Saturday, May 28, 2016

Pretty and Full Bookshelves

So remember a week or two ago when I posted about my Sad Neglected Bookshelves?
Well I am back to show you my re-shelved and somewhat organized new bookshelves. Now I know they aren't completely full because I wanted to leave room for books I have upstairs and am reading this year.  You might also note that there are funny little flags sticking out, well I decided to flag the books I haven't read yet so they have a spot on the shelf (instead of having to re-arrange every time I finish a few books to fit them in).
So you ready to check them out?!
There will be a lot of pictures!
For the first shelf I decided to start at the bottom and go up with books Munchkin will read as he grows.  The very bottom shelf is games and puzzles since it is hard to access. The next shelf up is children's books, paperback, hardcover and board books. The next shelf is Dr. Seuss and Serendipity (kind of my collection shelf), then on up to beginning/level readers and Magic Tree House books, and the top shelf is into first chapter books and into middle grade.

The next shelf over continues in a similar fashion with a few exceptions.  The top 2 shelves are all my signed books. the next two shelves are all my horse books for MG and YA (Saddle Club, Black Stallion, etc.), then the next shelf is into MG to YA classics into contemporary fiction, the bottom two shelves are into YA fantasy.

On the other side of the couch is my other new shelf.  This one starts at the bottom with a continuation of YA fantasy, particularly the series, for the bottom 2 shelves. The third from the bottom shelf contains adult fantasy. On that middle shelf is all my King Arthur legend books, I did this because they are difficult to place, some are YA some are adult, they all have historical fiction, fantasy and most have romance so I thought to put them all together.  Above that is a historical romance shelf, the one above that is contemporary romance and the very top is fantasy/paranormal romance shelf.
On the far wall I have this random shelf. The top is all of my Robin Cook books, the next shelf down is a little bit of random books and stuff that didn't really fit anywhere else (we all have one of these shelves right?!). The next shelf down is Graphic Novels and single issue comics. The largely empty shelf is for cookbooks, I need to finish transferring the piles from upstairs. The very bottom shelf is all picture or table top style books, we don't look at them often but they are too beautiful to get rid of.
The last shelf is again on the other side of the room. The top shelf is all classics followed by a shelf of Poetry into memoir and then into non-fiction.  The following shelf is mostly non-fiction and reference books (I have an odd fascination with the Third Reich/ Hitler and WWII). The next shelf is fiction and into thrillers and bottom continues into historical fiction and the far right is mysteries that I plan to lend to a fellow reader.
So there you have the shelves all done up. I still would like to go back through and put them in alphabetical order, but first I want to let them sit for a while and see if they are happy where they are (don't deny it. . .. you know what I am talking about).

Friday, May 27, 2016

Bedtime Story: The Adventures of Beekle by Dan Santat

Synopsis: "This magical story begins on an island far away where an imaginary friend is born. He patiently waits his turn to be chosen by a real child, but when he is overlooked time and again, he sets off on an incredible journey to the bustling city, where he finally meets his perfect match and-at long last-is given his special name: Beekle.

New York Times bestselling and award-winning author and illustrator Dan Santat combines classic storytelling with breathtaking art, creating an unforgettable tale about friendship, imagination, and the courage to find one's place in the world."

My Review: I picked this book up last year when it was fairly new and it was rather popular. I finally got a chance to read it to Munchkin, and I think I ended up enjoying it more than he did. The illustrations are adorable and the story is cute and sentimental. I do feel like I may have read a book similar to this in the past. I think most kids would really enjoy this book, unfortunately it wasn't Munchkin's cup of tea.
My Rating: This was one of those books that got tons of hype when it first came out. And it was pretty cute but not anything crazy fantastic like they were making it out to be.  I do think it would make a super cute Pixar short though.  We give it a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag.
Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Beginning Reader Review of Slam and Dunk Go To the Moon by Chris Sawyer

Read for: Early Reader Challenge
Synopsis: Friends Slam and Dunk help fix a crashed space ship and are taken on a trip as a thank you.

My Review: I received this in a big box of used books. It is a simple book, it doesn't have a level but I think it would be a good Level 1 book. The words are short and many are easily identified, the sentences are also short and simple. It also has a storyline that would be entertaining for young readers.
My Rating:  This is a simple and fun book for kids. It is book 16 in the series so I assume they become much loved characters and it has a storyline which is at times hard to find in Early Reader Books. I give it a rating of Three Paws.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

After Dark Review of One Night of Sin by Elle Kennedy

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: Mount TBR
Synopsis: "Sometimes it’s good to be bad…

When it comes to sex, good girl Skyler Thompson always plays it safe, choosing stable and sedate over wild and thrilling. She doesn’t do one-night-stands, but one look at sinfully sexy Gage Holt and she’s willing to reconsider. He makes her want to be bad for once in her life, and she’s prepared to take what she wants.

Danger follows former MMA fighter Gage Holt like a shadow. Despite his successes as part owner of Sin, an exclusive nightclub in Boston, Gage can’t risk getting involved with a woman, especially one as sweet as Skyler. Still, he can’t resist a taste—and it’s so damn good he has to see her again.

As addicted as he is to her, Gage knows there’s no future for him and Skyler—not with his past lurking in the dark corners of an MMA cage. But Skylar’s tougher than she looks, and she’s ready to fight for her man."

My Review: This was a free download from a while ago and I finally picked it up on a whim (and read with out checking the synopsis). I wasn't really expecting the fighter end of the book and I haven't really read any books with a character involved in MMA so that was really different. While we don't really know much about Skyler at the beginning of the book, I can't help but feel that she is a little false throughout, either that or the back story that we are given just doesn't fit. This was a novella so while there are serious amounts of suspense and thriller in the background, it is all wrapped up in a nice little bow by the end (almost a little too nicely). I did however really enjoy the back and forth between the various characters, especially between Sky and her stepfather and Gage, Reed & AJ.
My Rating: This was a good book, plenty of steam and a good base storyline to kick off a series, but it didn't capture me to the point of needing to pick up the next book immediately.  I give it a rating of Three Paws.

Pen to Paper: Travel Kit

So as some of you may know, I am on a family vacation this week, but that doesn't stop me from writing to my friends, family and pen pals.  I especially love sending them all postcards from places I visit on vacation.  So I have myself a nice little travel kit. This kit has a little more in it than the little one I toss in my purse for quick notes and letters on the go.
So do you want to know what is in this kit?
5 sets of stationery (3-4 pages of each) with matching envelopes
A little notepad
address book
washi tape
paper clips
Assorted Journaling cards and Die cuts for personalization
a variety of pens (all colors and styles)
Stamps of course - a variety including first class, postcard, international & extra ounce
Lettermate (for addressing envelopes)
Pen pal letters that are waiting for response.
And all of that fit into this nice little zippered pocket and a pen case!
So do you take anything with you on vacation? Do you write letters or send postcards from your adventures?

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Review of The Princess and the Hound by Mette Ivie Harrison

Read For: Mount TBR (print) & Series Challenge
Synopsis: "He is a prince, heir to a kingdom threatened on all sides, possessor of the animal magic, which is forbidden by death in the land he'll rule.
She is a princess from a rival kingdom, the daughter her father never wanted, isolated from true human friendship but inseparable from her hound.
Though they think they have little in common, each possesses a secret that must be hidden at all costs. Proud, stubborn, bound to marry for the good of their kingdoms, this prince and princess will steal your heart, but will they fall in love?"

My Review: This book has been on my shelf forever and I was really looking forward to reading it and the whole series (once I got them all). Unfortunately, it wasn't as I expected. The story moves extremely slowly, and not due to any large amounts of world building like you would expect. There is a lot of repetition and internal turmoil with the characters but not anything that really captures the reader or make you passionate about the characters. I did really like the take on the fact that not using magic takes a toll on the wielder instead of when they use the magic, so that was an interesting take, but it was also about all the book had to give. Oh of course there were other messages throughout the book about bravery, duty, love and looking beneath the outer layer but not anything new. I do have all the other books already so I guess I will be reading them in hopes that the series improves.
My Rating: This was such a slow book, but not because any significant world building like you would expect either (that I could deal with). It did have some really unique ideas that I really appreciated but it was just too slow to really enjoy. I give it a rating of One Paw and a Stump Wag.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Tasty Attempts: Cookie Monsters Me-Love-Warm-Green-Bean Salad

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 off and on we have been struggling with Munchkin's diet and his picky eating habits. Now I know that we are so blessed and he isn't nearly as bad as many of the kids we know, but we still want him to eat a wider variety than he already does, especially with veggies. So I let him pick out this new cookbook . . .
And I have been letting him help set the menu for the week and picking at least one recipe a week that he can help cook.  One of the recipes he picked out was Cookie Monsters Me-Love-Warm-Green-Bean salad.
We adjusted the recipe to his taste a little more, we put less balsamic in and substituted red bell peppers for the plum tomatoes.  He really loved snapping the green beans with me and drizzling the oil on, and he did eat it with now issues or arguments.

Review of Falling for Her by Debbie Macomber

Read For: Because I Love the series
You can see my reviews of the rest of the series by clicking the links below
Synopsis: "Debbie Macomber’s beloved Rose Harbor series follows Jo Marie as she makes her home in Cedar Cove, running the charming Rose Harbor Inn. Now, in this original short story, available exclusively as an eBook, Macomber tells a whole new side of the story as handyman Mark Taylor grapples with his true feelings for Jo Marie.

Mark Taylor came to Cedar Cove to leave his painful past behind him, and has spent the last few years keeping mostly to himself. But when he meets Jo Marie Rose, his world is turned upside down. She’s hired him to do carpentry projects around the inn, but for Mark, spending time with Jo Marie is a risk—to both his long-buried secrets and his carefully guarded heart. Then one day, he breaks his leg in his workshop and must turn to Jo Marie for help. And though he tries to keep his distance, Mark can’t deny how he feels drawn to Jo Marie—and how deeply he is falling for her."

My Review: I have been inhaling the books in this series since they started coming out, but somehow I missed this book until just now. It was a little weird to read it out of order, if you have already read Silver Linings, this book won't feel as significant as it should. I also have always like the mystery surrounding Mark and his cranky personality, and while this book gives you a brief look from his point of view, I feel like I lost some of the magic. I think it is just me, because I know that Macomber writes wonderful books with great storylines and fantastic characters you come to love. I think maybe if I had read it in order I might have enjoyed this book better.
My Rating: I kind of wish I hadn't stumbled upon this book, I miss the mystery surrounding Mark. It is still enjoyable to read but I don't think it is really necessary to the series and might spoil things just a bit.  I give it a rating of Two Paws.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Magic Tree House Monday: Book 16 - Hour of the Olympics

Welcome to Magic Tree House Monday!

Each Monday (other than when special events are planned) I will review one book of the Magic Tree House Series by Mary Pope Osborne.
In Book 16 Jack and Annie must complete their four trips to ancient times to save lost books.  This time they travel to ancient Greece to save a story, it also lands them at the time of the first Olympics.
My Review: Another fun ancient adventure for Jack and Annie. Again while there is danger it doesn't seem as pronounced and shouldn't cause nightmares. There is plenty of excitement though! Jack and Annie also use more problem solving skills and research as the story moves along. I like the way that history and mythology were combined in the story. This book like the other previous three (in this section of the series) have a list of facts about both the history mentioned, real characters and mythology and stories mentioned in the book.  
My Rating: This was another great adventure and very informative of both the history of the Olympics, the culture and mythology. It also is a lesson in the times when women were not meant to be educated or even seen outside the home.  I give it a rating of Four Paws!

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

Viking Ships at Sunrise by Mary Pope Osborne (Magic Tree House)
The Crown by Kiera Cass (Audio)
Random by Lark O'Neal
His Wicked Games, Truth or Dare & Sweet Victory by Ember Casey (After Dark Series Review)
Clifford Sees America by Norman Bridwell (Early Reader)
I am Helping by Mercer Mayer (Bedtime Story)
Love: The Lion by Frederick Brremaud (Graphic Novel)

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

Hour of the Olympics = 5pts
Steve & Wessley Ice Cream Shop = 1pt
Can You See What I See? Nature = 1pt
Learn About the Weather: Sun = 1pt
Tale of Gwyn = 5pts
Paul Bunyan: My Story = 1pt
Fairy Boy of Calton Hill = 3pts
Sweet Sixteen Princess = 5pts
Valentine Princess = 5pts
Feel the Force = 1pt

Currently Reading:

The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle - Audio - 11%

 Books to be Read Soon:


Total Points Earned
 165 points + 29 points earned + 10 Points for 10K pages - 20 points spent = 184 points

Total Points Earned this Year: 628
Total Points Spent this Year: 444

Pages Read/ Time Listened
105:17 Hours Listened
20,794 Pages Read (1,078 this week)

Books Added to Shelves

American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld - 10 points spent
Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld - 10 points spent

Interesting Tidbits on the Web:



By the time you read this post, I will be on vacation with my family! I really can't believe how much reading I got done last week, especially with all the chaos and stress of preparing work for me being away and also packing and prepping the house too.  Hopefully by now I am relaxing and enjoying a good book while my parents play with Munchkin and keep him out of my hair for a bit.

Anyway, I have plenty of new posts and reviews for you while I am away and I hope you enjoy them!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

May Book Events: Free Comic Book Day & Sarah J. Maas

So there has been a lot going on this month and almost all of it was fun stuff! We had Children's Book Week, which we didn't really do much for other than read lots of books. Of course Star Wars day landed in the middle and we listened to the Read Along children's books for that (and of course got Munchkin all dressed up).
On Saturday May 7th it was Free Comic Book Day! This was only our second year going and we were a little late to line up at our first store so much of the selection was already gone by the time we got in. We went to one more store after that but they only allow 1 book each.  By that point Munchkin was exhausted and needed a nap, but hopefully in the next couple of years we can make it the whole day since there were 2 more places to go that make a big event of it with costumes and games and giveaways. Munchkin was thrilled to get to wear his Superman costume all day!

We did get a great selection of comic books to try out, even one Hubby is willing to read!!
Of course they always have sales so picked up a couple of GNs and single issues, some for me and some for Munchkin.
The fun didn't stop there either! On Wednesday May 11th Sarah J. Maas came to our local Barnes & Noble for a discussion and signing. This was the first really big name we have gone to locally (I did go to a big event in CT with many best selling authors). I knew it would be a really popular event and researched only the process before going. Of course Munchkin had to go with me because we have yet to find a babysitter for him.  Anyway, it was a little bit of a mess and unless it is an author I am extremely passionate about I doubt I will go to another B&N event.  (I will save my rant for the end).
Anyway, we went early in the morning to get our wristbands.
The event was set to start at 6:30 so after getting out of work at 5:00 I rushed to get Munchkin at preschool and got him fast food dinner and hurried over to get in line (the stress of that included in rant).  Luckily he was happy to be there with me and got a kick out of having to follow the blue dots in line.  They did have a nice seating area set up for us once we could go sit down.

 The discussion lasted for much longer than expected (over an hour and a half), Munchkin was insanely good during this time. While I wasn't a huge fan of Maas' Throne of Glass series, I found her to be extremely fun, likeable and approachable. She was happy to laugh at herself and to show us the real person behind the books.
By the time the signing line was half through, Munchkin was getting restless. I wasn't able to juggle my books talk to her and maintain control of Munchkin while taking pictures but oh well. Munchkin was actually okay with talking to her and normally he won't even look at a new person.

It ended up being a way later night than I would have liked, especially for the middle of the week and with Munchkin. He ended up getting to bed and hour and a half late and was wiped and miserable for the rest of the week. But oh well it was worth it in the end.
So that was my May book events, in June I have another pretty big one coming up that I am excited for. I am going with a friend this time (must still find a babysitter) and we have VIP passes to a small cocktail event with all the authors attending!!
So here is my little rant about the B&N event . . .
So this event was promoted pretty heavily by our local B&N, there were signs at the store, posted on their website and also an event on facebook.  I checked each of them out very carefully because I didn't want to have to stand in line with Munchkin for hours only not to gain access.  So they had said that it was a wristband event, and you had to have a wristband to get in (only up to 175 people), and the only way to get a wristband was to come to the store the day of the event (starting at 9:00am) with a paid receipt for Maas' most recent book A Court of Mist and Fury.  So I told my boss and preschool we would be late and we went and got in line at 8:30am, luckily there were only about 20 or 30 people in line.  Then we get into the store and they tell us you not only need a paid B&N receipt for her most recent book but also every book you want signed (up to 3). And you had to bring that receipt to get a paid for bookmark before the event started, so yet another line to stand in before standing in line.  It would have been nice to know that and I would have brought it with me to avoid waiting in line again.  Now I was lucky and had only just purchased the first book in the series a month ago online at B&N, but I feel bad for those people who bought a book a year or more ago and no longer hand their receipts (I never hang on to my in-store receipts after it clears my account) and were given the choice of buy the book again or don't get it signed (and what about the ARCs that someone may have received).
Then while we were hearing about that whole rule, they also said that they weren't limiting the number of wristbands handed out. But they were only allowing 175 people in, so you had better get your wristband and then get there early if you wanted in. WHAT?! If you are limiting an event then limit the wristbands! They also required Munchkin to have a wristband because he was attending, come on he is 3 years old, he isn't having any books signed he isn't going to take up any time and if he causes a ruckus I just leave.  So as a result of this rule, I was stressing out that I had to work a full day and try to get Munchkin fed and get in line early enough to get into the event, especially when I saw posts on Instagram for people already showing up and getting in line before 4:00!   Luckily we did get in line and get my second paid bookmark, and then get in line for the event early enough to get into it, but still it was way more trouble than it should have been. So needless to say I am not going to put myself through that stress again unless it is one of my favorite authors!
Oh and did I mention that they set up in the toy section, try sitting there for 3.5 hours staring at a wall of legos with a 3.5 year old boy.
So there, I had to get that off my chest. I have been to several book events and this was one of the most rule filled and stressful events I have been to. (grrr I am still grumbling about the fact that they were basically handing out more tickets than they had room available, its like when you get to an airport only to find your flight is overbooked).