Saturday, October 13, 2012

Graphic Novel Review of Fables: Legends in Exile by Bill Willingham

Graphic Novel Saturdays occur once a month here on Eastern Sunset Reads and will feature a new graphic novel on the second Saturday of each month.  This is a whole new genre for me that I am excited about and hope you will all join me in the excitement of finding new adventures!

Synopsis: "When a savage creature known only as the Adversary conquered the fabled lands of legends and fairy tales, all of the infamous inhabitants of folklore were forced into exile. Disguised among the normal citizens of modern-day New York, these magical characters have created their own peaceful and secret society within an exclusive luxury apartment building called Fabletown. But when Snow White's party-girl sister, Rose Red, is apparently murdered, it is up to Fabletown's sheriff, a reformed and pardoned Big Bad Wolf (Bigby Wolf), to determine if the killer is Bluebeard, Rose's ex-lover and notorious wife killer, or Jack, her current live-in boyfriend and former beanstalk-climber."

My Review: I really enjoyed Fables Legends in Exile! I love how it features classic fairy tale characters in a new modern twist. You need a little familiarity with fairy tales (or fables) but its not absolutely necessary to enjoy the novel. The story line itself kept you involved, a nice mystery wrapped in fantasy. The illustrations are awesome! I also liked how the edition that I have also has a background story as well as a couple of previews to branch off series. I have to say I am now kind of addicted to graphic novels, who'd have thought that?!        
My Rating: I really loved this, if you are still hesitant about graphic novels this is a great place to start! Fairy tale characters are recognizable but come together in a new kind of story! I suggest trying it out (maybe if you aren't ready for the novel just pick up one of the single issues to try). Definitely a Four Paw rating from me!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Bedtime Story: Good Night Rhode Island

Synopsis: "Many of North America’s most beloved regions are artfully celebrated in these boardbooks designed to soothe children before bedtime while instilling an early appreciation for the continent’s natural and cultural wonders. Each book stars a multicultural group of people visiting the featured area’s attractions and rhythmic language guides children through the passage of both a single day and the four seasons while saluting the iconic aspects of each place."

My Review; I received this book for Munchkin recently and read it to him. While he can't focus yet, I think he will enjoy it when he can! The artwork is lovely and I love how it was specific to our state. The only thing I found odd was that it started in the morning, it was more like a one day tour of the state.
My Rating: A very cute book, just not what I was expecting (thought it would be more like Good Night Moon). I love that it is state specific, might be great to get one for each state for educational purposes.  I give it a Rating of Three Paws.
Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

After Dark Review of Wild Encounter by Nikki Logan

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: "A wildlife release mission in Africa turns deadly when the convoy is hijacked by smugglers, and veterinarian Clare Delaney is taken hostage. Terrified for her life and her animals, the intrepid Clare establishes a rapport with the man she believes is the criminals’ leader, and reluctantly finds herself under his protection...and falling hard for the enigmatic man.

Alpha-to-the-max Simon deVries sees right through his sexy captive’s attempt to seduce her way to freedom. So when their simmering attraction flares into true passion, it takes them both by surprise. Now he’s torn between completing his secret mission and letting her escape without telling her his true identity. He knows if he lets her go, he will be risking his career, his life...and his heart."

My Review: Wild Encounter grabs you and drags you in, at least it did me. It is filled with danger and attraction. I enjoyed the setting of the book and the way surprises kept coming. I did feel Clare kind of odd, one minute she is a helpless victim then the next she is strong and confident. I wasn't sure which is the act and which is who she is really suppose to be. But Simon was a clear cut and well thought out character you could rely on. The storyline was interesting, while you kind of expected certain events that are common in romance novels, there were also some unexpected surprises. It really read like a suspense/thriller with a splash of romance. I would love to have a little Novella to find out how everything ended up for not only Clare and Simon but also the wild dogs, and WildLyfe (the company Clare works for).
My Rating: I wasn't able to put this one down and couldn't wait to see what happened next even though some parts were predictable. I give it a rating of Three Paws.

Guest Post: Amanda McNeil, Author of Waiting for Daybreak

Early Memories
When Ang told me the theme for her month-long blogoversary, I was excited.  As a writer, reader, book blogger, and librarian, a love for reading is close to my heart.  Developing and encouraging literacy has been a big focus of my life.  The written word is more than just a hobby (and my career) to me, it’s one of my first loves.
I always remember being utterly fascinated by books.  My parents kept as many books as they could afford in our house, and we also went to the library every other week (the loan periods were for two weeks at the time).  Interestingly, my small town in Vermont didn’t have a good library.  It only had an incredibly small one with very little selection, so my parents paid a nearby town in New Hampshire for a non-resident library card.  We were taught to respect books, even if you don’t agree with or don’t like what’s inside the book.  I don’t remember not having this reverence for books, ever.
I do recall, however, when I first started to beg to learn to read.  I got tired of constantly having to ask somebody else to read to me, and I also had a typical little sister issue of wanting to do everything my big brother could do.  So I asked to learn to read, and my parents agreed. I was three.  By the age of four I was curled up with Little House on the Prairie, my favorite series and one we actually owned.  Reading is like breathing to me. I only vaguely recall not knowing how to do it, and I find myself incapable of not reading words when they are in front of me. 
It really isn’t surprising then that I quickly wanted to create these worlds that I so enjoyed losing myself in.  At about the age of four I started to write my own “books,” illustrate them, bind them (three hole punch plus string), and force them upon my family.  I’ve known since then, since the age of four, that I’m a writer. I wanted to tell stories, to give people that gift that others had given to me. 
My greatest joy since publishing Waiting For Daybreak has been the readers who say things that make it clear they have had the same swept into another world experience that I had from such a young age. Things like how much they related to Frieda or how concerned they were for her cat or how it made them realize something new or even just how fun it was to see a zombie apocalypse imagined in Boston.  I tell people that I don’t write to make money or to boost my self-worth or anything like that. I write because I can’t not write. And I write because I want other people to read and enjoy my stories. That’s all there is to it.      
Thank you so much for sharing your story Amanda! It is great how those early experiences shape our loves and lives later in life!
Amanda McNeil lives in Boston in a funky attic apartment that used to be a servant's quarters. She, alas, must write by night and work by day. She writes scifi, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and horror and has been strongly influenced by Stephen King, Margaret Atwood, and Chuck Palahniuk.

Her first book, Ecstatic Evil, was released on July 7, 2011. Its sequel is set during American Thanksgiving and the release date is not set yet.

Her second book, Waiting for Daybreak, about a woman with Borderline Personality Disorder attempting to survive a zombie-like virus outbreak in Boston, was released on June 4, 2012.
Please take a moment to visit Amanda on her blog where she reviews new books that influence her or you can follow her on Twitter @amandamcneil
Please continue to celebrate my Blogoversary and enter the giveaway & stop in for more author interviews and guest posts! 

Wednesday, October 10, 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



So its time again for Dewey's 24 hour Read-A-Thon
I have been wanting to participate for the past two years since I discovered it, but yet again I find myself woefully unprepared.  So I am saying that I am unofficially participating. I can't commit to it with the Munchkin's schedule so unpredictable (and Saturday morning is my time to get out and run errands while hubby watches him), we also have work being done on the heating system, and possibly visitors for the weekend.  So needless to say my time is pretty much spoken for, but I am going to try to read as much as possible!
I have so many books that I want to read this weekend, who knows how many I can finish! Here is the list of books I would like to finish/read
The Secret of Shadow by TJ Silver
Sarah Smiles by Seanpaul Thomas
Island of Dr. Moreau by HG Wells
One Little Christmas Tree by the Curto Family & Rusty Fischer
Cleo by Helen Brown
Donners Bend by Alexa James
Dog Trots Globe by Sheron Long
Boy that seems like a lot of books! I am about halfway done with 3 of them though, so maybe I can get them done! Lets just cross our fingers that Munchkin decides to be a good little boy and let mommy get some reading done!
So will you be participating on Saturday? What books are you planning to read?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Review of Waiting for Daybreak by Amanda McNeil

Synopsis: "What is normal?

Frieda has never felt normal. She feels every emotion too strongly and lashes out at herself in punishment. But one day when she stays home from work too depressed to get out of bed, a virus breaks out turning her neighbors into flesh-eating, brain-hungry zombies. As her survival instinct kicks in keeping her safe from the zombies, Frieda can’t help but wonder if she now counts as healthy and normal, or is she still abnormal compared to every other human being who is craving brains?"

My Review: Wow! Not at all what I was expecting! I was expecting Waiting for Daybreak to be a book mostly about zombies and fighting them, but what I found was more a journey into a survivor's psyche. I don't know what was scarier, the zombies or being in Frieda's mind. Amanda McNeil did a great job of using the first person narration and character development to draw us into the story. You really get the full feeling of being alone and not really knowing whether you are the only one. While I found some of her thought tangents a little distracting and not exactly linear, it gave you insight into her mental disorder. I adore Snuggles, and hope that if I am alone in a world like that my cat is still with me for company! One last thing I loved about the book, it takes place in Boston and being only an hour from there and spending a lot of time there, I was really able to picture the destruction.
My Rating: I really enjoyed this one even if it wasn't quite the zombie thriller I was expecting. I give it a rating of Four Paws!
Note: There are adult themes: graphic descriptions of zombies feeding, dead bodies & some sex
Waiting for Daybreak was sent to my by the author for review.
If you want to check out Waiting for Daybreak for yourself visit Goodread
Or you can get copy at Amazon or Barnes & Noble

Monday, October 8, 2012

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!

What I Reviewed Last Week:
Links will take you to my review
Lucy in the Sky by John Vorhaus
Crow Call by Lois Lowry (Bedtime Story)

Currently Reading:

Liberty: A Lake Wobegon Novel by Garrison Keller - PB - on page 92 of 288
Cleo: The cat who mended a family by Helen Brown - PB - on page 124 of 292
The Secret of Shadow by TJ Silver - PB - on page 34 of 230

Next Books to be Read:

Island of Dr. Moreau by HG Wells - Book/Movie Comparison
Under Camelot's Banner by Sarah Zettel - Arthurian Legend Challenge
Soul of a Highlander by Melissa Mayhue - Mount TBR Challenge


Last week was another fun week for Eastern Sunset Reads followers I think :D I announced our Blogoversary and kicked off a month full of excitement! 

Be sure to stop in and enter the giveaway!

We had a great inteview with Michael Drakich, the author of Brotherhood of Piaxia

I haven't gotten much else done this next week since my parents were visiting us and of course their new grandson! Speaking of Munchkin, we are still not sleeping much but boy are we growing fast! We had our 1 month check up and he has already gained 3 pounds and grown 1 1/4 inches! Not to mention heading into another growing spurt!

In the book world, I received several great books for review this last week and can't wait to dig into them! I also got a large order of books in, getting reading for a couple of great months on the blog! The plan for November is a read along, I found a great book on Amazon of short stories that I want to read and discuss with all of you!  Along those lines, I finally downloaded the Kindle app on my phone and spend hours of holding Munchkin downloading free ebooks, how on earth will I read them all?!

I hope you all have a great week and stop in for more exciting reviews, and a guest post this week!