Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Wednesday Writing

So Wednesday is my official writing update day. I have so many story projects going on and I need a push to get some done. So I will be trying to post each Wednesday about how my writing adventures are going (and I may need a swift kick in the pants by you guys sometimes).





Current Active Project:


The Last Mountains - 13,468 (handwritten) = 15,766 (typed)

A equine shapeshifting family is being hunted to near extinction and the young new leader must go against all her lessons and approach the elite council for aide. Will they help her? How will she keep her family's traditions and values alive, let alone her herd?



Tamlyn Marie's Grace -

Think Cinderella only with a matchmaker ;)



Other Works in Progress:

The New Old Home - 17,193 words

Everyone dreams of winning the lottery, but what would you do with that money? That is the question presented to Natalie, when she is at the lowest point in her life, she is presented with an opportunity to make any normal person's dreams come true, but all those winnings can't give her what she wants most.



Princess Bs - 32,131 words

A story about a woman, recently divorced and returned to her home town to figure out what is next. She encounters an old friend and spends a weekend with him and his daughters. Feelings that are long since buried are rising up again, but are her recent loss and his current life going to stand in the way of their happily ever after?



Night Rider - 17,229

Alice is a recent high school graduate who is a very accomplished competitive rider in Hunter/Jumper, Dressage, and Western/Rodeo. Her parents had arranged for her to attend a private college on the east coast geared specifically to equine professions. However, Alice wants to focus on her studies in English Literature. When she arrives at the college she hides her riding abilities, but can she keep her talent and love of horses hidden?





Other Ideas Plotting:

Bloodsoar's Story
A pegasus struggles through life, ejected from the herd, near capture by humans.

The Assassin's Assassin
A student learns what the school is really teaching and sets out to destroy those who support the program.

Angel Story
Angels battle out an age old feud in a parallel world

 
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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Advent Stories Day #25: Merry Christmas Little One

Welcome to the Advent Story event I am having here on Eastern Sunset Reads this Christmas season.
Every family has their own personal Holiday traditions, and many of them include those advent calendars that have the little chocolates or toys behind each door as you count to Christmas Day. Well in my family we had a Advent Candle instead. Each night we would light the candle and as it burned that day away we would read a special Christmas story or poem. So I decided to bring that tradition to all of you.
Most of the books will be Children's books as I share this tradition with Munchkin for the first time, but I will also have some After Dark specials and maybe a few fiction, romance and young adult books too as time allows. I will also feature a favorite Christmas song each day. So please join me and share some of your favorite traditions, songs and stories this holiday season!
 
We finally made it to Christmas! I hope you are all having a wonderful day with your loved ones!
 


 
Synopsis: "Christmas comes but once a year -
Time for magic, love and cheer.

Featuring sturdy lift-the-flaps, a puffy fabric Christmas tree on the cover, and a glittery finale, this newest addition to the Snuggle-Me Stories line follows in the best-selling tradition of Peek-a-Boo, I Love You! Sandra Magsamen celebrates Christmas in her signature style, with heartfelt rhymes and engaging illustrations. Babies and loved ones will merrily read and play along. A perfect way for little ones to celebrate the holiday season"


My Review: I enjoyed the simple rhyming of this book and Munchkin liked the bright images. He really liked the little puffy fabric tree on the front, the texture difference really caught his attention. While the description says the lift flaps are sturdy, I didn't find them to be so, they bent easily and with how Munchkin is still learning his coordination he could rip a flap off.        
 
My Rating: I give this book a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.
 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Advent Stories Day #24: Food Fight

Welcome to the Advent Story event I am having here on Eastern Sunset Reads this Christmas season.
Every family has their own personal Holiday traditions, and many of them include those advent calendars that have the little chocolates or toys behind each door as you count to Christmas Day. Well in my family we had a Advent Candle instead. Each night we would light the candle and as it burned that day away we would read a special Christmas story or poem. So I decided to bring that tradition to all of you.
Most of the books will be Children's books as I share this tradition with Munchkin for the first time, but I will also have some After Dark specials and maybe a few fiction, romance and young adult books too as time allows. I will also feature a favorite Christmas song each day. So please join me and share some of your favorite traditions, songs and stories this holiday season!
 





Synopsis: "When a young couple's first Christmas dinner doesn't go exactly as planned, trouble ensues. The first fight is always the most important!"

My Review: A very good reminder that came at just the right time for me. The wife in the story tries so hard to make this Christmas dinner perfect, just like the newly weds had with their own families, only the husband comments that it tastes different than his own mom made. A fight ensues, food flinging included. It was a comedic break from the stress of the holiday and made me remember that my hubby and I are trying to create our own family memories and traditions and we don't have to do what our families did before.
 
My Rating: This was a fun short read but with a great reminder and message. I loved it. I give it a rating of Four Paws.
 

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 Bad Kitty Christmas by Nick Bruel
Florence by Ciye Cho
Llama Llama Holiday Drama by Anna Dewdney
Diary of Mall Santa by Stewart Scott
Eragon by Christopher Paolini (Book v. Movie)
Spending Holidays with People I Want to Punch in the Throat by Jen (After Dark)
Raggedy Ann and Andy The Christmas Kitten
How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss (Book v. Movie)
The Gift of Hope by Pam Andrews Hanson
 


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

 Dark Rider by Kathrynn Dennis
The Gift of Hope by Pam Andrews Hanson
 


Currently Reading:

Cleo: The cat who mended a family by Helen Brown - PB - on page 124 of 292
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas - PB - on page 28 of 472
Royal Flush by Scott Bartlett - Nook - on page 62 of 206

 
Next Books to be Read:

Under Camelot's Banner by Sarah Zettel - Arthurian Legend Challenge
Soul of a Highlander by Melissa Mayhue - Mount TBR Challenge
 


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Wow! I have survived the craziness of December!! I hope you have enjoyed my Advent Stories Series, I have two more posts one for tonight and one for tomorrow.  Tomorrows will include an hour and a half of Transiberian Orchestra music to enjoy through your Christmas evening.

I hope you all receive plenty of books for next year's reading challenges and most importantly get to spend the day with those you love!!

Merry Christmas from me and all my family!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Advent Stories Day #23: The Gift of Hope

Welcome to the Advent Story event I am having here on Eastern Sunset Reads this Christmas season.
Every family has their own personal Holiday traditions, and many of them include those advent calendars that have the little chocolates or toys behind each door as you count to Christmas Day. Well in my family we had a Advent Candle instead. Each night we would light the candle and as it burned that day away we would read a special Christmas story or poem. So I decided to bring that tradition to all of you.
Most of the books will be Children's books as I share this tradition with Munchkin for the first time, but I will also have some After Dark specials and maybe a few fiction, romance and young adult books too as time allows. I will also feature a favorite Christmas song each day. So please join me and share some of your favorite traditions, songs and stories this holiday season!
 
 
 

Synopsis: "Children's librarian Hope Randall has her hands full during the holiday season. She's directing the Christmas pageant, supervising the decorating of her small-town Iowa church, and hiding her growing feelings for widowed minister Noah Langdon.

Noah, who's struggling to be both mother and father to his young daughter, is afraid to love again. Will Hope be able to give him the gift of hope this Christmas?"


My Review: This was a lovely short story romance. It is very religious, based entirely around a minister, a Christmas Pageant and the church. I really enjoyed the characters and would love the chance to get to know some of them a little more. I think Noah has a lot more of a story to share (this is a Novella so I will have to check out the other books by Hanson). The story features a lot of patience, friends, and not leaving anyone to be alone on Christmas.
My Rating: I enjoyed this story, and it was nice and short but still full of great characters.  I give it a rating of Three Paws.
 


 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Advent Stories Day #22/Book v. Movie: How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Welcome to the Advent Story event I am having here on Eastern Sunset Reads this Christmas season.
Every family has their own personal Holiday traditions, and many of them include those advent calendars that have the little chocolates or toys behind each door as you count to Christmas Day. Well in my family we had a Advent Candle instead. Each night we would light the candle and as it burned that day away we would read a special Christmas story or poem. So I decided to bring that tradition to all of you.
Most of the books will be Children's books as I share this tradition with Munchkin for the first time, but I will also have some After Dark specials and maybe a few fiction, romance and young adult books too as time allows. I will also feature a favorite Christmas song each day. So please join me and share some of your favorite traditions, songs and stories this holiday season!
 


 
 
Synopsis: ""The Grinch hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season! / Now, please don't ask why. No one quite knows the reason." Dr. Seuss's small-hearted Grinch ranks right up there with Scrooge when it comes to the crankiest, scowling holiday grumps of all time. For 53 years, the Grinch has lived in a cave on the side of a mountain, looming above the Whos in Whoville. The noisy holiday preparations and infernal singing of the happy little citizens below annoy him to no end. The Grinch decides this frivolous merriment must stop. His "wonderful, awful" idea is to don a Santa outfit, strap heavy antlers on his poor, quivering dog Max, construct a makeshift sleigh, head down to Whoville, and strip the chafingly cheerful Whos of their Yuletide glee once and for all.
Looking quite out of place and very disturbing in his makeshift Santa get-up, the Grinch slithers down chimneys with empty bags and stealing the Whos' presents, their food, even the logs from their humble Who-fires. He takes the ramshackle sleigh to Mt. Crumpit to dump it and waits to hear the sobs of the Whos when they wake up and discover the trappings of Christmas have disappeared. Imagine the Whos' dismay when they discover the evil-doings of Grinch in his anti-Santa guise. But what is that sound? It's not sobbing, but singing! Children simultaneously adore and fear this triumphant, twisted Seussian testimonial to the undaunted cheerfulness of the Whos, the transcendent nature of joy, and of course, the growth potential of a heart that's two sizes too small. This holiday classic is perfect for reading aloud to your favorite little Whos."


My Review: Such a classic, you didn't think I would forget to read it for Christmas did you?! This story has such a great message, that its not about the decorations, gifts or any of that stuff; the holidays are about love and those around us. Of all Dr. Seuss' books, this one doesn't seem as hard to read aloud, not too many made up words or tongue twisters. It was a little advanced from Munchkin but he still enjoyed the cadence and the illustrations.
 
My Rating: I think nearly every child had read or had this story read to them or at least heard of it! I am glad that it does have a message to it.  I give it a rating of Four Paws.
 
 
 
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And since I promised two book to movie posts this month what could be better than this one?!
 
 
Movie Review:
 


Synopsis: Based on the book by the famous Dr. Seuss. Inside a snowflake exists the magical land of Whoville. In Whoville, live the Whos, an almost mutated sort of munchkinlike people. All the Whos love Christmas, yet just outside of their beloved Whoville lives the Grinch. The Grinch is a nasty creature that hates Christmas, and plots to steal it away from the Whos which he equally abhors. Yet a small child, Cindy Lou Who, decides to try befriend the Grinch.
 
My Review: I am reviewing this version because it is the one I caught on TV this year (though I much prefer the traditional cartoon one). The effects in this movie were fantastic, I sure hope the makeup artists got an award for this movie.  Definitely an updated modern version of the classic Christmas story.  I have to admit, I am not a huge fan of Jim Carrey's antics in this movie, it felt like he really made a joke out of the Grinch character. I adore little Cindy Lou Who, she is so fricking cute! I also thought the young Grinch was adorable too! Have you seen a soundtrack CD for this movie?! Because I loved it!
 
My Rating: I guess I might be too much of a traditionalist to really appreciate this remade version of the classic. I give it a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag.
 
 
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Discussion:
 
Well like I said above, I am not a huge fan of Jim Carrey in this role. I found it interesting the way they elaborated on the backstory of the Grinch, and they did a great job of getting the moral of the story through to viewers in the movie.  I just can't help that I prefer the book and the classic cartoon movie. Maybe its just because that is what I grew up reading and watching. 
 
 
So What do you think? Did you like the movie better or the book, or even the classic cartoon movie? Do you make sure it is part of your Holiday traditions?
 
 


 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Bedtime Story/Advent Stories Day #21: The Christmas Kitten

Welcome to the Advent Story event I am having here on Eastern Sunset Reads this Christmas season.
Every family has their own personal Holiday traditions, and many of them include those advent calendars that have the little chocolates or toys behind each door as you count to Christmas Day. Well in my family we had a Advent Candle instead. Each night we would light the candle and as it burned that day away we would read a special Christmas story or poem. So I decided to bring that tradition to all of you.
Most of the books will be Children's books as I share this tradition with Munchkin for the first time, but I will also have some After Dark specials and maybe a few fiction, romance and young adult books too as time allows. I will also feature a favorite Christmas song each day. So please join me and share some of your favorite traditions, songs and stories this holiday season!



Synopsis: "Raggedy Ann and Andy go sledding on Christmas Eve and rescue a lost kitten from the cold. Full-color illustrations."

My Review: I always loved tales of Raggedy Ann and Andy when I was a kid. I felt like this one was cut off really short. There seemed like a whole chunk of the story was missing. But with that it was still a sweet story about saving a little kitten instead of playing.
 
My Rating: Even though it felt as though it was missing something, I don't think the little ones will notice. It is still a good Christmas story.  I give it a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag.
 


Thursday, December 20, 2012

After Dark/Advent Stories Day 20: Spending Holidays with People I want to Punch in the Throat

Welcome to the Advent Story event I am having here on Eastern Sunset Reads this Christmas season.
Every family has their own personal Holiday traditions, and many of them include those advent calendars that have the little chocolates or toys behind each door as you count to Christmas Day. Well in my family we had a Advent Candle instead. Each night we would light the candle and as it burned that day away we would read a special Christmas story or poem. So I decided to bring that tradition to all of you.
Most of the books will be Children's books as I share this tradition with Munchkin for the first time, but I will also have some After Dark specials and maybe a few fiction, romance and young adult books too as time allows. I will also feature a favorite Christmas song each day. So please join me and share some of your favorite traditions, songs and stories this holiday season!




Synopsis: "From the popular, hysterical and award-winning blogger Jen of People I Want to Punch in the Throat.com comes the next destined-to-be holiday classic! You'll want to make room on your bookshelf next to A Christmas Carol and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer for Spending the Holidays with People I Want to Punch in the Throat.

So, grab a cup of hot cocoa, sit back and enjoy Jen's latest collection of humorous rants dissecting the “most wonderful time” of the year. She unleashes her biting wit and hilarious opinions on everything from cookie exchanges to annual humble brag Christmas letters from over achieving moms to horrifying
Christmas' of her childhood.

In this book you'll find such topics as:

The White Trash Dollhouse

Like a Neon Virgin in Guess Jeans and Swatch Watches

A Very Special Christmas: Hoarders Style

and, of course, the viral sensation: Over Achieving Elf on the Shelf Mommies

Reading "Spending the Holidays with People I Want to Punch in the Throat" will fill you with nostalgia-- in the same way you are filled with nostalgia when you see pictures of yourself wearing a Thriller t-shirt, red-suspenders and sporting a mullet in your 6th grade yearbook. Cringe-worthy because you remember the moment so well, hilarious because you are so glad someone else had the same experience! Robin O'Bryant, author of Ketchup is a Vegetable & Other Lies Moms Tell Themselves"


My Review: You definitely need to have a certain sense of humor to read this one and enjoy it. It had me personally cracking up. It is written in short essay like chapters, so again very easy for me to fit one or two into breaks from the Munchkin. Jen has a way of poking fun at herself and others that doesn't seem too offensive and just makes you laugh even if you are guilty of going over the top during the holiday season. She also makes some very good points for how Christmas has become another day to one up everyone around you and go bigger every year instead of just being happy with what you have and spending it with ones you love. It really made me laugh and step away from the stress I have been creating for myself this year.
 
My Rating: So I put this as an After Dark review because of the explicit language and very out spoken points of view that not everyone will enjoy.  I did love it (in fact I purchased it for a good friend of mine who I think will also enjoy it).  I give it a rating of Three Paws.
 
 

Book v. Movie: Eragon

NOTE: There will be Spoilers involved (otherwise how would I be able to compare the two?)

So for this month's (first - since I missed November) Book versus Movie Discussion I picked the Eragon, it has been sitting in my TBR Pile for a while just waiting for me to read it. So we will start with a review of the book by Christopher Paolini.
 
Synopsis: "When young Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy; perhaps it will buy his adopted family meat for the winter. But when the stone brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself. Overnight his simple life is shattered, and he is thrust into a perilous new world of inescapable destiny, magical forces, and powerful people. With only an ancient sword and the instruction of an old,mysterious, hermit storyteller for guidance, Eragon and the fledgling dragon must navigate the dangerous terrain and dark enemies of an Empire ruled by a Emperor whose evil and power knows no bounds. Can Eragon take up the mantle of the legendary Dragon Riders? The fate of the Empire may rest in his hands…."


My Review: I was really looking forward to reading this book after seeing the movie a few years ago. Unfortunately it kind of fell flat for me. I don't know if it was the fact that there was so much world building or if I was just expecting something different and more filled with action like the movie. I found the characters not nearly as endearing as I expected either, although I do love Solomnbum (sp?) and Angela. My hope is that the next book in the series has a little more excitement and action as opposed to so much world building and history.         
My Rating: I had a hard time getting through this one, and am almost dreading the next three books! It has some great ideas and great characters but it just fell a little flat for me. I give it a rating of Two Paws.
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And Now the Movie version
 
 Synopsis: "The Kingdom of Alagaesia is ruled by the evil King Galbatorix, a former dragon rider that betrayed his mates and his people in his quest for power. When the orphan farm boy Eragon finds a blue stone sent by Princess Arya, he sooner realizes that it is a dragon egg. When the dragon Saphira is born, Eragon meets his mentor Brom, and becomes the dragon rider foreseen in an ancient prophecy that would set his people free from the tyrant Galbatorix. Eragon meets the rebels Varden and together they fight against the evil sorcerer Durza and the army of Galbatorix in a journey for freedom."
My Review: I have to admit, the first time I saw the movie I rather enjoyed it. But after watching the movie a second time, I notices that it really wasn't made all that well. It was dark, and there could have been a whole lot more done with the settings. The Varden hide out just wasn't done justice I don't think.  But the story moved along quickly, and of course as seems to be the trend with YA books turned movie the romance was turned up instead of the adventure. I really liked Brom and Sapphira. I wasn't as terrified of Galbatorix as I should have been, he is the bad guy, but I guess Durza really took the bad guy role as the minion.
 
My Rating: I think the settings could have used help but the progression of the movie was great. I give it a rating of Two Paws and  Stump Wag.
 
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And now we need to compare the book and movie . . .
 
I felt like these were two totally different stories with the same characters.  In the movie Sapphira seemed so much wiser and ancient, while in the book she seemed a little immature and arrogant.  Also Brom was a lot older in the book than the movie it seemed.  The movie was really lacking the character I fell in love with in the movie and that was the shifter cat Solembum (sp) and Angela took such a minor role, same with the dwarves and the Varden. They all played such a huge roll in the book but were either barely present in the movie or not at all. 
 
There were also so many branch off adventures in the book, I guess to squeeze in all that world building and education of Eragon that wasn't there in the movie.  I really didn't miss it while watching the movie, I think it was too drawn out in the book anyway.
 
The ending was so different too, the fight sequence and the killing of Durza was so different I don't think I can even compare them.  The book focused on all the Varden in the fight and how they were all needed (and how there were possibly some traitors) and in the movie it focused on how Eragon and Sapphira had to save everyone and the rest of the Varden seemed so insignificant even though they had been fighting this battle for years.
 
I think this time I may have preferred the movie, just because of how drawn out the book was, but that being said I did like the imagery that the book created better than the sets of the movie.
 
So have any of you read the book? Seen the movie? Which did you prefer?
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Advent Stories Day 19: Diary of a Mall Santa

Welcome to the Advent Story event I am having here on Eastern Sunset Reads this Christmas season.
Every family has their own personal Holiday traditions, and many of them include those advent calendars that have the little chocolates or toys behind each door as you count to Christmas Day. Well in my family we had a Advent Candle instead. Each night we would light the candle and as it burned that day away we would read a special Christmas story or poem. So I decided to bring that tradition to all of you.
Most of the books will be Children's books as I share this tradition with Munchkin for the first time, but I will also have some After Dark specials and maybe a few fiction, romance and young adult books too as time allows. I will also feature a favorite Christmas song each day. So please join me and share some of your favorite traditions, songs and stories this holiday season!



Synopsis: "Santa entertains us with his favorite "tales from the front." Each story recounts a real life moment with children or adults during the days leading up to Christmas. Some stories are tender and amusing; others are heartbreaking -- yet all are true.

These stories are for parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other adults. However, by sharing them with children, you risk tarnishing the luster of the Santa experience. (And remember, Santa IS watching you."



My Review: I really enjoyed this one. It is a series of entries so the reading can easily be broken up. I have to say children are remarkable, more often then not they see what other people need more than we can imagine. I also love seeing what Santa brings out in so many people. While Munchkin is still too small to visit Santa, I am keeping a couple of the lessons contained in this book in mind for the coming years. It is a touching book, some entries will have you tearing up, others will have you laughing and others will have you just shaking your head. I almost wish I was a guy so I could pose as Santa, I guess I will have to settle for Mrs. Claus or an elf ;)
 
My Rating: I really enjoyed this book, so glad I found it and downloaded it to share with all of you.  I give it a rating of Four Paws.
 
 

Wednesday Writing

So Wednesday is my official writing update day. I have so many story projects going on and I need a push to get some done. So I will be trying to post each Wednesday about how my writing adventures are going (and I may need a swift kick in the pants by you guys sometimes).





Current Active Project:


The Last Mountains - 13,468 (handwritten) = 15,766 (typed)

A equine shapeshifting family is being hunted to near extinction and the young new leader must go against all her lessons and approach the elite council for aide. Will they help her? How will she keep her family's traditions and values alive, let alone her herd?



Tamlyn Marie's Grace -

Think Cinderella only with a matchmaker ;)



Other Works in Progress:

The New Old Home - 17,193 words

Everyone dreams of winning the lottery, but what would you do with that money? That is the question presented to Natalie, when she is at the lowest point in her life, she is presented with an opportunity to make any normal person's dreams come true, but all those winnings can't give her what she wants most.



Princess Bs - 32,131 words

A story about a woman, recently divorced and returned to her home town to figure out what is next. She encounters an old friend and spends a weekend with him and his daughters. Feelings that are long since buried are rising up again, but are her recent loss and his current life going to stand in the way of their happily ever after?



Night Rider - 17,229

Alice is a recent high school graduate who is a very accomplished competitive rider in Hunter/Jumper, Dressage, and Western/Rodeo. Her parents had arranged for her to attend a private college on the east coast geared specifically to equine professions. However, Alice wants to focus on her studies in English Literature. When she arrives at the college she hides her riding abilities, but can she keep her talent and love of horses hidden?





Other Ideas Plotting:

Bloodsoar's Story
A pegasus struggles through life, ejected from the herd, near capture by humans.

The Assassin's Assassin
A student learns what the school is really teaching and sets out to destroy those who support the program.

Angel Story
Angels battle out an age old feud in a parallel world

 
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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Advent Stories Day 18: Llama Llama Holiday Drama

Welcome to the Advent Story event I am having here on Eastern Sunset Reads this Christmas season.
Every family has their own personal Holiday traditions, and many of them include those advent calendars that have the little chocolates or toys behind each door as you count to Christmas Day. Well in my family we had a Advent Candle instead. Each night we would light the candle and as it burned that day away we would read a special Christmas story or poem. So I decided to bring that tradition to all of you.
Most of the books will be Children's books as I share this tradition with Munchkin for the first time, but I will also have some After Dark specials and maybe a few fiction, romance and young adult books too as time allows. I will also feature a favorite Christmas song each day. So please join me and share some of your favorite traditions, songs and stories this holiday season!
 





Synopsis: "Llama Llama holidays. Jingle music. Lights ablaze.

How long till that special date?

Llama Llama has to wait.

If there's one thing Llama Llama doesn't like, it's waiting. He and Mama Llama rush around, shopping for presents, baking cookies, decorating the tree . . . but how long is it until Christmas? Will it ever come? Finally, Llama Llama just can't wait any more! It takes a cuddle from Mama Llama to remind him that "Gifts are nice, but there's another: The true gift is, we have each other.""


My Review: This book really shows us all the hype and stress we have created for ourselves during the holiday season. It is actually a shame, and to see how it rubs off on our little ones makes it even worse. But Llama Llama shows us some of the things we can do together as a family to make the days counting down to Christmas pass a little faster.
 
My Rating: I am a little on the fence with this one, I give it a rating of Two Paws.
 

 

Review of Florence by Ciye Cho




Synopsis: "Seventeen-year-old Florence Waverley is out of her depth. Literally. Kidnapped and taken below the waves to the mer world of Niemela, she is the ultimate gift for merman Prince Kiren: a human familiar tied to his side. But nothing is what it seems amid the beauty and danger of a dark ocean.

Every Niemelan has a role to play, from the mermaids who weave towers out of kelp to the warriors who fight sea monsters. But in trying to survive, Florence will end up in the middle of a war between the mer and the Darkness. A conflict that will push her between two brothers: Kiren, the charmer inexplicably drawn to both her and the monsters; and Rolan, the loner who has been pushing her away since the day they met. But in order to take a stand--and find out where she belongs--Florence will have to risk it all: her life, her heart... and her very soul."


My Review: Wow! A fantastic mermaid fantasy romance! The characters were all fantastic, I was rooting for all of them. The love triangle was done fantastically too. Even the world building was integrated beautifully into the story so it didn't feel like you were reading a straight up description. It picked up so much steam and the pages were turning so quickly I was a little sad when I came to the end of the book. I hope that there will be another one following because I feel like there is so much more of a story to tell.
 
 
My Rating: This was a breath of fresh air for me, I thoroughly enjoyed Florence.  Clean, well written love triangle, filled with fantasy. I give it a rating of Four Paws and a Stump Wag!
 
 
 
Florence was sent to me by the author for review.
 
You can find out more about Florence on the Florence Waverly Website or on Goodreads.
 
You can also get your own paperback or ebook on Amazon or an ebook on Barnes and Noble.


Monday, December 17, 2012

Advent Stories Day 17: A Bad Kitty Christmas

Welcome to the Advent Story event I am having here on Eastern Sunset Reads this Christmas season.
Every family has their own personal Holiday traditions, and many of them include those advent calendars that have the little chocolates or toys behind each door as you count to Christmas Day. Well in my family we had a Advent Candle instead. Each night we would light the candle and as it burned that day away we would read a special Christmas story or poem. So I decided to bring that tradition to all of you.
Most of the books will be Children's books as I share this tradition with Munchkin for the first time, but I will also have some After Dark specials and maybe a few fiction, romance and young adult books too as time allows. I will also feature a favorite Christmas song each day. So please join me and share some of your favorite traditions, songs and stories this holiday season!
 





Synopsis: "A HILARIOUS NEW HOLIDAY PICTURE BOOK ABOUT EVERYONE'S FAVORITE NAUGHTY FELINE



"Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the city, not a creature was stirring...Except for BAD KITTY."



A greedy Bad Kitty didn't get all the presents she wanted for Christmas, but after she goes on a Christmas caper across town and through multiple alphabets, she makes a new friend, finds an old friend, and learns the true meaning of Christmas. Or not. Nick Bruel's first picture book about Bad Kitty since the uproarious Poor Puppy in 2007 is full of rhyming mayhem... and Christmas cheer."


My Review: This one was much too advanced for my little Munchkin, it took 3 nights to read, but it would be great for a Kindergarten aged kid. Honestly I am even going to have to look up how to pronounce some of the things kitty wants for Christmas. There is a bunch of alphabet words to learn from and a couple different morals of the story. A great story, once your little one is old enough for it.
 
 
My Rating: Like I said it was definitely too advanced for my Munchkin but I think in a few years he will love it. I give it a rating of Three Paws.
 

 

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

Who is Coming to Our House by Joseph Slate
Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
The Night Before Christmas  by Clement Clark Moore
13th Day Of Christmas by Jason Wright
Little Snowman
Sharing Pleasures - Book 1 - The Richmond by Victoria Dunne (After Dark)
Father Christmas and the Donkey  by Elizabeth Clarke
Its Almost Christmas, Rudolph by Alan Benjamin
Christmas Kitten by Vivian French
 


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

 Dance of Desire by Catherine Kean
Diary of A Mall Santa by Stewart Scott
Food Fight by Christina York
Benny, A Tale of a Christmas Toy by KC Scott
Many more Childrens Christmas Stories
 


Currently Reading:

Cleo: The cat who mended a family by Helen Brown - PB - on page 124 of 292
Dark Rider by Kathrynn Dennis - PB - on page 82 of 302
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas - PB - on page 28 of 472
Royal Flush by Scott Bartlett - Nook - on page 62 of 206

 
Next Books to be Read:

Under Camelot's Banner by Sarah Zettel - Arthurian Legend Challenge
Soul of a Highlander by Melissa Mayhue - Mount TBR Challenge
 


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Gosh, I can't believe how fast these weeks are passing now!! Gah! I have been madly scrambling to get ready for Christmas since we will be hosting for the first time. Munchkin still isn't feeling a 100% better yet, still stuffed up :(  I feel bad for the little guy but he is starting to feel better.

I actually made it through another whole week of Advent Stories! Almost done! I hope I can finish through Christmas, I know I have enough stories, just a matter of reviewing and posting.  After the chaos of the last 3 months here on Eastern Sunset Reads, I think I am going to take it easy in January and just do a review of 2012 and a preview of 2013. I will then dive into a February filled with romance ;)

Of course, I am also behind again in responding to all of you who are requesting reviews, I promise I haven't forgotten you and I will try to respond as soon as possible!  I hope you all have a great week this week and have a little time to share with your loved ones this holiday season.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Advent Stories Day 16: Christmas Kitten

Welcome to the Advent Story event I am having here on Eastern Sunset Reads this Christmas season.
Every family has their own personal Holiday traditions, and many of them include those advent calendars that have the little chocolates or toys behind each door as you count to Christmas Day. Well in my family we had a Advent Candle instead. Each night we would light the candle and as it burned that day away we would read a special Christmas story or poem. So I decided to bring that tradition to all of you.
Most of the books will be Children's books as I share this tradition with Munchkin for the first time, but I will also have some After Dark specials and maybe a few fiction, romance and young adult books too as time allows. I will also feature a favorite Christmas song each day. So please join me and share some of your favorite traditions, songs and stories this holiday season!
 





Synopsis: "Sophie wishes for a kitten just like the little black one she sees in the snow the day before Christmas. The kitten wishes for a home. Can the magic of Christmas Eve make both their wishes come true? Full color."

My Review: This was kind of a sad Christmas story. You can't help but feel bad for the little kitten looking for someone to love it and a warm place to sleep. The illustrations are very cute, but a little busy for really little eyes. A very sweet story.
 
 
My Rating: A sweet story, though a little sad but still a good story. I give it a rating of Three Paws.
 

 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Advent Stories Day 15: It's Almost Christmas, Rudolph

Welcome to the Advent Story event I am having here on Eastern Sunset Reads this Christmas season.
Every family has their own personal Holiday traditions, and many of them include those advent calendars that have the little chocolates or toys behind each door as you count to Christmas Day. Well in my family we had a Advent Candle instead. Each night we would light the candle and as it burned that day away we would read a special Christmas story or poem. So I decided to bring that tradition to all of you.
Most of the books will be Children's books as I share this tradition with Munchkin for the first time, but I will also have some After Dark specials and maybe a few fiction, romance and young adult books too as time allows. I will also feature a favorite Christmas song each day. So please join me and share some of your favorite traditions, songs and stories this holiday season!
 





Synopsis: "Toddlers will love this charming book that has everyone's favorite reindeer getting ready for the holidays."

My Review: A fun shaped board book for the little ones. Rudolph gets to show us all the things he does to help get ready for Christmas, and they are almost all little things your own munchkin can help with too. My little guy loved this one and even tried to help turn pages for the first time.
 
My Rating: We all enjoyed this little story so we give it a rating of Four Paws.
 
 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Bedtime Story/ Advent Stories Day 14: Father Christmas and the Donkey

Welcome to the Advent Story event I am having here on Eastern Sunset Reads this Christmas season.
Every family has their own personal Holiday traditions, and many of them include those advent calendars that have the little chocolates or toys behind each door as you count to Christmas Day. Well in my family we had a Advent Candle instead. Each night we would light the candle and as it burned that day away we would read a special Christmas story or poem. So I decided to bring that tradition to all of you.
Most of the books will be Children's books as I share this tradition with Munchkin for the first time, but I will also have some After Dark specials and maybe a few fiction, romance and young adult books too as time allows. I will also feature a favorite Christmas song each day. So please join me and share some of your favorite traditions, songs and stories this holiday season!

 




 Synopsis: "A tired old donkey searches for food on Christmas Eve. Suddenly, he hears the sound of silver bells and galloping hoofs. Who could it be but Father Christmas, with a very special Christmas present for a lonely donkey."Ormerod's illustrations combine dramatic silhouettes,iridescent silver, and delicate line-and-watercolor pictures to create a sense of the mystery and wonder of a clear Christmas night."

My Review: One of the best Christmas books so far! Bitter sweet, happy, and adorable all rolled into one. Really helps to explain to little ones that there are worse off and that sometimes the things that you can't see or purchase with money are the best gifts. There are so many little lessons packed into this story. The images are kind of simple, monotone but the touches of silver caught Munchkin's eyes. It was a little long for my little guy (only 3 months) so it took 2 nights but would be a good one for a preschooler.


My Rating: I loved the moral of the story and the illustrations! I give this one a rating of Four Paws and a Stump Wag!
 
 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

After Dark Review of Sharing Pleasures by Victoria Dunne

I have added After Dark Reviews to my blog as a way of notifying you of a review of a book with Adult themes and scenes. From now on I will keep my reviews of all books I read that have explicit scenes in them for late night posts for those of you who prefer to avoid them or easy to find for those of you who seek them out ;)
 
 
Synopsis: "Alex has always fantasized about seeing his wife, Diane, pleasured by other men. With the purchase of a very realistic dildo, Alex is now ready to introduce Diane to the idea of taking on other lovers while he watches.

Will Diane accept this new direction in their relationship?

And what will happen when the go back to their favorite bar -- The Richmond?"


My Review: I had a hard time at first with this story, Diane and Alex are suppose to be middle aged empty nesters, and all I could picture is my parents (not an image I want when reading a steamy story like this one lol). Once I got past that image it was great. Diane & Alex have a great relationship in all aspects. They are all about each other but are always looking for a way to shake things up and try something new in their bedroom play. Paul sounds like a very sexy man and I had no problem picturing him in my mind. It was a great short story filled with plenty of heat and foreplay. I look forward to the next installment to see where they take their relationship next.
 
My Rating: Plenty of heat and steam for me and a short enough read for me to enjoy in one sitting. I give it a rating of Three Paws.

Advent Stories Day 13: Little Snowman

Welcome to the Advent Story event I am having here on Eastern Sunset Reads this Christmas season.
Every family has their own personal Holiday traditions, and many of them include those advent calendars that have the little chocolates or toys behind each door as you count to Christmas Day. Well in my family we had a Advent Candle instead. Each night we would light the candle and as it burned that day away we would read a special Christmas story or poem. So I decided to bring that tradition to all of you.
Most of the books will be Children's books as I share this tradition with Munchkin for the first time, but I will also have some After Dark specials and maybe a few fiction, romance and young adult books too as time allows. I will also feature a favorite Christmas song each day. So please join me and share some of your favorite traditions, songs and stories this holiday season!
 





Synopsis: "With an adorable plush snowman finger puppet permanently attached and peek-a-boo holes on every page, this charming board book offers a fun way for parents and children to play and read together. Full color."

My Review: This is a very cute winter book for the little ones. Munchkin loved the combination of board book (that he could slap the pages and try to turn them) and the little puppet. It is short with simple, bold illustrations for those tiny attention spans.
 
My Rating:  A great book for my Munchkin, I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.
 
 

 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Advent Stories Day 12: 13th Day of Christmas

Welcome to the Advent Story event I am having here on Eastern Sunset Reads this Christmas season.
Every family has their own personal Holiday traditions, and many of them include those advent calendars that have the little chocolates or toys behind each door as you count to Christmas Day. Well in my family we had a Advent Candle instead. Each night we would light the candle and as it burned that day away we would read a special Christmas story or poem. So I decided to bring that tradition to all of you.
Most of the books will be Children's books as I share this tradition with Munchkin for the first time, but I will also have some After Dark specials and maybe a few fiction, romance and young adult books too as time allows. I will also feature a favorite Christmas song each day. So please join me and share some of your favorite traditions, songs and stories this holiday season!
 
 
 


Synopsis: "Marva Fergusen has a very personal Christmas tradition that happens every December 26th. As an aging widow, the tradition means more to her now than it ever has.
Her newest neighbor, nine-year-old Charlee Alexander, loves Christmas too. But her family has fallen on hard times and things get worse when Charlee becomes critically ill.
Then, on December 12th, Charlee makes a wonderful Discovery. A mysterious note is delivered that promises twelve days of gifts and stories that will reveal the truth behind the beloved Christmas song "The 12 Days of Christmas." As the days go by, the gifts hint to a possible lost lyric. WAs there once a thirteeth day of Christmas? And if so, could it's magic change - or save - a life?
Filled with laughter, tenderness, and hope, The 13th Day of Christmas invites us to see how an old Christmas favorite can become a true Christmas miracle."


My Review: As with all of Jason's books this was an emotional roller coaster, one you can't get off and don't really want to either. I loved all the characters, they were all so vivid and well developed. That in combination with a beautifully written story I felt like I could almost look out the window and see the whole book playing out while I watched. A little warning, some tears will be shed. While this is written as a Christian fiction, it isn't so overwhelmingly in your face that it turns you off from the story. I definitely suggest reading this one for the holidays and remembering some of the less commercial joys of the season.        
 
 
My Rating: I loved it!! I can't give it any other rating than Four Paws and a Stump Wag!
  

 

Wednesday Writing

So Wednesday is my official writing update day. I have so many story projects going on and I need a push to get some done. So I will be trying to post each Wednesday about how my writing adventures are going (and I may need a swift kick in the pants by you guys sometimes).





Current Active Project:


The Last Mountains - 13,468 (handwritten) = 15,766 (typed)

A equine shapeshifting family is being hunted to near extinction and the young new leader must go against all her lessons and approach the elite council for aide. Will they help her? How will she keep her family's traditions and values alive, let alone her herd?



Tamlyn Marie's Grace -

Think Cinderella only with a matchmaker ;)



Other Works in Progress:

The New Old Home - 17,193 words

Everyone dreams of winning the lottery, but what would you do with that money? That is the question presented to Natalie, when she is at the lowest point in her life, she is presented with an opportunity to make any normal person's dreams come true, but all those winnings can't give her what she wants most.



Princess Bs - 32,131 words

A story about a woman, recently divorced and returned to her home town to figure out what is next. She encounters an old friend and spends a weekend with him and his daughters. Feelings that are long since buried are rising up again, but are her recent loss and his current life going to stand in the way of their happily ever after?



Night Rider - 17,229

Alice is a recent high school graduate who is a very accomplished competitive rider in Hunter/Jumper, Dressage, and Western/Rodeo. Her parents had arranged for her to attend a private college on the east coast geared specifically to equine professions. However, Alice wants to focus on her studies in English Literature. When she arrives at the college she hides her riding abilities, but can she keep her talent and love of horses hidden?





Other Ideas Plotting:

Bloodsoar's Story
A pegasus struggles through life, ejected from the herd, near capture by humans.

The Assassin's Assassin
A student learns what the school is really teaching and sets out to destroy those who support the program.

Angel Story
Angels battle out an age old feud in a parallel world

 
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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Advent Stories Day 11: The Night Before Christmas

Welcome to the Advent Story event I am having here on Eastern Sunset Reads this Christmas season.
Every family has their own personal Holiday traditions, and many of them include those advent calendars that have the little chocolates or toys behind each door as you count to Christmas Day. Well in my family we had a Advent Candle instead. Each night we would light the candle and as it burned that day away we would read a special Christmas story or poem. So I decided to bring that tradition to all of you.
Most of the books will be Children's books as I share this tradition with Munchkin for the first time, but I will also have some After Dark specials and maybe a few fiction, romance and young adult books too as time allows. I will also feature a favorite Christmas song each day. So please join me and share some of your favorite traditions, songs and stories this holiday season!
 


Synopsis: "This timeless verse is brought back for a whole new generation, now at a sweet new size and classic price. Enjoy old memories and make new ones as you share this favorite Christmas tradition with the whole family."

My Review: A very cute version of the classic poem. The illustrations are adorable and I loved the fact that it features mice. They make the classic more appealing to little ones. I am sure it will become a favorite in our house.
 
My Rating: I enjoyed this one but of course have heard it dozens of times. I give it a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag.
 
 


 
 

Review of The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter


 
 
Synopsis: "EVERY GIRL WHO HAS TAKEN THE TEST HAS DIED.

NOW IT'S KATE'S TURN.

It's always been just Kate and her mom--and her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate's going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear that her mother won't live past the fall.

Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld--and if she accepts his bargain, he'll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.

Kate is sure he's crazy--until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she suceeds, she'll become Henry's future bride and a goddess.

IF SHE FAILS..."



My Review: One of my favorite myths is Hades and Persephone, while this story is very loosely based on mythology I really enjoyed it. The characters really make the whole story work, they are well developed. I also liked the fact that you don't find out about the tests until after they have occurred. There are some great twists to the story and they keep the book moving along nicely. You don't need to know anything about greek mythology to really enjoy the Goddess Test. I will be reading the next book in the series.
 
My Review: I really enjoyed this one, it was such a fast read that I was disappointed that it was over.  I give it a rating of Four Paws.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Advent Stories Day 10: Who Is Coming to Our House

Welcome to the Advent Story event I am having here on Eastern Sunset Reads this Christmas season.
Every family has their own personal Holiday traditions, and many of them include those advent calendars that have the little chocolates or toys behind each door as you count to Christmas Day. Well in my family we had a Advent Candle instead. Each night we would light the candle and as it burned that day away we would read a special Christmas story or poem. So I decided to bring that tradition to all of you.
Most of the books will be Children's books as I share this tradition with Munchkin for the first time, but I will also have some After Dark specials and maybe a few fiction, romance and young adult books too as time allows. I will also feature a favorite Christmas song each day. So please join me and share some of your favorite traditions, songs and stories this holiday season!
 


 
 
 
Synopsis: ""Who is coming to our house?

Someone, someone," says Mouse.

As Pig makes room, Lamb cleans up, Goose stacks the hay, and Duck lines the crib with eiderdown, Mary and Joseph are on their way by donkey. All the animals welcome the baby Jesus to their home."


My Review: I loved this book. It was a cute and different take on the story of Jesus' birth. The animals know and make sure the stable is prepared for Mary and Joseph. The pictures are bold and vivid. A great story for the countdown to Christmas.
 
My Rating: I loved this one and Munchkin seemed to enjoy it too. I think it is a great lead up to Christmas day and reminder of the Christian celebration. I give it a rating of Four Paws and a Stump Wag.
 
 
 
I think this is my all time favorite version of this song, it just gives me the chills!

 

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

Fa La La by Leslie Patricelli
Christmas Jars by Jason Wright
A Christmas Countdown with Ruth Moreheads Holly Babes
Sock it to me, Santa by Madison Parker
Deck the Halls
Free Realms by JS Lewis
The Christmas Star by Marcus Pfister
Waiting For Christmas 


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

 Lots of Childrens books!
Florence by Ciye Cho
The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

 


Currently Reading:

Cleo: The cat who mended a family by Helen Brown - PB - on page 124 of 292
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas - PB - on page 28 of 472
Royal Flush by Scott Bartlett - Nook - on page 62 of 206

 
Next Books to be Read:

Under Camelot's Banner by Sarah Zettel - Arthurian Legend Challenge
Soul of a Highlander by Melissa Mayhue - Mount TBR Challenge
 


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Wow I have managed to get through a full week of Advent posts, can't believe I am keeping up! I have half a dozen books I need to review and post too. But the world comes to a screeching halt when you have a sick baby at home.  Poor Munchkin has a head cold and can't breath so he just wants mommy to cuddle him all the time.  Hopefully he feels better soon, I feel bad there isn't much I can do for him other than hold him and run the vaporizer.

Hope the chaos of the season isn't swallowing you all up :D