Saturday, September 26, 2015

Blog-Ahead Sign Up & Updates

I usually try to schedule blog posts in advance to keep up with the nearly daily posts and the amount of books I read and review.  With the busy season upon us, a month of novel writing and then Christmas season with my Advent Reads event, it is even harder to keep up with the posts.  So I decided to sign up for the Blog Ahead Challenge hosted by Anna at Herding Cats and Burning Soup.

blog ahead 2015

The goal is to schedule 30 posts on your blog (in addition to what you already have scheduled) by the end of the month. If you want to join just head on over to the signup page!
I will keep track of all of my progress here (I will try to update at least once a week if not more often). I will be starting on October 1st and finish on November 1st. I currently have 0 posts scheduled (I know, so far behind) and by the end of the month I will need to have 30 posts scheduled.  Boy this is going to be quite the challenge, I will basically have to be writing up at least 2 posts a day (but of course I have a vacation coming up and will be gone for nearly 10 days so I will have to get even more scheduled).  It is time to get this done, get myself caught up and ahead, ready for this busy season!

Midway-ish Update (October 20, 2015):

Starting Scheduled Posts: 0Posts that went Live: 0
Posts Scheduled: 33
Current Scheduled Posts: 33
Goal for next update: schedule 10 more posts by the end of the month
Thoughts: Gosh what an insane month this has been, I have spent more time away from the computer than at it. I have scheduled far more than 33 posts so far this month but they have all gone live while I was away. Now I am going to be away for most of the rest of the month. Of those 33 posts currently schedule only 24 will count towards the final number, the rest are scheduled in October. I do have at least 5 more that I can post today and tomorrow. Let's cross our fingers that I can squeeze out those final posts before the end of the month!


Friday, September 25, 2015

Bedtime Story: Octonauts and the Undersea Eruption

Read for: Children's Books
Synopsis: "In this adorable 8 x 8 book, the Octopod has discovered a fiery volcano at the bottom of an ocean trench. It’s an undersea emergency—everybody needs to get out, and fast! But will there be time to save three floating Blobfish before the big blast?"

My Review: I picked this up for Munchkin because he really enjoys the Octonauts TV show. I must say that I may never pick up another book based on a TV show that we have seen. They just take the episodes and put them in the book, almost word for word and with the exact same images. My little gripe aside, Munchkin really enjoyed this book (even though we have seen the episode many times). He loved Bob, Bob and Bob the blobfish. It would definitely be a great book if you were familiar with the show but didn't have to watch it endlessly.
My Rating: While this is a fun book, it copies the episode exactly. There was nothing new for the little fans and no extra imagination.  I give it a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag.
Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Beginning Reader Review of What's That, Mittens by Lola M. Schaefer

Read For: Early Reader Challenge
Synopsis: "A big yard can be a lonely place for a little kitten. So when Mittens hears a scratching noise behind the fence, he has to see what is on the other side. It may just be a new friend to play with!

The playful kitten's tale is sure to appeal to beginning readers who like to explore new things and make new friends, just like Mittens!"

My Review: This is a great beginning reader book. It has simple words and sentences but it is still part of a story. Of course Munchkin was very excited that he knew what that noise was and was thrilled when Mittens found out too. It is definitely a story and characters little ones can come to enjoy.
My Rating: This is great for those really early readers. The story is short and simple, though if you have a reader who is already jumping ahead it maybe one to skip. I give it a rating of Three Paws.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

After Dark Review of Lumberjack in Love by Penny Watson

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 & Reading Across the States
Synopsis: "City slicker Ami Jordan was just dumped by her back-stabbing boyfriend, has no job prospects, and can't find a decent cup of coffee in the entire state of Vermont. The last thing she needs is a sexy, bearded lumberjack complicating her life. Even if he’s smart, talented, and has the hottest ass she’s ever seen.

Tree house builder, environmental champion, and Bulldog owner Marcus Anderson has no patience for flatlanders with an attitude. But when landscape designer Ami Jordan shows up at his log cabin, he suddenly develops a hankering for a high-maintenance city gal. Now his house looks like a jungle, his recycling is in disarray, and his libido's on fire.

He's a lumberjack in love."

My Review: This was a fun and quick read. I wasn't quite sure what to expect but it was rather entertaining. You really jump right in without getting to know the characters much but you learn a little as you go. I enjoyed the back and forth banter between Ami and Marcus. Being from RI, I do hear about the, I guess you would call it a feud, between Boston city-folk and the VT small town mountain folk, though it is friendly for the most part. The story moves a long quickly (almost a little too fast at times) but is a great book if you are looking for a quick read. And this one will definitely keep you warm as we head into fall and winter.
My Rating: This was a fun, quick, steamy romance to keep you warm in the winter. I had fun reading this book, even though it was lacking in some areas. I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.

Pen to Paper: Where to Find New Pen Pals - Advertisements

How is everyone this week? Did you all write to someone you normally only send a Christmas Card? I did send a card to one of my cousins who we seldom see and only exchange Christmas Cards and brief Happy Birthday messages on Facebook. I would love to have closer relationships with my cousins, but there is an awful lot of them hahaha!
Anyway on to today's discussion, I want to continue where we left off last week discussing who you can send pen pal letters to. Years ago you could often just open the want ads in the newspaper or in a magazine and find a list of Pen Pals Wanted ads. I think those days are pretty much gone, but I don't get a newspaper so maybe you can still find those ads. In the internet days of now you generally have to look online for most things.
A few places to look for ads of people wanting a pen pal might be online newspapers, craigslist personals, and local interest sites. Now I am in no way saying just go look at those pages and write to anyone that posts an ad, please use caution, not everyone out there is as friendly as they present themselves. I myself have never tested any of these ideas or sites out, but I would strongly suggest if you do decide to respond to one of these adds to maybe use a post office box address or even your work address instead of you home address until you are comfortable with your new pen pal.
One site that I have followed and even written a couple of people is called Pen Pal of the Week. This is a fun site where people can write in like an ad and the ladies who run the site will put the ad up for all to see. This site is great and it is fun to see actual handwriting, quirks, some information, and stationary tastes of potential new pen pals before writing to them. (These are also the ladies who run the stationary subscription La Papierre that I have been using).
So if you want to find a new pen pal other than family and friends, and maybe someone who will actually respond to your letters as they are also wanting to be pen pals, check out advertisements!
Your Mission for the Week: Send an encouragement letter. We all know someone who might be struggling with a decision or a big event coming up in their lives (heck it is getting close to midterms too), and sometimes all it takes is hearing that someone believes in them to help them gain the confidence in themselves.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Review of Simon by Michael Mullin

Read for: Requested Review
Synopsis: "A modern day Hamlet for YA readers.

His father is dead. His mother has remarried. His uncle is . . . his new stepfather? When the ghost of Simon Elsinore's father returns and claims he was murdered by his own brother, the nineteen-year-old film student must determine what is true and exact the revenge his father demands."

My Review: I have read a couple of re-telling and modernizations of Hamlet and have been a little disappointed. I am glad that I gave this one the chance. It was an interesting, modern twist on the classic play. I enjoyed that it stuck to the main plot line of Hamlet but Mullin did a great job of modernizing the tale and presenting it in a new way. It will appeal to new readers in ways the original may not and it will keep even those familiar with Shakespeare's original on their toes with the building tension and suspense.
My Rating: I am so, so glad I gave this book a chance! It was a great modern re-telling, while some of the famous speeches and lines might be missed but those who are loyal to the original Hamlet play. I give this book a rating of Four Paws.
Simon was sent to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.
You can find out more about Michael Mullin on his Goodreads Page or his Website.
You can also obtain your own copy of Simon in print or digital format on Amazon and in digital format from Barnes and Noble.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Review of Silver Linings by Debbie Macomber

Read for: Reading Across the States & because I love this series
Synopsis: "Set in Cedar Cove’s charming Rose Harbor Inn, Debbie Macomber’s captivating new novel follows innkeeper Jo Marie and two new guests as they seek healing and comfort, revealing that every cloud has a silver lining, even when it seems difficult to find.

Since opening the Rose Harbor Inn, Jo Marie Rose has met fascinating people from all walks of life, but none have piqued her interest quite like handyman Mark Taylor. Jo Marie and Mark are good friends—and are becoming something more—yet he still won’t reveal anything about his past. When Mark tells her that he’s moving out of town, Jo Marie is baffled. Just when she is starting to open herself up again to love, she feels once more that she is losing the man she cares about. As she grapples with Mark’s decision and tries to convince him to stay, she welcomes two visitors also seeking their own answers.

Best friends Kellie Crenshaw and Katie Gilroy have returned to Cedar Cove for their ten-year high school reunion, looking to face down old hurts and find a sense of closure. Kellie, known as Coco, wants to finally confront the boy who callously broke her heart. Katie, however, wishes to reconnect with her old boyfriend, James—the man she still loves and the one who got away. As Katie hopes for a second chance, Coco discovers that people can change—and both look to the exciting possibilities ahead.

Heartwarming and uplifting, Silver Linings is a beautiful novel of letting go of the past and embracing the unexpected."

My Review: It took me a little while to get into this book since it had been so long since I read the previous one in the series. Once I did though I was totally wrapped up in the story and the characters. I enjoyed reading about Coco and Katie, it is funny to think about how much my view has changed since my own ten year reunion and now going on my 15, similar to the girls, those events in high school still affected me a little but now they don't even matter any more. It was interesting to watch the developments in their lives as they faced those people and events that made them who they are now. Jo Marie's story continues as well, I really like how Macomber set up this series with one long ongoing storyline and then each book also has a shorter book long storyline. Jo Marie has a rough time in this book and had some serious tear jerking moments, I was definitely tearing up and had to stop reading until I got home from work. It also has another cliffhanger ending with Jo Marie and Mark. I really hope the next book doesn't take too long to come out so that I can just jump right in without the settling in period again.
My Rating: I really enjoyed this book, I just wish I hadn't struggled to get back into the storyline at first, that is just simply because there was such a wide gap between publishing of the books (normally I get all the books in the series before starting to read them). I give it a rating of Four Paws!

Monday, September 21, 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

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Broken by Annie Jocoby
The New Bear at School by Carrie Weston (Bedtime Story)
Swamp Thing by Brian K. Vaughan (Graphic Novel)
True Grit by Charles Portis (I Saw the Movie First)

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

Pontoon = 3pts
Silver Linings = 3pts
Lumberjack in Love = 3pts
Jake and the Gingerbread Wars = 3pts
A Cup of Cozy = 3pts
Thirty Nights with a Highland Husband = 5pts

Currently Reading:

 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
  285 points + 20 points earned = 305 points (I think I need a shopping spree!)

Pages Read/ Time Listened
43,612 pages read (1,195 read this week)
162:16 listening time (8:21 listened this week)

Books Added to Shelves

In from the Cold by Meg Adams - Netgalley/Requested Review
A Cherry Cola Christmas by Ashton Lee - NetGalley/ Requested Review

Interesting Tidbits on the Web:



Wow! I can't believe I got so much done last week! I got caught up and a little ahead on my blog posts. I got caught up in the office. I got a ton of reading done. I got the house cleaned up for my parent's visit (which they are here all this week so at least Munchkin will be happy and we will all be well fed). But on the other side of the coin, holy cow this month is flying by! I am suddenly feeling frantic that the holidays are coming (normally I have at least gotten half of my Christmas shopping done but I have barely started this year).

We have the Dewey's Readathon coming up and I have to decide if I am going to do that, though it is the weekend after my whole week away so I know hubby isn't going to give me Munchkin free time and it is also the same day as the Rhode Island Children's Book Festival. I also have the Blog-ahead challenge coming up (and it is so needed) so I need to make sure I have plenty of books read in order to get some posts scheduled for the Advent Reads event. GAH! Thank goodness I have my new planner that has so much more space in it and is so pretty that I love playing with it!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

I Saw the Movie First: True Grit

Occasionally you will now be seeing my new discussion posts about seeing the movie before reading the book.  Like many readers I prefer to read the book first and often like the book much better than the movie. Sometimes though you can't wait to see a movie and either don't find out until after the movie there was a book or just didn't get the time to read the book first.
It has been a really long time since I have done one of these posts, and I honestly meant to have them a lot more often this year.  Anyway, today I am going to compare my movie viewing experience and book reading experience of True Grit.
My mom was a big John Wayne fan while I was growing up, and as I grew I became a huge fan as well (I even had a life size standup in my bedroom). Of course, you can't be a John Wayne fan without having seen True Grit.  When they remade the movie back in 2010 I found out that it was based on a book and knew at some point I would have to read it too. As a little disclaimer, I never saw the remake of the movie, I like the original version and don't really want to change that view.
This is a good, old fashioned western movie. It has just about all you could want in a western, outlaws, gun slingers, law men, horses, adventure and a good strong female character. If anything upon watching this movie, I think Mattie is the one with real grit. This is one movie I really enjoy watching again and again. The banter between the characters, and even the tough affection really made for a great movie.
I finally got a chance to read the book by Charles Portis this year as it fit right into my Reading Across the States Challenge. I must say I was a little nervous reading this book, the movie was so great and I wasn't sure if the book would be as good or even drastically different (as the books and movies often are). I am glad I took the plunge, I greatly enjoyed the book. I like how it was told as a memory of Mattie's when she is much older. You can see my full review of the book HERE.
There were actually only a few major differences between the book and movie and they were pretty much all at then end. They were not huge variations but just slight differences. Also in the book, Mattie has a lot of religious and political view points interjected throughout the telling that are not in the movie (which honestly weren't really needed and seemed like tangent ramblings of an old lady in the book telling). It is honestly a little hard for me to say which version is better, I do love a good John Wayne movie though so maybe it takes my preference for that alone. I would suggest either to anyone who likes a good classic western.
Oh and you know that classic line from the movie "Fill your hands you son of a bitch", that wasn't in the book, you only view that classic moment from the hillside in the book.