Posted in General Books, Sundays In Bed With..., Weekly Wrap Up

Sundays in Bed With… #MyWeeklyWrapUp

We’re back with another Sundays in Bed With… meme! This meme dares to ask you what book has been in your bed this morning and is hosted by Midnight Book Girl. Come share what book you’ve been you’ve spent time curled up reading in bed with, or which book you wish you had time to read today!

I spent this Sunday in bed finishing up both Malamander and Monstress, Vol. 3: Haven!

Utterly unique in its astonishing intimacy, as jarringly frightening as when it first appeared, Ann Rule’s The Stranger Beside Me defies our expectation that we would surely know if a monster lived among us, worked alongside of us, appeared as one of us. With a slow chill that intensifies with each heart-pounding page, Rule describes her dawning awareness that Ted Bundy, her sensitive coworker on a crisis hotline, was one of the most prolific serial killers in America. He would confess to killing at least thirty-six young women from coast to coast, and was eventually executed for three of those cases. Drawing from their correspondence that endured until shortly before Bundy’s death, and striking a seamless balance between her deeply personal perspective and her role as a crime reporter on the hunt for a savage serial killer — the brilliant and charismatic Bundy, the man she thought she knew — Rule changed the course of true-crime literature with this unforgettable chronicle.

Utterly unique in its astonishing intimacy, as jarringly frightening as when it first appeared, Ann Rule’s The Stranger Beside Me defies our expectation that we would surely know if a monster lived among us, worked alongside of us, appeared as one of us. With a slow chill that intensifies with each heart-pounding page, Rule describes her dawning awareness that Ted Bundy, her sensitive coworker on a crisis hotline, was one of the most prolific serial killers in America. He would confess to killing at least thirty-six young women from coast to coast, and was eventually executed for three of those cases. Drawing from their correspondence that endured until shortly before Bundy’s death, and striking a seamless balance between her deeply personal perspective and her role as a crime reporter on the hunt for a savage serial killer — the brilliant and charismatic Bundy, the man she thought she knew — Rule changed the course of true-crime literature with this unforgettable chronicle.

What are you currently reading?

It’s been such a stressful Sunday, friends and I’m so over it. Although I haven’t been feeling the best over the last two days, the day started off well enough. I got a few hours of sleep, finished a couple of books, and I watched the adorable movie on Netflix called Klaus! I love a good animated film and this was no exception; it was touching, sweet and funny and I’m so glad it popped up on my suggestions today! It’s the well-imagined backstory of how Santa Claus came to be and I thought it was inventive and entertaining! I’ve possibly been feeling a little more emotional than usual lately but it definitely had me shedding a couple of sad-happy tears and I loved it! Would 100% recommend it if you’re looking for a cute holiday movie to watch, whether alone or with family!

Aside from that it was a relatively chilled out weekend until late this afternoon when there were some work things that came up and stressed me out big time. I’m leaving on a very short work trip tomorrow but it’s so disorganized, everything is feeling a little too last minute and chaotic for my tastes and it’s making me feel extremely anxious. I especially hate that it’s put a damper in my evening as I scramble to do last minute things that people request of me. I really should learn how to say no… That said, I’m going to put on How the Grinch Stole Christmas after this because that black heart is a mood right now ๐Ÿ˜…

Reading & Blogging Recap

I finished four books this week which isn’t bad considering how busy and stressful it was. I managed to read my first Nonfiction November read and I also finished my first successful week of the Triwizardathon! I had originally set out to read three books to complete the challenges, but in the end, I completed four prompts for the two challenges in my first task! The graphic novel that I listed in my Triwizard post wasn’t the one I ended up reading in the end, but it still counts towards completing the challenge. Not off to a bad start, if I do say so myself ๐Ÿ˜Š

I’ve been doing pretty well on the blogging front as well, although I only posted one review and I’ve still got tons to write for books I read last month ๐Ÿ™ˆ Slowly, though, right? As usual, in case you missed any of my posts from this week, you can find them all listed below:

Top 5 Saturday: Books by Unread Authors!
Friday Favorites: Hyped Books!
First Lines Friday: 15 November
Review: The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule
The Book Snob Tag!
Thursday Discussion: Books That Make Me Laugh Out Loud!
This or That Book Tag!
#WWWWednesday: 13 November
Triwizard Tournament Readathon: Task 1 Possibility Pile
#TopTenTuesday: Favorite Bookmarks!
Down the TBR Hole – 07
Goodreads Monday: 11 November

I’ve been listening to a lot of throwback tunes this week and it’s all thanks to discovering that there’s a musical inspired by Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill album! I’m sharing the video that set me off on this jaunt down the 90s to early 00s music memory lane below. This is the cast of the musical singing one of my favorite songs off Morissette’s album: You Learn.

How has your week been? Hope everyone has/had a great weekend!

Posted in Challenges, General Books, Triwizardathon

Triwizard Tournament Readathon: Task 1 Possibility Pile

*GASP*

Is it true?

Can it be?

Am I really participating in another readathon when I already struggle hard enough to stick to a monthly possibility pile?!

It’s true, gentlefriends. It’s true. I’m a masochist and like to torture myself whenever possible. I just read about the Triwizard Tournament readathon on Holly’s page yesterday and I couldn’t resist. I thought it was pretty great timing considering the challenge starts this week! I took that as a sign to participate and I’M SO EXCITED for it!

This amazing readathon is hosted by Jessica @ Chapter Charms.

Have you ever wanted to compete in the Triwizard Tournament?
Do you like reading?
Then why not join us for this epic reading event!
It will be split into three week-long rounds, each themed around and representing one of the tasks from the Triwizard Tournament in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Everyone taking part will be selected as a champion for one of the three schools and will be given reading challenges to complete in order to compete to win the Triwizard Cup.

Triwizard Tournament Readathon, Chapter Charms

Each participant is sorted into a school based on your birth month and that means I’m a champion for Durmstrang. I’m probably going to forget to share some key information so you can find out more about the challenge and submit your name into the Goblet of Fire to sign up for the challenge on THIS PAGE! There’s also an official Twitter page where you can find and follow other participants: @triwizardathon

This week marks week one of the challenge and the FIRST TASK IS DRAGONS! The dates for the first task are from: Monday 11th November โ€“ Sunday 17th November 2019

CHALLENGE ONE โ€“ THE DRAGON

For this task you must retrieve the golden egg that your dragon is guarding and you will have two challenges to complete. You school will be assigned a dragon and you must choose a method for facing this dragon in order to retrieve the golden egg.

First Task, Triwizard Tournament Readathon, Chapter Charms

Each school will battle a certain dragon. As I’m from Durmstrang, I will have to defeat the Swedish Short-Snout.

Swedish Short-Snout:ย These dragons are sought after to use their skin to make shields and gloves, re-read a favourite that makes you feel protected.

For this challenge I’m going to choose to re-read Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell and Erin Faith Hicks. I’m currently reading The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule and if you didn’t know, it’s about serial killer Ted Bundy. While I’m getting through it faster (and also slower) than I thought I would, it’s an intense AF read. I need a fast read that will bring back all the warm feels ASAP and there ain’t no better read than this favorite o’mine.

CHALLENGE TWO โ€“ THE METHOD

There are several methods we can choose from to face the dragon. We can pick one method or choose more to get extra skill points.

  • Conjunctivitis Curse: Temporarily blind your dragon by reading a book with eyes on the cover.
  • Bewitched Sleep: Send your dragon to sleep by reading a whole book in bed.
  • Speed: Race past your dragon to retrieve the egg by reading a graphic novel.
  • Distraction: Distract your dragon by transfiguring a rock into an animal, read a book with an animal on the cover.

I’m not going to overwhelm myself by trying to get all the extra skill points, especially since a different book should be read for each challenge, so I’m going to only choose two methods:

Bewitched Sleep: Malamander by Thomas Taylor

Speed: Good Talk by Mira Jacob

That’s it for the first task! I’m really excited to get the ball rolling on this readathon after I finish The Stranger Beside Me (which should be very soon). I’m not sure if I’ll try to use more methods to defeat the dragon but I’m not putting too much pressure on myself and I’m just rolling with it!

Are you participating in the Triwizard Tournament Readathon too?!

Posted in ARC, Book Reviews, Fantasy, General Books, Humor, Kid Fiction, Middle Grade, Science Fiction

On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness (The Wingfeather Saga #1) by Andrew Petersen – #eARC #BookReview

Goodreads: On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness (The Wingfeather Saga #1)
Publish date: 10 March 2020
Publisher: WaterBrook & Multnomah
Genre: Middle Grade, Children’s Book, Fantasy, Science Fiction
Panda Rating:

Janner Igiby, his brother, Tink, and their disabled sister, Leeli, are gifted children as all children are, loved well by a noble mother and ex-pirate grandfather. But they will need all their gifts and all that they love to survive the evil pursuit of the venomous Fangs of Dang, who have crossed the dark sea to rule the land with malice. The Igibys hold the secret to the lost legend and jewels of good King Wingfeather of the Shining Isle of Anniera.

Full of characters rich in heart, smarts, and courage,ย On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darknessย is a tale children of all ages will cherish, families can read aloud, and readers’ groups are sure to enjoy discussing for its many layers of meaning. Extra features include new interior illustrations from Joe Sutphin, funny footnotes, a map of the fantastical world, inventive appendices, and fanciful line art in the tradition of the original Frank L. Baum Wizard of Oz storybooks.

It’s been a very long time since I read any middle grade books but I’ve recently added a few to my shelves that have been well praised by many book lovers, and when I saw the cover for this book I immediately wanted to read it because it’s simply a really attractive cover (yes, I’m judging a book by it’s cover so hard now). Plus, the blurb sounded good and I enjoyed the excerpt I read of it!

That said, while I was generally entertained by the book, I also found myself unexpectedly bored for certain periods of time (off-pacing), and I think that the story was going on for a lot longer than it should’ve. I was also unsure about the use of the footnotes. While some of the footnotes were interesting, I found that even if I didn’t read them, I wasn’t missing out on anything other than a humorous story or anecdote. I’m also wondering if footnotes are something young readers (especially middle graders) would appreciate? I don’t recall ever reading a book with footnotes in it when I was younger unless it was non-fiction or a textbook, and as an adult reader, I’m still not always a fan of footnotes; unless they really added key/important elements to the world building and the story itself.

I think one of the things I struggled with was not being able to form a connection with the story overall and in particular with the characters. I liked the Igiby family well enough–Janner, Tink and Leeli were interesting characters–but I just didn’t feel as invested in their journey as I hoped to be. Perhaps my favorite characters in the story were Peet and Nugget (the doggo, reasons for which go without saying. He’s a loyal companion to the Igiby children, particularly for Leeli)!

Peet was a courageous side-character who suffered from (what I can tell) possible mental health issues and a disability. He was pitied in town and was treated pretty awfully by the Igiby heads of house (Podo and Nia) for a reason that only becomes apparent at the end, but to me never justified the unfair treatment of his character. While I started off liking Podoโ€™s character, his awful treatment of Peet was so distasteful and made me like him a lot less (it says a lot about a personโ€™s character IRL just as much as in a book)! The Fangs of Dang were obviously awful characters we were meant to hate and the author did a great job of stoking those feelings against these characters. I thought the disability rep with Leeliโ€™s and Podoโ€™s characters was really great. Leeli was such a strong female character that had a fierce independent streak. I loved that her disability didnโ€™t stop her from having adventures and getting up to mischief with her brothers; her disability was normalized (as in, it didnโ€™t hamper her in any way) and it was nice to see that being shown in books to such a young audience.

As this was an e-ARC, most of the illustrations and maps were not yet included, so that was also a little bit disappointing because the illustrations that were already included in the story were pretty amazing! I can only imagine how much fun these illustrations will be to look at once itโ€™s done (and in color too)! Overall, while I was really pulled in by the premise of this story, I found it a bit difficult to get into and thatโ€™s what made me remove stars. I wish that the pacing was more consistent but it was still an enjoyable enough read. I think many young middle grade readers would enjoy it too!

Thanks to NetGalley and the author for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. This new hard cover edition is out March 2020.
Have you read The Wingfeather Saga books? Let’s
chat in the comments!

Posted in General Books, Top Tuesday

#TopTenTuesday: Books on my Autumn Possibility Pile!

It’s that time of the week again, friends! We’re back with another Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s prompt is: books on my Autumn Possibility Pile! I recently did a similar-ish post for my Friday Favorites, where I listed some TBR reads that suited the Autumn mood! As you’ll know by now, I’m a mood reader so I’m not much for TBRs or seasonal reading. That said, I usually do like to think about books I wanna read over the course of a month if the mood strikes, and I like to think of it as my ‘possibility pile‘! I think of Autumn as going from September – November but I could also be completely wrong as I’ve lived in the tropics basically my whole life (and Australia saw six years of opposite seasons, plus I experienced two extremely warm fall seasons living in the UK so ‘autumn’ only showed towards mid-November/early Dec). A lot of what I’m thinking to read leans to the darker/spookier reads (for me anyway!), sprinkled with some lighter contemporaries and SFF!

The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones. Even though I’m the biggest chicken and really can’t handle much ghosty-paranormal shtuff, I went out and immediately pre-ordered the book after reading Kibby’s review. It’s outside of my norm but it sounds so good and perfect for October!

Darkdawn (The Nevernight Chronicle #3) by Jay Kristoff. I’m not ready for this series to end but I also don’t think that I can put it off for longer. Kristoff’s going to crush my soul either way, so I might as well get the #stabstabstab over with, right?! This series full of darkness, blood and gore has really grown on me and I’m TERRIFIED for how this’ll end. I actually haven’t seen any reviews yet ๐Ÿค”

Serpent & Dove (Serpent & Dove #1) by Shelby Mahurin. I’ve really only heard amazing things about this book and it honestly sounds really good. Also, apparently there’s no cliffhanger?! I’m definitely looking forward to reading this and not putting it off forever ๐Ÿ™‚

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig. This book has received so much love, even by readers who don’t normally read YA or gothic tales, which makes me all the more excited to read it!

Skyward (Skyward #1) by Brandon Sanderson. The second book in this series comes out on 26 November, and I’ve been telling myself that I haven’t been neglecting this book on my shelf, I’ve just been waiting for the perfect moment to read it ๐Ÿ˜œ The time has come!

Wicked Saints (Something Dark & Holy #1) by Emily A. Duncan. This was one of the more hyped YA releases earlier this year and I’ve heard so many mixed reviews for it. I’m getting the impression that you either loved/hated it, with little in between. I just got approved for the e-ARC of Ruthless Gods last week though, so I’m VERY EXCITED for this perfectly dark, possibly wicked, Autumn read!

The Toll (Arc of a Scythe #3) by Neal Shusterman. This has already appeared in several of my posts recently but honestly, I can’t wait. I’m SO READY to see what happens next and to see how this fantastic dystopian series will end!

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo. The colors of this cover match perfectly with the season! But in between all of these darker reads I know I’ll need something lighter to make me a little less melancholy. I think this book will give me the warm fuzzies, and I love books with cooking/food!

Twice in A Blue Moon by Christina Lauren. I am so excited for this book which releases 22 October. I still haven’t read a few of the CLo books on my shelf *cough* but this one sounds mega sweet!

Malamander by Thomas Taylor. I don’t often read MG but the cover on this one had me picking it up almost immediately ๐Ÿ˜ฌ I’ve heard some really great things about it too so I’m keen!

What’s on your Autumn Possibility Pile/TBR?
If you’ve done a TTT for today, please leave your links in the comments so I can mosey over to your blog and check it out! ๐Ÿ™‚

Posted in ARC, Book Reviews, Fantasy, General Books, Graphic Novel, LGBTQ+, Middle Grade

The Tea Dragon Festival (Tea Dragon #2) by Katie O’Neill – #eARC #BookReview

Goodreads: The Tea Dragon Festival (Tea Dragon #2)
Publish date: 17 September 2019
Publisher: Oni Press
Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade, Graphic Novel, Comic
Rating:

Rinn has grown up with the Tea Dragons that inhabit their village, but stumbling across a real dragon turns out to be a different matter entirely! Aedhan is a young dragon who was appointed to protect the village but fell asleep in the forest eighty years ago. With the aid of Rinnโ€™s adventuring uncle Erik and his partner Hesekiel, they investigate the mystery of his enchanted sleep, but Rinnโ€™s real challenge is to help Aedhan come to terms with feeling that he cannot get back the time he has lost.

The Tea Dragon Festival is another beautiful graphic novel by Katie O’Neill. The style and use of color in the artwork is gorgeous and really brings to life this wonderful world of dragons, tea dragons, magical forest creatures and village life. The story takes places before The Tea Dragon Society, and I really enjoyed meeting the younger versions of Hesekiel and Erik, two loveable characters from that book.

In this comic, we follow the story of Rinn, a young village girl who’s an aspiring cook and talented forager, who stumbles upon Aedhan, a young dragon who has been asleep for 80-years. Aedhan is plagued by guilt for having not done his duty of taking care of the village residents, but he was put under a sleeping spell by a magical forest creature. Rinn brings Aedhan to the village and the two quickly form a strong, sweet bond as Aedhan picks up his dragon duties and reintegrates to village life. I loved how this story was even more diverse and inclusive than the first book. We have characters who use sign language, different ethnicities, and diverse sexualities, and none of these elements in the story feels contrived.

The tea dragons were just as freaking adorable as in the first book. I want to live in this world and I want to take care of those tea dragons, no matter how pesky they’re claimed to be! At the end, O’Neill also included additional information about the tea dragon varieties, and more wonderful history about dragons like Aedhan.

This was a very quick read full of sweet and fluffy things! And I mean, super cute good looking dragons. Come on, isn’t that all you really need to know? Recommended to everyone who wants to experience all the good and happy feels!

Thanks to NetGalley for providing the e-ARC for an honest review.
Have you read any of the Tea Dragon graphic novels? Love em? Hate em? Meh about them? Come let me know in the comments and let’s chat!

Posted in General Books, Top Tuesday

#TopTenTuesday: Childhood Favorites

It’s that time of the week again, friends! We’re back with another Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme is: Childhood Favorites. Wowow. Did I love this walk down memory lane or did I love it? Writing this post was so much fun! Honestly, with my very terrible memory, Iโ€™ve pretty much forgotten the majority of what I used to read as a kid. But yay for Goodreads and Google because it really helped to jolt my memory. As a kid I would spend hours in the library; during play breaks and over lunch mostly to avoid bullies, and Iโ€™d beg mum to let me stay late after school so I could spend more time in there. It was my refuge and for always books have given me a sense of comfort and protection from the outside world. Here are some of the favorites that used to line my bookshelf at home.

Little Critter Series by Mercer Mayer.
I loved this little guy. The stories were so sweet and cute and just looking at these covers makes me wish that I still had copies of these books. I read all of them multiple times!

Arthur Adventure Series by Marc Brown.
Who doesnโ€™t love Arthur, his friends, family and daily adventures?! I loved the TV series just as much as I did reading the books.

The Magic School Bus Series by Joanna Cole.
The magic school bus was magical and I learned so much through this series. I always wished science was as fun as this in real life and that my teacher would be as cool as Ms. Frizzle. On the Ocean Floor was absolutely my favorite. I had a real thing for the ocean when I was a kid. At one point one of my childhood dreams was to become a marine biologist.

Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor.
Do you remember the first book to ever make you cry? Iโ€™m pretty sure this book was the first one to make me bawl so hard. This was also the book that taught me that having dogs in books is not always a good thing because more often than not, your heart breaks at the end. I still remember how excited I was when I came home with this book–it was my treasure! Oh, the memories ๐Ÿฅฐ

A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein.
Oh my goodness, Silversteinโ€™s books were my absolute favorite. These were the books that made me love poetry and the magic of playing around with words and rhyming. Iโ€™m pretty sure I checked out this book and Where the Sidewalks Ends from the library dozens of times. I definitely want to add all of Shel Silverstein’s books to my shelves!

Goosebumps Seriesby R.L. Stine.
Anyone who knows me now would never believe that there was once a time Iโ€™d voluntarily read scary books. Iโ€™m pretty sure it was reading Goosebumps that turned me into the ultimate chicken because now I canโ€™t stand the stuffโ€”Iโ€™m just not made for it (sorry ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ)! That said, my younger self used to love scaring the bejeezus out of myself because I had a whole load of these books. My favorites were the ones where you could โ€œpick your own adventureโ€ (basically a nightmare) and Iโ€™d go through the books again and again to read all the different endings. Fun times!

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Charlie Bucket #1) by Roald Dahl. My love for this book will never die. I remember being so blown away with the idea of this book โ€” that there could be such magic in a factory full of choccies, sweets and all the wonderfully sweet (and unfairly forbidden) treats that I loved as a kid. This book and Charlie’s adventures in Willy Wonka’s factor was absolute magic to me and to this day, thinking about it still reminds me of how happy reading this story made me as a kid!

Animorphs Series by K.A. Applegate. OK, seriously, who remembers this crazy cool series!?Because I was legit obsessed with the Animorphs when I was in middle school. I loved the idea of shape shifting and generally kicking ass. I guess you could say this was my first foray into Sci-Fi. They were the best.

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott Oโ€™Dell. Looking back now I realize how strong a character Karana is. I loved this story of survival and it was just a bonus that it was a story with the ocean and dolphins. I 100% would have perished on that island lol

A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine Lโ€™Engle.
I think this was the first book that I read in my early teens where I fell in love with romance in books. I was obviously already into boys and had loads of crushes, but this book made me want that summer love so bad! I was also part of the marine biology club in school at the time, so the fact that this story involves the ocean was even better. Funnily enough, every time I think about books I loved when I was younger, this cover is the first one that comes to mind, though I could (sadly) never remember the title, but bless Google. Itโ€™s amazing what you can find!

Did you read any of these as a child? What are some of your favorite childhood books? If you’ve done a Top Ten Tuesday post for today’s prompt, leave your link in the comments below and let’s chat ๐Ÿ™‚