Monday, December 11, 2017

Advent Reads Day 11: Can You See What I See? by Walter Wick

Welcome to Advent Reads!
This is an event I have had on my blog for several years running now.  Each evening I feature a different holiday themed book. Think of it as your Book Advent Calendar! I post a variety of holiday books including romance, children's, middle-grade, mystery, paranormal, and I try to find some that are other holiday celebrations than Christmas too. I hope you will stop by each evening to see what new book I have for you!


Read for: Early Reader Challenge

Synopsis: "A Level 1 reader with holiday search-and-find fun by bestselling author/photographer Walter Wick!

From the photographer of the bestselling I Spy books and creator of the Can You See What I See? series is a new Christmas search-and-find reader chock-full of fun! Children can read the simple text and use the picture clues to search for dozens of hidden trinkets and toys! An illustrated word list in the back of the book provides extra support for the newest readers!"


My Review: Need a way to keep your little shadow out of the way for half an hour, this is the book for you. It is great for those beginning to read as the words and text are simple and bold, there is also an image of what they are searching for in case they can't quite read yet. Some of the pictures were pretty difficult and others are easy. The pictures are also very season oriented with snow, cookies, christmas items and more.

My Rating:  This was so much better than the one I picked out for Thanksgiving, it is definitely Christmas oriented with lots of holiday fun.  Some of the pictures are actually pretty difficult but still definitely doable for young readers. We give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.

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

A Child's Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas
Merry & Bright by Debbie Macomber
The Christmas Letters by Bret Nicholaus
A Home For Christmas by Tish Rabe
I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas by John Rox
His Christmas Sweetheart by Cathy David
Christmas Sucks by Joanne Kimes


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

I Want to Hold Your Hand
Jammie Day
Christmas Shoes
A Cars Christmas



Currently Reading:

Scythe by Neal Shusterman - Print - on page 265 of 435
Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet - Audio - 35%
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden - Kindle - on page 29 of 313




 Books to be Read Soon:



Pages Read/ Time Listened
304:36 Hours (about 10+ Days) Listened (10:48 listened this week)
49,132 Pages Read (196 this week)

Books Added to Shelves Recently TBR
Beauty and the Beast by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve
Samurai Rising by Pamela Turner
Dawn Study by Maria V. Snyder
Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
How to Tame a Willful Wife by Christy English
New World: Rising by Jennifer Wilson
The Sandcastle Empire by Kayla Olson
And I Darken by Kiersten White
World Mythology in Bite Sized Chunks by Mark Daniels
Eliza and Her Monster by Francesca Zappia
Frogkisser by Garth Nix
This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton
The Beast's Garden by Kate Forsyth
Addie on the Inside by James Howe
Also Known as Elvis by James Howe
Viking Warrior Rebel by Asa Maria Bradley
Puss Without Boots by Shari L. Tapscott
The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman
Saints Blood by Sebastien de Castell
P.O. Box Love by Paola Calvetti
Britt Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman
Nomansland by Lesley Hauge
The Secret Horses of Briar Hill by Megan Shepherd
The Secret Loves of Geek Girls by various authors
Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman
Keep Me Posted by Lisa Beazley
The Prince of Fools by Mark Lawrence
The Nothing Girl by Jodi Taylor
His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik
Tortall and Other Lands by Tamora Pierce
Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce
Wolf Speaker by Tamora Pierce
Emperor Mage by Tamora Pierce
Realm of the Gods by Tamora Pierce
The Winter King by CL Wilson
The Christmas Blessing by Donna VanLiere
The Christmas Hope by Donna VanLiere
The Christmas Promise by Donna VanLiere
The Christmas Secret by Donna VanLiere
The Christmas Note by Donna VanLiere
Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo
The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones
Jane Unlimited by Kristin Cashore
Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows
Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave
Shadowcaster by Cinda Williams Chima
Flamecaster by Cinda Williams Chima
The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell
Timekeeper by Tara Sim
Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco
Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco
Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter
As You Wish  by Chelsea Sedoti
Down and Across by Arvin Ahmadi
Naondel by Maria Turtschaninoff
The Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors by Curtis Craddock
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan
Phantom Traces by Claire Gem
Dear Margaret by Pamela Ackerson
The Staying Kind by Cerian Hebert
Christmas Joy by Nancy Naigle
Hearts Unloched by Claire Gem
A Family for the Rugged Rancher by Donna Alward
Passion's Palette by Peggy Jaeger
Never Dare a Dragon by Ashlyn Chase
Vampire King of New York by Susan Hanniford Crowley
Crewel Work by Natalie Alder
Trouble Looming by Natalie Alder
A Shot at Love by Peggy Jaeger
Moment of Fate by Karen Stivali
The Promise by Jennifer Owen Davies
The Landscaper Series by Robin Stone
Recipes from Raine's Roast by LG O'Connor
Caught up in Raine by LG O'Connor
Kilty Pleasures by Nancy Fraser
Redeeming the Billionaire by Christina Tetreault
The Billionaire's Best Friend by Christina Tetreault
A Billionaire Playboy by Christina Tetreault
The House of Four Winds by Mercedes Lackey & James Mallory
Warriors by Various Authors
Books of the South by Glen Cook
Chronicles of the Black Company by Glen Cook
If You Find this Letter by Hannah Brencher
Dinosaur Lords by Victor Milan
Dinosaur Knights by Victor Milan
Voyage of the Basilisk by Marie Brennan
In the Labyrinth of Drakes by Marie Brennan
The Speaker by Traci Chee
Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine
Christmas at Thompson Hall by Anthony Trollope
The Nutcracker
Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum
A Merry Christmas and Other Stories by Louisa May Alcott
The Night Before Christmas
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu
The Wall of Storms by Ken Liu
The Traitor's Blade by Sebastian De Castell
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
From a Certain Point of View
The Dinosaur Princess by Victor Milan
Above the Timberline by Gregory Manchess
Wishtree by Katherine Applegate
I Want to Hold Your Hand by Marie Force
I Saw Her Standing There by Marie Force
And I Love Her by Marie Force
It's Only Love by Marie Force




~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Yikes! This month is already flying by and I haven't even finished reading half of my Christmas books yet! Luckily, most of my house is decorated, nearly all the Christmas shopping is done and the wrapping too.  Now to start planning and preparing for Christmas dinner.  I hope you have been enjoying my tips for a stress free holiday, I must say that most of them so far are tips I have been using and this year I am surprisingly less stressed (holiday wise anyway) than in years passed. 

We did have a little extra holiday fun this weekend and took Munchkin on the Polar Express train again. It is so pricey but he has so much fun on it and this is the only time he will even get close to Santa!  We even got our first snow the night before so it made it extra magical.




Hope you are having a great December so far!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Advent Reads Day 10: Christmas Sucks by Joanne Kimes

Welcome to Advent Reads!
This is an event I have had on my blog for several years running now.  Each evening I feature a different holiday themed book. Think of it as your Book Advent Calendar! I post a variety of holiday books including romance, children's, middle-grade, mystery, paranormal, and I try to find some that are other holiday celebrations than Christmas too. I hope you will stop by each evening to see what new book I have for you!

Read for: Cause Christmas does suck sometimes & we need to prepare for it


Synopsis: "These days, Christmas lights adorn front porches before the Thanksgiving turkey is even in the oven. Plane tickets to visit hardly-missed relatives cost more than the suitcase full of presents people have to lug across the country. And radios everywhere play songs about that fat guy in a red suit on an endless loop. Yes, it’s official: Christmas Sucks. This title is a humorous look at America’s commercialization of the Christmas holiday season and the terrible travel, inordinate amount of preparation, and family strife that accompanies it. You can commiserate with the fact that everyone drives themselves into debt buying gifts, no one enjoys seeing long-lost relatives, and everyone is creeped out by the department store Santa. With twelve days of Christmas, there’s plenty of reasons why this is far from the most wonderful time of the year."

My Review: This was a fun book that takes a comical look at the parts of the holiday season that do honestly suck, like holiday travel or not having a gift for someone when they give you a gift. It also gives some great ways to combat those parts of the holidays to make them a little less stressful. Now I have read a ton of books similar to this one to try to streamline my Christmas with the least amount of fuss and while some of the tips I have heard before, there were also some unusual ones that really make a lot of sense. So if your Christmases have sucked in the past, grab a glass of wine and kick back for some laughs but don't forget a notepad and pencil for all the great ideas!

My Rating: I was not expecting to get so much out of this book, I figured I would get a lot of snark and a few over used tips on dealing but there were so many great ideas in here that I had to take notes! I give it a rating of Four Paws!


Stress Free Holidays: Coordinate Your Wrapping Paper

Welcome to my Stress Free Holidays series, I will be sharing some tips to reduce the amount of stress this time of year puts on all of us.  Some are ones I have used, some are ones I will be instituting this year, and some I will be using in the future.  If you have any great ways to reduce the amount of stress please feel free to share them with us!


On the theme of wrapping, from yesterday, I have another tip for you.  Coordinate your wrapping paper, not so much with the decor but where the gifts will be going.  Have one style for those who will be unwrapping at your house, another style for friends, another for co-workers and another for packages that need to be sent out. In our house Santa also has his own gift wrap (but often his gifts are left unwrapped and are set up).  This method allows you to find gifts under the tree with a quick glance and will also help avoid the shuffling of packages when the time comes to unwrap.  A bonus tip with this is to put the gifts that won't be needed until after the holiday (for friends or family you may be meeting after the main event) in the back so they don't get mixed up or even lost in the gift wrap headed for the trash. 

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Advent Reads Day 9: His Christmas Sweetheart by Cathy David

Welcome to Advent Reads!
This is an event I have had on my blog for several years running now.  Each evening I feature a different holiday themed book. Think of it as your Book Advent Calendar! I post a variety of holiday books including romance, children's, middle-grade, mystery, paranormal, and I try to find some that are other holiday celebrations than Christmas too. I hope you will stop by each evening to see what new book I have for you!

Read for: Recently Added to Shelves

Synopsis: "A HOLIDAY FOR HEALING

Nothing's been simple in Sweetheart, Nevada, since the wildfire that ravaged the charming little town. Miranda Staley is among those who've sworn to stay on and bring Sweetheart back to life. She loves running a group home for the elderly, but it's getting difficult to keep her business going. She could lose everything she's worked so hard to create.

On the day of the fire, Will Desarro helped save some of Miranda's elderly residents. The handsome ranch hand is a man of few words, but Miranda soon discovers that beneath that quiet exterior beats a heart of gold. Will can help save Miranda's home and her business—but only if their love is strong enough to conquer his painful past."


My Review: I received this on while I was at the Fall in Love With New England romance convention and thought it would be perfect to read going into the holiday season. I was never really able to connect with either of the characters, both had a lot of issues and baggage. The way that the anxiety and PTSD was presented really didn't sit all that well with me, especially since not only was treatment not sought out but that no one noticed in 5 years. I found Miranda to be awfully pushy, and the romance was rushed especially with the obstacles in the way. The holiday feel was also really missing from the story, other than some cold weather and a few mentions of gifts, dinners and plans it was really just another day. Really an eh book for me.

My Rating: This book did not work for me at all, I was hoping for a feel good Christmas romance but the lack of holiday celebration and the use of a mental illness as a plot device just set me off on the wrong foot.  I give it a rating of One Paw.

Stress Free Holidays: Wrap as it Arrives

Welcome to my Stress Free Holidays series, I will be sharing some tips to reduce the amount of stress this time of year puts on all of us.  Some are ones I have used, some are ones I will be instituting this year, and some I will be using in the future.  If you have any great ways to reduce the amount of stress please feel free to share them with us!


One of my tried and tested (and favorite) tips for lessening the amount of stress during the holidays is to wrap the gifts as they arrive or as you purchase them.  Granted you will need to keep track of what gifts you have purchased but it all works out in the end.  There is nothing worse in my opinion then being in the middle of a 6 or more hour wrapping session only to run out of tape or tissue paper, and of course it would happen only 2 days before Christmas (or worse Christmas Eve).   So to simply avoid those long hours, or the mad scramble out to the store for the last minute wrapping items just wrap those gifts as they arrive.  It will also help to cut down on having to hide those gifts from snoopers!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Advent Reads Day 8: Bedtime Story: I want a Hippopotamus for Christmas by John Rox

Welcome to Advent Reads!
This is an event I have had on my blog for several years running now.  Each evening I feature a different holiday themed book. Think of it as your Book Advent Calendar! I post a variety of holiday books including romance, children's, middle-grade, mystery, paranormal, and I try to find some that are other holiday celebrations than Christmas too. I hope you will stop by each evening to see what new book I have for you!

Read for: Children's Book Challenge & Sentimental reasons

Synopsis: "Christmas is coming, and one little girl wants nothing more than a hippopotamus to play with and enjoy. But will Santa Claus and her parents make her Christmas wish come true? As shown in his best-selling titles The Night Before Christmas and Here Comes Santa Claus, no one can portray the holidays better than Bruce Whatley; and he doesit again with I Want a Hippopotamus For Christmas.

The song "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas" was written in 1950 by John Rox and became a nationwide hit in 1953 when ten-year-old Oklahoma native Gayla Peevey sang the song as a way to raise money for the Oklahoma City Zoo's first hippopotamus. In December of that year the city received Matilda the hippo for Christmas."


My Review: Several years ago my mom mentioned that this was her favorite song at Christmas when she was a kid, and while it isn't all that common anymore, when I saw this book I knew I had to get it for her to share with all the grandkids. It is a fun little book with funny pictures to go along with the lyrics of the song (mom really struggled to read it and not sing it). A fun book for those who remember the song to share with some of the younger generations.
 

My Rating: This is a book that not everyone might enjoy but those who do will cherish it for sentimental reasons.  It was cute and fun for the kids with the great illustrations and the lyrics of the song.  We give it a rating of Four Paws!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Advent Reads Day 7: Home for Christmas by Tish Rabe

Welcome to Advent Reads!
This is an event I have had on my blog for several years running now.  Each evening I feature a different holiday themed book. Think of it as your Book Advent Calendar! I post a variety of holiday books including romance, children's, middle-grade, mystery, paranormal, and I try to find some that are other holiday celebrations than Christmas too. I hope you will stop by each evening to see what new book I have for you!


Read for: Early Reader

Synopsis: "Fans of the PBS Kids Special The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Christmas! can relive the fun over and over with this Step 3 adaptation of the complete episode, written for children who are ready to read independently. From the Cat's Christmas Eve Party (with animal guests from all over the world), through his mishaps while attempting to return a young reindeer home in time to pull Santa's sled, readers will be introduced to a herd of elephants with an uncanny ability to smell water, a pod of dolphins who can communicate across far distances, and a single-minded army of Christmas Island crabs—all of whom demonstrate how working together is the best way to solve a problem, and how being home for the holidays is the best place to be!"

My Review: This was a good level 3 reader, I read an ebook from the library and the formatting was a bit off (lines from one page getting bumped to the next page and leaving the rest blank) so that may have thrown off our enjoyment of it. We did however really like the rhymes, they are very Cat in the Hat and they flowed so nicely while reading it aloud. It was also a fun adventure making a lot of stops in various places and getting some assistance from unusual animal helpers. We did enjoy it though it was a little long for Munchkin, by next year it will be perfect.

My Rating: I am a fan of Dr. Seuss but not always a fan of these books done in his style but not actually him, but the rhyme in this one was fun.  We really enjoyed it and give it a rating of Three Paws.

Stress Free Holidays: Don't Send Christmas Cards

Welcome to my Stress Free Holidays series, I will be sharing some tips to reduce the amount of stress this time of year puts on all of us.  Some are ones I have used, some are ones I will be instituting this year, and some I will be using in the future.  If you have any great ways to reduce the amount of stress please feel free to share them with us!


I know some of you might be cringing with the thought of not sending out those cherished Christmas cards, but hear me out.  Christmas cards are a lot of work, expensive depending on the number and quality you send and they are a huge time suck when you already have a packed schedule.  Instead what I have taken to doing is now sending out New Year's Cards.  It is a bit of a weird concept to get used to but there are several reasons to make this shift.  First, you can narrow your list down to those who sent you cards over the holiday season.  Next, if you use photo cards you can include pictures from Christmas day and family gatherings.  In addition, you can also include a thank you note for any gifts or parties hosted.  And you can do this all after the chaos of Christmas when your stress level is down, time is more readily available and the postal system isn't as bogged down. Finally, your card will also receive a little more attention and appreciation, instead of being one of the masses that are glanced at and then put with the other cards, yours will arrive after the rush and between all those bills that are starting to flood the mailboxes, a little bright spot in the after holiday gloom of January. Honestly, it is a win win all around.  



Do you send out Christmas Cards? Or maybe an Annual Christmas Letter? 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Advent Reads Day 6: The Christmas Letters by Bret Nicholaus

Welcome to Advent Reads!
This is an event I have had on my blog for several years running now.  Each evening I feature a different holiday themed book. Think of it as your Book Advent Calendar! I post a variety of holiday books including romance, children's, middle-grade, mystery, paranormal, and I try to find some that are other holiday celebrations than Christmas too. I hope you will stop by each evening to see what new book I have for you!

Read for: Advent Reads - Library/Overdrive

Synopsis: "In the heartwarming tradition of Richard Paul Evans's The Christmas Box, this timeless story will inspire all generations.
With the whole family convened for holiday festivities, Grandpa speaks from his heart to his wife, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchild. "This may be the last Christmas I get to spend with each of you, so I want to give each of you a letter." The nine envelopes Grandpa hands to his family each contain a personal story of how they brought joy to him, and a life lesson that not only speaks to them but moves readers to reflect on the ways their lives have been touched by their loved ones."


My Review: Brace yourself for a quick tear-jerking story for the holiday season! This is a nice short book that will fit into your busy holiday schedule but it packs enough emotion that you can't help but be drawn right in and reminded more of what the spirit of the season is about, loved ones. It does take a hard religious turn that I don't think it really needed but it does go along with the message for so many. Either way it will make you pause and really think about what you want your holidays to be like.
 

My Rating: This one certainly pulled on the heart strings, though the drastic religious turn threw me off, not that I mind religion especially during the holidays but I prefer it to be a little more subtle and well integrated.  Even with that turn it was still so enjoyable that I give it a rating of Four Paws.

Stress Free Holidays: Shop Early

Welcome to my Stress Free Holidays series, I will be sharing some tips to reduce the amount of stress this time of year puts on all of us.  Some are ones I have used, some are ones I will be instituting this year, and some I will be using in the future.  If you have any great ways to reduce the amount of stress please feel free to share them with us!


Now it is a little late for this tip for this year but definitely one to keep in mind for next year.  This year I have discovered that shopping early you will find almost as many and as good of deals as you do into Black Friday and December.  There are some great sales on other holidays such as Columbus Day and Veterans Day. Many of the larger retailers will even feature Black Friday preview sales/early sales that are nearly as good.  Also, look for the stores that offer cash or credit toward future sales, I did a lot of shopping at Kohl's this year and each time would accumulate Kohl's Cash and Yes2you rewards that I could then reinvest back into additional gifts.  

Shopping early can not only save you money, but you can catch end of season goods, get some of the most wanted gifts before things are sold out and you can avoid a lot of the chaos of the stores.  This year, the gift shopping for me is one of the least stressful parts of the holidays, a new one for me.  I am still going to go to a few stores here and there but it will be a much more enjoyable experience, I will be able to enjoy browsing, listening to the music and a more sedate pace.  The gifts I find in my later trips will just be if a special gift pops out at me.


Do you enjoy the experience of shopping in the stores during the season? Or do you shop online? Are you someone who has a specific list in mind for each person or do you browse until something jumps out at you?

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Advent Reads Day 5: Merry & Bright by Debbie Macomber

Welcome to Advent Reads!
This is an event I have had on my blog for several years running now.  Each evening I feature a different holiday themed book. Think of it as your Book Advent Calendar! I post a variety of holiday books including romance, children's, middle-grade, mystery, paranormal, and I try to find some that are other holiday celebrations than Christmas too. I hope you will stop by each evening to see what new book I have for you!

Read for: Requested Review/ Netgalley


Synopsis: "Merry Knight is pretty busy these days. She's taking care of her family, baking cookies, decorating for the holidays, and hoping to stay out of the crosshairs of her stressed and by-the-book boss at the consulting firm where she temps. Her own social life is the last thing she has in mind, much less a man. Without her knowledge, Merry's well-meaning mom and brother create an online dating profile for her--minus her photo--and the matches start rolling in. Initially, Merry is incredulous, but she reluctantly decides to give it a whirl.

Soon Merry finds herself chatting with a charming stranger, a man with similar interests and an unmistakably kind soul. Their online exchanges become the brightest part of her day. But meeting face-to-face is altogether different, and her special friend is the last person Merry expects--or desires. Still, sometimes hearts can see what our eyes cannot. In this satisfying seasonal tale, unanticipated love is only a click away."


My Review: I received this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I have become obsessed with Debbie Macomber's Christmas books over the past few years and have kept up with reading each of her new releases. While this book, as with many of her Christmas books of years past, tend to be predictable and follow along common tropes, they always have that warm fuzzy holiday feeling that I look for. I adored the characters in this book, especially Merry's family with all their loving and yet meddling ways. There were so many elements to love in this story and great messages about taking time out of your schedule to enjoy the true meaning of the holiday, about not judging people by their looks or even their attitudes as there is often more behind the facade. Simply a sweet romance that you can invest yourself into for a few hours during the holiday season.

My Rating: When I read holiday books this is really what I am looking for, a book that flows and flies, a book that gives me warm fuzzy feels at the end and one that is full of holiday celebrations.  I thoroughly enjoyed this one and give it a rating of Four Paws.


I received this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

You can find out more about Debbie Macomber and her works, especially her holiday releases, on her Goodreads Page or Website.

Merry & Bright was just released in October for this holiday season, you can obtain your own copy in print or digital format from Amazon or Barnes & Noble or your local independent bookseller!

Stress Free Holidays: Purge the Decorations

Welcome to my Stress Free Holidays series, I will be sharing some tips to reduce the amount of stress this time of year puts on all of us.  Some are ones I have used, some are ones I will be instituting this year, and some I will be using in the future.  If you have any great ways to reduce the amount of stress please feel free to share them with us!


On the subject of decorating from Sunday, when you are putting up the decorations is a great time to also sort and purge your decorations.  This is especially important if you have transitioned from apartment living to house living, into adult life, or even a different phase of your life anytime in the recent years.  I took over hosting Christmas at our house 5 years ago when Munchkin was born and have only in the past couple of years really settled on a theme and look for our house decorating.  It is time to really start purging out those joke looking decorating (I was not sad to see the singing Homer Simpson Santa go).   

After setting up, take everything that you didn't put up and sort through it, is it broken, does it not match your style anymore, or is it something you just aren't using this year.  If it is something you aren't using this year store it in a separate box at the end of the season, if you still don't use it the following year, it may be time to donate it (unless of course it is something that you just can't use at this time like all my breakable ornaments that have been boxed up for the past 5 years waiting for Munchkin to get past playing with the tree).  If it is broken and you don't fix it by the time you pack up the Christmas decorations for the year, chances are you are never going to get around to it.  Also, some places will take Christmas donations immediately after the holiday but many only take them prior due to limited storage space so keep that in mind when donating your old decorations.


Do you ever go through your decorations? Have you settled on a decorating theme for your house? I have finally settled on a more neutral display featuring snowmen, winter birds and other winter animals, a slight rustic woodland look but without going so far as to look log cabin. I am also nearly have a set of china complete for Christmas dinner which is rather exciting!  

Monday, December 4, 2017

Advent Reads Day 4: A Child's Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas

Welcome to Advent Reads!
This is an event I have had on my blog for several years running now.  Each evening I feature a different holiday themed book. Think of it as your Book Advent Calendar! I post a variety of holiday books including romance, children's, middle-grade, mystery, paranormal, and I try to find some that are other holiday celebrations than Christmas too. I hope you will stop by each evening to see what new book I have for you!

Read for: TBR Pile

Synopsis: "Originally emerging from a piece written for radio, the poem was recorded by Thomas in 1952. The story is an anecdotal retelling of a Christmas from the view of a young child and is a romanticised version of Christmases past, portraying a nostalgic and simpler time. It is one of Thomas' most popular works.

Summary (on verso of title page): A Welsh poet recalls the celebration of Christmas in Wales and the feelings it evoked in him as a child."


My Review: So I picked this one up a while ago for the Advent Reads event, figuring it would be fun to have a classic and poetry at that during the event. I first tried to listen to this as an audio book and I don't know if it was the narrator or the story itself but it didn't translate well and I had a difficult time paying attention or following it. So instead I picked up the print book and it was a little easier to read but it still didn't capture my attention. I think that maybe it is a bit dated for me and it wasn't relatable to me. Others who really enjoy classic works may enjoy it, and it is a quick read, the edition I have also has some great pencil illustrations in it.

My Rating: While I appreciate classic literature, poetry and the sentimentality and nostalgia of Christmases when you were a kid, this book just doesn't transition well to modern times or my reading preferences.  It may be perfect for some readers but it didn't work for me, I give it a rating of One Paw and a Stump Wag.




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 Snowman and the Snowdog by Raymond Briggs (Early Reader)
Klaus by Grant Morrison (Graphic Novel)
A Christmas Home by Greg Kincaid (Audio Book)



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

Cars 3
Tethered Mage
Olaf's Frozen Adventure
A Christmas to Love You
See Santa Nap
Can You See What I See Christmas
Merry Christmas Mouse
Monster Monster Wants to Roar
Pendragon's Banner



Currently Reading:

Scythe by Neal Shusterman - Print - on page 265 of 435
I Want to Hold Your Hand by Marie Force - Audio - 73%




 Books to be Read Soon:



Pages Read/ Time Listened
293:48 Hours (about 10+ Days) Listened (1:56 listened this week)
48,936 Pages Read (1,075 this week)

Books Added to Shelves Recently TBR
Beauty and the Beast by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve
Samurai Rising by Pamela Turner
Dawn Study by Maria V. Snyder
Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
How to Tame a Willful Wife by Christy English
New World: Rising by Jennifer Wilson
The Sandcastle Empire by Kayla Olson
And I Darken by Kiersten White
World Mythology in Bite Sized Chunks by Mark Daniels
Eliza and Her Monster by Francesca Zappia
Frogkisser by Garth Nix
This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton
The Beast's Garden by Kate Forsyth
Addie on the Inside by James Howe
Also Known as Elvis by James Howe
Viking Warrior Rebel by Asa Maria Bradley
Puss Without Boots by Shari L. Tapscott
The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman
Saints Blood by Sebastien de Castell
P.O. Box Love by Paola Calvetti
Britt Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman
Nomansland by Lesley Hauge
The Secret Horses of Briar Hill by Megan Shepherd
The Secret Loves of Geek Girls by various authors
Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman
Keep Me Posted by Lisa Beazley
The Prince of Fools by Mark Lawrence
The Nothing Girl by Jodi Taylor
His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik
Tortall and Other Lands by Tamora Pierce
Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce
Wolf Speaker by Tamora Pierce
Emperor Mage by Tamora Pierce
Realm of the Gods by Tamora Pierce
The Winter King by CL Wilson
The Christmas Blessing by Donna VanLiere
The Christmas Hope by Donna VanLiere
The Christmas Promise by Donna VanLiere
The Christmas Secret by Donna VanLiere
The Christmas Note by Donna VanLiere
Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo
The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones
Jane Unlimited by Kristin Cashore
Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows
Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave
Shadowcaster by Cinda Williams Chima
Flamecaster by Cinda Williams Chima
The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell
Timekeeper by Tara Sim
Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco
Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco
Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter
As You Wish  by Chelsea Sedoti
Down and Across by Arvin Ahmadi
Naondel by Maria Turtschaninoff
The Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors by Curtis Craddock
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan
Phantom Traces by Claire Gem
Dear Margaret by Pamela Ackerson
The Staying Kind by Cerian Hebert
Christmas Joy by Nancy Naigle
Hearts Unloched by Claire Gem
A Family for the Rugged Rancher by Donna Alward
Passion's Palette by Peggy Jaeger
Never Dare a Dragon by Ashlyn Chase
Vampire King of New York by Susan Hanniford Crowley
Crewel Work by Natalie Alder
Trouble Looming by Natalie Alder
A Shot at Love by Peggy Jaeger
Moment of Fate by Karen Stivali
The Promise by Jennifer Owen Davies
The Landscaper Series by Robin Stone
Recipes from Raine's Roast by LG O'Connor
Caught up in Raine by LG O'Connor
Kilty Pleasures by Nancy Fraser
Redeeming the Billionaire by Christina Tetreault
The Billionaire's Best Friend by Christina Tetreault
A Billionaire Playboy by Christina Tetreault
The House of Four Winds by Mercedes Lackey & James Mallory
Warriors by Various Authors
Books of the South by Glen Cook
Chronicles of the Black Company by Glen Cook
If You Find this Letter by Hannah Brencher
Dinosaur Lords by Victor Milan
Dinosaur Knights by Victor Milan
Voyage of the Basilisk by Marie Brennan
In the Labyrinth of Drakes by Marie Brennan
The Speaker by Traci Chee
Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine
Christmas at Thompson Hall by Anthony Trollope
The Nutcracker
Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum
A Merry Christmas and Other Stories by Louisa May Alcott
The Night Before Christmas
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu
The Wall of Storms by Ken Liu
The Traitor's Blade by Sebastian De Castell
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
From a Certain Point of View
The Dinosaur Princess by Victor Milan
Above the Timberline by Gregory Manchess
Wishtree by Katherine Applegate
I Want to Hold Your Hand by Marie Force




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I cannot believe we are already into December, the days are ticking by faster and faster! I thought I was prepared for this month but now that it is here I can see I am far from ready.  I am behind on nearly everything but luckily I have not let it get to me so far, I just keep thinking small, just get these 3 things done today (I guess that will have to be a tip for my Stress Free Holiday posts later this month).   It was a whirlwind week and weekend last week but packed full of fun! We got our tree up and decorated, most of the wrapping done, the leaves are done, the first few rooms are decorated, we took Munchkin to the Polar Express Story time at Barnes and Noble again, I went to the RI Author Expo again this year (and made some really awesome connections, I was honestly wondering if I should phase out RI Author month but after meeting and speaking with several authors on Saturday, I have been completely revitalized), and my Minnesota Vikings won again!

I hope that you have enjoyed the first few days of both my Advent Reads event and the Stress Free Holiday series. I am going to be working hard on getting more posts scheduled today and tomorrow and I hope you will stick around for those! I am enjoying the comments on the Stress Free Holiday posts and I will be going back and catching up on those comments too, I look forward to hearing more of your tips as well!


Hope you have a fun week full of bookish adventures!


Sunday, December 3, 2017

Advent Reads Day 3: A Christmas Home by Greg Kincaid

Welcome to Advent Reads!
This is an event I have had on my blog for several years running now.  Each evening I feature a different holiday themed book. Think of it as your Book Advent Calendar! I post a variety of holiday books including romance, children's, middle-grade, mystery, paranormal, and I try to find some that are other holiday celebrations than Christmas too. I hope you will stop by each evening to see what new book I have for you!



Read for: Audio Book Challenge

Synopsis: "Todd McCray, hero of A Dog Named Christmas, is now twenty-four years old and working at a local animal shelter, where he meets and quickly becomes best friends with Laura, a young volunteer. Laura, like Todd, has disabilities of her own, but her struggles are more physical than developmental. Their friendship is sealed when Todd -- with the help of his trusted companion, the tenacious Labrador retriever named Christmas -- trains a beautiful dog named Gracie to help Laura with the day-to-day life tasks that are difficult for her.

Life seems good for Todd, but all is not well in his hometown. Struggling families unable to make ends meet are abandoning more and more dogs, and the shelter is swelling to capacity. The local government is struggling to meet its obligations too, and in early December, on the cusp of another holiday season, Todd’s boss delivers the bad news. Due to funding problems, the shelter will close its doors before the end of the year. But what will happen to all the animals?

As the Christmas holiday approaches, Todd has limited time to find homes for all the dogs. Not to mention that he needs to secure a new job and figure out what to do when his friendship with Laura takes an unexpected romantic turn. All this seems overwhelming unless you’ve got a loving family, dedicated friends, and a couple of very special dogs behind you. In which case, nothing is impossible."


My Review: I read A Dog Named Christmas a year or two ago, so it was a little difficult to remember some of the details and side characters of the previous book and novella. With that said the audio book is fantastic at distinguishing the characters. I really love the way that Todd grew as a character throughout the story, the portrayal of his disabilities was one of the best I have read in a book. I must say though that I didn't get as emotionally invested in this story as I recall getting in the previous book, but I did really enjoy it.

My Rating: For some reason I didn't latch on to this book quite like I did the first book in the series, maybe because I listened to it on Audio or maybe because it wasn't as focused on the dog's story as it was on Todd's story this time.  It was still a beautiful story and a great portrayal of both mental handicap and physical handicap.  I give it a rating of Three Paws.