Friday, January 18, 2013

Bedtime Story: The Nose Book

Synopsis: "Like the parent Beginner Books, Bright & Early Books feature the same affordable hardcover format, imaginative stories, and colorful pictures. Geared for a younger audience, these books use simple words, repetition, and pictures that act as clues to the text. Contributors include Dr. Seuss ("Mr. Brown Can Moo!" "Can You?," "There's a Wocket in My Pocket!," "The Foot Book"), Stan and Jan Berenstain ("Inside, Outside, Upside Down; Bears on Wheels"), Al Perkins ("Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb") and Michael Frith ("I'll Teach My Dog 100 Words"). Preschool - Grade 1"

My Review: Another great book to read as Munchkin is learning his body parts. The Nose Book is great and it makes him giggle as I point out his nose, my nose, the dog and cat's noses as we read. I like how it also gives you things you couldn't do without a nose so he can learn exactly what his nose does for him.
My Rating: We both enjoyed this book and I think it will be a common re-read for Munchkin.  We give it a rating of Four Paws.
Good Night, Sweet Dreams!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

After Dark Review of Dark Rider by Kathrynne Dennis

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: "Few secrets are harder to keep than witchcraft—but is the ancient knowledge the source of Lady Eldswythe's mysterious gift for healing horses? She is summoned to tend the prize steeds of the dark and solitary Sir Robert Breton, a rival of her family's house. The last thing Eldswythe wants is to be near a man her heart distrusts—and desires. His smoldering eyes could make her forget she is betrothed. And, oh! How he rides a horse.

Gallantly defending her through a violent siege and a harrowing escape, Robert comes to believe in her strange powers, for he knows only too well that he has fallen under her spell. The spirited and sensual Eldswythe has bewitched his stony heart with wondrous ease."

My Review: Dark Rider had a lot of highs and lows for me. I loved the unique horsewitch element and of course the huge role that horses played in the book. I would have loved to hear more about the weeping women but that could be another novel. The low part for me was the Black Bane sequence, I felt like it was not needed other than giving the characters time to grow a relationship and that it is in so many other historical romances. It seemed like there was just so many challenges to over come, that it became too extreme. I did like the characters though especially Robert. At times Eldswythe seemed a little contradictory at times but I still enjoyed her character's connection with the horses and her determination. I think this one would have been better with a little more backstory and without the plague, but I still enjoyed it.
My Rating: It was a good book but not the greatest. It had great ideas and some unique ones too.  I give it a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Review of Royal Flush by Scott Bartlett

Synopsis: "Royal Flush asks the question, can a man who throws his dates in a dungeon succeed romantically? A recipient of the H. R. (Bill) Percy Prize, Royal Flush is a novel about a man known only as the King, and as his Kingdom careens toward catastrophe, he cruises seedy taverns looking for likely maidens. He is particularly bad at this. His incompetence and his weakness for beautiful women drag him deeper and deeper into trouble. He is portrayed as a cross dresser by the Kingdom Crier, the Kingdom's most popular tabloid. Shortly after, he must defend his castle against a siege with only his royal fiddler--while attempting to steal his royal fiddler's girlfriend."

My Review: This was an interesting book, definitely out of my normal comfort zone but after reading a exerpt I couldn't resist. Royal Flush is without a doubt meant for entertainment. It is a rambling story with a lot of random comedy. It isn't a book for everyone and you need to be in the right mood to enjoy the humor. While I did enjoy some parts of the book, others just ended up being a little too off the wall for me and left me a little puzzled. All in all though, I had a good laugh!         
My Rating: It was great to read a book that makes you laugh at the craziness. And kudos to Bartlett for feeling free to ramble and being able to write with the flow. A very entertaining book but the humor may not be for everyone.  I give it a rating of Three Paws.
Royal Flush was sent to me by the author for review.
You can find out more about Royal Flush on Goodreads or the author's Website
You can also get a copy of your own on Barnes & Noble or Amazon in either print or digital format.

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:

Tamlyn Marie's Grace -

Think Cinderella only with a matchmaker ;)

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.

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?

The Last Mountains - 13,468 (handwritten) = 15,766 (typed)

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 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


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

New Years Resolutions - Pen to Paper

I am only a couple weeks late getting my New Years resolution up, but I have had it for some time.   So a little backstory first . . .

Back in November I joined a group hosted by The Book Queen called The Ink Readers. (You don't need a blog to join, and there is also a group on Goodreads if you would like to participate too). It was set up as a pen pal group for book lovers. Just in case you don't have someone near by who loves books as much as you do or that loves the same type of books that you do, you can find yourself a friend to write. 

I remember when I was in elementary school I had a pen pal in Pennsylvania and I would anxiously await the mail, excited to see what my pen pal had to say.  Now other than Christmas time, I absolutely dread getting the mail because it is nothing but bills and junk mail.  After a couple of months with Ink Readers, I can't wait to see if something special will show up in the mail and when a letter does arrive I tear into it and devour the letter as if I am starving.

So for the New Year I decided I would develop my love of sending letters and give other people something to look forward to receiving in the mail.  Besides letters to my Ink Readers pen pals I plan to send at least one letter a month to one of my friends and loved ones.

Additionally, I want to make it a point to perform Random Acts of Kindness, and one way I thought of doing this was to send someone a card with a kind note.  I am not too sure how to go about finding random people in need of a kind thought, so I thought I would open that to all of you.  If you have someone you think could use a little pick me up, a kind word, or just a little piece of joy please let me know.  I don't need to know why you are suggesting them, I don't need any background story, I just want to send a little card (and maybe an occasional small gift or two) to brighten someone's day.  So if you would like to suggest someone please email me at easternsunset @ hotmail .com.

Off I go to put the pen to the paper and hopefully bring a little smile to someone's face!

So do you have a New Years Resolution other than reading? Do you love getting letters in the mail? How often do you write to someone?

Review of The Art of the Personal Letter by Margaret Shepherd

Synopsis: "When was the last time you wrote a letter? Or received one in the mail?

These days, it’s so easy to dash off a quick e-mail or text message or make a cell- phone call while you’re on the run that you may rarely make time for letter writing. But letters are a time-honored form of connection that simply cannot be equaled or replaced by faster methods of communication.

The Art of the Personal Letter reclaims this lost art, giving you the gift of leisurely expression and allowing you to write beautiful, enduring letters to the people you care about—be it by hand or on a computer. For any occasion—whether you’re reaching out to connect with a long-lost friend or you want to express condolences with grace—author Margaret Shepherd gives you both the inspiration and the tools to write a memorable and meaningful letter that will be cherished by its recipient for years.

Filled with marvelous examples of common types of letters, The Art of the Personal Letter provides helpful guidelines to enhance your unique voice and inspire you to start that holiday letter or difficult letter of apology. From choosing just the right words, the right stationery, and even the right pen or font, you’ll learn everything you need to know about the timeless art of the personal letter."

My Review: I read this book, as it has become my 2013 New Year's Resolution to write a letter to one of my friends and loved ones each month. I was expecting a dry, instructional read but was pleasantly surprised how interesting and fun Shepherd made the book. I have so many pages marked, selections highlighted and notes written in the margins. While this was more of a refresher for me, I did find a lot of useful information. I really loved the chapters towards the end about applying the personal letter to specific situations ranging from break ups, condolences and fundraising! There is so much helpful information packed into this book.
My Rating: This was a great reminder of the power of a letter and was loaded with great tips! I give it a rating of Three Paws.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Spend My Money - Results & Ordering

Thank you all for voting and helping me pick at least a few books to order! So many great books to chose from, it is hard to pick which ones I will order.  So of the genres I posted your votes have decided I will order the following and feature them in my special Follower's Month (will probably be April or May)

Graphic Novels:
It was a tie between Bone & The Arrival, so I went with a tie breaker - the price and Bone was less expensive.
Children's Books
Hiccupotamus was the clear winner (and I am so excited)! I am looking forward to reading this one to Munchkin!!

It was a tough choice on this group, I know, both Vessel and Valkyrie Rising were runners up but Eyes Like Stars wins. 
Young Adult

Stealing Parker is another clear winner, I am looking forward to reading this because I loved Catching Jordan!
Paranormal Romance
So there were no votes for this genre and I was shocked, I know several of my followers are avid paranormal romance readers.  But anyway I used the price tie breaker to decide and Cynful won out by .50 cents!
Historical Romance
For Historical Romance with one vote it is Camelot's Destiny! Hopefully I can read this and the several other Arthurian legend books I have waiting.
So there are your Spend My Money picks! I still had some gift certificate funds left over and some books that were must gets for me.  So here are a few that I had to purchase.
Oh! My Brother! (Graphic Novel)

Cover TBD - Release Date 1-15-13
The Madman's Daughter

The Marriage Trap & The Marriage Mistake
And a few more surprises ;) It is going to be a great year filled with great stories!

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

Warrior's Lady by Gerri Russell
Hand, Hand, Finger, Thumbs by Al Perkins (Bedtime Story)
Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci & Jim Rugg (Graphic Novel)

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

 The Art of the Personal Letter by Margaret Shepherd
Hot or Cold (Hot Lunch #2) by ER Pierce
Fractured Moon by ER Pierce

Currently Reading:

Cleo: The cat who mended a family by Helen Brown - PB - on page 124 of 292
Last Regress by Rachel J. Thorne - Nook - on page 82 of 212

Next Books to be Read:



Another busy week around here, not much reading got done but it was great to be able to go to work and get a little break from the Munchkin.  Speaking of, he had a big week too! He had his first taste of food. He got to try rice cereal and he loved it, new big steps in little baby worlds.

Thanks for all your votes in the Spend My Money, I will be posting the winners and placing my orders later ;)  I will have to let you in on some of the other books I end up picking too.