Saturday, February 27, 2016

Graphic Novel Review of Morning Glories Vol. 1: For a Better Future by Nick Spencer

Read for: Graphic Novel Review
Synopsis: "Morning Glory Academy

One of the most prestigious prep schools in the country...But behind it's hallowed doors something sinister and deadly lurks. When six brilliant but troubled new students arrive, they find themselves trapped and desperately seeking answers...and escape from a place where nothing is what it seems to be!"

My Review: I don't know if I am being a little dense but I found myself very confused at times and still wondering exactly what was happening by the end. Even after this graphic novel there is still a lot of mystery surrounding the Morning Glory Academy. I did really enjoy the parts of the storyline I was able to follow and also the characters are rather intriguing. I guess this time I am going to continue with the second Volume when I can.
My Rating: I was a little lost and confused (and still am) but the story is so intriguing that I really want to give it another try to see where it goes.  I give it a rating of Three Paws.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Bedtime Story: Pup, Pup and Away

Read for: Children's book Challenge & Munchkin loves Paw Patrol!
Synopsis: "When a hot-air balloon gets lost during a race, the puppies from Nickelodeon’s PAW Patrol take to the sky! Perfect for boys and girls ages 3 to 7, this super-deluxe storybook includes over 30 stickers, game cards, and a poster."

My Review: Paw Patrol is all the rage with the preschoolers right now, and Munchkin is definitely a part of that fan base. This is very similar to one of the episodes on the show but it was nice that it wasn't an exact duplicate. There were also a lot of other goodies in the book for those little fans like stickers and a card game. I do like how each of the pups represents a different way to help the community, it is offering Munchkin a little broader variety of career options (not that he needs to think about it yet at 3 years old but he does).
My Rating: I like that this was a slight variation on the actual episode, and Munchkin of course just loved the Pups and the adventure. It is a fun book for those fans and full of extras too.  We give it a rating of Four Paws!

Beginning Reader Review of Plane Pals by Frank Berrios

Read for: Early Reader Challenge
Synopsis: "Planes follows Dusty Crophopper (voiced by Dane Cook), a big-hearted, speed-loving crop duster who dreams of competing in the toughest and most exhilarating around-the-world air race in history. With the support of friends old and new, Dusty reaches heights he never dreamed possible—and in the process, gives a world the inspiration to soar. Boys ages 4 to 6 who like Disney/Pixar's Cars will love this Step 1 leveled reader based on the film."

My Review: This is a great level one books for fans of the Planes movie. The sentences and words are short, with familiar character names and actions. It is also a nice introduction to words about friendship and working together. 
My Rating: This is a good book for the first readers, they will need assistance but the short words and sentences and familiar characters will help. I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

After Dark Review of Hope Springs by Jayne Rylon & Mari Carr

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, After Dark, Series Challenge
Synopsis: "What will grow from the seeds of desire?

Compass Girls, Book 2

Hope Compton never considered her parents’ unconventional relationship a dangerous thing. Until, after a few too many drinks in a crowded bar, she admits her desire for a ménage to her college boyfriend—and uninvited guests try to turn her fantasy into a nightmare.

When Wyatt catches some thugs harassing the pretty daughter of his bosses, he doesn’t hesitate to call on his partner Clayton to kick some asses. But then he realizes what a temptation the sweet, sheltered Hope presents. Especially her naughty wish to unleash her inner vixen—with both of them.

Hope has no doubt her playmates want to fulfill her every desire, but something’s holding them back. She has an idea what those somethings are. With luck, and a little help from her Compass cousins to hold her fathers off, she’ll find what she needs in the shadows of the past—and convince them she’s found two men of her own who are worthy of her love.

Warning: Compass books bring love in every direction and every season. But not all of life’s moments are filled with joy. Take the good with the bad, and the steamy."

My Review: After finally devouring the first book in this series, I couldn't help but jump immediately into this book too. This one felt a little choppy at times, like there were chunks of important relationship building missing and it seemed to dive more into the bedroom scenes instead of developing the series long storyline. Not that I am complaining all that much because the steam was almost too hot to handle in this book. I still very much so enjoyed this book an the characters and can't wait to continue the series.
My Rating: When I started this series I didn't realize that there were two different authors working on it, but it became obvious.  Mari Carr seems a little more focused on developing characters and storyline while Jayne Rylon is more focused on the amount of steam she can cram in the book. With that said this was a steamy book but an enjoyable book to read, I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.

Pen to Paper: Incoming Mail & Month of Letters Wrap Up

So I know February I not quite over yet but I figured since this was the last Thursday of the month and there are only 3 more mailing days after today, it wouldn't hurt to have my Month of Letters Wrap Up today.  
As I have said throughout the month that February is set aside for a Month of Letters Challenge (April is also a Letter Month I guess).  The challenge for the month is to mail something out each business/mail day throughout the month and to respond to every letter/card you receive.  So I utterly fail at sending something each day, with the way my schedule is, I write and send mail in spurts, some days I will be sending out 5 or 6 pieces of mail but then not send anything for another several days.  But honestly I don't feel like it really matters, it is more the challenge for me to send out 24 letters/cards/snail mail in a single month.
So I posted last week with my own personal challenges this month, and here they are again. I have starred (*) the ones that I have completed 
1.  Postcard *
2. Handmade Mail * (colored postcard & Pocket Letter)
3. Letter to an Extended Family Member*
4. Letter to an Immediate Family Member*
5. Birthday Card *
6. Valentine Card*
7. International Mail*
8. Fan Mail Letter*
9. Long Letter (5 or more pages)*
10. Short Letter (1 page or less)*
11. Send from a Different Mail Dropbox*
12. Letter to a New Pen Pal
13. Thank You*
14. Package*
15. A Thinking of You Card
16. New Baby Card*
17. Renew Contact with a Long Lost Friend
18. Reply to Letter*
19. Use a Not Current Forever Stamp*
20. Make Own Envelope*
So my long letter was dropped in the mail this morning, and I have a new pen pal letter going out tomorrow, a thinking of you card for Saturday and Monday will see a letter going out to someone I haven't had contact with in several years.   With those going out I will have met all of my challenges! I think the hardest one to send out was the letter to immediate family, it is hard to think of something to write when you talk to someone multiple times a day, and honestly I never heard what this person thought of it either. The other hard one to send was the Fan Mail, I get so nervous and giddy about authors so it was insanely stressful, I worried about the spelling, the grammar, making it unique enough to stand out in what I am sure are tons of fan letters, and most stressful off all was the fact that I may never hear what that author thought of the letter!
I had meant to be able to post the cost of the entire month but forgot to keep track exactly in my rushes in and out of the post office and quickly throwing a stamp on an envelope or postcard to beat the postman, so I will have to save that for next time.  I also wasn't the greatest about keeping track of everything sent but here is a rough idea of what I mailed out (with a few pictures).
8 postcards
4 birthday cards
3 valentine cards
2 pocket letters
2 response letters
1 new baby card with package
2 notecards
4 letters
Fan Mail to Kristin Cashore (author of Graceling, Fire & Bitterblue) and I used a new drop box

A hand colored postcard

Handmade envelope

Post card for PostCrossing
So far that is 26 wonderful things to brighten someone's day sent out and the month isn't even over yet! It really wasn't all that difficult to squeeze in either, some of the longer letters took some time to write and I could only do one on those days but the cards are so simple and quick but thoughtful.
It was very nice to be able to send things to friends and family to make their trips to the mailbox a little more exciting.  As for my mailbox, it was a little sad this month with only 2 things, a letter from a pen pal in the UK and a pocket letter from Canada.  But that is okay, it seems my mailbox will get busy every other month.

Check out that awesome postmark from the UK that seems like it was special for Valentine's Day! And the beautifully decorated envelope for the pocket letter.
Did you send out mail or receive some wonderful mail this month? Please share if you like!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Review of One of A Kind Cat Book by Ciye Cho

Read for: Requested Review
Synopsis: "The One-of-a-Kind Cat Book is a whimsical treat for cat lovers everywhere. Dive into its pages to meet Catalina the narcissistic movie star, Kit the steampunk genius, and Guillaume the macaron chef. Browse through letters, notes, and photos to learn about mystery cats from Svalbard and the Amazon. Follow a detective as he unravels the crimes of “Murder Kitties.”

The OOAK Cat Book is a grown-up picture book full of modern themes: a shameless search for fame (or infamy), an obsession with true crime, and our constant need for adventure and kawaii cats. The felines here will guide you to places like Paris, Varanasi, Woodstock, and the Great Barrier Reef.

Find your adventure amid 127 pages, 16 chapters, and 46 illustrations.

Currently a free download at"

My Review:  I have been a fan of Ciye Cho's books in the past, he always creates wonderful fantasy worlds that you can immerse yourself in. This book is really something unique. It isn't meant to be read through as a story, instead they are a fun variety of snippets involving cats. There is a variety of formats and types of short entries including an interview with a famous actor cat, a murder mystery, letters regarding rare cat sightings, an some are simply beautiful portrayals of cats in unusually colorings and settings (like mercats). It is definitely full of fantasy for the feline lovers of the world.
My Rating: While I loved the variety of stories and formats in this book, as well as the art, I wanted a little more on them.  Some of the stories were so intriguing, I felt like I was just getting a little teaser to a much bigger story.  It was still a very fun and unique book to enjoy.  I give it a rating of Three Paws.
OOAK Cat Book was sent to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.
You can find out more about Ciye Cho and his work on his Goodreads Page or Website
The OOAK Cat Book is currently only available in Digital format and is only available on Ciye Cho's Website  and guess what?! It is currently available for FREE Download!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Tea Time: Brewing Temps and Time

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?)

A fun cup of tea with words of wisdom. It was just a standard English Breakfast tea but the fun tag (and packaging) definitely adds something extra.
So did you know that different types of tea need different temperatures and times of steeping? I had no idea until a few years ago when I received a bunch of loose leaf teas and they had this wonderful information on the back.  I always would just make all my tea the same way (and granted I am not the best about following the correct brewing instructions still because I usually drink tea at the office).

It is a little hard to read but I found these simple instructions in a tea magazine I recently picked up. Simple and clear instructions for the perfect cup of tea! This is something I need to keep in mind because some of my tea might be tasting bitter because of the water being too hot or the steeping time too long.

Review of The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

Read for: Mount TBR, Audio Book Challenge
Synopsis: "Throughout her career, Margaret Atwood has played with different literary genres in her novels--historical fiction (Alias Grace), pulp fiction (The Blind Assassin), the comedy of manners (The Robber Bride)--but no foray into genre fiction has been as successful as her turn to speculative fiction in The Handmaid's Tale. Published in 1985, it echoes Orwell's 1984 and Huxley's Brave New World, but a vibrant feminism drives Atwood's portrait of a futuristic dystopia. In the Republic of Gilead, we see a world devastated by toxic chemicals and nuclear fallout and dominated by a repressive Christian fundamentalism. The birthrate has plunged, and most women can no longer bear children. Offred is one of Gilead's Handmaids, who as official breeders are among the chosen few who can still become pregnant."
My Review: I may have read this book in the past because some of the parts were familiar. I listened to the audio book of this one and I am glad I did or I might not have read the whole thing. I found the constant jumping around of the timeline and the random tangents throughout the book to be very off-putting for me. With that said the book still had a big message in it. I found it almost to be horrifying, in a way that it could happen and has already in some forms in other countries. While it wasn't my cup of tea in the presentation of the story, it is an excellent story.

My Rating: I honestly am not sure how I feel about this book, it is definitely a classic that should be read in some class. It would be an interesting book to discuss with others. It has some great value but the presentation and the rambling manner in which it is written didn't sit well with me. I give it a rating of Two Paws.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Magic Tree House Monday: Book 8 - Midnight on the Moon

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.
In Midnight on the Moon, Jack and Annie embark on a night time adventure to find the final M thing needed to free Morgan.  This time the house takes them to the moon and the future.
My Review: This is the first time in the series that you get to follow Jack and Annie into the future. They have quite the adventure on the moon and any little space or astronaut fans will love it. The four special things are discovered in this book and again like in book 4, it feels almost like it could be a conclusion in the series. I was a little puzzled by it at first but now that I think about the audience, it will give kids a sense of accomplishment without having the daunting task of having to read all (now) 54 books in the series. I wonder where the series will head next and if this trend of 4 books in a short storyline will continue.
My Rating: I am kind of wondering where Jack & Annie's parents are that are letting these kids leave the house and wonder the woods at night, but that is just the mom in me coming out.  I give this one 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

Sunset of the Sabertooth by Mary Pope Osborne (Magic Tree House)
Princess in the Spotlight by Meg Cabot
Trina Bell's Humming Summer by Silke Stein
Winter's Thaw by Mari Carr (After Dark)
Just a Little Sick by Mercer Mayer (Beginning Reader)
Curious George Makes Maple Syrup by H.A. Rey (Bedtime Story)

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

Announcing the Thaw = 5pts
Edgar Graduates = 1pt
Run Remy Run = 1pt
Monday is One Day = 1pt
Midnight on the Moon = 5pts
The Handmaid's Tale = 3pts
One of A Kind Cat = 3pts
Blue Sky Days = 3pts
A Dog Named Cat and a Cat Named Dog = 5pts
Into Your Light = 5pts
Snail Mail = 5pts
Currently Reading:

 Books to be Read Soon:


Total Points Earned
138 points + 37 points earned = 175 Points

Total Points Earned this Year: 265
Total Points Spent this Year: 90

Pages Read/ Time Listened
61:10 Hours Listened (11:01 listened this week)
8,738 Pages Read (875 this week)

Books Added to Shelves

Interesting Tidbits on the Web:



Not as much reading again this week, but I did do a lot of listening and finished the Handmaid's Tale (and for some reason it sounded horribly familiar, I may have read it before).  I also did a lot of coloring, I meant to post a crafty times post yesterday about it but got too busy so it will have to be this coming weekend. 

All in all, not a very eventful week this last week but hopefully things start picking up again soon! The weather is getting warm and my ankle is finally on the mend so I can't wait to get outside with Munchkin!