Saturday, November 19, 2016

Graphic Novel Review: Star Wars Old Republic Vol. 3: The Lost Suns by Alexander Freed

Read for: Graphic Novel Challenge
Synopsis: "One of the Republic's elite spies, Theron Shan, embarks on an assignment to uncover dark secrets that could shatter the fragile peace with the Sith and plunge the galaxy back into war An old Jedi, Ngani Zho - once Theron's mentor, and formerly thought lost in Sith territory - has returned, quite a bit more peculiar than before he left. Unfortunately, he''s the only one who can guide Theron on his mission. Quickly, Theron's hands are full with Zho, a troublesome thief, and the Sith who never should have let that old Jedi return to the Republic."

My Review: I have had to really push through this short series of graphic novels. I am a fan of Star Wars but this series was just not for me. The storyline seems a little jumbled and needs more filling out. This was the best of out of the three volumes but it still feels disconnected. I did enjoy the cast of characters, a nice variety and each with a full personality. The artwork was also a high point. I am sad to say I am glad this series is over, I had high hopes for it but it sadly fell short, maybe it is best to stick with the novels and movies (at least for me, I need a little more world and plot development).
My Rating: Unfortunately, I am giving up on Star Wars Graphic Novels (at least characters and storylines I am unfamiliar with) since they just don't have the world building and cohesive storyline I need to enjoy them.  I give this one a rating of Two Paws.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Bedtime Story: Being Thankful by Mercer Mayer

Read for: Children's Book Challenge & to battle the Holiday I Wants
Synopsis: "In Being Thankful, Little Critter isn't gettinganything he wants. Gator gets cool brand-new sneakers, while Little Critter is stuck with his boring blue ones. Tiger’s dad has a boat—but not Little Critter’s dad. And even at the ice cream shop, Little Critter can’t enjoy his chocolate ice cream cone because he would rather have a huge ice cream sundae instead. But on a trip to the farm, Grandma shows Little Critter why thankfulness is so important and helps make any situation seem so much happier.
Based on Psalm 107:1, this book will show children what gratitude is and why we should be thankful for all of the blessings God has given us."

My Review: This is the perfect book for this time of the year when all the children's TV channels are filled with commercials for new toys and the "I wants" start in earnest. I read this book with Munchkin and while it wasn't our favorite Little Critter book it certainly did spark some important conversations about being thankful and happy with what we have. It is a long one and the message may go over young readers heads, so it is a good idea to read this with them and talk about it. While I still hear "I want" I am getting a lot more "thank you".
My Rating: While it wasn't our favorite Little Critter book, it really has helped out with the greediness this holiday season presents.  We give it a rating of Three Paws.
Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Beginning Reader Review of A Pet for Pete by James Dean

Read for: Early Reader Challenge
Synopsis: "Pete is back in New York Times bestselling artist James Dean's I Can Read beginning reader Pete the Cat: A Pet for Pete. When Pete gets a goldfish, Goldie, he decides to paint a picture of his new pet. Word spreads of Pete's cool paintings, and soon everyone wants one. But Pete doesn't have enough time to make one for everyone in town. With a little help from his mom, Pete finds the perfect solution so that everyone can enjoy a Goldie painting and Pete has time to finish his homework!"

My Review: This is a great Ready to Read level book, it has simple words and sentences, lots of repetition of words and sounds and of course the beloved Pete the Cat character. This book also has a lot of side elements that can be used while reading such as color identification and sizes. Munchkin really enjoyed this book and had fun pointing out the different colors and how fish can be fun pets even though you can play with or cuddle them.
My Rating: We are big Pete the Cat fans and this is a great beginning reader book. It also does a great job of showing kids about creativity and so many other things besides just learning to read.  We give it a rating of Four Paws!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

After Dark Review of The Men of Whiskey Creek: Dillon by Serenity King

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 ;)
Synopsis: "For years, Dillon Anderson has waited for Lark to realize he’s in love with her. He’s sat back and watched her go through one failed relationship after another…biding his time.
Lark Singletary is finished with relationships. After finding her boyfriend in a compromising position, she vows to never again give her heart to another. She’s been hurt far too often."

My Review: I picked this one up before meeting King at a book conference. It was a very fast read and was certainly steamy. I enjoyed the initial interactions with the characters. Being on an accelerated storyline they were supposed to have a previously established friendship but you didn't get to see much of that or a development of it, which I would have liked to see. I did enjoy the characters and wish there would have been more time in this book to spend with them, but I am hoping that this the start of a series and we will get to see more of them and the other sub-characters.
My Rating: While this book was a little short and rushed for my liking, it was a entertaining and steamy read with some interesting characters.  I give it a rating of Three Paws.

Pen to Paper: Incoming October Mail

How is everyone today? I hope your mailboxes have been filled with joy! With all the chaos and sickness around the house lately I have gotten a little behind on my letters. I have about 4 responses to catch up with, though I have found that most people don't send letters over the holidays with the rush of holiday cards and such.
Anyway, I have gotten some really amazing letters in the mail over the past month and I thought I would take the opportunity to show you some of them.
This letter is from a pen pal from Norway who creates the most beautiful envelope art, I love finding each treasure in my mail box!

This letter is from a pen pal I met through Pocket Letters, she writes very long letters and always hand makes her envelopes from pattern paper. She also sent a Halloween card.

My newest pen pal sent me this letter, I adore the stationery she found and she sent some sweet stickers for Munchkin too!

I have slacked off on the postcrossing postcards lately so have received less as well, only 4 this month but they are all great ones.
Lastly, I have a new pen pal who is also a crafty pal, we have started sending each other flip books and pocket letters and she really went above and beyond for Halloween! 

The first envelope contained this flip book, letter and mail tag. She wrote super tiny in the letter but yet it is so neat, I don't know how she manages!

the inside of the flip book

She also sent this trick or treat bag full of goodies.

and even included a bunch of different papers, cards and stationery to use in my stash!
I have certainly been blessed with some amazing pen pals this year and hope to continue growing these friendships in the future! Have you found anything special in your mailbox lately?

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Review of The Christmas Project by Maxine Morrey

Read for: Netgalley/ Requested Review
Synopsis: "Professional organiser Kate Stone has never – NEVER – been tempted to hit a client over the head with a snow shovel, but Michael O'Farrell is the most obnoxious – and heart-stoppingly gorgeous – man she has ever met. If he weren't her best friend’s brother, she would not have waited on his doorstep in the freezing cold for five minutes, let alone an hour.

Kate knows, however, that her job isn’t just about tidying up, sometimes she needs to be part therapist too, and Michael clearly needs her help to declutter his heart as well as his home.

But with the festive season just around the corner there isn’t much time to get Michael’s house ready for the O’Farrell family celebrations, but everyone knows that at Christmas anything can happen…"

My Review:  I saw this book and have been in the mood for some Christmas stories and this seemed to be a perfect fit. I must admit it took me a while to get used to the British sentiments and words but once I got used to it, they were a perfect fit and added an authenticity to the story. I really enjoyed the characters and their banter back and forth was very entertaining. The relationship was eased into nicely with no instalove (thank goodness) but a development of friendship and more. It was a great feel good holiday book. 
My Rating: I rather enjoyed this book, I often struggle with books using slang that is unfamiliar to me but I was able to quickly settle into this book. It was a great way to kick off the holiday season. I give it a rating of Four Paws!
I received The Christmas Project via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
If you want to find out more about Maxine Morrey check out her Goodreads Page or her Website.
The Christmas Project was just released on Monday and you can obtain your own copy in digital format from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Tasty Attempts: Creamy Chicken & Mushrooms

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.
I am on a mission to use my crockpot more this year, my only issue is that it seems to finish too early even on the low setting. I am going to try to have Hubby either start it when he gets up or turn it off before he leaves for work (it is still hot by the time Munchkin and I get home).  I found a recipe for Creamy Portabella Chicken on Pinterest, it was a simple 3 ingredient recipe that I could dump in the crock pot on my way out the door in the morning (I even used chicken that was still mostly frozen). I added a few of my own herbs and spices.
We had it on egg noodles but it would be great with rice or on its own.

Review of Telep the Diamond by Rich Feitelberg

Read for: RI Author & enjoying the series
Synopsis: "While traveling to Ravenhurst, Sir Ahlan, a Michaeline knight, and his companions encounter a woman, Nancy, beset upon by brigands. Ahlan comes to Nancy’s aid, driving off the thieves, and escorts her to town.

She claims to be a sword master for the Duke of Argentos, who lives in the castle outside of Ravenhurst, but the story Nancy tells of how she got separated from your companions and attacked by bandits raises many questions about the woman. Ultimately, Ahlan suspects her of being a spy and plans to exposed her in open court. But unbeknownst to the knight, their fates are intertwined and she is critical in retrieving the next Aglari."

My Review: I really have been enjoying this fantasy series so far, it has the classic feel of a quest with an eclectic group banding together. This third book in the series continues the quest to find the Aglaril stones. We encounter some new characters who may or may not be as they seem. Rich Feitelberg definitely threw some twists in that I was not expecting, definitely tossing some of my theories for the series out the window. This is a slow moving book as far as development but it allows us to get to know the characters. With that said the plot builds throughout the book adding anticipation. The end of the book while does reach a climax, the tension just builds leaving you ready to read the next book in the series (Calen the Emerald).
My Rating: I have really been enjoying this series and the developments in this book have me re-evaluating some of my own theories of the series (which I love being surprised). This is a book that can be enjoyed by all ages, but it is certainly maturing, there are indications of intimate relations but it is not explicit. I give this book a rating of Four Paws!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Magic Tree House Monday: Book 39 - Dark Day in the Deep Sea

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 39 takes Jack and Annie to a small island and out into the ocean where they see mysterious creatures of the deep. They find friends amongst the early sea life scientists and in another very unusual place. They face dangerous seas and sea creatures to find the next secret to happiness.
My Review: This was an interesting adventure for Jack and Annie, not what I would have expected in their current quest to find the four secrets of happiness. With that said they did have quite the adventure and meet some of the early sea life biologists as they were discovering the deep sea. It did take quite a fantasy twist, something reminiscent of 20,000 leagues under the sea. While this wasn't really a favorite of mine in the series it was still a great adventure that young readers will enjoy.
My Rating: This wasn't my favorite book in the series but it will be enjoyable to some young readers. I don't know if it is just me growing bored with the series or if it is just a few book lull but I hope the series picks up again soon. I give this one 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

Monday with a Mad Genius by Mary Pope Osborne (Magic Tree House)
Bad Kitty for President by Nick Bruel
Jesper Jinx's Best Friend by Marko Kitti
The Doctor's Secret Bride by Ana E. Ross (After Dark)
How to Grow a Beard by R. Graves
Fall Leaf Project by Margaret McNamara (Beginning Reader)
Bear is Not Tired by Ciara Gavin (Bedtime Story)
 Books Finished Last Week:
Reviews will be posted at a later date

The Christmas Project = 3pts
Jolly Christmas Postman = 1pt
The Lost Suns = 3pts
Dark Day in the Deep Sea = 5pts
Santa's First Vegan Christmas = 1pt
Currently Reading:

Holly and Mistletoe by Susan Mallery - Audio - 64%
Telep the Diamond by Rich Fietelberg - PB - on page 307 of 408

 Books to be Read Soon:

Tale of Elske by Cynthia Voigt


Total Points Earned
     402 points + 13 points = 415 points

Total Points Earned this Year: 2205
Total Points Spent this Year: 884

Pages Read/ Time Listened
263:48 (10 days 23 hrs 48 mins) Hours Listened (none listened this week)
42,340 Pages Read (609 this week)

Books Added to Shelves

Interesting Tidbits on the Web:


Last week Munchkin so kindly decided to share his germs and everyone in the house ended up sick. It was quite a busy week between the election, everyone being sick and a busy week in the office. I got a lot less reading done than I had hoped but that is okay. I did get most of the chores done over the weekend (and disinfected the house now that everyone is feeling better) so that will mean a little more reading time this week. Next week I will be starting some gift guides to kick off the official holiday season, there will be lots of ideas for book lovers!

I hope you all have a great week!