Saturday, August 2, 2014

Graphic Novel Review of Poseidon: Earth Shaker by George O'Connor

Synopsis: "In volume 5 of Olympians, author/artist George O'Connor turns the spotlight on that most mysterious and misunderstood of the Greek gods, Poseidon: Earth Shaker. Thrill to such famous stories as Theseus and the Minotaur, Odysseus and Polyphemos, and the founding of Athens—and learn how the tempestuous Poseidon became the King of the Seas."

My Review: This wasn't quite up to the par of the rest of the series so far, but O'Connor did admit that he had some difficulty with Poseidon. With that said it was still a very enjoyable graphic novel, I loved the depiction of Poseidon and the brief glimpses of roles he played throughout the myths. The artwork of course was fantastic. This one did start to bring several elements together though, you could really start to see how all the myths and gods/goddesses were woven together.
My Rating: While I was left a little lost and confused at times, I am definitely more curious about Poseidon.  I give this one a rating of Three Paws.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Bedtime Story: Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey

Synopsis: "What happens when Sal and her mother meet a mother bear and her cub? A beloved classic is born!

Kuplink, kuplank, kuplunk! Sal and her mother a picking blueberries to can for the winter. But when Sal wanders to the other side of Blueberry Hill, she discovers a mama bear preparing for her own long winter. Meanwhile Sal's mother is being followed by a small bear with a big appetite for berries! Will each mother go home with the right little one?

With its expressive line drawings and charming story, Blueberries for Sal has won readers' hearts since its first publication in 1948."

My Review: One of my favorite things to eat when growing up were the wild blueberries from Northern Minnesota. Every summer we would visit family and the adults would go picking, us kids weren't allowed to go because of the bears. This is a kids story but they need to be reminded that bears in the wild won't just walk away especially when there is a baby involved. It is a cute story about picking blueberries (and eating them) but be sure to warn your kids of the danger since the book failed to do so. While I enjoyed this classic Munchkin did not, the illustrations have no color so did not catch his eye and the story was a little long and uneventful so did not keep his attention.
My Rating: A cute classic story, but it just doesn't fit with modern times or put across a message I want to teach Munchkin.  I still enjoy the classic feel so am giving it rating of Two Paws.
Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

After Dark Review of Surrounded by Death by Mandy Harbin

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: "His family speaks of his death as a tragic example of why it’s too dangerous for the Woods men to be around available women.

Eric Woods is now dead, but was his last night as a living, breathing mountain lion shifter as horrible as his family has always believed?

Experience Eric’s last night with Simone--a woman whose need for carnal pleasures for exceeds all rational thought."

My Review: I really appreciated this book, throughout the series there was hints towards Eric and his tragic death. It was nice to get a peak at him. I have to say I really liked both him and Simone and even though you know the book ends tragically you can help but really like both of them. It was short, but I see how that was necessary, but really allows some additional insight into the instincts of the Woods boys.
My Rating: I appreciated the book but it was short and a little abrupt.  I give it a rating of Three Paws.

July 2014 Challenge Update

Passed the halfway point in this year and I still cannot believe how much reading I have gotten done, even with how much I still have left to do I feel like I have really accomplished something this year.
So here we go:
Mental Illness Advocacy Challenge
This challenge is complete however I do have one more book I would like to read for this challenge, maybe in the fall.
3. Dependent (not one of the official books but seems to fit)
Series Challenge
Still plugging away at this challenge even with the completion.  I am determined to finish at least two more series, and one of them will be Harry Potter!
Series #1: Harry Potter - Book 1, Book 2,
Series #2: Secret of the Unicorn Queen - Book 1, Book 2, Book 3, Book 4, Book 5, Book 6 - Series Complete!
Series #3: Rose Harbor - Book 1, Book 1.5, Book 2 - Complete for Now
Series #4: Firebrand - Book #1, Book #2, Book #3 - Series Complete!
Series #5: Gifted Series - Book #1, Book #2, Book #3 - Series Complete!
Series #6: Master of the Mountain - Book 1, Book 1.5, Book 2, Book 2.5, Book 3, Book 4 - Series Complete (for now, I am sure there will be more books but none are set to release this year).
Series #7: Dakota Series -  Book 1, Book 2, Book 3
Series #8: Vampire Warrior Kings Series - Book 1, Book 2, Book 3 - Series Complete!
Series #9: Firelight Series - Book 1, Book 2, Book 3, Book 3.5 - Series Complete
Series #10: Woods Family Series - Book 1 (read previously), Book 2, Book 3, Book 4, Book .5 - Series Complete
Audio Book Challenge
Slowly but surely getting there. For some reason We Bought a Zoo was a difficult one for me to get through, but really got into both From Baghdad with Love and Tiger Lily! That marks of 3 Audio books in a single month and only 3 more to go for this challenge!
7. Tiger Lily
Graphic Novel Challenge
I read two more this month, I have plans for two more in August. Again I am really having to pace myself.  I am going to have to start gathering some new Graphic Novels for next year since my shelf is starting to run a little thin!
10. Relish
Mount TBR
I added some more books to this challenge this month which makes me happy! I like being able to mark some of these old TBRs off and move them down to my read bookshelves.  Still a lot more to go though . . .
3. Beauty

Erotica Challenge
Good gravy! I am nearly done with this challenge! I had planned on pacing myself but I guess I got a little carried away. Only 2 books left until it is complete, it definitely won't take long and I am determined to complete it this month.
Another month has come to pass. Not as much reading as I would have liked to get done but I had to push through some books that were difficult for me as well as get caught up on some requested reviews. I am up to 207 books on my goodreads challenge, which puts me way ahead of schedule, so I decided to up my goal once again to 260 books.  That equates to 5 books a week all year long! I think it might be a little bit of a challenge coming into birthdays, vacations, holidays and Nanowrimo but I am determined!
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?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Review of Visions of the Revolution by Jeffrey Minucci

Synopsis: "Ivan is a destitute, orphaned boy who witnessed the murder of his parents at the hands of a mysterious cult. Yet he is gifted with a rare genius and keen sense of intuition. He has visions, seeing disturbing things which elude others. After a chance encounter with the Tsar’s cousin, Ivan is propelled into the world of Tsarist Russia on the brink of a catastrophic event- the Russian Revolution. Soon he must deal with his sudden fame and rise in the Imperial order, as well as the suffering of his people. As revolution erupts and creates chaos everywhere, Ivan is faced with a stark, possibly irredeemable choice."

My Review: I originally expected this to be a little more of a fantasy thriller type book, but it turned out to be more of a historical fiction which was even better. I really enjoyed the way that Minucci developed Ivan and his connections with the other characters. I also really enjoyed the historical elements and while I remember briefly touching on the subject in school I find myself wondering how much of it is based in actuality. At times the writing was a little dry and read like a journal recounting of events as opposed to a narrative story, but those portions passed quickly and helped to clear up some confusion in what was occurring. All in all it was an interesting book that really piqued my interest into the subject.
My Rating: Even though it turned out to be not quite what I was expecting, the subject matter really captured my attention! I give it a rating of Three Paws.
This book was sent to me by the author for an honest review.
You can find out more about Jeffrey Minucci and his work on his Goodreads Page.
You can also obtain your own copy of Visions of the Revolution in digital or print format on Amazon

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Audiobook Review of From Baghdad, With Love by Jay Kopelman

Synopsis: "When Marines enter an abandoned house in Fallujah, Iraq, and hear a suspicious noise, they clench their weapons, edge around the corner, and prepare to open fire.

What they find during the U.S -led attack on the "most dangerous city on Earth," however, is not an insurgent bent on revenge, but a tiny puppy left behind when most of the city’s population fled before the bombing. Despite military law that forbids the keeping of pets, the Marines de-flea the pup with kerosene, de-worm him with chewing tobacco, and fill him up on Meals Ready to Eat.
Thus begins the dramatic rescue attempt of a dog named Lava and Lava’s rescue of at least one Marine, Lieutenant Colonel Jay Kopelman, from the emotional ravages of war.

From hardened Marines to war-time journalists to endangered Iraqi citizens, From Baghdad, With Love tells an unforgettable true story of an unlikely band of heroes who learn unexpected lessons about life, death, and war from a mangy little flea-ridden refugee."

My Review: This book really hit on nearly all levels. It had just the right amount of emotion, the realities of war and the events that took place. I listened to the audio version of this book and the narrator's voice was perfect, even held that little bit of aloofness Marines often have about emotions. I had a little bit of a problem following who was who towards the end in the struggle to get Lava out of Iraq but I am sure that is almost how all parties even felt at the time with so many players and moving parts all to save this one puppy. I rather enjoyed the Epilogue as it had another added touch of reality, not everything ends up entirely perfect (you will have to read it to find out). Definitely a great read and not a long one either, I enjoyed it over a single weekend.
My Rating: This book popped up on my recommended reads and boy was it right on point. I give it a rating of Four Paws!

Monday, July 28, 2014

What's for Dinner? (17)

What's for Dinner is a little insight into my life for you every Monday night. I carefully plan out meals for the week ahead of time and do my shopping over the weekend.  So I wanted to start sharing with you one of the recipes or dinners I am most looking forward to each week.
You will notice that I changed the title of this post because I hope to share with you pictures of the dinner I prepared and/or little recipe adjustments I made to satisfy our tastes.
This last week I came across a recipe for CrockPot Chicken Quesadillas and thought it would be a simple yet filling dish for our family, but for the life of me I can't remember the website (and believe it or not it wasn't Pinterest or All Recipes).
So I will just tell you the recipe (because it is that simple)
2lbs chicken breast
1 packet of ranch dressing seasoning
1 packet taco seasoning
1 can chicken broth
shredded cheese
toppings as needed
Put the chicken, both packets of seasoning and chicken broth in crock pot on high for 3 hours. Shred chicken with forks and allow to cook for another half hour. Then make quesadillas in a skillet with toppings as desired.
Our toppings: the chicken, salsa, black olives, sauté mushrooms and onions, shredded Colby Jack cheese, and sour cream.
My finished Quesadilla
Munchkin didn't want any until I told him there were onions in it  . . .
After verifying that there were in fact onions in it and that I wasn't lying to him, they were quickly devoured.
My hubby's comment was that the chicken was a little salty (he seems to be very sensitive to the flavor of salt) so maybe next time I will do half water and half broth or cut down on the seasonings.

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

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling
Jesper Jinx by Marko Kitti
Blue Balls and Push Up Bras by Mandy Harbin (After Dark)
Milo Armadillo by Jan Fearnley (Bedtime Story)
We Bought a Zoo by Benjamin Mee
Racing Savannah by Miranda Kenneally (Mini Review)
Gabriel's Inferno by Sylvain Reynard (Mini Review)
Lady Danger by Glynnis Campbell (Mini Review)
Dakota Home by Debbie Macomber (Mini Review)
Hard as You Can by Laura Kaye (Mini Review)


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

From Baghdad with Love
Visions of the Revolution
The Fight for Olympus
Secrets in the Sauce
Always Dakota

Currently Reading:

Mozart Season by Virginia Euwer Wolff - PB - on page 35 of 272
Cabin Fever by Diana Hunter - PB - on page 89 of 272
Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson - Audio - 53%

 Books to be Read Soon:

Buffalo Valley by Debbie Macomber
Bella Tuscany by Frances Mayes
My Heart to Yours by Michelle Zarrin (Requested Review)
The Hearts of Horses by Molly Gloss



I did get quite a bit of reading done last week and am really getting into the audio books, especially now that I have the app on my phone and have been listening to it in the car (even though it is only about 10 - 15 minutes each way), Munchkin even asks for 'Story' when we get in the car.  Surprisingly enough (and a little unnerving) Munchkin is actually paying attention too, when we were listening to We Bought a Zoo and they would mention an animal, he would make the appropriate sound.  So I guess I will have to make sure to be particular in what books I listen to anymore!

I must say that while I have rather enjoyed many of the books I have read this month and am still reading this month, upon stacking up the books I want to read next month, I can't wait to start August's books!!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Mini Reviews of Racing Savannah, Gabriel's Inferno, Lady Danger and More

So with reading and reviewing so many books, I am running out of days in which to share them with you.  I am going to start posting Mini Reviews of books that I read through out the month but couldn't find the time to post on the last Sunday of each month.
A little disappointed in this one, didn't portray as strong of a female character. Two Paws.
An unbelievably sensual book without being overly explicit! Four Paws
A fun historical romance with total kickass (though stubborn) heroines! Four Paws
A lot of characters so guaranteed to find one you like. Two Paws and a Stump Wag.
Really enjoying this series, and love the action and suspense in this one. Three Paws and a Stump Wag.