Saturday, July 16, 2016

Graphic Novel Review of The New York Four by Brian Wood

Read for: Graphic Novel Challenge
Synopsis: "The ultimate insider's guide to New York City is presented through the eyes of Brooklyn-born Riley, who is starting her freshman year at NYU and is about to find out what an adventure--and a mystery--living in the Big Apple can be."

My Review: This was an interesting one, I have found that I really like Minx published GNs. I enjoyed the artwork in this one a lot, and it was an interesting combination of storyline, setting and characters. I loved the little insider tips to NY spots that were interwoven into the story too. This would be a great GN for those who love the New Adult genre, it follows Riley as she ventures out of her sheltered life into college life. She must learn to interact with others her age and find out who she is and who she will be.
My Rating: This is a really unique GN, a finding yourself and your own way as you leave home.  I loved the artwork and the insider tips to NYC were great too. I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Bedtime Story: The Grumble Bee by Kyle Mewburn

Read for: Children's Book Challenge
Synopsis: "Winter is coming and everybee is busily gathering pollen. But poor Glib always gets left behind. When he finally catches up, everybee laughs at him. So Glib flies off on his own ... and discovers a secret garden bursting with flowers. Will he be able to save the hive?

On sunny days, especially in spring, Marion and I love to sit on our verandah with a cold drink, listening to the creek chuckling and watching the fantails fluttering through the blossoms. But if you listen closely, you can hear another sound, too. The busy buzzing of bees . Do they ever sit around just enjoying the sunshine? And what if there was a bee who was a bit, well, grumbly. Not a bumblebee, but a grumblebee?"

My Review: This was a rather long children's book, Munchkin didn't have the patience to sit through it all at once, especially around bedtime. It did have some cute illustrations and a great message about not teasing others and also about team work and keeping secrets. While those are great messages for kids to learn, it didn't really get it across because there was just too much going on, at least for Munchkin.
My Rating: This one just had too much going on for a young reader.  Munchkin really loves story time and is pretty tolerant of longer books but was bored with this one.  We give it a rating of One Paw and a Stump Wag.
Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Beginning Reader Review of Camping Out by Lisa Ann Marsoli

Read for: Early Reader Challenge
Synopsis: "Clifford Big Red Readers show kids that it's fun to learn to read!

When Emily Elizabeth and Clifford go camping with their friends, Jetta is sure it's going to be boring, so she brings all the comforts of home, including a TV, microwave, CD player and headphones, and motorized scooter. But she soon realizes that there's more than one way to have a good time, and sometimes the simple way is just perfect."

My Review: This is a good level 2 reader, especially for those Clifford fans. This one coordinated well with our summer activities as we attempt our first camping trip. It is a great way to introduce the idea of camping and not having all the stuff you have at home. It has simple sentences and easy words but also some to push young readers to learn new ones and sound them out.
My Rating: This is a great book for those young tech obsessed children, a reminder to enjoy the world around us (especially after the release of Pok√©mon Go, but don't get me started on that).  I give it a rating of Three Paws.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

After Dark Review of Protecting His Own by Cherise Sinclair

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 love this series!
My Review: "Landscape designer, Beth King survived an abusive husband and built a new life for herself with the help of Master Nolan, the strongest, most protective man she has ever known. She loves him with all her heart, but the one thing he wants, she can’t give him. To her grief, the damage from her abusive first marriage means she can’t bear him children.

As Beth and Nolan change their plans and pursue adoption, they're already imagining a baby girl in the nursery. But when two boys from the local domestic violence shelter see their mother taken to the hospital, they call Beth in a panic. Agreeing to care for them temporarily, Beth soon falls in love with the two adorable boys.

Now Master Nolan has a new problem. How can he protect the children when their drug-addicted mother is released—and how the hell can he keep his sweet submissive’s heart from being broken when they leave?"

My Review: I feel like I waited forever for this book to come out but it was worth the wait. I loved returning to Beth and Nolan's storyline. This was definitely an emotional book with quite the ups and downs. I really enjoyed how the characters have developed overtime but haven't lost that initial personality. I nearly read this book in one siting and really want more. I also am looking forward to the next book with the introduction of some new characters.
My Rating: I so enjoyed the story in this book, it had quite a lot of emotional impact. I really hope I don't have to wait too long for the next book to come out! I give it a rating of Four Paws!

Pen to Paper: What I Have Learned - Length of Letters & Paper

Good Morning everyone! Hope you have been having a good summer so far! It is getting to the point of being too hot to write letters outside here, but thankfully I am heading to a cooler climate for a getaway soon and will be able to write some letters and postcards from there.
Today I am going to continue with my theme of posts about what I have learned in the past year of serious letter writing.  So way back when I talked about Stationery Paper, I did prefer to used the A5 sized paper but with the more letter writing I do and the more I get to know my pen pals, I am finding that I need more paper. 
I originally had a subscription to La Papierre which delivered sets of A5 stationery every month.  While I totally enjoyed this and was inspired by the wide variety of cute papers to write on, I started finding that 4 pages of each wasn't enough and I ended up having to match coordinating sets to write my letters.  Many of my letters now are topping out at 6, 8 or even 10 pages of the A5 paper.  I have started writing on letter sized paper but it is few and far between to find nice sets (especially lined because I need those lines desperately).
I still get most of my stationery from Etsy, because I love the wide variety (my current favorite shop is Kind Words Stationery which has fountain pen friendly and insanely adorable stationery). I have found nice full page sized papers in the stationery/card area of Target too.  I have also tried taking normal notebook paper (actually it is fountain pen friendly paper - Clairefontaine I think) and stamped on it to cute it up a little. 
It goes without saying that you can write your letters on anything you like, I have used cute little memo papers before, and am in the process of creating my own die cut paper for one too. You can send your thoughts and love on anything you like.
How long are your letters usually? What type or size paper do you like to use?

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Review of Delbert: The Reluctant Spy by Marko Kitti

Read for: Requested Review/ Silly, fun enjoyment
Last week I posted a review of the newest Jesper Jinx book and mentioned in the review how it had a nice little introduction of a spin off series, well here is the first book in the new series, Delbert.
Synopsis: "Ten-year-old Delbert’s world is grey and glum since his grandfather died. Everything is a dull routine, and all Delbert wants to do is stay in his room. What’s more, he has to cope with an annoying next-door neighbour, Evie, who has committed her life to being in love with him.

But Delbert’s whole life is about to change when he is forced into a SUPER SECRET SPY MISSION to find a missing cat called Pandora. What seems like a straightforward job suddenly escalates into the stuff of real spy stories.

Bursting with humour and thrilling surprises, this fast-paced, action-packed story takes Delbert and Evie on a wild ride with an UTTERLY SHOCKING SECRET at the end…"

My Review:  I have been an avid fan of Kitti's Jesper Jinx series and in the most recent book, Jesper Jinx and the Scrumptious Snacks, there is an nice introduction to this new branch off series. Several of the characters from the Jesper Jinx series are mentioned in this book but it isn't necessary to read it before this book. This is a silly and fun book that is targeted towards middle grade boy readers, but can be enjoyed by all. The action and crazy antics in this book will keep you reading and young readers turning pages, even those reluctant readers.
My Rating: This was yet another home run hit for Marko Kitti, I really enjoyed the new characters and the quirkiness of the story.  While this is along similar lines to Jesper Jinx with the comedy and Middle Grade book, it is clearly a different book with it's own unique characters. I give this book a rating of Four Paws and can't wait for Munchkin to be old enough to enjoy these books!
I received Delbert: The Reluctant Spy from the author in exchange for an honest review. 
You can find out more about Marko Kitti and his work on his Goodreads Page or  Delbert Website or Jesper Jinx Website.
You can obtain your own copy of Delbert in print, digital or even audio on Amazon or in print from Barnes and Noble.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Tea Time Tuesday: Iced Chai

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?)
So in the winter time I really enjoy Panera Bread's Chai Tea Latte, but I have been trying the Iced Chai from many coffee shops and they are all over the top sweet. I had seen in several stores this concentrate Chai in different brands so decided to give one a try.  I loved this one, it is only a hint sweet and you can add as much or as little milk as you want to it (I bet it would be tasty with a vanilla almond milk too).  I know I could also brew my own using chai tea bags and brewing it strong too, but the convenience of just dump the tea and milk together has been super awesome for the mornings I am running late (which let me be honest, is every single day).

Review of The Tale of Birle by Cynthia Voigt

Read for: Mount TBR Print & Series Challenge
Synopsis: "After agreeing to marry Muir to get out of her oppressive life as an innkeeper's daughter, Birle finds herself falling in love with a supposed thief and opts to escape her upcoming marriage and finds that her new love isn't what he seemed."

My Review: I don't think that synopsis really give a full idea of what this tale encompasses, but I struggle to give another one that can cover the story that it is. This is a very slow moving story with not a lot of action but more observations of the world around Birle. The characters go through many changes throughout the story, hence the previous title of On Fortune's Wheel. I was kind of expecting this book to pick up right where Tale of Gwyn left off but was a little disappointed to find that it didn't, it takes place a few generations later. I was also a little surprised at how little the way of life and rules in the Kingdom had changed. Birle is an interesting character who doesn't really seem to care about too much the entire story but becomes a rather solid and reliable character to read. I really enjoyed the other main characters and sub characters introduced as well. The message you walk away from the story remembering is also a very good one, finding yourself and standing by who you are and those that really care will stand with you. You also get an understanding about life's up and downs and not giving into the downs. This is a book that will stick with you well after putting it down.
My Rating: While this second book in the series wasn't quite as captivating to read as the first book, it was still very well written. I think with these books you really need to be in the mood for a slow moving and reflective read.  I give this one a rating of Three Paws.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Magic Tree House Monday: Book 23: Twister on Tuesday

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 23 Jack and Annie travel to the prairies of the west in the 1870s when pioneers are struggling to make their lives in the harsh environment and with little aid.  Jack and Annie must find a special piece of writing to learn to help break a spell on the library of Camelot.
My Review: I was really looking forward to this book considering my love of Little House on the Prairie. It was a good book and I really liked the attention paid to historical facts and events. It was a great look at the benefits we have for children in modern times as opposed to the struggles of over 100 years ago. The one draw back for me is that it gave the impression that Jack and Annie could out run a twister.  
My Rating: While I enjoyed all this historical aspects and the new characters Jack and Annie meet, I didn't like the presentation of an idea that kids (or anyone) could outrun a twister. I give it a rating of Three 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

Revolutionary War on Wednesday by Mary Pope Osborne (Magic Tree House)
Dragon Dreams by Dusty Lynn Holloway
Jesper Jinx and the Scrumptious Snacks by Marko Kitti
Hard Ever After by Laura Kaye (After Dark)
Picnic!: A Day at the Park by Joan Holub (Beginning Reader)
Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin (Bedtime Story)

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

Forever Princess = 3pts
Holiday Princess = 5pts
Perfect Princess = 5pts
Twister on Tuesday = 5pts
Jesper Jinx and the Scrumptious Snacks = 3pts
Baby Dolphin's First Day = 1pt
Nat. Geo. Kids Red Panda = 1pt
Sweet Tomorrows = 3pts
Protecting His Own = 3pts
Ice Cream Soup = 1pt
Winnie the Pooh's A to Zzzzz = 1pt
Curious George and the Firefighters = 1pt
Currently Reading:

Royal Wedding by Meg Cabot - Audio - 13%
Tale of Oriel by Cynthia Voigt - PB - on page 26 of 544

 Books to be Read Soon:


Total Points Earned
 129 points + 32 points + 10 bonus points (24 hrs listened) - 90 point spent = 81

Total Points Earned this Year: 760
Total Points Spent this Year: 699

Pages Read/ Time Listened
144:28 Hours Listened (10:06 listened this week)
26,457 Pages Read (1,263 this week)

Books Added to Shelves

Pete the Cat: Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star by James Dean - 5pts spent
The Thank You Book by Mo Willems - 5pts spent
A Journey to the Lights by Suzanne Francis - 15pts spent
Soccer on Sunday by Mary Pope Osborne - 15pts spent
Local by Brian Woods - 10pts spent
MouseGuard: Legends of the Guard Vol. 1 by David Petersen - 10pts spent
The Fortune Hunter by Daisy Goodwin - 15pts spent (Subscription box)
I Always Loved You by Robin Oliveira - 15pts spent (Subscription box)

Interesting Tidbits on the Web:



It was a busy week last week but I made up for it over the weekend, I did the bare minimum of chores, let Hubby take care of Munchkin and I just read and read and read some more.  It was such a nice, decompressing weekend I almost forgot the chaos of the week.  I did go on a little shopping spree at Barnes & Noble last week, I received a rather large and unexpected credit as part of an ebook settlement, so of course I had to order a bunch of new books (I also ordered some of my favorite audio books in print). This week will probably end up being pretty busy too, we are heading to a cabin with some friends for a long weekend.

Hope you have a good week!