Saturday, April 25, 2015

Spring 2015 Dewey Readathon Update #2

I really can't believe I have been able to park my butt for so much time today and dedicate so much to reading.  A HUGE thank you to all the cheerleaders, old friends and new who have stopped by to cheer me on!
If you have been following my twitter feed ( @EasternSunset9 ) you already know what I have been doing with my day. But here it all is in one place.
Currently reading: Getting ready to start a new book
Books finished: Just a Little Music, Go Go Go, Mr. Noisy, Ponies Love Pets, Just Saving My Money, Ares, Ravine, Rush, Into the Wild, Wheedle and the Noodle, Hinterkind Vol. 1, Time Together Mommy and Me, Cuddle for Little Duck, Goodnight Moon, Brown Bear Brown Bear
Pages read: 550
Total Time Listened: 2:43
Running total of pages read: 932
Amount of time spent reading: 8:20
Running total of time spent reading: 13:35
Snacks: Hubby is making nachos for me and then I have some ants on a log and popcorn for when I start to really get drowsy
Reading Spot: I have been in the living room on the couch all afternoon and evening (except for the little time reading to Munchkin before bed in his room). I think it is time for a position change.
Up Next:
Moving to the glider and a little more upright position to prevent nodding off. I am going to start Whatchagot Stew in a few minutes and hope to finish it and maybe the first Saga before I succumb to sleep.
Hope your reading day is going well! See you in a few more hours with another update!

Spring 2015 Dewey's Readathon - Update #1

Wow, sometimes the hours just fly by! Of course the first rush of the day with Dewey's is always exciting, it is the later part of the day and into the wee hours that time starts to slow.
If you have been following my twitter feed ( @EasternSunset9 ) you already know what I have been doing with my day. But here it all is in one place.
Currently reading: Just finished Rush so in between books
Books finished: Just a Little Music, Go Go Go, Mr. Noisy, Ponies Love Pets, Just Saving My Money, Ares, Ravine, Rush
Pages read: 382
Time Listened: 2:43
Running total of pages read: 382
Amount of time spent reading: 5:15
Running total of time spent reading: 5:15
Snacks: Bowl of berries this morning. Now it is time for the little cucumber sandwiches, a few olive bites and mini caprese bites and some tea to keep me going.
Reading Spot: I have been reading (well listening to an audio book) in our guest room (which is super cluttered) while working on some crafts. Now Munchkin & Hubby are on their way out the door so I can move this reading party to the glider in the living room.
Up Next:
Up next on my reading list is Into the Wild and either Saga Vol. 1 & 2 or Hinterkind Vol. 1.
Hope your reading day is going well! See you in a few more hours with another update!

Spring 2015 Dewey Readathon Kickoff

I am here ready to kick off my readathon today!
I will try to update here on the blog every few hours, but will try to keep up more often on my twitter ( @EasternSunset9 )  so please feel free to follow me there too!
The nice thing about having the readathon start at 8:00am here is that I have time to get breakfast on the table and get everything ready for the day before kick off time.
Hubby needed a little more time to sleep today so Munchkin and I are going to cuddle up with the following books . . .
After finishing Just Saving My Money, I will set Munchkin up with his penny bank and a bowl of change while I continue my Readathon with
By then I hope Hubby will be up and can make Munchkin his second breakfast. I plan to lock myself in our spare room with some crafts for several hours to finish the audiobook Rush.
I will be back in a few of hours with an update and a break. Again I will be posting on Twitter with more regular updates, book I am reading, ratings and snack pictures!
Good Luck All!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Bedtime Story: I Love You, Sleepyhead by Claire Freedman

Synopsis: "As the sun slowly fades and the soft, silver moon rises, the baby animals are snuggling down to sleep while their mommies watch over them. This enchanting lullaby, with breathtakingly real illustrations, makes the perfect bedtime storybook for sleepyheads everywhere."

My Review: This book got a little long for Munchkin but thankfully the stunning illustrations kept him busy on the longer pages. The illustrations really made this book, they are so soft and yet life-like. The tone is great for bedtime.
My Rating: This is an enjoyable book but just a lot to keep a busy or even sleepy toddler busy. I give it a rating of Three Paws.
Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Spring 2015 Dewey Readathon Preparation

The readathon kicks off at this time tomorrow. I am woefully behind on my preparations but I will still get to read tomorrow so that is all that matters.
You can see my original sign up link HERE
I spent an evening last week planning and adjusting my reading list. I have edited it further as well, I think I will be removing Fried Green Tomatoes and I know I will not be making it through all 6 Warrior Books. The Audiobook, Rush, will take priority, I only have a few hours left.
Last night I was a little frantic in my cleaning, making sure that I have the house picked up and the major cleaning done. Of course we have a group of friends coming over Sunday afternoon (I really don't think Hubby understands the concept of reading for 24 hours and how exhausting that can be).
Tonight after work I am solely focusing on the snacks and light meals for the day. I have learned in the past that eating 3 larger meals makes me sleepy. So I have been planning a bunch of lighter smaller meals/snacks.  I tried to plan things that can be made ahead of time.
Snack/Meal List:
Caprese Bites (a delicious and light, bite size snack)
Cucumber finger sandwiches (so cute and so tasty)
Berry bowl (fresh treat for the morning kick off)
Ants on a log (can't beat this snack of celery, peanut butter & raisins)
Olive/ pepperoni bites (another quick bite sized snack)
Corn chips with dip (or nachos if I can get the hubby to make them)
Edamame (supposedly an energy boosting food)
Popcorn (I can't get through a day without it)
Leftover pizza (from tonight's movie night with Munchkin)
Brownies (for a sweet treat)
If I have time tonight after making all these goodies I also have a special nail art planned for the readathon but it is just an extra if I have time. I am also going to try to organize my crafting supplies tonight so that when I am listening to the audio book tomorrow I can craft too.
Hope all your plans are falling into place! Have fun and good luck tomorrow!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Story Stack: Sing a Song

Welcome to Story Stack, a new meme here on Eastern Sunset Reads!
For Story Stack I will put together a list of books based on a common theme, probably mostly children's books since this idea arrived as I struggled to organize Munchkin's overflowing bookshelves.
Several of the books Munchkin and I have been reading lately seem to have been songs first and turned into books.  So here is a list of the ones we have on our shelves (I am sure there are so many more out there).
This is one of Munchkin's favorite songs from daycare so I had to get the book when I saw it.
Who doesn't remember this song? I guess the illustrations help to learn the locations without dancing around.
I didn't realize this was a song (and our copy didn't come with a handy CD) until Munchkin insisted that I sing the song.
This was one of those songs that had been forgotten until you start reading this book then the tune comes rushing back.
One of my favorites from my Girl Scout days, granted some of the words were a little different in this one but at least it came with a CD so Munchkin doesn't have to listen to my out of tune singing!
My mom sent Munchkin this book and it is amazing how quickly the Sunday School song came back to me.
This is a simple song that we really don't need a book but we love Caroline Jayne Church. A weird fact (though not included in this book) is that there are several more verses to this song! I had no idea until I became a mom and found it one of the nursery rhyme books.
Here is another song I never knew the words to, but I think its because there are different versions of it. I dare you to try to read this one without at least hearing the song in your head.
I found it absolutely impossible to read this book, it must be sung! Some how my hubby manages but seriously how can you possibly read "Thumpity, Thump, Thump! Thumpity, Thump, Thump!" without singing?
I know there are tons more books and while tracking down these covers I discovered a bunch more I want to add to our set. Munchkin will just have to deal with my tone deaf singing voice!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Review of One of the Guys by Lisa Aldin

Read for: Netgalley/ Requested Review
Synopsis: "Tomboy to the core, Toni Valentine understands guys. She'll take horror movies, monster hunts and burping contests over manicures. So Toni is horrified when she's sent to the Winston Academy for Girls, where she has to wear a skirt and learn to be a lady while the guys move on without her.

Then Toni meets Emma Elizabeth, a girl at school with boy troubles, and she volunteers one of her friends as a pretend date. Word spreads of Toni’s connections with boys, and she discovers that her new wealthy female classmates will pay big money for fake dates. Looking for a way to connect her old best friends with her new life at school, Toni and Emma start up Toni Valentine’s Rent-A-Gent Service.

But the business meets a scandal when Toni falls for one of her friends--the same guy who happens to be the most sought-after date. With everything she's built on the line, Toni has to decide if she wants to save the business and her old life, or let go of being one of the guys for a chance at love."

My Review: I saw tomboy and the title of this book and thought it would be the perfect book for me. I was the tomboy, I was one of the guys but Toni was nothing like me and didn't strike me really as all that much of a tomboy. Her supposed non existent crush is so obvious within the first two pages, it wasn't concealed at all to the reader so it really lacked any kind of tension buildup for the rest of the story. The concept of rent-a-gent has been done so many times and it never works out well so that felt like an over used plot line. So this one really just fell completely flat for me.
My Rating: I just could not get into this book. I had no connection to the characters, didn't agree with the so called tomboyness of Toni, the over used rent a guy idea. It all just didn't work for me unfortunately. I give this a rating of One Paw and a Stump Wag.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Series Review of the Glass Series by Maria V. Snyder

I have been trying to figure out a way to share all these books I read with you but still include other non-review posts on the blog.  One method I have come up with was to share the reviews for an entire series (or pair) of books in one post.  I will do my absolute best to keep spoilers out of these posts in case you plan to read the books, but there is a slight chance that even the synopsis of a book can give away the result of the previous book. So if you don't want to know anything at all about the later books in a series that might giveaway something in the first book STOP READING NOW!
So for my first series review we have the Glass Series by Maria V. Snyder. It is part of the larger Chronicles of Ixia series which started with the Study Series and will be followed by the SoulFinders series that has just started being released.  I will review each book in the series and at the bottom will review the series as a whole.  This is a test run of this type of review so please let me know if you like it or not.
Synopsis: "As a glassmaker and a magician-in-training, Opal Cowen understands trial by fire. Now it's time to test her mettle. Someone has sabotaged the Stormdancer clan's glass orbs, killing their most powerful magicians. The Stormdancers—particularly the mysterious and mercurial Kade—require Opal's unique talents to prevent it happening again. But when the mission goes awry, Opal must tap in to a new kind of magic as stunningly potent as it is frightening. And the further she delves into the intrigue behind the glass and magic, the more distorted things appear. With lives hanging in the balance—including her own—Opal must control powers she hadn't known she possessed… - powers that might lead to disaster beyond anything she's ever known."

My Review: It has been a while since I read the Study series that takes place prior to this book, so it took a little time for me to slip back into the world. The one good thing was that I didn't miss my favorite characters from the previous books as much as I would have expected. Opal is a great MC, she had many qualities that I could connect with and it drew me into the story. The sub characters were also each interesting and unique and I look forward to reading more with them. The one other thing that was really well done is that this was definitely separate from the original series but it was still well connected and a couple of storylines did carry over so there was that connection with the original series.
My Rating: It was fun to get back into this world even though it took a while. I give it a rating of Four Paws.
Synopsis: "Like the colorful pieces of sea glass washed up on shore, Opal has weathered rough waters and twisting currents. But instead of finding a tranquil eddy, Opal is caught in a riptide. Her unique glass messengers which allow instant communication over vast distances have become a vital part of Sitian society. Once used solely by the Councilors and magicians, other powerful factions are now vying for control. Control of the messengers equals control of Sitia. Unfortunately that also means control of Opal. If that isn’t enough of a problem, Opal’s determination to prove blood magic is still being used is met with strong resistance. The Council doubts her, her mentor doubts her, and even her family is concerned. When her world is turned upside down, she begins to doubt herself. In the end, Opal must decide who to believe, who to trust, and who has control—otherwise she will shatter into a million pieces and be swept out by the tide."

My Review: After reading Storm Glass, I couldn't help but jump right into this next book in the series. I liked watching Opal develop throughout the story and learn some tough lessons. I did find it a little irritating that we are once again facing the same 'bad' guys. It gets a little exhausting to have to read about trying to defeat the same ones over and over again. I found the conclusion to be really interesting, especially considering there is another book in this trilogy. In fact I was so curious I immediately start the final book.
My Rating: Even with repeated enemies this was an intriguing installment in the series. I give it a rating of Four Paws.
Synopsis: "An undercover mission
leads to danger, adventure
and an impossible choice.

After siphoning her own blood magic in the showdown at Hubal, student glass magician Opal Cowan lost her powers. Immune to the effects of magic, Opal is now an outsider looking in, spying through the glass on those with the powers she once had. Powers that make a difference in the world.

Suddenly the beautiful pieces she makes begin to flash in the presence of magic and Opal learns that someone has stolen some of her blood. Finding it might let her regain her powers or discover that they're lost forever..."

My Review: I hate to say it but I am a little glad that this is the last of the Glass series. I am a little tired of Opal and all her issues. Remember all that talk about the Mary Sue character, the lack of confidence and self sacrificing? Yup that is Opal. Not to mention the love triangle. I felt like this final book was a lot of clich├ęs and a repeat of other books in the series (both Glass and Study). It was a long book to get through and a lot going on yet somehow without a lot going on (at least new going on). Don't get me wrong, I still really enjoyed the book in fact I stayed up way to late at night to finish it, I am just saying enough is enough and I am glad it is ended. I am vacillating between actually continuing the Ixia series with the Soulfinders or just calling it good here.
My Rating: I felt like this book kind of dragged things out a little too much. I did enjoy the introduction of some new sub-characters but I wonder if it is even likely the next series will involve them more.  I give this one a rating of Three Paws.
Series Review: I was really excited to read this series at first because I absolutely inhaled the whole Study Series. I waited until I had all three books (as I often do with series because I cannot stand waiting for the next book). I am very glad I waited so long to read the Glass series, I didn't miss Yelena and Valek as much as I expected.  Yes they do make appearances but they are obviously not the main characters of this series. The series started off good with some interesting characters and issues to solve. I found that the second book while a little repetitive of some of the plot points of the first book still had a very intriguing conclusion. The final book however really took away from the series as a whole. I feel like the book was almost an add on requirement from the publisher and the previous two books had to be edited so the storyline could continue. By the end I really wasn't a fan of Opal and found her personality (or really lack thereof) to be grating.
The next book in the Chronicles of Ixia was released earlier this year and it brings Yelena and Valek back to the frontline. I am almost wondering if using those popular characters to bring readers back is a way of redeeming the failings of this series.
As a whole I give this series a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag. The final book really took away from the whole series.
Have you read this series? What did you think of it? Are you going to be reading the Soulfinders Series?

Monday, April 20, 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
If You're Reading This by Trent Reedy
Jesper Jinx and the Turkish Pepper by Marko Kitti
The Unleashing by Shelly Laurenston (After Dark)
Big Bear Little Bear by Susan Amerikaner (Beginning Reader)
Out of this World by Disney (Bedtime Story)
Korgi Book 2: Cosmic Collector by Christian Slade (Graphic Novel Review)

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

The Borrower = 3pts
Spy Glass = 3pts
Rainbow of My Own =1pt
Dusty Flies High = 1pt
Fables Vol. 4 = 2pts
HA Rey Treasury of Stories = 1pt
Down on Her Knees = 3pts
Love Finds You in Camelot Tennessee = 3pts
Winnie the Pooh = 3pts
The Bear Went Over the Mountain = 1pt
Five Green and Speckled Frogs = 1pt
Hard to be Good = 3pts
Five Little Monkeys Sitting in a Tree = 1pt
Jesus Loves Me = 1pt
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star = 1pt

Currently Reading:

 Books to be Read Soon:

I Loved I Lost I Made Spaghetti by Giulia Melucci (Mount TBR)
Princesses of Myth Series by Esther Friesner
Warriors Series by Erin Hunter


Total Points Earned
  105 points + 28 pts earned this week = 133 - 100pts spent = 33 points

Pages Read/ Time Listened
21,977 pages read (1,664 read this week)
48:01 listening time  (12:55 this week)

Books Added to Shelves

HA Rey Treasury of Stories by HA Rey - Netgalley/Requested Review
Irona700 by Dave Duncan - Netgalley/Requested Review
Winnie the Pooh Classic Tales by A.A. Milne - Audio book Purchase
Heart Search by Robin D. Owens - Nook Purchase
Hearts and Swords by Robin D. Owens - Nook Purchase
Heart Secret by Robin D. Owens - Nook Purchase
Master of Freedom by Cherise Sinclair - Kindle Purchase
Rules for Riders by Natalie Scott - Requested Review
Parsen Holt - Slinger by Robert James Dellamano - Requested Review

Interesting Tidbits on the Web:



Spring has finally arrived here and I didn't expect to get much reading done this last week but Munchkin ended up getting sick so I spent a couple of days at home with him just reading.  Also the boss was out of the office a bunch last week too so it freed up more reading time too.

I am hoping this week will be even better. The boss is out all day today and I took tomorrow off to get myself caught up on some reading, crafts and prepare for Dewey's Readathon this weekend!

I have also been using a lot of my spare time to work on new content for the blog.  In addition to the Pen To Paper posts (which are scheduled to start in May), I also have Story Stacks starting up this week.  I also have plans for Mark Your Page (or Bookmark Madness) and Tasty Attempts but I need to finish making things for both before I can start scheduling them.  It is really fun to change things up and become re-inspired in the blog again!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Family Fun: Gardening with Munchkin

I have decided to add a new post to my list of things that could happen on the weekends.  As part of my resolutions for 2015, I wanted to do more fun things with Munchkin and as a family.  I will be posting sporadically about some of the fun adventures we are having together.
Spring finally arrived!! I thought we would stay in the low 40s forever but thankfully last weekend we hit the 60s and 70s.  I told Munchkin we could plant a garden earlier in the week and he was very excited. 
We got all the supplies together and got ourselves geared up
I wasn't very good at planning and didn't get enough soil for the 3 planters but we did get one big one and a little one planted with carrots (rainbow and small growing ones), cucumbers, parsley, mint and spinach.
Munchkin was very helpful with the watering and has reminded me every day so far that we need to water the garden.  Later today we will be working on the last planter and planting zucchini, cilantro, sage and basil.
I didn't manage to take a lot of pictures because I got just as dirty as Munchkin but I will try to take new ones to share as the garden grows (as long as the darn squirrels don't dig it all up like they have in the past).
Do you have a garden planted? What are you growing?