Saturday, May 30, 2015

Graphic Novel Review of Fables Vol 4: March of the Wooden Soldiers by Bill Willingham

Synopsis: "Bill Willingham's runaway hit series FABLES continues its success in this fourth trade paperback, collecting issues #19-21 and #23-27 (issue #22 will appear in a future collection) and featuring the rise of a new threat to Fabletown. Also included is the Prestige Format Special Fables: The Last Castle. When Little Red Riding Hood suddenly walks through the gate between this world and the lost Fable Homelands, she's welcomed as a miraculous survivor by nearly everyone - everyone except her old nemesis, Bigby Wolf, who smells spying and subversion more than survival. But will he be able to prove his case before disaster strikes? And how will it all affect Prince Charming's upstart campaign to become the new mayor of Fabletown?"

My Review: After accidentally deviating from the reading order of the Fables and branch off series, it was good to get back to the main story line. This was an action filled volume and it really made for a good page turning read. It also drew me back into the series after a couple of disappointing installments. I am definitely looking forward to the next one now.
My Rating: I was about ready to give up on this series but this novel pulled me back in.  I currently own two more volumes, if things keep up the way this one did I will stick with it.  I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag. 

Friday, May 29, 2015

Bedtime Story: Tadpole Trouble by H.A. Rey

Synopsis: "Curious George’s friend Bill has put him in charge of several tadpoles. George sends the tadpoles for a nice swim in the lagoon, but to his dismay, the tadpoles don’t return! Each time he goes back to the lake he tries to find the tadpoles, but he finds only tadpole-like creatures without tails . . . and with legs. A trip to the museum teaches George about the development of tadpoles into frogs, and he and Bill are happy to make the acquaintance of their new froggy friends!"

My Review: I am really not too sure about these Curious George books that are taken from the tv show episodes. We have already seen it on TV and can watch it again from the videos. The book is taken almost exactly from the shows, including the artwork. If you regularly watch the show I wouldn't bother with the books, but if you don't watch the show it might be a different story for you.
My Rating: If you watch the show don't read the book, it is almost the exact same thing.  I give it a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag.
Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

After Dark Review of Show Me, Baby by Cherise Sinclair

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: Fun and continue the series
Synopsis: "After his last lover chose her career over him, Jake knows he wants a woman who will put him at the top of her priorities—as he would with her. One of the trainees, Rainie, has caught his attention. Lush body, a gift for living life to the fullest, always laughing or smiling. Yeah. She trips all his switches. But she’s never given him a second look and that’s damned annoying.

Rainie has been burned enough times that she’s not going to get serious about any man. Sure, the BDSM club trainees are supposed to be looking for a permanent Dom, but no harm, no foul—they don’t need to know she lied. Trainees get to be involved in everything—and with everyone. But there’s one she avoids. Master Jake is always frowning at her. No matter how gorgeous he is, she doesn’t need any disapproving Dom up in her business.

Unfortunately, her best friends are having a double wedding. Little hearts are floating in the air. Every breath is filled with romance. Rainie is doomed."

My Review: I think it was a little too long between the Shadowlands books. I had a really hard time placing some of the characters, especially Rainie (I didn't remember her at all from the previous books). I did however really enjoy the story and Rainie's personality. I also enjoyed Jake, of course he is an animal lover how could I not enjoy him. The development of the story was great and I loved the conclusion. It was a great length for a one or two sitting book.
My Rating: Since it took me so long to get back into the series I wasn't able to really enjoy the characters as much as I would have liked. I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.

Pen to Paper: Giveaway

Welcome back to Pen to Paper where we embark on a letter writing and snail mail adventure!
So how did your first mission go? Did you write your first letter (or maybe not your first and just one of many)?  Was it easy or did you find it difficult?
I find that it is easier starting out if you write to someone you already know and can share tidbits with without having to go into extensive details, or if you write to someone you know has a similar interest.
So I thought that maybe some of you are just starting out, and while it is perfectly fine to use notebook paper (heck those lines come in handy) for your letters, I thought I might share some of my rather extensive stash of stationary, envelopes, postcards, greeting cards and note cards.  So here is a little giveaway to get you started on your own stash or extras for more letters.
Included in the giveaway:
4 sets of stationary (2 pages and matching envelope each)
4 blank notecards
4 post cards
3 pens
10 Pen Pal Tracker forms
3 mini zines full of helpful information to get you started

Giveaway open from today through Wednesday, June 3rd
Open to international
Must be over 13 years of age
Oh and your mission for this week: Send a quick little note to someone about some little thing that happened in your day.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Review of Forest of Secrets by Erin Hunter

Read For: Series Challenge and Mount TBR
Synopsis: "Allegiances are shifting among the Clans of warrior cats that roam the forest. With tensions so delicately balanced, former friends can become enemies overnight, and some cats are willing to kill to get what they want.

Fireheart is determined to find out the truth about the mysterious death of brave ThunderClan warrior Redtail. But as he searches for answers, he uncovers secrets that some believe would be better left hidden."

My Review: The second book in this series was very relatable for the target reading group even with all the characters being cats. I feel that this book lost a lot of that connection suddenly (it is almost as if there are two different authors writing this series). The adventure of this series definitely slows due to the harshness of the season but there is still some good tension and some interesting twists that take place. The book leaves off at a tenuous new beginning with some interesting new possibilities that will draw you to read the fourth book in the series.
My Rating: The connection with the previous book was pretty much lost in this book. There were some interesting developments though and I will continue reading the series.  I give it a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Audio Book Review of Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Read for: Mount TBR & Audio Challenge
Synopsis: "A tale of gods, kings, immortal fame, and the human heart, The Song of Achilles is a dazzling literary feat that brilliantly re-imagines Homer’s enduring masterwork, The Iliad. An action-packed adventure, an epic love story, Miller’s debut novel has already earned resounding acclaim from some of contemporary fiction’s brightest lights. Fans of Mary Renault, Bernard Cornwell, Steven Pressfield, and Colleen McCullough’s Masters of Rome series will delight in this unforgettable journey back to ancient Greece in the Age of Heroes."

My Review: I have had this book sitting in my audible library for some time. I had loved the Iliad when I read it in my Epic Poetry class in college. I was hoping that this would also be written in verse but unfortunately it was not. This book was told from the view point of Petroclus. While it was hinted at that Achilles was in love with him, this book takes it way into the next level. I had to quickly shut this off when Munchkin was listening with me. It was an interesting take to focus more on the time before the Trojan war and Achilles development before the fame. The final half hour of listening was probably the best of the whole book. Be forewarned though that due to the fact that this book is written from Petroclus' point of view, you don't see much of the actual war. If you go into this book thinking you are going to get a retelling of Iliad you will be sorely disappointed. I would also suggest that you listen to the audio book, I have a feeling it would be exhausting and slow reading due to the pacing of the book.
My Rating: I really waffled with this book, at times I really enjoyed it and at times the pacing got a little slow.  This really isn't the book for everyone but a very interesting viewpoint and take on classic story and myth. I give it a rating of Three Paws.
Please note that this book does portray a love between 2 men, it does at times get a little graphic but not to the extreme.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Fun with Munchkin: The Eric Carle Picture Book Museum

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.

Another thing we did last weekend on our little family vacation was visit the Eric Carle Picture Book Museum. It is just north of Springfield MA (where the Dr. Seuss Memorial Park was) in Ahmerst, MA. I happened to stumble across this on the internet and knew we had to go. This was the most amazing place ever and if it was closer we would go all the time! It is definitely made for the young children age group but is still very enjoyable for adults (and you can't help but have fun when the kids are so excited).

As soon as we walked through the door Munchkin was screaming about THE Caterpillar.
They have a library filled with picture books, toys, puzzles and activities. They also feature story time a few times a day (we got lucky and caught one just as we arrived).
Then they have an art room where they let the kids create their own art. The themes vary from time to time. When we went it was black and white (and grey). The kids are given a piece of card board and all kinds of different materials to create with.
The have a beautiful gallery with two sides. It appears the east side always features some form of Eric Carle's work (this time it was about his bugs). It also included a history of his life and how he does his work, which I found very interesting. The other side of the gallery features another children's book illustrator. Due to the fact that it is basically an art gallery/ museum they don't allow pictures.
They do have prints in one of the halls so you can take pictures with the kids. Munchkin immediately found the pictures from one of his favorite books, Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See
And of course the Very Hungry Caterpillar
They also had an unbelievable book/gift shop. I didn't take a picture because I was busy shopping and Munchkin's attention span was running low by that point. I will tell you though that it was awesome! They had books from board books up to middle grade and everything from non-fiction to graphic novels! The staff was also extremely knowledgeable and were able to pull out 7 books within seconds of me asking for an outer space or astronaut book for a 3 year old.  They did say you can shop online at their store too *wink wink here is the link -
Seriously if you are ever in the area you must check this out, it was some of the most fun we have had!