Friday, May 24, 2013

Bedtime Story: Slow Snail

Synopsis: "Where is that snail going so s-l-o-w-l-y? Mary Murphy brings her surefire baby appeal to this bright concept book.

Snail is soooo slow! It takes her all day to slide down her flower, through a boot, under a stick, along a bottle, and in and out of a brick, trailing silver all the way. But when she finally arrives at her vegetable bed, it’s worth it — she’s just in time for dinner!"

My Review: This book is very appropriate for really young ones. It is a simple story with big illustrations and a silver 'snail trail' to catch their eye. It is not so entertaining for adults but Munchkin seemed to enjoy it. I think as he gets older I might make up my own elaboration of the story to make it a little more interesting.
My Rating: While the story is very simple it makes it easy to remember what each page says so I can still tell the story as Munchkin violently turns the pages.  I give it a rating of Three Paws.
Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

From the Review Pile #4

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!
Faceless by Dustin Sanchez

Faceless contains three "arcs" to its story.

Arc 1: NightCard, a private genetic engineering agency, has been creating experiments with a multitude of astounding abilities. Experiment 1343, or “Faceless” as he calls himself, is one of them. He was genetically designed with the ability to rip his face off and morph it into anyone he can imagine. His hyper-reflexes, along with diverse martial arts training, make him the perfect spy. Craving freedom he escapes to Paris in search for the woman he met and fell in love with as a child. NightCard sends the Four Kings, their best assassins, with orders to bring him back dead or alive, and they may be closer than he thinks. The girl he met as a child was treated for a psychotic break. Her unbelievable story about a man who could tear off his face had her parents believing she was crazy. She grew to be a beautiful artist, and her collection of art features a faceless man dancing with a woman. Spade, one of NightCard's Four Kings is a lover, as well as a fighter with a habit of spending too much time with too many women. He has been searching for something to quench his hunger. Spade befriends a man that's in desperate need of help getting the girl of his dreams, not realizing it's the very man he is supposed to be hunting.

Arc 2: years before the events of arc 1, Joan Saint, the former caretaker of Faceless, is forced into NightCard's Gene Coliseum. The Gene Coliseum forces experiments to fight each other the in bone breaking fights to weed out the weak while the rich and corrupt watch on for sport. A captured man named Fractal, with the ability to split himself off into multiple copies, plans his escape back to the life he used to know. Inside the Coliseum he faces telepaths, assassins, and a young Faceless.

(Mild Spoiler Warning)

Arc 3: Faceless meets with Fractal in an attempt to charge the NightCard base Fati, where they will try and take something and someone they both sorely need. Fractal has his team the Living, and together with Faceless, they are in for the fight of their lives, one of which may not return.

Faceless includes an array of characters, all uniquely brought to life with unconventional powers. Featured within are bone-shattering fights, erotic love scenes, and a romance story that will touch the heart and remind us what love really is.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Review of Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder


With her greatest enemy dead, and on her way to be reunited with the family she'd been stolen from long ago, Yelena should be pleased. But though she has gained her freedom, she can't help feeling isolated in Sitia. Her Ixian background has changed her in many ways—and her newfound friends and relatives don't think it's for the better....

Despite the turmoil, she's eager to start her magic training—especially as she's been given one year to harness her power or be put to death. But her plans take a radical turn when she becomes involved with a plot to reclaim Ixia's throne for a lost prince—and gets entangled in powerful rivalries with her fellow magicians.

If that wasn't bad enough, it appears her brother would love to see her dead. Luckily, Yelena has some old friends to help her with all her new enemies..."

My Review: I love following Yelena's story! I really enjoyed getting to know her and her past as she did herself. We met some new fantastic characters in this book, I absolutely love Kiki, and some of our old favorites reappear, Janco and Ari of course. While I did absolutely enjoy this book, it wasn't quite as good as the first for me. It felt like there was just too much drama and action going on in too short of a time period, this girl never sleeps. I do understand that this is a fantasy but you can't ignore the need for basic human functions. That said it is still totally worth the read and you get sucked into the story!
My Rating: I couldn't put this story down even though it did seem a little too busy. I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Review of And the Soft Wind Blows by Lance Umenhofer

Synopsis: "Timmy Enosh is a peculiar, small man: fivethree, onehundredandfifteen pounds, and is a pharmacist in Ashton City, Tennessee.

He finds himself at fortythreeyearsold as his life starts to fall apart: his threehundred pound wife disappears, his romantic interest has lost interest and has gained hatred toward him, his coworkers harass him, customers verbally assault him, and he has the strange urge to adopt his foulmouthed, eighteenyearold coworker, Alex.

When things start to pile up, Timmy must find a way to deal: he turns to Alex to supply him with marijuana, starts sewing an elaborate Mr. Mistoffelees costume, finds solace in the wild, etc., etc., etc.

And the soft, constant wind of change blows him on, on, and on."

My Review: Well that was interesting. I am not a hundred percent what to think of this one. Timmy seems like a nice guy who has had a lifetime of being walked all over and bad decisions. You really get to know Timmy through out the book and you find out how much he doesn't know himself. One simple comment started his week unraveling and led to more poor decisions. It is really kind of a sad story to read as his life crumbles around him as his bad choices lead to worse results. I can't help be also read it as a warning for our own lives and to carefully examine how we live and the choices we make and where they may lead us.
My Rating: This was definitely outside of my normal reading comfort zone but I still enjoyed the change.  It was a somewhat depressing book but in a good way. A nice short read too, I was able to read it in one of Munchkin's naps (a huge bonus for me).  I give it a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag.
And the Soft Wind Blows was sent to me by the author for an honest review.
You can find out more about both the Lance Umenhofer and his work on his Goodreads Page or Website.
You can also obtain your own copy of And the Soft Wind Blows in print on Amazon or Barnes & Noble

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Review of Chasing Dragons by Douglas A. Jaffe

Synopsis: "Sebastian is the owner of a bookstore café in Hong Kong who provides informal counseling services to an array of offbeat characters. His quiet life is suddenly upended when he meets Chloe, and their relationship takes a startling turn, as it begins to parallel the relationship of a pair of mythical dragons from Chinese history. The lovers struggle with questions of mortality and immortality, before a choice is made that pulls them apart.

From the safety of his bookstore, Sebastian observes the world around him through his books and his counseling clients, whose problems range from infidelity to the challenges of dealing with an overbearing mother. Living within the frenzied metropolis that is Hong Kong, Sebastian tries his best to live a quiet, predictable life.

Unbeknownst to him, there is a parallel story unfolding about Chi Wen and Zhao Chen, two dragons from Chinese mythology. While initially distinct from Sebastian’s modern life, this alternative reality begins to filter through and he finds himself increasingly subjected to visions and memories of a life he does not remember.

Sebastian has a chance meeting with Chloe one afternoon and they share an immediate attraction and familiarity that quickly draws them together. As the relationship deepens, Sebastian’s visions and dreams of Chi Wen and Zhao Chen intensify, and he begins to lose his grip on his sanity.

Reality and mythology blur and Sebastian is forced to question his own life and his relationship with Chloe. As the modern and mythical worlds start to intersect, Sebastian is drawn back into an ancient battle of wills. Solving the mystery of his frightening visions leads him to a choice that will throw his life into turmoil and potentially destroy his humanity."

My Review: This was an interesting book. I really enjoyed the Chinese Dragon and Mythology portion of this story. I don't really think I connected too much with the characters and it felt like there were a lot of sub-characters that were not needed, though some were very interesting and have stories all their own to tell. Of the two story lines occurring throughout the story I really preferred Chi Wen and Zhao Chen's story the best and I picked on some of the connections very quickly. However a good portion of Sebastian's story seemed like a philosophical debate, which I understand was part of building his character but I really didn't enjoy those classes in college and didn't care to revisit them. All that said Chasing Dragons has definitely rekindled my interest in mythology and the conclusion of the story was really unexpected and definitely unique.
My Rating: I am not entirely certain how to rate this book, I really liked portions and other parts not so much. I loved the idea and concept but could have done without so much debate and philosophy lessons. I think I will give it a middle of the road rating with Two Paws.
Chasing Dragons was sent to me by the author for an honest review.
You can find out more about Chasing Dragons and Douglas Jaffe on his Goodreads Page or Facebook
If this sounds like a book you may be interested in you can obtain your own digital copy on Amazon or Barnes & Noble

Monday, May 20, 2013

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
Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
Assassin Study by Maria V. Snyder
Hush Little Baby (Bedtime Story)

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

Currently Reading:

October Night by Theresa Oles - Kindle - 15%
The Study Bundle by Maria V. Snyder - Nook - on page 408 of 1027

 Books to be Read Soon:
Blood in the Valley by JK Hogan (Requested Review)
Heat Wave by Richard Castle (Audio Challenge)
Justice by Jade Varden (Requested Review)
Soft Spots by Clint Van Winkle (Mental Illness Advocacy Challenge)


Well last week was an utter failure.  I barely got any reading done.  Early Monday morning I re-injured my back and was in so much pain I was ill until I could get to the doctor in the afternoon.  I was instructed to take heavy doses of pain meds and muscle relaxers and be on bed rest for 7-10 days.  Well with a baby that is nearly impossible but I spent the first two days in a drugged stupor before returning to work and baby care. By the end of each night though I couldn't wait until Munchkin was fully asleep so I could take my meds and crash for the night.  So all that made for a rough week.

Then Friday Valerie our black cat went missing.  She is an indoor only cat who likes to plot escape.  I didn't notice her when I got home from work but I had to rush out to run errands so didn't think much of it.  I got home later that evening and started getting Munchkin ready for bed and still hadn't seen her.  It was a little odd that she hadn't come to see me when I got home, so I searched the house for her.  She wasn't in any hiding spots or in the garage or basement.  Needless to say I was frantic. After checking with Hubby and confirming no one had seen her since about 1:00 in the afternoon I went into panic mode.  I called my Sister in law to come watch the Munchkin after I got him down so I could go walk the neighborhood.  I spent 4 hours walking our streets and the ones behind and around us with no sign of her.  I finally gave up and hoped she would come home in the morning for food.  As I was laying down in bed I heard her tiny meow, of course she had been hiding in my Hubby's pants drawer the whole time and hadn't called out!! Thank god she was ok but gosh it was a lot of pointless stress!!

Add to all of that Hubby went away for the weekend leaving me with a teething Munchkin!! UGH!! I am exhausted and got no reading done :(