Saturday, January 16, 2016

Graphic Novel Review of How Mirka Got Her Sword by Barry Deutsch

Read for: Graphic Novel Challenge
Synopsis: "Spunky, strong-willed eleven-year-old Mirka Herschberg isn’t interested in knitting lessons from her stepmother, or how-to-find-a-husband advice from her sister, or you-better-not warnings from her brother. There’s only one thing she does want: to fight dragons!

Granted, no dragons have been breathing fire around Hereville, the Orthodox Jewish community where Mirka lives, but that doesn’t stop the plucky girl from honing her skills. She fearlessly stands up to local bullies. She battles a very large, very menacing pig. And she boldly accepts a challenge from a mysterious witch, a challenge that could bring Mirka her heart’s desire: a dragon-slaying sword! All she has to do is find—and outwit—the giant troll who’s got it!

A delightful mix of fantasy, adventure, cultural traditions, and preteen commotion, Hereville will captivate middle-school readers with its exciting visuals and entertaining new heroine."

My Review: I was not expecting this book to be so religion based, I thought it was going to be more adventure based. While it wasn't what I was expecting it was a nice look into the culture and religion. It is also a great book for young girls who are trying to wade their way through pre-teen life. I really did end up enjoying this graphic novel, especially the family connections throughout the book. I also liked how there were words that had little translations at the bottom.
My Rating: While it wasn't what I was expecting it was still an enjoyable read. It had some very strong family, community and cultural connections.  I give it a rating of Three Paws.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Bedtime Story: The Little Snowplow by Linda Koehler

Synopsis: "Big trucks may brag and roar, but small and steadfast wins the day in this cheerful story with timeless appeal.

On the Mighty Mountain Road Crew, the trucks come in one size: BIG. That is, until the little snowplow joins the crew. None of the other trucks think that the little snowplow can handle the big storms, but he knows that he can do it—and just to be sure, he trains hard, pushing loads of gravel, pulling blocks of concrete, and doing plow lifts to get ready. But when a blizzard arrives, will the little snowplow’s training be enough to clear the streets and handle unexpected trouble?"

My Review: This is a cute snow version of the old tale about the little guy getting the job done and not letting the big guys get him down. This time it is just a little snowplow that has a big job to do when the snow starts falling. Munchkin loves all things trucks and he really enjoyed this story. He definitely retained a little of the story and went on to tell Daddy all about how the little snowplow was able to do things the big dump truck couldn't do. 
My Rating: This is a cute story, though an almost over told tale of the little guy proving himself to the big guys who teased him.  It was still fun and appropriate for the winter and Munchkin's obsession with big trucks and snowplows.  We give it a rating of Three Paws.
Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Beginning Reader Review of Smash Trash by Laura Driscoll

Read for: Early Reader Challenge
Synopsis: "IT IS THE 29th Century and the Earth has been abandoned, but one robot has been left behind to collect and condense trash—WALL•E. This Step 1 book, introduces early readers to WALL•E, Disney•Pixar’s newest animated film coming to theaters in summer 2008."

My Review: Munchkin is a HUGE WallE fan and latched on to this book at the store. It was a fun read and it uses simple words and introduces rhyming words. It is a great level one book, that can be read with help for very young readers or on their own for slightly more experienced readers. Munchkin has taken to reciting some of the rhyming lines while watching the movie now.
My Rating: We had a lot of fun with this book and Munchkin already started picking up on some words. We give it a rating of Four Paws.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

After Dark Review of Addicted to the Bite by Leigh Wilder

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 Digital & Series Challenge
Synopsis: "After one night of passion with Damian, Jamie-boy has decided pursuing a relationship with the vampire is better than committing suicide. Damian, master vampire of the city of New Franklin, PA, has a lot on his plate. A mysterious vampire is dumping drained bodies in public places all over town, and werewolf cop Detective Julie Nova is on his back about it. He doesn't have time to deal with over-eager Jamie-boy.

Jamie-boy is determined to get what he wants--sex and pain--but to look elsewhere could mean death.

This is an erotic m/m (gay) novelette. It contains blood play, violence, and explicit sex between 2 men."

My Review: So I guess the whole series are just going to be super short books. It doesn't give much time to expand on the characters or the storyline. Again I am horribly disappointed with Jamie, he is so wishy washy that I have no respect for him. Damian's character is developing nicely though, there is much more depth there and at least he is participating in an actual storyline.
My Rating: This was an okay book, short, steamy and violent with some irritating characters and some okay characters. It may not be exactly what I was looking for though. I give it a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag.

Pen to Paper: Folder Pen Pal Letter

So I wanted to continue on with the creative pen pal letter ideas that I talked about last week. We have all this time in the winter (well at least I do) that we are trapped inside. So why not get a little creative with our pen pal letters.  
This week I wanted to share another creative flipbook, this one is made with a regular file folder. It was a little more time consuming that the one I made last week only because I wanted to make it pretty and only had the plain manila folders. Again I used a file folder, scrapbooking paper, double sided tape, washi tape, a pretty card, envelope and some stickers. I used this video for guidance

I made this for one of my pen pals that I didn't get a Christmas letter or card out to, so I wanted to make it wintery themed.
Here is it all folded up. I added my pen pal's name in the top right with stickers after the pictures.
This is the top flap open, the card at the top is where I wrote my letter.

And the bottom flap open. I added a washi tape sample to the top left and added a pocket on the right side with a cute paperclip.

here it is all the way open. In the envelope I added a few wintery stickers and a tea bag.
This one was really fun to make, but again time consuming (it took over two hours to make every thing, add the goodies and write the letter) but it came out so cute and I really hope my pen pal enjoyed it!


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Tea Time Tuesday: Welcome!

Welcome to Tea Time Tuesday!
This is a new series of blog posts to share my love of tea and some discoveries I am making as I dive more into that love. (And honestly, what goes better with books than a nice cup of tea?)
So yes welcome everyone! Before I get too carried away with these posts I wanted to give you a little background as well as a little bit of what to expect from these posts every other Tuesday.
I have always enjoyed tea for as long as I can remember, both iced tea and hot tea. Some of my earliest memories of tea included the classic tea parties with my stuffed animals (which often included fruit loop crumpets), my mom also used to make a Russian tea mix (at least that is what we always called it) for when we were sick and it always made me feel better, and also sitting around the table with my best friend and her mom enjoying tea in beautiful china cups.
Over the years I have continued to enjoy random cups of tea, but a few years ago I discovered this wonderful little restaurant near me called Tree House Tavern (at the time it was actually called Ferns and Flowers).  This little bistro has a huge tea list, I had never been to a place that offered anything but your normal teabag options, this place however offered 6 pages of teas! It has become one of my guilty pleasures, I take all my friends there when we need a good chat or if they come long distances to visit.  The most wonderful thing is that you can purchase tea to take home (which I have done and I will have a more thorough posting about it at another time).
So a visit to this one little bistro threw the doors open to a whole new world of tea for me. Not only have I been experimenting with a wide variety of teabag brands and flavors but now I have also started with a variety of loose teas.  I had mentioned this in a swap a year or so ago and my partner sent me a variety of loose tea samplers, and on the packaging it told me about the proper brewing process for the various teas. So there you go, I am still learning new and wonderful things about tea and I can't wait to share them all with you and hopefully hear about your own love of tea!


Re-Read Review of Star of the Morning by Lynn Kurland

Read for: Series Challenge & it is a Re-Read
Synopsis: "Darkness covers the north, since the black mage has begun his assault on the kingdom of Neroche. Legend has it that only the two magical swords held by Neroche's king can defeat the mage. Now the fate of the Nine Kingdoms rests in the hands of a woman destined to wield one of those blades...

In this land of dragons and mages, warrior maids and magical swords, nothing is as it seems. And Morgan will find that the magic in her blood brings her troubles she cannot face with a sword-and a love more powerful than she has ever imagined."

My Review: So I read this book several years ago, donated it and then went out and bought it again to read the following two books. I remember I loved this book, but re-reading it now I am not too sure why I loved it so much. I wasn't a big fan of the characters, so many of them were conceited. I normally love strong female characters, and Morgan is definitely that but she was so over the top that it was off-putting. I did grow to like Miach and Nicholas, and also some of the subcharacters had interesting personalities but it was hard with them being so in the background. I will definitely have to see how the rest of the series goes.
My Rating: I am so puzzled as to why I loved this book so much, and unfortunately I read it so long ago I didn't even have a review written just a note in my reading journal with five stars. This time around though I have to give it a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Magic Tree House Monday: Book 2 - Knight at Dawn

Welcome to Magic Tree House Monday!

Each Monday (other than when special events are planned) I will review one book of the Magic Tree House Series by Mary Pope Osborne.
The second book in the series is The Knight at Dawn. Annie and Jack can't wait to return to the tree house to find out if their adventure was real. Annie finds a picture of a knight and wishes to meet him, the tree house takes them on another adventure in the time of castles, kings and knights.
My Review: This is the second book in the series and I found it wasn't quite as exciting as the first book. Maybe it is because we know the tree house will take us where Jack and Annie wish to go on a book. I think I was looking forward to reading about knights and maybe a joust, but it was more a basic view of castles and a brief history lesson. I still think it would be a great adventure for young readers.
My Rating: I wasn't as over the top in love with this book, and I really thought I would be since knights, castles, and kings are all things I love to read about. I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.

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

Dinosaurs Before Dark by Mary Pope Osborne (Magic Tree House)
The Ice Dragon by George R.R. Martin
The Face in the Mountain
Drain Me Dry by Leigh Wilder (After Dark)
Hello Olaf by Andrea Posner-Sanches (Early Reader)
Sneezy the Snowman by Maureen Wright (Bedtime Story)

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

Star of the Morning = 5pts
How Mirka got her Sword = 3pts
The Elite = 3pts
The Guard = 3pts
The Favorite = 3pts
The One = 3pts
Knight at Dawn = 5pts
Korgi Vol. 3 = 3pts
Club Midnight = 3pts
Bloodlines = 3pts
Rubble to the Rescue = 1pt
Curious George Makes Maple Syrup = 1pts
Plane Pals = 1pt
Just a Snowman = 1pt
Just a Little Sick = 1pt
Blow Snow Blow = 1pt
Collecting Seashells by the Seashore = 5pts
Princess Diaries = 5pts
Currently Reading:

Gwendolyn's Sword by E.A. Haltom - Ebook - on page 113 of 354
The Heir by Kiera Cass - Audio - 56%

 Books to be Read Soon:


Total Points Earned
  35 points + 50 points earned + 5 pts for completing a series = 90 points

Total Points Earned this Year: 90
Total Points Spent this Year:

Pages Read/ Time Listened
23:14 Hours Listened (15:07 this week)
2,267 Pages Read (1,379 this week)

Books Added to Shelves

Interesting Tidbits on the Web:


Well this last week was the first week of the new year, and boy did I start it out with a bang. Quite literally! Monday morning, on our first cold snowy day mind you, I slipped on the ice in the office parking lot. I got banged up pretty good and ended up with a sprained ankle. This at least lead to 3 days of laying on the couch with books (but of course I did have to go back to work at some point). Tuesday night Munchkin ended up with a high fever and a nasty cough, that ended up being Croup.  So we are a mess around here!

The one nice thing was that I was able to dedicate so much time to my reading and the Bout of Books Readathon! I don't think I have ever had as successful of a week reading!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Sunday Inspirational Snippets

As a new post idea for 2016, I wanted to share with all of you things that inspire me. It could be something that inspires me to do better, create something or to give a little more.  I hope that you will find things to inspire you here too. Of course I would love to see what inspires you as well so please feel free to share your snippets too!
So this image popped up on my facebook feed from the 4-H group. I thought it was perfect for the out look of the new year. And to remember that I need to encourage Munchkin to learn what he can and what interests him because he is the future.