Saturday, November 29, 2014

Blog Ahead Wrap Up Post

I had joined the Blog Ahead Challenge hosted by Anna at Herding Cats and Burning Soup. With the goal to pre-schedule 30 extra posts by today. It was a challenge at first since I was scheduling posts that were going live throughout the month, but then I got started on Decembers posts and things really got going.
Here are my Updates:
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!
November 29, 2014
 Starting Scheduled Posts: 32
Posts Scheduled: 5
Current Scheduled Posts: 37
Thoughts: Wow! I made it and I actually have at least 5 more posts to schedule! Who would have thought that I would have this much information to post! It feels good to get ahead, especially with so much going on in December, not only in the blogging world but in life as well. Now I will have plenty of time to spend with munchkin on Christmas activities and movies.
So as you can see I managed to get all 30 of the pre-schedule posts done that I wanted to get done! I will spend some time early next week finishing out the schedule for the month and start the posts for early next year.
Did you participate? How did you do?

Friday, November 28, 2014

Bedtime Story: That's When I'm Happy by Beth Shoshan

Synopsis: "This classic picture book tells the story of a little bear and his family and the heartwarming adventures they have together. Little readers will love this gentle story with charming pictures, soothing text, and imaginative plot, and parents will love reading along with their children. Ideal for children just learning to read."

My Review: This is a really cute book. I particularly loved how what made the bear happy was nothing special, just simple things like a leaf, looking at the stars or reading a book, there were no TV shows, extravagant toys, etc. Munchkin immediately latched onto this book and would give me a big bear hug or kiss when I read those lines. The lines of the story don't always flow but the story as a whole is a great one.
My Rating: I adore this book and the message behind it, what I nice reminder at this time of year that it isn't always the biggest things or most expensive things that make everyone happy, but the simple things given with love.  I give this book a rating of Four Paws!
Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Review of The World According to Mr. Rogers by Fred Rogers

Synopsis: "A timeless collection of wisdom on love, friendship, respect, individuality, and honesty from the man who has been a friend to generations of Americans There are few personalities who evoke such universal feelings of warmth as Fred Rogers. An enduring presence in American homes for over 30 years, his plainspoken wisdom continues to guide and comfort many. The World According to Mister Rogers distills the legacy and singular worldview of this beloved American figure. An inspiring collection of stories, anecdotes, and insights--with sections devoted to love, friendship, respect, individuality, and honesty, The World According to Mister Rogers reminds us that there is much more in life that unites us than divides us. Culled from Fred Rogers' speeches, program transcripts, books, letters, and interviews, along with some of his never-before-published writings, The World According to Mister Rogers is a testament to the legacy of a man who served and continues to serve as a role model to millions."

My Review: Mr. Rogers did have some wonderful advise, while this book has a lot of pages that I marked, I feel like it is only a brief glimpse into all the knowledge he had to share. I grew up watching Mr. Rogers Neighborhood and that was all I knew about him, it was wonderful to learn more about the man and all he did for both kids and families. Some of the things that were included in this collection hit me at just the right time while struggling with a toddler. Definitely one to keep and refer back to in times of both struggle and joy.
My Rating: There were definitely pages that made an impact and others that didn't seem to apply. It is a wonderful collection of Mr. Rogers though and give a little more of a peek into his world.  I give it a rating of Three Paws.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Review of Giving Thanks by Katherine Paterson

Synopsis: "Newbery Medal winner Katherine Paterson and cut-paper artist Pamela Dalton give fans of all ages even more to be thankful for with Giving Thanks, a special book about gratitude. Katherine Paterson's meditations on what it means to be truly grateful and Pamela Dalton's exquisite cut-paper illustrations are paired with a collection of over 50 graces, poems, and praise songs from a wide range of cultures, religions, and voices. The unique collaboration between these two extraordinary artists flowers in this important and stunningly beautiful reflection on the act of giving thanks."

My Review: I really enjoyed this book. I love the wide variety of poems and prayers from all areas and how they work together so beautifully. They not only apply to this upcoming Thanksgiving season and Christmas season but year round. They are a nice reminder of things I have forgotten in this busy life. I also absolutely love the scherenschnitte images throughout the book, they are beautiful and add an extra element to the book for me.
My Rating: This is such a beautiful collection of poems and prayers and stunning artwork. I might have to track this down in print so I can have it on my shelf.  I give it a rating of Four Paws!
To all those in the US, I wish you all a happy, healthy and love filled Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Audio Review of Cricket on the Hearth by Charles Dickens

Synopsis: "Dickens gave his first formal expression to his Christmas thoughts in his series of small books, the first of which was the famous "Christmas Carol." There followed four others: "The Chimes," "The Cricket on the Hearth," "The Battle of Life," and "The Haunted Man." The five are known today as the "Christmas Books." Of them all the "Carol" is the best known and loved, and "The Cricket on the Hearth," although third in the series, is perhaps next in popularity, and is especially familiar to Americans through Joseph Jefferson's characterisation of Caleb Plummer.

The title creature is a sort of barometer of life at the home of John Peerybingle and his much younger wife Dot. When things go well, the cricket on the hearth chirps; it is silent when there is sorrow. Tackleton, a jealous old man, poisons John's mind about Dot, but the cricket through its supernatural powers restores John's confidence and all ends happily."

My Review: I did not enjoy this book as much as I would have expected. I am not sure if it was because I listened to the audio version and the british accent and not so great voice characterizations turned me off or if it was just the story. It might be because of the time period this book was written, but there is just so much useless explanations that I lost track of what the story was supposed to be about, along with the fantasy touches in what seems to be a more realistic type story, threw me off the story again. Once you weeded through all the extra nonsense it was a nice story about finding and holding on to love through misunderstandings.
My Rating: It was okay for me, I guess for others it is a tradition for this season but it won't be for me.  I am glad it was such a short book to listen to otherwise I probably would have given up on it.  I give it a rating of One Paw and a Stump Wag.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Release Day: Hard To Come By by Laura Kaye

Woohoo! I have been waiting it seems for ages for this book to come out (though it really hasn't been that long, Kaye does a great job of keeping us fed with the next book in a series). I have already downloaded my copy and started reading it!  Oh and if you purchase before December 2nd, there will be bonus content ;)
So here is a little information for you about this great book:
Title: Hard to Come By (book 3 in the Hard Ink Series)
Author: Laura Kaye
Release Date: Today! November 25, 2014
Format: Digital & Print
Publisher: Avon Romance
Goodreads Link: Hard to Come By
Where To Purchase:  Amazon | | Amazon UK | B&N | iTunes| Kobo
Caught between desire and loyalty…

Derek DiMarzio would do anything for the members of his disgraced Special Forces team—sacrifice his body, help a former teammate with a covert operation to restore their honor, and even go behind enemy lines. He just never expected to want the beautiful woman he found there.

When a sexy stranger asks questions about her brother, Emilie Garza is torn between loyalty to the brother she once idolized and fear of the war-changed man he's become. Derek’s easy smile and quiet strength tempt Emilie to open up, igniting the desire between them and leading Derek to crave a woman he shouldn’t trust.

As the team’s investigation reveals how powerful their enemies are, Derek and Emilie must prove where their loyalties lie before hearts are broken and lives are lost. Because love is too hard to come by to let slip away…
Marz was playing with fire. He damn well knew he was. But that didn’t make him want to pull away.
He just wanted more of the heat.
Marz nuzzled the side of Emilie’s face with his nose, his lips. She turned her face toward him and offered her lips. He couldn’t refuse.
Capturing her mouth on a tortured groan, Marz poured every ounce of his longing and confusion and desire into the kiss. They grasped at each other and Emilie turned in his arms. He pinned her against the railing and planted his hands in her hair. She opened to him and accepted his tongue, sucking him in until Marz’s blood ran hot and his hard-on ached. He ground himself against her and devoured every little moan and whimper and gasp she spilled.
Trailing kisses from her mouth to her jaw to her ear, Marz dragged a hand down her body and grasped her breast in his palm. She cried out and her head dropped back, drawing his mouth to her neck, where he licked and sucked and nipped as he kneaded her soft flesh. “You are so damn sexy.”
Her hand flew to his hair and grasped the back of his head. “Touch me,” she said. “Don’t stop touching me.”
Marz pulled away long enough to do a three-sixty scan. The lighthouse cast a dark shadow over them, and the pier was otherwise empty. His heart raced and his pulse hammered. He dove back in, trailing kisses down her neck to her collarbone, which he traced with his tongue. Her nails scratched deliciously at his scalp and her grip urged him down.
Through the thin material of her blouse and bra, he mouthed and flicked at her nipple. He shifted the deep vee of the neckline to reveal a lacy royal blue bra. He tongued her through the lace until she was panting and moaning and writhing against the railing.
“Oh, my God,” she rasped as he shifted her shirt and moved to her other breast. This time, he tugged the lace down to bare the deep pink of her nipple. She tasted and smelled like something fruity and sweet, and it made Marz hunger for more. “Derek,” she gasped. “Yes, yes, yes.”
Her palm cupped and squeezed the bulge of his erection through his jeans. His hips jerked into the touch, craving more of her, all of her. He groaned and it seemed to egg her on, because she pressed and rubbed her hand against his trapped cock until he was panting and imagining taking her down to the ground.
“Jesus, Emilie, you’re driving me fucking crazy,” he said as he worked kisses back up her body to her mouth.
“I know just what you mean,” she said. Her molten hot gaze met his. Eyes hooded, lips shiny and swollen, cheeks flushed, she was a freaking goddess standing under the moonlit sky. He felt the force of her beauty every bit as much in his chest as in his cock.
“You sure about that, babe?” he asked as he took her mouth in a deep, wet kiss. “Because my imagination has me stripping you of those fuck-hot jeans.”
“Yeah?” She rubbed his cock in a long stroke with the heel of her hand. “Mine has us getting a room at the hotel back there. So I’m sure,” she said with a smile.
Marz’s heart hammered against his breastbone and his cock jerked, clearly liking her idea, too. Except, if he took her up on it, he was going to end up buried inside her for as long as she’d have him. And so long as this clusterfuck of a situation defined their relationship, he couldn’t take things that far. Could he?
About the Author
Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over twenty books in contemporary and paranormal romance and romantic suspense. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.
 Don't forget to enter the Giveaway!

Monday, November 24, 2014

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

Daniel's Esperanza by Veronica Randolph Batterson
Winter Horses by Philip Kerr
Motherhood Comes Naturally by Jill Smokler
Curious George Makes Pancakes by Margaret & HA Rey (Bedtime Story)
Korgi Book 1: Sprouting Wings by Christian Slade (Graphic Novel)

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

No Ifs Ands or Bears about It
Santa Is Coming to Rhode Island
The World According to Mr. Rogers
Curious George Tool Time
Bear Says Thank you
Penguin Says Please
Christmas Cottage
The Nine Lives of Christmas
Thursday Night Club
All Roar and No Bite

Currently Reading:

Silent Night: The Remarkable Christmas Truce of 1914  by Stanley Weintraub - on PB - On page 21 of 187

 Books to be Read Soon:

Enfold Me by Steven Greenberg (Requested Review)


Interesting Tidbits from the Web:



Another busy week this week, but at least when Munchkin is sick and I am sick it gives us time to cuddle up with some books! Thankfully, it wasn't anything more serious than a head cold for either of us.  I managed to get so much reading done this week, and plenty of reviews done and posts scheduled! I almost have all of my Advent Reads posts ready to go.

I can't believe it is already Thanksgiving this week, and Christmas is close behind it! Where on earth has the second half of this year gone?