Thursday, September 29, 2016

Book Review: The Voyage to Magical North by Claire Fayers

Title: The Voyage to Magical North
Author: Claire Fayers
Series: The Accidental Pirates #1
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Publication Date: July 5, 2016
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Adventure
Length: 320 pages
Format: Hardcover
Source: Borrowed


Synopsis: 
Twelve-year-old Brine Seaborn is a girl with a past--if only she could remember what it is. Found alone in a rowboat as a child, clutching a shard of the rare starshell needed for spell-casting, she's spent the past years keeping house for an irritable magician and his obnoxious apprentice, Peter. 

When Brine and Peter get themselves into a load of trouble and flee, they blunder into the path of the legendary pirate ship The Onion. Before you can say "pieces of eight," they're up to their necks in the pirates' quest to find Magical North, a place so shrouded in secrets and myth that most people don't even think it exists. If Brine is lucky, she may find out who her parents are. And if she's unlucky, everyone on the ship will be eaten by sea monsters. It could really go either way. 

My Thoughts: 
Brine Seaborne doesn't know where she came from. She was found drifting at sea as a baby with nothing but a starshell. Starshell accumulates magic and is used by wizards which is why she was given to Tallis Magus, the wizard of Minutes. She is allergic to magic though so she cleans his house while his apprentice, Peter, learns magic. When Brine learns that she is to be sold off to be a maid in someone else's household and Peter is to marry, they both run away, taking a boat out onto the sea where they are snatched up by a pirate ship. Adventure ensues as they are caught up in a scheme to find Magical North where treasure awaits. 

The Voyage to Magical North is a fun, imaginative, and adventurous read. Who can resist 'accidental pirates', the promise of enormous sea creatures, and lots of magic? Another big plus, there's a library island completely run by women! 

The characters are all loveable and worthwhile and I especially loved the dynamics between Brine and Peter's friendship. I loved that the pirates had rather normal names and were all around good chaps that helped Brine and Peter when it was needed. (Not all pirates need to be scurvy knaves ready to stick anyone in the back!) 

The magic and worldbuilding wasn't overwhelming while still being a huge part of the plot. The cluster of islands, the Onion, the library, and Magical North were fun to imagine. 

My only problem with this book is that I was reading during a slump and I felt like I couldn't fully appreciate for that reason. It is a great middle-grade read though and I think a lot of readers will enjoy it. 

My Rating: 4 stars

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Picture Book Review: Finding Wild by Megan Wagner Lloyd

Title: Finding Wild
Author: Megan Wagner Lloyd
Illustrator: Abigail Halpin
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: May 10, 2016
Length: 32 pages
Source: Borrowed


Synopsis:
There are so many places that wild can exist, if only you know where to look! Can you find it? Two kids set off on an adventure away from their urban home and discover all the beauty of the natural world. From the bark on the trees to the sudden storm that moves across the sky to fire and flowers, and snowflakes and fresh fruit. As the children make their way through the woods and back to the paved and noisy streets, they discover that wild exists not just off in some distant place, but right in their own backyard. 

My Thoughts: 
Finding Wild is like a poem matched with lovely illustrations.
The pictures show a boy and a girl leaving the city and venturing out into the wild. Into forests filled with ferns, along great bodies of water, and meadows of flowers. Discovering and enjoying all that nature provides. 
The poem speaks of the beauty of all these things. 

I love the idea that you can go out and 'find wild' no matter where you are. Even if you live in the city, you can find a little bit of wild if you just look hard enough. You can make it into an adventure. 

This is an absolutely beautifully illustrated and lyrically told picture book that I enjoyed immensely. It shows the world without the wild and how you can find little bits of it or even enough wild to get lost in. As a nature lover, I loved getting lost in this picture book. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Tackle Your TBR Read-a-thon 2016 Wrap-Up


The Tackle Your TBR Read-a-thon is hosted by Wishful Endings

This read-a-thon started Monday September 12 and ended September 26.

Prior to this read-a-thon I was in a huge slump and wasn't reading very much at all. Even though I ended up not participating in any of the twitter chats or challenges, just thinking about needing to read for a read-a-thon boosted how much I actually read. I was averaging about 100 pages a day (and more if I read at night) and that's a huge step up from what I was reading during my slump.
I meant to keep track of how many pages I read of each book each day but that's a little difficult when you read ebooks and don't have time to get on and update every day so that was another fail.

I ended up finishing these books: 


and almost finished these books: 

So I suppose it's not a total fail because I did get a few books read and I'll be done with these last two by the end of today. And I got out of my reading slump which is even better! 

Top Ten Tuesday #91 - Books On My Fall TBR


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

I've been MIA lately and really needed to get back into this weekly meme.

Today's prompt is 

Books On My Fall TBR


Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake - I got this in September's OwlCrate! 
Serafina and the Twisted Staff by Robert Beatty - I read the first book last year and loved it.
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke - I'm reading bits of this between other books and it's huge so it will probably take me all of Fall to finish. 



The Cartographer's Daughter by Kiran Millwood Hargrave - This looks like a fun middle-grade.
Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas - I'm dying over the fact that I haven't read this yet. I didn't buy a copy because I only own the first book in paperback and my library is making me wait forever. 

The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye - Another one I've been waiting on my library forever for. Should be able to read it soon though. 

Other than those, I'll be reading lots of spooky reads in October and I plan on reading a lot of the books I never got around to in previous months in November! 

Monday, September 26, 2016

Book Blast & Giveaway: Pickled Pumpkin Pie by Deb Troehler

BeachBoundBooks is pleased to be coordinating a Book Blast for the children's picture book written by Deb Troehler & illustrated by Jaime D. Buckley, Pickled Pumpkin Pie: A Thanksgiving Treat. The blast will run September 26 - September 28, 2016.

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About the Book

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Title: Pickled Pumpkin Pie: A Thanksgiving Treat | Author: Deb Troehler | Illustrator: Jaime D. Buckley | Genre: Children's Picture Book | Number of Pages: 38 | Publication Date: March 9, 2016


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Book Description: Thanksgiving is almost here and Dillon can’t wait to see his lovable Uncle Pete once again. Uncle Pete’s visits with his peculiar penchant for pickled pumpkin pie always bring an extra helping of laughter to the dining table. Join Dad, Mom, Uncle Pete, Dillon, and their dog, Baxter, for togetherness, laughter, and a dill-icious meal. Pickled Pumpkin Pie is a read-aloud book for children ages 3-7.

Pickled Pumpkin Pie will be FREE on Amazon September 27 & 28


Review by BeachBoundBooks


Pickled Pumpkin Pie is a charming picture book, told in delightful rhyme, and filled with colorful and fun illustrations.

It's Thanksgiving and Uncle Pete can't wait to eat, but it's not turkey, potatoes, or cranberries he's after. Uncle Pete is waiting for dessert and not just any dessert. He wants pickled pumpkin pie. As the scrumptious meal comes to an end Uncle Pete's excitement builds. Will he finally get his Thanksgiving wish?

Pickled Pumpkin Pie is well written, engaging, and highly entertaining. The book also contains several activities and of course gives readers a chance to create their own pickled pumpkin pie. This is certain to become a fast holiday favorite among children and adults.

I recommend picking up a copy.

About the Author: Deb Troehler

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Deb Troehler has worn many hats over the years—teacher, fabric artist, author, illustrator, gardener, mother, and grandmother. Although each hat is unique, they are all stitched with a common thread—Deb’s connections to her loved ones and the world around her.

Mrs. Troehler was a special education teacher for 15 years. After leaving the classroom due to a recurrence of cancer, her family moved to West Michigan to spend time with her husband’s family. To help make ends meet, Deb wrote instructional material and stories for several trade magazines such as Doll Crafter, Doll Reader, and Soft Dolls and Animals. Eventually, the magic of West Michigan motivated Deb to put pen to paper and record the stories inspired by her treks up and down the shores of Lake Michigan. Pickled Pumpkin Pie: A Thanksgiving Treat is Deb’s third book for children.


About the Illustrator: Jaime D. Buckley

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Jaime Buckley is an author, illustrator, father of 12 and the creator of wantedhero.com, which has been entertaining youth and the young at heart for over a decade.



Book Blast Giveaway


Prize: One winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card or $25 PayPal cash prize, winner's choice. Giveaway ends: October 10, 11:59 pm, 2016 
Open to: Internationally. 
How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. 
Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. 

A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, Deb Troehler and is hosted and managed by Stacie from BeachBoundBooks. If you have any additional questions feel free to send an email to stacie@BeachBoundBooks.com.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Sunday Post #38 - Banned Books Week Begins


The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer
It's a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things you received, share news about what is coming up on your blog for the week ahead, and more.

Is it Sunday again already?!
I feel like absolutely nothing has happened this week. I have been reading more thanks to 'Illuminae' and the Tackle Your TBR read-a-thon though. My blogging week sucked but at least I'm reading! The weather is still hot hot hot plus muggy so we are still stuck inside a lot. The good news is that my veggie garden is finally starting to produce! The hot months tend to kill everything but I guess all that rain finally did some good. 


Banned Books Week starts today!

This Past Week On The Blog
Picture Book Review: Mother Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins
Book Review: The Scourge by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Coming Soon
Book Blast & Giveaway: Pickled Pumpkin Pie
Top Ten Tuesday
Picture Book Review: Finding Wild
Book Review: The Voyage to Magical North
September Wrap Up
October Spooky Reads TBR

Books I Finished This Week

What I'm Currently Reading

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie - My pick for Banned Books Week (which starts today) and I'm already half way through because it's a pretty easy but funny read. I'm glad that I'm finally getting around to this but I'm hoping that I can go for something bigger next year. 
Illuminae - I'm almost done with this one, too, but took a break to fit in my banned book. Honestly I'm not overly enthralled by the story itself but I'm really loving the format. Makes it a quick read despite it being 600 pages. I'm averaging at least 100 pages a day and that's a lot considering little I've been reading lately. 
Timekeeper by Tara Sim - I'm not really loving this. It's not good when I'd rather browse instagram or play a stupid app game over reading this in bed at night. But... I've got other ebooks to get to asap so I've gotta push through. 

How has your week been going? Will you be reading any banned or challenged books this week?

Friday, September 23, 2016

Book Review: The Scourge by Jennifer A. Nielsen

I received a physical copy of this book from Scholastic Press in exchange for an honest review.

Title: The Scourge
Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: August 30, 2016
Genre: Middle-Grade Fantasy
Length: 368 pages
Format: paperback arc
Source: Publisher


Synopsis:
As a lethal plague sweeps through the land, Ani Mells is shocked when she is unexpectedly captured by the governor's wardens and forced to submit to a test for the deadly Scourge. She is even more surprised when the test results come back positive, and she is sent to Attic Island, a former prison turned refuge--and quarantine colony--for the ill. The Scourge's victims, Ani now among them, can only expect to live out short, painful lives there. However, Ani quickly discovers that she doesn't know the whole truth about the Scourge or the Colony. She's been caught in a devious plot, and, with the help of her best friend, Weevil, Ani means to uncover just what is actually going on. 

But will she and Weevil survive long enough to do so?

My Thoughts:
Ani Mells is one of the River People living outside of the city of Keldan where the Scourge has run rampant for 300 years. Luckily, the River People have avoided the disease by staying far away and living rough lives eking out a living on the land. But when Ani is captured by the Wardens of Keldan, along with her best friend Weevil, she tests positive for the Scourge.
Along with the daughter of a wealthy citizen of Keldan named Della, Ani and Weevil are sent to the Scourge colony on an old prison island to live out the remainder of their painfully short, diseased lives. 


All is not what it seems in this middle grade dystopia. The people of Keldan treat River People like they are the cause of the Scourge and yet the River People has mysteriously avoided catching it for hundreds of years. Until Ani Mells infuriates the city ruler, that is.
Though Ani is sure she can't have the Scourge, she tests positive and even suffers the horrible symptoms. The Scourge Colony is a prison where victims are sent to slave away for the benefit of the city until they succumb to the disease shortly after. 


Wonderfully defiant and snarky Ani Mells is thrust into this colony and doesn't take to it the way the city folk do. Ani is strong-willed, stubborn, and butts heads with the guards as often as she can manage. While she is often labeled a trouble-maker, she is more of a hero in disguise. She is quick to stand up for and help her friends.

Her friendship with Weevil, and later with other inhabitants of the island, really gave this situation a positive outlook. Nothing too horrible happens and the ending puts aside any fears that might be had while reading, which makes this perfect for middle-grade readers who haven't read the more brutal young-adult dystopians such as The Hunger Games or The Maze Runner. 

My Rating: 4 Stars