Saturday, January 18, 2014

Graphic Novel Review of Joe the Barbarian by Grant Morrison

Synopsis: "Collecting the acclaimed 8-issue miniseries! Joe is an imaginative eleven-year-old boy. He can't fit in at school. He's the victim of bullies. His dad died overseas in the Iraq war. He also suffers from Type 1 diabetes. One fateful day, his condition causes him to believe he has entered a vivid fantasy world in which he is the lost savior—a fantastic land based on the layout and contents of his home. His desperate attempts to make it out of his bedroom transform into an incredible, epic adventure through a bizarre landscape of submarine pirate dwarves, evil Hell Hounds, Lightning Lords and besieged castles. But is his quest really just an insulin deprived delirium—from which he can die if he doesn't take his meds—or something much bigger?"

My Review: This gets rather confusing, you really need to know the premise of the story to understand what is going on. You can figure it out a little here and there but it really helps to read the synopsis first on this one. That said it is a crazy and fantastic adventure, though with a scary and sad premise. There are some big subjects tackled within the storyline including diabetes, foreclosure, loss of a parent and even bullying. I think this was a very interesting graphic novel, it may not be my favorite but still very well done.
My Rating: It wasn't my favorite because it was awfully confusing when bouncing around in his hallucinations. It still earns a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Bedtime Story: Cliffords Bedtime by Norman Bridewell

Synopsis: "Clifford the small red puppy exasperates his mother by thinking of many ways to postpone bedtime."

My Review: I like this introduction to Clifford for my little one. It is when Clifford is a puppy so he can follow as Clifford grows in new books. It is a cute story about everything Clifford needs before he can go to sleep (which is very similar to what Munchkin needs). The illustrations are cute and Munchkin enjoyed pointing to the little red puppy on each page.
My Rating: A perfect bedtime story for little ones. Its a process getting to bed and the routine must be followed. I give this one a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Review of The Inn at Rose Harbor by Debbie Macomber

Synopsis: "From #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber comes a heartwarming new series based in the Pacific Northwest town of Cedar Cove, where a charming cast of characters finds love, forgiveness, and renewal behind the doors of the cozy Rose Harbor Inn.

Jo Marie Rose first arrives in Cedar Cove seeking a sense of peace and a fresh start. Coping with the death of her husband, she purchases a local bed-and-breakfast the newly christened Rose Harbor Inn ready to begin her life anew. Yet the inn holds more surprises than Jo Marie can imagine.

Her first guest is Joshua Weaver, who has come home to care for his ailing stepfather. The two have never seen eye to eye, and Joshua has little hope that they can reconcile their differences. But a long-lost acquaintance from Joshua’s high school days proves to him that forgiveness is never out of reach and love can bloom even where it’s least expected.

The other guest is Abby Kincaid, who has returned to Cedar Cove to attend her brother’s wedding. Back for the first time in twenty years, she almost wishes she hadn’t come, the picturesque town harboring painful memories from her past. And while Abby reconnects with family and old friends, she realizes she can only move on if she truly allows herself to let go.

A touching novel of life’s grand possibilities and the heart’s ability to heal, The Inn at Rose Harbor is a welcome introduction to an unforgettable set of friends."

My Review: Well that was an emotional book. I was crying the first three chapters I think, it really gets you invested right away. I loved Jo Marie, Paul, Mark and Abby all of their stories were fantastic and I can't wait to see what happens in future stories. However I wasn't such a fan of Josh's story, I couldn't wait to get through all the hatred in his parts of the story to get back to the emotions I connect with better in both Jo Marie and Abby's stories. While the path to healing is different for everyone, I did find that the characters remarkable recoveries to be a little unrealistic but it is a work of fiction and one that needs a conclusion. With all that said it was a beautiful and heartwarming story, as well as a series I will continue to look forward to reading.
My Rating: I really enjoyed this one eve with the flaws. I didn't want to stop reading and can't wait to get my hands on the next two books in the series! I give it a rating of Four Paws.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Review of One Big Beautiful Thing by Marie Flanigan

Synopsis: "Artist Kate Abernethy is trying to put her life back together after the death of her boyfriend. At first, moving back in with her mother seems like a good way to sort out her finances and re-evaluate her life-instead it proves to be a minefield of doubt and recrimination. Floundering, she pushes herself to take new opportunities so she can rebuild her life and have a second chance at happiness."

My Review: It was hard to place this book in a category, it had bits of romance, bits coming into your own, bits of inspirational. It was a really a beautiful combination of so many things. I really enjoyed how while the main character Kate was in her prime, she was still making decisions and reacting in ways that people might view as immature, but everyone makes those mistakes. I found myself really routing for her and loved how she was able to move forward with help from some odd places. This story doesn't have a lot of action in it and is more of an emotional journey so the pacing was a little slow, but your love for the characters keeps you turning the pages.
My Rating: I did enjoy the story though I did find it to be a slow read. I loved the characters and will probably find myself revisiting them. I give this one a rating of Three Paws.
One Big Beautiful Thing was sent to me by the author for an honest review.
You can find out more about Marie Flanigan on her Goodreads Page or Website.
You can also obtain your own copy of One Big Beautiful Thing in print or digital format on Amazon or in print on Barnes & Noble.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Review of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by JK Rowling

Synopsis: "Harry Potter has never played a sport while flying on a broomstick. He's never worn a Cloak of Invisibility, befriended a giant, or helped hatch a dragon. All Harry knows is a miserable life with the Dursleys, his horrible aunt and uncle, and their abominable son, Dudley. Harry's room is a tiny cupboard under the stairs, and he hasn't had a birthday party in ten years.

But all that is about to change when a mysterious letter arrives by owl messenger: a letter with an invitation to a wonderful place he never dreamed existed. There he finds not only friends, aerial sports, and magic around every corner, but a great destiny that's been waiting for him... if Harry can survive the encounter."

My Review: I know I am super late to this party, but I finally have the series in my hands so I can read it. I have to say I am a little disappointed. I really have no idea what all the hype was about and am totally confused. It was a fun book to read but not so outstanding that I would rave about it. It took me quite a while to get into the story and writing style, it was a little overly descriptive for my liking. I wasn't a fan of most of the characters. Harry Potter is just too much the underdog yet too perfectly able to accomplish everything. I did however really like Hagrid & Dumbledore. All that said, I was glad when the story started to pick up steam near the end, about the last 75 pages, but then again just as it got going it ended. It was an enjoyable read but not worth the craziness that surrounded it, but I will continue to read the series since I do have them all.

Note: I have also avoided watching the movies (I have caught brief glimpses but have not seen any of them all the way through) so that isn't swaying my review.
My Rating: It was really just a middle of the road book for me, it should have only taken me a day or two to read but it took over a week.  I give it a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag.

Monday, January 13, 2014

2014 Graphic Novel Challenge - Sign up

This challenge is hosted on its own blog page called Graphic Novels Challenge
I am joining at the Bronze Level which is to read 24 Graphic Novels this year.
I have several already going and read so far since January and have a bunch on order and on my TBR shelf! Are you going to join too?

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
Dirty Little Secrets by CJ Omololu
Swept Away by Josepha Sherman
Tender Mercies by Kitty Thomas (After Dark)
Hush Little Polar Bear by Jeff Mack (Bedtime Story)

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

Tender Mercies
Sneetches on Beaches
Inside Outside Upside Down
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
I love You All Year Long
Goodnight, I Love You
Janes In Love
One Big Beautiful Thing

Currently Reading:

The Gnosis of Salmon by Lynne Marie Rowley - Kindle - 43%
Inn at Rose Harbor by Debbie Macomber - Kindle - on page 87 of 318
Stringz by Michael Wenberg - PB - on page 47 of 216
This Little Piggy Went to the Liquor Store by AK Turner - Audio - 20%

 Books to be Read Soon:
Water Harvest by Eric Diehl (Requested Review)
One Shark, No Swim by Lehua Parker (Requested Review)
Knightmare by Deborah Valentine (Requested Review)
The Lover from Hell by Rob Palmer (Requested Review)
Fables Vol. 3: Storybook Love by Bill Willingham (Graphic Novel)
The Owl Keeper by Christine Brodein-Jones (Mount TBR)
Stone Cold Revenge by Jess Macallan (Mount TBR)


Life is getting back on track around here (at least for the moment . . . let me find some wood to knock on) and I was able to get quite a bit of reading done this last week.  It was so nice be read a bunch, I had some pretty emotional moments in Tender Mercies and laughed hysterically while listening to This Little Piggy Went to the Liquor Store not to mention a few fun moments with Harry Potter. The fresh new year just waiting to be filled with books has me excited but first I need to take care of some business around here.  I really need to freshen up the blog a little (not visually, there won't be any new formatting because I am so computer illiterate it is amazing I can get posts up with links and pictures).

First a couple of updates for you guys:
~ As you probably saw over the weekend I have added my Mindless Weekend Ramblings, I had tried to do a personal post for you guys each month last year and that failed, but I feel like you haven't gotten much of a chance to get to know me. So I have added my mindless ramblings, they won't be on any kind of a schedule other than only happening on the weekends but each one will give you a little peek into the workings of my crazy head. I will also use them to share some of my projects (I plan to tackle that sewing machine that has been sitting in my basement).
~ Graphic Novel reviews will still be occurring on Saturdays but I am going to increase them from once a month to twice a month since I am enjoying them so much and getting some great recommendations.  So they will be on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of each month.
~ Bedtime Stories will continue to be posted each Friday Night at 8:00pm EST and After Dark posts will be featured on Thursdays at 11:00pm EST (a few may pop up on other days of the week if I read more). And of course Monday Reading Lists will be as normally scheduled.
~ Wednesday Writing will be featured on the first Wednesday morning of each month unless I am actively writing a lot (as in Nanowrimo or Nanocamp).

Now I also have more plans for the blog:
~ I need to update the books read page with links to reviews. I am honestly considering just posting a link to Goodreads since all the reviews are on there. Does anyone really use that page? It is awfully time consuming to update and alphabetize.
~ I also need to post a review policy. I receive a lot of requests for reviews and while I enjoy a variety of genres and will often push myself to read outside my comfort zone I am beginning to feel overwhelmed. Not to mention I hate turning authors down or how long it sometimes takes me to review a book. I wouldn't mind any tips or what you use for your review policies.
~ I also need to update the ways you can all follow me, so you can follow my blog in various ways and also on twitter (which I need to get more active on again).  I would like to eventually manage to set up a facebook for the blog as well.
~ Is there anything else you guys would like to see added or removed from the blog, anything different you would like to see me do?

Other Ideas:
~ I have recently discovered the books that inspired some of my favorite movies. I am sure most movies are inspired by a book at some point but for some reason I was surprised. So I was thinking about adding that to my list of challenges, reading the books to movies I have already seen (normally I try to read the book first).
~ I was thinking that when I get in my writing lulls that maybe I would do a once a month writing prompt. Kind of as punishment for not working on my projects and partly as inspiration to get the words flowing again. Would you guys join me in that?

In other things, I don't know if I told you guys but I have a little bit of girlie in me. I love having my nails look pretty. I don't have the time and can't afford to have them done all the time, especially since my job causes them to chip within a day or two. So I do them myself (even though I am absolutely horrible at it and can't paint with my left hand very well at all). I decided that 2014 is going to be dubbed the year of the nails. I am going to take a little time each Friday night after I do all the banking to sit back and make my nails pretty. I don't really have anyone else to bore with these trivial little things so I am going to torture all of you :P
I didn't have a chance to post last weeks nails because I couldn't do them until Monday night so here they are . .
They are French tip nail wraps with little silver sequins (my nails broke off too short so it didn't look so good on a couple). I love wraps because I can get really pretty patterns and flash without all the trouble and frustration of trying to do it myself. 

And then this weeks nails. . .
this was a polish I purchased on Etsy called Forest Nymph and then a matte top coat I also got from Etsy. I was so excited to try a matte top coat and love the look of it, especially with this color which is almost a burnt sienna color with green glitter so it still kind of shimmers through the top coat.

So now that I have driven you all mad with my updates, checklists, and nail polish I will leave you with a cute picture of Munchkin in yet another new hat (I think I have another obsession).