Monday, December 11, 2017

Advent Reads Day 11: Can You See What I See? by Walter Wick

Welcome to Advent Reads!
This is an event I have had on my blog for several years running now.  Each evening I feature a different holiday themed book. Think of it as your Book Advent Calendar! I post a variety of holiday books including romance, children's, middle-grade, mystery, paranormal, and I try to find some that are other holiday celebrations than Christmas too. I hope you will stop by each evening to see what new book I have for you!


Read for: Early Reader Challenge

Synopsis: "A Level 1 reader with holiday search-and-find fun by bestselling author/photographer Walter Wick!

From the photographer of the bestselling I Spy books and creator of the Can You See What I See? series is a new Christmas search-and-find reader chock-full of fun! Children can read the simple text and use the picture clues to search for dozens of hidden trinkets and toys! An illustrated word list in the back of the book provides extra support for the newest readers!"


My Review: Need a way to keep your little shadow out of the way for half an hour, this is the book for you. It is great for those beginning to read as the words and text are simple and bold, there is also an image of what they are searching for in case they can't quite read yet. Some of the pictures were pretty difficult and others are easy. The pictures are also very season oriented with snow, cookies, christmas items and more.

My Rating:  This was so much better than the one I picked out for Thanksgiving, it is definitely Christmas oriented with lots of holiday fun.  Some of the pictures are actually pretty difficult but still definitely doable for young readers. We give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.

Monday Reading List



Its Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Shelia at Book Journey. Share what books you have finished in the last week, are currently reading and what might be coming up next!




Reviews Posted Last Week:
Links will take you to my review

A Child's Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas
Merry & Bright by Debbie Macomber
The Christmas Letters by Bret Nicholaus
A Home For Christmas by Tish Rabe
I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas by John Rox
His Christmas Sweetheart by Cathy David
Christmas Sucks by Joanne Kimes


 Books Finished Last Week:
Reviews will be posted at a later date

I Want to Hold Your Hand
Jammie Day
Christmas Shoes
A Cars Christmas



Currently Reading:

Scythe by Neal Shusterman - Print - on page 265 of 435
Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet - Audio - 35%
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden - Kindle - on page 29 of 313




 Books to be Read Soon:



Pages Read/ Time Listened
304:36 Hours (about 10+ Days) Listened (10:48 listened this week)
49,132 Pages Read (196 this week)

Books Added to Shelves Recently TBR
Beauty and the Beast by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve
Samurai Rising by Pamela Turner
Dawn Study by Maria V. Snyder
Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
How to Tame a Willful Wife by Christy English
New World: Rising by Jennifer Wilson
The Sandcastle Empire by Kayla Olson
And I Darken by Kiersten White
World Mythology in Bite Sized Chunks by Mark Daniels
Eliza and Her Monster by Francesca Zappia
Frogkisser by Garth Nix
This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton
The Beast's Garden by Kate Forsyth
Addie on the Inside by James Howe
Also Known as Elvis by James Howe
Viking Warrior Rebel by Asa Maria Bradley
Puss Without Boots by Shari L. Tapscott
The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman
Saints Blood by Sebastien de Castell
P.O. Box Love by Paola Calvetti
Britt Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman
Nomansland by Lesley Hauge
The Secret Horses of Briar Hill by Megan Shepherd
The Secret Loves of Geek Girls by various authors
Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman
Keep Me Posted by Lisa Beazley
The Prince of Fools by Mark Lawrence
The Nothing Girl by Jodi Taylor
His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik
Tortall and Other Lands by Tamora Pierce
Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce
Wolf Speaker by Tamora Pierce
Emperor Mage by Tamora Pierce
Realm of the Gods by Tamora Pierce
The Winter King by CL Wilson
The Christmas Blessing by Donna VanLiere
The Christmas Hope by Donna VanLiere
The Christmas Promise by Donna VanLiere
The Christmas Secret by Donna VanLiere
The Christmas Note by Donna VanLiere
Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo
The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones
Jane Unlimited by Kristin Cashore
Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows
Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave
Shadowcaster by Cinda Williams Chima
Flamecaster by Cinda Williams Chima
The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell
Timekeeper by Tara Sim
Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco
Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco
Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter
As You Wish  by Chelsea Sedoti
Down and Across by Arvin Ahmadi
Naondel by Maria Turtschaninoff
The Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors by Curtis Craddock
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan
Phantom Traces by Claire Gem
Dear Margaret by Pamela Ackerson
The Staying Kind by Cerian Hebert
Christmas Joy by Nancy Naigle
Hearts Unloched by Claire Gem
A Family for the Rugged Rancher by Donna Alward
Passion's Palette by Peggy Jaeger
Never Dare a Dragon by Ashlyn Chase
Vampire King of New York by Susan Hanniford Crowley
Crewel Work by Natalie Alder
Trouble Looming by Natalie Alder
A Shot at Love by Peggy Jaeger
Moment of Fate by Karen Stivali
The Promise by Jennifer Owen Davies
The Landscaper Series by Robin Stone
Recipes from Raine's Roast by LG O'Connor
Caught up in Raine by LG O'Connor
Kilty Pleasures by Nancy Fraser
Redeeming the Billionaire by Christina Tetreault
The Billionaire's Best Friend by Christina Tetreault
A Billionaire Playboy by Christina Tetreault
The House of Four Winds by Mercedes Lackey & James Mallory
Warriors by Various Authors
Books of the South by Glen Cook
Chronicles of the Black Company by Glen Cook
If You Find this Letter by Hannah Brencher
Dinosaur Lords by Victor Milan
Dinosaur Knights by Victor Milan
Voyage of the Basilisk by Marie Brennan
In the Labyrinth of Drakes by Marie Brennan
The Speaker by Traci Chee
Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine
Christmas at Thompson Hall by Anthony Trollope
The Nutcracker
Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum
A Merry Christmas and Other Stories by Louisa May Alcott
The Night Before Christmas
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu
The Wall of Storms by Ken Liu
The Traitor's Blade by Sebastian De Castell
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
From a Certain Point of View
The Dinosaur Princess by Victor Milan
Above the Timberline by Gregory Manchess
Wishtree by Katherine Applegate
I Want to Hold Your Hand by Marie Force
I Saw Her Standing There by Marie Force
And I Love Her by Marie Force
It's Only Love by Marie Force




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Yikes! This month is already flying by and I haven't even finished reading half of my Christmas books yet! Luckily, most of my house is decorated, nearly all the Christmas shopping is done and the wrapping too.  Now to start planning and preparing for Christmas dinner.  I hope you have been enjoying my tips for a stress free holiday, I must say that most of them so far are tips I have been using and this year I am surprisingly less stressed (holiday wise anyway) than in years passed. 

We did have a little extra holiday fun this weekend and took Munchkin on the Polar Express train again. It is so pricey but he has so much fun on it and this is the only time he will even get close to Santa!  We even got our first snow the night before so it made it extra magical.




Hope you are having a great December so far!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Advent Reads Day 10: Christmas Sucks by Joanne Kimes

Welcome to Advent Reads!
This is an event I have had on my blog for several years running now.  Each evening I feature a different holiday themed book. Think of it as your Book Advent Calendar! I post a variety of holiday books including romance, children's, middle-grade, mystery, paranormal, and I try to find some that are other holiday celebrations than Christmas too. I hope you will stop by each evening to see what new book I have for you!

Read for: Cause Christmas does suck sometimes & we need to prepare for it


Synopsis: "These days, Christmas lights adorn front porches before the Thanksgiving turkey is even in the oven. Plane tickets to visit hardly-missed relatives cost more than the suitcase full of presents people have to lug across the country. And radios everywhere play songs about that fat guy in a red suit on an endless loop. Yes, it’s official: Christmas Sucks. This title is a humorous look at America’s commercialization of the Christmas holiday season and the terrible travel, inordinate amount of preparation, and family strife that accompanies it. You can commiserate with the fact that everyone drives themselves into debt buying gifts, no one enjoys seeing long-lost relatives, and everyone is creeped out by the department store Santa. With twelve days of Christmas, there’s plenty of reasons why this is far from the most wonderful time of the year."

My Review: This was a fun book that takes a comical look at the parts of the holiday season that do honestly suck, like holiday travel or not having a gift for someone when they give you a gift. It also gives some great ways to combat those parts of the holidays to make them a little less stressful. Now I have read a ton of books similar to this one to try to streamline my Christmas with the least amount of fuss and while some of the tips I have heard before, there were also some unusual ones that really make a lot of sense. So if your Christmases have sucked in the past, grab a glass of wine and kick back for some laughs but don't forget a notepad and pencil for all the great ideas!

My Rating: I was not expecting to get so much out of this book, I figured I would get a lot of snark and a few over used tips on dealing but there were so many great ideas in here that I had to take notes! I give it a rating of Four Paws!


Stress Free Holidays: Coordinate Your Wrapping Paper

Welcome to my Stress Free Holidays series, I will be sharing some tips to reduce the amount of stress this time of year puts on all of us.  Some are ones I have used, some are ones I will be instituting this year, and some I will be using in the future.  If you have any great ways to reduce the amount of stress please feel free to share them with us!


On the theme of wrapping, from yesterday, I have another tip for you.  Coordinate your wrapping paper, not so much with the decor but where the gifts will be going.  Have one style for those who will be unwrapping at your house, another style for friends, another for co-workers and another for packages that need to be sent out. In our house Santa also has his own gift wrap (but often his gifts are left unwrapped and are set up).  This method allows you to find gifts under the tree with a quick glance and will also help avoid the shuffling of packages when the time comes to unwrap.  A bonus tip with this is to put the gifts that won't be needed until after the holiday (for friends or family you may be meeting after the main event) in the back so they don't get mixed up or even lost in the gift wrap headed for the trash. 

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Advent Reads Day 9: His Christmas Sweetheart by Cathy David

Welcome to Advent Reads!
This is an event I have had on my blog for several years running now.  Each evening I feature a different holiday themed book. Think of it as your Book Advent Calendar! I post a variety of holiday books including romance, children's, middle-grade, mystery, paranormal, and I try to find some that are other holiday celebrations than Christmas too. I hope you will stop by each evening to see what new book I have for you!

Read for: Recently Added to Shelves

Synopsis: "A HOLIDAY FOR HEALING

Nothing's been simple in Sweetheart, Nevada, since the wildfire that ravaged the charming little town. Miranda Staley is among those who've sworn to stay on and bring Sweetheart back to life. She loves running a group home for the elderly, but it's getting difficult to keep her business going. She could lose everything she's worked so hard to create.

On the day of the fire, Will Desarro helped save some of Miranda's elderly residents. The handsome ranch hand is a man of few words, but Miranda soon discovers that beneath that quiet exterior beats a heart of gold. Will can help save Miranda's home and her business—but only if their love is strong enough to conquer his painful past."


My Review: I received this on while I was at the Fall in Love With New England romance convention and thought it would be perfect to read going into the holiday season. I was never really able to connect with either of the characters, both had a lot of issues and baggage. The way that the anxiety and PTSD was presented really didn't sit all that well with me, especially since not only was treatment not sought out but that no one noticed in 5 years. I found Miranda to be awfully pushy, and the romance was rushed especially with the obstacles in the way. The holiday feel was also really missing from the story, other than some cold weather and a few mentions of gifts, dinners and plans it was really just another day. Really an eh book for me.

My Rating: This book did not work for me at all, I was hoping for a feel good Christmas romance but the lack of holiday celebration and the use of a mental illness as a plot device just set me off on the wrong foot.  I give it a rating of One Paw.

Stress Free Holidays: Wrap as it Arrives

Welcome to my Stress Free Holidays series, I will be sharing some tips to reduce the amount of stress this time of year puts on all of us.  Some are ones I have used, some are ones I will be instituting this year, and some I will be using in the future.  If you have any great ways to reduce the amount of stress please feel free to share them with us!


One of my tried and tested (and favorite) tips for lessening the amount of stress during the holidays is to wrap the gifts as they arrive or as you purchase them.  Granted you will need to keep track of what gifts you have purchased but it all works out in the end.  There is nothing worse in my opinion then being in the middle of a 6 or more hour wrapping session only to run out of tape or tissue paper, and of course it would happen only 2 days before Christmas (or worse Christmas Eve).   So to simply avoid those long hours, or the mad scramble out to the store for the last minute wrapping items just wrap those gifts as they arrive.  It will also help to cut down on having to hide those gifts from snoopers!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Advent Reads Day 8: Bedtime Story: I want a Hippopotamus for Christmas by John Rox

Welcome to Advent Reads!
This is an event I have had on my blog for several years running now.  Each evening I feature a different holiday themed book. Think of it as your Book Advent Calendar! I post a variety of holiday books including romance, children's, middle-grade, mystery, paranormal, and I try to find some that are other holiday celebrations than Christmas too. I hope you will stop by each evening to see what new book I have for you!

Read for: Children's Book Challenge & Sentimental reasons

Synopsis: "Christmas is coming, and one little girl wants nothing more than a hippopotamus to play with and enjoy. But will Santa Claus and her parents make her Christmas wish come true? As shown in his best-selling titles The Night Before Christmas and Here Comes Santa Claus, no one can portray the holidays better than Bruce Whatley; and he doesit again with I Want a Hippopotamus For Christmas.

The song "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas" was written in 1950 by John Rox and became a nationwide hit in 1953 when ten-year-old Oklahoma native Gayla Peevey sang the song as a way to raise money for the Oklahoma City Zoo's first hippopotamus. In December of that year the city received Matilda the hippo for Christmas."


My Review: Several years ago my mom mentioned that this was her favorite song at Christmas when she was a kid, and while it isn't all that common anymore, when I saw this book I knew I had to get it for her to share with all the grandkids. It is a fun little book with funny pictures to go along with the lyrics of the song (mom really struggled to read it and not sing it). A fun book for those who remember the song to share with some of the younger generations.
 

My Rating: This is a book that not everyone might enjoy but those who do will cherish it for sentimental reasons.  It was cute and fun for the kids with the great illustrations and the lyrics of the song.  We give it a rating of Four Paws!