Saturday, September 5, 2015

Graphic Novel Review of Fables Vol. 5: The Mean Seasons by Bill Willingham

Read for: Graphic Novel Review
Synopsis: "Collecting issues 22 and 28-33 of the hit VERTIGO series, this trade paperback features two tales of Bigby's exploits during World War II as well as "The Year After," which follows the aftermath of the Adversary's attempt to conquer Fabletown -- including the birth of Snow White and Bigby's children!"

My Review: This volume felt a little disconnected through out and from the series. The art style was also way different, I almost didn't recognize some of the characters because they were so different. This one also seemed to veer away from the touches of fairy tales, at least common ones most people are familiar with, so that was a little disappointment for me too. I did find the war stories for Bigby to be interesting but really a tangent that didn't need to be there, it didn't really add to the main storyline at all. All in all it was just an eh for me.
My Rating: This is definitely one of those series that I am in and out of, sometimes I love it, sometimes I hate it. I give this one a rating of Three Paws.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Bedtime Story: Letters from Felix by Annette Langen

Read for: Bedtime Stories
Synopsis: "In the bestselling book Letters from Felix, something terrible hasppens at the end of vacation: Sophie's cuddly rabbit, Felix, disappears in the airport! The is very, very bad, because Sophie and Felix are inseparable. But when schools starts again, suddenly a letter for Sophie arrives from London - a letter from Felix!"

My Review: Munchkin received this book as a gift from a friend overseas. It was her favorite when she was a child though the setting was a little different in German format I guess. Munchkin is finally old enough to sit down to read this book. It did take us 2 sittings over 2 days to read this book because it is rather long. I love the format of this book with actual envelopes and letters you can pull out and read. Some of the envelopes also included little pictures relevant to the place Felix was visiting. Our copy was a used one so the items in the final suitcase were missing but the rest of the letters were there. Munchkin did enjoy the idea of the book but it might take him until he is older to understand the geography and history in the story.
My Rating: This was an adorable story and such a sweet gift from a good friend! We will definitely be revisiting this book as Munchkin starts to learn about geography and letter writing. We give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.
Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

After Dark Review of Reckless by Skye Jordan

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: Mount TBR & I needed a good steamy novel
Synopsis: "A couture wedding dress designer to the rich and famous, Lexi LaCroix’s image means everything. But crossing paths with a sexier-than-sin, bad-boy biker makes Lexi realize how much living she’s sacrificed for her success and one touch is all it takes to threaten her carefully choreographed life. When that touch fills far more than just Lexi’s physical needs, she finds herself torn between the career she needs and the bad-boy she craves.

Jax Chamberlin gave up the superficial life of acting for the thrill of running his own stunt company years ago. But a recent betrayal proves he’s still too close to the limelight to find a woman who doesn’t plan to use him as a stepping-stone to success. When the charming and mysterious Lexi offers him a totally anonymous hook-up during an out of town trip, Jax accepts. Only Lexi is more sextacular than charming, and Jax wants more.

But Lexi’s got a major hang-up over his renegade lifestyle, and Jax isn’t willing to change his ways. Especially not when he discovers who she really is. Because if she finds out his connections could catapult her to the top of her career, he’s afraid the fantasy woman he’s falling for might just end up like all the other gold-diggers. And this time, it’s not just his bad-boy reputation at risk, but his heart, too."

My Review: This book has been sitting on my nook TBR shelf for quite a while now, it was a free or really inexpensive book so it got pushed off. I wasn't expecting much but was very pleasantly surprised. It took me a while to wrap my head around the setting (mainly the details of the character's professions). After a couple of chapters though the story took a fun twist. I loved the idea of anonymous chatting and the steam ramped up quickly (I also figured out very quickly that this was definitely a book that was nsfw). I enjoyed the back and forth banter and the way the characters developed, especially Lexi, who the story definitely revolved around. The ending was fantastic and I am honestly a little curious what her decision was since it was left so open at the end.
My Rating: There was definitely plenty of steam factor in this book and it had some wonderful characters and storyline to go along with it. I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Review of Summer Haikus by S.J. Pajonas

Read for: Netgalley/ Requested Review
Synopsis: ""When it comes to fight or flight, I always choose to run like hell.”

Isa planned the perfect summer:
Tokyo and the Summer Olympics — check.
Helping her best friend prepare for the marathon — check.
Forgetting she's in love with Masa — double check.

But when Isa's mother is hospitalized, she has to abandon her summer plans to run the family's Tokyo business. Masa’s offer to help makes it impossible for Isa to ignore him — and the firecracker kiss they shared half a world away. Everyone expects the world of her, but the pressure to please them all is as oppressive as the Tokyo summer heat. The simplest answer to all her problems? Run."

My Review: This was a requested review from Netgalley, the book was received in exchange for an honest review. I don't read a lot of New Adult or a lot of contemporary romance but I was intrigued by both the title and the synopsis. I ended really enjoying the characters and the storyline. I did have to remind myself a few times that the characters were over 20 years old and that this wasn't a YA novel, it just had that younger voice occasionally. I was able to connect with Isa with regards to her need to plan everything, but I loved Masa's little haikus throughout the book, they were like little extra spots of sunshine. The push and pull of the relationship between Isa and Masa got to be a little tiring but it was worth it in the long run. I will say that some of the terms used for places or things in Tokyo were not easy to understand or clear what they meant (I actually had to go look up what a ryokan was), so this took me out of the story a few times. It was a very enjoyable, light read, perfect for the end of summer.
My Rating: I loved the smattering of poetry throughout the book, though I wish there had been more, but it made what was there even more important. I really enjoyed this one despite the few difficulties. I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Tasty Attempts: Tuscan Bow Ties

Last year I had started posting What's For Dinner. While I really enjoyed those posts, it was hard to keep up with a weekly post, especially since Munchkin is getting a little more picky about his diet and we are having a lot of repeat meals (sometimes the same thing several times a week). I still wanted to keep posting tasty recipes but include a little more variety (like the appetizers and desserts that I make for various parties). So I am now posting Tasty Attempts every other Tuesday. The posts will include a variety of recipes, maybe some of them turn out tasty, maybe others are failed attempts.
Here is a little bit of a healthier dish (at least healthier than Snickers Salad). We were given the original A Man, A Can and a Plan cookbook as a wedding gift years and years ago. This cookbook has been a lifesaver, it is full of simple recipes to make with things you have in your pantry (and a couple of extras). Anyway, I was picking it up at the bookstore as a housewarming gift for a co-worker when I discovered this newer edition
I of course picked it up for some new recipes.
We recently tested out Tuscan Bow Ties
We of course had to alter the recipe a little, Hubby isn't a fan of peppers so we cut those back and then Munchkin decided he didn't want bowtie pasta.
 It was super fast and super simple to make and shockingly Munchkin ate 2 bowls of it and Hubby loved it too! We will definitely be revisiting this recipe!

August 2015 Challenge Update

It was a much busier month than I ever expected but I am still pretty happy with the amount of reading I have gotten done. It doesn't seem like much but I have made a good amount of progress!
Personal Re-Read Challenge
My goal is to read 15 books. As I said before, if I fail a challenge this year, it will be this one.
1. North of Need
5. Nobody's Prize
7. Om Kas Toe
8. Secret Santa
9. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

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 TRY to cut myself off at 120 books for this year.  I need to save some for the future challenges!
1. Peter Loves Penguin
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
70. Tadpole Trouble
71. Mr. Cheerful
72. A Cuddle for Little Duck
73. Time Together: Me and Mom
74. Wheedle and the Noodle
75. Just a Little Music
76. Mr. Noisy
77. Rain!
78. Storm Song
79. The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear
80. The Best Teacher Ever
81. Tow Truck Trouble and Lights Out
82. Pete the Cat: Rock On Mom and Dad
83. Look, A Book!
84. Mr. Perfect
85. Outer Space Bedtime Race
86. Pete the Cat: Construction Destruction
87. Meet the Penguins
88. Mr. Strong
89. The Sandcastle
90. Otter in Space
91. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day
92. Curious George Gets a Medal
93. Numbers! Take the Dog Out
94. Whose Nose and Toes
95. Mr. Funny
96. Llama Llama Mad at Momma
97. Llama Llama Home with Mama
98. No More Hitting
99. Letters from Felix
100. Elmo's First Babysitter
101. Astronauts
102. Bye Bye Mom and Dad
103. Little Critter Astronaut
104. The Night before Preschool
105. Mr. Slow
106. Octonauts and the Undersea Eruption
 107. The New Bear at School
108. Slowly, Slowly, Slowly said the Sloth
109. Sweet Dreams Pout-Pout Fish
110. Daylight, Night Light
111. Octonauts and the Colossal Squid
112. The Jolly Postman
113. Giraffes Can't Dance
114. Pete the Cat and his Magic Sunglasses
115. There's No Place like Space
116. Look and Find Elmo
117. Book of Planets
118. Big Book of Space

Personal Beginning Reader Challenge:
This Challenge is COMPLETE! My goal for this challenge was 30 books and I have a few more I would like to read this year but the rest of the ones I own will be saved for next year's challenge.
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. Ponies Love Pets
16. Just Saving My Money
17. Go, Go, Go!
18. Play Ball
19. Biscuit and the Lost Teddy Bear
20. The Three Little Grouches
21. To the Rescue
22. Just Helping My Dad
23. Little Critter: This is My Town
24. Danny and the Dinosaur Go to Camp
25. Amelia Bedelia Goes Camping
26. Going to the Sea Park
27. Life in Space
28. Best Chef in Second Grade
29. Dixie
30. Mittens at School
31. What's That Mittens
32. Dixie and the Class Treat
33. Moonwalk

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 tried to push again this last month on this challenge but only manage to read 2 more books. I will be reading a bunch in September though, between a vacation and my parents visiting (and dealing with Munchkin a little) I should be able to read a lot of print books.

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 - The Untouchables
Indiana - The Sun Tea Chronicles
Iowa - Little Heathens
Kansas -
Kentucky - Bluegrass State of Mind
Louisiana - Taste the Heat
Maine - Stone Bay
Maryland -
Massachusetts -
Michigan -
Minnesota -
Mississippi -
Missouri - The Borrower
Montana - The Smoke Jumper
Nebraska - C is for Cornhusker
Nevada - The Missing Ink
New Hampshire -
New Jersey - The Fighting Ground
New Mexico -
New York -
North Carolina -  Peach Keeper
North Dakota - Codename Zero
Ohio - Dragons of Spratt Ohio
Oklahoma - True Grit
Oregon - Rose Suitors of Seattle
Pennsylvania - The Turncoat
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
This challenge is COMPLETE! I am listening to a couple more books trying to finish up my Series & Across the State Challenges.

 1. 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. The Song of Achilles
11. The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America
12. The Smokejumper
13 The Turncoat
14. Fever
15. Classic Love Poems
16. Burn
17. Searching for Beautiful

Graphic Novel Challenge
This Challenge is COMPLETE! I don't really have plans to read any more this year unless the mood strikes me, I need to keep some for next years challenges and readathons!

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. Fables Vol. 4: March of the Wooden Soldiers
11. Saga Vol. 1
12. Saga Vol. 2
13. Hinterkind Vol.1: The Waking World
14. Ravine Vol. 1
15. Ares: Bringer of War
16. Donald Hamlet, Prince of Dunemark
17. Loki Vol. 1 Agent of Asgard: Trust Me
18. Persepolis: A Story of a Childhood
19. Fables Vol. 5: The Mean Seasons
20. Swamp Thing Vol. 1
21. Hinterkind Vol. 2: Written in Blood
22. Northlanders Vol. 3: Blood in the Snow
23. An Age of License
24. Fables Vol. 6: Homelands
25. The Unwritten Vol. 2: Inside Man
26. Camelot 3000

Series Challenge
With a goal to read at least 5 full series, if not 7. I am getting close to at least meeting the low end of my goal (I am just waiting for one more book to be released in the Searching for Series) but have plans to read another 8 book series. I think the Princesses of Myth Series is going to be pushed aside, I can't seem to get those print books read.

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, Book 5, Book 6, Book .5, Book 7, Book 8, Book 9 - COMPLETE
3. Princesses of Myth Series - Book 1, Book 2
4. Warrior Series - Book 1, Book 2, Book 3, Book 4, Book 5, Book 6 - COMPLETE
5. Bluegrass Series - Book 1, Book 2, Book 3, Book 3.5 - COMPLETE
6. Searching For Series -  Book 1, Book 2, Book 3,

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, and I am nearly there too!
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: An Irish Princess' Tale
57. Fire and Ice
58. The Mane Attraction
59. The Song of Achilles
60. Crazy, VA
61. A Suitable Wife
62. Forest of Secrets
63. The Mane Squeeze
64. Rose
65. Rising Storm
66. Beast Behaving Badly
67. The Last Continent
68. Big Bad Beast
69. A Dangerous Path
70. Howl For It
71. The Smoke Jumper
72. Darkest Hour
73. Bear Meets Girl
74. Bluegrass State of Mind
75. Dead Heat
76. Risky Shot
77. Wolf with Benefits
78. The Turncoat
79. Bite Me
80. Codename Zero
81. Fever
82. The Peach Keeper
83. Burn
84. Searching for Someday
85. Searching for Perfect
86. The Sun Tea Chronicles
87. Reckless
88. True Grit

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. Irona700
20. Parsen Holt- Slinger
21. Rules of Riders
22. Persephone
23. Ratha's Creature
24. Paladin
25. Daughter of Earth and Sky
26. Sonnets
27. How to Live Life
28. Summer Haikus
29. Nostromo the Dwarf

Goodreads Challenge My Goodreads challenge is out of control of course, I am already at 310 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 to friends and family and even new pen pals!
-I didn't really do much with my nails this month other than solid colors, I did have one set that I did for Munchkin's birthday though.
-We were insanely busy this month but we did do a couple of fun things with Munchkin, including carousel trips, and of course everything that went into his birthday!

Points Earned this Month: 56
Points Spent this Month:  -55
Pages Read/Time Listened this Month: 2,725/ 24:35


Monday, August 31, 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

The Sun Tea Chronicles by Quinton Blue
How to Live Life by John Vorhaus
Reckless by Skye Jordan (After Dark)
Living in Space by Katie Daynes (Beginning Reader)
There's No Place Like Space by Trish Rabe (Bedtime Story)
Persepolis by Marane Satrapi (Graphic Novel)

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

Sun Tea Chronicles = 3pts
True Grit = 5pts
Reckless = 3pts
Searching for Beautiful = 3pts

Currently Reading:

Searching for Always by Jennifer Probst - Audio - 23%
Silver Linings by Debbie Macomber - Nook - On page 29 of 400

 Books to be Read Soon:

Friday Night Lights by HG Bissinger - Mount TBR/ Reading Across the States
Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J. Maas - Mount TBR/ Series Challenge


Total Points Earned
 227 points + 14 points earned + 10 bonus points (10K pages)= 251 points

Pages Read/ Time Listened
40,564 pages read (696 read this week)
142:43 listening time (13:32 listened this week)

Books Added to Shelves

Interesting Tidbits on the Web:



 Another insane week but still read quite a bit (especially thanks to audio books). By the time you are all reading this we will have survived Munchkin's 3rd birthday, our annual summer party and now Hubby and I are on a much needed stay-cation! While we still have a bunch to do around the house, plan a day trip for Munchkin and a wedding later in the week, I plan to do as much reading as possible (and sleep while Munchkin is at preschool).
I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Fun with Munchkin/ Crafty Times: Star Tunnel

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.
Munchkin wants to be an astronaut, so we had a big astronaut birthday party for him yesterday. As I searched the web (and of course pinterest) for ideas for his birthday, I came across this Pin about making things from cardboard boxes. I loved the idea of a star tunnel for the kids to crawl through (and something to make with all these jumbo boxes I have been hoarding just in case).
So here is the end result (at the time of posting Munchkin hadn't seen it yet but I will have a big post soon with pictures from the party).
Not only did I punch Christmas lights through the top but I also added those ceiling glow stars all over too in case the batteries died or for a softer glow. I really can't wait to see his excitement! I am sure this will be a big hit!