but our son thought it was interesting. He had a lot of questions afterwards, and I would say this one is meant for an older audience, but I enjoyed sharing these stories with him. It would be a lengthy read on its own, which is why we would only read about two or three women at a time. I think that gave us time to process what we were reading, and not confuse people later on.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Twilight of the Elves (The Adventurers Guild, #2)
by Zack Loran Clark, Nick Eliopulos
[Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway]

Hello! Welcome to the next stop on the Twilight of the Elves blog tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. I'm really happy to share my thoughts on this book with you!

Title: TWILIGHT OF THE ELVES (The Adventurers Guild #2)
Author: Zack Loran Clark & Nick Eliopulos
Pub. Date: November 13, 2018
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, Audiobook
Pages: 384
Find it: Goodreads, Amazon, B&N, iBooks

I should probably start at the beginning, Zed wrote, when things first went wrong?

Zed, Brock, and their friends may have saved Freestone from destruction, but the fight against the Dangers is far from over. No one knows what to expect next from the dark power that forced the elves to abandon their city. And the influx of elf refugees in Freestone strains resources and brews resentment among the townspeople. Things have shifted between best friends Zed and Brock, as well, with their friendship crumbling under the weight of the secrets they're keeping from each other.

When tensions reach an all-time high, Queen Me'Shala, leader of the elves, approaches the Adventurers Guild with a mission. She wants a small group of adventurers to go behind the king's back on a covert mission to save her city, and Zed, Brock, Liza, Jett, Micah, and their elven friend Fel join the quest. To face a powerful form of magic thought to be extinct, the adventurers will have to learn how to rely on each other and fight harder than ever before.

Don't miss this second installment of Zack Loran Clark and Nicholas Eliopulos's Adventurers Guild trilogy, where the stakes are raised, the action is breathless, and the dangers will stop even the bravest of hearts.

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I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product. 

Twilight of the Elves was like Lord of the Rings, but MG. I loved it! There were elves, dwarves, and even a necromancer! Seriously, it's like this book was made for me. I really enjoyed reading this one to my son, and we've already gone online and ordered the first book, The Adventurer's Guild. Even though this is the second book in a series, we didn't feel lost or confused by the world the and the characters. The authors were informative, but not overly so. You shouldn't feel bombarded with facts if you've read the first book, but you'll feel adequately informed if you haven't.

I really enjoyed the story and how relatable the characters were. The more mundane aspects of their lives were things my son could understand, while we simply enjoyed the magical and fantastical elements. For example, one of the characters mentioned not having time to brush his teeth, and my son thought that meant he should be able to skip brushings every once in awhile. I had to tell him that he wasn't actively fighting monsters, and therefore had no excuse not to brush his teeth. 

This book prompted a lot of conversations between me and my son, and I liked how involved he was with the story. I've been reading chapter books aloud to him for awhile now, but this is the first time he's played an active role in the story. I think that alone says something about the quality of this book. He wanted to pay attention and ask questions instead of simply drifting off to sleep. More often than not, I would leave his room with him still awake and asking me to read just one more chapter.

Twilight of the Elves was a really fun and enjoyable read! The world-building was amazing, the characters were believable (I wish there had been more character development since this is the second book), and there was plenty of action and adventure! Like I said, very Lord of the Rings. I cannot wait to see what this duo comes up with next! The ending definitely left room for more.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

My Weekly Pull [46] & Can't Wait Wednesday [16]

My Weekly Pull is something I do every Wednesday to show which comics I had pulled for me that week! If you're into comics, or you're looking to start, please join me! If you decide to do your own post, there's a link-up at the bottom. I would love to stop by and check it out!

Domino #8 by Gail Simone, David Baldeon, Gang Hyuk Lim, Gang Hyuk
Uncanny X-Men #1 by Ed Brisson, Matthew Rosenberg, Kelly Thompson, Mahmud Asrar, R.B. Silva, Yildiray Cinar, Pere Perez, Leinil Francis Yu
Shades of Magic #2 (of 4) The Steel Prince by V.E. Schwab, Andrea Olimpieri, Lenka Simeckova, Enrica Eren Angiolini

Jacob's comics for the week!
Transformers Unicron #6 (of 6) by John Barber, Alex Milne
Hit-Girl #10 by Rafael Albuquerque, Rafael Scavone, Chris Burnham
Amazing Spider-Man #9 by Nick Spencer, Humberto Ramos
Daredevil #611 by Charles Soule, Phil Noto
Peter Parker Spectacular Spider-Man #312 by Sean Ryan, Juan Frigeri, Philip Tan
Spider-Man Deadpool #41 by Robbie Thompson, Matt Horak, Dave Johnson
Venom #8 by Donny Cates, Iban Coello, Ryan Stegman

Phew! This week was a doozy! I can't remember the last time we had this many comics in a single pull. The only new comic on our list is Uncanny X-Men, which I've been looking forward to for awhile! I've always enjoyed stories about the X-Men, and I'm really excited about Kelly Thompson being one of the writers. She's written some of my favorite comics! 

Domino is still kicking ass, but I'm not sure how she's going to get out of her current predicament... Shades of Magic: The Steel Prince is one I've been looking forward to since reading the first issue! I cannot wait to see what choices the main character will make after his last encounter.

Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings, that highlights upcoming releases that we're anticipating and excited to read. It's a spinoff of the feature Waiting on Wednesday that was hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Ruby in the Sky by Jeanne Zulick Ferruolo
Expected publication: Februar 5th 2019
Synopsis (via Goodreads): When Ruby Moon Hayes, twelve, and her mother move to tiny Fortin, Vermont, Ruby is surprised to make friends at school and in the neighborhood, where a reclusive lady hides a huge secret. 

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The synopsis doesn't say much, but there's just something about this book that really intrigues me. I think it's because there are so few details, and the cover is also stunning!

Side note: I know I'm posting this late (Wednesday night), but my kids have been sick the last two days. I know I haven't been great at blog hopping lately, but I promise I will visit everyone soon!

*Share your My Weekly Pull post! Please leave the direct link to your My Weekly Pull post and not just your blog's URL. Thank you for participating and happy reading!

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Mini Reviews [19]


The Greatest Love Story Ever Told 
by Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman
Synopsis (via Goodreads): At last, the full story behind Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman's epic romance, including stories, portraits, and the occasional puzzle, all telling the smoldering tale that has fascinated Hollywood for over a decade.

The year: 2000. The setting: Los Angeles. A gorgeous virtuoso of an actress had agreed to star in a random play, and a basement-dwelling scenic carpenter had said he would assay a supporting role in the selfsame pageant. At the first rehearsal, she surveyed her fellow cast members, as one does, determining if any of the men might qualify to provide her with a satisfying fling. Her gaze fell upon the carpenter, and like a bolt of lightning, the thought struck her: No dice. Moving on.

Yet, unbeknownst to our protagonists, Cupid had merely set down his bow and picked up a rocket launcher. Then fired a love rocket (not a euphemism). The players were Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman, and the resulting romance, once it ignited, was . . . epic. Beyond epic. It resulted in a coupling that has endured to this day; a sizzling, perpetual tryst that has captivated the world with its kindness, athleticism, astonishingly low-brow humor, and true (fire emoji) passion.

How did they do it? They came from completely different families, endured a significant age difference, and were separated by the gulf of several social strata. Megan loved books and art history; Nick loved hammers. But much more than these seemingly unsurpassable obstacles were the values they held in common: respect, decency, the ability to mention genitalia in almost any context, and an abiding obsession with the songs of Tom Waits.



Eighteen years later, they're still very much in love, and have finally decided to reveal the philosophical mountains they have conquered, the lessons they've learned, and the myriad jigsaw puzzles they've completed, in a book. Featuring anecdotes, hijinks, interviews, photos, and a veritable grab bag of tomfoolery, this is not only the intoxicating book that Mullally's and Offerman's fans have been waiting for, it might just hold the solution to the greatest threat facing our modern world: the single life.

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I rarely read non-fiction, but my interest was piqued when I saw of clip of Megan and Nick reading from their new book. It was hilarious and enjoyable, so I decided to borrow the audiobook from my library. They deviate from the physical copy a little, and there's an extra chapter at the end, so I would recommend listening to the audiobook. However, the physical copy has pictures, which the two were only able to describe for the audio version.

The Greatest Love Story Every Told made me feel like I'd grown up with Nick and Megan. It wasn't just a story about how they met, but discussions about their childhoods and families. There were also some really random comments made throughout the book, and sometimes they weren't relevant to the topic they were discussing, but I liked how conversational everything felt.

Megan and Nick obviously have a good time with each other, and their back-and-forth banter was fun to follow. It was also interesting to listen to them describe their lives, and how simply they choose to live. I love the idea of doing puzzles with my husband while listening to an audiobook! They disregard their phones and other electronics in favor of quiet and togetherness. I think they have a really positive outlook on life, and they make sure their marriage is a priority.

Additionally, there is a lot of below the belt talk, if you know what I mean (wink wink). I thought it was crazy when the two of them mentioned having sex (or just getting frisky), in really random places like the Sistine Chapel.

I highly recommend this one if you're a fan of either person, or just want to read something that's hilarious, honest, and extremely heartfelt.



The Night Knights by Gideon Sterer,
Cory Godbey (Illustrator)
Synopsis (via Goodreads): Nighttime can be scary. Every bump, thump, or scratch could be a monster lurking under the bed or in a closet. But if that’s the case, then why haven’t we ever seen a monster? You might think that’s because monsters don’t exist. But maybe monsters do exist . . . but so do something else: The Night Knights. And when night falls, they take their place, protecting us all from the terrors lurking in the dark.
With a lyrical text reminiscent of the bestseller Dream Animals, The Night Knights introduces reluctant sleepers to the many fantastical warriors who will protect them while they slumber, from the Guardians of Gates to the Midnight Flock.

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I grabbed this book solely based on the cover, and I'm happy to say I was not disappointed! The illustrations were vivid, beautiful, and really complemented the story. Our son has recently started talking about monsters and being afraid of the dark, so this book was perfect!

The Night Knights was an enjoyable story about monsters and the knights that fight them. "But if this is true, is it not strange that not once, not once, has a child ever been taken, or gotten, or bit? Is it not strange that not once, not once, has a monster ever actually been seen?"

I love that the author never confirms or denies the existence of monsters, but continues to describe the knights and their unseen battles. I know I've said this already, but the illustrations were breathtaking. We read this one multiple times in a row, and it's definitely one we will be adding to our shelves at home.



The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson, 
Rafael Lopez (Illustrator)
Synopsis (via Goodreads): There will be times when you walk into a room
and no one there is quite like you.

There are many reasons to feel different. Maybe it's how you look or talk, or where you're from; maybe it's what you eat, or something just as random. It's not easy to take those first steps into a place where nobody really knows you yet, but somehow you do it.


Jacqueline Woodson's lyrical text and Rafael Lopez's dazzling art reminds us that we all feel like outsiders sometimes-and how brave it is that we go forth anyway. And that sometimes, when we reach out and begin to share our stories, others will be happy to meet us halfway.

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I thought The Day You Begin was a wonderful story about acceptance, and would be perfect for children who are worried about fitting in. I really enjoyed the writing, and liked that the author mentioned multiple scenarios, including, but not limited to, appearance, speech, and heritage.

"This is the day you begin to find the places inside your laughter and your lunches, your books, your travel and your stories, where every new friend has something a little like you -- and something else so fabulously not quite like you at all."



Shades of Magic #1 The Steel Prince
by V.E. Schwab, Andrea Olimpieri,
and Enrica Angiolni (Illustrators)
Synopsis (via Goodreads): The acclaimed fantasy phenomenon comes to comics with a new prequel story from award-winning creator and New York Times bestseller V.E. Schwab!

In a gaslamp world where magicians navigate alternate Londons, the prince of Red London pursues a dark version of his beloved city – and faces worse than exile...

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I haven't read the Shades of Magic series even though it's been on my list for a few years now. I've loved V.E. Schwab's other books, so I'm confident it will be equally, if not more, enjoyable! However, not reading the books didn't deter me from grabbing this comic when it was released.

I had no prior knowledge of the world, but thought Schwab did an awesome job explaining everything at the start. It was concise but not overwhelming, which is always a bonus. New worlds can sometimes be overexplained, but I only know the basics. There's still so much to see and learn!

Despite being unfamiliar with the world and the characters, I really enjoyed this comic! I'm curious to learn more about Maxim, the reasons for his exile, and why his father is so against reuniting the different worlds. If you know something, don't tell me!

Monday, November 12, 2018

Snowed In by Rachel Hawthorne

Synopsis (via Goodreads): Well, apparently I live here now—my mom just bought the place. And named it after me, Ashleigh, which was nice. But did she know how cold it is here??

Um, it's a tiny island with not much to do, unless you really like sleigh rides. But I gotta say there are quite a few hot guys on this cold island . . . 

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I was really looking forward to reading this one, but it wasn't a good fit. If the book hadn't been so short, I would have DNFd it about halfway through. 

Snowed In has an adorable cover with an interesting premise, but the characters were hard to like. Ashleigh was shallow and vapid, and Josh was willing to stay with the same person for five years because he didn't know what else to do. He checked a box when he was twelve and just went with it. Nathalie never referred to her boyfriend by name. He was always "my boyfriend," which was incredibly annoying. The issue was addressed later on, but only briefly and with no resolution.

"As a rule, guys didn't distract me. They interested me... if I wanted to be interested."

Nathalie's friends were present but not part of the story, and none of the secondary characters were fleshed out. The conversations were awkward and unrealistic, and the story was choppy and uncoordinated. I wish everything had flowed together and read more like a YA book, but both the language and the story were very simple.

"Someone hotter than Chase and Josh? I couldn't wait to see this guy. I wondered if some sort of mutant gene had developed on the island that made all the guys good-looking. I mean, really, what were the odds that there wouldn't be any dorks around here? Let's hear it for gene mutation."

I really liked the idea of Ashleigh and her mom buying a bed and breakfast in a small town on an isolated island, and the wintery setting was beautiful, but those were probably the only two positives for me. I love the idea of an old attic bedroom, turrets, and fireplaces. 

"Because my first girlfriend was a girly-girl when we watched horror. I don't want my next girlfriend to be."

The word boyfriend was used so often, I started to roll my eyes whenever it appeared on the page. All of the girls were obsessed with having a boyfriend just so they wouldn't be alone. It didn't matter if the two people actually liked one another. The one girl not obsessed with having a boyfriend (Ashleigh) was determined to never have one. Although, her reasons for that were vague.

"I was afraid if [he] wasn't my boyfriend that I wouldn't have one, and I really wanted to have a boyfriend."

Nathalie was rude and condescending from the start. She disregarded Ashleigh's feelings and the concerns she had. It was all about Nathalie and her boyfriend -- ugh. Surprisingly, they were best friends after their initial meeting, and I had no idea why. There was nothing there to indicate friendship or that the two of them even liked each other. 

In the end, these were just a few of the reasons Snowed In didn't work for me. My initial excitement for this book fizzled after a few pages, and was completely flat by the end.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

The Sunday Post [4]

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly at the Caffeinated Reviewer! It's an opportunity to share news, post a recap for the previous week, showcase books, and highlight what's planned for the week ahead.

News:

I have been in a really weird mood this week! I haven't felt like reading, watching TV, blogging, or getting out of bed. However, I have to get out of bed because children require attention. I think the cooler weather has invigorated them, but it just makes me want to curl up on the couch and take a nap.

I'm really enjoying the cooler weather, despite wanting to snuggle and sleep all day. We've always been outdoorsy, but this weather is perfect for riding bicycles and playing on the playground. The equipment doesn't get too hot, and the cooler air is always refreshing.

The #HoHoHoRAT started this week! It's the second day and I'm already behind. There's just not enough time in a day! Hopefully I'll be able to read at least five books before the end of the readathon.

Previous Week on the Blog:

Monday: Nothing!
Tuesday: Love & Luck by Jenna Evans Welch ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆
Saturday: Nothing!

What I'm Currently Reading:

I'm really enjoying Phoenix Unbound! It's a little dark and disturbing, but in a way that really works for the story. "As one of those unfortunate blooms, Gilene would whore for her village tonight and burn for it tomorrow." Both of the main characters are abused in unspeakable ways, and they're also a very unlikely pair. I'm curious to see where their story goes!

The Greatest Love Story Ever Told is the first non-fiction book I've read in awhile. I'm actually listening to the audiobook (phenomenal), which is narrated by Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman. These two are hilarious on their own (Will & Grace / Parks and Recreation), but I love when they're together. It's like they feed off one another's energy, and the conversations escalate until someone makes an inappropriate comment or joke.

Snowed In is the first book I'm reading for the #HoHoHoRAT! I haven't had a lot of time to read since the readathon started, so I'm just barely into this one. It's been okay so far. It feels like it was written for a much younger audience, but it's listed as a YA book. Also, the characters are shallow and a little repetitive. I'm going to stick with it, because I'm curious about Josh Wynter, so we'll see how it goes.

What I Plan on Reading Next:


The Bear and the Nightingale (Winternight Trilogy, #1) by Katherine Arden
Wilder by Andrew Simonet
Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow (Nevermoor, #2) by Jessica Townsend

I am really looking forward to reading Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow! My son and I really enjoyed the first book, and we've been anxiously awaiting the sequel. The Bear and the Nightingale is going to be my next #HoHoHoRAT read, and I've heard wonderful things about it!

What I'm Watching:

I started watching Riverdale and couldn't stop! I had forgotten the series was loosely based on a comic, though one I'm not very familiar with. I've heard of the Archie comics and I've seen them around, but I've never actually read one. I've had a few issues with the series as a whole, but it's also ridiculously addicting. I'm a little confused by the somewhat paranormal turn the show has taken during S3, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it plays out.

If you've watched Riverdale, have you noticed that Archie's hair isn't always the same shade of red? It seems to change every few episodes. I'm also irritated with the parents on this show! Does anyone care about their child's safety? I feel like the parents are either nonexistent or they're too involved. 

I'm already jonesing for the next episode, especially after Betty discovered Jughead playing G&G.

Challenge Updates:

Goodreads: 374 / 250

The #HoHoHoRAT will end on the 18th, and it's not too late to sign up! If you join, you can enter to win some amazing prizes, plus readathons are fun! Please visit the Caffeinated Reviewer for more details.