Friday, February 23, 2018

Early Reader Bedtime Story: My Tooth is About to Fall Out by Grace Maccarone

Read for: Early Reader Challenge/ Munchkin will start loosing teeth soon

Synopsis: "A young girl is about to lose her first tooth."

My Review: A bit of an oldie but a goodie. There are a few books out there about kids loosing their teeth but not nearly enough. Munchkin is approaching that time so I figured we better get to reading some of them. This was a great Level One early reader book, lots of sight words and easy words to sound out. The sentences were simple and with plenty of repetition and rhymes. Munchkin enjoyed the story and it does take some of the fear out of loose teeth and makes it something to look forward to instead.

My Rating: This was a great book and Munchkin enjoyed reading it on his own. A perfect way to combine their growing skills and what is happening to them.  We give it a rating of Four Paws.

Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Review of The Storied Life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

Read for: Highly Recommended/ Recent Purchase

Synopsis: "As surprising as it is moving, The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry is an unforgettable tale of transformation and second chances, an irresistible affirmation of why we read, and why we love.

We are not quite novels.

We are not quite short stories.

In the end, we are collected works.

A. J. Fikry's life is not at all what he expected it to be. His wife has died; his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history; and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. Slowly but surely, he is isolating himself from all the people of Alice Island—from Chief Lambiase, the well-intentioned police officer who's always felt kindly toward him; from Ismay, his sister-in-law, who is hell-bent on saving A.J. from his dreary self; from Amelia, the lovely and idealistic (if eccentric) Knightley Press sales rep who persists in taking the ferry to Alice Island, refusing to be deterred by A.J.'s bad attitude. Even the books in his store have stopped holding pleasure for him. These days, he can only see them as a sign of a world that is changing too rapidly.

And then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore. It's a small package, though large in weight—an unexpected arrival that gives A.J. the opportunity to make his life over, the ability to see everything anew. It doesn't take long for the locals to notice the change overcoming A.J., for the determined sales rep Amelia to see her curmudgeonly client in a new light, for the wisdom of all those books to become again the lifeblood of A.J.'s world. Or for everything to twist again into a version of his life that he didn't see coming."

My Review: I have had a lot of people recommend this book to me, saying it is a book for book lovers, so I finally caved. It really took me a good 50 pages to get into the story but eventually the characters found their way in and I was able to sink into the story. I found the characters unique and relatable, and I loved the small town, island setting (also relatable being in the Island State). I loved the little notes at the beginning of each chapter with a bit of life advice, though again it took a few to figure that out. It was a slow moving story with some twists but they were pretty easily spotted but still added an element to the story anyway. Some how this book did end up getting pretty emotional for me and I my eyes may have leaked a time or two. Definitely glad I read it.

My Rating: It took me a while to finally pick this book up but it was worth the wait, as said in the story, books have to find you at just the right time.  I enjoyed it and would recommend it though it doesn't have to be a must read but a worth while read.  I give it a rating of Four Paws.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Personal March Reading Challenge: Try A Chapter - Subscription Box Books

If you have visited either here or on my Instagram (@EasternSunset9) you will know that I have tried out quite the variety of Book Subscription Boxes, everything from the popular Owlcrate to the no longer existent NovelTea Club and Geek At Heart boxes, and in that time period I have accumulated quite a few books that have not exactly been on my radar but seem within my reading genre tastes (at least somewhat, I don't subscribe to mystery boxes because I don't read mystery), and many of them have remained unread.

Part of my goal this year is to clear out quite a bit of my bookshelves of books I don't like or will never read.  So I was inspired by the Try a Chapter Challenge that I saw on Little Book Owl's Youtube Channel and the recent Owlcrate-a-thon readathon for all these unread Owlcrate Books (that I missed in February). 

So my goal is to try a chapter from each one of these books on my Book Subscription Box TBR shelf and see if it is something that I will be reading within the year or if it is a book I should unhaul.  I will complete this challenge during the month of March, with 20 books that means about 2-3 books at least a week.  I will have a wrap up at the end of March to let you know my thoughts on these books.

Have you ever done this before? How do you handle clearing out your TBR shelves? If you receive book boxes are you good about reading them right away or are you like me and let them pile up?

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

It's Not 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

Survive the Night by Katie Ruggle (Romance Week)
Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage by Jennifer Ashley (Romance Week)
Landscaper Series by Robin Stone (Romance Week)

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

Smuggler's Run
You'll Be Mine
Ain't She Sweet
Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage
Poison Study

Currently Reading:

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin - Print - On Page 79 of 260
The Star Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi - Audio - 27%
In the Labyrinth of Drakes by Marie Brennan - Audio - 48%
The Plague of Giants by Kevin Hearne - Print - on page 28 of 624

Pages Read/ Time Listened
86:32 Hours Listened (19:04 listened this week)
5,652 Pages Read (790 this week)

Books Added to Shelves Recently: TBR
Plague of Giants by Kevin Hearne
Moonsilver by Kathleen Duey
Silver Thread by Kathleen Duey
The Silver Bracelet by Kathleen Duey
Mountains of the Moon by Kathleen Duey
Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
I Love My Love by Reyna Biddy
The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
Gods of the North by Lucy Coats
We Have Always Lived in a Castle by Shirley Jackson
Life Changing Manga of Cleaning Up by Marie Kondo
To the Sky Kingdom by Tang Qi
Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage by Jennifer Ashley
Letters from Wolfie by Patti Sherlock
Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher
Dead Man's Walk by Larry McMurtry
Luck Love and Lemon Pie by Amy E. Reichert
Beartown by Fredrik Backman
The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert
Listen, Slowly by Thanhha Lai
Ravenous by MarcyKate Connolly
Monstrous by MarcyKate Connolly
The Astounding Broccoli Boy by Frank Cottrell Boyce
Terrier by Tamora Pierce
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
As Brave as You by Jason Reynolds
Smuggler's Run by Greg Ruka
The Lost Stone by Jordan Quinn
The Scarlet Dragon by Jordan Quinn
Sea Monster by Jordan Quinn
Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller
The Wolves of Winter by Tyrell Johnson


I hope that you all had a great week last week and enjoyed my romance week here on the blog. It was a nice break from all the fantasy to sit and read a bunch of romances.   I am definitely a little all over the place with my reading this year, I am not sticking to my TBR lists like usual but reading more of the books that I recently purchase or that I just feel like reading.  It is kind of refreshing and I may try to have a bit of a smaller TBR next month so I can play it a little loose and see how it goes.  I do have a couple of readathons and a personal challenge coming up next month so that will be exciting and I will be seeing a lot of books leave my TBR shelves!

How has your February been going? Have you stuck to the books you selected to read this month or are you a mood reader?

Friday, February 16, 2018

Romance Week: The Landscaper Series by Robin Stone

Romance Week

Read for: TBR & Romance Week

Steam Level
6 out of 6: And I should have added that hi as an over the top option because this is definitely it! This story verges on the line between erotic romance and erotica, but luckily it has a solid story and fully developed characters to go with it. But it is extremely explicit and if you aren't into that then maybe pick one of the other books I featured this week; if you are looking for something to get your water boil, this is the book for you!

Synopsis: "She said her husband was at work. He wasn't. Kyle enjoys working outdoors as the owner of a small landscaping business. Most of his customers stay inside while Kyle and his crew take care of their yards. But not Tracy Dawson, the rich housewife who lives on the hill. Tracy spends summer afternoons beside the pool, watching Kyle from behind her dark sunglasses. Her flirtatious banter and low-cut bathing suits fuel Kyle's fantasies. Tracy invites him into the guest house for a little afternoon delight. But when Tracy admits her husband was watching, Kyle gets ready for a beat-down. Instead, Mr. Dawson makes Kyle an offer he can't refuse... Kyle begins a relationship with Tracy and Eric that takes him places he never imagined. The chemistry between the threesome intensifies over time, and Kyle joins them on vacations. But when Tracy bursts into tears and Eric shares his doubts about the relationship, Kyle is thrown into a tailspin. Can they resolve their differences and stay together forever?"

My Review: I started this series a couple of years ago with just the first book, but I am glad I was able to get the complete series bind up. I really enjoyed this series, the characters were all great and well developed, and their dynamic relationship with all of its ups and downs was great to follow from start to end. The love and connection each of the characters had came through on each page, as did the tension and heat of that connection. We follow Kyle, the landscaper throughout the series as he has the most development of character and story, but I really loved Eric as a character. Definitely some ups and downs throughout the story and at times you will have your heart in your throat and maybe even be brought to tears. All in all a great story with plenty of steam and yet a solid story that works through some difficult issues and forces the characters do evolve with the relationship.

My Rating: If you are up for a polyamorous book definitely give this series a shot! I really enjoyed this bind up and give it a rating of Four Paws.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Romance Week: Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage by Jennifer Ashley

Romance Week:

Read for: Recent Purchase/Audio Challenge

Previous Book in Series:

Steam Level
5 out of 6: While it may not happen often, but they are a scandalously married couple and they certainly start some fires! 

Synopsis:  "Only one man could match a lady like this—scandal for scandal.

Six years ago, eighteen-year-old Lady Isabella Scranton scandalized all of London by eloping the night of her come-out ball with the notorious rake, Lord Mac Mackenzie. After three turbulent years of marriage, she scandalized London once again—this time by leaving him. 

Now Mac has resurfaced, every bit as charismatic, and with one goal: to seduce Isabella back into his life and his bed even if it means acting like a real gentleman. But when Isabella rises to the challenge of posing nude for Mac's erotic paintings, her pent-up hunger for the decadent rake is exposed as well, and she finds herself unable to resist the smooth strokes of an artist at work.

But someone's been watching them—dangerously close. This ingenious forger with designs on Mac's paintings also sets his sights on Isabella herself. Deciding to become Isabella's protector, Mac vows to never leave her side, whether his independent and proud lady likes it or not."

My Review: I have been meaning to read the second book in this series after absolutely loving the first (Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie) sometime last year. I finally got around to picking this one up and am wondering why I waited so long again. I really enjoyed that there was a history there, Isabella & Mac already had the whirlwind romance and marriage. Now we find them at odds and living separately. I enjoy the way they obviously care for each other and all of the Mackenzie family, but there is still all the push and pull between them. I also like that it wasn't a issue of miscommunication that tore them apart but as it comes out there were actual things that needed to be worked on. I really enjoyed the development of the story and the characters, and especially the inclusion of all the side characters.

My Rating: I really enjoyed this one and hopefully won't be waiting quite as long to continue the series with the next two books.  I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Romance Week: Favorite Couples that Give Me Relationship Goals

Romance Week

So I wanted to have a little chat today, so I didn't have to play favorites with romance books by featuring one on Valentine's Day.  So instead I thought we could chat about our favorite couples from books, in particular the ones that stand the test of time and trials, the ones that our goal relationships.  For me this often means an older couple in a story that might be sub-characters that guide the main character throughout the story.  I am the first to admit that I am not the best at keeping track of details from books I have read (I am trying to improve this) so I may miss a few but these were the ones that really stood out to me when I thought of this topic.  I feel like it isn't often that we get to see a long standing relationship in romance novels, so often the main characters have single parents (often bitter and hates love) or absentee parents, they are so far in the background you don't get to really see them or don't have any parents at all; so when a book comes along with parents who have a good solid relationship to set an example for the main characters, I really love it!

So here are some of my all time favorite couples I hope to be like someday . . .

This is going to surprise some of you who have followed me for a while, but there is something I actually like about the Harry Potter series!  Mr. & Mrs. Weasley are definite relationship goals.  They stand up for each other and their family. They managed to survive the initial rise of he who should not be named even openly against him.  Their marriage also managed to survive raising so many children, especially the twins. 

So this was my favorite book of last year and one of the many reasons was the relationship with Ove and his wife.  Their marriage lasted so many years and he is so dedicated to her. Even though we don't get to meet her in the story, you can't help but feel the love and devotion they have for each other.

I mentioned this just the other day in my review, but Gertrude and Otto have quickly jumped to the list of top couples.  They weren't even the focus of this story but they are there in the background the whole time, together and solid and encouraging love the whole time. I can only hope that I still feel that close to my husband years down the road.

JD & Vivi from both the Compass Brothers and Compass Girls series rank right up there.  They have an underlying story line throughout the two 4 book series that will tug on your heart strings.  The love they have for each other and the love they have for their families is so strong.  They support each of their children and grandchildren in their life decisions and are available for when they need help.

Molly and Lincoln Abbott are my absolute goals! They are the parents of most of the characters throughout the Green Mountain/ Butler VT series and I just adore them.  They have managed to own, run and grow a business for years and then have 10 (yes you read that right 10) children and still remain strong in their love and marriage. They are also protective of their family but at the same time are willing to let their children make their own mistakes and will catch them on the fall.  The kids all look up to them and turn to them with problems.  I can only hope that I am as supportive and loving to my husband and one child.

It has been 5 years since I read this book and I still remember the relationship that John and Alice had.  This isn't a romance but their life played a large roll in the story.  As what will happen when you look at relationships that have stood the test of time, you eventually come to the end and that is where this story finds us.  Alice suffers from Alzheimer's but John stays by her side the whole way, caring for her even when she doesn't remember the bond they share.  If that isn't love then I don't know what it is.

Steven Manchester is a master at these books, like Rocking Chair, he brings us Bella and Don when Don is down to his last 12 months. Bella remains strong for him the whole way, making sure that he gets to fulfill as many of his bucket list items as possible, and he makes sure that it isn't all about him too. Talk about staying strong together when things could have torn them down.

Yes, I know they are all fictional and life is never perfect but even in these fictional stories, real life problems are given to the couples and the way they respond is very real too. I can only strive for the type of relationships these couples all have.  What are some of your favorite couples that you look up to in books?

Happy Valentine's Day to you and those who you love and love you!