Friday, July 5, 2013

Bedtime Story: It's Time to Sleep, My Love

Synopsis: "It's time to sleep, it's time to sleep,

the fishes croon in waters deep.

The songbirds sing in trees above,

"It's time to sleep, my love, my love."

As children prepare for bed, the world around them is also settling down for the night. Animals who live in the jungle, the forest, the sea—all whisper to their babies a soft refrain: It’s time to sleep, my love.

As comforting as a soft blanket and warm as a goodnight hug, Eric Metaxas's lullaby is lovingly brought to life by bestselling artist Nancy Tillman (On the Night You Were Born) , whose illustrations celebrate the wonders of the natural world, and the bonds of family."

My Review: I love reading this book to Munchkin. The rhymes flow beautifully and its easy to help him unwind and get ready to sleep. It can be a little long but some pages only have a few words. The illustrations are so beautiful, a mix of fantasy and realism. They are a little busy for really young babies but will be interesting as the kids grow older. I have read it so much already I almost have it memorized.
My Review: I absolutely love the artwork in this book (and all the ones done by Nancy Tillman really) and the rhymes and story flow so beautifully! Definitely a Four Paw and a Stump Wag rating for us, especially since it does seem to mellow Munchkin out for bedtime!
Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

From the Review Pile #9

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!


Synopsis: "Sam Claymore works for Civil Airlines, sleepwalking through the highs and lows, the ups and downs of being a pilot. He survives working alongside a wacky cast of captains, turbulence scares, even being estranged from his father. Nothing fazes him until one day he is unexpectedly furloughed. What Sam will do becomes the new route he must navigate.
Enter Nate McFadden, a childhood friend living in Miami. Nate contacts Sam at the right time, a time when his moral compass may be susceptible to manipulation. Nate moves Sam in, getting him a job where being furloughed is the least of his worries. Follow Sam as he descends deeper into a world he could’ve never imagined. CONTRAILS is a story of real people faced with extreme decisions, the consequences of which could mean their lives."


Thursday, July 4, 2013

Review of Soft Spots by Clint Van Winkle

Synopsis: "A powerful, haunting, provocative memoir of a Marine in Iraq—and his struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in a system trying to hide the damage done

Marine Sergeant Clint Van Winkle flew to war on Valentine’s Day 2003. His battalion was among the first wave of troops that crossed into Iraq, and his first combat experience was the battle of Nasiriyah, followed by patrols throughout the country, house to house searches, and operations in the dangerous Baghdad slums.

But after two tours of duty, certain images would not leave his memory—a fragmented mental movie of shooting a little girl; of scavenging parts from a destroyed, blood-spattered tank; of obliterating several Iraqi men hidden behind an ancient wall; and of mistakenly stepping on a “soft spot,” the remains of a Marine killed in combat. After his return home, Van Winkle sought help at a Veterans Administration facility, and so began a maddening journey through an indifferent system that promises to care for veterans, but in fact abandons many of them.

From riveting scenes of combat violence, to the gallows humor of soldiers fighting a war that seems to make no sense, to moments of tenderness in a civilian life ravaged by flashbacks, rage, and doubt, Soft Spots reveals the mind of a soldier like no other recent memoir of the war that has consumed America."

My Review: As you can imagine, this is a difficult book to read. Soft Spots gives us only a tiny glimpse into the struggles a combat vet faces, the confusing chaos of PTSD and the lack of helpful staff at the VA. I can't imagine the way he basically was living in two worlds and the frustration he had trying to figure out what normal life should be. I also think he brought up a very good point that after the constant work of military lifestyle, normal daily civilian life can leave too much open time to fill. Soft Spots definitely reminds me not to judge or to assume why some people are the way they are, vets have been through so much worse than any of us civilians could ever imagine. Remember those who are still struggling as you eat your burgers and watch the fireworks with friends and family this Independence Day.
My Rating: This is a difficult book to rate, it was a hard subject to read about and got confusing as we followed Van Winkle through his struggle with PTSD, but that is the point of the book.  I give it a rating of Three Paws.

Wednesday, July 3, 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

All in the Company
A business that keeps to itself, employees marry employees and live on company property. Lissandra is ordered to marry Cody but both are always on business and don't know one another.


So another nonexistent writing month.  My plan was to do a lot of writing this month as I was suppose to have surgery and be on bed rest and no lifting etc. for 4 weeks, but that plan may change due to the evil insurance company.  On top of that Munchkin got me with his nails and I now have a cornea abrasion, so having to spend only short periods on the computer or reading. Hopefully that will be healed in a week.

All that said and done I am determined to at least get Tamlyn Marie's Grace typed up (not finished but at least get all the written stuff on the computer) by the end of this month!! Yea you can all whap me in the head if I don't get it done, sound fair?

I also have a new writing blog that has lots of great advice and information.  I think you guys should check out Jade Varden's Blog!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Review of The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rea Miller

Synopsis: "On the outside, seventeen-year-old Madelyne Summers looks like your typical blond cheerleader—perky, popular, and dating the star quarterback. But inside, Maddie spends more time agonizing over what will happen in the next issue of her favorite comic book than planning pep rallies with her squad. That she’s a nerd hiding in a popular girl's body isn’t just unknown, it's anti-known. And she needs to keep it that way.

Summer is the only time Maddie lets her real self out to play, but when she slips up and the adorkable guy behind the local comic shop’s counter uncovers her secret, she’s busted. Before she can shake a pom-pom, Maddie’s whisked into Logan’s world of comic conventions, live-action role-playing, and first-person-shooter video games. And she loves it. But the more she denies who she really is, the deeper her lies become…and the more she risks losing Logan forever."

My Review: This was such a cute fun read! I am going to steal Leah Rea Miller's word and say that it was Adorkable! It was a fun way to get a message through to young adult readers. Its tough being a teen who is slightly different (especially a girl because teenage girls in high school are brutal). I really liked Maddie even though she made a muck of things because she was afraid of being teased again. I feel like Logan was a little too perfect, good looking, smart, appropriate amount of geek, completely giving and helpful, and who gives a high school junior going on senior the prime slot on a college radio station? That said I love Dan! Such an awesome loyal friend! I have to say I wish I had some of these awesome friends and I totally want to LARP but the friends I do have who would do it with me are scattered all over the world :( The resolution to the story is brilliant! I loved it and couldn't put this story down.
My Rating: I so enjoyed this book! It was a perfect summer read and one I just couldn't stop reading. I fell in love with the characters and the story. I give it a rating of Four Paws and a Stump Wag!

Monday, July 1, 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
Stork by Wendy Delsol
Daddy Kisses (Bedtime Story)

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

Saturday with Daddy
My Daddy makes the Best Spaghetti
The Summer I Became a Nerd
Dig In
The Napping House
Five Minutes Peace
Currently Reading:

Blood in the Valley by JK Hogan - Kindle - 5%
Soft Spots by Clint Van Winkle - Kindle - 54%
The Bride's Farewell by Meg Rosoff - Audio - on Disc 4 of 5

 Books to be Read Soon:
Heat Wave by Richard Castle (Audio Challenge)
Ugly Beautiful by Seanpaul Thomas (Requested Review)
Yellow Socks and Blood Spots by Bailey J. Thompson



It was another really long week this last week. It looks like I did a lot or reading but not really, it was almost all children's books. I was trying anything to make Munchkin happy.  He learned how to sit up on his own this week and just couldn't stop doing it, even when he was exhausted and wanted to sleep his body just kept making him sit up.  Poor little man was so upset, and mommy and daddy are exhausted! Nap times were nonexistent :(  but we have a long weekend coming up at the end of this week *cross my fingers that Mommy can get a break to do mommy things*

I hope you all have a great week this week!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Pen to Paper - June

I can't believe I am keeping up with my writing! Not only that but I am writing more and more each month, and now am to the point where I am not satisfied . . . I want to send more letters!
This last month I sent out my usual letters to my fellow Ink Reader pen pals.  I also sent out two more letters to a couple of my fellow writing and pony pals. While I haven't found another regular pen pal yet, I have started receiving a couple of letters back from family members! It feels so great to get something happy in the mail.
You are going to have to remind me some time to show you some of the unique stationary I have been using. It is a secret obsession of mine (maybe it will have to be a personal post some time).
You know what else I have been thinking about lately, chain letters.  Do you remember those? They were pretty big in the 80s I think.  Anyway, I was think it would be fun to do something along those lines.  I was considering sending out 2 blank cards/post cards to a few of my friends and ask them to brighten someone's day but sending those cards to someone else. Then if they want (not necessary) they pick a few people and send 2 blank cards to someone else to send on. Nothing that would have to be sent to specific people so it wouldn't really be a chain letter just an encouragement to take the time to send a little note and bring a surprise and a smile to a friend.
What do you guys think?
Did you send or receive any letters this month? 

2013 Audio Book Challenge Mid Year Update

The 2013 Audio Book Challenge is hosted by Hot Listens and you can see my original sign up post HERE
I signed up for the Newbo level of 1-5 audio books.  I have been a little slow at this one since Munchkin is go go go and makes so much noise I can only listen after he goes to bed.  The good news is that I purchased a bunch of new audio books so I have a bigger selection to choose from to suit my mood.
So far I have listened to
1. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
2. Stork by Wendy Delsol

I will be listening to The Bride's Farewell over the next week or so and then follow that with maybe Heat Wave.