Friday, February 23, 2018

YA Book Review: Ever the Brave by Erin Summerill

Ever the Brave
(Clash of Kingdoms #2)
by Erin Summerill
Published December 5th 2017
by HMH Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Length: 454 pages

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Book Depository

Ever the Divided. Ever the Feared. Ever the Brave.
After saving King Aodren with her newfound Channeler powers, Britta only wants to live a peaceful life in her childhood home. Unfortunately, saving the King has created a tether between them she cannot sever, no matter how much she'd like to, and now he's insisting on making her a noble lady. And there are those who want to use Britta's power for evil designs. If Britta cannot find a way to harness her new magical ability, her life--as well as her country--may be lost.
The stakes are higher than ever in the sequel to Ever the Hunted, as Britta struggles to protect her kingdom and her heart. 

My Thoughts:
I didn't quite love the first book, Ever the Hunted, and focused on the things that bothered me in my review, but I was still hopeful that the sequel would be worth reading. The cliffhanger made me want to continue this series and now that I'm finished, I'm glad I did. That ending created so much emotional conflict in this book that I kind of fell in love with the characters and couldn't wait to find out what would happen next. 

While I felt that the first book was a bit slow and full of almost nothing but traveling scenes, the pacing and plot in Ever the Brave was quite fast and seamless. I did not fly through it because I had to take several breaks, but when I was reading it, I never wanted to put it down and loved every moment of it. 

I really enjoyed the main character, Britta Flannery, who is more at home in the woods (the Evers) and is mostly considered an outcast among the townsfolk despite that her father was a well-known and loved bounty hunter for the king. She's tough, snarky, and more than capable at wielding a bow and arrow. 
Cohen is her childhood friend whom was apprenticed to her father to become a bounty hunter as well. 
In Ever the Brave, we have a new pov from that of the young King of Malam, Aodren, who sees Britta as more than just the standoffish girl who saved his life. The bond they now share thanks to the Channeler magic she used may be the cause, but a friendship starts between them nonetheless.

My only complaint this time around is the love triangle that left me madly guessing who would end up with who. It definitely built the tension and added drama but that's not what bothered me so much as 'love interest #1' having flashbacks that make him look bad and second guess himself. Right off the bat, it made him seem like he couldn't compete with 'love interest #2' and it made the narrative a little frustrating, but I will admit that I really enjoyed the story despite that and thought it was executed pretty well. 
I'll also admit that the ending made my heart sing. 

I just realized there is a third book coming out in 2019 called 'Once A King' but I'm so conflicted about it because I thought this was one of those happy endings that didn't need to be added to. Perhaps the author has more to tell about secondary characters and the future of the two countries. I guess we will see if my interest holds out that long. 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Can't Wait Wednesday #24 - Beyond A Darkened Shore by Jessica Leake

Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa @ Wishful Endings and spotlights the books we are excited about and have yet to read. This meme is based on Waiting on Wednesday which is hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine.

I can't wait for...

Beyond A Darkened Shore
by Jessica Leake

Expected publication: April 10, 2018
by HarperTeen


The ancient land of Eirinn is mired in war. Ciara, Princess of Mide, has never known a time when Eirinn's kindgoms were not battling for power, or Northmen were not plundering their shores. 

The people of Mide have thankfully always been safe because of Ciara's unearthly ability to control her enemies' minds and actions. But lately, a mysterious crow has been appearing to Ciara, whispering warnings of an even darker threat. Although her clansmen dismiss her visions as pagan nonsense, Ciara fears this coming evil will destroy not just Eirinn, but the entire world.

Then the crow leads Ciara to Leif, a young Northman leader. Leif should be Ciara's enemy, but when she discovers that he, too, shares her prophetic visions, she knows he's something more. Leif is mounting an impressive army, and with Ciara's strength in battle the two might have a chance to save their world. 


This is one I haven't seen anyone talk about yet but it just feels like something I'd enjoy so I hope to give it a shot sooner or later. 
A war-torn world, visions, mind control, and a dark threat looming over the land? Sounds fun. 

Monday, February 12, 2018

Picture Book Review: Sweet Dreams, Supergirl by Michael Dahl

Sweet Dreams, Supergirl
(DC Superhero Bedtime Stories)
by Michael Dahl
illustrated by Omar Lozano
published on January 1, 2018
by Picture Window Books

A young Supergirl fan faces her most elusive adversary; sleep! As darkness falls, a young girl attempts to catch some Z's while DC Comics' SUPERGIRL tracks down an elusive enemy. With super hero traits, like BRAVERY, PATIENCE, and PERSISTENCE, they'll both turn sleepless nights into sweet success and sweet dreams. Along with Omar Lozano's action-packed art, bestselling author Michael Dahl (Bedtime for Batman and Good Morning, Superman) delivers an imaginative bedtime book for fangirls and fanboys alike. 

My Thoughts: 
This is the perfect bedtime story book for all those budding little superheroes out there. Very much like Michael Dahl's other DC superhero picture books, Sweet Dreams, Supergirl is a fun and brightly illustrated read full of action and excitement. It's a great reminder that even superheroes have to wind down at the end of a long, action-filled day. 

The full page illustrations feature both Supergirl (as well as a few of her super friends) and a little girl who is just as super. It contrasts the hardships of the day with getting ready for bed in a comic book style that is lots of fun. 

I especially loved that the book on her nightstand and that her mother reads to her at night is so obviously The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. It's one of my favorites so it stood out, though I have no idea what it has to do with superheroes. 

Want something similar with male heroes? Bedtime for Batman and Good Morning, Superman may do the trick! 

Be sure to check out my review of Be A Star, Wonder Woman by Michael Dahl as well! 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Can't Wait Wednesday #23 - The Traitor's Game by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa @ Wishful Endings and spotlights the books we are excited about and have yet to read. This meme is based on Waiting on Wednesday which is hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine.

I can't wait for...

The Traitor's Game
by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Expected publication: February 27, 2018
by Scholastic

Nothing is as it seems in the kingdom of Antora. Kestra Dallisor has spent three years in exile in the Lava Fields, but that won't stop her from being drawn back into her father's palace politics. He's the right hand man of the cruel king, Lord Endrick, which makes Kestra a valuable bargaining chip. A group of rebels know this all too well -- and they snatch Kestra from her carriage as she reluctantly travels home. The kidnappers want her to retrieve the lost Olden Blade, the only object that can destroy the immortal king, but Kestra is not the obedient captive they expected. Simon, one of her kidnappers, will have his hands full as Kestra tries to foil their plot, by force, cunning, or any means necessary. As motives shift and secrets emerge, both will have to decide what -- and who -- it is they're fighting for. 


I've only read one book by this author but have heard great things about all of her books. I'm really into the defiant MCs and plotlines lately and Kestra sounds like the perfect angsty kidnappee. Hopefully it's good! 

Friday, February 2, 2018

Picture Book Review: Stegasaurus Would Not Make A Good Pirate by Thomas Kingsley Troupe

Stegosaurus Would NOT Make A Good Pirate
by Thomas Kingsley Troupe
Illustrated by Steph Colvert
Published on February 1, 2018
by Picture Window Books

Gary the Stegosaurus wants to be a pirate. But then he gets the chance, things do NOT work out. Getting seasick is the least of Gary's worries once he's on that ship! This delightful picture book from the Dinosaur Dreams series includes discussion questions, an interactive look-and-find fact section, and dinosaur facts. 

Our Thoughts:
Gary the Stegosaurus tells us all about his quick adventure as a pirate. He wanted to be a good pirate, but things just didn't seem to work out. His clothes didn't fit, he accidentally shredded the sails, and he's literally too big for the ship! 

This was a lot of fun. We quickly learn that something like being a pirate may seem like a lot of fun but it isn't for everyone. It's always a good idea to try, though! 

I love that there are pages in the back of this picture book with interactive material such as discussion questions, a glossary for both dino and pirate words that some might not know, facts about stegosauruses, and more!

Saturday, January 27, 2018

2018 ABC Challenge

Another new year.
 One of these years I'll complete this challenge. The last 4 years were not that year. I'm pretty optimistic that I won't get anywhere near completing it this year either, but it's kind of a habit to do it at this point. 
I like lists. Here's a list. 

Just a few choices for each letter going by my 2018 TBR list
(So I can cross things off, of course)

A - The Alchemist, Arabella of Mars, And I Darken, All the Crooked Saints, Age of War, All the Bright Places

B - Brooklyn, The Bone Season, The Book of Dust, The Borrowers, Black Beauty, Breath of Fire, Bunnicula

C - Caraval, The Cruel Prince, The Crims, The Carnivorous Carnival, Cilla Lee-Jenkins

D - The Dinner, Demelza

E - Ever the Brave, Emma in the Night, Everland, Everless, The Ersatz Elevator, The Emerald Circus

F - Fridays with the Wizards

G - The Glass Arrow, Godsgrave, The Giant Smugglers, Girls Made of Snow and Glass, The Girl in the Tower, The Glass Castle

H - Heap House, The Hostile Hospital, Heroine Complex, The Hammer of Thor

I -
 Into the Dim, Iron Hearted Violet, I Capture the Castle

J - Jorie and the Gold Key


L - The Little White Horse

M - M is for Magic, Mask of Shadows, The Magic Misfits, My Sister's Bones

N - Night Film, The Novice

O - Obsidio

P - A Promise of Fire

Q - The Queen of Blood

R - Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, The Rebels of Gold, The Raven Boys, The Raven God, The Rosie Project

S - Song of the Dark Crystal, Strange the Dreamer, The Suffering Tree, Simon vs the HomoSapien Agenda, Salt to the Sea, Saturdays at Sea, The Smell of Other People's Houses

T - 
Tower of Dawn, Thursdays with the Crown

U - Unearthed

V - Voyager, The Vanishing Throne, The Valiant, The Vile Village

W - The Wolf's Boy, The Wonderling, The War I Finally Won, Whichwood, The Witch's Boy, Women in Science, The World's Greatest Adventure Machine



Z - Zodiac, Zenith



What I've Read in 2018

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The Borrowers by Mary Norton

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black 
The Color Purple by Alice Walker (CR)

Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon








The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun by J.R.R. Tolkien 

The Magic Misfits by Neil Patrick Harris














Friday, January 26, 2018

Picture Book Review: She Persisted by Chelsea Clinton

She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World
by Chelsea Clinton
Illustrated by Alexandra Boiger
Published by Philomel Books
Published on May 30, 2017
Length: 32 pages

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository

Literary Awards:
Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Picture Books (2017)
Litsy Award for Picture Book (2017)

Chelsea Clinton introduces tiny feminists, mini activists and little kids who are ready to take on the world to thirteen inspirational women who never took no for an answer, and who always, inevitably and without fail, persisted.

Throughout American history, there have always been women who have spoken out for what's right, even when they have to fight to be heard. In early 2017, Senator Elizabeth Warren's refusal to be silenced in the Senate inspired a spontaneous celebration of women who persevered in the face of adversity. In this book, Chelsea Clinton celebrates thirteen American women who helped shape our country through their tenacity, sometimes through speaking out, sometimes by staying seated, sometimes by captivating an audience. They all certainly persisted. 

She Persisted is for everyone who has ever wanted to speak up but has been told to quiet down, for everyone who has ever tried to reach for the stars but was told to sit down, and for everyone who has ever been made to feel unworthy or unimportant or small. 

With vivid, compelling art by Alexandra Boiger, this book shows readers that no matter what obstacles may be in their paths, they shouldn't give up on their dreams. Persistence is power. 

This book features: Harriet Tubman, Helen Keller, Clara Lemlich, Nellie Bly, Maria Tallchief, Claudette Colvin, Ruby Bridges, Margaret Chase Smith, Sally Ride, Florence Griffith Joyner, Oprah Winfrey, Sonia Sotomayor -- and one special cameo. 

My Thoughts:
She Persisted is a beautifully illustrated and empowering picture book filled with 13 American women who have helped change and shape the world we live in today. From Harriet Tubman to Oprah Winfrey - and a few lesser known entities in between - each of these women have gone beyond the barriers set before them and persisted in reaching their dreams. 

I personally love collections of influential people but this is the first time I've come across one in picture book form for children and I'm so happy it exists. This is the perfect addition to any little girl's library. What better way to show your child that they too can reach their dreams if only they persist.