Saturday, June 9, 2012

Review of The First Zombies by Josh Atkins

Synopsis: A few friends hole up in their dorm room as an outbreak of a rabies like virus is announced. They venture out to rescue more of their fellow college students from the hungry and savage 'infected'.

My Review: I have read books before with undead creatures and characters, vampires, re-animated corpses, etc. but never ventured into the world of full zombie stories. I have to say I absolutely loved this story! Josh Atkins does a fantastic job of sucking you into the suspense and danger filled book. I have to say that first chapter completely had me and I couldn't stop reading! It is a short read, but promises much more to come in the rest of the series. If you are thinking about trying a Zombie book but aren't sure if you will enjoy them, I suggest you start here.
My Rating: Loved this book, I just wish it was longer, but it gives you something to look forward to in the next installment.  The First Zombies was definitely a Four Paw book for me!

This book was sent to me in digital version for review by the author

The First Zombies can be purchased in Kindle version on

Friday, June 8, 2012

Bedtime Story: The Sneetches and Other Stories

Welcome back to Bedtime Stories!

I know it has been some time since I posted a bedtime story and I have been promising I would start up again (especially since they seem to be some of the favorite posts).

I picked The Sneetches and Other Stories for tonight's bedtime story since it is one of my all time favorite Dr. Seuss books!

Stay tuned after the review for a special announcement!!!

Synopsis: "The four wildly whimsical stories in this collection—"The Sneetches," "The Zax," "Too Many Daves," and "What Was I Scared Of?"—touch on important moral issues, and while they can be read for sheer pleasure, they are also ideal for sparking conversationsabout tolerance, the need for compromise, and fear of the unknown. Perfect for young Seuss fans and collectors of all ages, this is a gift that can be enjoyed by the whole family on many different levels."

My Review:  The first story in the book is of course the Sneetches, a hard lesson for the sneetches to learn, but learn they did that "sneetches are sneetches, and no kind of sneetch is best on the beaches."  MacBean definitely made out best.  I feel like I can compare this story to a lot of people who pay so much money to dress, have hair or accessories like someone else.  Maybe its a lesson we should relearn.  The next story is The Zax, another great lesson for us to learn and teach, pride and stubbornness only get in your way.  If you aren't willing to budge or compromise, you won't get anywhere and the world will go on without you.  Next is Too Many Daves, which is just a quickly to deter from picking too common of a name for children! Last of all is What Was I Scared Of? A spooky way of teaching a classic lesson, not to judge someone by their looks, they might just need a friend.   This book is filled with four great stories, some just for fun and some to teach a lesson.

My Rating: I love this book and the fact that it combines four great stories, you can read one or you can read all.  Of course the illustrations are also fantastic! I give it a rating of Four Paws!

So have you stuck around for a special announcement?

Well here at Eastern Sunset Reads, we have some exciting news

Yup, we are expecting our own little rugrat! I was reading up on the little guy growing inside me and I found out he can hear and recognize voices now so it has given me a little push to start up bedtime stories again.  We have decided that the nursery will be Dr. Seuss themed so I will be working my way through my Dr. Seuss collection, getting him use to my voice but also to the stories (hehe starting him reading as early as possible)!

Good Night, Sweet Dreams!

Completed Craft Projects

Here you go, the long awaited crafting post!! Wow I have had a lot of off topic posts this week but I just wanted to share some fun projects that I have been working on lately.  They are the ones (other than house work) that take me away from my reading and writing!

For those of you who don't know what that is it's a form of paper cutting.  The images are hand cut (I use a combination of xacto knife & tiny sharp scissors.  I then usually glue them onto either a background paper for framing or make cards or bookmarks.

These are the two card sets that I have been working on recently (shameless plug - both sets are for sale).  I do have a couple more projects I am working on and hope to finish while on vacation.

Red Panda Card Set

White Panda Card Set

And here are some close up pictures of the pandas

Custom My Little Ponies
Most of you know about my little obsession with these plastic ponies.  I (along with many other artist) have taken to taking ponies and creating something entirely new using paints, sculpting clays, nylon hair and whatever else strikes my fancy.

Bracken is a persona for a member of the mlparena

This girl was a project between a close friend of mine and myself,
she did the symbol and eyes & I dyed the hair and rehaired her.

 Dillies is a persona for another member of the mlparena

Emuel is also the persona of a mlparena member

Snow Cap was made for an animal based swap on the mlparena
my partner requested a snow leopard

Pearlized Baby Squirmy was made for another mlparena member who loves
the original G1 Baby Squirmy

Olivia was made for a friend of mine who just had a baby girl
She matches the nursery with her colors and dragonflies

Thursday, June 7, 2012

After Dark Review of The Kitchen Witch by Annette Blair

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 ;)

Synopsis: "Sedate single dad Logan Kilgarven is somehow bewitched into helping his lovely downstairs neighbor, Melody Seabright, get her own cooking show at his TV station. How did that happen? Melody can't even cook. In her hands, potatoes lump, gravy boils over, and chicken explodes. Still, she's got showmanship, and the general manager can practically taste syndication when her show, The Kitchen Witch, takes off. Even as the boss's daughter sets her sights on Logan, he and Melody are making some hot magic of their own. Sure, opposites attract, but can they last?"

My Review: A very cute, fun, light romance. I personally loved Salem when I visited last year and loved how this book was based in Salem and really stuck to the atmosphere of the town. The characters were very endearing, I absolutely adored Shane, Logan, Melody and Jessie, and even Melody's friends. The story line was some what typical but it was still fun with the quirky personalities involved. I loved how Blair added in the cooking, it added an extra flare to keep the story exciting(and me being not the best cook either it made me giggle at some of the mistakes I have made).

My Rating: The Kitchen Witch was a fun read that I did enjoy reading, I just found some of the plot points and ending to be a little predictable.  I still give it a rating of Three Paws though due to the fun combination of Salem MA, witches and cooking!

Recipe for Chile-rubbed Pork with Corn Salsa

So I know this is a little out of the norm, but this is one of my favorite recipes! I made it last night and it was so good (yet again) that I had to share it with you.


Pork tenderloins (about 1 1/2 lbs total)
Olive Oil - 2 tablespoons
Salt & Pepper (I use sea salt and fresh ground pepper)
Ancho Chile powder - 2 teaspoons
Fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels - 1 cup (I use low sodium canned corn)
Ground Cumin - 3/4 teaspoon
Yellow Onion - 1 small, chopped
Tomato - 1 large, seeded and chopped
Lime Juice - from 1 lime
Fresh Cilantro - 3 Tablespoons, chopped


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. 

Rub pork with 1 tablespoon of oil and season generously with salt, pepper and the chile powder.

In a large skillet, heat remaining oil over med-high heat. Add pork and brown on all sides (about 5 minutes total).  Transfer pork to roasting pan, but keep the drippings in the frying pan.

Roast pork loin until center registers 145 - 150 degrees F (meat should be barely pink in the center), about 15-20 minutes.

Transfer pork to carving board and tent with foil, let stand for 10 minutes. (trust me its worth the wait)

While pork is resting, add the corn & cumin to the frying pan (you left the drippings right?!) and put over med-high heat.

Cook, stirring until corn is lightly browned, about 3-4 minutes.

Remove from heat and add onion, tomato, lime juice and cilantro (I prefer to add all but the lime juice while still on the heat to soften a little).  Season with salt & pepper.

Cut pork loin in thin slices and serve with the warm salsa!

Trust me this is a tasty and easy recipe and it comes out perfect every time.  Oh and did I mention its actually somewhat healthy (unlike my biscuits and gravy).


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wednesday Writing

So Wednesday is my official writing update day. I have so many story projects going on and I need a push to get some done. So I will be trying to post each Wednesday about how my writing adventures are going (and I may need a swift kick in the pants by you guys sometimes).

Current Active Project:

The Last Mountains - 13,468 (handwritten)

A equine shapeshifting family is being hunted to near extinction and the young new leader must go against all her lessons and approach the elite council for aide. Will they help her? How will she keep her family's traditions and values alive, let alone her herd?

Other Works in Progress:

The New Old Home - 17,193 words

Everyone dreams of winning the lottery, but what would you do with that money? That is the question presented to Natalie, when she is at the lowest point in her life, she is presented with an opportunity to make any normal person's dreams come true, but all those winnings can't give her what she wants most.

Tamlyn Marie's Grace - 12,072 words
Think Cinderella only with a matchmaker ;)

Princess Bs - 32,131 words
A story about a woman, recently divorced and returned to her home town to figure out what is next. She encounters an old friend and spends a weekend with him and his daughters. Feelings that are long since buried are rising up again, but are her recent loss and his current life going to stand in the way of their happily ever after?

Night Rider - 17,229

Alice is a recent high school graduate who is a very accomplished competitive rider in Hunter/Jumper, Dressage, and Western/Rodeo. Her parents had arranged for her to attend a private college on the east coast geared specifically to equine professions. However, Alice wants to focus on her studies in English Literature. When she arrives at the college she hides her riding abilities, but can she keep her talent and love of horses hidden?

Other Ideas Plotting:

Bloodsoar's Story
A pegasus struggles through life, ejected from the herd, near capture by humans.

The Assassin's Assassin
A student learns what the school is really teaching and sets out to destroy those who support the program.

Angel Story
Angels battle out an age old feud in a parallel world


So, with short weeks, training at the office, and still working on the big accounting project I haven't had too much time to write, but I do have a little update for you :D
Working on Last Mountains, I am around 20 pages behind on typing so I put up the handwritten word count.  When I type I elaborate a little and it ends up being around 1,000 or 2,000 (or more) extra words.  Also, when I originally started working on this one back a year or two ago for Nanowrimo I had outlined part of the story and even did a phase outline, but guess what, I have completely caught up to my outlines so I will need to add to both the outlines.  
I also started looking over Tamlyn Marie's Grace, and sadly I cannot find where I saved this story.  Thank goodness it was another story that I have handwritten! So I need to pull out the two notebooks (yes 2 whole notebooks) and start reading through to figure out where I am in the story and hopefully plan a conclusion soon.
Of course I will be on vacation next week but I am hoping to get some work on my writing done (in addition to reading and more craft projects).  I would like to at least be caught up with the typing on Last Mountains and have another 20 or so outline phases done so when I come back to work I can write some more.  I also hope to at least have a plan of where I am going with Tamlyn Marie's Grace and maybe some typed up too, we will have to see what I can get done!
Soo many ideas and inspiration, so little time!  Hope you all find the time to get your inspirations down!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Book Review of Impeccable Petunia Part 1 by Katie Christine

Synopsis: "Follow Petunia, the backyard hen, through a hazardous world as she discovers hidden talents, a mischievous cat named Macy and encounters all things feathered and furious."

My Review: This was such a unique idea for a young readers book, being an animal lover myself how could I pass it up?! Katie Christine gives us a little peek into the life of a quirky hen, Petunia. The other hens aren't a huge fan of change or anything out of ordinary and when Petunia sets their world upside down the gossip starts and before long it gets out of hand. There are several characters throughout the story including Macy the cat, Silkie the human woman, the Orpas who rule the roost and Ronald the one eyed fox; each has their own personality and add to the story. I have to say I really fell in love with them all! Katie Christine paints a very vivid image of the story (and the illustrations by Jonathan Edward at the beginning of each chapter were very cute as well).  The only down fall I could find in the book is the vocabulary might be out of the intended readers reach, but it would be a good learning tool for them to look up the words they don't understand.  I will give you all a little warning though, the ending leaves you hanging a bit and leaves you wanting to read Impeccable Petunia Part 2!  

My Rating: A very cute book, I love books featuring animals as characters, and I think Katie Christine does a great job of making them realistic yet giving that little bit of personality to keep readers interested. As I said above, the vocabulary might be a little out of the target readers' abilities.  I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag!

This book was sent to me by the author for a review.
Impeccable Petunia is available for the Kindle on
or you can find out more (and see the illustrations) on

Monday, June 4, 2012

Monday Reading List & Meet Me on Monday!

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!

What I Read Last Week:
Links will take you to my review

Twice Tempted by a Rogue by Tessa Dare
Highland Guardian by Melissa Mayhue

Currently Reading:

Frost Kisses by Kailin Gow - pb - on page 45 of 284
The Brotherhood of Piaxia by Michael Drakich - digital - on page 26 of 340

Next Books to be Read:

Catundra by Stephen Cosgrove - Childrens/Bedtime stories
Liberty: A Lake Wobegon Novel by Garrison Keller- Mount TBR Challenge
Under Camelot's Banner by Sarah Zettel - Arthurian Legend Challenge
Soul of a Highlander by Melissa Mayhue - Mount TBR Challenge
Meet Me on Monday

So I found this fun little meme I thought would be great to add so people get to know me a little better (and discover my strange little quirks). Meet Me On Monday is hosted by Acting Balanced where 5 questions are posted each week for us to answer about ourselves and share with all of our readers.

Acting Balanced
And now for this weeks Questions:
1. Finish this sentence - The thing I dislike most about shopping is....
                                          Um Everything!!! I hate dealing with the crowds, pushy and rude people, can't find what I am looking for, long check outs, how expensive everything is, I could go on and on! 
2. What is your favorite flavor of jello?
                                   Not really sure, I do like classic orange, but the fizzy ones that you add ginger ale to are really tasty too!
3. If you could trade places with anyone in the world for one day who would you be and why?
                                 Wow, tough questions this week! I can't pin point exactly who it would be but I think it would be someone I could learn something from, I have no desire to get a taste of being pampered for a day and then have to go back to my normal life.

4. Who changes the lightbulbs at your house?

                                          My Hubby, I am too darn short and need a ladder while he can just reach up and change the bulbs with out even having to stretch too much.
Question 5 is for all of you . . .  Do you like tea? What is your favorite flavor or kind?
Wow busy busy busy again! Short weeks always seem to do me in and it never seems like enough time!  I have a ton of books to read this week and countless emails to return, but I promise I will get back to everyone soon!!
Around the house, I have finally managed to get all my books moved, but are in such bad order I am going to have to spend a day or two reorganizing them.  Also, the AC and electrical work should be done on our house this week! Thank goodness!!  Next week, hubby and I will both be on vacation and should be able to finish the bathroom and get furniture moved into the bedroom and get going on the extra room! Gosh it will be so nice to finally stop living in a construction zone!  Oh and we are starting on the heating system next week too!!
I will be doing a craft post this week too, so much to show you and only a couple more to get done!!
Hope you all have a fantastic week!!