Saturday, April 2, 2016

RI Author Feature: An Airplane Ride Over Newport by Richard Grosvenor

Synopsis: Mr. G is taking a plane ride over the City of Newport, Rhode Island. The view from above allows a view of many of the beautiful sites in this small island city.
My Rating: This is a fun and simple book for young kids either visiting or even living in the area. It gives a nice over view of the city as well as pointing out important sites in the area to visit.
My Rating: This is a great little book for young tourists, simple yet beautiful art and simple sentences and small size make it great for them to put in their backpacks or take to a show and tell after a vacation.  I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.
This book is illustrated by Richard Grosvenor, a local artist, you can find out more about him on his Website or Facebook.
Munchkin actually received this book as part of a set, for Christmas. I have been unable to locate them available on the internet. As far as I know they may only be available in local tourist type shops or possibly the art galleries that display Mr. Grosvenor's work.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Rhode Island Author Feature Month - Kick Off & Giveaway!

Welcome to my Second Annual special month long feature of my local Rhode Island Authors!
I have been working really hard to put together another great event for you this year and I hope you enjoy what I have put together to share with all of you!

 I have many genres of books ranging from Children's, Poetry, Fantasy, Romance and even some Mystery and Thrillers. Some of the authors featured include Christine DePetrillo, Judith Glynn, Rich Feitelberg, Eric Sturtevant and many more!  A few of them will even stop by for interviews. I also have several giveaways scheduled throughout the month for some of the books I will be featuring.

It should be a month full of fun so I hope you will try to stop by often or even daily and tell your friends and followers too!

To kick off the event I thought I would start with a  giveaway, because honestly what better way to raise interest? 
Included in this Giveaway Prize Pack:
~ Rhode Island Stickers
~Rhode Island Saltwater Taffy
~Del's Lemonade Mix
~Local Gourmet Popcorn in Rhode Island Coffee Milk Flavor
~Narragansett in Vintage Postcard book
~What's Great About Rhode Island Book
~Fishing in Narragansett Bay Children's Book
Of course with anything else we have rules
~You must be 18 or older to enter (though there is nothing adult included)
~This is open internationally but if there are any customs fees you will be responsible
~Some entries are available to enter daily
~Giveaway ends midnight on the 29th, winners will be announced the next day (I will be contacting you via email after the announcement for shipping information)

Thursday, March 31, 2016

After Dark Review of Marked by Elisabeth Naughton

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: Audiobooks & Mount TBR
Synopsis: "THERON - Dark haired, duty bound and deceptively deadly. He's the leader of the Argonauts, an elite group of guardians that defends the immortal realm from threats of the Underworld.

From the moment he walked into the club, Casey knew this guy was different. Men like that just didn't exist in real life--silky shoulder-length hair, chest impossibly broad, and a predatory manner that just screamed dark and dangerous. He was looking for something. Her.

She was the one. She had the mark. Casey had to die so his kind could live, and it was Theron's duty to bring her in. But even as a 200-year-old descendant of Hercules, he wasn't strong enough to resist the pull in her fathomless eyes, to tear himself away from the heat of her body.

As war with the Underworld nears, someone will have to make the ultimate sacrifice."

My Review: I really struggled with this one at the beginning. I was listening to the audio version and several of the names and terms were so similar it was hard to keep straight. There were also a lot of terms that were either obscure or made up, I couldn't tell which and it was very difficult to figure out the meaning. There was also a need for a lot of world building but you had to fumble the majority of the way through the book before things were explained. With that said the time that wasn't spent world was spent developing the characters and the sexual tension between Cassie and Theron. There is a lot of action for the adventure seeking reader and steam for the romance readers, there is also a connection to the classic myths as well. So there is a little bit for nearly all readers, but you have to fumble your way through for quite a while. I am not sure if I will continue this series (I much preferred Naughton's Firebrand Trilogy).
My Rating: I had a really hard time keeping things straight in the beginning of this book, there wasn't enough world building or at least explanation of elements of the story.  Once I got past that and could focus on the characters it was good. I give it a rating of Two Paws.

Pen to Paper: Books to Inspire You - For the Love of Letters

Today is the final installment of Books to Inspire You, at least to write.
I have for you a book that I downloaded off Amazon.  It has a variety of different letters from what you see in some of the other books about letters (they normally feature friendly letters, thank you, holidays, etc).  This book had tips and examples for much more emotionally charged letters in the first half, including love letters, erotic love letters, breakup letters, sympathy letters, and more. The later chapters also include more professional letters like cover letters, business thank you letters, letters for a cause and letters to an editor.
This book contained a lot of examples of letters, some historic and some of the author's own personal letters.  Be forewarned though, there are a lot of her personal letters in there and it becomes a little narcissistic in my opinion with so many. The author also repeatedly mentions her own website for writing letters almost to the point of advertising.  It is a helpful book in some aspects but can get a little tedious.
So as I have said earlier in the week, April is my Rhode Island Author Month, I will be putting Pen to Paper posts on hiatus to give more time to my local authors.  I will return in May (on the 12th after Children's Book Week) with some posts about discoveries and things I have learned over the past year of pen paling.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Review of Before the Fairytale: Horse Feathers by Iscah

Read for: Requested Review
Synopsis: "Phillip is a young boy bored by his routine life at a unicorn stable. He longs for a adventure and a pegasus until one day when his father makes an announcement that changes his life forever."

My Review: It has been a while since I read Seventh Night or Girl with No Name, and Horse Feathers seems to land between the two tales. Even with the large gap between reading times, I settled right into the story and enjoyed the development and finally spotting details that lead to the other books. Phillip's tale is a little slow developing but give the strong basis for the character and the world that needs to be built upon in the later book. I enjoyed reading it and finding how he obtained certain elements of his character and talents Of course there is plenty of fantasy elements to follow as well. Who wouldn't want join Phillip as he travels countries, encounters magic, learns from a camp of thieves, and breeds Pegasus and Unicorns to develop the treasured winged unicorns?!
My Rating: I rather enjoyed Phillip's story and then also finding the connection between it and the other two stories in the series. I give it a rating of Four Paws.
I received Horse Feathers from the author in exchange for an honest review.
You can find out more about Iscah on Goodreads or Website.
You can also obtain your own copy in digital format from Amazon or Barnes & Noble (I believe the print version is expected sometime this summer).

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Tea Time: Russian Tea

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?)
Nothing makes me feel better quite like my mom's Russian Tea, a warm blanket and kitty snuggles!
So I am pretty sure I shared in one of the first Tea Time posts that I started drinking Russian Tea as my first introduction, my mom always gave it to us when we were sick.  Of course if you follow the blog at all you know that I have been sick the ENTIRE month of March.  When I felt things coming on the first thing I did was gather the ingredients for my Mom's Russian Tea mix. I don't know if it is the comforting memories or if it actually does help but a cup of this always makes me feel a little better (even though it is temporary).
So I thought I would share my Mom's recipe with you. . .
1 Cup Instant Tea (it is supposed to be unsweetened and I could only find lemon flavored - so mine ended up overly lemon flavored)
2 Cups Tang powder
1 Cup Lemonade mix (if you get Country time or similar they are pre-sweetened)*
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
Mix thoroughly, add 2 generous spoonfuls to a mug of hot water (it is tasty cold too but easiest to dissolve in hot water).
*if you use a lemonade packet that isn't sweetened, add 1 cup of sugar as well
Hope this helps if you get sick too, or just enjoy on a cool day!

Review of Princess in Waiting by Meg Cabot

Read for: Mount TBR & Series Challenge
Synopsis: "Never before has the world seen such a princess.

Nor have her own subjects, for that matter. Mia's royal introduction to Genovia has mixed results: while her fashion sense is widely applauded, her position on the installation of public parking meters is met with resistance.

But the politics of bureaucracy are nothing next to Mia's real troubles. Between canceled dates with her long—sought—after royal consort, a second semester of the dreaded Algebra, more princess lessons from Grandmère as a result of the Genovian parking—meter thing, and the inability to stop gnawing on her fingernails, isn't there anything Mia is good at besides inheriting an unwanted royal title?"

My Review: This series seemed to have been improving over the previous two books but seemed to take a step back in the maturity level. We are once again reminded that Mia is more like a tween girl than a princess in the making. You would have thought some of the hard knock lessons she had learned over the past books would make her not so annoying and gushy with her relationship with Michael. This book makes it clear that this series is not exactly young adult but definitely geared more towards a young teen girl audience, and unfortunately really pinholes it as that reader group instead of making it slightly more appealing to a wide spread audience.
My Rating: I found myself unbelievable annoyed with the 'woe is me, I haven't seen my brand new boyfriend in 6 days' etc. I have never been a really emotional girl and the lovesick puppy thing always grates on my nerves, so this book in particular was a big draw back for the whole series for me.  I give it a rating of Two Paws.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Magic Tree House Monday: Book 12 - Polar Bears Past Bedtime

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 Book 12, Jack and Annie are summoned after bedtime by a snowy owl to join Morgan in the Magic Tree House.  They were sent to the artic to solve the last riddle to become master librarians.
My Review: This was another great installment of the Magic Tree House Series, I really like how the books are progressing and making not only Jack and Annie use their experiences and minds to figure things out but also the reader. There is always a lot of action and danger in these books but this one wasn't as intense as some of the others. It is also a nice breaking point if a young reader doesn't want to continue but it is exciting enough that most will be eager to continue.
My Rating: I found it odd at first how every 4 books was like a mini series but I now see the benefit, where kids who want to move on to other books can leave feeling satisfied with a conclusion or they can continue reading this series.  I give this book 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

Lions at Lunchtime by Mary Pope Osborne (Magic Tree House)
Now We are Six by A.A. Milne (Audiobook)
Mabel Crowley Book One by E.H. Nolan
Always First Class by Lois Barry (Pen to Paper)
Love in the Light by Laura Kaye (After Dark)
How to Help the Earth by the Lorax by Tish Rabe (Early Reader)
Curious George Plants a Tree by HA Rey (Bedtime Story)
Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon Hale (Graphic Novel)
 Books Finished Last Week:
Reviews will be posted at a later date

Polar Bears Past Bedtime = 5pts
Princess in Waiting = 5pts
Horse Feathers = 3pts

Currently Reading:

 Books to be Read Soon:


Total Points Earned
156 points + 13 points earned - 60 points spent = 109 points

Total Points Earned this Year: 364
Total Points Spent this Year: 259

Pages Read/ Time Listened
73:09 Hours Listened (none listened this week)
11,108 Pages Read (598 this week)

Books Added to Shelves

Falling For Her by Debbie Macomber - 10 points spent
Morgan's Fate by Dana Marie Bell - 10 points spent
Not Broken by Dana Marie Bell - 10 points spent
Child of the Northern Spring by Persia Woolley - 10 points spent
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving - 10 points spent
The Bride Wore Spurs by Sharon Ihle - 10 points spent
Party Princess by Meg Cabot - Audible Download

Interesting Tidbits on the Web:



Another not so great week for me, after feeling better 2 weeks ago, early last week I headed downhill again. After a visit to the doctor and chest xrays, I now have bronchitis.  I was given a cough medicine, but it makes me so sleepy that I had no problem going to bed at 8:30 after Munchkin and sleeping until 8:00 the next morning.  So needless to say there wasn't much reading happening. I did however get another gift card as a belated birthday present and went on another shopping spree ;)

This Friday also kicks off the Rhode Island Author Month! I have worked so hard on it for all of you this year.  I have 15 reviews ready so far, at least another 4 books to read and review, 1 interview complete and 2 more lined up, and so far 4 giveaways ready to go as well!  So all of April will be about Rhode Island Authors, all other posts (except Monday Reading Lists) will be put on hold so that these authors can get the time they deserve.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

1st Quarterly 2016 Challenge Update

Gosh can you believe we are already a quarter of the way through the year?! I have had my ups and downs already this year but have been doing a lot of reading and am enjoying most of the books so far!
 So here is the status of my challenges so far . . .
Children's Book Challenge
 My goal is to read at least 60 but no more than 80 Children's books this year. I think I am keeping this one under control pretty good so far, I will have a bunch more coming up soon though in preparation for Children's Book Week!
 1. Snowballs
2. Sneezy the Snowman
3. The Little Snowplow
4. Curious George Makes Maple Syrup
5. Just a Snowman
6. A Magical Snowman
7. Hug Machine
8. Pup, Pup and Away
9. Monday is One Day
10. What Pet Should I Get?
11. Clifford's Spring Clean Up
12. I'm Not Sleepy
13. Curious George Plants a Tree

Early Reader Challenge
 My goal for this year is to read 60 books. Again, I have kept this one under control but will have a bunch more for the Children's Book Challenge.
1. Smash Trash
2. Hello, Olaf!
3. Just a Little Sick
4. Plane Pals
5. Splat the Cat: Blow, Snow, Blow
6. Rubble to the Rescue
7. Rocket's 100th Day of School
8. Mama Loves
9. Run, Remy, Run!
10. How to Help the Earth By the Lorax
11. The Berenstain Bears Clean House
12. Pete the Cat and the Bad Banana

Graphic Novel Challenge
 My goal is to read 26 this year. I am really starting to nail down exactly what GNs I enjoy and have a bunch of great ones on this years list.
1. Korgi Vol. 3: A Hollow Beginning
2. How Mirka Got Her Sword
3. Morning Glories Vol. 1: For a Better Future
4. Winterworld Vol. 1: La Nina
5. Redhood and the Outlaws Vol. 1: Redemption
6. Rapunzel's Revenge
Audio Book Challenge
I intend to listen to 24 audiobooks this year. I got a little out of control with this one at the beginning of the year and I expect I will go well over my original goal.
1. The Selection
2. The Elite
3. The One
4. The Heir
5. Dante's Fire
6. When We Where Very Young (Winnie the Pooh #3)
7. The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie
8. Mary Poppins
9. The Handmaid's Tale
10. Marked

Series Challenge
 I have several series in my TBR pile so I plan to read (and re-read the early books if I had started the series) 5 full series. I have gotten a good jump on this challenge early in the year, though I have slacked off a little trying to get ready for the RI Author Month. By the next update I hope to have 3 more series complete!

1. Nine Kingdoms by Lynn Kurland - Book 1

2. The Hound Saga by Mette Ivie Harrison -

3. Deadly Liasons by Leigh Wilder - Book 1, Book 2, Book 3, Book 4 - COMPLETE

4. The Selection by Kiera Cass - Book .1, Book .2, Book 1, Book 2, Book 2.1, Book 2.2, Book 3Book 4, Book 5

5. Heart Mates by Robin D. Owens -

6. Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot - Book 1, Book 2, Book 3, Book 4

7. Compass Girls by Mari Carr - Book 1, Book 2, Book 3, Book 4 - COMPLETE

8. Magic Tree House by Mary Pope Osborn - Books 1-50 are owned (need 51-54) - Book 1 (re-read), Book 2, Book 3, Book 4, Book 5, Book 6, Book 7, Book 8, Book 9, Book 10, Book 11, Book 12

Mount TBR
 This year I thought I would split my TBR in half to make sure I read both print and ebooks. So my goal is to read at least 50 print books and 50 ebooks off my TBR pile. I think I am relatively on track with this challenge, of course my focus has been on the RI Author books lately but I plan to get more into these books soon!

Digital TBR
1. Drain Me Dry
2. Addicted to the Bite
3. The Queen
4. The Prince
5. Club Midnight
6. Bloodlines
7. The Guard
8. The Favorite
9. A Collector of Affections
10. Winters Thaw
11. Hope Springs
12. Summer Fling
13. Falling Softly
14. Blue Sky Days

Print TBR
1. The Ice Dragon
2. Collecting Seashells by the Seashore
3. The Princess Diaries
4. The Beast Within
5. What is the Super Bowl?
6. Princess in the Spotlight
7. Announcing the Thaw
8. Into Your Light
9. A Cat Named Dog & A Dog Named Cat
10. The Ferry Home
11. Princess in Love
12. Magic & Melee
13. Princess in Waiting

Rhode Island Authors
My goal is to have at least 15 books, 3 interviews & 1 giveaway (maybe more). I have already read 15 books but have about 4 or 5 more I want to add, I have 3 interviews lined up and hope to have one more for you and I also have 4 giveaways ready too!
1. Ducky Ducky Likes to Moo
2. Hippo Hippo's Cranky Day
3. Collecting Seashells by the Seashore
4. A Collector of Affections
5. Lolly's Picnic
6. Announcing the Thaw
7. Edgar Graduates
8. Into Your Light
9. A Cat Named Dog & A Dog Named Cat
10. Ferry Home
11. The Street or Me
12. Magic and Melee
13. One Night with You
14. Fishing In Narragansett Bay
15. Flight over Newport

Requested Reviews:
 I will be accepting only 15-20 reviews sent by authors (please be sure to check my policy page before sending a request) and I will read/ request no more than 17 books on Netgalley.  I have been keeping this relatively under control as well though I do have many more authors to email back.

1. The Face in the Mountain
2. Gwendolyn's Sword
3. Night Study

Direct Requests:
1. The Changing Season
2. Trina Bell's Humming Summer
3. One of A Kind Cat Book
4. A Life With You
5. Mabel Crowley Book One
6. Horse Feathers

After Dark Challenge
Now I wasn't sure if I was going to do this challenge or not but I have a bunch of books on my list for this year so I decided to keep track of them as well.  My goal is to read 25 this year.
1. Drain Me Dry
2. Addicted to the Bite
3. Club Midnight
4. Bloodlines
5. Winters Thaw
6. Hope Springs
7. Summer Fling
8. Falling Softly
9. Hearts in Darkness
10. Love in the Light
11. Marked
12. One Night with You

Goodreads Challenge
I set my goal at 325 this year with no intention of changing it as I have had to do in years past.  So far I am at 101 books this year, I do have a couple more reviews to post tomorrow.

Goodread Challenge Page

So all in all it has been a great reading year so far.  I must say that I have picked some amazing books to read, I have particularly enjoyed the Compass Girls series and The Selection Series. How are your challenges going so far? Any particular book standing out to you so far?