Saturday, January 3, 2015

Graphic Novel Review: Tiny Book of Tiny Stories Vol. 3

Synopsis: "From Golden Globe Award–nominee Joseph Gordon-Levitt and his online creative coalition hitRECord, and in collaboration with the artist Wirrow, comes Volume 3 in the Tiny Book of Tiny Stories series.

To create The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, known within the community as RegularJOE, directs thousands of collaborators to tell tiny stories through words and art. With the help of the entire creative collective, he culls, edits, and curates the massive numbers of contributions into a finely tuned collection.

The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories, Volume 3 once again brings together art and voices from around the world to unite and tell stories that defy size."

My Review: I have loved every one of these volumes so far and this one is no different! I love how just the simplest of lines or images can make you pause and think for a minute. I really encourage anyone and everyone to have at least one of these just for little bits of inspiration. I of course loved the page about pressing someone you love between the pages of a book to keep them forever. I really hope they keep these beautiful little books coming!
My Review: I absolutely love these simple collections. They are so simple yet make such a statement that you really need to sit back and ponder for a while. I give it a rating of Four Paws!
Here are a couple of my favorite pages to inspire you:

Friday, January 2, 2015

Bedtime Story: Peter Loves Penguin by Peter McPhail

Synopsis: "Peter and Penguin wake up to snow on the ground and immediately get bundled up to play outside. After making snowballs and a snowman and enjoying the perfect winter day together, they return inside to warm up and share some cocoa.
In this companion to Ben Loves Bear and Bella Loves Bunny, the youngest readers will relate to the loving bond between a little boy and his favorite stuffed animal, and how this sweet friendship makes each day special."

My Review: A cute story about friendship, love and sharing. It is a simple story with very cute illustrations. Munchkin loved them playing in the snow and building a snowman. I do like how it has the underlying message of sharing and caring about our friends and those we love.
 My Review: It was a cute story but maybe a little too simple for Munchkin, would probably be more appropriate for someone under two.  I give it Two Paws and a Stump Wag.
Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year! ~Resolutions, Plans & Point System for 2015

I hope you all had a wonderful and safe celebration!
I for one have been counting down the days and hours until I could dive into the new stack of books for this year.  I always get that way when I start to see the new books just waiting to be opened, it will be hard to choose what books to read first.
As you have seen throughout December I have been signing up for many challenges and I just wanted to sum up some of the goals and plans for this year as well as share a few new ideas for this year.
Challenges Signed Up For:
Children's Books - 60 books
Beginning Readers - 30 books
Re-Read Challenge - 15 books
Across the States Challenge - 50 books
Audio Challenge - 15 books
Graphic Novel Challenge - 26 books
Mount TBR Challenge - 60 books
Series Challenge - 56 books
Goodreads Challenge - 312 books
Requested Reviews - 25 books
Posting Schedule:
I plan to stick somewhat to the schedule I have already had since it seems to be working.
Monday - Monday Reading List & What's for Dinner
Tuesday - Review
Wednesday - Review (if there is a requested review it will be on this day)
Thursday - Review/ After Dark Review
Friday - Beginning Reader Review (Twice a month) & Bedtime Stories
Saturday - Graphic Novel Review (twice a month)/ From the Book/ Movie before the Book
Sunday - Crafty Times/ Mini Reviews
I plan to keep posts to only 2 a day and reviews to one or two in a day.
I know I haven't been real consistent with the From the Book, Movie First, Crafty Times  and What's for Dinner posts, but how have you guys been enjoying them? If there is something you would like to see or would rather not see anymore please let me know, after all this blog is for both me and you to enjoy.
Writing Goals:
I didn't do so hot in my writing goals last year and I find that between reading so much and dealing with a toddler on my own most of the time I am not only uninspired but also lack a lot of the time.  I will still update every so often on my writing progress if I make any but that will be much less.
I do want to get back into handwritten letters and cards though during the year.  I didn't write as often as I wanted last year and felt that lack.  I have received some beautiful new stationary and cards from some generous friends and plan to put that to good use.  I do plan once again to write at least once a month, an actual letter or card (not including holiday or birthday cards).
Point System:
So I am like many of you obsessed with books and have an overflowing TBR shelf.  Especially this last year I worked hard to obtain the vast majority of the books I plan to read this year. So I really only need to purchase about a dozen or so books for challenges this year.  I definitely need to limit my purchasing (I think hubby is catching on that books don't reproduce on their own).  I saw randomly on another blog they had a point reward system for reading books.  I thought I could alter that idea for my own needs. So I will gain points for each book I read and can use those points toward purchasing more books.
Here is the break down on how to earn points:
Children's & Beginner books = 1 point each
Graphic novels = 2 points each
Audio books & Digital books = 3 points each
Print books = 5 points each
Completing a Series = 5 bonus points
Completing a Challenge = 10 bonus points
10,000 Pages Read = 10 bonus points
How the points can be used:
15 points = Children's & Beginner books
20 points = Audio, digital or graphic novels
25 points = print book
The points add up with each book read and completed (I don't get the points until the review is completed) and then the points can be used to purchase new books (once the points are used they are gone & can't be used again).  There are a couple exceptions (because honestly I have to ease into this a little).
Audible Membership - I already pay the monthly fee so get to download 1 audio book per month without using points
BookBub Deals - I get the daily emails from bookbub with deals on books, I will only be allowed to download 2 FREE books a week (any .99c books have to wait for points)
Scholastic Book Orders - Munchkin gets the scholastic fliers at daycare and honestly these are such good deals and so fun I can't help myself (and the lady in charge knows that and uses it against me).  So I will limit myself to $15 per order.
So what do you think about that? Do you think I can stick with it?
Personal Resolutions:
~Stick with a 52 week savings plan (for a trip to Disney in a couple of years)
~Continue with painting my nails weekly/biweekly (I need to get better about taking pictures, I had some good ones this year that I didn't get pictures of before they chipped)
~Do more fun things with Munchkin (go to the park at least once a month when nice, go to the beach this summer, go to the zoo at least once, go ride a train, go pumpkin picking, & go see the Christmas Light display).
~Get some time with Hubby (have at least one date every other month).
What are your plans/goals/resolutions this year?

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Last of 2014: Review of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling

Synopsis: "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is the pivotal fourth novel in the seven-part tale of Harry Potter’s training as a wizard and his coming of age. Harry wants to get away from the pernicious Dursleys and go to the International Quidditch Cup with Hermione, Ron, and the Weasleys. He wants to dream about Cho Chang, his crush (and maybe do more than dream). He wants to find out about the mysterious event involving two other rival schools of magic, and a competition that hasn’t happened for a hundred years. He wants to be a normal, fourteen-year-old wizard. Unfortunately for Harry Potter, he’s not normal — even by wizarding standards.

And in this case, different can be deadly."

My Review: This book is quite intimidating, especially if you did not like the first two books and moderately enjoyed the first. A book this large could have been torture, but luckily it wasn't. It did get a slow and boring start but about half way through it started picking up steam with the introduction of far more enjoyable characters and a lot more action and activity. The one major issue I had with this one was the need to treat readers like complete idiots, every one of the 'bad guys' had to give a big dramatic speech about how they went about doing their evil deeds and what they were going to do, give us a little credit and let us figure a few things out on our own or at least let us draw some of our own conclusions.
My Rating: I appreciate that the writing improved and it isn't as boring as previous books but there are still some very frustrating parts of the book.  All in all it was better than expected even though it took 300 pages to get there. Three Paws and a Stump Wag.

Mini Reviews: Hunter Huntsman's Story, Affliction, Dancing, Doubletake & more

So with reading and reviewing so many books, I am running out of days in which to share them with you.  I am going to start posting Mini Reviews of books that I read through out the month but couldn't find the time to post on the last Sunday of each month.
So clearly this isn't Sunday but it is the last day of the year and I wanted to share some quick mini reviews of all the other books that I didn't get posted this year (minus the children's books)
This was an extremely short novella that didn't let you get to know the characters too much but the story idea is intriguing enough I may end up getting more in this series. Two Paws
I found this book unbelievably irritating. I barely made it through this book but only because it was a short MG book. One Paw.
This was a slightly redeeming book in a flagging series. I liked the little bit of normalcy of the short story. Three Paws and a Stump Wag.
And this is the end of the series for me! I am beyond frustrated with this series, Anita is perfect in everyway has all these abilities yet a ridiculous amount of insecurities, so contradictory.  Not to mention the endless, pointless conversations. The one good part of the book was Edward came back! One Paw and a Stump Wag.
I should have read this while reading the rest of the series because it really didn't make a whole lot of sense at first. The story line was very choppy and there was no character connection.  One Paw and a Stump Wag.
This was a free download from Audible for the holiday.  The narration was fantastic but I wasn't a huge fan of the story, a little all over the place with a lot of empty space to fill in on your own. Two Paws.
This story was almost entirely character driven for me, if it weren't for them I would have never kept reading. This was a novella but didn't feel like a novella, there was plenty of back story and depth of characters. Three Paws.
To go along with some strong characters, this book had some unexpected twists that kept you reading. Three Paws and a Stump Wag!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Review of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling

Synopsis: "For twelve long years, the dread fortress of Azkaban held an infamous prisoner named Sirius Black. Convicted of killing thirteen people with a single curse, he was said to be the heir apparent to the Dark Lord, Voldemort.

Now he has escaped, leaving only two clues as to where he might be headed: Harry Potter’s defeat of You-Know-Who was Black’s downfall as well. And the Azkaban guards heard Black muttering in his sleep, “He’s at Hogwarts… he’s at Hogwarts.”

Harry Potter isn’t safe, not even within the walls of his magical school, surrounded by his friends. Because on top of it all, there may be a traitor in their midst."

My Review: After the absolute torture of reading the first two books earlier this year I really put off continuing the series until now. I was rather surprised when I started reading this one, instead of having to force myself to read a chapter a night, I found it very easy to read 3 or 4 in a sitting. I find it very odd that after such dry narration in the first two with lagging storylines that this one seems to pop with activity, almost as if there is a different author writing it. I still am not a fan of any of the main characters, Harry, Hermione or Ron, but of course Dumbledore and Hagrid are still fantastic and the addition of Black and Lupin made for much more enjoyable characters to drive the story along. And while I have heard this is the best of the series I have new hope for the rest of series.
My Rating: I was rather surprised at the change between this book and the previous two in the series.  I understand there is a lot of world building with fantasy books but that doesn't explain how horrible the first two were.  I am glad that the series picked up with this book and can only hope it continues in the same manner.  I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.

Monday, December 29, 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

A Cowboy for Christmas by Katherine Garbera
Rescuing Christmas
Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost
Santa Wore Combat Boots by Barbara Witek
Silent Night: The Remarkable Christmas Truce of 1914 by Stanley Weintraub
Frosty the Snowman by Walter Rollins
Elsker by ST Bende
Endre by ST Bende
Tro by ST Bende
Tur by ST Bende
Taking the Reins by Katrina Abbott
Masquerade by Katrina Abbott
Playing the Part by Katrina Abbott

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

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Jingle Bells
No David
Clifford's Christmas
Charlie Brown's Christmas Stocking
Randall Reindeer's Naughty and Nice Report
Stone Cold Revenge

Currently Reading:

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling - PB - on page 372 of 734

 Books to be Read Soon:

Harry Potter books 5-7
Tiny Book of Tiny Stories Vol. 3
The Fighting Ground by Avi
Girls in Trucks by Katie Crouch
Peter Loves Penguin
Jesper Jinx and the Sneezing Season by Marko Kitti (Requested Review)
Dear Hank Williams by Kimberly Willis Holt (NetGalley Request)
Gooseberry Island by Steven Manchester (Requested Review)


Interesting Tidbits from the Web:



I hope all who celebrated Christmas or a holiday last week had a wonderful one! We are now just 3 days away from the new year, and I have come to the realization that there is no way I am going to finish the Harry Potter series this year, but it will be very close.  What I don't finish this year I will try to finish in the next couple of months.  But I am very, very excited for all the books I have lined up for the next couple of weeks!

Next week on my Monday Reading list there will be a couple of changes, you will still see all the usual, books read, reviews posted, currently reading and soon to be reading; I will now be adding pages read and points (more on that on Thursday).

I hope you all have a safe New Year's celebration!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Mini Reviews of the Rosewoods Series (books 1-3) by Katrina Abbott

Again, I was sucked into this series and with time ticking down to the end of the year I thought I would share the mini reviews of this series (so far) with you. Don't let the simple covers throw you off, this series is a good YA series, yes it has romance, yes it has drama but it has a lot of humor and fun too.
This was another one of those free download books that I took a chance on and was pleasantly surprised.  It is a lot of teen girl hormone and concern over stupid things but the way it is written makes it fun and keeps you reading. Four Paws.
I am totally in love with the characters in this story, even with all the over done love triangles and teen drama I couldn't stop reading (my husband finally pulled my nook from my hand and sent me to bed). I totally want to go to a fancy masquerade ball too. Four Paws!
A new main character and point of view threw me for a loop for a while but it ended up being very enjoyable and entertaining getting to know more of the characters of the series. Four Paws!

2014 Goodreads Challenge Wrap-Up & 2015 Sign-Up

I have signed up for the Goodreads Challenge for the past 4 years and have far surpassed my goals each year.  This year was no different. I had originally set a goal of 156 books and after increasing twice throughout the year settled on 260.
Well I totally blew that number out of the water.  I have read 370 books this year (and may finish a couple more in the next couple of days)!
Now that is way too many links to add here (even though I will have to add them to my Archive page eventually) but you can check out the books
For a little bit of a breakdown (these numbers calculated 12-15-14 and don't contain quite all the books):
10 - 1 Star Ratings
59 - 2 Star Ratings
106 - 3 Star Ratings
129 - 4 Star Ratings
53 - 5 Star Ratings
Longest book read: Affliction with 570 Pages
112 were Children's Books
28 were Requested Reviews
42 were After Dark books
27 were Graphic Novels
The Top 5 Books of the Year:
In no particular order because there is no way I could do that
Most Disappointing Books of the Year:
We Bought a Zoo - After such a fantastic movie, I definitely expected more out of this book.
A Shiver of Light - I waited 5 years for this book?!
Harry Potter Series Particularly Book 1 & Book 2 - After all the hype I expected to be pulled into this series and not be able to stop reading until it was finished. It was excruciating to get through these books, never mind the dread of having to read the rest of them.
2015 Sign-Up and Outlook
Last I checked the sign ups for 2015 weren't up yet but I will be signing up for the 5th year.  I am going to put my goal at 312 and that is where it will stay for this next year.
I have big plans for this year with all the challenges I am already signing up for and have my shelves filled (both on Goodreads and literally) with 279 books already!