Saturday, January 31, 2015

Graphic Novel Review of Star Wars Ewoks: Shadows of Endor by Zack Giallongo

Synopsis: "Until now, the Ewoks had been able to ignore the arrival of the Empire's stormtroopers on Endor. But when they discover their rivals, the Duloks, have been enslaved and a legendary beast has been awakened, the Ewoks realize they may have to prepare for war—as soon as they figure out how to survive the beast!

* Leads directly into the events of Return of the Jedi!

* Ties into the beloved Ewoks TV series and movies!"

My Review: I love Star Wars and have always had a soft spot for ewoks, so of course I had to pick this one up. I like how it was tied in to the movies, it made it a little easier to place time lines and settings, but the format was small (smaller than the usual sized paper) and most of the images were dark so it make it difficult to see the details of the illustrations. The storyline did jump around a little and with the lack of the details it was hard to place who was who at times, which made it difficult to follow the story in some places. I still enjoyed it but not as much as I would have hoped.
My Rating: It wasn't all I had hoped but it was still enjoyable, it is definitely geared toward a younger reader.  I give it a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Bedtime Story: T is for Touchdown by Brad Herzog

Synopsis: "Illustrated by Mark BraughtThe sounds of autumn include the crunch of fallen leaves underfoot and the thump of the kickoff starting the first home football game. Sleeping Bear Press is proud to continue our bestselling sports series with "Tis for Touchdown: A Football Alphabet. "Sports writer Brad Herzog's easy-to-read-aloud rhymes engage even the youngest of readers, while hardcore fans can devour the detailed expository that covers the sport of the pigskin, from A-Z and end zone to end zone. Plays and players are just a few of the topics covered."

My Review: We are big NFL fans in our house and it is playoff season. We like to encourage Munchkin in all various interests but we do like to help him find a connection with what is on TV in the house. So I had to pick this book up, being football season and he is learning his ABCs. I like how this book features all levels of the sport and various players, it doesn't seem to favor any one team (though a few are mentioned specifically). This book also features a more detailed history of the item with each letter, while it is way more advanced that a children's book, it is something that Munchkin can cherish throughout time.
My Rating: It is a little long for a young child but it is a book that can be enjoyed over the years and still read as they grow older. I give it a rating of Four Paws.
Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Review of By the Sea, Book One, Tess by Antoinette Stockenberg

Read for: Across the States & Mount TBR
Synopsis: "In the tradition of Upstairs, Downstairs and Downton Abbey, BY THE SEA is a four-book series that sweeps from the Gilded Age through the Gatsby Era's Roaring Twenties and then on to the Great Depression, culminating nearly a century later in Newport, Rhode Island, wealthy and alluring "City by the Sea." Set against a backdrop of mansions, the glorious America's Cup Yacht Races, and new money, the series traces the passions and adventures of three families from three different classes.

Book One: TESS. From the wild decadence of late nineteenth-century Newport comes the tale of Tess Moran, a beautiful Irish housemaid in one of the grand summer "cottages," who makes a dark bargain with a man of commanding wealth -- and falls in love in the bargain."

My Review: I really enjoyed the local setting and the details that I have seen for myself, it really helped with the imagery. I enjoyed Tess as a character but she really didn't fit in the era, I guess that was the point of the story, pushing out of the societal boundaries. I feel like things got a little rushed towards the end of the Cup races, I would have like to have read more about Aaron and his actions, he seemed like a very interesting character with some dynamic emotions and life. I did feel like there were a few toss away characters, which I am not a fan of, I prefer if there is a character introduced that they actually hold some standing in the story. I must say though that I am intrigued and may have to read more in this series.
My Rating: I did enjoy this book, more than I expected.  I think being from the housemaid's point of view really made the difference for me. I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.
Note: Things get a little frisky but not overly explicit (hence not an after dark review).

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Review of Just Not Ready Yet by Brooklyn James

Synopsis: "Charlize 'Charlie' McCloud, young widow and mother, is seemingly content with her secluded life on a sprawling Texas ranch. Her moonlit horseback rides provide the perfect dreamscape to obsessively reminisce about her college sweetheart—her first and final love—Cash McCloud.

When intern Hunter Bowie arrives on her ranch to work for the summer, his engaging persona threatens Charlie's treasured reliving. Her interest in moving on as departed as her late husband, Hunter's youthful exuberance and guitar revives dreams she once laid to rest.

Hunter's presence stirs up everyone around the ranch, including her late husband's older brother, Cage McCloud. A near replica of Cash, Cage's very existence is a painstaking reminder of how much she has lost.

Unintentionally revealing the truth about Cash's death, Cage sets off a firestorm of emotions, ultimately propelling Charlie to face her future—hopefully one that includes him."

My Review: I really enjoyed the setting of the story, the author stuck true to the setting she used along with little details about the college rivalry. The story and the characters had plenty of back story, a little too much at times with all the flash backs. While I enjoyed the story and the different character elements, occasionally it would get overly descriptive. Also, in my opinion the story went on a little too long with a few too many imagined roadblocks and conflicts. There were many times towards the end that I thought the book could have ended perfectly but instead there was another conflict thrown up to push the characters away before bringing them back together. I think this one just needs a little more editing and polishing. There is a link at the end of the book to the song that the characters write in the story which was lovely.
My Rating: While I really enjoyed the characters (especially Cage), the overly descriptive and extended story took away from my enjoyment a little. It ended up being a middle of the road book for me. I give it a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag.
Just Not Ready Yet was sent to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.
You can find out more about Brooklyn James and her work on her Goodreads Page or Website
You can also obtain your own copy of Just Not Ready Yet in digital or print version from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Review of The Dragons of Spratt, Ohio by Linda Zinnen

Read for: Across the States & Mount TBR
Synopsis: "John Salt loves his baby dragons, all nine of them. He cares for them as if they were his babies -- they are his babies, for Pete's sake -- because, after all, how many kids in Ohio (besides Salt) have a litter of dragons living behind their house? Exactly none, that's how many.

But not everyone loves the dragons as much as Salt. In fact, someone is planning to do them some major -- major -- harm. And once Salt finds out that his babies are in danger, it's up to him and one of his least favorite people, Candi Clark, to save them.

But how can they save the dragons? They're just kids, for cryin' out loud. And Candi is more interested in finding the perfect eye shadow to go with her rhinestone hair clips than anything else, or so she'd like everyone to think. But Salt is a pretty tough kid, for a couch potato, and Candi has a trick or two up her sleeve in this funny novel from the author of the truth about rats, rules, & seventh grade."

My Review: This one took a lot of pushing to finish. I found it dull and odd at times. I really didn't see much point in Candi or her random storyline other than to appeal more towards girls and to supposedly be the brains to get everyone out of trouble. The storyline was also slow and boring, even the parts that were supposed to be exciting seemed to move really slowly. I have a hard time seeing this capturing the attention of the pre-teen and young teen audience and keeping them involved with the book.
My Rating: I was really unimpressed by this book, a wildlife park in Ohio that has baby dragons?! There are so many opportunities there, but sadly not used to the best advantage.  I give it a rating of One Paw and a Stump Wag.

Monday, January 26, 2015

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 Fighting Ground by Avi
Dizzy Miss Lizzie by RM Clark
Locking Horns by MK Trent
Monsters Munch Lunch by Abigail Tabby (Beginning Readers)
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats (Bedtime Story)
Athena the Brain by Joan Holub (Mini Review)
Persephone the Phony by Joan Holub (Mini Review)
Aphrodite the Beauty by Joan Holub (Mini Review)
Artemis the Brave by Joan Holub (Mini Review)
Hickory Daiquiri Dock by Tom Federle (Mini Review)
Books Finished Last Week:
Reviews will be posted at a later date

Sheep in a Jeep = 1pt
Tigers Sails and ABC Tales = 1pt
Mr. Clumsy = 1pt
Again! = 1pt
Stone Bay = 3pts
North of Need = 3pts
Mr. Happy = 1 pt
Deep Dish = 3pts
Stone Fox = 5pts
From Fabletown with Love = 3pts

Currently Reading:

If You Lived Here I'd Know Your Name by Heather Lende - PB - on page 32 of 296

 Books to be Read Soon:

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling (Mount TBR)
Darkness by Ciye Cho (Requested Review)

Total Points Earned

Pages Read/ Time Listened
5,778 pages read (906 this week)
12:31 listening time

Books Added to Shelves
Fever - by Maya Banks - Audible monthly download

Interesting Tidbits on the Web:
Shel Silverstein Quotes - I am a big fan of Shel's and some of these quotes I remember from when I was a kid.



There were a lot of children's books read this week because of potty training, gosh I can't wait until this is over!  The reading definitely had to slow down this last week due to everyone in the house being sick too. I am still way ahead of the game though and am happy with that but just can't wait to get to all the books waiting on the shelves.

I also need to get some serious emailing done! I am planning to do a Rhode Island Author event in March, so I need to get those books read, some giveaways planned and authors emailed for guest posts or interviews.

I found out a little too late to share with all of you and to make an event of it here but Saturday was National Readathon Day.  I hope you were all able to participate, I did and read a couple of books.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Mini Reviews: Goddess Girls Books 1-4, Hickory Daiquiri Dock

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.
I really enjoyed the unique twists to the myths and the clever ideas in the story. Four Paws.
One of my favorite myths and still enjoying some of the twists to be unique. Four Paws.
Not my favorite in the series but not my favorite goddess. I don't think there was really much lesson learning in this one. Three Paws.
It felt like there wasn't a whole lot going on and didn't have as much to do with Artemis being Brave as I would have expected. Two Paws and a Stump Wag.
This is such a fun twist on nursery rhymes and so necessary for parents (I may start handing this out as part of my baby shower gifts). Four Paws!