Saturday, November 14, 2015

Review of A Highlander's Homecoming by Melissa Mayhue

Read for: Series Challenge & Mount TBR
Synopsis: "When Robert MacQuarrie was swept forward in time to present-day Scotland, he left behind in the thirteenth century a vow he could no longer keep—to protect his friend’s little daughter, Isabella. Haunted by guilt, he leaps at the chance to go back…except the fickle Faerie Magic returns him to his family castle twenty years after he left it. In Scotland, 1292, Isabella MacGahan is now a grown woman. Rejected by her family for her Faerie blood and uncanny powers, her safety depends on pretending that her magical abilities have made her mad. But appearances are deceiving for both Robbie and Isabella. Will the magic of the Fae allow them to find a true homecoming in each other’s arms??"

My Review: Another great book in this up and down series, it appears to me that I enjoy the historical aspect of this series more than the fantasy. I adore Robert and Isa in this book. Isa is such a strong, intelligent and quirky character and Robert is everything you can imagine in a chivalrous knight. I was a little disappointed that the question of the tattoo didn't get answered in this book but maybe in future books in the series. But this was a very enjoyable book to read.
My Rating: I loved how the females are the hero's in this one. A definite boost in the series when it was lagging a little bit for me. I give it a rating of Four Paws and a Stump Wag!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Bedtime Story: Sweet Dreams, Pout Pout Fish by Deborah Deisen

Read For: Children's Book Challenge & we love Pout Pout Fish!
Synopsis: "A short and sweet mini-adventure especially created to introduce the youngest guppies to the popular Pout-Pout Fish

Feeling sleepy? It's time for bed! Toddlers will love swimming along with the Pout-Pout Fish as he turns little frowns into sleepy smiles.

Debbie Diesen and Dan Hanna’s best-selling Pout-Pout Fish comes flippering and swishing into the hearts and minds of very young children with this compact and fun new tale sure to delight the sleepiest of guppies."

My Review: Munchkin LOVES Pout-Pout and when I saw this at the store I just had to get it for him. It is a rather simplified book (but perfect for those nights when you just need to get through a quick story to get little ones to bed). It doesn't have quite the same rhythm to it that the original Pout Pout Fish book does but it still has a nice little rhyme to it.
My Rating: This is a fun book but would be more appropriate for really young children, but we still enjoy it as a quick bedtime story. We give it a rating of Three Paws.
Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Pen to Paper: Holiday Mailings

I am sorry I missed last week's post, I was totally out of it but I figured I would just move it to this week instead. Did you all start a list of questions to refer to while writing your letters? As you get used to writing letters you will probably need this list less and less but it is handy to keep your letters going for now.
This week I want to start talking about holiday mailings. I know some of you may think this is a little early but it really isn't. It helps to plan ahead and then not have to worry about it in the midst of chaos in December. There are few options to consider when planning your holiday mailings. Now I realize that some of you may celebrate something other than Christmas like I do, and some of you may not celebrate at all. I mean no offense with any of these holiday posts, I only want to share with you some of the things I have learned.
First thing, you need to decide what holiday mailing you will do or if you will do one at all (I know several people who I am close to that choose not to send anything and that is okay). Some different options are Thanksgiving cards are wonderful, they are before the big rush so people will notice, and you can also send them as a reminder to the people you are thankful for but can't see during the holiday. There is of course the classic Christmas mailing, this is common and there are a wealth of options out there to choose from.  The last option is actually the one I have opted for in recent years and that is a New Year's mailing, you can wait until after the stress and rush of the season, and include pictures from the holidays if you like or a thank you for a gift received too.
Once you decide on a holiday for which to mail your thoughts out you need to decide what you want to mail. There are several options and you just need to choose one that suits you, or a few different options if you like. You can send a card, either hand made or store bought, you can send the classic Christmas letter full of news from your household (my mom still sends this even though she has an empty nest), or you can send a picture card, there are several site to upload and customize a photo card, or you can send a simple note or letter too depending on the size of your list.
Once you have your chosen item to mail you need decide who to mail them to and this really depends on your own desires and budget. When I first started sending out holiday cards as an adult my list was unbelievable, I was sending over 80 Christmas cards out each year because I have such a large extended family. Over the years I started narrowing that list down based on who sent cards back, who kept in touch and who I wanted to keep in touch with. Now I am down to about 25 or so cards for family and then another 10 or so for friends, and this year I will have several to send to new pen pals.
Your Mission for this Week: Narrow down or pick your holiday mailing, be it a Thanksgiving Card, Christmas Letter or New Years card/thank you. Start gathering your mailing addresses, envelopes and stamps too!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Review of Heir of Fire by Sarah J, Maas

Read for: Series Challenge and Mount TBR
Synopsis: "Celaena Sardothien has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak—but at an unspeakable cost. Now she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth...a truth about her heritage that could change her life—and her future—forever.

Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. To defeat them, Celaena must find the strength to not only fight her inner demons but to battle the evil that is about to be unleashed.

The king's assassin takes on an even greater destiny and burns brighter than ever before in this follow-up to the New York Times bestselling Crown of Midnight."

My Review: I really have mixed feelings about this book and the series so far. I am not a huge fan of a vast majority of the characters. I was a little glad however that we got to meet a few new ones and get different points of view and story lines (an thank goodness got away from Celaena at least a little). I did rather enjoy Manon's storyline and am eager to see where it leads in the next book. I was also happy to have some more action in this book, but it was very slow paced and a lot of wallowing in Celaena's self pity and depression. I have one more book in the series to read so far, and not sure I will bother reading the future books.
My Rating: I am really struggling with this series, I have such a dislike for so many of the characters that I have to push to read the book since I really don't care what happens to them.  I give this one a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Tasty Attempts: Black Beans and Rice

Last year I had started posting What's For Dinner. While I really enjoyed those posts, it was hard to keep up with a weekly post, especially since Munchkin is getting a little more picky about his diet and we are having a lot of repeat meals (sometimes the same thing several times a week). I still wanted to keep posting tasty recipes but include a little more variety (like the appetizers and desserts that I make for various parties). So I am now posting Tasty Attempts every other Tuesday. The posts will include a variety of recipes, maybe some of them turn out tasty, maybe others are failed attempts.
So I have still been using the Mom 100 Cookbook since Hubby was kind enough to get it for me for Christmas last year.
I came across a recipe for black beans and rice, and oddly enough Munchkin won't eat a lot of things like hot dogs but loves beans. I ended up cutting this recipe in half because it wanted me to use 4 cans of beans and 8 cups of rice! It was meant to be a main dish but I wanted it for a side dish to the Crock Pot Salsa Chicken.
I did alter the dish slightly to use up some ingredients I had on hand and substituted for things I forgot to pick up, but all in all it came out good and Munchkin and Hubby both loved it. The only downfall was even cut in half it made a really lot and we were sick of it before it was all gone.

Review of The Right Hand Rule by R.M. Clark

Read for: Requested Review
Synopsis: "Amy, Amanda, Marshall, and Ziggy expect their middle school to be empty on Saturday morning so they can get ready for the regional science fair. They don't expect a botched experiment to attract a horde of time-displaced ancient Mayans when their unusual science advisor, Frederick Froth, goes missing.

The four must use their unique science skills and work together as they grapple with a Mayan god, the Dark Rift, and the principles of science to rescue Mr. Froth."

My Review:  I have enjoyed the books by Clark that I have read, and found then to have a wide range of interests for Middle Grade Readers. This one will definitely appeal to certain MG readers with an interest in science. For me it was a little confusing, that maybe because I am not the target audience and it has been ages since I have had to present a science project or even taken a science class. With that said it is still an exciting adventure for young readers and will appeal to both gender readers.
My Rating: I think it was just me that didn't click with this book, I think it will appeal to science interested MG readers as they will be in the peak of their science fair and project years. I give this book a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag for me personally but as I said others will find it much more interesting.
This book was sent to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.
You can find out more about Mr. Clark and his works on his Goodreads Page or his Website.
You can now obtain your own copy of The Right Hand Rule in print format from Amazon

Monday, November 9, 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
The Help by Kathryn Stockett (Audio Book)
Mittens at School by Lola M. Schaefer (Beginning Reader)
When Will it Snow by Kathryn White (Bedtime Story)
Fables Vol. 6: Homelands by Bill Willingham (Graphic Novel)

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

Fire by Kristin Cashore = 5pts
Achilles in Vietnam = 3pts
Heir of Fire = 3pts

Currently Reading:

The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl - Audio - 16%
Gearteeth by Timothy Black - Kindle - on page 56 of 347

 Books to be Read Soon:

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas - Mount TBR/ Series Challenge


Total Points Earned
 124 points + 11 points earned = 135 points

Pages Read/ Time Listened
51,913 pages read (1,295 read this week)
183:46 listening time

Books Added to Shelves

Interesting Tidbits on the Web:



So last week was pretty much a wash, I did get some work done at the office, and a little reading done but everything else (including posting here) fell to the wayside. I ended up getting Bronchitis on top of trying to recover from surgery, as a result I was totally wiped out and ended up sleeping for nearly 2 days straight. I am still not 100% but feeling better than last week. This whole weekend was all about getting my house back in order and getting ready for the holidays. Hopefully the next couple of days I can get caught up at the office too and feel a little more prepared for the next 6 weeks.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Review of Highlander's Destiny by Melissa Mayhue

Read for Mount TBR & Series Challenge
Synopsis: "JESSE CORYELL, a descendant of the Fae, is a man in search of his destiny. He's tried to lose himself in his work, taking on the worst mankind has to offer, but what he really needs to find is his true love. When he sets out to help a mysterious woman find her sister, what he gets is much more than he bargained for: battling an undeniable attraction to his sexy new client while fighting an ancient evil to keep her safe.

DESTINY NOBLE, abandoned by everyone she's ever loved, will stop at nothing in her desperate quest to find her sister. Authorities have declared Leah a runaway, but Destiny knows better. Her dream visions have shown her the frightening truth. They've also shown her Jesse. But finding her Soulmate could result in the most painful loss of all, when she's forced to choose between loving Jesse and saving Leah.

Jesse and Destiny race against time to save an innocent girl from a powerful ancient evil. Is true love their best weapon...or will they be required to sacrifice their own destiny?"

My Review: This really wasn't a favorite of mine in the series. It stuck with the fantasy element much more in this book, and got a little darker than I would have liked for the series. I also really loved Jesse in the first book and couldn't wait to read his book, but felt a little let down in this book. We didn't get to know much of Jesse or really see too much of him, it mostly followed Destiny. As far as she goes, I think this is why this book turned me off a little more, she was so weak, unappealing, and stubborn in the wrong ways. It was really just an eh for me in this series that has been full of ups and downs, I have hopes that the next book will be a big up.
My Rating: I guess anytime you read a longer series with so many characters you are bound to find one character or a whole book that just doesn't suit you, this was it for me. Not that it was horrible, it just didn't stand up to the rest of the series. I give it a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag.