Monday, December 31, 2018

Did I Reach My Goals?

We made it to the end of 2018! Woo!
Lets see how I did with my reading goals.

Goal #1
My Goodreads Challenge was set for 152 books. I read 185! WOO!!

Goal #2

This was the stack of books on my nightstand at the beginning of the year.

This is the stack now. Oops! The books on my nightstand are books I own and haven't read. I wanted this stack to disappear, but it just kept getting bigger. Oy!

Goal #3
I wanted to read half the Newbery Award books. I thought this wouldn't be too hard, but that was before I started reading those old 1930s books. I have a new appreciation for modern editing. I only read 17/96. I will continue to push through, but I'm not sure when I'll finish.

I didn't do so great, but at least I knocked my Goodreads Challenge out of the park!

Friday, December 28, 2018

Ivy and Bean: No News is Good News

11435741From Goodreads:    Ivy and Bean need some money. Ten dollars, to be exact. Never mind what for. Okay, it's for low-fat Belldeloon cheese in a special just-for you serving size. Don't ask why. How are Ivy and Bean going to make ten dollars? Hey, maybe they should write a newspaper about Pancake Court and sell it! Great idea! And easy, too. All they have to do is snoop around the neighborhood. Wow...It's very interesting what they can find out. It's even more interesting when the neighbors read about it in the newspaper.

My Thoughts:

-    This is my new favorite book in the series. I love that Ivy and Bean's shenanigans get better and better with each book.

-    Both Gnome and I were able to relate to Ivy and Bean feeling left out when all the kids around them had the latest fad and they didn't. I also love that the fad was the wax off of cheese. 

-    Ivy and Bean's idea to create a newspaper was so much fun. After reading this, Gnome wanted to start a newspaper with her friend.

-   The story is relatable, funny, and highly entertaining. 

Previous Books

1294383 1284021 108981
Ivy and Bean Take Care of the Babysitter (Ivy and Bean, #4) Ivy and Bean: Bound to be Bad (Ivy and Bean, #5) Ivy and Bean: Doomed to Dance (Ivy and Bean, #6)
Ivy and Bean: What's the Big Idea? (Ivy and Bean, #7)

Thursday, December 27, 2018

My Christmas Haul

My hubby went ALL out for me on Christmas! I was so surprised. Wow! Check out that stack of books plus all the extra geeky stuff!

I feel so blessed and grateful for a husband who not only supports my crazy reading lifestyle, but also endorses it.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!

Friday, December 14, 2018

A Monster Calls

A Monster CallsGoodreads Synopsis:    An unflinching, darkly funny, and deeply moving story of a boy, his seriously ill mother, and an unexpected monstrous visitor. 

At seven minutes past midnight, thirteen-year-old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom window. But it isn't the monster Conor's been expecting - he's been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he's had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments. The monster in his backyard is different. It's ancient. And wild. And it wants something from Conor. Something terrible and dangerous. It wants the truth.

From the final idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd - whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself - Patrick Ness has spun a haunting and darkly funny novel of mischief, loss, and monsters both real and imagined.

My Thoughts:

-    This is a very honest and tender story that makes you feel all the feelings. I think anyone who has experienced grief will appreciate the truth of this book.

-    The illustrations were wonderful. They captured the tone of the book beautifully.

-    This is another book that I'm kicking myself for not reading sooner when it was all a buzz. Oh well, I've read it now! 

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Black Cloud

Black Cloud (Horse Diaries, #8)
From Goodreads:    Born in Northern Nevada in 1950, Black Cloud is a black-and-white mustang colt. He loves roaming free with the rest of his herd, playing with the other foals, and learning the ways of wild horses. But when humans intrude on this wandering life, Black Cloud's world is changed forever. Like Black Beauty, this moving novel is told in first person from the horse's own point of view and includes an appendix full of photos and facts about mustangs and the history of the laws protecting them.

My Thoughts:

-    This was a sad and somber story, but it is a story that needs to be told.

-    I like the way this book addressed a tough topic.

-    There is a special place in hell for people who abuse and kill animals!

-    I'm glad there was some kindness and hope at the end of the story. 

Previous Horse Diaries Books:

Elska (Horse Diaries, #1) Bell's Star (Horse Diaries, #2) Koda (Horse Diaries, #3)
7819076 Golden Sun (Horse Diaries, #5) Yatimah (Horse Diaries, #6)
Risky Chance (Horse Diaries, #7)

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

The Holiday Calendar

Kat Graham and Quincy Brown in The Holiday Calendar (2018)

My Thoughts:

-    This movie had potential, and that is what made it frustrating. It could have been SO much better than it was.

-    The movie started out good, and I loved the idea behind the story, but then . . . nothing.

-    About halfway through the movie, the story loses momentum, and nothing happens until the end.

-    I needed more reasons to not like Ty. He was a good guy, and all Abby got was second hand stories about him. Were those stories true? I don't know. She didn't see the relationship through long enough to find out! I actually liked Ty. Josh was good too I guess.

-    The calendar took a backseat to the movie about halfway through. It is the title of the movie!! You can't just ignore the calendar!

-    Yes, I watched this because the grandpa from This is Us was in it.

-    The movie could have been shorter, but maybe not because they could have added more meaningful moments in there. 

Empire's End

Empire's End (Star Wars: Aftermath, #3)Goodreads Synopsis:


As the final showdown between the New Republic and the Empire draws near, all eyes turn to a once-isolated planet: Jakku.

The Battle of Endor shattered the Empire, scattering its remaining forces across the galaxy. But the months following the Rebellion’s victory have not been easy. The fledgling New Republic has suffered a devastating attack from the Imperial remnant, forcing the new democracy to escalate its hunt for the hidden enemy.

For her role in the deadly ambush, Grand Admiral Rae Sloane is the most wanted Imperial war criminal—and one-time rebel pilot Norra Wexley, back in service at Leia’s urgent request, is leading the hunt. But more than just loyalty to the New Republic drives Norra forward: Her husband was turned into a murderous pawn in Sloane’s assassination plot, and now she wants vengeance as much as justice.

Sloane, too, is on a furious quest: pursuing the treacherous Gallius Rax to the barren planet Jakku. As the true mastermind behind the Empire’s devastating attack, Rax has led the Empire to its defining moment. The cunning strategist has gathered the powerful remnants of the Empire’s war machine, preparing to execute the late Emperor Palpatine’s final plan. As the Imperial fleet orbits Jakku, an armada of Republic fighters closes in to finish what began at Endor. Norra and her crew soar into the heart of an apocalyptic clash that will leave land and sky alike scorched. And the future of the galaxy will finally be decided.

My Thoughts:

-    I was really happy with the ending to this trilogy. This series has been really fun.

-    I have more questions! I hope someone continues this story. I need to know what happens with Sloane!

-    I loved learning more about the events leading up to The Force Awakens, especially about Han and Leia.

-    Where is Luke this whole time? I want to know what he is doing.

-    I liked how everything wrapped up for each character. I hope we see more of them in other Star Wars stories. 

-    Overall, I really liked these books, but I still have lots of questions! There is no end to the questions in the Star Wars universe!

Previous Aftermath Books:

Aftermath (Star Wars: Aftermath, #1) Life Debt (Star Wars: Aftermath, #2)

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Harold Loves His Woolly Hat

38792193From Goodreads:  In this sweet picture book that celebrates selflessness and the joy of helping others, a little bear named Harold loses his beloved woolly hat--only to discover that others need it more. 

What makes a bear special? For Harold, it is his beloved striped woolly hat. He wears it when he sleeps, when he goes to school, and even when he takes his monthly bath. But when a crow whisks the hat off his head and high up into a nest, Harold doesn't feel so special anymore. He tries everything to get it back--offering the crow blueberries, worms, and even shiny objects--but alas, the crow will not budge. Turns out that the hat has a new special purpose: keeping three baby crows warm. This heartwarming picture book features an irresistible bear and gently reinforces the notion that it doesn't matter what you have, it's who you are that matters.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

My Thoughts:

-    This was an adorable story! I loved everything about it.

-    The illustrations were simple and beautiful. I loved the texture to the environment.

-    I love sweet little messages. We are special just for being us. We don't need objects to make us special, and some things have a better purpose, or someone might need something more than we do.

-    Both my girls loved this book, we'll definitely be reading it again. 

Friday, December 7, 2018

Fan Art Friday: Stan Lee

Today I'm featuring one of my heroes. Stan Lee's influence on the world is incredible. His creations are inspirational and awesome. His love for his fans was felt world wide. I'll miss you Smilin' Stan! Thank you!

Image result for stan lee

There are a lot of tributes and pictures out there, and I wish I could include them all.

The last one is my favorite!

Which is your favorite?

All the pictures are linked to the source. Please go check out more artwork from these Stan Lee fans.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Stay Out of the Basement

Stay Out of the BasementFrom Goodreads   Dr. Brewer is doing a little plant-testing in his basement. Nothing to worry about. Harmless, really. But Margaret and Casey Brewer are worried about their father. Especially when of the plants he is growing down there. Then they notice that their father is developing plantlike tendencies. In fact, he is becoming distinctly weedy-and seedy. 

Is it just part of their father's "harmless" experiment? Or has the basement turned into another little shop of horrors?

My Thoughts:

-    I was so happy when Gnome said she would read another Goosebumps book with me.

-    After the first couple of chapters, Gnome said she didn't want to read this, it was too scary. I encouraged her to continue, and she is glad she stuck with it. She enjoyed it in the end, and it wasn't too scary after all.

-    Gnome and I both enjoyed this one. It was a fun mystery. Gnome was able to predict a few things. It was fun to see her put pieces together and guess what was going to happen.

-    I love that these books are helping Gnome face her fears. Reading is amazing!

Previous Goosebumps Book:


Hip-Hop Lollipop

Hip-Hop LollipopGoodreads Says:    In this lyrical read-aloud filled with rhythm and rhyme and illustrated by Caldecott Honor winner Brian Pinkney, follow a little girl as she dances her way to bedtime. 

Mama says, "Lollipop, stop! Stop!
Jumping snapping nonstop."
Arms and shoulders pop 'n' lock.
Lollie's dancing hip-hop.

Watch as Lollipop grooves her way through her bedtime routine, brushing her teeth to the beat and shimmying into pjs. She sways along with her sister, her parents, and even some enthusiastic pets until, finally, Lollie closes her eyes and dances through her dreams. Susan Montanari and Caldecott Honor winner Brian Pinkney offer a playful bedtime read-aloud that perfectly captures the joy of music, movement, and family.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

My Thoughts:

-    The watercolor illustrations are delightful, and the text is often colored or situated so that it becomes part of the picture. It is really cool!

-    I must not be hip-hop enough to read this out loud. I struggled with the rhythm of the phrases at times.

-    The book is cute and fun, but there really isn't a story. The little girl hip hops her way through the bedtime routine. 

-    Gnome and I didn't care for the book too much. It was cute, but it wasn't one we'd want to read over and over again. Squishy didn't even want to sit through the book.

-    I think a lot of kids would enjoy this fun book, but it wasn't for us.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Risky Chance

Risky Chance (Horse Diaries, #7)From Goodreads   For all lovers of horses and history, it's the next book in the popular Horse Diaries series. Born in California at the start of the Great Depression, Risky Chance is a gray thoroughbred who was born to race. Life at the track and being spoiled by his jockey's young daughter, Marie, is all Chance could ask for. He loves nothing more than running fast and winning. But after an accident, Chance discovers a side of horse racing that has little to do with glory.

Like Black Beauty, this moving novel is told in first person from the horse's own point of view and includes an appendix full of photos and facts about thoroughbreds, horse racing, and the Great Depression.

My Thoughts:

-    Yes, I'm still reading these! Gnome is ahead of me by about 4 books. I don't know if I'm going to make it. 

-    This was another cute cute story full of heart! I liked it a lot. 

-    I wish every racehorse had happy ending like Chance's. I wish every owner was kind and took good care of their animals. I'm grateful for all the ones who do!

Previous Horse Diaries Book:

Elska (Horse Diaries, #1) Bell's Star (Horse Diaries, #2) Koda (Horse Diaries, #3)
7819076 Golden Sun (Horse Diaries, #5) Yatimah (Horse Diaries, #6)