Saturday, April 4, 2015

Graphic Novel Review of Mouse Guard: Winter 1152 by David Peterson

Synopsis: "In the Winter of 1152, the Guard face a food and supply shortage threatening the lives of many through a cold and icy season. Saxon, Kenzie, Lieam, and Sadie, led by Celanawe, traverse the snow-blanketed territories acting as diplomats to improve relations between the mouse cities and the Guard. This is a winter not every Guard may survive. Collects the second Eisner-Award winning Mouse Guard series with an all-new epilogue and bonus content."

My Review: I love this series! It is an epic tale along the lines of Dinotopia. The artwork is fantastic and the story is really kept true to the characters and setting. I love the bits of backstory and foreshadowing used throughout this volume, each one I read I learn more about the Mouse Guard and the mouse civilization. The wonderful part about these is that they can be enjoyed by all ages from even middle grade readers all the way through life. I will definitely be getting my hands on more as soon as I can!
My Rating: I truly love everything about this series and volume. If you are looking for a graphic novel to start with or maybe something a little out of the ordinary/ non-super hero go try to find this at your store or library! I give it a rating of Four Paws and a Stump Wag!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Bedtime Story: Sweet Dreams, Curious George by Margret & HA Rey

Synopsis: "George is so excited about reading Chicken Little, the new book from the library! But when George goes to sleep, he dreams that the sky is falling, just like in his book! What is a woken-up little monkey to do in the middle of the night? Ask for another story, jump on the bed, drink some warm milk? With the help of the man with the yellow hat and a telescope, he finds a starry solution that will turn his scary dreams into sweet dreams. With art in the style of H.A. Rey and engaging yet soothing text, this book will lull young readers into their own pleasant slumber. Includes glow-in-the-dark stickers to help brighten up the night."

My Review: This doesn't quite match up with the other Curious George books we have but it is still a very good book. It is easy to apply to real life when little ones are afraid to go to sleep after having a bad dream. Munchkin has been having issues with movies and books giving him bad dreams so this helped to explain to him that they are stories. It is a great bedtime story for the little ones.
My Rating: We enjoyed this one and it was great to be able to apply a Curious George book to reality. We give it a rating of Four Paws.
Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Beginning Reader Review of Charlie the Ranch Dog: Where's the Bacon? by Ree Drummond

Synopsis: "Everyone on the ranch knows that Charlie is the boss. But when a visitor comes to stay with Charlie's family, Charlie isn't so sure that the new guy knows the rules. In fact, Rowdy the dog doesn't seem to be a very nice guest. After eating Charlie's bacon, drinking Charlie's water, and sleeping in Charlie's bed, Rowdy is in the doghouse! Can Charlie find a way to keep Rowdy in line . . . or at least find some more bacon?"

My Review: I find it cute how it is written from Charlie's point of view. It makes it fun, simple and repetitive, perfect for beginning readers. The book is full of action and sight words for level one readers. The story also has a great message about sharing and including new people (or dogs).
My Rating: This was a great book, simple for beginning readers and with a great story and message.  We give it Four Paws.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

After Dark Review of The Mane Event by Shelly Laurenston

I have added After Dark Reviews to my blog as a way of notifying you of a review of a book with Adult themes and scenes. From now on I will keep my reviews of all books I read that have explicit scenes in them for late night posts for those of you who prefer to avoid them or easy to find for those of you who seek them out ;)
Read for: Re-Read & Series Challenge
Synopsis: "Christmas Pride

How come all the good-looking ones are insane? That's what runs through NYPD cop Desiree "Dez" MacDermot's mind the minute she hooks up again with her childhood buddy, Mace Llewellyn. It isn't just the way he stares at her with those too-sexy gold eyes--as if he could devour her on the spot. Or the six-four, built-like-a-Navy Seal bod-o-death. It isn't even that he sniffs her neck and purrs, making her entire body tingle. It's more about that disconcerting, shifting-from-man-to-lion thing that unhinges her...and makes her want more. Mace likes making Dez crazy. In fact, he likes her any way he can get her--in bed, on the desk, here, now, again. Together, they'd always been trouble, but Dez has no idea just how good trouble can feel...

Shaw's Tail

Brendon Shaw, hotel owner and lion shifter, has seen better days. He's been beaten, had a gun to the back of his head, and had to be rescued by a Pack of shape-shifting wolves. He didn't think he'd survive the night, much less find the woman of his dreams. And he never thought the woman of his dreams would have a Tennessee accent and wear cowboy boots. Once he sets his sights on her, the predator in him is ready to pounce and never let go. Ronnie Lee Reed is ready to change her life, and New York City is the place where any girl--even one who runs with a Pack--can redefine herself. First order of business: find a mate, settle down, and stop using men for sex. Even big, gorgeous, lion-shifting, oh-my-what-big-um-paws-you-have men. Then again..."

My Review:  As with my first read, this was just okay for me. It seemed insanely long for not a lot of substance. The first story was a little over the top, the amount intimate relations is not possible for the time period set forth. I know this is fiction and a paranormal romance on top of it but I would really prefer for things to be half way reasonable (ie. there will be no going through and entire box of condoms in an afternoon). With that said the characters are at least interesting and the underlying storyline is exciting, if only we got to spend more time on that part of the story instead of the bedroom. The second story was much better for me. I like Smitty's pack and all their personalities were much more developed and I enjoyed the lighter more comedic tone. There also seemed a little more to the story as opposed to just bed dancing.

My Rating: I was not so thrilled with the first half of this book but thankfully the second half was a little better so it redeemed the rating a little. I give it a rating of Two Paws.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Review of Spawn of Medusa by Mary Bernsen

Read for: Requested Review/NetGalley
Synopsis: "Passion doesn’t always follow the rules of fate…

Raised by the Fates, Ambrosia, the daughter of Medusa, has spent her life preparing for the day when she would fulfill her destiny and avenge her mother’s murder. But when a man comes forward claiming to be the spawn of Medusa, Ambrosia’s plan becomes a lot more complicated.

Working as a prostitute, she finds Perseus, the man who took her mother’s head. Not realizing who she is, he tells Ambrosia that Medusa is still alive and that he’s on a quest to finish what he started twenty-three years ago. Needing to find the mother she’s never met, Ambrosia convinces Perseus to let her help, and together they discover the secrets that will unseal the cave that has kept her mother captive. But Perseus proves to be different than the monster Ambrosia has always envisioned him to be, and she finds herself needing him, craving his touch. But how can the daughter of Medusa love the man who made her an orphan for twenty-three years, and who kept her from the mother she never met?"

My Review: This was a very interesting book, from the cover you would think it would be an after dark book but other than Ambrosia's profession and hints of what she does, it was a surprisingly clean book (note: there was use of some harsh language). It did take me a bit to really wrap my head around the characters different roles from traditional mythology. With that said I really enjoyed several of them once I settled into the story. I really loved where Bernsen took the storyline and the new and unexpected twist she put at the end. You really need to go into this one with an open mind and not be hard set with traditional mythology, but if you can keep your mind open it is a really enjoyable read.
My Rating: It really did take me a bit to wrap my head around this one, so I got a slow start on it, but it did get better once I let go of the traditional mythology beliefs. I give it a rating of Three Paws.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Rhode Island Author Feature Month Wrap Up & Giveaway Winners!

Thank you all for joining me this month to celebrate some of my local Rhode Island authors!
I had a good time meeting several of these authors, interviewing a couple, reading all these new books and of course sharing all of this with you.  I hope that you enjoyed the month long event and discovered some new books, authors and hopefully learned a little bit about my area.
Of course you are all wondering who won the giveaways. Well we have one lucky winner, JENNY!
She won not only the Rhode Island Pack but also the Pancake Set! She will have a nice taste of Rhode Island headed her way soon!

Congrats Jenny!

Bloggiesta Wrap-Up

After almost missing Bloggiesta and not having much time to prepare I had an unbelievable week!  I completed all 14 items on my to do list and even a few extras.  I think the biggest thing for me was participating in the Twitter Chats and not only learning a few new things and what everyone likes to see on blogs but also connecting with other bloggers in the community. I don't think I have ever felt more connected to the book blogging community as I did this week. I had some great conversations, found some new blogs and maybe made a couple of new friends.  I will definitely try to be more active on twitter and continue these new relationships.
A couple of new things you will find as a result of this Bloggiesta:
First and foremost the look of the blog. I have updated the format and design of the blog. I definitely am happy to be back to a side menu but am up in the air still about the colors and links.  Please feel free to give me your input at any time.
The Archive list will no longer be updated, it takes so much effort to keep it up with 350+ books a year.  All the reviews you will find here and then some are also on my Goodreads.  I have included a link to my reviews on Goodreads on the archives page. The nice part is that the reviews will be searchable so if you want to find a specific book or genre it will be a little easier to find.
I have added a pinterest account specifically for the blog (the link is on the top right corner of the blog). On this page you will find a board for Author Interviews, Bedtime Stories, Graphic Novel Reviews, and then some ideas and inspirations for upcoming posts and events here on Eastern Sunset Reads.
On that theme I have also come up with some non-book review content.  It came to my attention during one of the twitter chats that followers often like to see more other content than actual reviews.  So I will be cutting back on reviews (somehow) and be adding additional content over the next couple of months (I already have posts scheduled into May and don't want to throw out all that work).  Some of the new things you will see coming up will be Pen to Paper (a weekly post about letter writing), more Crafty Times and Fun with Munchkin Posts, some book lists, and hopefully a series of posts on Bookmarks and Hand-Me-Down Books.
I will also be making a couple of changes to the reviews that I am going to be posting. I will be adding reasons I originally picked up a book and requests for recommendations. I will also start to cut back on the number of reviews posted. There will be extra mini reviews posted at the end of the month (possibly having 2 mini review posts a month) and I will be trying out a single post for a whole series this month and next, so be sure to stop by for those and let me know your thoughts and feelings.
So all in all I feel so accomplished with this Bloggiesta.  It was a huge success for me but as always when these events end I am left with a bunch more ideas! A few more things that I will continue working on will be my Twitter and online presence, working on more content and discussion posts as opposed to just reviews. I am also going to be looking into and probably adding Disquis for commenting. The work is on going.

Monday, March 30, 2015

March 2015 Challenge Update

Wow, we are already a quarter of the way through the year! Three months of snow and lots and lots of reading. I think that I am at least on track if not ahead in all my challenges but let us check in on that . . .
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 am very near completing this challenge but as we all know, it will continue on!
13. Again!
 35. I Took the Moon for a Walk
36. We're Going on a Bear Hunt
37. The Little Red Caboose
38. Happy to Help!
39. Pony Brushes his Teeth
40. A Hole in the Road
41. The Lost Dinosaur Bone
42. Grandpa & the Truck 2
43. Emergency Vehicles
44. C is for Cornhusker
45. Curious George and the Dump Truck
46. Curious George Goes Fishing
47. Mr. Mischief
48. The Best Show and Share
49. Frogs!
50. The Mitten
51. Curious George Goes to a Bookstore
52. Oscar the Almost Butterfly

Personal Beginning Reader Challenge:
I was shooting for 30 books for this challenge and have been keeping this challenge at a steady pace so far but I am sure it will be picking up soon.
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
8. Look for Lorax
9. Curious George, Dinosaur Tracks
10. Danny and the Dinosaur

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).  I am already nearly halfway done with this challenge, I have found some very interesting books so far and many more to come.
Alabama  -
Alaska - If you Lived Here
Arizona - Veil of Roses
Arkansas -
California -
Colorado - Calves in the Mud Room
Connecticut - A Whole Latte Life
Delaware - A Catered Affair
Florida - Because of Winn Dixie
Georgia - Deep Dish
Hawaii - Birth
Idaho -
Illinois -
Indiana -
Iowa - Little Heathens
Kansas -
Kentucky -
Louisiana - Taste the Heat
Maine - Stone Bay
Maryland -
Massachusetts -
Michigan -
Minnesota -
Mississippi -
Missouri -
Montana -
Nebraska - C is for Cornhusker
Nevada - The Missing Ink
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 - Buffalo Gal
Tennessee -
Texas -
Utah - Wright on Time - 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 still ahead of schedule on this one but have some really long books coming up.
1. The Fighting Ground
2. The Last Valentine
3. Deep Dish
4. The Tao of Pooh
5. Little Heathens
6. Veil of Roses

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
7. Korgi Vol.2: Cosmic Collector
8. Thor: God of Thunder Vol. 1: The God Butcher
9. Fables are Forever

Series Challenge
With a goal to read at least 5 full series, if not 7, I am pretty much on track. I got started on my second series this month and hope to knock out another one or two next month.
1. The Hearts of Anemoi - Book 1, Book 2, Book 3, Book 4 - COMPLETE
2. Pride Series - Book 1, Book 2

TBR Challenge
My goal of 50 books will be completely blown out of the water this year, I should have thought a little more with setting this goal but oh well, I will still continue to track once I match my goal!
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
35. Missing Ink
36. Little Heathens
37. Toe to Toe
38. Warrior Beautiful
39. Buffalo Gal
40. To Serve a King
41. Veil of Roses
42. Francesca's Kitchen
43. Wright on Time - Utah
44. My Favorite Witch
45. Aure the Topaz
46. The Scot the Witch and the Wardrobe
47. A Catered Affair
48. If You're Reading This

Requested Reviews My original limit of only 25 books this year is obviously not going to work, I have at least 3 more lined up already and a bunch more emails to return.
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
13. One of the Guys
14. Me and Grandpa
15. Jesper Jinx and the Turkish Pepper

Goodreads Challenge My Goodreads challenge is out of control of course, I am already at 137 of my original goal of 312. I think I might have another 365+ year this year if this pace keeps up!

As far as my other goals and resolutions . . .
I sent out a couple of post cards, packages and a handful of birthday thank you cards
I have painted my nails at least once every week this week.
Munchkin and I had a rough month filled with colds but we did get a couple little crafts and adventures in (including his first professional photos)
Still no one on one time with Hubby, but I guess that is the way it goes with a little one around and not much family or official babysitter yet.

Points Earned this Month: 98
Points Spent this Month:  none that I can think of though Scholastic Orders were high
Pages Read/Time Listened this Month: 5,544/ 9:25

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 Kitchen Witch by Annette Blair
My Favorite Witch by Annette Blair
Aure the Topaz by Rich Feitelberg
Grandpa and the Truck Book 2 by Colleen Keller Mellor (Bedtime Story)
The Scot, The Witch and the Wardrobe by Annette Blair
A Whole Latte Life by Joanne Demaio (Mini Review)
The Missing Ink by Karen E. Olson (Mini Review)
Little Heathens by Mildred Armstrong Kalish (Mini Review)
Warrior Beautiful by Wendy Knight (Mini Review)
Buffalo Gal by Mary Connealy (Mini Review)
Wright On Time: Utah by Lisa M.Cottrell-Bentley (Mini Review)
Books Finished Last Week:
Reviews will be posted at a later date

The Beast in Him = 3pts
The Scot the Witch and the Wardrobe = 5pts
If You're Reading This = 5pts
A Catered Affair = 5pts

Currently Reading:

The Borrower by Rebecca Makkai - Audio - 23%

 Books to be Read Soon:

I Loved I Lost I Made Spaghetti by Giulia Melucci (Mount TBR)


Total Points Earned
 112 (18 points earned this week)

Pages Read/ Time Listened
18,119 pages read (1,165 read this week)
35:07 listening time

Books Added to Shelves

The Elite by Kiera Cass - Audible Monthly Download
Strega Nona by Tomi DePaola - Scholastic Book Order
Rain! by Linda Ashman - Scholastic Book Order
Rainbow of My Own by Don Freeman - Scholastic Book Order
The Bear Went Over the Mountain by Iza Trapani - Scholastic Book Order
Tadpole Trouble by HA Rey - Scholastic Book Order
Storm Song by Nancy Viau - Scholastic Book Order
The Grumble Bee by Kyle Mewburn - Scholastic Book Order
A Cuddle for Little Duck by Claire Freedman - Scholastic Book Order
Five Green and Speckled Frogs by Constance Basaluzzo - Scholastic Book Order
Pout Pout Fish in the Big Big Dark - Scholastic Book Order
The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry and The Big Hungry Bear by Don Wood - Scholastic Book Order
Curious George Plants a Tree by Margret and HA Rey - Scholastic Book Order

Interesting Tidbits on the Web:



I am wrapping up a busy and full month of Rhode Island Authors.  I hope that maybe you discovered some new books and authors throughout the month! I will be posting the giveaway winners tomorrow!

I also had a very busy week working on the blog during Bloggiesta. I hope you like some of the changes I have made and updates to come.  I will have my final wrap up post tomorrow afternoon.

So as you can see my Scholastic book order was a little over the $15 limit again, I really should have set it at $25 or $30 so it was at least attainable. It is a good thing I can't get the website to work otherwise the orders would be a lot higher.

Now we head into April, hopefully some warmer weather, Easter celebrations and of course more books! I of course have another stack of books that I am excited to tackle this month.  Guess what, Dewey's Spring Readathon is coming up too!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Mini Reviews: Whole Latte of Life, Little Heathens, Buffalo Gal, Missing Ink and 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.
I wasn't keen on this one, a lot of symbolism, and confusing flashback jumps. One Paw.
A fun setting, some interesting characters but what you would expect, nothing super surprising. Two Paws.
I thoroughly loved this audio book, though I wish I had it in print to mark the words of wisdom, recipes and quotes. Four Paws!
A great fantasy tale with touches of romance, but clean for YAs. The unicorns are great characters. Three Paws and a Stump Wag.
This is a good light read but I had issues with some of the views in the book. Two Paws.
Definitely need to read the first book, it may be better with reading them in order and with the proper audience but it didn't hit perfect for me. Two Paws.