Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Review: The Piper's Apprentice by Matthew Cody


Title: The Piper's Apprentice
Author: Matthew Cody
Series: The Secrets of the Pied Piper #3
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 24, 2017
Source: Publisher



Well here we are.... with the third and final book in The Secrets of the Pied Piper series by Matthew Cody...

It has been a fun and wild ride.  The adventure was grand, the characters were (mostly loveable...dang villains!) and the story was a lot of fun.

The whole series is a take on the Pied Piper story.  You know the one....the Pied Piper comes in an plays his flute and all the rats follow him and leave the town.  Well in this one, the legend has it that the Pied Piper was angry at the town after he helped them, they didn't pay or something, so he came and took a bunch of their children away and never brought them back!

Then centuries later, our main characters, a set of siblings, find themselves neck deep in this legend.

As I already stated this book was a lot of fun.  It is the third installment to the series, so there isn't a lot that I can say that won't be a spoiler for some where in the story line for those that haven't read it yet.

But I can say that it is a continuation from where the 2nd book ended.  Not much time, if any has passed and the story does end in a way that is satisfying.  I will, however, miss these characters and this adventure.  I loved this creative world and the imagery it possessed.

Sorry, if this feels more like a review for the whole series rather than this book alone, but at this point, I can't really separate the books.  I enjoyed all of them, including the final one and did not find myself disappointed with it at all.

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 and opinions are mine and mine alone.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Review: The Magician's Key by Matthew Cody


Title: The Magician's Key
Series: The Secrets of the Pied Piper #2
Author: Matthew Cody
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: November 8, 2016
Source: Publisher



This series is just too much fun to pass on you guys!

The Magician's Key takes off where the first book in the series ended.  No pause in the story for us!  But I am definitely not complaining about that, it would have been weird if the author had left that gap.

That being said, if you haven't read book 1, but choose to read this review on book 2, you will most likely find yourself reading a spoiler or two for book 1.  You can find my review for book 1 right HERE though.

So in this story we still have our two main characters, but they are separated.  Max made it back to the regular world, but Carter is still hanging out on the Summer Isle.

Both have their separate adventures, but they tie in beautifully and it is very easy to follow the story even though it switches between the two and what each one is individually doing.

We also get to meet some new characters and get to know some of the old characters from book 1 even better.  It is quite a treat!

Carter is actually with the Pied Piper a good bit, so we really get to know him and some of his back story.  And Carter gets some great character development.

Max is the one who really ends up meeting most of the new faces that we come across in this story.  And, in my opinion, she probably has the harder adventure of the two.  She is the one who meets our newest villain in the story Vodnik.

We also get to learn more about the creatures that should be in the Summer Isle but are stranded back in the regular world not quite fitting it.

This book really brings the story even more to life than the first one did.  A great continuation to a wonderful adventure story!


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 and opinions are mine and mine alone.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Review: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline


Title: Ready Player One
Author: Ernest Cline
Series: Stand Alone
Publisher: August 16, 2011 (Original)
Publication Date: Crown (Original)
Source: Blogging for Books



This is actually a review of a reread.  See, I read it a few years ago on a recommendation...I think before the talk of a movie was even really happening.  But I had been wanting to reread it before the movie, and so when I saw it on Blogging for Books I thought it was the perfect opportunity.

And OMG you guys, I really forgot A LOT.  Definitely made the reread worth it.

Anyways...

The book is about a boy who lives in a dystopian type of world.  People are poor, they are hungry, the literally live in motor homes stacks upon each other to crazy high levels.  They also spend a lot of their time playing a video game.

See the video game in this world is better than reality.  They can do things in the digital world just like you can do in the real world.  Play sports, read books, play other video games, go to school, work, etc.  But the digital world lets them leave the real them behind and be whoever they want to be.  It changes reality and makes it better.

And then the creator, upon death, announced the ultimate challenge.  To find the hidden easter egg in his game.  For those who are not in the know, an easter egg is a hidden something that the developer of a game hides some where in it for people go discover.

And a lot of this story revolves around this hunt.  You have people wanting to find it and reap the amazing rewards.  And you have people wanting to find it to control the game and make more money off the already poor....that will do pretty much whatever it takes to keep themselves in the lead.

So a lot of the book, especially the beginning half contains quite a bit of world building.  So much so you might start finding yourself getting bored.  But it is kind of necessary.  The world is pretty detailed and works a special way.  And it is really kind of well done in the sense that you can easily imagine that our world has actually turned into the one that Ernest Cline created for this story.  It really isn't too much of a stretch.

Being a video game fan and a fan of the 80s will actually help you enjoy this book.  These are two things that are huge throughout the entire story.

Also, aside from world building and random 80s trivia, there is quite a bit of action.  It doesn't get too intense in my opinion, but it is definitely there.

Then there is character development.  You definitely see it in this book.  And you do find yourself caring about the characters.....  Personally I was smiling at one point.  It just filled me with happy.

Totally glad I did a reread of this book.  It was quite enjoyable.  I have no idea how it is going to be turned into a movie though.  Pretty sure a good bit is going to be changed.

My Rating
4.5 Stars

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

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.