Saturday, March 1, 2014

Graphic Novel Review of My Little Pony Friendship is Magic #1 by Kate Cook

Synopsis: "Welcome to Ponyville, home of Twilight Sparkle, Rainbow Dash, Rarity, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, Applejack, and all your other favorite Ponies! Something's not right in the town though, as some of the inhabitants are acting very, very strange! It's up to the Mane Six to find the source of the weirdness before it's too late!"

My Review: I am a huge fan of MLP and have been since I was kid so was very excited about these graphic novels. I enjoyed the artwork and all the little touches in the illustrations (I spotted a G1 Firefly). The storyline starts out really great, what you would expect of the Mane Six, I did find it odd that they could be torn apart after being friends for so long and knowing what they were up against. As a fan I will still continue reading the series of course.
My Rating: The storyline was average for me but the art was great, I loved the little hints back to where MLP started. I give it a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Bedtime Story: Where is Love Biscuit by Alyssa Satin Capucilli

Synopsis: "Where is love, Biscuit? Discover all the wonderful places where love can be found in this delightful touch-and-feel adventure!"

My Review: This is a cute reminder that love is in everything around us. I am not a huge fan of the touch and feel part of this book because it is so small and with Munchkin being young it is hard for him to find the spots. On the other hand the book itself is nice and small and sturdy for his little hands and he can look at it on his own.
My Rating: This book has become more popular as he has gotten older. I like the small size that he can pick up and read (hold and look at) himself. I give it a rating of Three Paws.
Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

After Dark Review of If Only by Cherise Sinclair

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: "After the last fiasco, Sally gives up. She’ll never find a Dom of her own. Instead the computer whizz is job hunting in between bending the law—just a bit—to unearth the bastards who’d enslaved her friends. The clueless cops and Feds obviously need help.

FBI special agents, Galen and Vance, have waited to play with Sally for a long time. When the mischievous submissive returns to the exclusive Shadowlands BDSM club after an ugly relationship, the experienced co-tops are pleased. Realizing she’s suppressing her emotions, the powerful Doms push her—only to find that her sassiness conceals a scarred and vulnerable heart.

Shaken by the unexpected emotional exposure, Sally flees the demanding Masters and the Shadowlands.

Both Galen and Vance have reasons not to seek a long-term submissive, but when a brutal attack by her ex-Dom sends Sally into their home, the two agents are driven to protect her. To help her. To take her under command. Falling in love isn’t in the plans.

But as the little imp brings light into their lives, they begin to want more…until they discover she’s hacked into an organization that delights in burning people alive."

My Review: Finally we get to Sally, Galen and Vance! I have been waiting so long for this one. I love Sally's personality and found that at the start of the book I really didn't recognize her and was a little disappointed that she had to be reinvented for this book. I enjoyed the guys and their dynamic, they mesh and work so well together. The more I read by Cherise Sinclair I realize that while she creates fantastic Doms, they have a lot more weaknesses than you would expect and the female Subs may seem weak but when it comes down to it they are some much braver and have a strength that far outweighs the Doms. I am honestly rather sick of the Harvest Association, I feel the characters have enough issues to over come and give some ups and downs to the story, but I understand that Galen and Vance needed some involvement being FBI.
My Rating: I enjoyed this book though was tired of the Harvest Association element. I give it a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Review of Codename Chimera by J. K. Persy

Synopsis: "A famous millionaire dies under mysterious circumstances in the Brooklyn ghetto. What it was that made him go to such a dangerous place at night remains a mystery. The only clue is a book, Mythical Creatures of Ancient Greece, left on his body and opened at a page on Chimera. Private detective Kevin Kris takes on the case, helped by Penny, his trusty assistant, and Michael, his best friend. They soon uncover a chain of bloody events shrouded in mystery from the past. Little by little the private detective and his friends discover the real truth hidden by the Man With No Face."

My Review: I do not normally read mysteries but the mythology element to this one really had me intrigued. I found this to be an excellent mystery that kept you thinking and puzzling throughout the story. I did find the main character, Private Eye Kevin Kris to be a little too perfect, always seeming to have the advantage and coming out of situations unscathed. I did however love the brain teasers throughout, so even when the story seems to lull a little bit your brain is still turning on something.
My Rating: I was surprised how much I enjoyed this one, but the pages definitely kept turning and I wanted to know what happened.  I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.
Codename Chimera was sent to me by the authors for an honest review.
You can find out more about Jake & Kate Persy on their Goodreads Page or Website.
You can also obtain your own copy of Codename Chimera in digital format on Barnes and Noble

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Review of Lost and Found in Cedar Cove by Debbie Macomber

Synopsis: "Debbie Macomber’s heartwarming new series, set at the Rose Harbor Inn in picturesque Cedar Cove, displays the author’s signature talent for creating characters who feel like friends, and small towns that feel like home. In this original short story available exclusively as an eBook, Jo Marie Rose readies her inn for spring, turning to her new friends Grace and Olivia when she needs them most.

Jo Marie has big plans for her bed-and-breakfast. With the help of handyman Mark Taylor, she intends to plant a beautiful rose garden in time for her upcoming open house. Jo Marie and Mark rarely see eye to eye—especially on matters of home improvement—but she knows he has her best interests at heart. After the two walk the grounds, Jo Marie realizes that her beloved rescue dog, Rover, is missing, and at a time when she most needs a friend, Mark abruptly leaves. Confused by Mark’s behavior and worried for Rover’s safety, Jo Marie searches for her precious pup all over Cedar Cove. Rover is on an adventure of his own—one that will lead to a delightful surprise for two unlikely people."

My Review: I am thinking this short story to the Rose Harbor series is meant to give some background and foreshadowing for upcoming books. I was a little confused as to the relevance of some of the characters and events. Though I still love the characters and this series, this one felt a little out of touch with what I have read so far in the series. With that said though, I rather enjoyed getting to know a couple of new characters that kind of reminded me of high school and the expectations the senior year held.
My Rating: I didn't enjoy this one as much as rest of the books I have read in the series so far (.5 &1) but I am looking forward to how these new characters and information will be used in the following books. I give it a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Big Book Club Getaway Recap & Giveaway

So this weekend was so much fun! I went to the Big Book Club Getaway on Friday Night and Saturday with a friend of mine. It was almost overwhelming just walking around and spotting so many of the authors you read just mingling!
The event started on Friday night after registration (and they gave a us a goodie bag filled with books and goodies) with the Pillow Talk panel featuring authors Cathy Maxwell, Elosia James and Laura Kay, we even had a surprise appearance by Dr. Ruth! I was a little unprepared and didn't take any notes or picture but just enjoyed the discussion.
The night continued in one of the pubs in Mohegan Sun called Lansdowne and featured Tim Federle and Tom Acitelli. They also had a Literary Trivia, which we weren't able to participate in because we couldn't hear over a Bachelor party seated next to us, but it was still fun to be surrounded by book lovers. I did however miss having Tim Federle but was able to find the event coordinator who contact him, and he was kind enough to meet me the following morning.
I was a little more organized on Saturday and took some pictures (please excuse the quality I forgot my camera so used my phone which takes horrible pictures).
Dr. Ruth Westheimer was the keynote speaker in the morning.
She told us about her life and how she came to be a sex therapist. She is amazing and overcame so much.  She is also very funny and totally takes over the stage as soon as she has the mic. I purchased her book Musically Speaking and had it signed by her, while there she urged me to come around the table to have a picture taken with her, an amazing way to kick off an exciting day!
The first panel of the day I attended was the Romance: Steamy Stories Panel
from left to right: Cathy Maxwell, Laura Kaye, Elosia James & the Moderator Nick Hahn.
While it is the same panel from Friday night, it was a different discussion. While on Friday night the discussion leaned more towards the genre itself and this discussion seemed to be more about the process and what makes the genre so strong. When asked what makes the romance genre so powerful Cathy stated 'voracious readers will eventually find romance because there are no limits in the genre.' Laura felt that so many people read romance because the 'genre is hopeful'. Cathy also added that 'love can carry you through the dark moments.'
When asked what their process for writing was it seemed that the consensus was that they were all pantsers. Laura stated that she likes to write like she reads and has no idea what might happen on the next page or where she is going.  Eloisa urged 'don't start writing romance unless you really love reading it.
Friday night I had purchased books by each of the authors and had them signed (thank goodness because their lines were rather long on Saturday).
The next panel I attended was Ellora's Cave Erotica
from left to right: event coordinator/moderator Jacques, Diana Hunter, Karen Stivali, and Tara Nina.
This was another fun panel and I found the authors to be extremely approachable and so kind (the gave me all kinds of goodies to pass along to you). It was interesting how they had been so honored to be treated as equal authors at this event, it is sad that they should be surprised at that as they are authors.  One of the questions presented to them was what to say when someone compares the erotic romance genre to porn. Diana Hunter said 'what we write is fantasy, fantasy is what readers want to live vicariously, not literally'. Tara Nina stated that 'fantasy is escapism, and it is not porn because it has a plot and there is a lot of romance involved. there is no connection in porn while erotic romance is all about the characters and their connections.' When asked how they keep each new story unique Karen Stivali stated 'everybody's story is different and to keep the novels they write unique they need to find what makes each character unique.'
After the panel I purchased Cabin Fever by Diana Hunter, Meant to Be and Long Distance Lovers  by Karen Stivali and had all three signed. Tara Nina has ebooks available online.
I decided to continue with the romance theme with the Kiss and Tell Panel
left to right: Kristine Rolofson, Natalie Charles, Kristan Higgins and Shannon Stacey & the moderator (sorry I can't remember her name).
I hadn't read any books by any of these authors but my friend is a huge fan of both Kristan Higgins and Shannon Stacey. During this panel they discussed where they get their inspiration and what sets the romance genre apart.  Kristine Rolofson said that she 'starts with setting and prefers small towns' she on cross country drives she would randomly stop in small towns to get a feel for the settings and the people. She also said she likes to write about 'woman taking risks to save their families'.  Natalie Charles said she is new to the process but she admits she steals a lot from real life. Kristan Higgins said 'I love people so I go from there'. Shannon Stacey said that the 'characters need to be authentic and unique'.  They all seemed to agree though that the tend to eavesdrop for inspiration (so be careful what you say at dinner!).
They also discussed the difficulty of long series and mapping. They do often have a drawn map of the particular town as well as a list of each of the characters and their traits. This was a very fun panel and I forgot to write notes because we were all laughing throughout.
After the discussion I purchased Love a Little Sideways by Shannon Stacey, I also had a copy of Perfect Match by Kristan Higgins signed.  I received a copy of Burden of Desire by Natalie Charles in my goodie bag but had forgotten it at the hotel room and couldn't get it signed.
The next panel I chose to attend was Delicious Writing
left to right: Suzan Colon, Giulia Melucci & event coordinator/moderator Jacques
I admit I didn't take notes at all during this discussion, I just wanted to hear about the food! Both authors had written memoirs that involved recipes. I found Suzan's story very inspiring, she had lost a high end job and was forced to make ends meet on only one income.  She had discovered her Nana's recipe box from the Great Depression and started cooking her way through with her mother. Giulia Melucci's story was different, cooking had always been a part of her life and her memoir talks about the meals she made for boyfriends, though the relationships later ended. 
It was interesting hearing about their different cooking styles, Suzan happens to be much like me and needs a recipe to follow (at least for the most part) which Giulia had what was referred to as the cooking juju and could just wing it (much like my hubby).
After the discussion I was unable to find Suzan's book Winter Cherries (it must have already sold out) but I had picked up Giulia's book I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti and had it signed (I was the only one in line at the time so was able to share the story of how on our first date Hubby made me homemade meatballs, sauce and spaghetti).
The final discussion panel I attended was Magical Fiction
left to right (don't look at the pictures in the back): Karen White, Suzanne Palmieri & Sarah Addison Allen.
This was an interesting panel and I wasn't sure what to expect because I hadn't read any of their books or even read a synopsis.  When I think magic, I guess I think more of high fantasy, merlin, etc. but what they seemed to write was the more every day magic (while there is a little magic in their books). When asked what they write about Karen stated her characters 'need an external event to change their lives, to drive them to a new beginning'.  Suzanne said she likes 'a chance to take a moment or a memory and rewrite it, make it take the what if path.'  Sarah stated 'fiction is what we want to be real'.  I found they had very inspirational things to share with us.  Karen at one point said 'we all have within us that which makes us stronger' and Suzanne said 'everything is a restart, everything is a redo, treat every day as a chance to rewrite your story'.
When discussing writing Sarah said 'follow your voice, not what is popular at the time or what will sell. Reader respond to emotion so make yours authentic'.
At the end of the discussion I purchased The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen and had it signed. I am really kicking myself for not purchasing The Witch of Little Italy by Suzanne Palmieri when I had the chance but I will just have to add it to the wishlist.
The final speaker of the weekend was Debbie Macomber
I was a little late into her talk because I was waiting in line to get The Peach Keeper signed. That said, Debbie Macomber is a true inspiration, the hardships she had to overcome are remarkable.  She told us about the struggle to get her first book published and the knocks she took in that process. Her talk really set in that determination to get to work on my own writing and to not give up on things that I love.
After her motivational speech I was able to get both Wyoming Brides and Inn at Rose Harbor Signed.  I also happened to be in the right spot to catch a picture of Debbie signing books while her husband Wayne talked with Dr. Ruth in the background

I can't believe what an amazing 24 hours that was, not to mention how much I crammed into such a short period. I have already marked that I will be going again next year, and will be a little more prepared to share it with all of you!!
So I know you are dying to know what all I walked away with so here is a couple of pictures for you . . .
all the signed books
some of the goodies from the bag and additional books I purchased.
 Now I am sure you are all excited to see the goodies I have for you!
Isn't that awesome?! First prize includes all that is in the picture (penguin classics bag, Laura Kaye Hard Ink magnets, various book marks and postcard swag, pens, cups, etc. Drink coozie signed by Tara Nina, Signed postcard by Karen Stivali, and a short story signed by Diana Hunter, full page Ellora's cave print out signed by Karen Stivali and another one signed by Tara Nina). Note: many of the giveaway items are from Erotic Romance authors and their novels are explicit.
I have a second prize which will include various book swag from the same group of authors.
As always there are some rules:
~Open internationally (you are responsible for customs fees beyond shipping)
~ Must be 18 or over
~ Must respond within 48 hours of winning
~You must be a follower
~ You must post (see instructions in rafflecopter)
~ Giveaway runs from now through March 3rd at 12:00am EST
~Rafflecopter will randomly select the top 2. 

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

Still Alice by Lisa Genova
Lover from Hell by Rob Palmer
Falke's Renegade by Madison Layle (After Dark)
Hugs by Rodger Priddy (Bedtime Story)
Hard as it Gets by Laura Kaye (After Dark)

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

Tiny Book of Tiny Stories
Breaking Reins
A Treasury for One Year Olds
Sun Blind
One Shark No Swim

Currently Reading:

Ophelia by Lisa M. Klein - PB - on Page 138 of 310
100 Cupboards by ND Wilson - PB - on Page 126 of 289
Making the Rounds with Oscar by Dave Dosa - Audio - 16%
Perfect Match by Kristan Higgins - PB - on page 14 of 441
Knightmare by Deborah Valentine - Kindle- 4%

 Books to be Read Soon:
Water Harvest by Eric Diehl (Requested Review)
Lest the Dew Rust Them by Michael Drakich (Requested Review)
From My Heart to Yours by Michelle Zarrin (Requested Review)
Hard as You Can by Laura Kaye
Not Just Spirited by Chynna Laird (MIA)
Enchanted No More by Robin D. Owens (Mount TBR)
Firebringer Trilogy by Meredith Ann Pierce (Series & Mount TBR)


So I am scheduling this post a little early because I am spending the weekend at the Big Book Club Getaway and don't know if I will have the time over the weekend to write it.  That said later today I will fill you all in on my exciting weekend and hopefully have some pictures and fun stories about my weekend filled with books!!

Again I didn't get as much reading done this week as I would have liked and have been bouncing around too much to finish books I have already started. I have a feeling that after this book event I will have several other books I am super excited about and need to read immediately.  Hopefully things will all settle down in March and I can focus a little more and get some reading done that needs to be done.

I have decided that I am so far behind on Requested Reviews that I would read one per week and post them each Wednesday to get caught up. If I happen to get extra ones read I will post them on Thursday mornings as well.

For my nails this week I decided I wanted to do something flashy since I was having a mommy weekend.  I did a Lacey Lilac - Water Color gradient with some pretty rose and butterfly decals. I thought they came out awesome, though I need to figure out how to clean the edges up better.