Saturday, December 20, 2014

Advent Reads Day 20: Graphic Novel: A Christmas Carol by Rod Espinosa

Synopsis: "Charles Dickens's holiday classic, A Christmas Carol, is given a fresh twist;with a female Scrooge! Rod Espinosa (The Courageous Princess) adapts and illustrates this story of the miserly Eliza Scrooge, who is visited by the ghosts of the past, present, and future on one fateful Christmas eve."

My Review: I found I really enjoyed this graphic novel and loved the twist of having a female Scrooge, I think it almost worked better having a female. The illustrations in this book are stunning, I want to frame many of them! It was also nice to have an illustrated version of A Christmas Carol, it was easier to read and enjoy than reading the classic. Definitely one to pick up for the holiday season.
My Rating: I enjoyed this female version of the classic story, not to mention the illustrations to create such a beautiful graphic novel.  I give this one a rating of Four Paws.

2015 Graphic Novel Challenge Sign Up

I am once again signing up for the Annual Graphic Novel hosted on it's own site.
The rules are simple and laid out on the site, just has to be some form of graphic novel/comic type setup.
I am going to shoot for the Bronze Age with 24 read this year (though I plan on reading 26 to keep up with the every other week review posts).
Here are the Graphic Novels I currently own and plan to read for this challenge:
Building Stories - still to purchase
So are you going to be reading any Graphic Novels this year? I would love to know if you have any suggestions for me to try out!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Advent Reads Day 19: Bedtime Story: Santa is Coming to Rhode Island by Steve Smallman

Synopsis: "It's Christmas Eve, Have you been good? Santa's packed up all the presents and is headed your way! With the help of a certain red-nosed reindeer, Santa flies over: Carrie Bell Tower-Providence
Mr Potato Head Statue-Pawtucket
Claiborne Pell Newport Bridge-Jamestown
Narragansett Towers-Narragansett
Sail Boat-Newport
Point Judith Lighthouse-Narragansett
The Breakers-Newport
Rhode Island State House-Providence
Intl Tennis Hall of Fame Statue-Newport
Superman Building-Providence

"Ho, ho ho!" laughs Santa. "Merry Christmas, Rhode Island!""

My Review: This was a cute book that I was glad I picked up. It is a little advanced for Munchkin. Honestly, I feel like this was written more for the adults than for kids, a lot of sites and locations in Rhode Island are mentioned by name and I don't think many kids would really identify them. There are pictures but not clear enough for kids to point to them and say I have been there. The redeeming factor is the new reindeer and the nod to Rudolph. It is a cute book but more for the adults reading it than the kids.
My Rating: While this is a cute fun book, I just don't think kids will enjoy it as much as you would want them to.  I give it a rating of Three Paws.
Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

2014 Graphic Novel Challenge - Wrap Up

I joined the Graphic Novel Challenge this year, hosted on its own page.  I knew I enjoyed graphic novels and wanted to make sure I kept them as a part of my blogging.   You can see my original (and brief) sign up post where I decided to shoot for 24 graphic novels this year.  I definitely reached my goal and then some.
Here are the graphic novels I read in 2014 (with links to the reviews):
Things I learned from the Challenge:
~ I am not a fan of super hero or dark graphic novels
~ I love retellings and myths
~ If it is an animal graphic novel it must be pretty awesome
~ I am starting to find the style and authors that I enjoy, but still like to try new things
~ I really like anthology graphic novels
~ I like to find unique and lesser known graphic novels
~ I hate the New 52 for putting an end to my favorites!
The Best of 2014
1. Page by Paige
2. Sword of Sorcery: Amethyst
3. Mouse Guard: Fall 1152
4. The whole Olympians set
The Worst of 2014
1. Animal Man
2. Birds of Prey
3.  To Dance
So there it is folks! I managed to complete my 2014 Bronze Age Graphic Novel Challenge!  Keep your eyes open for the 2015 Graphic Novel Challenge Sign up!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

After Dark Review of Full Exposure by Sara Jane Stone

Synopsis: "No touching allowed . . .

After serving her country, Georgia Trulane craves adventure--and sex. She's set her sights on her brother's best friend--now her boss, since she took a temporary job as his nephew's live-in nanny. Only problem? Eric refuses to touch her. That doesn't stop Georgia from seducing him. But an earth-shattering encounter leaves her fully exposed, body and soul.

Eric has a long list of reasons to steer clear of the woman he has wanted for as long as he can remember. For one, he refuses to be her next thrill ride. When he claims her, it will be for good. But the attraction is undeniable, and the more they fight it, the stronger it pulls. But will it be enough to conquer their obstacles?"

My Review: I don't know what exactly I was expecting from this book but I was totally blown away! This book had so many elements to it and are all intertwined so beautifully that you just can't stop reading, you have to know what happens next! I loved the characters, the storyline, the steam was just the right amount and I cannot wait to read the next book in the series.
My Rating: This book had so much awesome going for it! I really enjoyed nearly all aspects of the book and am planning to read more in this series.  I give it a rating of Four Paws and a Stump Wag!

Advent Reads Day 18: Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris

Synopsis: "David Sedaris’s beloved holiday collection is new again with six more pieces, including a never before published story. Along with such favorites as the diaries of a Macy’s elf and the annals of two very competitive families, are Sedaris’s tales of tardy trick-or-treaters (“Us and Them”); the difficulties of explaining the Easter Bunny to the French (“Jesus Shaves”); what to do when you’ve been locked out in a snowstorm (“Let It Snow”); the puzzling Christmas traditions of other nations (“Six to Eight Black Men”); what Halloween at the medical examiner’s looks like (“The Monster Mash”); and a barnyard secret Santa scheme gone awry (“Cow and Turkey”)."

My Review: I was expecting a fall over laughing collection of funny stories about the holidays, while occasionally I did chuckle, a lot of times it was just uncomfortable to read. A few of the stories worked really well for me, the Macy's Elf and Six to Eight Black Men, but for the most part I could have skipped most of the stories and been better off. You definitely need a very particular sense of humor for this story and maybe already have a firm understanding about the author. Not one for me unfortunately.
My Rating: I enjoy snarky, people hating comedy but this one took it a step or two too far and it was no longer funny. I give it a rating of One Paw and a Stump Wag.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Advent Reads Day 17: Christmas Cottage by Samantha Chase

Synopsis: "Any couple who spends the night in the Christmas cottage shall have love everlasting... Lacey Quinn did not believe in happily ever after or the legend of the Christmas cottage. As maid of honor for her best friend Ava, her duties included decorating the cottage for the newlyweds. It was a simple enough task, but she hadn't counted on sexy Ean Callahan, the bride-to-be's brother, to be assisting her. Spending the evening ensconced in the overly romantic setting while a blizzard howls outside has Lacey wondering if fairy tales really do come true..."

My Review: I really enjoyed this book, it was almost a little too short for me. I really enjoyed the characters, they were both fun and emotional at the appropriate times. The story line is what you would expect as was the conclusion but it was still fun to read. It is a good little romance to curl up on the couch with to pass a stormy night.
My Rating:  Yummy, I want to go to a isolated cottage with my hubby. This book captures you and makes you want things.  I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.

2015 Audiobook Challenge - Signup

I am signing up for yet another year of Audiobook Challenge!  It is hosted every year on Hot Listens. I think this is my second or third year and am really enjoying listening to audiobooks in the car.
Last year I listened to 12 audiobooks, I am going to shoot for about the same amount again this year. So that means I am going to join the Stenographer Level listening to between 10-15 audio books.
I have several audiobooks already purchased and an account on audible (which I love).  So here are a few of the books I plan on listening to this year:
So there are some of the audio books I plan to read, of course this list is subject to change but its a start!  Are you going to join the challenge?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Advent Reads Day 16: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year by Marie Landry

Synopsis: "Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, right? At least that’s what twenty-year-old Ginny Bailey’s grandmother always told her, and Ginny believed it until Grama died. She even put on a brave face the following two Christmases, carrying on Grama’s traditions and decorating her house and cafĂ© with Grama’s favorite decorations.

But Ginny can’t pretend any longer. When she finds out she’s going to be alone for the holidays this year, her Christmas spirit goes out the window, along with her luck. Everything that can go wrong does, and Ginny just wants to spend the holidays hiding under the covers...until Dean Riley comes back into her life. With their shared past, old feelings begin to resurface almost immediately, and Ginny thinks Dean might just be the Christmas miracle she’s been waiting for to help her remember why Christmas really is the most wonderful time of the year."

My Review: This little holiday novella came highly recommended by some trusted friends. I put off reading it far too long and should have read it last year! It is what you expect, a light and fluffy romance, Landry knew what she was writing and did it well. It is a short story that can be read in one sitting but by the time you are done it feels like you read a full length novel. She doesn't leave you feeling like you missed something. The characters were fully developed and I love how she played it smart and gave them a history before the story began so she didn't have to start at square one and move things along too quickly. I particularly loved little Dominic, I want my Munchkin to grow up to be like him. All in all it was a fun and pleasant read for this holiday season, now if only it would start snowing!
My Rating: If you aren't in the Christmas spirit yet, pick this book up! It will make you feel all those warm fuzzy feelings of the season.  I give it a rating of Four Paws!

Review of Reasons My Kid is Crying by Greg Pembroke

Synopsis: "A glimpse into the tribulations of parenting that is part documentary, part therapy, and completely hilarious.

It all started when busy father Greg Pembroke posted a few pictures online of his three-year-old son, mid-tantrum, alongside the reason his son was crying: He had broken his bit of cheese in half. In Reasons My Kid is Crying, Greg collects together photos sent from parents around the world, documenting the many, completely logical reasons why small children cry. Among them: “I let him play on the grass” . . . “He ran out of toys to throw into his pool” . . . “The neighbor’s dog isn’t outside”. The result is both an affectionate portrait of the universal, baffling logic of toddlers—and a reminder for burned-out parents everywhere that they are not alone."

My Review: This is great for a little comic relief as your toddler is flipping out about the most mundane things, like how the banana fell out of the peel. I think this should be a book that is easy to reach for any parent. It has a collection of photos of children crying over pointless things as well as little tidbits from parents.
My Rating: Gosh it is nice to know my kid isn't the only one driving me up a wall over pointless little things.  This is a good book to keep around for those days that never seem to end and have so many temper tantrums they seem to just blend together.  I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Advent Reads Day 15: A Home for the Holidays

Synopsis: "A Home for the Holidays is a heart-warming collection of romance stories set around the holidays. 12 writers, 12 different stories, 12 more reasons to celebrate Christmas."

My Review: As with any of these anthologies or collections, there are good stories and bad stories. Thankfully this one has a lot of good short stories. Some of the stories seemed to stick with the theme of finding a home, home being anywhere from an actual home to being simply the feeling of home, which was really a nice theme. I particularly like the story about the puzzle box and the soldier story. All of the stories were brief and a couple could be read in a sitting if you wanted and all of them were heartwarming.
My Rating: The great thing about anthologies is you find new authors you enjoy, the bad thing about anthologies is you find some stories are a waste of your time.  This one had both so I give it a middle of the road rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag.

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 Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook: Magical Christmas Menu
Scary Mommy's Guide to Surviving the Holidays
The Last Christmas Card
The Thursday Nigh Club by Steven Manchester
Santa's Little Helper by H.D. Gordon
All Roar and No Bite by Celia Kyle (After Dark)
Children's Christmas Dreams by (Bedtime Story)
Kringle by
The Christmas Quilt by

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

Little Blue Truck's Christmas
Taking the Reins
Silent Night: The Remarkable Christmas Truce
17 Christmases
Mater Saves Christmas
Bear Stays Up for Christmas

Currently Reading:

Hearts of Horses by Molly Gloss - on PB - on Page 26 or 304

 Books to be Read Soon:

Enfold Me by Steven Greenberg (Requested Review)


Interesting Tidbits from the Web:



Thankfully Munchkin is feeling much better, which makes me feel better and much less stressed.  The countdown to Christmas is on, only a week and a half left! It is so much more exciting now that Munchkin is starting to understand things.  I am in the last push to get all the goodies made, the last Christmas gifts purchased and the wrapping done.

Of course I am also in the last push to finish all my challenges (I only need to read one more Equine challenge book to have completed all of them) and read the 365 books this year!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Advent Reads Day 14: The Christmas Quilt by Cindi Myers

Synopsis: "Two orphaned children wrapped in a crazy quilt bring together a lonely Texas ranger and a rebellious young woman. After running away from home at 16 to follow the wrong man, Alison Mitchell is determined to do the right thing and take care of her sister's children. But Texas Ranger Jack Drake only wants the perfect family for the two orphans in his care -- the kind of family he never had but always wanted. Like the patches of a crazy quilt, Alison and Jack, broken by past hurts, will come together to make a beautiful whole."

My Review: I really enjoyed this short holiday story. I loved the characters and the storyline, so much so that I want to read more with them. For being a short story though, there is still a lot packed in there, you aren't left feeling like you missed something, you just want more. It is a clean, historical western romance that many will enjoy.
My Rating: My mom is an avid quilter and has made me quilts along the lines of the ones described in this book so it added a little extra meaning.  Even without that element it is still such a great short story.  I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.

2015 Personal Challenges - Children's, Beginning Readers & Re-Reads

I cannot wait for 2015 to start and have already been lining up some great challenges and reading lists for next year. Of course, I have signed up for other blogger's challenges but I have a few of my own personal challenges that I want to accomplish.
Personal Re-Read Challenge
I have enjoyed so many books in the past and would like to revisit them but don't ever make time in the rush to read new books and finish challenges, so now I have an excuse to revisit those favorites.

I plan to re-read 15 books

Some of the books I plan to re-read this year:
Secret Santa
Thirty Nights with a Highland Husband
Highland Guardian
The Beast in Him
 The Mane Event
Nobody's Princess
 Nobody's Prize
North of Need
Tower of Ravens
 Shining City
Heart of Stars
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Personal Children's Book Challenge
I have kind of always done this one but I just want to make it official, I need to read a lot of children's books each year in order to keep up with the weekly Bedtime Story posts.  I will read 60 children's books (this includes books that are appropriate up to age 5/6, before they are reading on their own)

I already own way more than 60 books ready for this challenge.  Here are ones that I plan to read for this year:
Wheedle on the Needle, Mr. Clumsy, Mr. Slow, Mr. Perfect, Mr. Cheerful, Mr. Mischief, Mr. Grumpy, Mr. Strong, Mr. Funny, Mr. Lazy, Mr. Noisy, Mr. Messy, Mr. Happy, Curious George and the Dump Truck, Curious George and the Snow, Pony Brushes his Teeth, Duck Goes Potty, Again!, Whose Nose and Whose Toes, Peter Loves Penguin, Curious George Goes Fishing, Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day, Nubiana, Numbers Take the Dog Out, The Hat, No Two Alike, Dinosaur Christmas, The Snowy Day, Perfect Soup, ABC ZooBorns, The Big Snow, Owl Moon, Meet the Penguins, Curious George Gets a Medal, When Will it Snow, I Love You Sleepyhead, Froggy's Best Christmas, Gingerbread Man, T is for Touchdown, Goodnight Football, Delivering your Mail, Tractor Mac Saves Christmas, The Jolly Postman, Letters from Felix, Corduroy's Best Halloween Ever, Corduroy's Christmas Surprise, Sweet Dreams Curious George

Personal Beginning Reader Challenge:
I am already working on the next level of books for Munchkin and need to start checking out the books for when he starts reading on his own.  I will use this challenge to start building his collection. I will read 30 this year.

I have once again planned ahead for this challenge and have all the books I will need.  Some of the books included are:
 Just Helping My Dad, Best Chef in Second Grade, Go Go Go,  National Geographic Kid Penguins, National Geographic Kids Polar Bears, Curious George Dinosaur Tracks,  Charlie Where's the Bacon, Charlie's Snowy Day, Biscuit and the Lost Teddy Bear, Just Saving My Money, Kick Pass and Run

So there you have it, just a few more challenges to add to my lists!  If you would like to join me for these challenges please feel free and let me know so I can stop by and check out your reads too!