Saturday, March 8, 2014

Mindless Weekend Rambling: Book Shopping

Welcome to my new blog event called Mindless Weekend Rambling where I will ramble on and on aimlessly about all the junk rolling around in my brain. Occasionally I might rant and rave about something that is bothering me or question the sanity of it all, or maybe choose to discuss my to do list or plans that I am making or maybe share something new I learned. The only thing I can guarantee is that it will be totally off the cuff. I hope you will bear with me and maybe get a laugh or two in the process.
So I usually get lots of Gift Certificates for my birthday for book shopping, so I wanted to talk a little about it and share some different places I have come across.
So we all know the usual places to book shop, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and Ebay occasionally.  Of course if you are lucky you might have a couple of used book stores near by too, I have a few but find it difficult to go in with the munchkin in tow.  Not to mention when I enter a book store, the smell is like a drug to me and I loose all control and forget about my specific shopping list (yes I write shopping lists when I go book shopping otherwise I will come out with a boat load of books and none of the ones I went in for).
I wanted to talk about some of the more unique places to book shop. I do most of my book shopping online, because again it is difficult to take Munchkin shopping and be able to browse. Of course I do a ton of shopping at the above listed places but have come across some different sites to buy books.
I am not entirely sure how I found Red Fred Project, but it is a beautiful project to give critically ill children a chance to put a story out there. Granted the prices are a little steep and there are only two stories available currently, but it is great to give these kids support.
I have also found that I love shopping for books on Etsy.  There are a lot of self published books out there, especially for children or graphic novels.  You can also track down some great vintage books to fill out a collection.
I came across the site Books by the Foot on Pinterest, granted you don't know exactly what you are going to get because it is more for designers or for model homes/sets. I have just recently ordered a box of children's books, but haven't received it yet but am excited, I love the grab bag idea!
I have also purchased a book or two from Books By You which offers personalization. It was fun, I ordered it as a gift for myself and picked a romance genre, and not only could I name the characters after myself and my Hubby but also added my friends and even pets into the story.  It is kind of a fun unique gift idea or just for yourself.
I am sure there are couple other places I am missing but those are the sites I visit most frequently (and have bookmarked on my favorites list).  Do you have any unique book shopping sites you visit? Any that support special charities?

Friday, March 7, 2014

Bedtime Story: Sneetches on Beaches by Dr. Seuss

Synopsis: "This interactive book based on The Sneetches sports foil and fur, scratch and sniff, a bright red ball that squeaks, and more! Babies and toddlers can pull, push, and feel their way through this simple Seussian story that teaches tolerance and encourages children to be kind."

My Review: The Sneetches is one of my all time favorite Dr. Seuss stories and was so excited to share this one with Munchkin. This book is so much fun to read especially for those busy toddlers that have a hard time sitting still for a story. It is interactive and fun, each page has a different activity or touch and feel like the squeaky ball, a scratch & sniff, motion pages, flip flaps, etc. It was great to be able to share this classic favorite in a new way (not to mention keep those paper pages safe from little hands).
My Rating: This is such a fantastic little book. Touch and feel, plus an introduction to Dr. Seuss that is easy for little minds. I give this one a rating of Four Paws and a Stump Wag!
Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

After Dark Review of Love, Lust and Letters by K. Nicole Williams

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: "When Isabel meets Damian during her daily commute she is at her wits end with her marriage, will she break her vows and let lust win or will she find a way to recconect with her husband, Luke before it's too late?"

My Review: I really enjoyed this story, even though it alluded to things that I don't condone (infidelity). I thought the love notes were so sweet and I can totally understand why that would be so attractive, some times a little reminder that you are something special and desirable goes a really long way. This was a short read but had a big impact.
My Rating: I very much enjoyed this short story.  I give it a rating of Four Paws!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Review of Gifted Apprentice by Nicholas A. Rose

Synopsis: "Sallis ti Ath lies seriously ill and only a touch-healer, usually the preserve of the wealthy, can save his life. But when Elvallon heals the sick boy, he reveals that Sallis is Gifted, one of the few born to touch the power that allows the universe to exist.

But the boy's skills turn out very differently from anything Elvallon expected.

Novella of 24 thousand words."

My Review: This was an interesting novella. The story line was interesting and I enjoyed the characters, though didn't develop a full connection with them but still am interested in where their lives lead them. I had an issue with the theology set forth in the book and the different species that were mentioned, it wasn't always all that clear to me what they were talking about. I have a feeling that the full length series might be able to clear all the questions up but I am not sure. I do want to continue following Sallis and where his new Gift will take him, I hope that we also get to encounter Lyssan again too.
My Rating: This may not have been a flawless book but it was rather intriguing and I will definitely be reading the next book (it is already downloaded on my kindle). I give this one a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Review of Breaking Reins by Juliana Haygert

Synopsis: "Horses, mansions, tea parties, and lies are twenty-year-old Hannah Taylor’s life. To others, her family and her relationship with Eric is perfect. But she knows the truth. She lives it.

After a fire takes her grandma's life and kills her horse, Hannah's immaculate life spirals out of control. Her father disapproves of her decision to run her grandma’s ranch instead of focusing solely on learning the family business; Animal Control brings her Argus, a mistreated horse that she can't turn away even though she's not ready for another horse; and her boyfriend, Eric Bennett, a world famous polo player, becomes possessive and authoritarian. Despite her best efforts to disguise it, Hannah grows wary of him.

Then, Leonardo Fernandes struts onto the polo scene. A cocky rookie with a messy life of his own, he’s drawn to Hannah and isn’t afraid of showing it, even when Eric makes it clear she is his and he’ll do whatever it takes to keep it that way. Hannah suffers for Eric’s jealousy. The abuse only gets worse when Leo steals the title of best polo player in the world from Eric.

But the title isn’t enough for Leo. He wants Hannah too, and she can’t deny her attraction to him either. Somehow, she must find a way to break free from abusive Eric before he breaks every bone in her body.

**New Adult Contemporary Romance Novel**
**Contains scene of domestic violence**"

My Review: There were so many elements to this story that I couldn't put it down. I wanted to know what would happen next. I rather enjoyed the characters, especially Leo and Argus (I know he is a horse but he still plays a big role and has his own unique personality). Though at times I did find Hannah to be a little immature and other times she seemed right on target. It was very interesting to watch the development of all the different relationships, Hannah & Eric, Hannah & Leo, Hannah & Argus, Hannah and her family. When you start the book, it feels like there was a previous novel you missed out on, but as the story progressed some of those holes are filled in with backstory. I also enjoyed that at the end of the story there is a short blip from the author about how this book came to be and where the ideas came from, there is also a Portuguese-English translation for those phrases and words that pop up. I am looking forward to reading more by this author.

Note: this book is a new adult book and has some very adult themes and scenes.
My Rating: I really enjoyed reading this book, it was a little longer than some I have been reading lately but so powerful. I see that she has more planned in this series and I think I will continue to follow it.  I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Challenge Update - February

Two Months of 2014 are already done and gone and I think I am doing pretty well with my challenges.  Here is an update for all of you.
So here we go:
Mental Illness Advocacy Challenge
I finished my first book, Still Alice. I plan to read my next book, Not Just Spirited, this month.
Series Challenge
I have really gotten started on this Challenge! I plan to finish the Secret of the Unicorn Queen and Firebrand Series this month, I decided instead of jumping around so much that I needed to focus on reading the books in order to keep the flow going.
Series #1: Harry Potter - Book 1
Series #2: Secret of the Unicorn Queen - Book 1, Book 2
Series #3: Rose Harbor - Book 1, Book 1.5
Series #4: Firebrand - Book #1
Audio Book Challenge
I am on pace with this Challenge as well, I have finished two audio books so far and am about halfway through my third, Making the Rounds with Oscar.
Graphic Novel Challenge
Again, totally on target with this challenge, two more planned for this challenge this month too!
Mount TBR
I feel like I am a little behind on this challenge but when I look at the numbers, I really am not.  I have started to find it difficult to keep track of which books I purchased before January and which I have added since then, so I might actually have more than 14. So I think I am pretty on track for my goal of 60
3. Beauty
Erotica Challenge
I am doing good on this challenge as well and have a couple more books planned for this month to add to the list. 
 I can't believe I am still on track with all my Challenges, I would have thought I would have fallen behind on at least one of them by now! I have plans to adjust my reading schedule a little this month and focus on one challenge at a time for a bit (well at least focus on a series or two) instead of jumping around so much.  According to Goodreads I am way ahead of the pace, I am already 1/3 of the way done with my challenge with 52 books read (as of today at noon) and am 26 books ahead of schedule.
How are your challenges going? Are you finding you are focusing on any one particular challenge first or just working on them all at once?

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

Lost and Found in Cedar Cove by Debbie Macomber
Codename Chimera by J.K. Persy
If Only by Cherise Sinclair (After Dark)
Where is Love Biscuit by Alyssa Satin Capucilli (Bedtime Story)
Friendship is Magic Vol.1 by Kate Cook (Graphic Novel)

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

To Tame a Wild Heart
Flame of Olympus

Currently Reading:

Ophelia by Lisa M. Klein - PB - on Page 138 of 310
100 Cupboards by ND Wilson - PB - on Page 209 of 289
Making the Rounds with Oscar by Dave Dosa - Audio - 35%
Perfect Match by Kristan Higgins - PB - on page 36 of 441
Knightmare by Deborah Valentine - Kindle- 4%
The Collection of Heng Souk by S.R. Wilsher - Kindle - 26%

 Books to be Read Soon:
Water Harvest by Eric Diehl (Requested Review)
Lest the Dew Rust Them by Michael Drakich (Requested Review)
From My Heart to Yours by Michelle Zarrin (Requested Review)
Hard as You Can by Laura Kaye
Not Just Spirited by Chynna Laird (MIA)
Enchanted No More by Robin D. Owens (Mount TBR)
Firebringer Trilogy by Meredith Ann Pierce (Series & Mount TBR)


So I have been bouncing around with my reading again, probably because I have all these new books I can't wait to read but I had a reading plan for the next couple of months.  So I am having a hard time focusing, but that said I did get some reading done and am re-arranging my reading schedule to include some of the new books before I go crazy!

I also lost some reading time this week as Munchkin had surgery on Tuesday to put tubes in his ears and wanted to snuggle most of the day afterwards. He also had an additional physical therapy appointment on Thursday. I am looking forward to hopefully having a happy, healthy Munchkin come summer *crosses fingers*

I decided since it was the beginning of my birthday month to pick an appropriate nail polish. I picked Birthday Wish Upon a Star that I found in an etsy store. I have to say honestly I am not a fan of the polish it was super thick and sticky.