Saturday, June 21, 2014

Graphic Novel Review of Birds of Prey Vol. 1: Trouble in Mind by Duane Swierczynski

Synopsis: "One is wanted for a murder she didn't commit. The other is on the run because she knows too much. They are Dinah Laurel Lance and Ev Crawford - a.k.a. Black Canary and Starling - and joining them are the villainous Poison Ivy and the heroic Batgirl and together, as Gotham City's covert ops team, they're taking down the villains other heroes can't touch. They are the Birds of Prey."

My Review: I guess this would be considered a classic super hero graphic novel, however it features all female super heroes. I did find myself a little confused because I wasn't familiar with all of them and even though this was Volume 1 I feel like there is more of a backstory going on and maybe I should have read something else ahead of time to become more familiar with each of the lead roles. I do love the idea that none of them are perfect and that they are creating an all female power team.
My Rating: For some one who hasn't been reading super hero graphic novels all their lives it was difficult to follow this story since I wasn't familiar with the characters already.  I give it a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Bedtime Story: Welcome to Trucktown by Jon Scieszka

Synopsis: "Jack Truck and his best friend Dump Truck Dan are spending the day doing their favorite thing... Smashing and Crashing throughout the whole town! Along the way the meet up with their friends and give us a rollicking tour! But when a mysterious shadow falls and a strange voice calls, is the duo in trouble? Or has a new friend come to town to join in all the smashing fun."

My Review: Nothing like teaching your kids to make a huge mess and wreck stuff with no punishments. Jack & Dan just go about wrecking things and making everyone's day harder and at the end are rewarded by giving them a job of wrecking something else. I didn't really like that message in this story. Munchkin didn't seem to like it much either, the illustrations were too busy for him to really enjoy the fact that it was a book about big trucks, one of his favorite things.
My Rating: I was really unimpressed with the message this book sends little kids but Munchkin really enjoyed the illustrations. We give it a rating of One Paw and a Stump Wag.
Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

After Dark Review of Taken by the Vampire 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: "Henrik Magnusson is supposed to be immortal, but a mysterious ailment leaves the vampire king near death, and not even the blood of the Proffered, human virgins trained to serve the elite, can sustain him. Then he rescues a beautiful young woman from his enemies, and is filled with blood lust and desire he hasn't felt for centuries.

Photographer Kaira Sorenson's life takes a nightmare turn when she's attacked by blood-thirsty creatures—and saved by a vampire. She should be afraid of Henrik, but she can't deny her intense attraction to this regal, enigmatic being—nor the fact that her blood may be his only salvation. Now she must decide if she's willing to be his forever…"

My Review: A little different take on things but still the same feel as the rest of the series. I really enjoyed the setting and the idea of the photography and the importance of the northern lights in the story. I also enjoyed the theme of mortality and the fight to enjoy time before it ends. I felt like this one wasn't quite as steamy as the others in this short series (or other books by Kaye by that matter) but it didn't really need it, there was so much depth in the emotions. I wonder if this was originally going to be a longer series, because the books were left very open.
My Rating: I really wish that there had been more books but it is what it is.  I give this one a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Review of The Letters by Luanne Rice and Joseph Monninger

Synopsis: "Is there any mystery greater than those we love the most?

In this remarkable collaboration, New York Times bestselling author Luanne Rice and Joseph Monninger combine their unique talents to create a powerfully moving novel of an estranged husband and wife through a series of searching, intimate letters. By way of a correspondence so achingly real you’ll forget it’s fiction, they trace the history of a love affair and of a family before, and after, the moment that changed the course of two people’s journey forever.

Sam and Hadley West are both trying in their own ways to survive after the unthinkable loss of their only son in Alaska. For Sam, a sports journalist, acceptance means an arduous trek by dogsled across the bleak and beautiful arctic wilderness to find the place where Paul died. For Hadley, it means renting a benignly haunted, salt-soaked cottage off the Maine coast where she begins to paint again.

Now, at opposite ends of the country, waiting for their divorce to be finalized, they begin to exchange letters by post, missives filled with longing and truths they’ve never before voiced, as they recall their marriage—its magic moments and its challenges—and begin to rediscover the reasons they fell in love in the first place.

As Sam risks his life to reach the remote crash site, Hadley begins an equally hazardous inner journey to a rendezvous with the mad grief of a mother’s heart. At the place where all else is lost, they will meet again…."

My Review: Well that was an unbelievably emotional book to read. So many ups and downs through out the story, well letters, which seems to add a whole other level to the story. You feel a connection with the story yet somehow a little detached from the characters as if you are reading someone's private letters. I really appreciated the way it is written by two authors to give them more voice. Be forewarned there are so many very strong and emotional issues involved in the story including death and divorce, alcoholism and affairs. I normally am not one to mark a book, it usually drives me crazy when someone underlines parts or makes notes in the margin but with this book I couldn't help myself, there were so many great lines that spoke to me. The first I came across spoke to one of my fears when having a child, on page 51 "We had stopped being a couple - we were just Paul's parents." This particular line resonated so much with me, I had to underline and mark the page, as well as put the book down and absorb it for a minute or two. Another section I marked emphasized that we are so much more honest and truthful in written letters, and that is such a truth. I will share one final quote with you and hope that you will give this book a try and that it will speak to you as well. This quote is from page 187, "Love is not a shield, or a guard. It's the hand we give to each other, and we cannot live our lives holding on for balance. But the hand is there, waiting and willing the return, and the hand is never quite at rest without the other."
My Rating: If you have sat through that review, maybe you are considering reading it.  Honestly this is one of those books I wish I had a book club to share it with and discuss! It is definitely a Four Paw book!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Review of Down Came the Rain by Brooke Shields

Synopsis: "In this compelling memoir, Brooke Shields talks candidly about her experience with postpartum depression after the birth of her daughter, and provides millions of women with an inspiring example of recovery. When Brooke Shields welcomed her newborn daughter, Rowan Francis, into the world, something unexpected followed--a crippling depression. Now, for the first time ever, in Down Came the Rain, Brooke talks about the trials, tribulations, and finally the triumphs that occurred before, during, and after the birth of her daughter."

My Review: It is hard to rate a book that is so uncomfortable to read. I do like how Brooke makes it clear that postpartum depression can effect people in a variety ways and levels. Though she shared her emotions, at times if felt a little disconnected, like I was simply reading a manual. One thing she did hit the nail on the head with is the fact that very few are informed that this could happen, I read so many baby books and it gets you up to the point of your water breaking and then you are on your own and the first year books focus mainly on the baby's health and progress and again the mothers and fathers are left on their own. It was remarkable that she was brave enough to share her story, including the struggle with infertility and she made a very good point that all the infertility hormone treatments could put women at a greater risk of experiencing PPD or some form of it.
My Rating: It definitely opened my eyes as to some of the issues I faced and some of my friends have faced. I am glad to see that there are more and more books being put out there about this issue, I would however like it to be included more in those 'what to expect' type books since those are read ahead of time instead of after you have struggled.  I give it a rating of Three Paws.

Monday, June 16, 2014

What's for Dinner this Week? (11)

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.
I grew up with summers as a kid being fun and laid back, usually my Mom was the only one home with us so our lunches were pretty light and munchie like.  One of my favorites was the radish sandwich, it isn't summer until I have one still. My mom finally told me why she made them and it was because she had them as a kid and being one of 7 children funds were tight, and the radish sandwich is about as cheap of a meal as they come.  Now everyone I have met that actually eats them has a different way of enjoying the radish sandwich.  Our family always does butter on bread with the sliced radishes and a little sprinkle of salt.
For my bridal shower many years ago my best friend made me these delicious cucumber sandwiches, they had a creamy spread and then a little slice of cucumber and a dollop of diced pimentos. 
So both these simple little sandwiches have come to speak summer to me and I found something fantastic while I was browsing recipes last week looking for something for father's day . . .
these little treats combine my favorite things about both my summer sandwiches! I can't wait to make these for those warm days coming up (maybe even to take on a picnic to the park with Munchkin).
What recipe screams summer to you? Was there a recipe handed down in your family from times of financial hardship that are more delicious than expensive meals?

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

Firelight by Sophie Jordan
Seduced by the Vampire King by Laura Kaye (After Dark)
Put Me In a Zoo by Robert Lopshire (Bedtime Story)

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

Nighttime Ninja
A Shiver of Light
The Letters
The Crown on Your Head
The Very Best Daddy of All
Saturday before Father's Day
Currently Reading:

Mozart Season by Virginia Euwer Wolff - PB - on page 35 of 272
Lest the Dew Rust Them by Michael Drakich - Kindle - 2%
We Bought a Zoo by Benjamin Mee - Audio - 23%

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



Had a pretty slow start to the week, but still got a decent amount read. Poor Munchkin had a really rough week getting two of those back molars and an ear infection to top it all off. He needed lots of cuddle time and doesn't want me distracted by books while cuddling.  Thankfully he is feeling much better and I should be able to make up some time reading this week.

I got some really pretty new nail polishes recently and have finally gotten around to playing with them.

First I have Trade Winds, which might be one of my favorites now, with Satellite glitter over it.
And then I had a duel set called Emerald Suede, it is a pinkish nude that is supposed to be matte (but I used a quick dry top coat because I am impatient) with a really pretty glossy green.