Saturday, March 26, 2016

Graphic Novel Review of Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon Hale

Read for: Graphic Novel Challenge
Synopsis: "Once upon a time, in a land you only think you know, lived a little girl and her mother . . . or the woman she thought was her mother.

Every day, when the little girl played in her pretty garden, she grew more curious about what lay on the other side of the garden wall . . . a rather enormous garden wall.

And every year, as she grew older, things seemed weirder and weirder, until the day she finally climbed to the top of the wall and looked over into the mines and desert beyond.

Newbery Honor-winning author Shannon Hale teams up with husband Dean Hale and brilliant artist Nathan Hale (no relation) to bring readers a swashbuckling and hilarious twist on the classic story as you've never seen it before. Watch as Rapunzel and her amazing hair team up with Jack (of beanstalk fame) to gallop around the wild and western landscape, changing lives, righting wrongs, and bringing joy to every soul they encounter."

My Review: As soon as I saw this one, I knew I would have to read it and I was definitely not disappointed. It was a fun interpretation of not only Rapunzel's tale but also of several other fairy tale characters. I enjoyed the art and the storyline. Of course I am always a fan of strong female characters that take their rescue into their own hands and this graphic novel played into that preference perfectly. I am also excited to say that there is at least another book following this one.
My Rating: I really enjoyed the art, the story and the twist on classic fairytales in this one.  I will definitely be tracking down the next novel in the set! I give it a rating of Four Paws!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Bedtime Story: Curious George Plants a Tree by HA Rey

Read for: Children's Book Challenge
Synopsis: "George loves to go to the science museum. So, when he finds out that the museum is planning a “Green Day” dedicated to recycling and planting trees, and George is curious and wants to help out! But little monkeys eager to help can sometimes become little monkeys getting into trouble. When George begins to find and recycle things around town that aren’t quite ready for the recycle bin, he gets into a jam. Thankfully, George isn’t the only one who wants to help—the whole community can’t wait to lend a hand—and help George and the museum plant some trees!"

My Review: I figured this would be a great book for spring and the upcoming earth day, my only concern was that Munchkin would want to plant a tree and we have no space in our yard. Thankfully, upon reading the book, George plants a tree in a park. George also helps take care of the planet by recycling. This is a great way to introduce or encourage green living, Munchkin was very excited that he already does things to help the earth.
My Rating: This is a good book for those little George fans and for introducing things week can do to help the environment, you can never start that too early.  We give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.
Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Beginning Reader Review of How to Help the Earth by the Lorax by Tish Rabe

Read for: Early Reader Challenge
Synopsis: "The star of The Lorax by Dr. Seuss makes his Step into Reading debut in this rhymed reader that offers kids easy suggestions for going green! After explaining how the trash in a wastbasket ultimately ends up in a landfill or incinerator, the Lorax suggests realistic ways children can reduce waste, such as by carrying a lunch box, donating old clothes and toys, sharing magazines with friends, recycling cans and bottles, and using rechargeable batteries. He also explains how they can save energy around the home by turning off lights, taking shorter showers, donning sweaters to stay warm, and much, much more. All in all, this is a great introduction to helping the Earth and helping kids step into reading!"

My Review: This is a great level 3 beginning reader book, it is longer and has more complicated sentence structure and words, but it can also be enjoyed when read to a younger child. It had many great lessons on how to help the environment, and all simple things that kids can do or help remind adults to do. Throughout the book there are the wonderful rhymes for great reading pacing and the illustrations are all fun and bright. Munchkin rather enjoyed this book and it tied in well to our spring cleaning and the upcoming Earth Day.
Rating: We enjoyed this book and think it would be great for children starting to read entirely on their own or younger children still reading with help.  I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

After Dark Review of Love in the Light 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: Because I have waited so long for this book!
Synopsis: "Two hearts in the darkness…

Makenna James and Caden Grayson have been inseparable since the day they were trapped in a pitch-black elevator and found acceptance and love in the arms of a stranger. Makenna hopes that night put them on the path to forever—which can’t happen until she introduces her tattooed, pierced, and scarred boyfriend to her father and three over-protective brothers.

Must fight for love in the light…

Haunted by a childhood tragedy and the loss of his family, Caden never thought he’d find the love he shares with Makenna. But the deeper he falls, the more he fears the devastation sure to come if he ever lost her, too. When meeting her family doesn’t go smoothly, Caden questions whether Makenna deserves someone better, stronger, and just more…normal. Maybe they’re too different—and he’s far too damaged—after all…"

My Review: I am so, so glad that Kaye decided to write the sequel to Hearts in Darkness after so many years! While we have all been begging for it, I am really glad for the wait. I feel that the research and experience from writing her other books really lent to the depth of character and emotions in this book. It was quite the emotional rollercoaster ride with ups and downs and sidespins. There is never really a dull moment in the book, the momentum just keeps pulling you along and you can't wait to follow the characters to the end. I may have loved this one even more than the first book and I will continue to be a loyal Kaye fan!
My Rating: I loved the first book so much and was so thrilled to see this book come out.  I really enjoyed this one, I got the favorite characters again, a fully developed storyline and plenty of steam!  I give it a rating of Four Paws and a Stump Wag! 

Pen to Paper: Books to Inspire You - Always First Class

Good Morning Everyone,  I hope you have been enjoying my series of books about written correspondence.  I have a new one for you today that I will definitely be keeping next to all my writing supplies for quick reference.
This book has several chapters of just quotes about different aspects writing letters from various famous figures. They are great to inspire you or add in to a letter that you are writing.  I also loved how it had a chapter about the history of letter and mail delivery.  It is definitely a book to inspire and enjoy as a pen pal or letter writer.
Next week I will share one more book with you, even though there is a wealth of books out there, before taking a break for the RI Author Month. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Review of Mabel Crowley Book 1 by E.H. Nolan

Read for: Author Requested Review
Synopsis: "Mabel Crowley, the only child of a wealthy English banker, wants nothing more than to be rid of her last name and wed her first love, stable-boy Charlie Archer, whose own hopes reside in becoming a partner in his father’s livery yard. Her parents forbid the union and whisk the impulsive child away to Bath so that she might forget her troubles. Distraught and vowing that she will never love again, Mabel impulsively accepts a teaching position while on vacation in Bath, certain that this will ensure her spinsterhood and prove her undying love for Charlie. Irene Hartley, a five-year-old student desperately in love with her new teacher, persuades her parents to offer Mabel a position as governess to their growing brood. Her father is Theodore Hartley, the obscenely wealthy and renowned railroad tycoon. Theodore sees how his daughter has grown attached to Mabel, and after his wife dies in childbirth, he makes Mabel an offer of a permanent nature to make his eldest daughter happy. Still madly in love with Charlie, Mabel returns home to find out whether he has carried the same love in his heart in the years they’ve been apart. She finds him boarding a train, in uniform, ready to serve his country in World War I. Will she act once again on impulse, or will she make her decision based on hope for her future? A sweeping romance of love, longing, and the nature of hope, E.H. Nolan’s debut is a moving family saga that probes the deepest recesses of the human heart with subtlety, profound empathy, and prose filled with the emotion of open spaces and words left unsaid. Delving into the nature of sacrifice, family secrets, and the important of keeping promises and honouring commitments, Mabel Crowley captures the essence of the human condition as it delivers a passionate portrait of a life consumed by the power of love."

My Review: I don't know how many books will end up being in this saga but I really appreciate how the author broke it down into manageable books. It is a slow moving story, but that is to be expected of this style of book. I did find Mabel to be a little tedious at first and I had to keep reminding myself that she is a young character. I instantly found Charlie to be intriguing and want to continue to follow his storyline and where it takes me. I also find the situation that Mabel has fallen into to be interesting and I am eager to see how it plays out. I am not super familiar with the time period this book is set in but I find the developments of the world around the characters to be a great historical marker to keep you in the setting. I really enjoyed this book and while you are left off hanging a little bit, I think this book ends well with anticipation for the next book.
My Rating: This is a classic historical romance, so the pacing is a little slow but that is to be expected.  I rather enjoyed the book and the characters. It was really nice to see Mabel mature throughout the book.  I give it a rating of Four Paws.
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
You can find out more about E.H. Nolan and her work on her Goodreads Page or Website
You can also obtain your own copy of Mabel Crowley Book 1 in Digital format from Amazon  or Barnes and Noble and it is currently FREE on both sites (as of 3/21/2016)!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Tasty Attempts: Pizza Party

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 because I was on vacation last week and sick the previous two weeks, I haven't been cooking much.  As a family tradition with Hubby's side, we always get together for birthdays and usually have dinner out.  I am still not 100%, so I asked if we could have a homemade pizza evening instead.  It was a huge hit! We had a selection of crusts (no one really wanted the trouble of stretching homemade dough), regular sauce or pesto sauce.  We had a wide variety of toppings, so everyone could make what they liked, including olives, onions, bell peppers, saut├ęd mushrooms, basil, pepperoni, sweet Italian sausage and chicken both poached in pasta sauce, homemade bacon (also pre-cooked), chunked mozzarella or shredded cheese, parmesan cheese and olive oil and garlic powder.
Munchkin decided after making his own mini pizzas that he was the official pizza chef. He had a blast topping all the pizzas.  We will definitely have to do this again!

Audiobook Review of Now We Are Six by A.A. Milne

Read for: Mount TBR & Audio Books
Synopsis: "Everyone who has read Milne's original Pooh books knows that he can write a good hum, after all Pooh gives us several.
In this volume (and the earlier "When We Were Very Young") Milne's voice comes through more clearly, unmoderated by writing for his bear of little brain. He gives us a small volume full of poems that should surely last as well as his prose. While some of them are strongly flavoured by the time and place where he wrote them others are more universal in their subject and tone.
As you read this volume you will almost certainly come across something you recognise, if it isn't the line "James James Morrison Morrison Weatherby George Dupree" that catches your memory then it might be "Just a bit of butter for the royal slice of bread." If not, then you will find many of them sticking when you have read them to a child."

My Review: This book was a little similar to the 'Winnie the Pooh Book 3' in that was a bunch of rhymes and not really a story. The good part about this one is that it at least referred to and mentioned the familiar characters of the story. The rhymes were more Pooh-ish as well. It is short and sweet, though I wished for another story, this was still enjoyable and might be fun to have on in the background while playing other things. 
My Rating: I liked that this one at least involved the characters of Winnie the Pooh, and the classic Pooh hums. Of course the classic narration voice of Peter Dennis really lends to the feel of the book. I enjoyed it just not as much as the first actual stories.  I give it a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Magic Tree House Monday: Book 11 - Lions at Lunchtime

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 11 follows Jack & Annie to Africa where they must solve the third riddle in their quest to become Master Librarians.  Morgan gives them a single warning before sending them off on the adventure, watch out for the lions!
My Review: The answer to the third riddle isn't as simple as you would imagine. Jack and Annie had to figure it out while surrounded by wild animals and danger. I enjoyed this one a lot and I am glad to see the riddles and challenges getting to be more difficult. I also like how Jack and Annie are having to use what they learn from the books more and more in their travels. It is another great book in the series to keep young readers coming back for more.  
My Rating: I can really see these books advancing and involving the readers more, trying to get them to figure out things and use their knowledge along with Jack and Annie.  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

Ghost Town at Sundown by Mary Pope Osborne (Magic Tree House)
Princess in Love by Meg Cabot
A Life with You by Roy Miller
The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie by Jennifer Ashley (After Dark)
Pete the Cat and the Bad Banana by James Dean (Early Reader)
I'm Not Sleepy by Jane Chapman (Bedtime Story)

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

The Street or Me = 3pts
One Night with You = 3pts
Lions at Lunchtime = 5pts
Magic & Melee = 5pts
Curious George Plants a Tree = 1pt
For the Love of Letters = 3pts

Currently Reading:

 Books to be Read Soon:


Total Points Earned
126 points + 20 points earned + 10 Points (10K pages) = 156 points

Total Points Earned this Year: 351
Total Points Spent this Year: 195

Pages Read/ Time Listened
73:09 Hours Listened (none listened this week)
10,510 Pages Read (682 this week)

Books Added to Shelves

Interesting Tidbits on the Web:



Not a great week for me this last week, on the reading end any way.  I was supposed to be on vacation but had to make up some time from when I had the flu.  I did get a couple of days off and since we were home, Hubby and I decided to get a start on spring cleaning.  We managed to purge most of our up stairs and also completely went through Munchkin's room. We did a deep clean of his room because it was time to empty out all the baby stuff, he was ready for a real bed. It does feel so good when you can haul away 2 truck loads of things to donate and still have some more to go! I also spent another day working entirely on accounting and taxes, YUCK! So all that left me little time for reading. 

I have however been working hard on getting ready for next month, which is going to be the Rhode Island Author feature.  So far I have 3 interviews lined up and 4 giveaways, and already 16 book reviews to share with all of you!