Saturday, May 24, 2014

Graphic Novel Review of Relish by Lucy Knisley

Synopsis: "A vibrant, food-themed memoir from beloved indie cartoonist Lucy Knisley.

Lucy Knisley loves food. The daughter of a chef and a
gourmet, this talented young cartoonist comes by her
obsession honestly. In her forthright, thoughtful, and
funny memoir, Lucy traces key episodes in her life thus
far, framed by what she was eating at the time and lessons
learned about food, cooking, and life. Each chapter is
bookended with an illustrated recipe—many of them
treasured family dishes, and a few of them Lucy's original

A welcome read for anyone who ever felt more passion
for a sandwich than is strictly speaking proper, Relish is a
book for our time: it invites the reader to celebrate food
as a connection to our bodies and a connection to the
earth, rather than an enemy, a compulsion, or a
consumer product."

My Review: As soon as I saw this book I had to have it, who wouldn't love books, graphic novels and food rolled into one?! I thought it was a very interesting concept and it was done well. I did have a little issue with how it would jump around from time to time, but still enjoyed the storyline and the images (you can see the inspiration for the images at the back of the book with actual pictures from Lucy's life). I loved the recipes that were included! I am definitely going to make several of them, especially the lamb. I also liked some of the little informational bits. It was a real inspiration for cooking, growing your own food and getting out to discover new eateries.
My Rating: This was such a unique book, but if you are looking for a traditional graphic novel this may not be it for you. It is definitely written as a memoir just with comic style images.  I give it a rating of Four Paws.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Bedtime Story: A Treasury for One Year Olds by Arthur Smith

Synopsis: "This treasury brings together best-loved favorite nursery rhymes, traditional lullabies, and some charming poems for young children.

The enchanting illustrations bring to life popular characters from classic rhymes such as Humpty Dumpty and The Man in the Moon�and introduce children to many they may not have met before.

Children and adults alike will enjoy sharing this beautiful new collection.A Treasury for One Year Olds is sure to become a firm favorite with everyone."

My Review: I picked this book up on a whim at Barnes & Noble because it was on sale even though I had several collections of stories and rhymes already. I definitely don't regret it! In fact I think I am going to go back and get one for all of the kids I know turning one this year and to get the Treasury for the other years for Munchkin. This Treasury included so many of the favorite rhymes, songs, poems and stories. Did you know there is more to the Twinkle Twinkle Little Star song than 2 verses? I loved the selection of lullabies that are perfect for bedtime at the end, I only wish they had the melody printed in the book so I could sing them without having to look it up online.
My Rating: Definitely the best collection I have come across so far!! I give it a rating of Four Paws and A Stump Wag!!
Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

After Dark Review of My Liege of Dark Haven 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: "Threatened by university cutbacks, Professor Abigail Bern’s only hope is to publish a provocative research paper--soon. Planning to covertly observe behavior in the notorious Dark Haven BDSM club, she takes a receptionist job. When the owner calls upon her to assist in a demonstration, she’s appalled. Then fascinated. Under the unyielding hands of the master known as my Liege, she discovers a need to be more than an observer.

His late wife had been the center of his life, and Xavier Leduc wants no other. But when his new receptionist does her utmost to keep an emotional distance from him, he’s intrigued and digs deeper. She’s adorable. Intriguingly intelligent, beautifully submissive, sweetly vulnerable. He soon realizes her defenses are keeping her on the fringe of her sexuality--and her life. As he draws her into fuller participation, she unconsciously does the same for him. She begins to fill his world.

Ever since the night she met my Liege Xavier, Abby has questioned everything she believes about herself. She’s falling for the stern owner of Dark Haven and thinks he’s beginning to care for her...until the day he learns why she’s in his club."

My Review: I enjoyed this one but not as much as I felt I should have. I liked Abby and Xavier, and of course as always the sub-characters, but I think the storyline kind of pulled away from the characters. It was an interesting storyline too but it just seemed too drawn out. You could see what the conflicts were going to be long before they arose and how they would be resolved. I can't quite put my finger on it but this one just left me a little blah, it was mediocre for me which is hard to say because I love Sinclair's work so much! At least I could follow it up quickly with the next book in the series.
My Rating: I really don't know why I struggled with this one, the characters were good the story line ideas were good but it just didn't come together for me. I give it a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Review of The Reflections of Queen Snow White by David Meredith

Synopsis: "What happens when "happily ever after" has come and gone?

On the eve of her only daughter, Princess Raven's wedding, an aging Snow White finds it impossible to share in the joyous spirit of the occasion. The ceremony itself promises to be the most glamorous social event of the decade. Snow White’s castle has been meticulously scrubbed, polished and opulently decorated for the celebration. It is already nearly bursting with jubilant guests and merry well-wishers. Prince Edel, Raven's fiancĂ©, is a fine man from a neighboring kingdom and Snow White's own domain is prosperous and at peace. Things could not be better, in fact, except for one thing:

The king is dead.

The queen has been in a moribund state of hopeless depression for over a year with no end in sight. It is only when, in a fit of bitter despair, she seeks solitude in the vastness of her own sprawling castle and climbs a long disused and forgotten tower stair that she comes face to face with herself in the very same magic mirror used by her stepmother of old.

It promises her respite in its shimmering depths, but can Snow White trust a device that was so precious to a woman who sought to cause her such irreparable harm? Can she confront the demons of her own difficult past to discover a better future for herself and her family? And finally, can she release her soul-crushing grief and suffocating loneliness to once again discover what "happily ever after" really means?

Only time will tell as she wrestles with her past and is forced to confront The Reflections of Queen Snow White."

My Review: It took me a little bit to get into this book but once I did, oh boy did the pages fly. I always enjoy re-telling and updated fairy tales or myths and this one was no different. While it wasn't exactly a re-telling it was an after the happily ever after. I honestly don't even know how to put this review into words other than I will never look at a mirror the same way again. Sometimes we need to relive the pain to remember the strength in ourselves.
My Rating: I really enjoyed this book and the aspect of the after the happily ever after and how life can change over the years was a great change from the usual re-tellings. I give it a rating of Four Paws.
The Reflections of Queen Snow White was sent to me by the author for an honest review.
You can find out more about David Meredith and his work on his Website, Facebook Page or Goodreads Page.
You can also obtain your own copy in digital format from Amazon.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Review of Rose Harbor in Bloom by Debbie Macomber

Synopsis: "Since moving to Cedar Cove, Jo Marie Rose has truly started to feel at home, and her neighbors have become her closest friends. Now it’s springtime, and Jo Marie is eager to finish the most recent addition to her inn. In memory of her late husband, Paul, she has designed a beautiful rose garden for the property and enlisted handyman Mark Taylor to help realize it. She and Mark don’t always see eye-to-eye—and at times he seems far removed—yet deep down, Jo Marie finds great comfort in his company. And while she still seeks a sense of closure, she welcomes her latest guests, who are on their own healing journeys.

Annie Newton arrives in town to orchestrate her grandparents’ fiftieth wedding anniversary celebration. While Annie is excited for the festivities, she’s struggling to move on from her broken engagement, and her grandparents themselves seem to be having trouble getting along. Worse, Annie is forced to see Oliver Sutton, with whom she grew up and who has always mercilessly teased her. But the best parties end with a surprise, and Annie is in for the biggest one of all.

High-powered businesswoman Mary Smith, another Rose Harbor Inn guest, has achieved incredible success in her field, yet serious illness has led her to face her sole, lingering regret. Almost nineteen years ago, she ended her relationship with her true love, George Hudson, and now she’s returned to Cedar Cove to make amends.

Compassion and joy await Jo Marie, Annie, and Mary as they make peace with their pasts and look boldly toward their futures. Rose Harbor in Bloom is Debbie Macomber at her heartwarming best."

My Review: I love this series so much and this book continued to make that love grow. Macomber definitely keeps your emotions on shakey ground. You never know if you are going to cry tears of joy or sadness. I find it really interesting that throughout the series, the main character seems to easily step aside and take the sideline to the other sub plot lines that come up during each new book in the series. You really fall in love with each of the characters and you want the absolute best for each of them but don't seem to mind if things don't work out quite the way you want, or if there isn't really a clear resolution or ending. I can't wait for the next book to come out (one thing to keep in mind the characters from previous books do come up again in later books in this series so it might be helpful to read them close together).
My Rating: Another great book in this series, though I must admit that the span between the books allowed me to forget the significance of previous events and characters.  I give it a rating of Four Paws.

Monday, May 19, 2014

What's for Dinner this Week? (7)

What's for Dinner This Week is a little insight into my life for you every Monday night. I carefully plan out meals for the week ahead of time and do my shopping over the weekend.  So I wanted to start sharing with you one of the recipes or dinners I am most looking forward to each week.
After the chaos of last week and then a weekend of frantically trying to clean up, I am burned out and wanted simple meals for the next week or so.  I wanted to share with you one of the meals I found on Pinterest that has become one of my go-to dishes.  It is simple and somewhat healthy and makes enough for a good meal with leftovers and the best thing is both Hubby and Munchkin love it.
Creamy Spinach Tomato Tortellini
This is such a quick simple dish, not much prep work involved which makes it so simple when I am rushing home from work and picking up Munchkin at Daycare and have a short amount of time to get food on the table before he goes into full starvation meltdown. I think I will be adding in mushrooms with this one (as I have done so many, its almost as if a dish isn't complete without mushrooms).
You can find the recipe HERE
So what is your go to dinner when you are feeling lazy or in a rush (other than takeout)?

Bout of Books Wrap Up

Bout of Books

 For all Bout of Books 10 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

So I had been participating in the Bout of Books Readathon last week and I did okay considering the chaos of the week.   You can see my original Sign up post and daily updates HERE.

In summary I spent a total of 19 hours reading last week.
I read a total of 1,634 pages in that time period
I finished reading 6 books including:
My Liege of Dark Haven by Cherise Sinclair
Edge of the Enforcer by Cherise Sinclair
Dakota Born by Debbie Macomber
Not Until Tonight by Jessica Sankiewicz
In the Service of the Vampire King by Laura Kaye
Milo Armadillo by Jan Fearnley
Throughout the readathon I also read
77% of The Samaritan's Pistol by Eric Bishop
23 pages of Down Came the Rain by Brooke Shields.

Unfortunately I only was able to finish one review novel but came close to finishing a second.  I did manage to meet my goal of books to be read but did not meet my page count or daily hour count.  I guess I will have to adjust my goals next time to fit my truly insane schedule.

Did you participate in Bout of Books? How did your week go?


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

The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson
B is for Books by Annie Cobb
Big Cat the Proud by Molly Pearce
The Secret Zoo by Bryan Chick
Biscuit Loves the Library by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
Dinosaurs before Dark by Mary Pope Osborne
On the Farm by Susan Ring
The Legendary Yoda by Catherine Saunders
Hi, Koo! A Year of Seasons by Jon J. Muth
Cooking with the Cat by Bonnie Worth
The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger
Bert and Ernie's First Book of Opposites by Heather Au
Between Light and Dark (Graphic Novel)
Ten Tiny Toes by Caroline Jayne Church
Write Back Please by Jennifer Morris
The Angel Heart by Wendy Nadherny Fachon

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

My Liege of Dark Haven
Edge of the Enforcer
Not Until Tonight
Dakota Born
Samaritan's Pistol
In the Service of the Vampire King

Currently Reading:

Ophelia by Lisa M. Klein - PB - on Page 138 of 310
Perfect Match by Kristin Higgins - PB - on Page 243 of 441
Mozart Season by Virginia Euwer Wolff - PB - on page 35 of 272
Down Came the Rain by Brooke Shields - Nook - on page 23 of 260
Lest the Dew Rust Them by Michael Drakich - Kindle - 2%

 Books to be Read Soon:
Dakota Home by Debbie Macomber
Dakota Always by Debbie Macomber
Buffalo Valley by Debbie Macomber
Firelight by Sophie Jordan
Vanish by Sophie Jordan
Hidden by Sophie Jordan
Breathless by Sophie Jordan
Barefoot by Ruth Patterson
Dark Chatter by Andrew Branch (Requested Review)



Busy, busy week last week both in celebrating Children's Book Week and the Bout of Books Readathon. I hope you enjoyed everything I had going on last week even though it might have gotten a little overwhelming. I just have so many books I want to share with all of you, though I think it is time to start slowing things down.  I have done an insane amount of reading so far this year and all these late nights and then early mornings with Munchkin are really starting to wear me out.  With that said it is really nice to be able to read so many books and different genres. I have really found some great books and come across some disappointments.


Sunday, May 18, 2014

Bedtime Story: The Angel Heart by Wendy Nadherny Fachon

Welcome to Children's Book Week
Synopsis: "Why would God design a heart-shaped flower that cries? A curious child picks such a flower and carefully pulls it apart, one poetic petal at a time, to reveal the secret wisdom of God's healing magic and free prescriptions for heart, mind, and soul. The enchanting flower featured in this story teaches children how to lead their thoughts toward a healthier emotional place. The flower also shares God's surprisingly simple lessons for physical well-being-breathing well, moving well, eating well, and resting well. Children will gain a deeper appreciation for the miracle of the heart and its role in giving them strength, joy, love, and peace. In addition, this book seeks to spark curiosity and conversation, which are two critical keys to learning. Having found God to be a most curious topic, I wrote with the intention of inspiring children to ask questions and converse more freely about God, nature, creation, life, feelings, beliefs, world peace, or even fairy magic-whatever thoughts surface naturally for them."

My Review: I was lucky enough to be able to meet the author of this one, I took Munchkin with me too. We got the wonderful blessing of having Wendy sit down and read some of the book to him. While the book is for a older children than Munchkin, he still really enjoyed it. The illustrations are beautiful and unique as the flower is carefully examined and it almost changes shapes before your eyes like the clouds. The rhythm, rhyming and flow of the book is almost melodic. I think by the time the flowers are actually blooming, Munchkin might have enough patience to sit through the whole book and look at the flowers.
My Rating: This is a beautiful book on so many levels, more appropriate for children a little older than Munchkin. It would be great to lead into a nature walk or some time in the garden.  I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.
Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Early Reader Review of Please Write Back by Jennifer Morris

Welcome to Children's Book Week
Synopsis: "Alfie, an adorable alligator, writes a letter to Grandma all by himself. He addresses the letter, stamps it, and mails it.

Alfie waits and waits for a response. Will Grandma write back?"

My Review: This might have been one of the cutest kids book I have seen in quite a while. It will make a big impact for Munchkin since his Grandma lives so far away. The story is simple and great for really early readers. The illustrations are also completely adorable.
My Rating: I loved this one so much and can't wait for Munchkin to understand it and put it into action. I give this one a rating of Four Paws and a Stump Wag.