Saturday, June 6, 2015

Graphic Novel Review of Saga Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan

Synopsis: "When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe.

From New York Times bestselling writer Brian K. Vaughan (Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina) and critically acclaimed artist Fiona Staples (Mystery Society, North 40), Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the worlds. Fantasy and science fiction are wed like never before in this sexy, subversive drama for adults."

My Review: This was such a fantastic read, I am a little ashamed that it has been sitting on my shelf for over 6 months. While entire new worlds and species are introduced, it doesn't feel like massive amounts of world building the way it is all presented. The characters are widely varied and each interesting in their own way. The art is detailed but without being too busy. This is really a top notch graphic novel in my opinion and I plan to follow the series until they are not making any more!
My Rating: This is a fantastic series, I have purchased all the volumes available. The nice thing is that this series is so new that there are only four volumes and perfect for someone wanting to get started in GNs.  I give it a rating of Four Paws and a Stump Wag!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Bedtime Story: Outer Space Bedtime Race by Rob Sanders

Synopsis: "Aaaaaand they’re off . . . to bed! Aliens from every planet rocket through their out-of-this-world bedtime routines—they sink into steamy crater bubble baths and shimmy into deep-sleep suits, just like you (almost)! Brian Won’s glowing graphic art pops off the page, and Rob Sanders’s goofy rhymes will have kids racing to snuggle under the covers and blast off to dreamland."

My Review: Munchkin has decided he wants to be an astronaut, so I went on a hunt for some astronaut and outer space books for him. This was one of only 4 I could find in 2 book stores. It was okay, I would have preferred something a little more realistic but it definitely was creative. You get to travel through space and visit aliens on the different planets as they prepare for bedtime. It had a nice rhythm and the artwork was very vibrant.
My Rating: This was a cute and imaginative book and of course good for bedtimes. I give it a rating of Three Paws.
Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Beginning Reader Review: Three Little Grouches by Jodie Shepherd

Synopsis: Three Little Grouches are stinky and messy. What will it take to clean the street up.

My Review: I found this in the target dollar zone and had picked it up for Munchkin. He was a little confused as to why Elmo and Zoe were in trash cans like Oscar. It was a different take on the three little pigs (to the point where Snuffy was huffing and puffing and blowing trash away). It does have a little message about keeping things clean and trash picked up. It also had a nice little message at the beginning about new words that would be presented in the story.
My Rating: This was a nice little book for $1 and one that Munchkin will like in the future. It was a little bit odd to realize halfway through it was a take on Three Little Pigs. I give it a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

After Dark Review of Master of Freedom 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: Because I love this series and needed a good steamy read.
Synopsis: "Detective Atticus Ware gave up his beloved Idaho to start again in the mountains of California, close to his imprisoned brother. He has a rewarding job and friends, but the experienced Dominant wants more than the Do-Me submissives who flock around him. He needs a woman who will give her heart as well as her body.

Virginia, “Gin,” is damn good at her challenging career as a prison psychologist. However, one problem inmate is mired in misery and unable to overcome his guilt at causing a friend’s death.
To clear her mind, she joins a friend’s kinky backpacking excursion, planning to hide in her tent during the evening BDSM pursuits. But Atticus lures her into the activities. She’s read about BDSM, but submission under the hands of a powerful Dom is beyond anything she’d imagined. She doesn’t trust men, doesn’t want a relationship, and yet…wants more from him.

Finally, Atticus has found the woman he wants in his life. In his bed. In his cuffs. But she’s not only his brother’s therapist, but also works in a prison. How can he tolerate his woman walking into danger every single blasted day?

Gin knows she has no future with Atticus Ware, but still, hope is rising in her heart."

My Review: I definitely prefer the Mountain Masters series by Sinclair as opposed to the Shadowlands, I do love the rugged men! While I didn't really get Gin's issues, I still really enjoyed her personality. Of course Atticus is perfect, dedicated and loyal, strong and swoon worthy. The story did take some interesting turns, I was surprised by what the conflict ended up being and was glad for a change of pace in the story. The conclusion was a little quick to wrap things up 'off page' but this was a novella so it needed to be shortened up in some way. I really enjoyed the story and the characters and look forward to continuing this series!
My Rating: This didn't feel like a novella until the end which was nice. I really enjoyed this book and of course those Mountain Men! I give it a rating of Four Paws!

Pen to Paper: Tips for Starting Out

Welcome back to the second posting of Pen to Paper where we embark on a letter writing and snail mail adventure!
 First Item of business: Congrats Jenny for winning the giveaway!!
Did you accomplish last week's task? What did you write about? Of course if it is private you don't need to share.  One of the letters I wrote was to my grandmother who would appreciate Munchkin's dedication to our garden (if it weren't for him remembering to water it every week it definitely would have died by now).
Since we are just getting started on this adventure together I thought I would share a few little tips with you.
~ Keep your supplies together.
If the inspiration strikes you don't want to be hunting down an address or that pesky stamp.  On that same note, personally I keep a small stash in my purse (which is ridiculously big) for those quick spur of the moment thoughts.
~ Start out small.
You don't want to burn yourself out or run out of things to write the first day. Oh and you do not want a wrist or hand cramp! Start out with one page letters, post cards or note cards.
~Schedule correspondence time.
Just like everything else in this world if you don't schedule it in you will not have time for it.  Set aside half an hour once a week to write and you can add more days or time as you need.
~Keep a record.
It seems a little odd but I keep a record of who I wrote, when I wrote and what I wrote about. This way I don't accidently write about the same things and also when they respond and they answer some questions I have a little idea what we were talking about.
~Be yourself.
You don't need to write some fancy, wordy letter like some Victorian. Friends and family want to hear you, so write like you would talk to your friends.
This week's task: Write a note of gratitude.
You don't have to wait for a holiday or birthday to send a thank you.  Did your significant other pick up one of your chores this week? Or maybe someone in your past deserves a thank you, a favorite teacher who pushed you or someone who inspired your career path. Just write to someone to say thank you this week.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Review of Rose by Kirsten Osborne

Read for: Mount TBR and Reading Across the States
Synopsis: "Rose is the first book in a highly anticipated new series Suitors of Seattle, following the adventures of eight Western daughters ready to benefit from the matchmaking skills of her new Aunt Harriett, whom readers will recognize from the best selling Brides of Beckham series.

Pampered socialite Rose is used to men falling at her feet. But her match with handsome Dr. Shawn Henry leaves her feeling less than adored. Has Rose fallen in love with a man who can’t love her back?"

My Review: This was a book you kind of needed to read after the author's previous series. The story jumped right in and I wasn't able to get to know the characters too well. It was a very short read and would be great for an afternoon lazing around in the sun. There weren't any great shockers or twists in the story, just the usual storyline of a stupid misunderstanding that gets blown out of proportion and is quickly resolved at the end. Towards the end of the book I did start to get to know a couple of the sub-characters and was a little intrigued by them. This book felt more like a prequel to a series than the first book.
My Rating: This was an enjoyable read but nothing remarkable or something I could connect with but it was nice to have a quick and light read. I give it a rating of Three Paws.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Re-Reading Review of Beowulf

Read for: Re-reading of a favorite
Synopsis: "Beowulf is the conventional title of an Old English heroic epic poem consisting of 3182 alliterative long lines, set in Scandinavia, commonly cited as one of the most important works of Anglo-Saxon literature. It survives in a single manuscript known as the Nowell Codex. Its composition by an anonymous Anglo-Saxon poet is dated between the 8th and the early 11th century."

My Review: It has been many years since I last read Beowulf. I first read it in high school English class and again in college in my Epic Poetry class and thoroughly enjoyed it both times. So this was my first time reading it for personal pleasure and it was much different from a class setting. I certainly learned a few things, first was that the translation I picked up was a lot different from the translation I had in school, next was that this is a book you need complete silence to read and concentrate on, next is once you get the rhythm and flow you will be sucked into the story and finally each time you read this book you will get something different out of it. In class we were told what to take away from reading this book. Upon reading it this time what I took away more than anything was a warning against pride and greed. I read the translation by Gummere and it was definitely a more Old English translation than what I originally read so it was a little more difficult to read but I think the verse was probably closer to the original text. It took some time in between breaks to get the flow of the verse back but once I got back into the rhythm it was much smoother and faster reading. While it many not rank among my top favorites any more it is still a great story.
My Rating: It really was interesting reading this book outside of an educational setting and for my own pleasure. It was definitely a different experience, especially with the more difficult translation. A lot of the story comprehension was probably lost this time around but it was still an interesting read and I did take some new views away from this re-reading. While it won't remain in my top favorite books I still think it is a great book that should be read and re-read. I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.

Monday, June 1, 2015

May 2015 Challenge Update

We are now in the 6th month of the year. Very, very near to being halfway done with the year and all these challenges.  It is a good thing for me to have this update for May so I know where I stand and what I need to focus on this month!
Personal Re-Read Challenge
My goal is to read 15 books. Not quite halfway done but as I said last month, this is proving to be the hardest challenge for me.
5. Nobody's Prize
6. Beowulf

Personal Children's Book Challenge
This Challenge is COMPLETE! I of course will be reading many more over the rest of the year. I am going to cut myself off at 120 books for this year.  I need to save some for the future challenges!
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 & Share
49. Frogs!
50. The Mitten
51. Curiouse George Goes to a Bookstore
52. Oscar the Almost Butterfly
53. Elmo ABCs book with Sound
54. Happy Easter, Curious George
55. Littlest Bunny in Rhode Island
56. The Happy Man and His Dump Truck
57. The Thank You Prayer
58. Pout Pout Fish in the Big Big Dark
59. Scuffy the Tugboat
60. I'm a Bulldozer
61. The Pout Pout Fish
62. A Rainbow of My Own
63. Follow the Leader
64. The Bear Went Over the Mountain
65. Five Green and Speckled Frogs
66. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
67. Five Little Monkeys Sitting in a Tree
68. Jesus Loves Me
69. Winnie the Pooh Classics Vol. 1
70. Tadpole Trouble
71. Mr. Cheerful
72. A Cuddle for Little Duck
73. Time Together: Me & Mom
74. Wheedle and the Noodle
75. Just a Little Music
76. Mr. Noisy
77. Rain!
78. Storm Song
79. Donald Hamlet, Prince of Dunemark
80. The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear
81. The Best Teacher Ever
82. Tow Truck Trouble/ Lights Out
83. Pete the Cat: Rock On Mom & Dad
84. Look, A Book!
85. Mr. Perfect
86. Outer Space Bedtime Race
87. Pete the Cat Construction Destruction
88. Meet the Penguins
89. Mr. Strong
90. The Sandcastle
91. Otter in Space

Personal Beginning Reader Challenge:
My goal is 30 books for this challenge. Things definitely took off this month in preparation for Children's Book Week so I see this one being done well ahead of schedule.
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
11. Curious George Colors Eggs
12. Penguins!
13. Pete's Big Lunch
14. Dusty Flies High
15. Go, Go, Go
16. Just Saving My Money
17. Ponies Love Pets
18.  Pete Plays Ball
19. Biscuit and the Lost Teddy Bear
20. Three Little Grouches

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 a little over halfway done, honestly I did think that I would be farther than this but a lot of these books are in print (maybe have to think about picking some up in digital or audio for more efficient reading).

Alabama  - 
Alaska - If you Lived Here
Arizona - Veil of Roses
Arkansas - A Suitable Wife
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 - Whatchago Stew
Illinois -
Indiana -
Iowa - Little Heathens
Kansas -
Kentucky -
Louisiana - Taste the Heat
Maine - Stone Bay
Maryland -
Massachusetts -
Michigan -
Minnesota -
Mississippi -
Missouri - The Borrower
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 - When Love Finds you in Camelot Tennessee
Texas -
Utah - Wright on Time - Utah
Vermont -
Virginia - Crazy VA
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 calling this challenge COMPLETE. I do have a couple more audio books on my list.
. The Fighting Ground
2. The Last Valentine
3. Deep Dish
4. The Tao of Pooh
5. Little Heathens
6. Veil of Roses
7. The Borrower
8. Winnie The Pooh Classic Tales
9. Rush
10. Song of Achilles

Graphic Novel Challenge
Since I am featuring one graphic novel every other week my goal is 26 this year. As usual I am ahead of schedule on this challenge, I try to pace myself even though it is so tempting just to finish it off!

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
10. Fable Vol. 4: March of the Wooden Soldiers
11. Ravine Vol. 1
12. Hinterkind Vol. 1
13. Saga Vol. 1
14. Saga Vol. 2
15. Ares: Bringer of War
16. Donald Hamlet, Prince of Dunemark
17. Loki Agent of Asgard Vol. 1: Trust Me
18. Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood
19. Fables Vol. 5: Mean Seasons

Series Challenge
With a goal to read at least 5 full series, if not 7. I am moving a little slower on this one. I am still slowly but surely plodding through this challenge. I have been focusing more on my other challenge but need to focus again. I hope to have at least 2 more complete by the end of the month.

1. The Hearts of Anemoi - Book 1, Book 2, Book 3, Book 4 - COMPLETE
2. Pride Series - Book 1, Book 2, Book 3, Book 4,
3. Princesses of Myth Series - Book 1, Book 2
4. Warrior Series - Book 1, Book 2, Book 3, Book 4,

TBR Challenge
I set a goal of 50 books without thinking and have already COMPLETED this challenge! I guess I will shoot for double for the heck of it.
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. A Catered Affair
47. The Scot The Witch and the Wardrobe
48. Storm Glass
49. If You're Reading This
50. Sea Glass
51. The Borrower
52. Spy Glass
53. Whatchagot Stew
54. Into the Wild
55. Rush
56. Hush
57. Fire and Ice
58. Mane Attraction
59. Song of Achilles
60. Crazy VA
61. A Suitable Wife
62. Forest of Secrets
63. Rising Storm
64. Mane Squeeze

Requested Reviews My original limit of only 25 books this year is obviously not going to work. Netgalley has definitely made this too easy and the loyalty I have with some of the authors I review!
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. The Unleashing
16. Jesper Jinx and the Turkish Pepper
17. The Novice
18. HA Rey Treasury of Stories
19. Rules for Riders
20. Parsen Holt - Slinger

Goodreads Challenge My Goodreads challenge is out of control of course, I am already at 214 of my original goal of 312. I am definitely way ahead of schedule with this challenge, I am looking at a potential of 400+ books this year!

As far as my other goals and resolutions . . .
-I continue to write faithfully, especially with the new obsession of Pocket Letters.
-I haven't been as good about painting my nails this month, with all the outdoor work and spring cleaning it was too hard to keep the polish looking nice for the office
-We had a lot more fun this month including Children's Book Week activities, Art Gallery opening and a family vacation.

Points Earned this Month:
Points Spent this Month: 
Pages Read/Time Listened this Month:

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 Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (Audio)
Forest of Secrets by Erin Hunter
Show Me, Baby by Cherise Sinclair (After Dark)
Tadpole Trouble by H.A. Rey (Bedtime Story)
Fables Vol. 4: March of the Wooden Soldiers by Bill Willingham (Graphic Novel)
Whatchagot Stew by Patrick F. McManus (Mini Review)
When Love Finds You in Camelot, Tennessee by Janice Hanna (Mini Review)
Crazy, VA by Shannon Hill (Mini Review)
A Suitable Wife by Carol Burnside (Mini Review)
Books Finished Last Week:
Reviews will be posted at a later date

Master of Freedom = 3pts
Rose = 3pts
Rising Storm = 5pts
Mane Squeeze = 3pts
Currently Reading:

The Lost Continent by Bill Bryson - Audio - 53%
Novice by Taran Matharu - Kindle - 46%

 Books to be Read Soon:

Princesses of Myth Series by Esther Friesner
Warriors Series by Erin Hunter


Total Points Earned
   127 points + 14pts earned this week

Pages Read/ Time Listened
28,108 pages read (1,346 read this week)
70:26 listening time 

Books Added to Shelves

The Candle Star by Michelle Isenhoff - BookBub Freebie
The Heir by Kiera Cass - Audible Monthly Download

Interesting Tidbits on the Web:



So I can't believe that I missed posting last week, I think that is the first post I have missed in quite some time. I guess that is what vacation brain does to you.  I just rolled in the book (yes singular) from vacation week in with this week's post. I hate short weeks, it was a complete mad house at the office last week not to mention catch up at home from vacation and the holiday weekend. So I really didn't get many books read.

I will have my monthly challenge update posted later today and I think I am still trucking along. We are almost half way through the year so I better make sure I am still on top of these things.

I hope you have been enjoying the Pen to Paper posts, I have many more planned! Make sure you get in on that giveaway too ;)  I will be starting up some new content this month too. I am slowly easing myself into a wider variety as opposed to just reviews. I truly hope you enjoy everything but if there is something you want to see or don't want to see anymore please let me know.


Sunday, May 31, 2015

Mini Reviews: Whatchagot Stew, Love Finds You in Camelot, Tennessee, Crazy VA 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.
A clean romance but so blah and pretty religious too. It just wasn't my cup of tea. One Paw and a Stump Wag.
A fun and quirky combination of memoir and cookbook. Two Paws and a Stump Wag.
Not really a mystery as I expected, yet a fun and entertaining light read. Two Paws and a Stump Wag.
A light romance read, some tough issues but it only glazes over them. Fluffy but forgettable. Two Paws and a Stump Wag.