Saturday, June 7, 2014

Graphic Novel Review of Hera: The Goddess and her Glory by George O'Connor

Synopsis: "The story of Hera, Queen of the Gods, and the heroes who won her favor.
Volume 3 of Olympians, Hera: The Goddess and Her Glory, introduces readers to the Queen of the Gods and Goddesses in the Pantheon. This volume tells the tales of the many heroes who sought and won Hera’s patronage, most notably Hercules.
In Olympians, O’Connor draws from primary documents to reconstruct and retell classic Greek myths. But these stories aren’t sedate, scholarly works. They’re action-packed, fast-paced, high-drama adventures with monsters, romance, and not a few huge explosions.
O’Connor’s vibrant, kinetic art brings ancient tales to undeniable life, in a perfect fusion of super-hero aesthetics and ancient Greek mythology."

My Review: This series bounced back from the slight let down of Athena: The Grey Eyed Goddess (Volume 2) with Hera. O'Connor does admit that Hera is a favorite of his and you can see that in how much was packed into this volume. Not only do we get to find out so much more about Hera and how she manages to dominate Zeus but we also get to watch Hercules' labors. It has definitely rekindled the urgent need to obtain the rest of the series (especially since my favorite is next, Hades)!
My Rating: After the slight let down this was like that first bit of spring air, when it smells like rain and not snow. I really enjoyed this one and can't wait to see what Hades has in store! I give it a rating of Four Paws.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Bedtime Story: Thumper and the Noisy Ducky by Stuart Smith

Synopsis: "Thumper and his sisters are back for another charming adventure! This time, they're making friends with little yellow duckies. With irresistibly cute illustrations, lyrical text, and fuzzy flocking on every page, this board book is the perfect addition to any Easter basket."

My Review: This was a huge hit in our house! Munchkin love the fuzzy touch and feel animals and even gave them hugs. He also loved the quacking in the book and joined in. It is a fun little tale with a familiar character about being noisy and quiet. I think this might be a good lesson once Munchkin can understand a little better about being quiet while Daddy sleeps after night shift.
My Rating: This was a great book and Munchkin really loves it.  The one draw back for me is the use of the word Ducky and Duckies, we really try to make sure we don't use baby talk with Munchkin and encourage him to use proper words for things and this kind of counter acts that, but when we read it to him we just replace it with duck or duckling.  We give it a rating of Four Paws!
Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

After Dark Review of In the Service of the King by Laura Kaye

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: "Kael, Warrior King of the Vampires, loathes the Night of the Proffering. He needs the blood of either his mate or a human virgin to maintain his strength, but hasn't enjoyed the ritual since he lost his mate centuries ago. Kael doesn't want a new companion, yet his resolve is tested when he lays eyes on his new offering, Shayla McKinnon. He is drawn to Shayla's beauty and poise...and the submission she offers. She is eager to give him anything he wishes, including her innocence, to please him. Will Kael give in to their overwhelming desire—even if it means risking Shayla's life?"

My Review: This is another book I had a hard time rating, it should really be a 3.5 star rating. It is a short book, almost novella, but Kaye did an excellent job of creating characters and world building in such a short amount of time without info dumping. I really came to love the characters and really wanted the best for them. I also really appreciated how Kaye built and explained the many rituals throughout the book, I was able to follow easily. I do feel like I could have used a little more back story boy about Shayla and the Vampires as a whole, but since this is the first book in the series I think it may come up in the following two books.
My Rating: This was good just not quite on the level I have come to expect from Kaye.  She did however do a great job of world building and setting up for the series.  I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Review of The Samaritan's Pistol by Eric Bishop

Synopsis: "Even among his small town neighbors, Jim is a content man. Despite the emotional baggage from his time serving in Desert Storm, he successfully runs a ranch, owns several beautiful horses, and makes extra cash as a wilderness guide for wealthy tourists. He's a modern-day cowboy.

That is, until he runs into an ongoing mob-hit while riding in the mountains. Now, his most beloved horse is bleeding to death, three mobsters are dead from his smoking gun, and a wounded criminal is begging for his help. Jim has to make a decision. He can either high-tail it out of there, or accept a tempting offer made by the criminal—a promise of millions in stolen mafia cash for any help he gives.

Of course, only an idiot would turn down such an appealing offer when they’re marked for death anyway. Besides, Jim’s good nature cannot allow him to leave someone for dead, even a criminal.

Soon, Jim finds himself on a trip to retrieve a truckload of stolen money near the Las Vegas strip, right under the Mafia’s nose. But even if they escape with the cash, will Jim’s conservative neighbors provide sanctuary for their local Samaritan, and how far will the mafia go for revenge?"

My Rating: This is outside of my normal reading genres, but I am always willing to step outside of the box for something that catches my attention like Samaritan's Pistol. There were so many great elements to the story right off the bat and with the strong characters to carry you through the book. I immediately liked Jim and his rough but gentle cowboy ways. As each additional character was introduced I liked them as well (Brody and Skinner both quickly became favorites). The story line was also very interesting, Jim getting caught up in the Mafia when he seems to prefer his quiet way of life. There was a good deal of action during the story but definitely had some lulls, and those lulls didn't really convey suspense to me. While I enjoyed the book it didn't put me on the edge of my seat. The end was left wide open for a sequel, which I believe Bishop is working on, but could still be enjoyed on its own. For those of you who follow my blog or my reviews know I recently DNF a book for pushing religion, Samaritan's Pistol introduced religion as well, but this book is the way you should present it! The religion is part of the book but it doesn't take over and doesn't force it down your throat, I really appreciated that aspect.
My Rating: While I really enjoyed the book and especially the characters it didn't really scream suspense or thriller to me, so that was a little bit of a let down, but it was still a good book.  I give it a rating of Three Paws.
The Samaritan's Pistol was sent to me by the Publicist for an honest review.
You can find out more about Eric Bishop and his work on his Goodreads Page or Website.
You can also obtain your own copy of The Samaritan's Pistol in digital or print format on Amazon or Barnes & Noble

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Review of Dakota Born by Debbie Macomber

Synopsis: "Returning to the struggling town of Buffalo Valley, North Dakota, Lindsay Snyder seeks to discover family secrets while reevaluating her life, an effort that offers unexpected hope to the town of her childhood vacations."

My Review: Hmmm not really sure if I liked this book, it was a lot of back and forth between characters, which does happen in relationships but some of it seemed kind of high schoolish. I definitely did not like Lindsay, she was rather immature in my opinion (heck maybe I am too much of a small town westerner too and judge outsiders). That was something else I wasn't really fond of, how judgmental the residents were, granted it can be tough to impress a farmer/rancher who has to work so hard to survive but generally most small town people are much more friendly than city folks (at least in my experience of moving from a tiny town in WY to cities on the east coast). I did however enjoy several of the sub-characters and hope they get featured a little more in the rest of the books in the series.
My Rating: I am a little surprised I didn't like this book because I normally love her writing. Hopefully the rest of the series picks up for me. I give it a rating of Two Paws.

Monday, June 2, 2014

What's for Dinner this Week? (9)

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.

So we are finally getting some nice weather around here and we like to sit out by a fire in the evenings (hubby got me a nice fire pit for our anniversary a few years ago). Whenever I sit by a fire in the summer and I stare at those embers it causes a serious craving for me.  All I can think about it sticking a foil wrapped potato in those embers and eating a delicious baked potato (this causes a lot of late night snacking).
So this week I am insisting on having baked potatoes, on the grill mind you, none of that microwave or oven stuff.  I had the best baked potato ever at Outback Steakhouse since then we have coated the potato in olive oil (sometimes flavored) and sprinkled sea salt, pepper and garlic powder (sometimes hubby gets really creative and makes a rub with different spices) on it before wrapping in tin foil.
Of course the toppings really make the baked potato so I will need sour cream, cheese, fresh chives, bacon, butter, and salt & pepper (at a minimum, sometimes spinach finds its way in too).
Do I have you craving potatoes yet?  This site called Tipnut has a lot of great potato cooking ideas and tips.

So what are your favorite summer eats? Does a good camp fire make you crave anything in particular (other than a nice cold beverage)?

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

Not Until Tonight by Jessica Sankiewicz
Dependent by Brenda Corey Dunne
Edge of the Enforcer by Cherise Sinclair (After Dark)
The Shape of Me and Other Stuff by Dr. Seuss (Bedtime Story)

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

Bubble Bubble
Frog and Toad are Friends
Zoe's First Book of Seasons

Currently Reading:

Mozart Season by Virginia Euwer Wolff - PB - on page 35 of 272
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
Vanish by Sophie Jordan
Hidden by Sophie Jordan
Breathless by Sophie Jordan
Dark Chatter by Andrew Branch (Requested Review)

Fun Bookish Things to Share:

I came across this fun article and video to share with all of you -
47 Charming Facts about Children's Books

I also found this article I really enjoyed (it was from back in February)
28 Books You Should Read if You Want To


Goodness, where on earth did the week go?! I got so far behind on chores over the long weekend last week, I spent a good part of this last week catching up on them, because it is spring/summer and our weekends are quickly filling up. I definitely didn't get much reading done.

I haven't been posting pictures of my nails lately because I have been too busy to really get creative and was just using old colors for a quick polish. Last week though I tried out a couple of new techniques and I got a bunch of new polishes.

Lacey lilac with pink shimmery striping tape I guess you would call it.  I saw this done on a couple blogs and it definitely isn't as easy as the make it look! The tape didn't stay put either, within a couple of hours it was already lifting on the edges even with 2 coats of top coat.
I also saw a technique on pinterest about making your own decals using a plastic bag and a crafting punch.  I liked the idea of a spring color like Breezy Blue with little dragon flies and butterflies. I learned a few lessons but it seems like a fun way to get simple art add-ons for your nails.



Sunday, June 1, 2014

Crafty Time (4)

Crafty Times is a new thing I am trying on the blog where I can share some of the art and crafts I have created (you can too of course). I really dabble in a wide variety of crafts and hope you can find something that sparks your interest or inspires you!
So I know I missed a few crafty times but I have been working on them, slowly. I have another fun felt board set for little ones. I found this one on Pinterest and knew I had to make a set for us too, as I told you before my family is serious about their popcorn. So here is our new popcorn felt playset. . .
Munchkin had a blast slapping the popcorn over the kernel when I said POP. Of course we then had to have popcorn because he wanted to eat the felt pieces.
If you want to make a set for the little ones in your life check out Mel's Desk Blog, I believe she is the one who came up with the patterns and rhyme.