Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Snow & Rose by Emily Winfield Martin

I'm hosting today's blog tour stop for
Snow & Rose by Emily Winfield Martin!

Snow & Rose
by Emily Winfield Martin
Published by Random House Books for Young Readers
October 10, 2017
224 Pages • ISBN 978-0553538182 • Hardcover



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Book description:
Snow and Rose didn’t know they were in a fairy tale. People never do…

Once, they lived in a big house with spectacular gardens and an army of servants.

Once, they had a father and mother who loved them more than the sun and moon.

But that was before their father disappeared into the woods and their mother disappeared into sorrow.

This is the story of two sisters and the enchanted woods that have been waiting for them to break a set of terrible spells.

Bestselling author-illustrator Emily Winfield Martin has created a world that sits on the border of enchantment, with characters who are grounded in real emotions that readers will recognize in themselves.


If you are familiar with the Brothers Grimm story, Snow White and Rose Red, you will be familiar with elements in this charming tale that is rooted in that fairy tale. If you are unfamiliar with the aforementioned fairy tale, that's alright as well, as this is a story all of its own that still holds true to its origins.

Snow and Rose are young sisters who live an idyllic life with their parents until their father disappears into the woods one day, only to eventually lose their mother to despair. Forced to move from their beautiful home, the two sisters and their mother move into a cottage at the edge of the very same forest that took their father from them. And here, one of my favorite lines in the book comes into play:

Snow and Rose didn't know that they were living in a fairy tale – people never do.

What makes Emily Winfield Martin's book stand out and shine is the illustrations sprinkled throughout the book. These whimsical, lyrical illustrations fully capture the magical feel of a fairy tale as well as lend the book a timeless feel. Even in the advanced reader edition where some art is still TK or still a preliminary sketch, the book is beautiful and the art lends so much to the story, adding entirely to the narrative and complimenting it perfectly.

Personally, I can't wait to add a finished copy to my collection, and I'm sure that I will be reading this book all over again to get the full scope of the the story with the addition of the completed illustrations. This would be a fantastic book for both young and old readers, especially fans of fairy tales and their retellings.


I received an advanced print copy of this book from the publisher for a fair and honest review.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Summer on Earth by Peter Thompson

I'm hosting today's blog tour stop for
Summer on Earth by Peter Thompson!


Summer on Earth
by Peter Thompson
Published by Persnickety Press • August 1, 2017
293 Pages • ISBN 978-1943978304 • Hardcover



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Book description:
The night that eleven-year-old Grady Johnson looked out his window and wished upon a shooting star, his life changed forever.

Grady, his Ma, and younger sister Luanne are having a hard summer. Dad has died and the family isn’t the same. Though Ma is trying her best, Grady knows they don’t have enough money to get by.

The shooting star he saw was a space craft plunging to Earth, and landing at the back of their farm. Extraterrestrial engineer Ralwil Turth has one goal, to fix his power drive and go back home. But things don’t go as planned. Stuck in human form, he gets to know Grady and his family as he works on their farm. He starts to learn about what it means to be human, and the exotic charms of this planet like the taste of potatoes, and how amazing bugs are.

As Ralwil grows to care for Grady and his family, he comes up with a plan to help them, sure it will solve all their problems. But when trouble comes, the family’s survival and Ralwil’s very life are on the line.

Can Grady find the courage to help his family and save his friend?


Grady, 11 years old, is trying to figure out how to navigate his life after the death of his father, and one night wishes on a shooting star. That star, however, was not what it seems.

Ralwil, who is not of this Earth, is trying desperately to navigate his malfunctioning spaceship to Earth and not crash land in the process.

These two strangers form an unlikely friendship as Ralwil takes on a human form to help Grady and his family around their farm. Of course, as with most extraterrestrial stories, things don't always go according to Ralwil and Grady's plans. In trying to help Grady and his family out of their financial troubles (through some truly extraterrestrial thinking!), Ralwil has forgone his own mission of trying to return home, and unwittingly puts Grady and his family in an awkward situation, while also putting his life on the line. It comes down to Grady to find a way to save the day.

This was a fairly quick read for me, but it was poignant and written with heart. The alternating POVs between Grady and Ralwil were interesting, especially Ralwil's as we got insight into his thoughts on such a foreign world as our is to him. While there isn't a whole lot of alien action, it's more about the friends and their growing relationship, and this is what really makes the book. I think this would be an excellent book for any younger reader who likes a little bit of science fiction in their reading.

I received a finished print copy of this book from the publisher for a fair and honest review.



Sound interesting?
Read on for more information about Summer on Earth!








Title: SUMMER ON EARTH

Author: Peter Thompson

Publisher: Persnickety Press

Pages: 293

Genre: Sci-fi / Middle Grade

The night that eleven-year-old Grady Johnson looked out his window and wished upon a shooting star, his life changed forever.

Grady, his Ma, and younger sister Luanne are having a hard summer. Dad has died and the family isn’t the same. Though Ma is trying her best, Grady knows they don’t have enough money to get by.

The shooting star he saw was a space craft plunging to Earth, and landing at the back of their farm. Extraterrestrial engineer Ralwil Turth has one goal, to fix his power drive and go back home. But things don’t go as planned. Stuck in human form, he gets to know Grady and his family as he works on their farm. He starts to learn about what it means to be human, and the exotic charms of this planet like the taste of potatoes, and how amazing bugs are.

Ralwil grows to care for Grady and his family. On a trip to town, he realizes that money is what matters to humans, and is the cause of the family’s trouble. That night, he uses his technology to combine a twenty-dollar bill with an oak twig. Over the next week this grows to a towering tree, every leaf a twenty-dollar bill. This, Ralwil is sure, will solve all the family’s problems.

But the family’s wealth raises suspicion in this small town, and this soon leads to more trouble. With the family’s fate, and Ralwil’s life, on the line, Grady has to find the courage to help his family and save his friend.

Summer on Earth  blends humor, adventure and poignancy to create an unforgettable story about finding home.

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble



Before
      It was hotter than usual that night, and Grady couldn’t get comfortable, even with the fan on high. The June bugs thumped against the window screen, and the crickets chirped so loudly it sounded like they were right there in the room. He could hear the TV on downstairs, so he knew Ma was still awake. Ever since Dad died she’d stayed up late most every night.
Grady just stared out the window and looked at the night sky. Where they lived, out in the country, there wasn’t much light at night and the stars stood out more than they did in the city. Grady tried to find the constellations his Dad had taught him, just letting his mind wander. At some point he started to get sleepy. But before he fell asleep, he saw a shooting star. And when he saw it, he made a wish.
      This is the story of how that wish came true. 





Peter Thompson grew up in Illinois, and lives near Chicago. He remembers how excited he was when the first astronaut stepped on to the moon. He has had an appreciation of space, and all its possibilities ever since. His love of children’s books developed while reading to his three sons. His first novel, Living Proof, was a thriller published by Berkeley Books. Summer on Earth is his first book for younger readers. It will be released in August of this year.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:



MEDIA CONTACT:

Dorothy Thompson
 CEO/Founder
PUMP UP YOUR BOOK
Winner of P&E Readers Poll
2016 for Best Publicity Firm

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Timeless: Diego and the Rangers of the Vastlantic by Armand Baltazar

Timeless: Diego and the Rangers of the Vastlantic
by Armand Baltazar
Published by Katherine Tegen Books
October 10, 2017
624 Pages • ISBN 978-0062402363 • Hardcover



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Book description:
For fans of Rick Riordan and Brian Selznick, author-artist Armand Baltazar introduces Timeless: Diego and the Rangers of the Vastlantic, the first in a new science fiction/fantasy series that explores a world painted new by the Time Collision. Integrating art and text, this epic and cinematic adventure features more than 150 full-color illustrations.

You’ve never seen Earth like this before: continents reshaped, oceans re-formed, cities rebuilt, and mountains sculpted anew. Dinosaurs roam the plains alongside herds of buffalo, and giant robots navigate the same waters as steam-powered ships.

This is the world Diego Ribera was born into. The past, present, and future coexisting together. In New Chicago, Diego’s middle school hallways buzz with kids from all eras of history and from cultures all over the world. The pieces do not always fit together neatly, but this is the world he loves.

There are those, however, who do not share his affection. On his thirteenth birthday, Diego learns of a special gift he has within, a secret that is part of something much bigger—something he cannot understand. When his father, New Chicago’s top engineer, is taken by the Aeternum, Diego must rescue him and prevent this evil group from disrupting the fragile peace humanity has forged.


Armand Baltazar's Timeless: Diego and the Rangers of the Vastlantic is a vividly imaginative tale that covers so many great story points that in my opinion, it defies to be categorized into one genre. With elements of time travel mixed with robots, dinosaurs, steampunkery, and pirates, characters from the past, present, and future, this book has a little bit of everything. The action grabs you fairly quickly and never really lets up, yet it doesn't feel overly done. Baltazar keeps the pace exciting, but not at the expense of his characters' development. While it did seem that the kids went very quickly from not knowing one another and not necessarily liking one another to a fairly tight knit group, beyond that they seemed like fully fleshed out characters by the end of the book.

The star of this book is the artwork. While the ARC provided black and white illustrations only, even these are breathtaking in their scope, and I can hardly wait to see what the full color package is going to look like. I'm sure it is going to be mesmerizing.

Baltazar has created quite the unique piece of literature/art and I'm thoroughly looking forward to what his imagination cooks up in the future.


I received a printed ARC of this book from the publisher for a fair and honest review.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

M.F.K. by Nilah Magruder

M.F.K.
by Nilah Magruder
Published by Insight Comics • September 26, 2017
128 Pages • ISBN 978-1683830047 • Hardcover



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Book description:
A fantastic adventure following the story of Abbie, a deaf girl with a mysterious power, who is traveling across a vast desert to scatter her mother’s ashes.

In a world of sleeping gods, a broken government, and a fragile peace held in the hands of the corrupt, one youth must find the strength to stand up against evil and save humanity.

This story is not about that youth.

It’s about Abbie, who just wants to get to the mountain range called the Potter’s Spine, scatter her mother’s ashes, and then live out her life in sweet, blissful solitude. Unfortunately, everyone she meets wants to whine at her about their woes, tag along on her quest, arrest her for no reason, or blow her to bits.

Journeys are hard on the social recluses of the world.


This is a cute little story, but not a whole lot happens here. Abbie is found wandering in the desert, injured, and is taken in by a family in the local town. This town is also targeted by thugs with super powers who basically take what they want, when they want it, because they are clearly superior due to their super powers. Abbie helps the town out with the latest group of thugs, and then decides to continue on with her own journey. And that's about it. Of course, there's a bit more to it, but spoilers! The art has a definite manga feel to it, but sometimes it's a little vague about what's going on. Personally, I wish that there had been a little more substance to the story, as I'm not all that invested in either the characters or where they are going, and this may just be me, but I really wish I at least had a hint as to what the title means, because as far as I could tell, there wasn't any clue anywhere in the book.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

A note on me

As can be seen very evidently by the lack of posts here lately, I have been in a slump. It's not any one thing that has caused this, but I'm finding that navigating post-cancer life is not as easy as I expected it to be. While I'm feeling much better, I find that I'm having a hard time focusing on reading, and I think that comes from a general overall fatigue from 3 years of being so focused on what was going to happen next with my body, I think that now that I don't have that hovering over me constantly, now I just want to sit and not think. I know I'll come back around, it's just going to continue to be slow going for a while.

Regardless of what's going on with me, as always, happy reading!

Saturday, September 30, 2017

September 2017 Recap


  1. Mouse Guard Alphabet Book by David Petersen, illustrated by Serena Malyon
  2. A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms by George R. R. Martin

Pick of the Month
A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms by George R. R. Martin


September 2017
Number of books read: 2
Number of pages: 432

Number of books acquired: 45
Number of those books read: 2


YEAR TOTALS
Number of books read: 70
Number of pages: 12,451

Number of books acquired: 263
Number of those books read: 42

Thursday, August 31, 2017

August 2017 Recap


  1. Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death, and Jazz Chickens by Eddie Izzard
  2. Star Wars: Vader Down by Jason Aaron & Kieron Gillen, illustrated by Mike Deodato & Salvador Larroca
  3. Star Wars: Darth Vader, Vol 3: The Shu-Torun War by Kieron Gillen, illustrated by Salvador Larocca
  4. Star Wars: Darth Vader, Vol 4: End of Games by Kieron Gillen, illustrated by Salvador Larroca
  5. Star Wars, Vol 3: Rebel Jail by Jason Aaron, illustrated by Mike Mayhew & Leinil Yu
  6. Star Wars, Vol 4: Last Flight of the Harbinger by Jason Aaron, illustrated by Jorge Molina, Mike Mayhew, & Mike Deodato
  7. Star Wars: Poe Dameron, Vol 1: Black Squadron by Charles Soule, illustrated by Phil Noto
  8. The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O'Neill
  9. Black Hammer, Vol 1: Secret Origins by Jeff Lemire, illustrated by Dean Ormston

Pick of the Month
Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death, and Jazz Chickens by Eddie Izzard


August 2017
Number of books read: 9
Number of pages: 1,514

Number of books acquired: 12
Number of those books read: 1


YEAR TOTALS
Number of books read: 68
Number of pages: 12,019

Number of books acquired: 218
Number of those books read: 40

Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O'Neill

The Tea Dragon Society
by Katie O'Neill
Published by Oni Press • October 31, 2017
192 Pages • ISBN 978-1620104415 • Hardcover



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Book description:
From the award-winning author of Princess Princess Ever After comes The Tea Dragon Society, a charming all-ages book that follows the story of Greta, a blacksmith apprentice, and the people she meets as she becomes entwined in the enchanting world of tea dragons.

After discovering a lost tea dragon in the marketplace, Greta learns about the dying art form of tea dragon care-taking from the kind tea shop owners, Hesekiel and Erik. As she befriends them and their shy ward, Minette, Greta sees how the craft enriches their lives--and eventually her own.


A charming, quiet fantasy about a young girl, Greta, who is torn between apprenticing with her blacksmith mother, or learning the fine art of raising tea dragons, whose leaves can be harvested to make tea. There is not a lot going on in this slim colume, and that's perfectly fine. This is a refreshingly original and kind story, and the illustrations are simplistic, yet beautifully whimsical. Katie O'Neill has been publishing this story online at The Tea Dragon Society, and I'm delighted that it is finally available in print. I'll definitely be picking up later volumes.

The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O'Neill will be released from Oni Press on October 31, 2017.



I received an eARC copy of this book from the publisher thru NetGalley for a fair and honest review.

Monday, July 31, 2017

July 2017 Recap


  1. Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero
  2. American Gods: The Tenth Anniversary Edition: A Novel by Neil Gaiman
  3. Star Wars, Vol 1 by Jason Aaron, illustrated by John Cassaday, Simone Bianchi, & Stuart Immonen
  4. Star Wars: Darth Vader, Vol 1: Vader by Kieron Gillen, illustrated by Salvador Larocca
  5. Star Wars: Darth Vader, Vol 2: Shadows and Secrets by Kieron Gillen, illustrated by Salvador Larocca

Pick of the Month
Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero


July 2017
Number of books read: 5
Number of pages: 1,488

Number of books acquired: 20
Number of those books read: 0


YEAR TOTALS
Number of books read: 59
Number of pages: 10,505

Number of books acquired: 203
Number of those books read: 37

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

American Gods: The Tenth Anniversary Edition: A Novel by Neil Gaiman

American Gods: The Tenth Anniversary Edition: A Novel
by Neil Gaiman
Published by William Morrow • June 21, 2011
256 Pages • ISBN 978-0062059888 • Hardcover



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Book description:
First published in 2001, American Gods became an instant classic—an intellectual and artistic benchmark from the multiple-award-winning master of innovative fiction, Neil Gaiman. Now discover the mystery and magic of American Gods in this tenth anniversary edition. Newly updated and expanded with the author’s preferred text, this commemorative volume is a true celebration of a modern masterpiece by the one, the only, Neil Gaiman.

A storm is coming . . .

Locked behind bars for three years, Shadow did his time, quietly waiting for the magic day when he could return to Eagle Point, Indiana. A man no longer scared of what tomorrow might bring, all he wanted was to be with Laura, the wife he deeply loved, and start a new life.

But just days before his release, Laura and Shadow’s best friend are killed in an accident. With his life in pieces and nothing to keep him tethered, Shadow accepts a job from a beguiling stranger he meets on the way home, an enigmatic man who calls himself Mr. Wednesday. A trickster and rogue, Wednesday seems to know more about Shadow than Shadow does himself.

Life as Wednesday’s bodyguard, driver, and errand boy is far more interesting and dangerous than Shadow ever imagined—it is a job that takes him on a dark and strange road trip and introduces him to a host of eccentric characters whose fates are mysteriously intertwined with his own. Along the way Shadow will learn that the past never dies; that everyone, including his beloved Laura, harbors secrets; and that dreams, totems, legends, and myths are more real than we know. Ultimately, he will discover that beneath the placid surface of everyday life a storm is brewing—an epic war for the very soul of America—and that he is standing squarely in its path.

Relevant and prescient,
American Gods has been lauded for its brilliant synthesis of “mystery, satire, sex, horror, and poetic prose” (Michael Dirda, Washington Post Book World) and as a modern phantasmagoria that “distills the essence of America” (Seattle Post-Intelligencer). It is, quite simply, an outstanding work of literary imagination that will endure for generations.


There's not much I could probably add to the discussion about American Gods that hasn't already been said, but I can say that I loved this story. I had been meaning to get around to reading this, and when the show finally starting running on Starz, I thought now is as good a time as any. I'm surprised by how different the show is from the book; I can understand the updates to technology in the show as the book is over 15 years old and tech has evolved in that time, but in addition to that, there are some significant changes to how the show is being altered, and to be honest, there's a part of me that likes the show better than the book, but Gaiman's story is still marvelous. I'm very interested to see how the show will play out, especially given the story arc and character changes.

I'm wildly interested in reading Anansi Boys, but I'll be taking a short break in between the two books. I don't want to get overloaded on gods!

A note on the full cast reading of the 10th Anniversary Edition
I decided to listen to the book on my work commute, and I'm not going to lie, I loved the cast reading. They various narrators handled each of their characters perfectly and were totally believable. I'm really hoping that the audio of Anansi Boys is handled just as well.


Here's the trailer for the show: