Saturday, February 1, 2014

Graphic Novel Review of Janes in Love by Cecil Castellucci

Synopsis: "The second volume of the critically acclaimed series finds a group of high school girls each named Jane, who are anything but ordinary, playing cupid. Plus P.L.A.I.N. (People Loving Art In Neighborhoods) goes global once the girl gang procures a spot in Metro City Museum of Modern Art contest."

My Review: I love this series and the message within it, and this second volume definitely kept up to par with the first. I really enjoy the difference between the Janes and how even with that difference they are brought together with the common goal of PLAIN. I like the classic feel of the black and white illustrations and the multiple levels the story is told on (both Jane's narration, the letters and the conversations in the frames. I really hope that Cecil comes out with more of the Janes, but it is looking like this series is at an end.
My Rating: I thoroughly enjoy this series and the characters in this graphic novel. It has a great message to look for the beauty in all things. I give it a rating of Four Paws!

Friday, January 31, 2014

Bedtime Story: If You Hold a Seed by Elly MacKay

Synopsis: "Something magical happens when you plant a dream with a seed. With plenty of love and patience, they can blossom into an extraordinary gift.
To be shared with those you love and those with big dreams, this book encourages us to never give up."

My Review: This is a cute story but if you are looking for the hidden message about feeding your own dreams to make them grow, you won't find it. If you read it the way a child is going to hear it, the story really just sounds like how to grow a tree over the years. The illustrations are a bit unusual, they seem to be multi layered with some things appearing fuzzy and others bright and crisp. It was an okay story for us, but if you want to give the message about dreams it should be made a little more clear for little minds.
My Rating: This book isn't on the top of my list to read to Munchkin often. I was hoping for a lot more to the story. Having to read into the symbolism is too difficult with a young kid in my opinion. I give it a rating of One Paw and a Stump Wag.
Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

After Dark Review of Beauty by Laurell K. Hamilton

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: "You’d think I’d get used to seeing such a beautiful man and knowing he was mine, but it never grew old, as if his beauty and the fact that he was mine, and I was his, would forever surprise me.

With a vampire like Jean Claude around, it’s far too easy for Anita Blake to doubt her own appearance—and the hold it has on those who love her. But one hot tub and two incredibly sexy men—Jean Claude and Asher—will make her feel like the most lusted-after woman alive…or undead. Not bad for a mere human…"

My Review: It may just be the fact that I haven't read any Anita Blake books in a few years but I found Anita to be a very bitter person in this one. It is just a short story and I found that the first half of it was a lot of complaining, or at least that is how it felt to me. She was also very self depreciating, she wasn't always comfortable in her own skin but she always had a certain confidence about her and I found that missing. Of course the scene with Asher & Jean-Claude was very steamy but I wasn't able to get into after such a depressing first part of the story.
My Rating: I was really kind of surprised when this one didn't appeal to me as much as I expected. I really kind of ended up disliking Anita. I give it a rating of Two Paws.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Pen Pals: A Month of Letter Writing

So as many of you who have been following me for some time know that I love writing handwritten letters to friends and loved ones. I made a pretty good attempt at keeping my new years resolution last year of writing at least one letter each month and plan to do it again this year.
Since then though I have upped the stakes through the month of February. I have joined Estella Society's Write Event in which you will receive addresses for up to 5 different people in which to send a handwritten letter to in the month of February.  I thought this would be a great way to connect with more people (and hopefully book lovers) and possibly find a pen pal.
To add an even larger step up in the letter writing I joined A Month of Letters in which the goal is to write and send a letter, card or note to someone each day there is mail service. I am really looking forward to this challenge and have already started to map out the month as to who I will be writing and when.  I am also hoping this will get me into the routine of sitting down each night before bed to pen a quick letter or note.  I am also hoping to turn this into a bigger event for me in which I will write to our Military members over seas or I have even found a program in which you become a pen pal to someone in elderly housing.
There is still time to join if you want to get involved, but if you don't want to jump in to make that commitment just try to write a letter once a month or even once every three months.  Remember the cost of stamps just went up this week to .49cents but what is that compared to the surprise and joy your chosen recipient will get when something other than bills or junk mail arrives?!
Remember also that if you would like to receive a letter from me please don't hesitate to email me your address (and it doesn't hurt to mention when your birthday is either) at easternsunset @

Review of Stringz by Michael Wenberg

Synopsis: "Life hasnt been easy for Jace Adams, a mixed-race teen whose mom moves them from one place to another so often that sometimes hes been in four schools in a single year. To cope with all that instability, Jace has vowed to never let himself get attached to anyone or anythingother than his beloved cello.But when his mom takes them to Seattle, where theyre living with tough, sassy Aunt Bernice, Jace wonders if this time things might really change. Because money is tight, Jace plays his cello on the street in downtown Seattle, and one evening, someone throws a folded $100 bill with a business card attached into Jaces open cello case while hes serenading.That card changes everything; its from a famous cello instructor who offers to take him on, giving Jace a shot at winning a scholarship to a prestigious music school. Will he make the grade?"

My Review: I really enjoyed this book. I loved the characters, they were each so unique and full of life. The only issue I had was the fact that Jace seems far more mature than 14 years old, granted he would have had to grow up a little faster with the lifestyle his mother forced upon him but he really seems like more of a 20 year old. Stringz was kind of a Cinderella type tale, except for being modern, with a male main character, and with out the fairy tale wedding, haha okay so it doesn't have much to do with Cinderella except for the fact that kindness pays it forward. I really did like to what Jace grow in friendships, family, confidence and trust. It was really a great story.
My Rating: I really enjoyed this story, especially the rich characters. I give Stringz a rating of Four Paws!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Review of the Gnosis of Salmon by Lynne Marie Rowland

Synopsis: "A contemporary fantasy novel.
In search of forgiveness, a woman returns to her childhood fantasy world and finds love across time.

Healing from a broken heart at the same time as a heart attack isn’t fun, but for Elinor Hugh-Jones it has taken an unexpected and dangerous twist. When a spirit guide arrives calling her to embark on a vision quest, Elinor must face her many demons.

What Elinor doesn’t realize is that she will battle not only with the evil Necromancer of her childhood fantasy realm, Gwennec Mor, but also must confront the deep secrets of her family, and find a way to forgive the unforgiveable. She does not realize that Jimmy, the man who broke her heart, is absolutely essential to fulfilling her destiny.

She also does not realize that the paths of both her grandfathers and her mother who narrate the book, along with her child self, are inextricably linked across time, and that her quest is the only way that her entire family can be free.

How far will Elinor go to save herself and the people she loves?"

My Review: This was not the book for me unfortunately. I found it very confusing, in fact I got halfway through and had to start over because I was so lost. The jumping around of the timeline not to mention levels of consciousness/planes of existence. I also found the mix of so many different religious/spiritual view points and rituals very confusing as well. I do not want to discount the character's experiences though, as she went through a lot to recover from the events of her childhood. I did however start to find inspiration in the last 30 or so pages and loved this quote: "IT IS ALWAYS HARD TO SEE GOD’S PLAN UP CLOSE. LIKE A MOSAIC OR A POINTILLIST
I believe with the right reader who may have had or is having a spiritual experience this might be a far more enjoyable book.
My Review: This may not have been my cup of tea, but I believe that it will suit some readers better. Unfortunately it didn't speak to me. I give it a rating of Two Paws.
The Gnosis of Salmon was sent to me by the author for an honest review.
You can find out more about Lynne Marie Rowland and her work on her Goodreads Page or her Website.
You can obtain your own copy in Digital format on Amazon or on Barnes & Noble.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Bloggiesta Wrap Up

So I didn't get much time to participate in Bloggiesta (Hubby finally got a burr under his saddle to give the house a good cleaning and Munchkin decided to start walking, Finally) but I did manage to squeeze a little time in.
So here was my original to do list:
1. Write a review request policy.  I have been getting countless review requests in my email and I have a hard time turning them down since I don't have a policy.
2. Check out other bloggers Archives and compare the order (I can't decide if it should be alphabetical by author or title or maybe by genre, GAH I am so confused).
3. Update my Archive List. UGH how I dread this job, I don't think I have updated it in almost 2 years!
4. Review my sidebars and update as needed.
5. Set up a Facebook account for the blog (someday I will get around to this).
6. Consider and/or design business cards. I am considering getting these for the upcoming Big Book Club Getaway to had to authors, but not sure this is proper etiquette or if it would be offensive.
7. Weed through Goodreads shelves for duplicates and books I no longer wish to read.
I managed to get a few of those things done.  I did take a look at some of my favorite blog's archives and started adjusting the format on my list to make it easier to find things. I changed the format and design of my blog (something I never expected to do or thought I could do). I started weeding through my Goodreads shelves (added, removed and renamed shelves). I also got a review policy typed up and added to my review page (see below), what do you think? Do I need to add anything?

All in all I think it was a pretty good Bloggiesta for me even though I didn't get to have fun and hang out with everyone else participating.
 Review Policy

To request a review of a novel please contact me at easternsunset @ I will only accept a review from an author, publisher or publicist, I will not review your friends/uncles/cousins novel, they must contact me directly to request a review. In your email please include a cover image, synopsis, date review needed, and links to amazon, barnes & noble and goodreads when available. Please be patient as I have limited time to respond to emails but I will respond whether I decide to accept the review or not (unless the email I  receive is exceptionally rude or illegible).

I reserve the right to refuse any novel submitted.  If I am unable to finish the book, I will not post a review on my blog and contact you directly explaining why I couldn't finish it. I will make a good attempt to read and review you book within the year that it is sent to me; however, I have very limited time between working full time and raising Munchkin. If you need the book reviewed by a specific date please inform me of that in your initial email.

When I post the review on my blog I will include the cover image, synopsis (either from your email or goodreads), my review, my rating (see below), links to the author's blog/goodreads page/website when provided and links to Amazon & Barnes and Noble for readers to purchase their own copies. My review will be posted on Goodreads, Amazon and Barnes & Noble along with here on the blog.  When I have read and reviewed your novel I will contact you via email with the expected date for the blog post.

Formats Accepted:
I can accept ebooks in Mobi and PDF formats, I will accept them in Epub as well but it is not preferred. I will also accept books in print (please request the address in your initial email).  I am also open to accepting a book or two in audio to see how that goes as well.

Genres Preferred:
My blog features a wide variety of genres and while I am willing to read nearly anything once, I don't feel that reviewing a book for you outside my genre can give it the proper rating if I am not familiar with the genre.
~Childrens/ Picture
~Middle Grade
~Young Adult
~New Adult
~Historical Romance
~Contemporary Romance
~Paranormal Romance
~Fantasy/High & Epic Fantasy

Genres I MAY Consider:
~Medical Thriller

Genres Not Accepted:
The following Genres will not be accepted under any circumstances
~Sci/Fi (any mention of math or science)
~Non Fiction (unless it is a memoir)
~Current Events/ Political
~Self Help
~Extreme Fetish Erotica
~Crime Thrillers/Mysteries

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

Shadow by Amanda Sun
This Little Piggy Went to the Liquor Store by AK Turner (After Dark)
Inside Outside Upside Down by Jan & Stan Berenstain (Bedtime Story)

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

Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood
Tangled Past
My Little Pony Friendship is Magic Vol. 1
Baby Penguin

Currently Reading:

The Lover From Hell by Rob Palmer - Kindle - 8%
Ophelia by Lisa M. Klein - PB - on Page 32 of 310
Listening is an Act of Love by David Isay- PB - on Page 103 of 284

 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 Owl Keeper by Christine Brodein-Jones (Mount TBR)
Stone Cold Revenge by Jess Macallan (Mount TBR)


After getting so much reading done last week and finishing so many books, this week looks like a disappointment, but not really I still did a lot of reading just not so much completed.  I did manage to get a little time in for the Bloggiesta this weekend, did you participate? I will have an update for you later today as to everything I accomplished.

Besides a little reading and a little blog work I didn't get too much done this last week. We ended up with snow, a sick Munchkin, a sick cat and I have been fighting a head cold or sinus infection as well.  Gosh I can't wait for warm weather so I can air this house out and give it a really good scrub to get rid of all these germs.

For my nails this week I wanted a simple greyish color to go with the gloomy feeling I always get this time of year with all the rain and lack of warmth or sunshine.

So here is to a new week and hopefully better week this time around!