Saturday, February 6, 2016

Fun with Munchkin: Game Time

As part of my resolutions for 2016, 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.
So with the chilly winter weather and football season coming to a close, we have loads of time at home as a family on the weekends.  Thankfully Munchkin is very much into playing board games and as that was a highlight of my childhood I am more than happy to accommodate him.  We of course also convince Hubby to play too.
In the past month we have played Candy Land (though I miss the artwork on my old game)
Chutes and Ladders (again what was wrong with the old artwork, it is so hard to see the squares on this one). 
Munchkin even roped a good friend of mine into playing Cooties with him! She hadn't even managed to get her coat off when he bombarded her at the door wanting to play a game. 
Sometimes I wonder if I am doing him a disservice by not allowing video games/tablets/apps yet since those are skills he will need throughout his life now, but at the same time I feel like the skills learned and the memories gained while playing games with friends and family far outweighs the potential setback.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Bedtime Story: The Magical Snowman by Catherine Walters

Synopsis: "Little Rabbit has made a wonderful snowman and doesn't want to leave him. When he gets lost in the snow, a soft light sparkles through the trees and a very special friend appears to take him on a magical journey home."

My Review: This best part about this story is the adorable illustrations, I almost would have preferred it to be a wordless book and just enjoyed the pictures. It is a cute little story about believing in something though but not an overwhelming story that we must read again and again.
My Rating: I feel like this story was really average, one I feel like I have read before but with really cute illustrations.  Munchkin hasn't asked to read this one again.  We give it a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag.
Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Beginning Reader Review of Rockets 100th Day of School by Tad Hills

Read for: Early Reader
Synopsis: "Rocket, the beloved dog from the "New York Times" bestselling picture books "How Rocket Learned to Read" and "Rocket Writes a Story, " is busy collecting 100 things to take to school on his 100th day, and he has the perfect place to keep them safe. That is, until Bella, a squirrel who loves acrorns, gets involved.
With predictable patterns, simple words, lots of repetition, and bright, colorful illustrations, this new Rocket book will charm young readers--and they can read it all by themselves!
Step 1 Readers feature big type and easy words. Rhymes and rhythmic text paired with picture clues help children decode the story. For children who know the alphabet and are eager to begin reading."

My Review: This is a fun beginning reader book for those young kids in school. The sentences and words are simple with pictures to assist in reading. It is also great to help with counting and addition as Rocket finds things to add up to 100. Munchkin was excited to read this book to coordinate with celebrations at school.
My Rating: This is a great level one early reader book that encourages excitement about school and learning. We give it a rating of Four Paws!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

After Dark Review of Dante's Fire by Jennifer Probst

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/ Audio
Synopsis: "It’s Time To Meet A New Kind Of Hero...

Dante Stark has a dark secret--a legacy left to him by his father which is both a blessing and a curse. A traumatic experience as a small boy gave him special powers of healing, but it comes with a price. Destined to wander the world alone to heal others, he's accepted his fate. Until Selina Rogers forces him to confront his deepest fears, erotic desires, and question his capacity to love.

Selina Rogers has made a name for herself at Inferno Enterprises. She's tough, confident and prepared to succeed. She's also built a world she believes is safe, until she's attacked and then saved by a masked stranger. As he helps her heal physically and emotionally, she becomes fascinated by his overwhelming power and gentle touch. Determined to show Dante the love he's been denying himself, Selina surrenders her heart, and dreams of a future with the mysterious man who completes her.

But will his dark legacy destroy them...or save them both..."

My Review: Ugh, I really don't like when I am disappointed by my favorite authors. I don't know if this was one of Probst earlier works or if it was just too far outside her normal genre of writing but it didn't work for me. I think we are left too much in the dark about Dante's power, where it came from, how he learned to use it and how everything develops. Also it feels as though Probst skimmed along the subject matter of the attack, almost as if she was afraid to really dive in to what the characters experience would have been like. It was a disjointed read and not really all that enjoyable for me. I will however remain a fan of Probst, I just might avoid paranormal from her from now on.
My Rating: I have really been striking out lately with the after dark books.  This one was just lacking more about either the powers or diving fully into the dark side of the events and emotions, I think either one would have really elevated this book. Unfortunately I have to give it a rating of Two Paws.

Pen to Paper: PostCrossing

Hello and happy Month of Letters everyone! Whether or not you are participating, I hope that you have a happy mail month. I have been participating and this is my 3rd year (and hopefully the first fully successful one).  So far I have sent out a postcard, 2 reply letters and 2 pocket letters. While I do usually send out quite a bit of mail every month, the challenge for me is to send something out each day as normally I will sit down and write 2 or 3 letters in a single night and send them all out. I find it hard to write a full letter on a regular (non writing scheduled) night so I decided to take the plunge and join PostCrossing.
I have mentioned the website PostCrossing before but never intended to join as it is only for postcards. I have obviously since changed my mind, while I do love writing long letters to various family, friends and penpals, there is something to be said about a quick postcard to a stranger. It is great practice for introduction letters to new pen pals and a great way to get out there meet people and send a bit of sunshine in the mail.
I so far I have sent 3 postcards, each to a different countries, with different messages to each person's likes and interests. It has been fun finding a postcard they would like and also writing a very short note of interest.  I have yet to receive my first postcard, you have to have one of your own delivered and registered first. I have been trying to pace myself as I only haven't had a chance to stock up on fun and unique postcards yet but I can understand how people really get wrapped up in it.
I really think it is fun how your page tracks not only the postcards you send and receive (along with pictures of them) but it also keeps track of how many miles your postcards have traveled to and from destinations. You can search postcards from different countries and even arrange private swaps. It is truly a fun mail adventure.  If you don't seem to have the time for a good long letter, maybe think about giving these little postcard adventures a try.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Review of Night Study by Maria V. Snyder

Read for: Netgalley/ Requested Review & I LOVE this series
Synopsis: "Ever since being kidnapped from the Illiais Jungle as a child, Yelena Zaltana's has been fraught with peril. But the recent loss of her Soulfinding abilities has endangered her more than ever before. As she desperately searches for a way to reclaim her magic, her enemies are closing in, and neither Ixia nor Sitia are safe for her anymore. Especially since the growing discord between the two countries and the possibility of a war threatens everything Yelena holds dear.

Valek is determined to protect Yelena, but he's quickly running out of options. The Commander suspects that his loyalties are divided, and he's been keeping secrets from Valek...secrets that put him, Yelena and all their friends in terrible danger. As they uncover the various layers of the Commander's mysterious plans, they realize it's far more sinister that they could have ever imagined."

My Review: Thank goodness I waited to read Shadow Study until I could read this one immediately after. I read this book in a single day, it was totally engrossing with some rather unexpected twists. I really enjoyed having the different perspectives of the characters and watching them develop as the story progresses. Of course I am now left anxiously awaiting the next book in the series which isn't expected until 2017! With that said this is a great continuation to the series, and I am finding that I don't want it to end, I am enjoying the development of the plotlines and characters so much.
My Rating: I really could not put this book down, it was that good. Next to Brigan from Fire by Kristin Cashore, Valek is my all time fictional crush and I loved watching him develop throughout this book! I give it a rating of Four Paws and a Stump Wag!
I received this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Tasty Attempts: Pasta with Ham and Leeks

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.
Today I am going to share with you one of my favorite go to recipes. It is quick, simple and delicious. Every one in the family loves it and it takes me almost no time to make.
Pasta with Ham and Leeks
This recipe is from an old used Italian cookbook, I have no idea where it came from (and I can't remember the title either). I usually let Munchkin pick the type of pasta he wants to eat, and I always double the sauce ingredients (except the ham and leeks) because the pasta absorbs it a lot with the left overs. I have started keeping Ham Steaks in the freezer to whip out for this recipe, then all I need to get is the leeks and heavy cream.

We all gobble this simple pasta down!

Audio Book Review of When We Were Young by A. A. Milne

Read For: Audio Book, Mount TBR & Munchkin loves listening to Winnie the Pooh
Synopsis: "Verses full of bubbling nonsense and rhythm, written for the author's son, Christopher Robin. It is for "very small children (and for their elders who get a surreptitious joy from what is meant for their little ones).""

My Review: I am not sure why this is listed as Winnie the Pooh #3, yes it is written by AA Milne, and it written as a children's book and has the same silly tone to it but it really has nothing to do with Winnie the Pooh. It was a little bit of a disappointment when Munchkin asked to listen to Winnie the Pooh and I put this on thinking it would be more stories but it was a bunch of little poems. They do have some wonderful little rhymes, but it didn't hold interest long (especially considering it is nearly an hour long).
My Rating: This was a little disappointment for both Munchkin and me, we were expecting some more wonderful tales but instead got a bunch of silly rhymes (which were fun if you were expecting them). Unfortunately, we are giving it a rating of Two Paws.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Magic Tree House Monday: Book 5 - Night of the Ninjas

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.
Book 5 of the series, Night of the Ninjas, dives back into the adventures with Jack and Annie. They encounter ninjas of ancient Japan and must use their skills to avoid the angry samurai hunting through the forest.

My Review: So obviously this series continued, even though the last book almost sounded as if it was intended as a conclusion. I don't know if there was a large gap between publishing dates, but this was the first time that there was a brief overview of the previous books at the beginning. This was back to how great the first one was though, they not only met ancient ninjas but learned a little of the history and lifestyle too. It was quite the adventure for both boys and girls.
My Rating: This brought back the excitement of the first book in the series and made me excited about it again.  I give it a rating of Four Paws!

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

Pirates Past Noon by Mary Pope Osborne (Magic Tree House)
The Beast Within by Serena Valentino
The Changing Season by Steven Manchester
Bloodlines by Leigh Wilder (After Dark)
Rubble to the Rescue (Early Reader)
Snowballs by Lois Ehlert (Bedtime Story)
Winterworld Vol. 1: La Nina by Chuck Dixon (Graphic Novel)

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

Hug Machine = 1pt
The Changing Season = 3pts
Night of the Ninjas = 5pts
Red Hood and the Outlaws = 3pts
Night Study = 3pts
The Tinkers = 5pts

Currently Reading:

Aure the Topaz by Rich Fietlberg - Print - on page 36 of

 Books to be Read Soon:


Total Points Earned
  88 points + 20 points earned = 108 points

Total Points Earned this Year: 158
Total Points Spent this Year: 50

Pages Read/ Time Listened
35:31 Hours Listened
5,497 Pages Read (1,206 this week)

Books Added to Shelves

Interesting Tidbits on the Web:



A great reading week for me, there are so many books I am excited about that I couldn't stop reading!  It was also a great reading month for me, 49 books read in a single month! And I could rave about almost ever single one of them, now that doesn't happen very often but it makes me very excited for this reading year.

I hope you all had a wonderful January too.  I am looking forward to this month too, Hubby's birthday is tomorrow, then we have the Super Bowl (even though it isn't either of our teams), and Valentines Day and of course the whole month will be filled with sending letters out!

Sunday, January 31, 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!
I came across this on Pinterest and boy do I need to pay attention. Every week my planner and checklists are full to busting, trying to squeeze out every minute of my time. Last weekend during the snow storm here as a whole family we finally managed a little chill out time, we threw the chore list in the trash and just spent some time together watching movies, cuddling, playing games, etc. We didn't even cook meals, just had simple things to eat. It was good for the soul and something we need to make more time for.