Saturday, May 4, 2013

May the 4th Be With You!

Its that ever so special day that all us Star Wars fans celebrate and let our geek out!
I would normally celebrate by watching the movies, or calling my brother to chat about our Star Wars memories but unfortunately I am not going to have the opportunity since I have a bridal shower today. So instead I will leave you with this killer video!

May the 4th be with you all!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Bedtime Story: I'll See You in the Morning


Synopsis: "This dreamy little book is like a hug and a kiss goodnight. Reassuring and loving, with a padded cover and foil cover highlights, it's sure to become a favorite part of every child's goodnight ritual."

My Review: This is a great book for bedtime, and would be perfect for those little ones who seem to be afraid of being alone or the dark. A sweet reminder that you will be there all through the night and will still be there in the morning to greet them. It is the perfect length book for bedtime and has a lot of cute little animals to point out in the pictures. The images are bright for those little wondering eyes too. The only issue I had with it is that it gets into a nice rhyming scheme but then you suddenly loose the rhythm due to wording.
My Rating: I give this one a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag. I wish the wording had stayed a consistent rhythm but it is still a sweet book.
Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

From the Review Pile #1

I have been horrible about keeping up with my review pile so I thought I would join Stepping Out of the Page and showcase one of the books waiting each week.
From the Review Pile is a meme hosted by Stepping Out of the Page every Thursday.
The aim of this meme is to showcase books that you've received for review (or if you don't receive review books, any book that you own and really want to read/review) but haven't yet got around to reading, in order to give the book some extra publicity.

I know that a lot of you have a huge pile of books that you want to read/review, but it understandably takes a while to get around to reading them all - here you can give a book (or two!) some of the publicity that it deserves, even if you haven't read it yet!
Tale of the Taconic Mountains by Mike Romeling
Everyone had an agenda and it just seemed like coincidence—and of little consequence—that they happened to end up in the small town of Cedar Falls nestled at the base of Bakers Mountain, deep in the ancient Taconic Mountain range. Completely involved, even obsessed, with their own pursuits, it was hardly surprising the visitors would be unaware of older agendas both within the dying town and up in the forests and ridges of the mountain looming above.

There was the discontented novelist fleeing his job and his family, hoping to regain his mojo with a young girlfriend and a new book; a mother in search of her long-estranged daughter, but finding first an unlikely romance with the proprietor who loved his failing bowling establishment like a child—at least when he wasn't making plans to burn it down for the insurance; a soap opera queen who thought she was stopping by for a simple PR gig for the PETA folks when the town was plagued by thousands of bats in search of a new home. Instead found herself revisiting Gretchen Foley, the frightened disturbed child she had been before emerging as the famous Amber Steele.

There were the two Native American friends who came to climb the mountain in search of the fabled quartz Spirit Stones of their Mohican ancestors, the young man who wanted to retrace the steps of his grandfather who once lived along the river that flowed through town. But instead he would come to grief and need to be carried down the mountain by the mysterious and seemingly ageless Boudine sisters who had led secluded lives high on the mountain as long as anyone could remember. Few knew where these strange women had their cabin, but the dying Randle Marsh did, and it was said that he visited the sisters often; was he trying to live on endlessly as dark rumors suggested the sisters did? The rustic Wayne Funt knew where they lived too, but he would leave them strictly alone until he and his dog Duke played a major role in the mayhem that broke out during the raging Christmas snowstorm that buried the town and the mountain.

This collision of clashing agendas was presided over by a sheriff who did the best he could to navigate a safe landing for as many as he could who shared the wild ride on this memorable, often frightening year. And if the result could often be laced with humor and absurdity, it was always tempered—sometimes tragically—with what has always been true: sometimes, deep in the heart of the New England mountains, there are things going on, things both lighter than air and darker than starless night.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Review of Twelve Months by Steven Manchester

Synopsis: "Don DiMarco has a very good life – a family he loves, a comfortable lifestyle, passions and interests that keep him amused. He also thought he had time, but that turned out not to be the case. Faced with news that might have immediately felled most, Don now wonders if he has time enough. Time enough to show his wife the romance he didn’t always lavish on her. Time enough to live out his most ambitious fantasies. Time enough to close the circle on some of his most aching unresolved relationships. Summoning an inner strength he barely realized he possessed, Don sets off to prove that twelve months is time enough to live a life in full.

A glorious celebration of each and every moment that we’re given here on Earth, as well as the eternal bonds that we all share, TWELVE MONTHS is a stirring testament to the power of the human spirit."

My Review: Wow! Just Wow! This was one of the most emotional books I have read in years! Okay now that I have that out of the way, let me talk about the book and my experience with it. When I first started reading it for some reason I could hear Paul Harvey's voice narrating it, I don't know where this came from but that was what I heard (I kept waiting for "And now you know the rest of the story"). Then by not even a quarter of the way through the book I had already had a few laughs, some cringes and then of course about twenty pages of sniffling and tears. There is so much that can be taken from this story (in fact I book marked several pages and highlighted lines) about family, love, caring for others, making peace and what means the most when time is short, but I think what I will take away most from this story is Bella. I can only hope and strive to be even half the wife that she was, the strength, love and support she radiated throughout the story was amazing. I hope that you will all give this book a chance, I think it is one of those books that could mean something different to each person who reads it.
My Rating: I really can't say enough about this book, it was an inspiration. I really hope you will get a chance to read it! I give it a rating of Four Paws and a Stump Wag!
Twelve Months was sent to me by the author for an honest review.
You can find out more about Twelve Months and the author, Steven Manchester on Goodreads or on his Blog/Website.
You can also obtain your own copy of Twelve Months in either Ebook or Print formats on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

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:

Princess Bs - 34,317 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?

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.

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


Well, I didn't make any progress this last week :( it was a crazy week in the office as it is at the end of every month.  But lets hope that by the next update (at the beginning of next month) I will have made substantial progress!!

Happy writing adventures to you!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Pen to Paper - Update

As some of you may recall that I made a New Year's resolution to send a hand written letter to a friend and loved one each month.  I haven't stuck to my resolution as well as I had wanted but I have managed to send a bunch of letters and small gifts out this last month.
I have been keeping in touch with a couple of my fellow Ink Readers and have been debating adding more regular pen pals, but I want to make sure I can keep up with my responses.  I encourage you guys to join! It is so much fun getting mail and exchanging book titles, sharing our woes and joys of reading with each other in a more personal way.
I also sent out a letter to a cousin of mine who is currently taking courses and volunteering in Ghana.  He is such an inspiration and has been donating his time to the children.  I sent him a small gift of some of Nate's clothes and toys and some candies for those kids.  I hope that the package arrives soon before his time over there ends.
I also sent a letter to a dear friend of mine over seas, she is one of the friends I have made through the pony collecting sites.  I may have never met her in person but she has become one of my dearest friends.
I also sent a quick card to one of my fellow book bloggers whom I haven't seen much activity from lately.  I hope that she received the card and it brightened her day a little :)
And finally just this last weekend I sent a letter to one of my grandmothers.  She is legally blind and needs a giant magnifying glass reader thing to see so I had to type it (my handwriting is barely legible on the good days).  I had not been able to call on her birthday (I believe it was her 75 or 76) so I decided to send a letter and a bunch of new pictures of the Munchkin, she should be receiving them today :D
I have a few more letters and small packages to send out in the next couple of weeks, and was very excited to get a letter back from one of my pen pals this weekend! Keep your eyes on your mail box, maybe you will be next!  Please feel free to email me if you would like to receive a letter or card or would even like to become a regular pen pal!!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Lets Get Personal: Lesser Known Holiday Celebration

There are so many holidays that are celebrated in the US, especially since the country is a 'Melting Pot' there are traditions brought from all different countries.  I know around here St. Joseph's day is a big celebration, I am still not sure what it is but my boss always brings me a cream filled pastry.  One of the holidays that my family always celebrated has been May Day.
May Day is celebrated in a variety of ways and means something slightly different in all the corners of the globe, but to my family (and my home town) it means baskets!  Each year on May Day it has been a tradition to put together a basket of goodies, usually in our case growing up it was healthy snacks like fruits and juices. We would then put the basket on the door step of a friend's house, ring the bell and run like nuts because if we got caught we got kissed.  We ended up turning it into a town wide mayhem for a while, since my 4-H club started selling May Day baskets as a fund raiser.
Now I asked my mom once why we did this and (now I don't know how true any of this is but its what she told me) she told me that it was a celebration of spring and also a pagan celebration for the fertility gods. That the baskets were traditional left at a love interest's door step and that is why the kiss is exchanged if caught (you would know if the person felt the same if they chased you down and kissed you).  Now of course we were just kids so we didn't have love interests but it was still a lot of fun.
Now that I am older, I love making May Day baskets for a few of my friends and of course my Hubby.  I get a lot of funny looks when I talk about it around here but maybe I can make it popular and celebrated out here too someday.  For now I am just enjoying making baskets for my loved ones (of course Munchkin's basket is getting a little out of control lol).
So do you celebrate May Day? What do you do for the holiday? Or do you have a different lesser known holiday that you celebrate?

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
Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev
Armadillo Rodeo by Jan Brett (Bedtime Story)

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

Twelve Months
Eyes Like Stars
Two Lovely Relationships between Three Souls
Northlanders vol. 1: Sven the Returned
Currently Reading:

October Night by Theresa Oles - Kindle - 15%
Chasing Dragons by Doug Jaffe - Kindle - 3%

 Books to be Read Soon:
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson (Mental Illness Challenge)
Blood in the Valley by JK Hogan (Requested Review)
Heat Wave by Richard Castle (Audio Challenge)
And the Soft Wind Blows by Lance Umenhofer (Requested Review)

So I actually got some reading done thanks to there being no point in going to sleep because poor Munchkin is working on more teeth and wakes up mulitple times a night.  At least I will be able to catch up on some requested reviews that have been waiting for a while.  I am going to focus most of my reading on that list of books this month so check in often, you may find a surprising new book to add to your TBR list!
So I will leave you with an adorable picture of me and Munchkin from a photo booth! He really knows when to turn on the cute factor!