Saturday, October 31, 2015

October 2015 Challenge Update

Starting to panic here! Only 2 months left of the year and they are always the craziest of the bunch, good thing I got an early jump.
Personal Re-Read Challenge
My goal is to read 15 books. Thank goodness for the readathon and some lucky sales on books I read years and years ago! Only two more books to go, I can do this!
1. North of Need
5. Nobody's Prize
7. Om Kas Toe
8. Secret Santa
9. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
10. Thirty Nights with a Highland Husband
11. Highland Guardian
12. Rikki Tikki Tavi
13. Bunnicula

Personal Children's Book Challenge
This Challenge is COMPLETE! I got a little carried away with this challenge, with having to make some adjustments to my readathon list to accommodate Munchkin.
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
119. Trapped in Toyland
120. When Will it Snow
121. The Gingerbread Man
122. Corduroy's Best Halloween Ever
123. How to Read a Story
124. Sixteen Runaway Pumpkins
125. Otis and the Scarecrow

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
34. Snowball Soup

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 had hoped to be further along in this challenge by this point but I ended up focusing on other challenges instead. But I am pretty much down to just this one so I will be working hard on it this month!

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 - A Dog Named Christmas
Kentucky - Bluegrass State of Mind
Louisiana - Taste the Heat
Maine - Stone Bay
Maryland - Dinner at Homesick Restaurant
Massachusetts -
Michigan - South of Superior
Minnesota - Pontoon
Mississippi - The Help
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 - Lumberjack Love
Virginia - Crazy VA
Washington - Silver Linings
West Virginia - Locking Horns
Wisconsin - Blankets
Wyoming - Stone Fox

Audio Book Challenge
This challenge is COMPLETE! I listened to a couple more and have one or two more to add to the list for the Across the States Challenge.

 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
18. Searching for Always
19. Pontoon
20. The Help
21.  The House at Pooh Corner

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 made a lot of progress this month. Turns out the next book in Searching For series won't be out until February so that marks that series as Complete for now too (and technically completes the challenge). I am only 1 book shy of completing the Throne of Glass Series and a couple shy of the Daughters of the Glen series. After a big push last month, it shouldn't be too hard to complete this challenge in the next couple of weeks!

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, Book 4, Book 2.5 - COMPLETE
7. Throne of Glass Series - Book 1, Book 2, Book 3, Books .1-.5,
8. Daughters of the Glen Series - Book 1,  Book 2, Book 3, Book 4, Book 5, Book 6

TBR Challenge
I set a goal of 50 books without thinking and have already COMPLETED this challenge! I will definitely be doubling this challenge this year, I guess I will have to keep this in mind for next year's challenge! Haha I Double Completed this challenge with more to go, definitely better planning required for next year!
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
89. Throne of Glass
90. Lumberjack in Love
91. Pontoon
92. Dinner at Homesick Restaurant
93. Soul of a Highlander
94. A Highlander of her Own
95. Crown of Midnight
96. The Help
97. A Highlander's Destiny
98. South of Superior
99. Heir of Fire
100. The Assassin's Blade

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
30. How 2 Live Life
31. Summer Haikus
32. Jesper Jinx Goes Fishing
33. Broken
34. Simon
35. In From the Cold
36. Get Yourself Organized for Christmas
37. A Cherry Cola Christmas
38. The Right Hand Rule
39. Gearteeth

Goodreads Challenge - COMPLETE My Goodreads challenge is complete already, I am past my original goal of 312 and am sitting at 361.  I am looking at a potential of 400+ books this year!

As far as my other goals and resolutions . . .
-I think this was my biggest letter month with all the postcards I sent while on vacation. I have several new pen pals too.
-My nails were fairly simple other than trying out those Jamberry nails for the first time and something special for the readathon and Halloween of course.
-Poor Munchkin didn't get to have too much fun, at least with me, this month because I was gone for that first week and then laid up this last week and a half, but we will make up for it this next two months. I have lots planned for the holiday season.

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


Friday, October 30, 2015

Bedtime Story: It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown by Charles M. Schulz

Read for: Children's Books and because It's the Great Pumpkin!
Synopsis: "The holiday favorite, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, is now available in an exciting interactive format as an 8x8 with stickers! On Halloween will the Great Pumpkin rise and fly through the air with his bag of toys for all the children? Join Linus and Sally as they embark on a spooky adventure to find out!"

My Review: I picked this book up for Munchkin because who doesn't love classic Charlie Brown? It follows the TV special pretty closely, almost too closely. I would have preferred Snoopy's storyline to be left out (even though I love that part of the show), because it got too confusing for Munchkin to have the storyline jumping around in the book. Munchkin did enjoy it and kept pointing out the characters and their costumes, and of course the pumpkins.
My Rating: I love this show and of course anything Snoopy and Charlie Brown. Munchkin did enjoy it even though he got a little confused with the storyline. We give it a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag.
Good Night! Sweet Dreams!
Have a Happy and Safe Halloween Tomorrow!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Pen to Paper: Responses

Did you sent out a letter last week? I sent quite a few out last week since I have been laid up healing. While I do love reading books to fill my time, I need a break and wrote instead. I am sure quite a few of you will be getting some happy mail shortly!
Have you received a response from your first letter yet? If not, don't get discouraged. First take into consideration shipping time, if you picked a pen pal for overseas, it takes regular snail mail quite some time to get delivered. Also, we are getting into the busy holiday seasons so maybe they haven't had a chance to reply yet. If you think maybe that person isn't going to respond, go ahead and write to someone else. If you have received a response letter, today's tips will help you out.
Once you have received a letter (and probably ripped it open and read it on they way back from the mail box) you need to respond. Yes I understand you may not have time right that instant to write your response, but in order to keep this new relationship growing you do need to write back. so here are some tips for you.
Write back in a timely manner
If you and your pen pal have already decided on time frames, make sure you keep it with in those parameters. It can take time to develop the response letter too. I like to make sure I mail back my response letter within 2 weeks. It keeps the letters moving along without a lot of time to forget details.
Have the letter you received handy
It helps to keep the letter you received open while you are writing so you can keep the conversation moving. You will want to respond to questions they are asking (make sure you include a little bit of that question in your answer too incase they forgot what exactly they asked you). I also keep all previous letters I have received and until I am comfortable with the person re-read them before responding so I don't cover the same ground again.
Ask Questions
This is something that I am still working on, but if you want a response letter back, make sure you give them something to write back. Maybe talk about this book you just finished that you love, ask them then if they have recently read a book and what it was about, or ask them something about the books they like to read. Besides listening to what your new pen pal has to say, questions are the most important part about being a pen pal (and some times the hardest part).
Make sure your handwriting is clear
If your pen pal can't read your writing they won't be able to respond, so take your time and write as clear as possible. The same goes for your address, make sure it is clear and in the first few letters include it on the inside incase they accidently toss the envelope.
Keep track
I find it very helpful to keep track of who I write, when I write them, and what I write about. This way I can make sure I don't talk about the same things over and over again. So just a quick jot in a journal or address book as to when you mailed the letter, what you talked about and questions you might have asked.
So there are a few tips to keep in mind during the excitement of receiving a letter in the mail.
Your Mission for the Week: Jot down a short list of questions. This can be so hard, you get to writing and telling them about what happens in your life that you forget to ask them about their life and themselves. So maybe having a list of question ideas can be helpful to keep in with your letter supplies. Obviously you don't need to ask the same questions to every pen pal, or the wording exactly the same, but just some basic ideas (ie: how do you like to celebrate the holidays, what is your favorite dish, what are you reading now, etc.).

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Audio Book Review of The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne

Read for: Because we love Winnie the Pooh and a children's audio book was great for Dewey's Readathon
Synopsis: "The adventures of Christopher Robin, Winnie-the-Pooh, and all their friends in the storied Forest around Pooh Corner. "This is an example of a sequel in which there seems to be no letdown, and from all sides I catch echoes of most joyous reaction to it.""

My Review: More classic Pooh, I adore these stories so much and am so happy that Munchkin is enjoying them as well. This one wasn't quite as great as the first one, the voices almost seemed different on the audio version. But that said, a Blustery Day is one of my favorite Pooh stories. It was fun to have more time with Eeyore and he may be inching up on my favorite character again. Munchkin loves Piglet with his snorting.
My Rating: I love sharing these classic stories with Munchkin, and even though neither of us got into this one as much as the first book, it was still very enjoyable.  We give it a rating of Four Paws.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Tasty Attempts: Mini Chicken Parm & Eggplant Parm

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.
So as you may recall last post I made a Veggie Torte, as a result I had some leftover Eggplant. Munchkin also asks for chicken nuggets for every meal (yes even breakfast). I came across a recipe for chicken nuggets with a variation of mini chicken parm in this cookbook Hubby bought me for Christmas last year.
I have to say it was insanely time consuming to make this meal, especially with a young one hanging off you. It did come out rather tasty though and Munchkin and Hubby gobbled them down.
Munchkin did say later that evening though that he preferred the chicken nuggets out of the box in the freezer. I must admit I do to because these just took too long, between the cutting, dredging, frying then baking, it took nearly 2 hours to get this dinner done, far too long after working a full 8 hour day. Not to mention all the clean up!

Re-Read Review of Rikki Tikki Tavi by Rudyard Kipling

Read for: Re-Read Challenge
Synopsis: "A courageous mongoose becomes the loyal pet of a small boy named Teddy, and protects him and his family from two evil cobras who live in their garden."

My Review: I remember reading this book in elementary school and wanted to re-read it in case Munchkin gets to read it someday too. It was much shorter than I remember but just as intense of a story. It is a great introduction to a different culture and area of the world. I really enjoyed this book yet again and the animal personalities were each so unique and added so much to the story. As I did when I was a kid, I now want a mongoose of my own!
My Rating: It is always fun to revisit these books that were required reading back in school, especially the ones you remember but don't quite remember all the details. I give this one a rating of Four Paws!

Monday, October 26, 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
Assassin's Blade by Sarah J. Maas
A Highlander of Her Own by Melissa Mayhue
The Best Chef in Second Grade by Katharine Kenah (Early Reader)
Sixteen Runaway Pumpkins by Dianne Ogiltree (Bedtime Story)
Bunnicula by James Howe (Re-Read)
 Books Finished Last Week:
Reviews will be posted at a later date

The Help = 3pts
Highlander's Destiny = 5pts
Cherry Cola Christmas = 3pts
Picturing Christmas = 3pts

Currently Reading:

 Books to be Read Soon:

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas - Mount TBR/ Series Challenge


Total Points Earned
77 Points + 14 earned = 91 Points

Pages Read/ Time Listened
49,283 pages read (986 read this week)
183:46 listening time (18:16 listened this week)

Books Added to Shelves

Interesting Tidbits on the Web:



What a crazy, insane week last week! There was so much crammed into the first 3 days I barely had time to sit or eat or sleep. But Thursday I had my surgery and it went well. I am recovering well but it took a few days to even be able to function enough to read. I am now getting back up and around. I have a few days to get some reading done while Munchkin is at preschool then by mid-week the goal is to start easing back into my work schedule.

I hope you all had a great week last week and have a wonderful one this week!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Re-Read Review of Bunnicula by James Howe

Read For: Re-Read Challenge
Is he or isn't he a vampire?

Before it's too late, Harold the dog and Chester the cat must find out the truth about the newest pet in the Monroe household -- a suspicious-looking bunny with unusual habits...and fangs!"

My Review: This was a book I clearly remember reading in elementary school and when I saw it come up on Munchkin's scholastic book order flyer for only a dollar, I had to get it. It was really fun to visit this book again. I absolutely love all the characters in the book, they are so vivid, especially Chester. It is a fun and slightly spooky (but not so much to traumatize a young reader) that would appeal to many ages and different genre readers. I look forward to when Munchkin can read it too.
My Rating: It was fun to re-read this book after so many years, it was still quite enjoyable. I had no idea it was part of a series but at least now I do so if Munchkin decides he loves it I can continue the series.  I give it a rating of Four Paws.