Saturday, April 23, 2016

Dewey's 24 Hour Spring Readathon - Halfway Check In

It has been a great reading day, it went surprisingly well with Munchkin.  I think having a cloudy, rainy day helped with the cuddle up and read mood.  I was able to continue reading even when he lost interest and wanted to watch a movie or play Lego. Now thankfully he is in bed and I hope to read some more and be a little more focused (well at least until I fall asleep too)
So here is my update so far:
Currently reading:  One Night of Sin
Books finished: Adventures of Beekle, If You Give a Dog a Donut, Secret Pizza Party, I am Helping, A Big Guy took my Ball, Foolish Tortoise, Pit Crew Pups, Owls, Ewoks Join the Fight, Flying High, Zeg and the Egg, Beast Keeper, Hounds of Hades, Steeds of the Gods, Dragon Healer, Dogs of War, Angela Asgard's Assassin, Apollo, Goodnight Darth Vader, Esio Trot, Gone Fishing
Pages read: 1,623
Time Listened: None
Running total of pages read: 1,623
Amount of time spent reading: 10.5 hours
Running total of time spent reading: 10.5 hours
Snacks: Gummy Bears
Reading Spot: Couch
Up Next:
I will be reading One Night of Sin now, I need a break from all this early chapter books and mythology.  After that I will move on to either the Magic Tree House books or Princess and the Hound.
Good luck to all you other fellow readers as we hit the downhill stretch of the Readathon!

Dewey's 24 Hour Spring Readathon - Kick Off

I am here ready to kick off my readathon today.  This is going to be a really interesting one, instead of having the house to myself or at least have arranged alone time, this readathon I will have my 3 year old Munchkin with me all day.
I will only be updating here a couple of times throughout the day (more than likely next time you see me will be nap time for Munchkin), but will try to keep up more often on my twitter ( @EasternSunset9 )
It is 8:00am here in Rhode Island and Munchkin and I are ready to kick off this party.  We ran down to the 'Donut House' (what Munchkin calls Dunkin Donuts because the donuts obviously live there) and grabbed some donuts and chocolate milk to read with our first book.
Speaking of books here is what we have to start the day . . .
I think by that time Munchkin might need a little break to play so I will read
and if Munchkin wants I think I will read out loud while he plays with Lego
Hopefully today goes smoothly and I get some reading time in, and maybe get Munchkin into readathons for the future.  So what are you reading to start your Dewey Day?

RI Author Feature: More than Cookies by Christine DePetrillo

Review of Book 1: More Than Pancakes
Synopsis: "Book Two in The Maple Leaf Series

Sage Stannard is grumpy. Having just attended her cousin’s wedding in California, she’s at her limit for watching happy couples stare dreamily at one another. She’s never had anything but quick romps back home in Vermont that always turn out to be mistakes. Big ones. Maybe moving out of her mother’s house and taking a stab at online dating will add a little excitement to this caterer’s stale life. Maybe it’ll bring more disappointment. Who knows?

Chainsaw artist Orion Finley is on a mission to get his daughter, Myah, back from his ruthless ex-wife. Only trouble is his ex-wife is a crafty lawyer with connections—ones that give her the upper hand. She even managed to get custody of his dog, Ranger, just to drive the stake deeper into his heart. His father always told him women were poison, especially the pretty ones. Why hadn’t he listened? Well, he was listening now.

When Sage and Orion meet over a bloody couch, the gates are opened to a path neither of them is quite ready to travel on. Will they stumble? Will it be all uphill? Or will the end of the path be just the new beginning they need?"

My Review: This is the second book in the series, and even though it has been quite a while since I read the first book, I was able to settle right into this one. It could really almost be read as a standalone book if you so choose to read it that way. The characters are very relatable and fun to read. DePetrillo does a great job with the build up of the story and the tension between the characters. I loved the back and forth, Sage is definitely a fun character to read. While I did enjoy Orion for the most part, there were times where I felt he acted a little childish and overly dramatic. The sub-characters are just as wonderful as the main ones, Ian is fantastic and pretty much makes the book for me. I really do love this series and will be continuing to read it, especially with the little bit we got to know Adam in this one.
My Rating: I rather enjoyed this book, it has an involved storyline with developed characters, but it is also an easy read that keeps the pages turning.  I give it a rating of Three Paws and A Stump Wag.
I originally met Christine DePetrillo at the RI Author Expo in 2014. I then also had the opportunity to interview her for the RI Author month last year and you can find that interview HERE.  You can find out more about Christine and her book on her Goodreads Page or Website.
You can also purchase your own copy of More than Cookies and the other books in the Maple Leaf Series in digital or print formats from Barnes and Noble or Amazon.

Friday, April 22, 2016

RI Author Feature: Bedtime Story: Lolly's Picnic by Laura Crisafulli Kennedy

Synopsis: "It's a beautiful sun-shining day when Lolly decides it's to go on a picnic with her toy friends. Off she goes, skipping and smiling until she remembers an important challenge she is about to face. Join Lolly's friends Oliver, Kirby, Lucky, Magic and Bellabear on a fun adventure as they help Lolly face her fears and doubts to strengthen her spirit."

My Review: This is a lovely, bright colored book for young children entering into a new situations and might be unsure of themselves. Lolly's friends remind her that her strength comes from within as she faces moving somewhere new. The illustrations are bright and bold and will attract little eyes while you read the story. It is a little long for young ones to sit through but can be read in a couple of sittings. It has a good message about confidence and kindness, being beautiful inside and out, and finding strength through joy.
My Rating: This book has a wonderful message for young children having to move somewhere new or go to a new school.  It is long for some children to sit through so I would suggest reading it in more than one sitting.  We give it a rating of Three Paws.
I had the benefit of Meeting Laura Kennedy at the RI Author Expo in December of last year. You can find out more about Laura and her book on her website. 
You can also purchase your own copy of Lolly's Picnic in print or digital format from Barnes and Noble or Amazon.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

RI Author Feature: Interview with Rich Feitelberg & Giveaway

So I am a little behind schedule but I really hope you are enjoying this month long feature of Rhode Island Authors.  This evening I am here to share an interview with Rich Feitelberg, the author of the Aglaril Cycle fantasy series (see my review of the second book, Vorn the Onyx from yesterday) and a collection of short stories, Magic and Melee.  I have a great giveaway for you after the interview so make sure you enter!
Ang: How did you come up with the name Aglaril Cycle? And the names of the gems?

Rich: Using the Elvish Dictionary based on Tolkien's Middle Earth I constructed the name Aglaril.  The idea of Cycle was influenced by poetry, as the books could be considered a prose version of poetry written by James Claymont, the story's bard.  I don't remember exactly where all the gem names came from, some are from the Elvish Dictionary, others I made up and others were more than likely a combination of terms and translations.

Ang: There are several main characters in your books, is it difficult to keep them all straight when you are writing? Do you have a favorite character to write?

Rich: It really isn't difficult for me to keep them straight, as you have pointed out in your reviews and our chats that each of them are very different.  They are all individuals with unique personalities and backgrounds. Brashani is one of my favorites to write, he has so much in his past and is a very developed character.  I also really enjoy Evan, he was one of the first characters I created for this series.  Honestly, I don't really dislike writing any of them, they each have their own story and their own purpose for being involved.

Ang: How many books can we expect to complete this series, or will it be an ongoing series? I saw several stories about Brashani on your blog, will they be released as a novella for the series or is there potential for a branch off series?

Rich: There will be 8 total books in this series.  I don't want to give too much away but I have ideas for other books in the same world, not the same storyline or necessarily the same characters but the same world. Brashani has a lot of background to him, there are several stories that need to be resolved.  His short stories won't be put to print until after the series is complete, it is still in the back of my mind but the main focus is on the 8 books of the Aglaril Cycle.

Ang: What do you think makes your series different for other fantasy books and series out there?

Rich: The characters definitely make this series unique.  I like to describe the series as being Faulkner meets Fantasy.  There are real life issues that people face every day even in our modern world.  I believe that the characters I created for this story could be just as easily placed in a modern or contemporary story and be the same people they are in this book (with out the magic).

Ang: I understand that you have drafted most or all of the books for this series, what has been the best part of having so much written in advance? What difficulties have you faced? Has the series been progressing the way you had initially planned or have those pesky characters thrown a wrench in things?

Rich: I think the best thing about having so much written and planned already is that it really benefits the continuity of the series.  I can look at the later books and then compare to the earlier books and add in any necessary foreshadowing or plot points to get everyone where I need them to go. There is a lot of work to do ahead of releasing one of the books, I have to make sure all the timelines throughout the whole series are matching up as characters and plotlines part ways and come back together.  No whole plot lines have been thrown out, but some are modified and embellished to fill out the story and develop the characters. So with having so much planned I have a lot more control on how the story moves along.

Ang: I see that you also write poetry, do you have any collections published?

Rich: I do, the title is Paraphernalia in my Pocket. (link will be included) It includes a wide range of poems on love, nature, death, and several other subjects.

Ang: Where is your favorite or most productive place to write?

Rich: When I am working on writing, it is always at my desk on my computer.  However, when I am editing, it depends on what stage I'm at with the book. I might print out pages to take with me and edit on the go or I might make comments electronically on my kindle or ipad as I read in bed.

Ang: How do you celebrate accomplishing getting a book published and out to the readers? Or do you just jump right back into the writing, editing and revising process?

Rich: I usually just jump right back into the work, there are readers out there waiting for the next book to come out.  I do however celebrate new reviews being posted! And the better the review, the more I celebrate.

Thank you so much to Rich for taking the time for this interview!  You can find out more about Rich and his works on Goodreads Page or Website.
Rich Feitelberg is a poet and novelist. In addition to the books in his popular fantasy series, the Aglaril Cycle, Rich has several collections of short stories and poems, available from this web site and fine booksellers worldwide.
Rich has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Worcester State College. His Master of Arts in Technical Communication was received at Bowling Green State University. Currently, Rich is working on the Aglaril Cycle and writing more poems and short stories.

You can also contact and follow Rich Feitelberg on Twitter @Feitelberg or on Facebook.
Now I have a great giveaway for you with not one but two prizes!  The first prize is a signed copy of Aure the Topaz, the first book in the Aglaril Cycle.  Second prize includes signed book plate/cards of both Aure the Topaz and Vorn the Onyx, as well as an onyx keychain.

Of course with anything else we have rules
~You must be 18 or older to enter (though there is nothing adult included)
~Enter the giveaway via the below Rafflecopter methods
 ~This is open internationally too (any incurred customs fees are your responsibility)
~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)

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

RI Author Feature: Vorn the Onyx by Rich Feitelberg

Synopsis: "Evan Pierce, a demon hunter and priest of St. Michael, must match wits with the witch of Martingis when she abducts four orphan girls and attempts a fifth. The witch has been terrorizing the locals for months. Evan, who is on his way to Wrightwood, talks to the town manager about the situation and he charges Evan to rescue the orphans and break the witch’s hold on the town.

Events become bleak when an orphan boy is murdered and the fifth girl is finally taken. Can Evan and his companions find the missing girls and free the town from the clutches of the witch before she can complete her evil scheme?"

My Review: I originally read the first book (you can see the review HERE)in this series last year after meeting Rich Feitelberg at a Rhode Island Author event, and I thoroughly enjoy the book and was anxious to read this book. I have finally found some time to read it and was not disappointed at all! It is still a great fantasy with an interesting cast of characters and the classic quest feel that I love. While the paperback version of this book is over 500 pages and quite intimidating on the shelf, it is an easy read that even younger teen readers can enjoy it (though it seems that the series is starting to mature, nothing extreme in this book but there are hints to romantic relationships for the future). I also found it great that some of the ideas I had created in my mind as to where the storyline was going after the first book were debunked in this one, it is always great when an author can guide you in one direction but then surprise you with a turn in another direction. I look forward to seeing where the characters take us in future books!
My Rating: This was another great book in the series, it held some surprises and developed the characters and storyline some more.  I give it a rating of Four Paws!
 I met Rich Feitelberg a couple of years ago at a Rhode Island Author Expo when I picked up his book Aure the Topaz (which I featured last year), I am now a big fan of his work and am happy to share not only this book with you this year but also a collection of short fantasy stories yesterday and don't forget to stop by tomorrow for an interview with Rich!  If you would like to find out more before then please visit his Goodreads Page or Website.
You can obtain your own copy of Vorn the Onyx in print or digital format on Amazon or Barnes and Noble

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

RI Author Feature: Magic & Melee by Rich Feitelberg

Synopsis: "A collection of six fantasy short stories from the mind of Rich Feitelberg, author of the Aglaril Cycle. Included in this collection are:

The Last of Her Kind, Asbith, the mother of all dragons, has lived hundreds of years and been a mother to countless generations of her kind. Then humans began to encroach upon the land and Asbith watched her children die, one by one, as the newcomers used dragon combat to prove their heroism and bravery. Now, she is the only dragon left and the humans continue to creep forward into her land and still seek battle with the great lizards to test their mettle. Tired of the long struggle, Asbith is anger and wants revenge for her slain children. Can she stop the humans or is she too old to succeed?

Knight Training, Shard, a half-orc, has had to fight hatred and bigotry all his life just to become a squire. But now in the training yard of the Michaeline order as he spars against another squire, he learns a most devastating truth. One he would not have guessed, but one that will change his life forever.

Chamomile Flowers, Laura comes to the small village of Abbotsdale to observe a strange and local festival. Her natural curiosity leads her to discover the site of the grand ceremony which ends the festival. Can she escape without notice or is she doomed to fall into the clutches of the villagers and suffer whenever punishment they can devise?

Horn of Horundring, Merchant Wilson Kray has come to Breezy Bluff to purchase the Horn of Horundring from the air spirit that owns it, Twex Oolung. But Twex is a known prankster and has no need of money, which is all Wilson can offer. Is the merchant's trek pointless or can he purchase the Horn from Twex without suffering the fate of all who come and have dealings with the dreaded air spirit?

Curses, The necromancer Jormundan is hired to help a wealthy man named Smith correct a ritual that went horribly wrong and turned him into a living skeleton. Smith believes the error was no accident and wants Jormundan to find the traitor too. Can the wizard correct the mistakes that were made and locate the traitor before it is too late?

The Cloax, James, an apprentice sage, wants to be a bard, but his father disapproves. So he runs away to his grandmother's home, halfway across the kingdom, only to discover something that will change his life forever."

My Review: You never know what you are going to get when you purchase a collection of short stories, but this book did not disappoint. It captures your attention and interest right off the bat with the story from a dragon's point of view and it doesn't let up throughout the whole book. It is filled with stories with a wide variety of characters. There are also a few of the stories that are potential tie-ins to the author's Aglaril Cycle series. If you are looking for some short fantasy stories that will fit into your time schedule and still leave you satisfied, definitely consider this book.
My Rating: This is a great collection of short fantasy stories, a way to try an author and see if you like the writing style, or test a new genre. I also love the way this book compliments the series by the same author as well (intentional or otherwise).  I give it a rating of Four Paws.
I met Rich Feitelberg a couple of years ago at a Rhode Island Author Expo when I picked up his book Aure the Topaz (which I featured last year), I am now a big fan of his work and am happy to share not only this book with you this year but also book 2 in his Aglaril Cycle tomorrow and an interview after that.  If you would like to find out more before then please visit his Goodreads Page or Website.
You can obtain your own digital copy of Magic & Melee on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Dewey's Spring 2016 Readathon - Sign Up

It's that time of year again! Time to sit down and read for an entire 24 hours with many other book lovers from around the world! Yup it is Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon again!
So this readathon is going to be an interesting one for me.  Hubby will be out of town, so it will just be me and Munchkin.  Obviously I will have to adjust my reading and schedules to accommodate him. While Munchkin loves books and reading with me, he also has an attention span of a bird. We have been talking about our special reading day and what kind of books we will read and snacks we will have and also ways to break up the day.  While I am looking forward to reading all day, I know with a 3 year old in the house, I will not be able to just sit and read in peace.

So I have adjusted my reading to include mostly children's books (which actually works out good as I have to get ready for Children's Book Week) and very short books that I can read quickly or put down and come back to with no problems. Here are a few of the books we plan on reading. . .
 Children's Books:
Beginning Readers
Graphic Novels
Some books for me after Munchkin goes to bed or Nap time
This is just a quick preliminary list. I am going to have to throw out my usually carefully scheduled plans and just go with the flow this time around.  I do have a couple of new surprises to give Munchkin to distract him a time or two throughout the day and also some new movies for him to enjoy while I read.  If the weather is nice I can take him in the backyard and let him play while I read too, but I know he won't let me sit for long.
A Couple Goals:
Like I said I am going to have to be flexible this year and am only setting some small goals.
1. Read/listen for 10+ hours
2. Read at least 650 pages
3. Update regularly on Twitter
4. Get Munchkin involved
5. Read and have fun, of course!
So are you going to read for the readathon? Any special books planned? What are your goals?

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

A Collector of Affections by Judith Glynn
The Street or Me by Judith Glynn
Edgar Graduates by Dr. Mary Ann Shallcross Smith (Bedtime Story)
Into Your Light by Julianne Palumbo
Waking the Merrow by Heather Rigney

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

How Rocket Learned to Read = 1pt
Pete at the Beach = 1pt
Heavy Duty Trucks = 1pt
Sworn to Raise = 3pts
Currently Reading:

There was a Fire by Nancy Roy - PB - on page 187 of 320
Princess in Pink by Meg Cabot - Audio - 59%

 Books to be Read Soon:


Total Points Earned
155 points + 6 points = 161 points

Total Points Earned this Year: 416
Total Points Spent this Year: 259

Pages Read/ Time Listened
78:15 Hours Listened (None listened this week)
14,031 Pages Read (417 this week)

Books Added to Shelves

Interesting Tidbits on the Web:



So this was a crazy week for me.  I had been on such a roll but that went downhill this last week.  3 things came together to stop my reading, first it was insane in the office, spring is always a busy time of year for us. Then, Munchkin decided on his birthday theme and I am insanely excited for it and have a lot of work and planning to do to pull this one off.  Lastly, that horrible time dump thing people call Youtube, I have never been one to fall for its lures but for some reason this last week I ended up spending an insane amount of time watching pointless videos. So there you have it, a rather slow week for me with my reading but I do have Dewey's Readathon coming up (the sign up post will be going up later today)!

Don't forget to enter the giveaways!
Rhode Island Author Month Giveaway
Ducky Ducky Likes To Moo
Judith Glynn EBook Giveaway

Sunday, April 17, 2016

RI Author Feature: Waking the Merrow by Heather Rigney

Synopsis: "In 1772, angry Rhode Island colonists set fire to a British ship, sparking the American Revolution. Taxation without representation was a motivator. So was the vengeful, man-eating mermaid who had it out for the commanding officer.

That was then. This is now.

Mermaids, or merrow, still hunt in Narragansett Bay, but these days they keep a lower profile. At night, centuries-old Nomia seduces smutty frat boys, lures them into icy waters, and feeds them to her voracious kin. By day, she and her half-breed daughter attempt to blend in at the coastal Village Playground. But Nomia slips up. She makes a friend. Then she makes that friend disappear, and someone notices.

Thirty-something Evie McFagan just wants to make it through working motherhood. But she’s a blistering stew of issues—snarky alcoholic and a friendless funeral director who just witnessed Nomia dismembering a guy at the nearby yacht club. When Evie believes a mermaid stole her baby, who will help? The merrow of Ireland? Or maybe anti-hero Evie will surprise everyone, including herself, and summon the strength to save her own family.

Intertwining the stories of two primordial families with the colonial history of Narragansett Bay, Waking the Merrow is a dark historical fantasy."

My Review: I kept coming across this book at some of the local author events and bookstores. Normally this would not be in my reading genres but I thought I would give it a try since I love supporting my local authors. This was definitely a book that will get your heart pounding, the terrifying descriptions of Nomia and the other Merrow will make your blood run cold. It also verifies my insistence that I only swim in pools and not the ocean or bay! Be forewarned though that there is a lot of cursing, violence, a lot of alcohol consumption and a little neglectful parenting on behalf of the main character, it does lend to the story but is difficult to swallow at times. The story is fast moving and the pages will be turning quickly, I don't suggest reading it at night alone by the water though!
My Rating: Even though I don't particularly like Horror, Suspense type books, this one was rather captivating. I couldn't stop reading it and give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag!
I unfortunately was not able to make it to any of Heather Rigney's readings or author events but you can find out more about her work and the Merrow Trilogy on her Goodreads Page or Website.
You can also obtain your own copy of Waking the Merrow in digital or print format from Amazon or Barnes and Noble.