Saturday, March 7, 2015

RI Author Feature: Sand Dollar by Sebastian Cole

Read for: Mount TBR & RI Authors
Synopsis: "Noah Hartman has it all, or so it seems. Groomed since childhood to inherit the family fortune and business empire, the effect of living the life set down for him by controlling parents has left Noah out of touch with his inner self. Enter Robin, who -- in direct contrast to Noah -- is a vivacious, free spirit with no material possessions to speak of. Robin's love saves Noah by inspiring him to stand up to his parents and reclaim his true identity at all costs. But Robin harbors a secret that could devastate their lives forever. Is it enough for two soul mates to find each other, or are the forces that would tear them apart too great to overcome?

Many years later, Noah lies in a hospital bed recounting his life of love and loss, only to discover a far greater truth about the past, present, and future. And the one certainty that remains unchanged in Noah's heart -- true love never dies."

My Review: I picked this book up at the Rhode Island Authors Convention, it was on a whim and the author indicated it was along the lines of The Notebook. Now I am a big fan of that book and how it wrenched emotions from me. This one is like the Notebook but with a huge cup of mental illness and some controlling parents, some religion and all wrapped up in monotone terms. It felt like there was a specific agenda and a popular story was used to push it. The story was all over the place, timelines were all over the place, one minute you are in a memory the next you are in present, occasionally the font would indicate the change but even that was inconsistent. The whole story, characters, dialogue, everything really felt monotone. I had absolutely no connection to any of the characters in the story and definitely felt no emotions. I do give him props for featuring a mental illness and the struggle with it but it just wasn't pulled off in a way that you could sympathize or connect.
My Rating: Maybe I was expecting something too different when I read this book but if you make a connection with a book that made me bawl like a baby I expect to have some emotional connection. It did get some very high rating from others so it may be the book for someone else but for me I have to give it a rating of Two Paws.

Friday, March 6, 2015

RI Author Feature: Bedtime Story: Grandpa and the Truck by Colleen Kelly Mellor

Read for: RI Authors & Children's Books
Synopsis: "Written by a grandmother and teacher, the beautifully-illustrated Grandpa and the Truck stories teach children, ages 4-8, important life lessons through a vehicle kids love--the big rigs and their drivers. Kids will follow Grandpa and the truck on a journey across America, seeing regional differences, meeting wildly-entertaining characters, and learning about truckers' unique lifestyle and language, as they enter a world few really know. Book 1 focuses on what happens when a chain of cars follow a 'smokie' on a fog-bound highway in mountainous northern California, and "Ralph and the Bloodhounds" demonstrates why one should never walk into unfamiliar territory, alone, at night."

My Review: I picked up this book for Munchkin to share with his Papaw who also used to be a trucker. This book has so many different elements, short stories, lessons, new words and maps. Munchkin is a little young for all the learning opportunities but he still really enjoyed the stories and pictures. I like how he is going to be able to continue to learn from this book as he grows.
My Rating: I love how this book could appeal to boys and girls, it also grows with the kids so each time they read it they can learn something new.  We definitely love this book and will be purchasing Book Two! We give it a rating of Four Paws!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

RI Author Feature: What I Fought For by Dave Mann

Synopsis: "He went to war just days after his 18th birthday, not fully understanding what he was getting into. He was young, green, inexperienced. He didn't even shave. When he came back three years later, he had seen horrendous battle, lost countless buddies, and cheated death more than once.
They gave him medals. They called him a hero. But he didn't really understand why. All he knew was that he lived, and they didn't. Now he was back on American soil. He was 21 years old. He did shave now, but very carefully, around the scars.
It was time to choose a profession, they said. It was time to start living again, they said. It was time to forget, they said. But he couldn't. And who the hell were "they" anyway?
An aging veteran remembers what he did and why he did it. This love letter to America reaffirms everything good and positive about our county. From memories of growing up as a sheltered only child in a small Massachusetts city, to the rigors of basic training in a camp so horrible he foolishly petitioned to be reassigned, to building bridges for General Patton while all around him his buddies were being blown up, Dave Mann has never wavered in his love for the American flag and the country it represents.
What I Fought For is not a book about war, but a book about why soldiers fight, why they're proud to serve, and why this country will forever endure. It is an uplifting testament to the strength and spirit of America."
My Review: This is a very short book but I was honored to have met Mr. Mann at the Rhode Island Authors Convention. Like it says, this isn't a book about war, so if you are looking for some horrible tales of battles this is not the book for you. Instead it is more a book of coming of age, the struggles some veterans and military members face and what gets them through those times. The story itself isn't super well put together, some times it rambles, some times its gruff and terse, but it feels comfortable. I imagine it more of a grandfather remembering and giving lessons to his loved ones. I would love to hear Mr. Mann give a speech or record this as an audio book.
My Rating: While the book isn't long and it isn't entirely grammatically correct, it gets the message across and brings it all back around. I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

RI Author Feature: Review of Nubiana by Kristen Calenda

Read for: RI Authors & Mount TBR
Synopsis: "Nubiana is an inspirational story of how a disheveled and unwelcome cat changed the life of her unexpected new guardians, true non-lovers of cats. Along the way, this heartfelt journey offers caring people, travel and adventure, love and kindness, memories made and shared, togetherness and parting. It's a heartwarming story of a special bond and relationship that forever changed and fulfilled lives."

My Review: When I first purchased this book I thought it was a children's book because of the image and the large format, but upon opening it there are large pages of text, chapters and pictures every couple of pages. It is a sweet and heart-warming story about a rescue cat who touched many lives. I of course have a special place in my heart for rescued kitties especially black ones, so this book will be cherished even though it was cut short much like Nubiana's life.
My Rating: This is an enjoyable book, it is just hard to place in a genre. It reads like a Children's book but it is too long with too much text, but it is too kid to be a Middle Grade. It could also fit into the memoir genre possibly too. I do love how a portion of the profits go to animal rescues.  I give it a rating of Three Paws.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Rhode Island Author Feature Month - Intro & Giveaway

Welcome to my special month long feature of my local Rhode Island Authors!
I have been working hard on this event for many months and I hope that you will enjoy both the event I have put together, the authors and the books I have to share with you.

I have many genres of books ranging from historical, children's, romance, contemporary and fantasy. Some of the authors featured include Christine DePetrillo, Peter Pezzelli, Sammie Grace, Annette Blair, David Mann, Colleen Kelly Mellor and many more!  A couple of them will even stop by for interviews.

It should be a month full of fun so I hope you will try to stop by often or even daily and tell your friends and followers too!

To kick off the event I thought I would start with a  giveaway, because honestly what better way to raise interest? 

Included in the giveaway are a bunch of Rhode Island specialty items including:
a box of Saltwater Taffy
an I <3 Rhode Island Mug
a mini Cookbook featuring local specialties by a local author
A RIght to Crow book (RI firsts, bests & uniques)
A Newport Magnet
a copy of the most recent Rhode Island Monthly magazine

Of course with anything else we have rules
~You must be 18 or older to enter (though there is nothing adult included)
~This is open internationally but if there are any customs fees you will be responsible
~Some entries are available to enter daily
~Giveaway ends midnight on the 30th, winners will be announced the next day (I will be contacting you via email after the announcement for shipping information)

Monday, March 2, 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
 Taste the Heat by Rachel Harris
Paint by Jennifer Dance
South of Surrender by Laura Kaye (After Dark)
Curious George in the Snow by HA Rey (Bedtime Story)
East of Ecstasy by Laura Kaye (After Dark)
Books Finished Last Week:
Reviews will be posted at a later date

Spawn of Medusa = 3pts
I Am A Garbage Truck = 1pt
ABC Zooborns = 1pt
Sweet Dreams, Curious George = 1pt
Mr. Grumpy = 1pt
Every Sunday = 5pts
The Queen's Dagger = 3pts
I Took The Moon For a Walk = 1pt

Currently Reading:

Little Heathens by Mildred Anderson Kalish - Audio - 68%
Toe to Toe by Sammie Grace - PB - on pg 113 of 298

 Books to be Read Soon:

Aure the Topaz by Rich Feitelberg (RI Authors/Mount TBR)
My Favorite Witch by Annette Blair (RI Authors/Mount TBR)
One of the Guys by Lisa Aldin (Requested Review/Netgalley)
Francesca's Kitchen by Peter Pezzelli (RI Authors/Mount TBR)
To Serve a King by Donna Russo Morin (RI Authors/ Mount TBR)


Total Points Earned
 14 (16 points earned this week)

Pages Read/ Time Listened
12,575 pages read (1,127 this week)
16:17 listening time

Books Added to Shelves

Curious George Colors Eggs by HA Rey - Scholastic Book Order
Nat. Geo. Kids - Frogs by Elizabeth Carney - Scholastic Book Order
Pete the Cat Play Ball by James Dean - Scholastic Book Order
Pete's Big Lunch by James Dean - Scholastic Book Order
Magic Tree House books 1-28 by Mary Pope Osborne - Scholastic Book Order
Burn by Maya Banks - Audible download

Interesting Tidbits on the Web:



Welcome to March! I finally made it through a full week last week without a single snow day (it doesn't look like I will be so lucky this week though)! 

Tomorrow will start off an exciting month. I will be featuring reviews, interviews and giveaways for my local authors of Rhode Island. I hope you will be able to stop by a time or two to check them out.

In other news I got my points back positive. I was doing really good about limiting my scholastic book order until I spotted the set of Magic Tree House books. I have been wanting to start getting this whole set for Munchkin, so when I saw this set for only $42 I couldn't pass it up, it was only $1.50 a book! Oh well, I did skip January's order so I guess that makes up for it just a little.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Nail Art Share: February 2015

Maybe because of all the snow days, I was a little more creative this month with my nails. I also have really started building up my collection (to the point I can't see what I have in our linen closet) so I have ordered a nice display stand. Once I have it all set up I will be sure to take some pictures and share them with you.
Anyway, you are really here for the nail art pictures right?!
First in honor of Month of Letters (which I epically failed at) I saw a cute envelope idea on Pinterest and decided to put a little of my own spin on it with an accent nail of the front of the envelope.  For the base coat I used one of my all time favorite nudes called Trade Winds
Every so often I will wear fake nails and I have a shop on Etsy that I always go to for them, Never Too Much Glitter. She always has beautiful nails and has active length which is so much better for me. I thought this set was perfect for Valentine's Day.
The false nails didn't last as long as usual after many loads of dishes, laundry and Munchkin baths. So I was still in the Valentine mood. I let Munchkin pick the colors this time and I came up with the idea of heart shaped balloons.

I also decided to join Julep Mavens just for a few months but I guess I get bonus items or points if a friend joins, so if you are going to please feel free to join up using my link:

February 2015 Challenge Update

How are we only two months into the year?! I cannot believe how much reading I have done in such a short amount of time.  Granted being snowed in constantly helps (even though I end up reading a lot of children's books and I can recite WallE, Happy Feet & Frozen word for word).
Personal Re-Read Challenge
My goal is to read 10 books, off to a little bit of a slow start so far but that is okay.
Personal Children's Book Challenge
I was shooting for 60 books in this challenge, I know I am going to read way more than that if these first two months are any indication!
13. Again!
26. Out of This World
27. Potty Time!
28. Elmo Says
29. Potty Time with Elmo
30. Trucks: Whizz! Zoom! Rumble!
31. I am a Garbage Truck
32. Sweet Dreams, Curious George
33. ABC Zooborns
34. Mr. Grumpy

Personal Beginning Reader Challenge:
I was shooting for 30 books for this challenge and only a little ahead of schedule, but will be jumping ahead this month to prepare for the upcoming Children's Book Week.
1. Charlie's Snow Day
2. Monsters Munch Lunch
3. Brave Dragon
4. Kick Pass and Run
5. Charlie The Ranch Dog: Where's the Bacon
6. Big Bear, Little Bear
7. Chase on the Case

Personal Read Across the States Challenge
Obviously there are 50 books in this challenge (though I might add a few for the country in general).  After a good kick off last month, things have calmed down but I am still ahead with this challenge.

Alabama  -
Alaska - If you Lived Here
Arizona -
Arkansas -
California -
Colorado - Calves in the Mud Room
Connecticut - A Whole Latte Life
Delaware -
Florida - Because of Winn Dixie
Georgia - Deep Dish
Hawaii - Birth
Idaho -
Illinois -
Indiana -
Iowa -
Kansas -
Kentucky -
Louisiana - Taste the Heat
Maine - Stone Bay
Maryland -
Massachusetts -
Michigan -
Minnesota -
Mississippi -
Missouri -
Montana -
Nebraska -
Nevada -
New Hampshire -
New Jersey - The Fighting Ground
New Mexico -
New York - 
North Carolina -
North Dakota -
Ohio - Dragons of Spratt Ohio
Oklahoma -
Oregon -
Pennsylvania -
Rhode Island - By the Sea Tess
South Carolina - Girls in Trucks
South Dakota -
Tennessee -
Texas -
Utah -
Vermont -
Virginia -
Washington -
West Virginia - Locking Horns
Wisconsin - Blankets
Wyoming - Stone Fox

Audio Book Challenge
I am planning to read 10-12 audio books this year, I am a little ahead of schedule but I know many of the books I am planning to listen to in the future are long and will take a month or more to finish.

1. The Fighting Ground
2. The Last Valentine
3. Deep Dish
4. The Tao of Pooh

Graphic Novel Challenge
Since I am featuring one graphic novel every other week my goal is 26 this year. I am ahead of schedule but its hard not to read them.

1. Tiny Book of Tiny Stories Vol. 3
2. Blankets
3. Shadows of Endor
4. From Fabletown with Love
5. The Books of Magic
6. Mouse Guard: Winter 1152

Series Challenge
With a goal to read at least 5 full series, if not 7, I am pretty much on track. I have completed one full series so far, but the next few have many more books.

1. The Hearts of Anemoi - Book 1, Book 2, Book 3, Book 4 - COMPLETE

TBR Challenge
So I think I underestimated myself this year by only setting a goal of 50 books, especially since I owned most of the books I planned on reading before January.

1. Girls in Trucks
2. Because of Winn Dixie
3. Athena the Brain
4. Nubiana
5. Persephone the Phony
6. The Fighting Ground
7. Aphrodite the Beauty
8. The Last Valentine
9. Artemis the Brave
10. By The Sea, Book One, Tess
11. Hickory Daiquiri Dock
12. Locking Horns
13. Stone Bay
14. Dragons of Spratt, Ohio
15. Deep Dish
16. Stone Fox
17. Dragon in the Sock Drawer
18. Birth
19. The Tao of Pooh
20. West of Want
21. South of Surrender
22. Taste the Heat
23. If You Lived Here I'd Know Your Name
24. Fish Perfume
25. More Than Pancakes
26. Reading Between the Lines
27. I'll Never Forget
28. This Point Forward
29. Risking It All
30. East of Ecstasy
31. Sand Dollar
32. Glassblowers Apprentice
33. A Whole Latte of Life
34. Every Sunday

Requested Reviews
I had planned to only read 25 requested reviews this year but it is so hard to say no to these great books, and NetGalley could definitely become an addiction!

1. Dear Hank Williams
2. Jesper Jinx and the Sneezing Season
3. Calves in the Mud Room
4. Gooseberry Island
5. Dizzy Miss Lizzie
6. Just Not Ready Yet
7. Poole's Paradise
8. Darkness
9. Don't Forget Me Bro
10. Paint
11.  Spawn of Medusa
12.  The Queen's Dagger

Goodreads Challenge
My Goodreads challenge is out of control of course, I am already at 96 of my original goal of 312. I think I might have another 365+ year this year if this pace keeps up!

Wow! What a month! I read 41 books in this short month, while I expect it will slow down soon I am very happy with the reading progress I have made.  I have noticed however that with all this reading, I have become much more critical of books, I have given out far less 5 star/ Four paw and stump wag reviews than I have in the past.

As far as my other goals and resolutions . . .
This month was Letter Writing month, and while I didn't get one sent out every day, I did manage to send 19 letters, cards, post cards and packages this month!
I have painted my nails at least once every week this week (I did go on a little polish buying spree and got some great new colors).
This month with Munchkin we did do some new things, we made slime for his classmates, played with playdough and made it out of the house in undies! I call potty training complete!
While I didn't get a one on one date with hubby we did make it out for a late lunch (before another blizzard) with Munchkin. It was nice to go somewhere new and Munchkin was so good and the food was so good it didn't matter that we weren't alone.

Points Earned this Month: 115
Points Spent this Month:  245
Pages Read/Time Listened this Month: 5,885/ 2:46