Saturday, November 1, 2014

October 2014 Challenge Update

Only 2 months left of this year (Holy Cow where did that year go)! I am still feeling pretty comfortable with how these challenges are moving along. 
So here we go:
Mental Illness Advocacy Challenge
This challenge is complete however I do have one more book I would like to read for this challenge, maybe in the fall.
Series Challenge
Wow I have completed 9 whole series so far this year! I am still determined to finish the Harry Potter series, and possibly the Icemark series too.
Series #1: Harry Potter - Book 1, Book 2,
Series #2: Secret of the Unicorn Queen - Book 1, Book 2, Book 3, Book 4, Book 5, Book 6 - Series Complete!
Series #3: Rose Harbor - Book 1, Book 1.5, Book 2, Book 3 - Complete
Series #4: Firebrand - Book #1, Book #2, Book #3 - Series Complete!
Series #5: Gifted Series - Book #1, Book #2, Book #3 - Series Complete!
Series #6: Master of the Mountain - Book 1, Book 1.5, Book 2, Book 2.5, Book 3, Book 4 - Series Complete (for now, I am sure there will be more books but none are set to release this year).
Series #7: Dakota Series -  Book 1, Book 2, Book 3, Book 4 - Series Complete!
Series #8: Vampire Warrior Kings Series - Book 1, Book 2, Book 3 - Series Complete!
Series #9: Firelight Series - Book 1, Book 2, Book 3, Book 3.5 - Series Complete
Series #10: Woods Family Series - Book 1 (read previously), Book 2, Book 3, Book 4, Book .5 - Series Complete
Audio Book Challenge
This Challenge is COMPLETE but still have been listening away
8. Stay
9. Rider
Graphic Novel Challenge
This challenge is COMPLETE and I think I have finished all the GNs I planned to read this year.
10. Relish
Mount TBR
I am still a little behind on this challenge, but I have several books that I need to read for the upcoming Advent Reads event. Many of them can be applied to this challenge.
3. Beauty

Erotica Challenge
Another Challenge Completed!! Woohoo! I even signed up for this one a little late and completed and surpassed my goal (and will probably continue to do so).
 23. Beg
Down to the last two months and enjoying the last books of the year! I have so far completed 6 of my 8 challenges of the year and am nearing the completion of the final two.  I only need 5 more books in my Equine Challenge and 9 more for my Mount TBR Challenge!
My Goodreads book count stands at 292 which surpasses my goal of 260 and completes my Goodreads Challenge (and of course that will be added to as I continue reading for the next two months).
I guess I should also point out that not included in any of these challenges other than the Goodreads count I have read 24 Requested Reviews and 90 Children's books so far this year too.
I have already started planning next year's challenges and am getting very excited for them.  I am making lists, and purchasing books in preparation for next year already.  Feel free to check out my page of 2015 Challenges, that is still under construction.
How are your challenges going? Have you started completing challenges? Are you starting to plan next year's challenges yet (because I am)?

Friday, October 31, 2014

Bedtime Story: Happy Halloween, Little Critter by Mercer Mayer

Synopsis: "It's Halloween! Little Critter and Little Sister are going to a spooky party at a haunted house. Bobbing for apples and playing Pin the Broom on the Witch are fun--but what kinds of monsters, mummies, and skeletons are lurking in the shadows? Pull back the big flaps to find out!"

My Review: Sometimes the Little Critter books are too advanced for munchkin but this one was perfect. Short and simple with interactive flaps and with plenty of bright illustrations for him to explore. I thought it might be too scary but he had a lot of fun finding out who was in the costumes.
My Rating: This was a fun book to get Munchkin ready for the season. The fact that this was an interactive book was a huge bonus for us.  We give it a rating of Four Paws.
Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Memories and Review of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Synopsis: "Mary Shelley began writing Frankenstein when she was only eighteen. At once a Gothic thriller, a passionate romance, and a cautionary tale about the dangers of science, Frankenstein tells the story of committed science student Victor Frankenstein. Obsessed with discovering the cause of generation and life and bestowing animation upon lifeless matter, Frankenstein assembles a human being from stolen body parts but; upon bringing it to life, he recoils in horror at the creature's hideousness. Tormented by isolation and loneliness, the once-innocent creature turns to evil and unleashes a campaign of murderous revenge against his creator, Frankenstein.

Frankenstein, an instant bestseller and an important ancestor of both the horror and science fiction genres, not only tells a terrifying story, but also raises profound, disturbing questions about the very nature of life and the place of humankind within the cosmos: What does it mean to be human? What responsibilities do we have to each other? How far can we go in tampering with Nature? In our age, filled with news of organ donation genetic engineering, and bio-terrorism, these questions are more relevant than ever."

My Review: I ranked this as my top favorite book after reading it in high school. It was assigned reading and once starting it I could not put it down (I snuck it into my calculus class). It has been some time since I last read it and have considered other books might take the top spot. So this month I decided to re-read it but got the audio version instead. There is now no doubt what so ever that this book will remain my #1 favorite book, especially after listening to the audio book. I don't feel that this is a horror book, to me it is beautiful and an emotional drama. I can't help but become teary eyed and choked up when the creature confronts his creator in the mountains and I must admit that I am totally on the creature's side. This is a classic and really one that everyone should at least try and it could become an instant and forever favorite!
My Rating: This is such a fantastic book, I am surprised I haven't re-read it before now. I cannot help but give this a Four Paw and a Stump Wag rating and almost wish I could go beyond that to a 5 paw!
High School Memories of Frankenstein:
I am pretty sure we read this book in my senior year and I was honestly dreading it a little because I didn't really like horror (I had read The Stand the year before and was forever traumatized).  I was so pleasantly surprised, I could not get enough of this book.  I do remember sneaking it into my calculus class to read it under my desk (I don't think the teacher said anything because it was a classic, he probably would have gave me detention if it was any other personal reading).  After reading so many great books that senior year one of the first college classes I signed up for was Epic Poetry (I guess that should have been a sign to me not to go into sciences but English in some form). 
This book was ranked at my top for so long I forgot why it was there until now. It will definitely remain at the top and I will make it a point to re-read it more often.  Honestly, even if you aren't into classic novels or books written in this time period give it a shot (and if you find reading the text daunting don't hesitate to download an audio version, it was only 8.5 hours)!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Blog Ahead Signup & Updates

I usually try to schedule blog posts in advance to keep up with the nearly daily posts and the amount of books I read and review.  With the busy season upon us, a month of novel writing and then Christmas season with my Advent Reads event, it is even harder to keep up with the posts.  So I decided to sign up for the Blog Ahead Challenge hosted by Anna at Herding Cats and Burning Soup.

The goal is to schedule 30 posts on your blog (in addition to what you already have scheduled) by the end of the month. If you want to join just head on over to the signup page!
I will keep track of all of my progress here (I will try to update at least once a week if not more often).  I am starting as of today . . . which means I will finish on November 29th.  I currently have 7 posts scheduled and so will need to have 37 scheduled posts by that date!
October 29, 2014 
Starting Scheduled Posts: 7
Goal for next update: schedule 10 posts
Thoughts: I am pretty excited, I think I have enough reviews done and post ideas for at least 10 new posts!

November 3, 2014
Starting Scheduled Posts: 7
Posts Scheduled: 11
Current Scheduled Posts: 16
Goal for next update: schedule 8 posts
Thoughts: So I got really motivated and scheduled nearly all the reviews I have for this month and got over my goal done.  The issue? While I should have a total of 18 posts scheduled, guess what, posts went live! Now I see how truly difficult this challenge could be.  The good part is that most of my posts for this month have been scheduled so at least most of the posts I schedule from this point on will count toward my final number at the end of the month.

November 4, 2014
Starting Scheduled Posts: 16
Posts Scheduled: 11
Current Scheduled Posts: 25
Goal for Next Update: schedule 5 posts
Thoughts: I had a chance to schedule some posts and took it.  While it looks like I am so far ahead right now, I know by the time I can schedule some more posts several will have gone live.  Definitely a challenge to not only get ahead on posts but also to have that many books read, reviewed or discussions planned.

November 19, 2014
Starting Scheduled Posts: 15
Posts Scheduled: 17
Current Scheduled Posts: 32
Goal for Next Update: schedule 5 posts
Thoughts: I waited a little longer to schedule posts this time so that I would actually be schedule posts beyond the end of this month.  I think it may work out pretty good for me.  I think I have enough post ideas and content to get me to a full 37 posts ahead of schedule now.

November 26, 2014
Starting Scheduled Posts: 26
Posts Scheduled: 11
Current Scheduled Posts: 37
Goal for Next Update: schedule 5 posts
Thoughts: Now that I have gotten going on non-review posts, the scheduling is moving along much quicker.  Thank goodness I have all the challenge wrap up and sign up posts to do in December as well as the Advent Reads event. I have more than enough material, in fact I am running out of days for everything I want to schedule in December!

Wednesday Writing

So Wednesday is my official writing update day. I have so many story projects going on and I need a push to get some done. So I will be trying to post each Wednesday about how my writing adventures are going (and I may need a swift kick in the pants by you guys sometimes).

Current Active Project:

New Nano Novel -
the honest to goodness truth about creating the little tyrants that will run your lives. No sugar coating here!
Princess Bs - 34,317 words
A story about a woman, recently divorced and returned to her home town to figure out what is next. She encounters an old friend and spends a weekend with him and his daughters. Feelings that are long since buried are rising up again, but are her recent loss and his current life going to stand in the way of their happily ever after?

Other Works in Progress:

The New Old Home - 17,193 words
Everyone dreams of winning the lottery, but what would you do with that money? That is the question presented to Natalie, when she is at the lowest point in her life, she is presented with an opportunity to make any normal person's dreams come true, but all those winnings can't give her what she wants most.

Night Rider - 17,229
Alice is a recent high school graduate who is a very accomplished competitive rider in Hunter/Jumper, Dressage, and Western/Rodeo. Her parents had arranged for her to attend a private college on the east coast geared specifically to equine professions. However, Alice wants to focus on her studies in English Literature. When she arrives at the college she hides her riding abilities, but can she keep her talent and love of horses hidden?

The Last Mountains - 13,468 (handwritten) = 15,766 (typed)
A equine shapeshifting family is being hunted to near extinction and the young new leader must go against all her lessons and approach the elite council for aide. Will they help her? How will she keep her family's traditions and values alive, let alone her herd?
Olivia's Mountain Tale - 3,607 words
Olivia is left in the mountains by her uncle to guard the sheep grazing in the summer pastures.  This summer could change the course of her life.
Tamlyn Marie's Grace - 5,811
Think Cinderella only with a matchmaker ;)

Other Ideas Plotting:

Bloodsoar's Story
A pegasus struggles through life, ejected from the herd, near capture by humans.

The Assassin's Assassin
A student learns what the school is really teaching and sets out to destroy those who support the program.

Angel Story
Angels battle out an age old feud in a parallel world

All in the Company
A business that keeps to itself, employees marry employees and live on company property. Lissandra is ordered to marry Cody but both are always on business and don't know one another.

Little Wind Guides
Little Wind must lead her clan to new territory as the gods of the Fire Forest are cleansing their home with wrath.  Will they follow her while she holds so many secrets.

Draft Complete:

The Story of Things (previously titled Each Item a Story) - 50,052 words
A journal a woman keeps as she sorts through antique items and documents left in a home she purchased.


Guess what?! Nanowrimo kicks off on Saturday!! I am geared up and ready to go!! I have a note book full of chapter titles and bullet points to cover and even some lines I want to use.  While I did some planning this year I am still going to maintain flexibility and let it flow like last year.  I hope to win again this year.

I will be posting a Wednesday Writing post each week this next month since I will be actively writing.   I only writing during the week since we need to reserve time on the weekends for family, so as a result of that I have to write 2,500 words each day during the week.  Wish me luck!!

Are you participating? Keep me updated!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Review of Black Horses for the King by Anne McCaffrey

Synopsis: ""After his father's death, young Galwyn Varianus is apprenticed to his uncle, who puts the boy to work on the high seas. But horses, not ships, are Galwyn's passion. Luckily, a passenger aboard, Lord Artos (later to rule as the legendary King Arthur), is bound for the great horse fair at Septimania. Risking his life, Galwyn abandons his uncle to serve the gallant leader. Galywn's calming way with horses quickly impresses Lord Artos and his men. But what no one expects is how crucial Galwyn will be to their upcoming battles--as he masters the secrets of the iron shoes that will protect the exotic horses' delicate hooves. . ."

My Review: I have just finished re-reading this book after several years and it is just as fantastic and interesting as the first time. It is such a unique take on the beginning of the supposed Arthurian times. You can tell there was much time and research spent prior to writing this book and it is hard at times to distinguish what might actually be historical facts and what is part of the fictional tale, it is all enthralling and you can't help but continue to turn the pages.
My Rating: This book does take some time to get used to as the characters you are used to aren't referred to by the names you are used to, but I think that is part of the charm of the book being set prior to the fame of King Arthur.  I love this book and it is great for both horse lovers and those who enjoy Arthurian Legends.  I give it Four Paws!

Monday, October 27, 2014

What's for Dinner? (27)

What's for Dinner 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.
Back to Pinterest for more yummy recipes for dinner! I was looking for something with delicious fall/late summer veggies and came across
It looked simple and hit on several food categories and included food Munchkin enjoys.
We didn't have the greatest quality of sausage and Hubby isn't a fan of tomatoes so I cut down on those, which resulted in the dish being a little dry.  So I drizzled a little flavored olive oil (mushroom & sage for me & Munchkin and Chipotle for Hubby) on it all, and it worked. I think next time I might replace the tomato with some asparagus and develop a sauce with some broth or wine.
You can get the recipe On Yellow Bliss Road

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

Secrets at Sea by Sabre Moore
Bathing and The Single Girl by Christine Elise McCarthy
Naya Nuki by Kenneth Thomasma
A Porcupine Named Fluffy by Helen Lester (Bedtime Story)
Animal Man Vol. 1 The Hunt by Jeff Lemire (Graphic Novel)


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

Confessions of a Scary Mommy
Black Horses for the King
Snow Kissed
Cricket on the Hearth
That's When I'm Happy
Motherhood Comes Naturally
Giving Chase
Mr. Wuffles
Steam Train, Dream Train
Enchanted No More

Currently Reading:

Cry of the Icemark by Stuart Hill - Audio - switched to HC - on page 68 of 496

 Books to be Read Soon:
Behind You by Carly M. Duncan (Requested Review)

Interesting Tidbits from the Web:

One of my favorite independent bookstores made this list (and I just happened to be in the store when the owner found out - it was very exciting) - 44 Great American Bookstores - Check out #23 (I am usually in their 2nd branch but still very exciting)



I tried to ride the wave of adrenaline coming off Dewey's Readathon and also some quiet time in the office to read a lot more.  I did pretty good but of course there are always more books that I wish I had a chance to read too.  I hope you have all been enjoying my posts and reviews of the books I read before blogging.  There are some great books there and while I felt like I was starting to fade off in my reading with a rut these books have rekindled my passion at just the right time.

Now by this time next week we will be in full swing of Nanowrimo, but I hopefully have enough books to keep things interesting around here until the Advent Reads event starts on December 1st (which I already have several books and reviews scheduled).

How has your reading been going as the month draws to a close and the end of the year is looming?!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Graphic Novel Review of Animal Man Vol. 1 The Hunt by Jeff Lemire

Synopsis: "One of the breakout hits from DC Comics – The New 52! In these tales from issues #1-6 of the new series, Buddy Baker has gone from "super" man to family man – but is he strong enough to hold his family together when Maxine, his young daughter, starts to manifest her own dangerous powers? As these new abilities continue to terrify Buddy and his wife Ellen, things take a turn for the worse as Buddy and Maxine begin a journey into the heart of The Red. Don't miss the amazing series from writer Jeff Lemire (SWEET TOOTH) and artist Travel Foreman (The Immortal Iron Fist)"

My Review: I was kind of surprised at how much I disliked this one, I guess I was expecting something that involved animals a little more. Instead this ended up being a very morbid and explicit, there is a lot of blood and graphic images. It was neither a superhero graphic novel nor something that appeals to me. I am sure it is perfect for other people but for me if you have blood and gore you better have a good story backing it up.
My Rating: I was expecting more animal than gore, so not my cup of tea. I give it a rating of One Paw and a Stump Wag.