Saturday, October 17, 2015

Dewey's Fall 2015 Readathon Update #1

It has been a busy day so far but it has gone much better than expected.  This morning started out reading with Munchkin and then when him and Hubby went out I read a little more and then listened to an audio book while getting some chores done and lunch made.
So here is my update so far:
Currently reading:  House at Pooh Corner
Books finished: The Gingerbread Man, Sixteen Runaway Pumpkins, When Will it Snow, How to Read a Story, Bunnicula, A Dog Named Christmas, A Christmas Jar for Santa, The Little Light
Pages read: 452
Time Listened: 1:16 - House at Pooh Corner & 1:36 - The Help
Running total of pages read: 452
Amount of time spent reading: about 7 hours
Running total of time spent reading: 7 hours
Snacks: Apple Muffins, Strawberries, Cuban Sandwiches
Reading Spot: Sitting on the floor playing Legos with Munchkin while we listen to House at Pooh Corner (but it is about time to get up off the floor before I am stuck down here).
Up Next:
I think it is about time for some crackers, cheese and my dad's homemade salami and reading Rikki Tikki Tavi.
Good luck to all you other fellow readers as we all near the middle of the readathon!

Graphic Novel Review of An Age of License by Lucy Knisley

Read For: Graphic Novel Challenge
Synopsis: "Midnight picnics at the Eiffel Tower; wine tastings paired with blowgun lessons; and romance in cafés, cemeteries, and at the Brandenberg Gate--these are just some of New York Times best-selling cartoonist Lucy Knisley's experiences on her 2011 European book tour. An Age of License is both a graphic travelogue and a journal of her trip abroad. Fans of Knisley's food-focused autobiography (French Milk, Relish) savor her mouth-watering drawings and descriptions of culinary delights, seasons with cute cat cameos. But An Age of License is not all kittens and raclette crepes: Knisley's account of her adventures is colored by anxieties about her life and career, depicted with fearlessness, relatability, and honesty, making An Age of License an Eat, Pray, Love for the Girls generation."

My Review: I really love Knisley's style of graphic novels. They are memoirs but include so many different elements that you don't feel like it is someone just needing to vent. I love all the illustrations, and this one had some color pages which were fantastic. I must say I am rather envious of her European trip. The food of course sounds delicious and who wouldn't want to try all those wines. What I really enjoyed about this one is the self discovery journey that while it is her own journey, the questions and discoveries she makes applies to a much broader audience.
My Rating: I really enjoyed this one, as I have others of hers, and highly recommend this to anyone who wants to get into Graphic Novels but isn't really into superheroes.  I give it a rating of Four Paws!

Dewey's 2015 Fall Read-a-thon Kick Off!

I am here ready to kick off my readathon today.  It will be a busy one and I will have to be bouncing in and out of here between my reading and having Munchkin & Hubby hanging around.
I will try to update here on the blog every few hours, but will try to keep up more often on my twitter ( @EasternSunset9 )
It is 8:00am here in Rhode Island and I have just gotten Munchkin settled in with his Apple Muffins I made last night in preparation for today. I will read a little with him while he eats his breakfast
First books on today's list:
 After he finishes breakfast Munchkin will be going out with Hubby to see some construction equipment so I will take advantage of this time to read a couple books on my own:
I hope to post here sometime between lunch and nap time Like I said until then I will be posting on Twitter with pictures of us reading and some of the tasty snacks I have made for the day!
Good luck on all your reading adventures!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Bedtime Story: Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andreae

Read for: Children's Book Challenge
Synopsis: "Gerald the giraffe longs to dance, but his legs are too skinny and his neck is too long. At the Jungle Dance, the warthogs waltz, the chimps cha-cha, and the lions tango. "Giraffes can't dance," they all jeer when it's Gerald's turn to prance. But with some sound advice from a wise cricket, Gerald starts swaying to his own sweet tune."

My Review: Munchkin picked this book out as a reward. I don't think he quite grasps the message in the story, which is a great one about anyone can dance (or anything really) they just have to find their own style or way. The images are fun and a little quirky. It is a fun story and Munchkin has really enjoyed it.
My Rating: While something is a little lost on Munchkin, he still enjoys the animals and their silliness throughout the story. It may speak to the older readers more than the really young ones.  We give it a rating of Three Paws.
Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

After Dark Review of Hard as Steel by Laura Kaye

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: Simply because I love this series & author!
Synopsis: "After identifying her employer's dangerous enemies, Jessica Jakes takes refuge at the compound of the Raven Riders Motorcycle Club. Fellow Hard Ink tattooist and Raven leader Ike Young promises to keep Jess safe for as long as it takes, which would be perfect if his close, personal, round-the-clock protection didn't make it so hard to hide just how much she wants him—and always has.

Ike Young loved and lost a woman in trouble once before. The last thing he needs is alone time with the sexiest and feistiest woman he's ever known, one he's purposely kept at a distance for years. Now, Ike's not sure he can keep his hands or his heart to himself—or that he even wants to anymore. And that means he has to do whatever it takes to hold on to Jess forever."

My Review: This is a novella attached to the Hard Ink series, but it is really a transition from the Hard Ink series into the branch off series Raven Riders. While I have been in love with the Hard Ink series and was hoping for a little more time with those characters, I thought this was a wonderful transition. The characters were originally from the Hard Ink series and were slightly involved and this book highlights the events of the final book in the series but does a nice job of breaking away from that storyline. I really enjoyed both these characters, I loved Jess and her multi-faceted personality. There is quite a bit of background on both the characters, especially for a novella. Like I said this was a brilliant and smooth way to transition between branch off series, there was a great introduction to some of the potential main characters for the new series and the new setting.
My Rating: So, so sad to see this series end but Kaye did a beautiful job of wrapping things up and transitioning to the branch off series.  I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.

Pen to Paper: Postage

How was your week last week? Did you get that letter sent out after some of the new pen pal tips I gave you? I had so much mail going out last week and this week after vacation. I sent out a bunch of postcards on my travels last week and then I had a bunch of responses, letters and cards to send out this week when I returned. I do love sending mail!
Because I send so much mail I try to make sure I always keep stamps on hand (in my purse, my planner, with my stationary and in my general box for hubby to find too). I thought I would give you a little run down on the current cost of postage.
Standard Envelopes:
Generally for our purposes we will most likely be using the standard Forever stamps. The current price/ value of those is $.49 and there are quite a variety of stamps out there.  You can also use any of your old Forever stamps for the standard envelopes as well.  Now keep in mind that standard envelopes include envelopes that are rectangular, between 3-1/2 inches high x 5 inches long and 6-1/8 inches high x 11-1/2 inches long, less than 1/4 inch in thickness, and under 1 ounce in weight.
Oversized or Unusual Envelopes:
If your envelope is over those size requirements or an odd shape like a square you will need to use a $.71 stamp. If you are within all the size requirements except the weight you can add a $.21 stamp to your standard/ Forever stamp for each ounce you are over (be sure that you have an accurate scale for ounces).
If you are sending postcards the postage is a $.35 stamp. Also note that this is for a standard postcard, I came across some die cut and shaped postcards in my travels last week and they require additional postage.
If you are sending a letter, card or even postcard internationally, the postage is $1.20 and they have a lovely round stamp for those purposes (it makes it very handy to pick it out from your stamp hoard when needed). Again the same rules apply as with a standard stamp within the US, if it doesn't meet the size requirements then additional postage will be required (I am not certain what those costs maybe because if it is an odd one for international, I just take it to the counter to be certain it will get there).
Where to get your stamps:
There are endless ways to get your stamps, the obvious being the Post Office. You can also order stamps through the USPS website. Most grocery stores and pharmacies also now carry standard Forever stamps (just be sure to ask at the register). There are also many photo websites that allow you to order customized postage stamps too.
Your Mission for the week: Start your own postage stash. One way to loose your pen pal and writing momentum is to not have postage handy. I can't tell you how many times in the past I have failed to mail something because I didn't have a stamp and by the time I picked on up the letter or card was lost. Now would also be a good time to stock up before the busy holiday season, there is nothing worse than waiting in endless lines at the post office just to get some stamps. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Review of Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Read for: Mount TBR & Series Challenge
Synopsis: "From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul as black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows that the man she serves is bent on evil.

Keeping up the deadly charade becomes increasingly difficult when Celaena realizes she is not the only one seeking justice. As she tries to untangle the mysteries buried deep within the glass castle, her closest relationships suffer. It seems no one is above questioning her allegiances—not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captain of the Guard; not even her best friend, Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.

Then one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena's world shatters, she will be forced to give up the very thing most precious to her and decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie... and whom she is ultimately willing to fight for."

My Review: This was a good improvement on the first book but almost so much better that there was a drastic difference in character. Celaena almost didn't seem like the same person but did play the part of assassin much better in this book. Unfortunately for me she is being set up to be too much, I am not buying the flaws compared to the perfections. There were some good twists in the book, some unpleasant surprised but it was nice to see. It was a much more captivating read, but it still wasn't quite there for me. I am a little curious as to where the series will proceed from here.
My Rating: I was happy to read that this book was so different from the first but it also has me worried about how much Celaena will continue to drastically change through the remainder of the series. I give it a rating of Three Paws.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Tasty Attempts: Fall Veggie Torte

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.
I was watching Dinners Drive Ins and Dives one night and a restaurant made this delicious looking veggie torte and I knew I had to make it too. So I went on a hunt for a simple, yet similar recipe and came across this one on Pinterest.
This was a learning recipe for me, usually Hubby is the one to deal with eggplant so I had to learn how to prepare it, and I also had to watch a video on how to work with butternut squash, we have never cooked with it before. I did alter the recipe a tiny bit and of course added baby bella mushrooms that we had leftover from making risotto over the weekend, and I am not a fan of artichokes so I left those out and Hubby isn't a huge fan of bell peppers either so I left them out as well. Instead I used the eggplant and butternut squash like I saw on DDD.
I was surprised how easy this recipe was to make, other than the prep time to chop and roast the veggies it was quick and painless! I think next time I would use less of the garlic and herb cheese, it was a little overwhelming. It also made a LOT (2 torte), for this little family of 3, we will be eating it for a while, but it would be fantastic for the holidays!

Review of Soul of a Highlander by Melissa Mayhue

Read for: Series Review & Mount TBR
Synopsis: "Nine years ago, Faerie Magic saved Mairi MacKiernan at the cost of her dreams of happiness, snatching her from her life in 1272, and depositing her in the twenty-first century. Now, she must save the last Daughter of the MacKiernan family...who was murdered in 1295. Transported back in time at her request, Mairi finds herself captured by the same evil men as before! Is this the price the Faerie Magic requires of her this time? Ramos Servans has dedicated his dreams to service as a Guardian, but when he discovers the evil unleashed on the Mortal Plain by his father and their people, he swears he will atone by ridding the world of Nuadian deceit. Part of his mission involves rescuing a lovely Highland lassie, and in the passion that grows between them, Ramos and Mairi find a new dream.

But falling in love can be dangerous when Faerie Magic is involved. Dreams may not be the only cost...."

My Review: This was an interesting way to combine the previous two books and start making sense of where the series is going. I must say I didn't really connect with Mairi and found her a little too timid and not as self reliant as I usually prefer. I did however really enjoy Ramos and the other sub-characters. I did really like how this was a transition book, pulling the vast differences between the first two books and creating a series long storyline to follow. I am really curious what new characters we will meet along the way.
My Rating: This book didn't suck me in quite the way the previous two did, but as I said it was really a transitional book pulling those two together into a cohesive storyline. I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.

Monday, October 12, 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
Highland Guardian by Melissa Mayhue (Re-Read)
Dixie by Grace Gilman (Early Reader)
Pete the Cat and his Magic Sunglasses by James Dean (Bedtime Story)
 Books Finished Last Week:
Reviews will be posted at a later date

None :(

Currently Reading:

The Help by Kathryn Stockett - Audio - 43%
Assassin's Blade by Sarah J. Maas - Nook - on page 42 of 388

 Books to be Read Soon:

Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J. Maas - Mount TBR/ Series Challenge


Total Points Earned
28 points

Pages Read/ Time Listened
45,608 pages read
162:16 listening time

Books Added to Shelves

Interesting Tidbits on the Web:



What a week last week! I didn't get much reading done, but had an absolutely blast on my getaway with my best friend.  We had so much fun driving through northern New England and seeing the sites (and of course stopping at a bunch of little book stores along the way). I will have a post later this week about all the fun things we did.

Today is a holiday here so I am still trying to catch up on the chores around the house, with Munchkin's help of course.  Later this week I will be working on getting ready for the Dewey Readathon, as suspected Hubby needs a little break so Munchkin will be reading with me. It should make for an interesting readathon but I have planned for it a little bit.

Hope all of you have a great week!