Saturday, December 1, 2012

Advent Stories Day 1: One Snowy Day

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: "Learn to count from one to 10 with Penguin. Penguin loves snowy days. One snowy day means one woolly hat, two warm mittens, three happy friends--and lots of fun. Foil-stamped snowflakes shimmer on the cover and every page of this padded board book. Full color."
My Review: A very cute little winter counting book.  The illustrations are adorable and the counting items are simple and clear for little ones.  While the pastel colors didn't seem to catch Munchkin's attention, but he is still young, I think before too long the shining snowflakes will grab his eyes. I tend to have a little soft spot for penguins so I really liked this one.
My Rating: I give One Snowy Day a rating of Three Paws and Stump Wag. It was short, sweet and beautiful.


Friday, November 30, 2012

Bedtime Story: Wacky Wednesday

Synopsis: "A baffled youngster awakens one morning to find everything's out of place, but no one seems to notice! Beginning readers will have fun discovering all the wacky things wrong on each page while sharpening their ability to observe, as well as to read."

My Review: Another one of my favorite books as a kid! I like how this Dr. Seuss book isn't as much of a tongue twister as they usually are but still has the nice rhythm to it. I also like how as your little one gets older they can continue to rediscover the book as they find the wacky things on each page. It is also a good way to teach them about how dreams aren't real. All in all a fun book with fun pictures!
My Rating: Definitely a Four Paw and Stump Wag book! Might want to wait until Munchkin is a little older though so he can fully enjoy it!
Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

After Dark Review of Sacrifice in Stone by Patricia Mason

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: "In 1758 Britain, a blood curse imprisons soldier Garrick Lawson in the form of a marble statue as a sacrifice to bring prosperity to the Rushworth family. Fighting madness inside his stone prison, Garrick awaits a release that may never come. Over two centuries later, he hears a voice that makes him hunger for love as well as freedom.Mara, the Rushworth heiress, feels irresistibly drawn to the statue. She dreams of hungry kisses in the arms of a soldier with eyes the color of melting chocolate. When Mara discovers an antique journal, revealing her family's crime, she knows the man of her dreams awaits and she must risk the wrath of her devious uncle to free him. Using her blood, Mara brings Garrick to life and awakens his desire to claim her as his woman. But even as fiery passion burns between the lovers, the journal reveals that Garrick's freedom has a price...Mara's life"
My Review: This was a very unique paranormal romance idea, completely different from anything I have ever read before.  I would have loved to read more about the characters.  I think that Garrick has a very interesting story to tell us but never got the chance, and Mara also seems there is more to her.  I would have also liked to know what happens after the story ends. The sex scenes are quite steamy, but did sort of take over the storyline itself, so again I would have liked more meat to the story because there is so much more to be told.
My Rating: I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag. I give it a high rating because it was such a unique idea.

Lets Get Personal: An Obsession

So it is time again for me to share a little bit about myself with all of you.  I was going to do a Christmas craft post but figured I better not because someone might see their gift!  So instead I decided to talk a little bit about a tiny (hahaha) obsession of mine.
What could I possibly be obsessed about other than books and family?!
Well football of course!! Now when I say football, I mean American football, as in NFL, for those of you thinking the other football and getting excited (meaning you Jenny).
Yup, I love football, and as far as I know, I always have loved football.  My mom has a picture of me at probably about 6 months old with a toy football in my hands.  Not only have I always been a football fan, but I have always been a Minnesota Vikings fan.  I have been cheering for the Vikings through all the bad years, good years (though sadly never in the super bowl), and stayed a fan even with disappointments.
A few years ago I finally got the opportunity to go to a game (its hard to get to them when you live a couple thousand miles from your team) and I got to share the experience with my dad (and mom and husband too of course) who really got me into football.  It was a great experience and one I can't wait to have again.
So my love for football has expanded beyond just the Vikings in the last 15 years.  My family started doing picks many years ago.  We would all pick who would win all the games of the week and whoever won got to have all the loosers do a chore for them.  That tradition has continued and now my hubby has gotten involved.  There is some serious smack talk that goes down via text messages and phone calls between us all!
And last year I took the plunge into fantasy football.  I honestly thought it would lessen my love for the game, boy was I wrong!! If anything it has increased my love for football and turned it into an almost unhealthy obsession!  We had a baby shower to go to this last Sunday, and of course we were late, but it wasn't because of getting out of the house with a new baby.  We were late because one of my players was injured and I needed to see the report and make changes to the team before the games started, shame on me.  I also made our fantasy league move this year's draft because it was too close to my due date LOL! (and thank god I did because Munchkin was born on the original date).
So now that football has been on ever since Munchkin was born, he lights up when it comes on TV.  Again at the baby shower, there were cartoons on for all the little kids. Munchkin simply glanced at the TV once in a while and then chose to occupy himself with staring at his hands and napping.  Then after the guests started clearing out we were able to put the games on, and what do you know, Munchkin's eyes lit up and he was glued to the TV!  Boy the cycle continues huh?!

So now you all know why there generally aren't any posts or activity from me on Sundays ;)

Music Speaks Read-Along #9 - Double Edged Sword


Throughout November I will be doing a read along of Music Speaks an anthology of stories with music. I hope you will all participate.  Music, like books, can affect us in so many ways it only makes sense to have a book of music stories. I will be doing 2 stories a week, the first of which will be on Thursday. 

You can get your copy in ebook format on Amazon for $2.99 or in paperback format on Amazon for $6.99.  Sorry but its not on Barnes and Noble (I should have told you all to get it earlier because I downloaded it when it was free).

So please join me, if you aren't going to be reading along I would still love if you would stop by, I would love to hear how particular songs or artist have made an impact in your life!

Welcome to the next readalong of the month! This short story in the book is call Double Edged Sword and is written by LB Clark.

All things we love come with ups and downs and a music career is no different as we learn in Double Edged Sword. A music career can bring fame, fortune, all a person could ever want but it can't bring or keep love.  The career you love can bring so much to you but what if it is what comes between you and that one thing that money can't buy? What if it is too late to go back?  That is what the character of this story struggles with daily, the one who got away.

So I am sure you are figuring I am going to ask you what you would choose.  But instead (in honor of the giant Powerball drawing last night) I ask you, if you had the funds to buy anything and everything you could ever ask for, what would you choose?

I have to say, I would probably buy a large piece of property so my husband and I could rescue more animals.  We are huge supporters of animal rescues and would love to be able to foster dogs, cats, horses, etc.  Of course I would have a large room in our house to have that dream library too ;)

We are almost done with the read along, only two more left! I hope you will join me on Monday for Heaven Sent.

Wednesday, November 28, 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


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Review of Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

Synopsis: "From its sharply satiric opening sentence, Mansfield Park deals with money and marriage, and how strongly they affect each other. Shy, fragile Fanny Price is the consummate "poor relation." Sent to live with her wealthy uncle Thomas, she clashes with his spoiled, selfish daughters and falls in love with his son. Their lives are further complicated by the arrival of a pair of witty, sophisticated Londoners, whose flair for flirtation collides with the quiet, conservative country ways of Mansfield Park.Written several years after the early manuscripts that eventually became Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park retains Jane Austen's familiar compassion and humor but offers a far more complex exploration of moral choices and their emotional consequences."

My Review: So I was never a big fan of Jane Austen but after taking a quiz a few years ago to discover which of her characters was most like me and getting Fanny Price I decided to give her another shot. I had never read Mansfield Park and it had been years since I last had to read one of her works in school. Well, I can say that I am still not a fan. Shame on me for not liking such a classic but I was bored out of my mind for at least half of the book! In fact after attempting to read it and getting too distracted all the time, I switched to an audio. The narrator, Wanda McCaddon did a decent job, though even with her tone changes for the different characters, it was still difficult to distinguish who was speaking at times. Like I said I was bored until about Disc 6 or 7 of the 12 disc set, it seemed most of it was just idle talk and gossip. I kept waiting for something to happen and eventually there seemed to be a little something happening but it slowed down again. It also seemed that most of the exciting stuff happened off the pages (which may be due to Fanny's docile nature and avoidance of such things). But I do have to say whoever made that quiz really hit the nail on the head, Fanny and I have a lot in common! She kept me coming back and along with a couple of the other characters that I felt a small connection with (Edmund, Sir Thomas and William). But for all the wordiness of the book the ending seemed awfully rushed and just kind of laid out without elaboration. Well at least I gave it another shot!
My Rating: So unfortunately I have to give this one a One Paw rating. While I love classics, this era of book and style of writing is just not for me.  I am not into drama or gossip in my regular life and definitely not into it in my reading world!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Music Speaks Read-Along #8 - Punk Rock 101


Throughout November I will be doing a read along of Music Speaks an anthology of stories with music. I hope you will all participate.  Music, like books, can affect us in so many ways it only makes sense to have a book of music stories. I will be doing 2 stories a week, the first of which will be on Thursday. 

You can get your copy in ebook format on Amazon for $2.99 or in paperback format on Amazon for $6.99.  Sorry but its not on Barnes and Noble (I should have told you all to get it earlier because I downloaded it when it was free).

So please join me, if you aren't going to be reading along I would still love if you would stop by, I would love to hear how particular songs or artist have made an impact in your life!

Welcome to the next readalong of the month! This short story in the book is call Punk Rock 101 and is written by JD Mader.

In Punk Rock 101 we follow a character through their first gig and how it was a stressful disaster but addictive. Then on to more and bigger shows, fans, girls, fights, drugs, booze, and the rise and fall of the band.  He then attempts a new band but it doesn't work. He eventually gives up and goes back to playing and writing in his garage with a buddy, where it all began.

Its sometimes sad how something you love so much can grow and become bigger than you ever imagined. A hobby becomes more of a chore or job. Sometimes you need to take a step back and go back to the roots and rekindle the love. 

So have you ever come across something in your life that got away from you?

I have! Many of you know about my custom my little ponies.  I really loved the creative outlet that it gave me. I could make a simple childhood toy into amazing pieces of artwork.  I began selling and trading customs and eventually into taking commissions.  While I still enjoyed the creation, there was a lot of pressure for perfection and in a tight time limit.  I did end up getting burned out and had to stop, not only to prepare for Munchkin but also to get a break for me.  I am just now picking the ponies back up and am reminded why I loved it so much! I will just have to remember to pace myself and let my creativity guide my time frames.

Join me again on Thursday for Double-Edged Sword! Only 3 left!

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
Sippy Cups are Not for Chardonnay by Stefanie Wilder-Taylor
Fire on the Island by JK Hogan
Surrounded by Woods by Mandy Harbin (After Dark)
Love You Forever by Robert Munsch

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

 The 13th Day of Christmas by Jason Wright
Eragon by Christopher Paolini
Hand, Hand, Fingers Thumb by Al Perkins
Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle
One Snowy Day by Tammi Salzano
The Quiet Christmas Book by Deborah Underwood
Sacrifice in Stone by Patricia Mason
Thrill of the Hunt by Nathalie Gray
Sharing Pleasures - Book 1 - The Richmond by Victoria Dunne

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 17 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

Boy, I can't believe I got that much reading done this last week, even with the holiday! Now if I could just manage  to sit down and get reviews done and posted. 
Oh and we hope all you Americans had a fantastic Thanksgiving surrounded by loved ones

So I had planned on a giveaway this last week but had an issue with Rafflecopter, I may just save it for another time.  I also didn't get my movie vs. book post done this month but I will try to double up this next month. 
I have a big plan for December, lets hope I can keep on top of it! As a part of my family tradition, I will be doing an Advent special event, a new Christmas book each night.  I hope you can all join me and share your favorite traditions, songs and stories!