Saturday, May 25, 2019

In My Mailbox #394

How is it another week gone by already? I'm so exhausted and so busy and have no time for anything. What even. But I just got more medicine this week, and hoping it will maybe finally make me feel better. Though I think it just makes me worse and that I have to stop taking it soon. Sigh. I hope not. But yeah. Not doing so well. But I'm happy. And dealing with it. Sort of. Hoping that I will have more time to read, though. I have so many books I still have to read. Ack. Just need more energy for it. So far I have none. Ha. But yeah. I got some gorgeous mail this week, which I love so very much :D And waiting on more stunning things too. <3 Gosh. I'm so excited. Only a couple of new blog posts. This week I'm waiting on The Shadows Between Us :) And I took part in the blog tour for The Pumpkin War. <3 Which is the only book I read this week. Ack. I'm so very behind on every single thing. But I am hoping to catch up soon :)

We Hunt the Flame. Ah, this hardcover is all kinds of gorgeous. Yay! And eee, I got the special gold one.
Aurora Rising. International paperback edition has arrived :D And it looks so stunning. Ugh. I loved this.
The Dog. Ahh. Look how awesome he is :D So much love! He is my third version of this dog, haha. Love.
Morgul Blade. My third letter opener. And gosh. It is just so gorgeous. I had to have it. So glad I bought it.
Pop Figures. Eee. All of these are so awesome and I just had to have them all :D New Alien ones. Love.

More Instagram photos here. <3

Thursday, May 23, 2019

The Pumpkin War Blog Tour: Review

Today I'm taking part in the blog tour for The Pumpkin War by Cathleen Young :D Thank you so much to the publisher, Random House Kids, for inviting me to take part in this blog tour. And for sending me a free ARC copy of it to read and review. This book looks all kinds of adorable and I am happy I had the chance to read it. Today I'm sharing my review of it and details about the book. I think that you should all get this stunning middle grade book. It's worth reading. It was not perfect to me, but I still enjoyed it a whole lot. A three star for me, but a positive one. A book I think everyone must read. A story of family and friendships.

Review of The Pumpkin War.

When I got the chance to read this book for the blog tour I just couldn't say no. Because that cover is all kinds of adorable looking. It seemed like such a sweet and fun summer book and I could not wait to read it. I ended up enjoying it a whole lot. It was not perfect for me, so I'm giving it three stars, but gosh, parts of this book were so good. And I am really glad I read this story. This was a beautiful middle grade book about family and friendships. About growing pumpkins and caring for bees. It was a pretty awesome read.

It tells the story of twelve year old Billie. We get to know her and her family a lot. Her little sister was so cute. And her parents were mostly great too. I liked reading about them all just being a family and doing life things together. This book is a summer in the life of Billie. We get to see her spend time with all her friends and her family. We get to see her grow her pumpkins to be ready for the race in the fall. There are llamas. And some pretty sweet scenes. I did feel like it could have been a bit more, but I liked it so much.

What this book is most about, though, is Billie and her friendship with her neighbor Sam. They have been best friends since they were born, always doing everything together. But last summer Billie got convinced that Sam cheated in the pumpkin race, that he made her lose, so he could win instead. And she has not been friends with him since then. She has been treating him so badly. I did not approve one bit. But I so enjoyed reading about all of it. How she grew to realize her own mistakes. How she kind of missed Sam.

I only with there had been more about it. More missing. More heartbreak because of it. I wanted Sam to get angry with her. I mean. She had been ignoring him for months and months. I needed more about it all. And yet it was pretty great to read about even so. I liked Sam a whole bunch. He was so sweet and kind. And though they were not really friends in this book, I could still see their friendship. And it was so sweet. I liked the summer part of this book. I really liked the history of the lake they live near. It was interesting.

There was one part of the book that I liked more than anything. And it was written pretty much perfectly. Billie and her grandfather is on a small boat. Then a storm suddenly arrive. It was pretty sad to read this scene. And it felt real and scary. And I enjoyed it to pieces. It almost made me cry too. I wish there had been more about what happened after this accident. Felt like there could have been more. But I was also happy with this scene and how it made me feel. So rude. But so very good to read as well. Liked it tons.

This book shares a lot about how to take care of pumpkins. And how to take care of bees and get their honey too. It was a book about friendship and family and also a little about nature. Which I enjoyed so much. I liked the parts about the pumpkins and how Billie cared for them, watching them grow over the summer. I enjoyed reading about her relationship with her parents and her friends. I wish there had been more of all of it. But this book was short and sweet. And I'm so glad that I read it. You all need to read it.

I will not share too much about what I did not like about this book. But I will share all of it. It's a three star for me because I had some issues with the writing. It was like the book could not decide what kind of way it should be written. It drove me a little insane. The writing was not bad, though, just a little bit annoying. I also wanted there to be more focus on the friendship. And on healing the friendship. There was too little of that for me. I wanted it to be sweeter. But those were my only issues with this book. They were not big.

Okay, honestly, my issue with this book was the way Billie was acting towards Sam. She had behaved this way towards him for months. I was not okay with it. I wanted a bigger scene of her making it alright again. And I did not get that. I'm a little bitter, haha. But I also did not mind too much. Because I liked the ending of this book a lot. The Pumpkin War was not perfect, but it was pretty incredible even so. Biggest thank you to the publisher Random House Kids for sending me a free ARC of this one to read and review.

"Cathleen Young's characters will forever have a place in my heart." --Holly Goldberg Sloan, author of Counting by 7s

Former best friends compete to see who can grow the biggest pumpkin and win the annual giant pumpkin race on the lake. A great pick for fans of Half a Chance and Gertie's Leap to Greatness.

At the end of every summer, Madeline Island hosts its famous pumpkin race. All summer, adults and kids across the island grow giant, 1000-pound pumpkins, then hollow one out, and paddle in it across the lake to the cheers of the entire town.

Twelve-year-old Billie loves to win; she has a bulletin board overflowing with first prize ribbons. Her best friend Sam doesn't care much about winning, or at least Billie didn't think so until last summer's race, when his pumpkin crashed into hers as she was about to cross the finish line, and he won. This summer, Billie is determined to get revenge by growing the best and biggest pumpkin, and beat Sam in the race. It's a tricky science to grow pumpkins, since weather, bugs and other critters can wipe out a crop. Then a surprise visit from a long lost relative shakes things up, and Billie begins to see her family, and her bond with Sam, in a new way.

Like Billie in her book The Pumpkin War, Cathleen grew up among storytellers. She often went fishing all around the Badger State with her father, who was a newspaper reporter.  Ever since she was little, Cathleen’s dream was to write for kids.

After graduating from the University of Georgia, Cathleen began writing for magazines like McCall’s and Working Mother. Later, she worked as a police reporter at CITY NEWS BUREAU in Chicago. She then moved into television, writing everything from soap operas like The Young and the Restless to shows like Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman and MacGyver.

She has over a dozen television movies to her credit, including the award-winning HALLMARK HALL OF FAME movie, A Place for Annie. Cathleen is now the executive director of HUMANITAS, where she gets to help aspiring writers break into film and tv.  She lives in Santa Monica, California, with her twin daughters, Shaelee and Gemma, her husband Patrick, and the family dogs Butch and Rexxy.

It was only after her twins were born that Cathleen discovered her true writer’s voice.

Where to find Cathleen Young:

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Waiting on Wednesday #397

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.


Goodreads Description:

Alessandra is tired of being overlooked, but she has a plan to gain power:

1) Woo the Shadow King.
2) Marry him.
3) Kill him and take his kingdom for herself.

No one knows the extent of the freshly crowned Shadow King’s power. Some say he can command the shadows that swirl around him to do his bidding. Others say they speak to him, whispering the thoughts of his enemies. Regardless, Alessandra knows what she deserves, and she’s going to do everything within her power to get it.

But Alessandra’s not the only one trying to kill the king. As attempts on his life are made, she finds herself trying to keep him alive long enough for him to make her his queen—all while struggling not to lose her heart. After all, who better for a Shadow King than a cunning, villainous queen?

Hardcover, 352 pages
Expected publication: February 25th 2020 by Feiwel and Friends/Macmillan
Pre-Order here and here

This book sounds all kinds of dark and delicious. And I want to read it right away. Eee. The cover is so pretty. And the summary pretty much killed me a little. Gosh, I hope this book will end up being amazing.
What are you waiting for on this cunning Wednesday?

Saturday, May 18, 2019

In My Mailbox #393

Two books read this week :D Yay. I feel happy about this, haha. Still so far behind on everything else, though. Sigh. My body is just exhausted every damn second. And I spend so much time with my sister and her kids these days. No time left. But I love my family time the most. And my spa bath for two hours almost every day, eee. Exhausting, but worth it. It's the best part of my days, when I have the energy for it. But anyway. I'm hoping to get more done in this coming week. Crossing my fingers. Oh. Wait. Hospital on Wednesday. And this time I will be gone the whole damn day, until late in the evening. Oh. Will murder me, probably, haha. But looking forward to a day of shopping and food too, lol. Anyway. So need to catch up to everything. Hopefully shortly. Happy to have gotten to read two books this week at least. Hoping to read more going forward. I love reading so much. Just never have the time or energy lately. Ugh. Anyway. A few new blog posts :D I posted my second review of Sky in the Deep. <3 So precious. This week I am waiting on Ninth House :D Then posted my review of The Girl the Sea Gave Back :) Which I am so sad that I did not like much. Ack. I did not get a lot of books this week, but that's okay. More coming. Oops. And oh gosh. Some eARCs. Eee. So happy. I love my pretty mail this week. <3 Hope you are all okay :)

Aurora Rising. My UK hardcover has arrived, eee :D And it looks so very gorgeous. Sigh. I loved this one.
York. I adored the first book :D But gosh. Been two years since I read it now. What. Excited for this book.
Plush. When I saw this adorable pink pig I had to get him. So soft. I so love buying plushes, haha :) Love.

Oh. What even. It was my third time requesting those three books from Wednesday Books on Edelweiss. I had gotten declined twice. Hoped third time was the charm. Then I got an email saying I was approved for all three! Ahh! What. I pretty much died, haha :) Went to download them. Which I could, thankfully. But it said that I was declined, not approved. What. And so I think I got approved by accident. Oops. But I do not mind, haha. Just so thankful that I got to download them :D So so excited. Sigh. And very happy. <3

Darkdawn. Oh my gosh. I peeked. I'm now too nervous to read this one. Sigh. But I will. One day. Soon.
The Girl the Sea Gave Back. Was so very excited about this one. Oh. But I did not like it much. Sad face.
The Grace Year. I am SO excited about this :D It looks gorgeous. Sounds creepy and exciting. Can't wait.
The Star Shepherd. EEE! I adore MarcyKate. Thank you publisher and Netgalley. <3 Cannot wait to read.

More Instagram photos here. <3

Friday, May 17, 2019

Review: The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young

It does not happen often that I finish a book feeling confused. But it happened now. And I cannot even describe how confused I feel right now. I went into this book expecting it to be epic. To be fully exciting and romantic. To be just as amazing as Sky in the Deep, if not better. That's not what I got. At all. I'm beyond disappointed.

I just. I do not understand. I do not understand how I could have disliked this book so much. Why it was so bad for me. Even the cover tricked me. It made me think this one would be fierce. That the girl would be. That it would be about the sea. It was neither of those things. I wanted much more from this book. I'm left wanting.

Which is not a good feeling to have after finishing a book. But oh. There is nothing I can do about it. I did not love this book. I barely liked it. I thought I would give it three stars. But it never got good for me. Not once. And so two stars it is. Which is so breaking my heart. Because I honestly thought I would love this book the very most. Considering that I've now read Sky in the Deep twice and loved it beyond words. And I adore this author. But. Well. The Girl the Sea Gave Back was simply not a good book for me. I wish I could say that I think I'm the only one that will have issues with it. But I don't think so, not really. Because, for me, this book had so many faults. And because I cannot stop myself from being honest, I will share all my thoughts about it. Well, most of them.

There is so much that I need to share about this book. And so much that I am not going to share about it too. I wish I could only say good things. But, honestly, I do not have any good things to say. The cover is gorgeous. I love this author. And that is all the positive things I have to share. Sigh. It was supposed to be such an epic companion novel, set ten years after Sky in the Deep. But it was not. I was supposed to love Halvard. I did not. Was supposed to love the small peeks into the lives of Fiske and Eelyn. I did not. Sigh.

This book tells the story of Halvard and Tova. It is told from both point of views. And there are several flashbacks included into their past. I wish I could say I loved it. But I really did not. I did not care at all for the things that happened in the past. I did not connect with Halvard or Tova. They were truly not strong characters. They were not interesting. They were not soft or broken or exciting to read about. There was not even a romance between them. Sure, one almost kiss at the end, which was beyond awkward. Ugh.

There is so much I want to share about this one. But I'm going to control myself. Ha. I really wanted to love Halvard in this one. I adored him as a child in Sky. But I could not find it in myself to care for him at all in this story. Which breaks my heart. There was just nothing to care about. I felt like I never really got to know this boy. Only that he did not really want to be the next chief, which he was going to be. We see so little of his family. And what we see was bad. He has a few friends, and even that was awkward to me.

Then there was Tova. A girl I was expecting to love. And I did not like her one bit. I did not hate her, I just did not feel anything for her at all. The book begins with her being dead as a child, her clan sending her out to the sea. And then a man from another clan finding her, and her not being dead any longer. He lies to her, yet raises her. She spends her life in this village telling these people their future. They are scared of her. She knows nothing about her past. Well, that is all there is to know about her. Sigh. Wanted more.

This whole book felt unfinished to me. The ending was kind of silly. It was way too rushed. There were not any answers at all. This book felt like half a story. And not the good half. There were things that I wanted to know that were never answered. I'm disappointed. This whole book was about one war. That lasted for, what, half an hour at most. Haha. Yeah. It took place within a few days. Nothing really happened. I did not feel anything for these characters. And I'm so sad about it. I really truly wanted much more from this one.

I went into this expecting it to be as amazing as Sky was to me. I ended up being way too disappointed. The writing was different. I wish I could say it was as great as the first book, but it really truly wasn't. I was not able to focus. There were a bunch of mistakes, which I hope are fixed in the finished copies. But even without those, the writing did nothing at all for me. And in Sky I loved it so very much. I am just confused. So confused. This didn't feel like the same type of book at all. Nothing was the same. I'm so sad about it.

As it was not only the writing that was different from the first book. This book did not have any exciting moments. It did not have a broken character, like Eelyn was. It did not have the same type of strength at all. I even felt like the world was different. In Sky I fell in love with the Viking setting. In this book I didn't even notice it at all, because it was barely there. I just. I have already said too much. I wish this book was different, better. It was simply not for me. It might be perfect for others, but it was so not perfect for me.

Huge thank you to the publisher, Wednesday Books, for approving my request to read this book early. I'm glad I had the chance to. Despite not liking this book much, I am still going to try my hardest to collect all the editions, as I have managed to do with Sky. Because that cover truly is gorgeous. And I need to own it. And I am still going to read the next books by this author. And hoping they will end up being better for me. Crossing all my fingers. I'm curious to know what everyone else will think of this book. Let me know.