Saturday, June 4, 2016

Graphic Novel Review of Angela: Asgard's Assassin Vol. 1: Priceless by Kieron Gillen

Read for: Graphic Novel Challenge
 
Synopsis: "All her life, Angela -- the finest warrior of Heven -- was raised to hate Asgard with every fiber of her being. And now Angela knows the truth about her identity: She is Thor's sister. She is an Asgardian. Cast out of her home and wanting nothing to do with Asgard, Angela must now strike out on her own! But what does Angela have that both Asgard and Heven want? And why are they so eager to get it? Visionary writers Kieron Gillen and Marguerite Bennett team with the legendary art team of Phil Jimenez and Stephanie Hans to finally throw the spotlight onto the Marvel Universe's most dangerous inhabitant!"

My Review: Of course when I saw this graphic novel I had to pick it up, it is Norse Mythology and my name. It took me a while to really wrap my head around what was going on, the storyline jumps around a lot so you really have to pay attention to if you are current or in the past. Also, like I have complained before, every super hero style graphic novel seems to be connected. This is the first volume but you need to have read the Guardians of the Galaxy, and several others in order to really know what is going on. I think after I finish my stack of graphic novels, I will be avoiding any in connection to super heroes in the future!
 
My Rating: Yup, while I enjoyed this one for the artwork, I am pretty much done trying any super hero GNs I am so tired of having to refer to previously released ones of a different series to understand much.  Anyway, I give this one a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Bedtime Story: Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein

Read for: Children's Book Challenge
 
Synopsis: "A favorite joke inspires this charming tale, in which a little chicken’s habit of interrupting bedtime stories is gleefully turned on its head.

It’s time for the little red chicken’s bedtime story —and a reminder from Papa to try not to interrupt. But the chicken can’t help herself! Whether the tale is HANSEL AND GRETEL or LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD or even CHICKEN LITTLE, she jumps into the story to save its hapless characters from doing some dangerous or silly thing. Now it’s the little red chicken’s turn to tell a story, but will her yawning papa make it to the end without his own kind of interrupting? Energetically illustrated with glowing colors —and offering humorous story-within-a-story views —this all-too-familiar tale is sure to amuse (and hold the attention of ) spirited little chicks."


My Review: I picked up this book in hopes to inspire a little change in Munchkin's (and nearly every other child's) habit of interrupting while others are in conversations or talking. Well it didn't quite work out that way. It is a silly story where little chicken interrupts bedtime stories with her own little twist until papa chicken flips it on her. There really was no reason for the little chicken to stop interrupting and didn't provide a lesson the way I had hoped it would. It is still a fun and entertaining story to read though, just not what I was hoping for.
 
My Rating: This wasn't exactly what I was looking for or what I was expecting and it didn't capture Munchkin's attention either.  I give it a rating of Two Paws.
 
 
Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Beginning Reader Review of Paul Bunyan: My Story by David L. Harrison

Read for: Early Reader Challenge
 
 
Synopsis: "WHOOOOOEEEEE! THAT PAUL Bunyan sure knows how to tell a story. The mammouth, mythic lumberjack tells the tallest tales about growing up, making friends, and working in the great North Woods as the biggest, best, and strongest lumberjack the world has ever seen.

Told in simple, unaffected first-person narrative, this Step 3 reader is the perfect way to introduce young readers to tall tales."


My Review: This is a fun book for those kids stepping out to do their own reading. It is a great introduction to tall tales and is fun the way it is told as if by Paul Bunyan himself. The pictures are fun illustrations and the story is cohesive though abbreviated. The sentences and words are still easy but still enough to challenge new readers into new words and concepts.
 
My Rating: I rather enjoyed this one, Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox were some of my favorite tall tales growing up. I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

After Dark Review of Sinner by Jianne Carlo

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 Digital
 
 
Synopsis: "Navy SEAL Linc Chapman aka Sinner’s no choir boy. Deployed to fight an-out-of-control brush fire in Alaska Sinner’s the last to exit the plane, he veers off course, his chute fails, his reserve opens, and he’s knocked unconscious. Sinner awakens in a cabin to a woman with the face of a Madonna and the body of a stripper tending to him.

Destiny’s in Alaska, armed with whips, cuffs, and copies of “classic” (who knew?) porn movies, to “sex up” former bestselling author Nadine Roland’s latest manuscript. It’s make or break it time for Destiny, career wise. The last thing she needs is a car that won’t start, a fricking blizzard, and a SEAL named Sinner who thinks she’s into BDSM because of her ‘toys’.

Sinner doesn’t believe Destiny’s an editor, not for a second. He knows they’re trapped in the cabin for at least two days. When the lights go out, Sinner knows exactly how he’s going to stay warm."


My Review: I have enjoyed Jianne's books in the past so I figured why not give this series a try. I did enjoy this book for the most part. Just the idea of Linc's deep voice gives me chills. Destiny/Sara on the other hand was just too dense to stand, how a character can be set up as intelligent yet still be dumb as a rock is beyond me. The story was also a little choppy, scenes would skip around (ie. the characters are situated in a way but suddenly they are positioned differently with no indication of the change), it just didn't have the flow I would prefer, it took me out of the story quite a bit as I would have to re-read a few paragraphs to make sure I didn't skip something. It was still a good, quick, steamy read to enjoy and I will certainly be looking for the rest of the Hades Squad series.
 
My Rating: I didn't enjoy this one quite as much as I enjoyed Carlo's Viking series and Destiny was definitely irritating but Linc made up for it.  It was definitely a good book for what I was looking for thought.  I give it a rating of Three Paws.

Pen to Paper: A Month of Postage



So I have been trying to keep very careful track of my postage costs for a month straight.  I did this so that I could show how little this hobby actually costs, especially when you consider the joy and friendships that come out of it!
 
So last month I sent out
3 international pen pal letters
1 pen pal letter within the states
1 international package (from the blog giveaways)
1 package in the states (from the blog giveaways
13 postcards in the states
15 international postcards
 
The letters and postcards in the USA cost a total of $5.04
The postcards and letters internationally cost a total of $21.60
And the packages cost (an estimate because I forgot to write it down) was $30.76
 
 
Now obviously the packages were more expensive and not actually part of my pen pal letters but I still wanted to add it into my monthly postage cost.  It is rather inexpensive to have pen pals, the cost of postage is so small compared to other hobbies and you can control those costs by the number and location of the pen pals you write to as well.
 
 
So there you have it, it cost me a total of $57.40 for an entire month of pen pal, and this was a busy month with giveaway packages and postcards from vacation.  I will try to keep track in up coming months too so you can see a more normal month too.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Review of Fairy Boy of Calton Hill by Sean-Paul Thomas

Read For: Requested Reviews
 
Synopsis: "Liam, a young teenage boy who recently lost his father, is befriended by G, a weird and wonderful, yet very curious kind of fairy creature, after she breaks the strict rules of her troubled, fantastical world and intervenes when Liam is beaten up by a gang of school bullies outside her cave on top of Edinburgh's Calton Hill.

Immediately G and Liam form a deep bond of friendship that takes them on a whirlwind adventure inside her magical world, from the great cliffs of doom and the flesh eating forest to the great lake of Silence, and all the weird and wonderful creatures that inhabit them, from fire wolves and rainbow dragons to the more sinister lurking Weasel bats.

But G's world is no longer the tranquil haven it once was, and is now a world ruled by a tyrant Fairy King, his mysterious evil wizard, Zorn, and their army of Wretchids - a half goblin, half werewolf mix breed creature, with one hell of a bite.

Things take a darker turn when Liam, looking to impress his new love interest Lucy - a pretty and feisty Irish teenage girl next door - secretly brings her into the new world, unaware of the tragic and twisted chaos that is about to be unleashed."


My Review: This book was sent to me by the author in exchange for an honest review. I have read several books by Thomas in the past few years and have found them to be enjoyable books to read with some big messages woven into them. This one was a little difficult for me to get into but once things got going I didn't want to stop reading. It is a thrilling adventure with some unique characters. I felt like it had some hints towards Peter Pan but it is truly its own story. I will say that the accent was rather difficult in the beginning, and I found it to be a little inconsistent (occasionally there seemed to be a lack of accent and then in the next chapter it would come back full force). It seems to be a part of a planned series as the ending is a bit of a cliffhanger. I do not know when another book may be released but I am certainly interested to find out what happens next.
 
My Rating: This is an adventure story for everyone, be it boys or girls, young or old.  I had a few minor issues with it but all in all it was a good fantasy story.  I give it a rating of Three Paws.
 
 
Fairy Boy of Calton Hill was sent to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.
 
You can find out more about Sean-Paul Thomas and his work on his Goodreads Page or Facebook Page.
 
You can also purchase your own copy in print or digital format on Amazon or in print from Barnes & Noble.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Tea Time Tuesday: Iced Tea Season

This is a new series of blog posts to share my love of tea and some discoveries I am making as I dive more into that love. (And honestly, what goes better with books than a nice cup of tea?)
 
 
So on vacation last week, it was still mostly hot tea weather where we were (most days were in the 50s) but when we arrived back here in Rhode Island it was instant summer with the days in the high 70s to mid 80s! So that means it is time to start drinking Iced Tea!
 
 
 
I got myself a new cup a few weeks ago in anticipation for this time of year.  This will be the first year of brewing my own iced tea instead of buying it pre-made or powdered mixes.  I am also going to be making some of my iced tea from loose leaf tea and hopefully some sun tea like my mom used to make.
 
 
Anyway, my first iced tea of the season was made from a loose leaf tea called Summer Sangria from Necessiteas.  I don't have a big infuser or infuser pitcher for iced teas (yet), so instead I used my big gallon pyrex measuring cup and made my own quick teabag using a coffee filter, measuring the tea into it and folding the open edge and securing it with staples.  It actually worked out rather well and the tea is a perfect light fruity taste to refresh on a hot day.
 
 
Are you starting to break out the iced tea? Do you make your own or use powders or premade? What is your favorite summer time tea?


Review of The Tale of Gwyn by Cynthia Voigt

Read for: Mount TBR & Series Challenge
 
Synopsis: "In a fantastical kingdom ravaged by famine and poverty, the prospect of hope lies with a mythical masked hero in this, the first book in the Tales of the Kingdom series from Newbery Medalist Cynthia Voigt.

In a distant time, a kingdom is starving. With winter upon them, there is little hope, except for the legend of Jackaroo: a masked outlaw who comes at night to aid the destitute and helpless. But Gwyn, the innkeeper’s daughter, is too practical for false hopes. She believes Jackaroo is nothing more than a fairy tale told to keep children hopeful till the next sunrise.

Then Gwyn is forced to seek refuge in an abandoned house, and while scavenging for supplies, she comes across...a mask? A sword? A cloak? Could these belong to the fabled Jackaroo? As Gwyn searches for answers, she discovers that the heart of a hero goes far beyond a mask.

Previously published as Jackaroo, this classic tale features a new look and a new title."


My Review: I had originally picked this book up on a whim because I really liked the cover and that it was a fantasy book (I must admit that the original cover and title it was published under would not have attracted my attention and I may have never read it). I am so glad I did pick it up. It was a little bit slow but it was well written and with smooth world building that you really didn't mind so much. I found the use of only a few actual names to be intriguing too, nearly everyone is referred to by their job or position and family (ie. Innkeeper's Daughter). This tale is also influenced a little by the story of Robin Hood but has so many differences that you don't feel like you are reading a retelling. There were definitely plenty of surprises and twists throughout the book that kept you reading and guessing. The last 50 to 75 pages were very good, it climaxed well and brought about an ending that was rather unexpected. I am really looking forward to starting the next book in this series!
  
 
My Rating: While this was a slower paced book, it didn't mean that it was slow to read.  It was easy to sit down and read through 100 pages without even noticing the time was moving.  The writing was much different in this book than most I have read recently but was a nice change.  I give this book a rating of Four Paws!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Magic Tree House Monday: Book 17 - Tonight on the Titanic

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.
 
Book 17 kicks off another adventure for Jack and Annie, they begin a new quest to find four items and break a spell. They have the help of their books and their own personalities to guide them. The first item must come from a ship lost at sea. They find themselves on the Titanic as it is striking an iceberg.
 
 


My Review: This book sets off another set of four books in the longer series. Now that I am used to this I really think it is beneficial, young readers can feel accomplished by finishing each set of four and they don't have to continue the series if they don't want to and yet have a nice conclusion to the set they read. This time Jack and Annie must once again use their research books to travel to different places and times and find items needed to break a spell. I preferred the ones where they had to save a book, but that is just the book lover in me. This one was a little more intense as they were on the Titanic as it was sinking, it was certainly a little scary but it also kept the pages turning quickly. As this was based on actual history, there were also several important facts at the end of the book too.  
 
My Rating: This was another great book, while it is pretty intense and frightening, I don't think young readers will become scared. It is quite adventure that will keep them interested and reading.  As I said above, I have come to really appreciate the sections of 4 books throughout the series too.  I give this book 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

Hour of the Olympics by Mary Pope Osborne (Magic Tree House)
Falling For Her by Debbie Macomber
The Princess and the Hound by Mette Ivie Harrison
One Night of Sin by Elle Kennedy (After Dark)
Slam and Dunk Go to the Moon by Chris Sawyer (Early Reader)
The Adventures of Beekle by Dan Santat (Bedtime Story)
G.I. Cowboy by Dolores Fossen (Mini Review)
Sworn to Raise by Terah Edun (Mini Review)
Sworn to Transfer by Terah Edun (Mini Review)
Sworn to Conflict by Terah Edun (Mini Review)
Princess in Waiting by Meg Cabot (Mini Review)
Princess Lessons by Meg Cabot (Mini Review)
Project Princess by Meg Cabot (Mini Review)
Princess in Pink by Meg Cabot (Mini Review)
Princess in Training by Meg Cabot (Mini Review)
The Princess Present by Meg Cabot (Mini Review)
Party Princess by Meg Cabot (Mini Review)
Sweet Sixteen Princess by Meg Cabot (Mini Review)
Valentine Princess by Meg Cabot (Mini Review)
 
 Books Finished Last Week:
Reviews will be posted at a later date

Tonight on the Titanic = 5pts
Itty Bitty Kitty Rescue =  1pt
Lets Go For a Drive = 1pt

 
Currently Reading:

The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle - Audio - 11%
More than Rum by Christine DePetrillo - PB - on page 16 of 340

 Books to be Read Soon:


 

Total Points Earned
 184 points + 7 points earned = 191 points

Total Points Earned this Year: 635
Total Points Spent this Year: 444

Pages Read/ Time Listened
105:17 Hours Listened
20,978 Pages Read (184 this week)

Books Added to Shelves




Interesting Tidbits on the Web:



 

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Happy Memorial Day, please remember those who have served our country whether you agree with what the wars were about or how our government handled things, those soldiers have paid the ultimate price and deserve all our respect.


We just returned home from vacation yesterday afternoon, and please excuse this rushed post, hopefully my math works out.  It was a good vacation though much busier and definitely more stressful than ever expected.  My brother's car broke down halfway to where we were staying and was delayed quite a bit, then there were not one but two family emergencies back here that were stressful when we couldn't get back to help out. Thankfully everyone is okay and on the mend at this point but it makes you never want to leave home again. After all that it was great to see family and Munchkin had so much fun, and I got to see my two little nieces too. Though with everything going on there was almost no reading getting done except to the kids (not that I minded one bit).

Anyway, stay safe this holiday (if you live in the USA that is) and enjoy your friends and loved ones.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Mini Review: Courtlight Series 1-3, Princess Diaries Series 4-7.75 & G.I. Cowboy

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.
 
So I guess I haven't really been keeping up with Mini Reviews (last time was in December) so I have a big post for you today.
 
 
 
A easy and fluffy romance read with danger and chemistry. Three Paws and a Stump Wag.
 
 
Courtlight Series Book 1
Major editing errors, maybe could have gotten past some of the clich├ęs if the writing had been better. One Paw and a Stump Wag.
 
 
Courtlight Series Book 2
Still editing issues, plus everything is so vague, like the author doesn't want you to know what is going on because she has no clue either.  One Paw.
 
Courtlight Series Book 3
I give up! There are brief glimpses of ideas that could be great but no such luck. I am absolutely disgusted that this series is compared to one of my all time favorites! One Paw.
 
 
Tween drama at its best, if you can stand it. One Paw and a Stump Wag.
 
 
This book was a little better than the rest in the series so far, maybe because it has input from other characters and we don't have to deal with Mia as much.  Two Paws and a Stump Wag.
 
 
Another reasonably better book in the series, Mia is actually a little bit more selfless. Two Paws and a Stump Wag.
 
 
Switched to Audiobook for this one, Mia might be even more annoying now, but Grandmere is a much more entertaining character. Two Paws.
 
 
Ehh, Mia is still annoying but Lilly is a horrible, horrible friend. Two Paws.
 
 
See, Mia can be a decent person and think of others, why does that only happen during the novellas?! Three Paws.
 
 
A little less tween whine, a little more coming of age. Two Paws and A Stump Wag.
 
 
Mia is slowly getting there, maybe maturing a little, but again this is a novella so who knows if it is a fluke again. Three Paws.
 
 
Ugh, who thought we would enjoy a look back in time?! One Paw.