Saturday, August 1, 2015

Graphic Novel Review of Ares: Bringer of War by George O'Connor

Synopsis: "The myth continues in the tenth year of the fabled Trojan War where two infamous gods of war go to battle. The spotlight is thrown on Ares, god of war, and primarily focuses on his battle with the clever and powerful Athena. As the battle culminates and the gods try to one-up each other to win, the human death toll mounts. Who will win this epic clash of power? And how many will have to die first?"

My Review: This wasn't so much Ares' book. I do however love how the O'Connor depicted the god and goddess interventions in the Trojan War. As with all the other books in this series, the art work is fantastic and the storyline was intriguing as well as the take on the traditional myths.
My Rating: This one didn't capture me as much as the others in the series did but I did find the storyline of the Trojan War to be an interesting take. I give it a rating of Three Paws.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Bedtime Story: Meet the Penguins by Daphne Pendergrass

Synopsis: "Learn all there is to know about Skipper, Kowalski, Rico, and Private from The Penguins of Madagascar in this 8x8 storybook!
Have you ever wondered what a penguin's favorite snack is? What about why Rico can't have nice things or what makes Private the cutest penguin around? Get the answers to these questions and many more in this 8x8 storybook that is chock-full of information that every Penguins of Madagascar fan will want to know!"

My Review: This is a good companion book to the new Penguins of Madagascar movie that came out last year. Munchkin went through a phase where he was obsessed with penguins. This book was okay, not the greatest for a toddler as it isn't really a story. This is set up as more of an informational book with character profiles of the characters in the new movie. It did take a couple of sittings to actually read through the whole book.
My Rating: This is would have been good to read before or right after seeing the movie. It really didn't capture Munchkin's attention that much.  We give it a rating of One Paw and a Stump Wag.
Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Beginning Reader Review of Danny and the Dinosaur Go to Camp by Syd Hoff

Read For: Early Reader Challenge
Synopsis: "Danny's going to camp––and he's taking the dinosaur! First introduced in 1958 with Danny and the Dinosaur and the recent stars of Happy Birthday, Danny and the Dinosaur, this popular pair is together again in an adventure sure to please beginning readers and happy campers alike. Children's Choices for 1997."

My Review: This one seemed to be a little more advanced for a Level 1 book but as I have mentioned before, the ones published years ago seem to expect more of young readers. That said the dinosaur going to camp adds a fun element to keep kids interested in this longer story. It may also help easy any worries about a first time going to camp, meeting new friends, or sleeping in a new place.
My Rating: As I have found with older books it was a little advanced but it might be fun for a kid going to camp. It was a middle of the road book for me and I am not sure Munchkin will enjoy it. I give it a rating of Three Paws.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

After Dark Review of Hard to Let Go by Laura Kaye

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 ;)
Read For: Because I love the series
Synopsis: "Five dishonored soldiers.
Former Special Forces.
One last mission.
These are the men of Hard Ink.

Beckett Murda hates to dwell on the past. But his investigation into the ambush that killed half his Special Forces team and ended his Army career gives him little choice. Just when his team learns how powerful their enemies are, hard-ass Beckett encounters the biggest complication yet—seductive, feisty Katherine Rixey.

A tough, stubborn prosecutor, Kat visits her brothers’ Hard Ink Tattoo following a bad break-up—and finds herself staring down the barrel of a stranger’s gun. Beckett is hard-bodied and sexy as hell, but he’s also the most infuriating man ever. Worse, Kat’s brothers are at war with criminals her office is investigating. When Kat joins the fight, she lands straight in Beckett’s sights—and his arms. Not to mention their enemies’ crosshairs.

Now Beckett and Kat must set aside their differences to work together, because the only thing sweeter than justice is finding love and never letting go."

My Review: My first thought after finishing this book was what a perfect title because good gordy it is going to be hard to let go of these characters and this series! I have been completely in love with this series and all of the characters from the get go. I really enjoyed Kat in this one, she is smart, determined and yet fun and quirky. I was also happy to get to know the not so cold and cranky side of Beckett. I was wondering how Kaye was going to wrap up the main storyline in just one book but she did it and did it beautifully (take note other authors who keep dragging a series out for no reason). Now there are a couple of novellas to go along with this series and even one that comes after this, so it isn't like we have to quit cold turkey (thank goodness for that) but I will wean myself off the Hard Ink crew and storyline and anxiously await what Kaye comes out with next!
My Rating: I have loved every step of this series and this was a fantastic conclusion to the main storyline.  As I said there are a couple more novellas, which will give me the opportunity to wean myself off these beloved characters. I give it a rating of Four Paws and a Stump Wag!

Pen to Paper: Where's Your Desk?

Did you send a silly story to someone? I hope it brightened their day.  We definitely have no shortage of comical events around here, especially with Munchkin and his language skills and understanding growing in leaps and bounds. This wasn't what a wrote about but the other day he came out and said "I don't have a tail, I have a bum." He is always coming out with random facts like that and it totally cracks me up.
Anyway on with today's discussion, still on the subject of writing desks, where would you put your desk for writing all these wonderful pieces of snail mail?
Would you put it in a dark corner with some magical lighting? I feel like this would lead to more intimate letters, full of warmth.
Or would you pick a bright sunny spot where you could look out the window for different inspiration each day?
Or maybe in an attic hide-away to have some space and quiet all to yourself for reflection and writing.
I have often pondered this, I try to think where I would be able to make the most of the space and find the most inspiration. I think maybe the attic space would suit me, I could have my books lined up around me, I could have a window for the view and it could still be dark at times for a different view point. Although if I want that big secretary's desk, good luck finding enough friends willing to heft that sucker into the attic!
So what do you think? Where do you have your writing desk now, if you have one? If your house was set up exactly how you would want it where would it be? Where do you think you would find the most inspiration for writing?
Your Mission for the Week: Write a nice long letter. We have been keeping our writing fairly short to get those muscles (both hand, wrist and mental) prepared for more writing. So now I think it is time to shoot for a nice long letter, I would say 3 pages if you use small stationary or 2 pages if you are using letter sized paper.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Re-Read Review of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Read for: Re-Read Challenge
Synopsis: "‘Be prepared to perform what you promised, Gawain;
Seek faithfully till you find me …’

A New Year’s feast at King Arthur’s court is interrupted by the appearance of a gigantic Green Knight, resplendent on horseback. He challenges any one of Arthur’s men to behead him, provided that if he survives he can return the blow a year later. Sir Gawain accepts the challenge and decapitates the knight – but the mysterious warrior cheats death and vanishes, bearing his head with him. The following winter Gawain sets out to find the Knight in the wild Northern lands and to keep his side of the bargain. One of the great masterpieces of Middle English poetry, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight magically combines elements of fairy tale and heroic sagas with the pageantry, chivalry and courtly love of medieval Romance. Brian Stone’s evocative translation is accompanied by an introduction that examines the Romance genre, and the poem’s epic and pagan sources. This edition also includes essays discussing the central characters and themes, theories about authorship and Arthurian legends, and suggestions for further reading and notes."

My Review: As with just about any book you read, especially classics and books that have been translated from old English, each time you read it you interpret it differently. I believe last time I read this was in college and I read it as more of a fantastic adventure, having been completely wrapped up in Arthurian legend at the time. This time however I found it to have a huge Christianity push, as a story to bring it to the people by slyly drawing in some of their own legends and stories. I also found it to be a firm warning against the evil and wiles of women, which in the time period was probably an accurate belief, but now as I read it I was more offended. As I said each time you read something like this you take away something new and read into it as it applies to your life at the time, that is part of the beauty of it.
My Rating: Previously I had rated this book very highly, but upon this reading I read into the meaning of things a little more than I did before and I wasn't too keen on what I was interpreting from it this time.  It is still a fantastic story that really does have a place in literature and should be read. I give it a rating of Three Paws.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Review of The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen

Read for: Mount TBR & Reading Across the States
Synopsis: "It’s the dubious distinction of thirty-year-old Willa Jackson to hail from a fine old Southern family of means that met with financial ruin generations ago. The Blue Ridge Madam—built by Willa’s great-great-grandfather and once the finest home in Walls of Water, North Carolina—has stood for years as a monument to misfortune and scandal. Willa has lately learned that an old classmate—socialite Paxton Osgood—has restored the house to its former glory, with plans to turn it into a top-flight inn. But when a skeleton is found buried beneath the property’s lone peach tree, long-kept secrets come to light, accompanied by a spate of strange occurrences throughout the town. Thrust together in an unlikely friendship, united by a full-blooded mystery, Willa and Paxton must confront the passions and betrayals that once bound their families—and uncover the truths that have transcended time to touch the hearts of the living."

My Review: I have heard people raving about Allen for a few years now and I got the chance to meet her last year at a book event, she was an absolute sweetheart and so kind to all her fans. I picked this book up at the event and it fit perfectly in my Reading Across the States challenge. I found the setting and characters to be interesting and I enjoyed watching them develop, grow and find themselves. I loved the messages of true and lasting friendship throughout the book and there are some great quotes. I did find the magical element to be a little off putting, I know this is a signature of Allen's but it felt a little forced and it definitely wasn't needed for the storyline. That said the story itself was a good one and I enjoyed reading it.

My Rating: As I said in the review, I wasn't a fan of the 'magical' elements of this book, superstitions were good for this setting but not the magic. I did really enjoy the friendship theme to this book. I give it a rating of Three Paws.
Favorite Quote from the Book: "Happiness is a risk. If you're not a little scared, then you're not doing it right."

Monday, July 27, 2015

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
Paladin by Sally Slater
Bite Me by Shelly Laurenston  (After Dark)
Pete the Cat Construction Destruction by James Dean (Bedtime Stories)
The Turncoat by Donna Thorland (Mini Review)
Fever by Maya Bankes (Mini Review)
Codename Zero by Chris Rylander (Mini Review)

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

The Peach Keeper = 5pts
Pete the Cat and the Magic Sunglasses = 1pt
Giraffes Can't Dance = 1pt
Camelot 3000 = 2pts
Fever = 3pts
Hard to Let Go = 3pts
Codename Zero = 3pts

Currently Reading:

 Books to be Read Soon:

Sphinx's Princess by Esther Friesner (Mount TBR/ Series)
Sphinx's Queen by Esther Friesner (Mount TBR/ Series)
Bella Tuscany by Frances Mayes (Mount TBR)


Total Points Earned
     249 points + 18 points earned + 10 points completing GN Challenge - 30 points for 2 children's books - 20 points for ebook = 227 points

Pages Read/ Time Listened
37,607 pages read (1,448 read this week)
118:08 listening time (12:37 listened this week)

Books Added to Shelves

The Green Ember by S.D. Smith - BookBub Freebie
Pete the Cat and the Magic Sunglasses by James Dean - 15 points
Giraffes Can't Dance by  - 15 points
Servicing the Target by Cherise Sinclair (preorder) - 20 points

Interesting Tidbits on the Web:



It was another busy week around here but I made a point to spend more time reading (even took a half day out of work for some me time). I am still way behind on so many things I need to do but am slowly working on them.  I have nearly caught up on my art commitments and have cut them back to minimum for the next couple of months. I know my reading time is going to go drastically down hill for at least the next 2 weeks with the office getting super busy, but at least I will have a little time at home to read and I will be listening to a lot more audio books as I start the massive clean up for Munchkin's birthday party.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Mini Reviews: The Turncoat, Fever and Codename Zero

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.
Wow so with everything else filling my time I have a lot less reviews to share with all of you this month, so only a couple mini reviews.
It took me a bit go get into the book but then it moved along quickly and then proceeded to drag out to long. Two Paws and a Stump Wag.
This was a fun and quirky book to read and will probably be great for Munchkin someday (even though he will never know the boredom of living in a tiny town in the middle of nowhere). Three Paws and a Stump Wag.
This one started out better than the first book, but as it went on the more I disliked Jace and Bethany. It wasn't horrible but again there really wasn't anything new here. Two Paws and a Stump Wag.
Full Review