Saturday, May 16, 2015

Graphic Novel Review of Cinderella: Fables are Forever by Chris Roberson

Synopsis: "She poses as a haughty socialite in glass stilettos by day--and okay, sometimes by night. But Cinderella is actually Fabletown's master spy. Tasked with doing jobs too dirty and deadly for the average Fable, Cindy's faced down dangers from a dozen worlds and lives to tell tales (over cocktails in a hot tub, if you're lucky).

But every secret agent has one annoyingly ruthless archnemesis, and Cindy is no exception. Back in the Big '80s, Cindy encountered her dark mirror, a rogue American Fable, who was in league with the mysterious Shadow Fabletown. Cindy thought she'd destroyed her rival years ago. But when a powerful magician turns up dead and another seeks her help, Cindy's hunt for her old enemy begins anew.

From the frigid back alleys of Russia to the steaming desert, Cindy will follow the clues down the blood-flecked yellow brick road and risk everything she's got--including her secret identity--to solve the crime and finally get revenge on Silver Slipper."

My Review: This clearly takes place much further in the Fables series than I have read, it is really difficult to read any branch off series of the main Fables because you have to be completely caught up. I must say I was a little bored with this volume even though it contained a really creative and interesting story idea, pitting a CIA type agent Cinderella against a mercenary Dorothy. It didn't really feel like a full story with all the memories that pop up throughout to tell the short main storyline. It just wasn't the one for me I guess.
My Ratings: An interesting conflict but with all the memories and flashbacks it felt a little incomplete. I give it a rating of Two Paws.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Bedtime Story: Storm Song by Nancy Viau

Synopsis: "Thunder claps outside the door—Boom. Boom. Bang! Rumble, rap, roar!
Follow the beginning, middle, and end of thunderstorm with children and their dog who find comfort in a cozy home filled with fun and love. With lyrical text and vibrant illustration, STORM SONG captures the essence of a rainy day from that first whisk of a wet leaf to the final spit of a single raindrop."

My Review: This is a great book to lessen any fears of storms. It allows for the introduction of the noises and things that could happen during the storm and that it will all come to an end. I happened to pick the perfect night to read this book as we ended up with a big storm and Munchkin told me it was just the storm noises and he didn't have any fear the entire night.
My Rating: This is a great book for soothing fears of those spring and summer thunderstorms. The images were soothing for bedtime and the sound effects make for a fun read.  I give it a rating of Four Paws!
Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Mini Blogahead Challenge Wrap Up

I participated in the Mini Blogahead challenge that was hosted by Anna over at Herding Cats and Burning Soup. You can see my sign up post HERE.
I wasn't the greatest about posting updates, mainly because I was so busy just trying to keep up with the posts during Children's Book Week!
- My goal though was to have 34 posts scheduled by the end of the Challenge.
-  I started with 18 posts scheduled.
- I had 38 posts go live during the time of this challenge.
- Some how (thanks to Bedtime Story and Graphic Novel posts) I have managed to achieve my goal of 34 post scheduled! (not even including this one)
How did your blogahead challenge go? Did you get as far ahead as you had hoped?

Thursday, May 14, 2015

After Dark Audio Book Review of Rush by Maya Banks

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: "Gabe, Jace, and Ash: three of the wealthiest, most powerful men in the country. They’re accustomed to getting anything they want. Anything at all. For Gabe, it’s making one particular fantasy come true with a woman who was forbidden fruit. Now she’s ripe for the picking...

When Gabe Hamilton saw Mia Crestwell walk into the ballroom for his hotel’s grand opening, he knew he was going to hell for what he had planned. After all, Mia is his best friend’s little sister. Except she’s not so little anymore. And Gabe has waited a long time to act on his desires.

Gabe has starred in Mia’s fantasies more than once, ever since she was a teenager with a huge crush on her brother’s best friend. So what if Gabe’s fourteen years older? Mia knows he’s way out of her league, but her attraction has only grown stronger with time. She’s an adult now, and there’s no reason not to act on her most secret desires.

As Gabe pulls her into his provocative world, she realizes there’s a lot she doesn’t know about him or how exacting his demands can be. Their relationship is intense and obsessive, but as they cross the line from secret sexual odyssey to something deeper, their affair runs the risk of being exposed—and vulnerable to a betrayal far more intimate than either expected."

My Review: I wasn't sure what I expected from this book or series. I listened to the audio version and at first it was difficult to get into, the narrator had a very monotone voice, with little inflection for the characters or what was occurring in the story. Once I got past that the whole storyline and even the characters were all very familiar. This book was too similar to so many others that I have read in the genre to really stand out. Of course I have the entire trilogy already so I will attempt to finish them but no promises there. The one good thing is that the story is so familiar that while listening to the audio you can do something else and if you zone out for a few minutes you don't really worry about missing much.
My Rating: Really this wasn't anything I haven't heard before. Nothing brilliant or new, it was just too similar to all the books following the 50 Shades trend. I give it a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag.

Official Pen to Paper Kickoff

So if you have been hanging around here long enough, you might remember that almost 2 years ago I would occasionally put up Pen to Paper post. They were a record of my resolution to write more letters.  Well they kind of fell by the wayside. 
BUT . . .
with the Bloggiesta back in March I started brainstorming new post ideas. This was one that really took off and I have a boatload of ideas for posts. Not to mention I do really enjoy letter writing (and it allows for my stationary habit). 
So I am here to announce that this is the first post of the official Pen to Paper weekly meme here on Eastern Sunset Reads.  I will be posting Thursday mornings with various aspects of letter writing and snail mail communications.  I invite you to join me on this journey and if you would like we can exchange addresses and become pen pals too.
So first order of business is to take a look at back when I originally started the little Pen to Paper posts.  You can see my first post HERE where I set out send at least one snail mail communication a month.  Now I wasn't really consistent with my posts but I will say I had a really good run. Even now I think I usually send a letter or card at least once a month, but usually in a burst of several at a time. But you know the real reason why I stopped posting? There wasn't much to talk about, it is hard to continue sending letters when you get little or no response. 
I have learned a few things since then and will continue to learn. All of these lessons I will be sharing with you on our journey of putting our Pens to Paper.  So please join me and come check in again on Thursday morning for new posts. I have some very exciting things coming up (including tips, drool worthy letter writing gear, and some giveaways).  Of course if you would like to become a pen pal with me (which I would really love) please email me with your address!

Please feel free to post here or on your own blog and link up with us, telling about your own letter writing experiences.  Did you have a pen pal as a child? Have you continued writing to a dear friend over the years? Are you just wondering and want to start now?

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Review of The H.A. Rey Treasury of Stories by H. A. Rey

Read for: Requested Review/ Netgalley
Synopsis: "From the creator of Curious George comes this compilation of four humorous and marvelously illustrated stories: Elizabite: Adventures of a Carnivorous Plant; Tit for Tat, concerning kindness to animals; Billy's Picture, a tale of art and individualism; and Zebrology, a wordless celebration of the common ground that lies beneath appearances."

My Review: I received this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I was very excited to see an H.A. Rey book available, we are big fans of Curious George in our house. This book contains several short wordless stories and I love the classic illustration style. I do feel like this leans more towards adult audiences and humor. Though a young reader would still enjoy them. I particularly loved Zebrology, it made me giggle.
My Rating: If you are looking for a new kids story along the line of Curious George, this really isn't the book for you. It doesn't seem to me a children's book, yes there are illustrations but it just doesn't seem suited to the audience. I give it a rating of Two Paws.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Review of Hush: An Irish Princess' Tale by Donna Jo Napoli

Read for: Mount TBR
Synopsis: "Melkorka is a princess, the first daughter of a magnificent kingdom in mediƦval Ireland -- but all of this is lost the day she is kidnapped and taken aboard a marauding slave ship. Thrown into a world that she has never known, alongside people that her former country's laws regarded as less than human, Melkorka is forced to learn quickly how to survive. Taking a vow of silence, however, she finds herself an object of fascination to her captors and masters, and soon realizes that any power, no matter how little, can make a difference.
Based on an ancient Icelandic saga, award-winning author Donna Jo Napoli has crafted a heartbreaking story of a young girl who must learn to forget all that she knows and carve out a place for herself in a new world -- all without speaking a word."

My Review: I was expecting a little more from this story. It is a good story but very slow moving with not much happening. You don't develop much of a connection with the characters but can appreciate the research that went into writing this tale. It was a nice break from books that move too quickly but not one that I would be able to appreciate in every mood. I am a little curious as to the original story this book was based upon and might have to track it down.
My Rating: There really wasn't much to keep a reader's interest but thankfully it was short enough just to keep reading and finish. I was a little curious as to where the story would go but it didn't really give me anything in the end. I give it a rating of Two Paws.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Bout of Books 13 Signup and Updates

Another Readathon, Another Chance to Read that TBR Pile!
Bout of Books
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 11th and runs through Sunday, May 17th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 13 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team
So this post is going to be my base for the week, I will continue to come back and update it each day with my progress (as I already have a lot of posts planned for this week and don't want things too jumbled up).  I will also be updating via twitter at @EasternSunset9

Time Devoted to Reading

I would like to read between 3-4 hours each day and read about 200 pages each day.
Averaging about 2 hours and work and another 1 to 2 at home after Munchkin goes to bed.

My Goals

Read a total of 1,200 pages
Read at least 3 hours each day
Read and finish at least 1 requested review novel 
I usually read 5 books a week so my goal is to read a total of 8 this week

Books to Read

Extras Just in Case:


Number of Pages I've read today: 231
Total Number of Pages: 231
Time spent readingtoday:  3:15
Total number of books I've read: 2
Books completed: Show Me Baby, Pete the Cat Construction Destruction
Thoughts: It ended up being a pretty crazy day yesterday between signing Munchkin up for a new daycare and doctor appointments and catching up on chores that were left undone on Mother's Day. I have a feeling it might be hard to actually squeeze in all the reading I want to do this week.

Number of Pages I've read today: 289 plus 1:33  listening
Total Number of Pages: 529
Time spent reading today:  1:33 listening + 1:30 at work + 2hrs at home =5:03
Total number of books I've read: 9
Books completed: Show Me Baby, Pete the Cat Construction Destruction, Llama Llama Red Pajama, 3 Little Grouches, Meet the Penguins, Outer Space Bedtime Race, Song of Achilles, Persepolis
Thoughts: Definitely read more yesterday. I still ended up getting a little distracted at work with starting to plan Munchkin's birthday. I have a few things to work on at the office today but my goal is to finish Beowulf and start another book. I also have another audio book going so I can get some chores and crafting done tonight.

Number of Pages I've read today: 141 plus 45 min. listening
Total Number of Pages: 670
Time spent reading today: 45 min listening + 1:30 at home = 2:15
Total number of books I've read: 11
Books completed: Show Me Baby, Pete the Cat Construction Destruction, Llama Llama Red Pajama (x2), 3 Little Grouches, Meet the Penguins, Outer Space Bedtime Race, Song of Achilles, Persepolis, Mr. Strong, the Sandcastle
Thoughts: It was a lot crazier in the office yesterday than I ever expected so I wasn't able to get much reading done. But today I am saying to heck with it all and am determined to finish both Crazy VA and Beowulf!

Number of Pages I've read today: 251
Total Number of Pages: 921
Time spent reading today: 2 hours at work + 2.5 at home = 4:30
Total number of books I've read: 13
Books completed: Show Me Baby, Pete the Cat Construction Destruction, Llama Llama Red Pajama (x3), 3 Little Grouches, Meet the Penguins, Outer Space Bedtime Race, Song of Achilles, Persepolis, Mr. Strong, the Sandcastle, Crazy VA, Otter in Space
Thoughts: Another crazy day in the office didn't allow for me to focus on Beowulf but I did finish Crazy VA. This is what I get for participating in a readathon right before vacation :(  oh well.  I plan to finish A Suitable Wife today, it is a light easy read that I can squeeze in at the office and the maybe finish Beowulf tonight at home. I know the weekend I won't get much reading  done but hopefully at least start Novice and read Fables Vol. 5

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Saturday & Sunday
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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

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

Pete the Cat: Rock On Mom & Dad = 1pt
Mane Attraction = 3pts
Loki = 2pt
Mr. Perfect = 1pt
Tow Truck Trouble/ Lights Out = 1pt
Rules for Riders = 3 pts
Parsen Holt - Slinger = 3pts

Currently Reading:

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller - Audio - 68%

 Books to be Read Soon:

Princesses of Myth Series by Esther Friesner
Warriors Series by Erin Hunter


Total Points Earned
  86 pts + 14pts = 100 pts

Pages Read/ Time Listened
25,422 pages read (746 read this week)
59:11 listening time 

Books Added to Shelves

Interesting Tidbits on the Web:



Whew! What a week last week was, Children's Book Week was so busy, I wanted to do so much more with Munchkin but we already had several other things planned.  We still did squeeze a lot of fun things. I hope you found some books your little ones would enjoy and had fun as well!  This is another week of fun! I am participating in the Bout of Books Readathon, and will have my sign up later this afternoon. I also am starting the official Pen to Paper posts this week, I know some of you are anxiously awaiting those posts and I hope they live up to expectations!  I will also be drawing my Blog Ahead challenge to a close and will hopefully have a bunch of new fun posts for everyone.

I have been slacking off a little with my reading and have been doing a lot more crafting at night. I will have a bunch of things to share with you in the future.  This week though will be strictly about reading, maybe a little crafting but there will be an audio book going at least!


Sunday, May 10, 2015

Bedtime Story: Time Together: Me and Mom by Maria Catherine

Celebrating Children's Book Week!
Synopsis: "In pictures and simple text, a mother and child spend their day together."

My Review: I love this series of books. The lines are simple just a statement of a way to spend time together. The illustrations are also simple yet bright and fun. I love the diversity the book shows and the clear love in each of the pages. Munchkin enjoyed the book and talking about the things that he does with me and the things he saw in the story that he would like to do with me.
My Rating: We definitely love this book and read it again and again. It has given Munchkin ideas of what he wants to do with me too. I give it a rating of Four Paws!
Good Night! Sweet Dreams!
And a Happy Mother's Day to all those moms out there!

Story Stack: Mommy and Me Books

Celebrating Children's Book Week!
Welcome to Story Stack, a new meme here on Eastern Sunset Reads!
For Story Stack I will put together a list of books based on a common theme, probably mostly children's books since this idea arrived as I struggled to organize Munchkin's overflowing bookshelves.
Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there!  I have today a stack of books off Munchkin's shelves that are perfect for celebrating today.
This is one of my all time favorites, it is one that will remain on our shelves forever and will be given to Munchkin when he is grown and leaves home.
This was a recent purchase for us and it is such a simple yet perfect book. Lots of ways that we make memories together.
A great reminder for the time you are apart.
Part of a cute set, animals love their babies just like we love our babies. Munchkin loved these books as a baby.
This is one of our top bedtime stories. Every time I finally put it away, it only stays on the shelf a couple of days before coming back again.
A cute front and back book. One way is the mommy loving the child more and the other is read from the child loving mommy more.
You can't really make this list without this book, even though I refuse to read it out loud.
Munchkin is a recent Pete the Cat fan and this is a cute book that can be read on Mother's Day or Father's Day. A fun way to show appreciation for all the things mom & dad do.
This book in particular speaks to me on this day. All mommy wants is a little peace every once in a while but it doesn't exist. Still we do anything for the little ones.
I am sure there are more on Munchkin's shelves but these were the ones that popped out to me and will be read throughout the day today. Do you remember a mommy and me book from when you were a kid? Or is there a special one you share with your little ones?

Beginning Reader Review of Danny and the Dinosaur by Syd Hoff

Celebrating Children's Book Week!
Synopsis: "Danny loves dinosaurs. When he sees one at the museun and says, "It would be nice to play with a dinosaur," a voice answers, "And I think it would be nice to play with you." So begins Dannys and the dinosaur's wonderful adventure together!

But a dinosaur is no ordinary playmate. Even the most everyday activities become extraordinary, like finding a big-enough place to hide a dinosaur in a game of hide-and-seek, and keeping him from knocking over houses with his long tail. But Danny can teach a old dinosaur new tricks. It's the most fun this dinosaur has had in a hundred million years!

Originally published as An I Can Read Book over 40 years ago, this classic story is perfect for reading together.

Danny's out on the town with a real live dinosaur. And whether they're eating ice cream or playing hide-and-seek, these two are having one hundred million years of fun--all in one day."

My Review: I think I remember my little brother bringing this book home from the library when we were kids. I find it to be a little long for a level 1 beginning reader with a little more complex words and sentence structure. Maybe this is just me but a lot of the older ones seem to be like this, maybe more was expected of kids reading in that time or maybe we are pushing kids to read the new level 1 books earlier. Anyway, it is a fun book, honestly what kid wouldn't want to hang out with a dinosaur for the day?! As I said it is a little long so it might need to be read in a couple of sittings and with some help with some of the words.
My Rating: While this is a classic book, it seems a little big for those beginning readers, I would work about them getting discouraged. It is a fun book and hopefully young kids will still enjoy the story.  I give it a rating of Three Paws.