Saturday, May 13, 2017

The Unread Books Tag

It has been a while since I posted a book tag and I saw this one ages ago on The Readables Youtube channel and knew I had to post this tag.  I kind of dreaded this one and may have cheated a little bit by not including any of the children's books, ebooks or audiobooks because that would just get a little out of hand.  This is just strictly my physical book shelves. (Note: I counted up these books on April 18th so it has changed slightly since then)

1. How many unread books do you own? 370
2. How many books do you own that you have read? 716
3. Do you buy more books than you read? At one point obviously, but I have done pretty good this year!
4. Why do you think you haven't read your unread books? Time is of course the main issue but some I just plain need to weed out (and I have been working on that too, gave away 4 huge boxes a few months ago).
5. Are you going to go on a book buying ban? Nope, I have found that it never works out well because when it is over I go a little hog wild, so instead I just try to make sure to read everything I purchase this year.
This actually went way better than I expected, I have been doing pretty good with reading the books on my shelves lately.  I am so glad to know I am not in the negatives here, I have more read books than unread books on my shelves! With that said, I like the fact that I have a lot of unread books, what would be the point of having your own library if there was nothing new to discover in it?
Have you counted up your books recently? How do you figure? If you post this tag let me know so I can see your answers

Friday, May 12, 2017

Bedtime Story: Duck and Hippo in the Rainstorm by Jonathan London

Read for: Children's Book Challenge
Synopsis: "Get ready for a rainy-day adventure with Duck and Hippo!

Duck and Hippo may be completely different, but they are best friends. When playful Duck invites careful Hippo to go for a walk in the rain, they have trouble sharing Duck’s umbrella. But Duck and Hippo won’t let that stop them. Soon they are puddle-jumping and sailing down the river! Until…WHOOOSH! A terrible wind sends the umbrella flying up, up, up into the air, with one friend holding on. What will Duck and Hippo do now? Jonathan London’s charming text and Andrew Joyner’s delightful art bring to life two lovable friends in this fun new series."

My Review: This is a cute book for those spring rainstorms. Duck and Hippo are fun characters that kids will enjoy. The story is a fun and at times silly one that also introduces spatial positioning and concepts. We enjoyed reading this one and Munchkin got a kick out of the silly things Duck and Hippo were doing in the rain.
My Rating: I really like the classic feel to this book, the illustrations are simple yet fun and the story is also simple yet fun. We give it a rating of Three Paws.
Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Early Reader Review of Transformer Rescue-Bots Meet Optimus Primal by Jennifer Fox

Synopsis: "Optimus Prime sent the Rescue Bots on a mission--to protect and learn about mankind. When he checks on his team of do-gooders in a time of crisis, he must find a brand new way to save the day. Illustrated with vibrant stills from the Transformers TV show!"

My Review: We have been reading a few of these Transformer books, this one followed one of the shows pretty closely. What I love about these books is that at the beginning it gives the reader 4 words to look for in the book, not sight words but easy words to sound out but that may be new to them. Even though Munchkin isn't quite reading on his own yet, he still feels very involved and excited when he can find those words in the book as we read it together. Of course it helps that the story is about a transformer that turns into a T Rex!
My Rating: Nothing like transformers, rescue vehicles and dinosaurs to really capture Munchkin's attention! He loved this book and has loved this whole series, and it has great reading tools so I love it too! We give it a rating of Four Paws and a Stump Wag!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Review of Fyre by Katherine Bogle

Read for: Requested Review/ Netgalley
Synopsis: "Join Haven and her siblings on four unique adventures in a time when war ravaged the six kingdoms…

HAVEN has always hated royal gatherings, and jumps at the chance to sneak away for a race through town on horseback. But when the young princess is injured, her ancestry is brought into question.

Much is expected of the heir to the Rythern throne, but when LUCIAN is forced to leave the warfront by his father, his reluctant agreement comes at a price.

The battle for Helms Keep has disastrous consequences for MARCEL. Soon he finds himself fighting both enemy forces and his own memories.

ASTRID is sent to the family summer home in the Cinder Mountains for her own safety. Only she doesn’t expect the knee-high snow and frigid temperatures. With only her guards to protect her, Astrid must dig deeper than she ever thought herself capable of in order to survive."

My Review:  I have been on a big fantasy kick lately so wanted to give this one a shot. This is a prequel novella with 4 short stories that take place before the first book. I am one of those people who prefers to read everything in chronological order so this was where I started. From this short book it strikes me as being along the lines of those generational long family sagas but with a fantasy twist. Each of the 4 stories takes you along with one of the 4 royal siblings in the months leading up to the first book, the land is at war already and a lot is happening before the series really even gets started. Reading this does allow for you to get to know each of the characters and the events that lead to the current status before the story begins, in this case I believe it would be very helpful as it seems there is quite a lot of backstory in this novella that may be needed to make sense of the first full length novel. I think Astrid's storyline might be the most intriguing, but other than that I was a little bored for most of this book, there was plenty of action but I don't know if it was enough to capture my attention enough to dedicate to a full series.
My Rating: There is a lot of information and backstory packed into this little novella, but I think it might end up being very essential to understanding the first full length novel.  I don't know if I will continue this series because it does sound like something that will take a lot of dedication, but others might find it very interesting.  I give it a rating of Three Paws.
I received this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
You can find out more about Katherine Bogle and this series on her Goodreads Page or Website.
You can also purchase your own copy of Fyre in digital format from Barnes & Noble or Amazon 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Review of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Synopsis: "It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul."

My Review: I have heard people rave about this book and it is set in a time period I find interesting, after hearing that it is narrated by Death I decided it was time to read it. At first I tried to listen to it in audio version but was really struggling to make sense of it, after seeing the print version I understood why, there are random notations that pertain to the story but are not part of the story. I must admit that even once I started reading the print version, I still really struggled to get into this book. It wasn't that it was a bad story, I think that the way death approaches it and tells the story is as if there is a disconnect and that in turn made it hard for me to connect with any of the characters. It was also a very slow story to read, it covers a time period of several years and while there are several things occurring in the world, for Liesel it was mostly the same hardships with a few changes. Now don't get me wrong, this is really a great book, it just was difficult to immerse yourself in. After reading it, I think this is maybe one of those books that would be better upon re-reading, I would be better able to pick out the little details and become better absorbed in the story.
My Rating: I know my opinions on this book are a little controversial, I have heard so many people rave about this book and rate it as one of their favorite books of all time but I really struggled with it, maybe it was because I tried to read it during a readathon. I do really respect and appreciate what Zusak did with this book and maybe if I try it again some time when I can really focus on just this book and nothing else I will like it more, but for now I give it a rating of Three Paws.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Bout of Books #19 - Sign Up & Updates

I pretty much missed out on Dewey's Readathon so am glad that this Bout of Books came this week.  My main goal is to finish some of my current reads and I am determined to finally finish the Harry Potter series this month. With Hubby's new schedule, this will be a week of growing pains but with him having to go to bed at the same time as Munchkin, I should still get plenty of reading time in the evenings.
Here is the information you need in case you want to sign up too!

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 8th and runs through Sunday, May 14th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 19 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team


So this post is going to be my base for the week, I will continue to come back and update it each day with my progress (as I already have a lot of posts planned for this week and don't want things too jumbled up).  I will also be updating via twitter at @EasternSunset9 or maybe on Instagram @EasternSunset9


Time Devoted to Reading

I would like to read between 2-3 hours each day and read about 200 pages each day.
Averaging about 1.5 hours and work and another 1.5-2 at home after Munchkin goes to bed.

My Goals

Read a total of 1,000 pages
Read at least 2 hours each day
Read 4 books
 Read about 100 pages of Harry Potter each day

Books to Read

The Reader - (already started) final 200 pages
Fan the Flames - (already started) final 400 pages
Gone too Deep - 428
Harry Potter & the Half Blood Prince - (already started) final 460 pages
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - 784 pages


Number of Pages I've read today: 300 pages
Total Number of Pages:  300
Time spent reading today: 4 hours
Total number of books I've read: Currently Reading HP & Half Blood Prince & Fan the Flames
Books completed: none
Thoughts: I am off to a pretty good start, I read 100 pages in Half Blood Prince even though I thought about putting it down after 20 pages to read something else.  I also managed to get quite a bit more read in Fan the Flames.  I picked some pretty big books to read this week so I don't feel like I am accomplishing as much even though I am reading as much as I normally do during Bout of Books. 


Number of Pages I've read today: 293
Total Number of Pages:  593
Time spent reading today: 2:45
Total number of books I've read: 1 finished (Currently Reading Half Blood Prince & The Reader)
Books completed: Fan the Flames
Thoughts:  I had another really good day of reading, though I didn't get as much read in Harry Potter. I finished the last 200 pages of Fan the Flames, read 70 pages in the Reader and then just a few in Harry Potter.  I know so many people love the HP books but I am really struggling through them, I keep hoping that by reading them with a Readathon will push me to finishing them but I always find a reason to put them down and pick a different book up.


Number of Pages I've read today: 210 pages
Total Number of Pages: 803  
Time spent reading today: 2:30
Total number of books I've read: 1 finished (Currently Reading Gone Too Deep & The Reader)
Books completed: Fan the Flames
Thoughts: I am totally ignoring the HP book, I just can't drag myself to pick it up.  I read a bunch of Gone Too Deep yesterday and am loving it. I am also nearly done with The Reader, it is the only audio book I have going and I had to get some house work done last night. I guess probably by tomorrow I will have no choice but to read HP. I need to finish at least Half Blood Prince this week!
Number of Pages I've read today: 350
Total Number of Pages: 1,153
Time spent reading today:  4:30
Total number of books I've read: 3 finished (Currently Reading Half Blood Prince & In Safe Hands)
Books completed:  Fan the Flames, Gone Too Deep, The Reader
Thoughts: So I am still putting HP off, but for good reason, Gone Too Deep was soo good! And I was so close to finishing The Reader I said why not just finish it up.  It was really a great reading day, it was quite in the office for a couple hours and then everyone in my house was asleep by 6:30 last night leaving me some quiet reading time.
Number of Pages I've read today: 14
Total Number of Pages:  1,167
Time spent reading today: 10 minutes
Total number of books I've read:  3 Finished (Currently Reading In Safe Hands)
Books completed:  Fan the Flames, Gone Too Deep, The Reader
Thoughts: It was a little busier Friday than I expected so I didn't get any reading done to speak of but that is ok, I think I pretty much met my goals for the week other than reading HP, but honestly I am to the point of not caring about that at all.
Saturday & Sunday
Number of Pages I've read today: 65
Total Number of Pages: 1,232
Time spent reading today: 1 Hour
Total number of books I've read: 3 Finished (Currently Reading Half Blood Prince)
Books completed: Fan the Flames, Gone Too Deep, The Reader
Thoughts: Another busy weekend filled with Tball and cleaning and then Mother's Day. I probably could have read more on Sunday due to having the day off but I didn't get around to it until the end of the day. I did almost read 100 pages of HP for one day at least.  I only managed to reach my goal of page count for this Bout of Books but that is okay, like I said I am about ready to give up on HP, if I don't finish Half Blood Prince this next week I think I am going to call it quits.



I don't normally participate in challenges in the Bout of Books because I like to focus my time on getting as much reading in as I can but if I do participate you will see my answers and or photos or whatever the challenge requires posted here with a link to the challenge.


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

Gone Camping by Tamara Will Wissinger
A Little Book About Safety by Samantha Kurtzman-Counter and Abbie Schiller (Bedtime Story)
Miss Bindergarten and the Very Wet Day by Joseph Slate (Early Reader)
Soldier Sister, Fly Home by Nancy Bo Flood
Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin & James Dean (Bedtime Story)
Transformer Rescue-Bots: Meet Quickshadow by Brandon T. Snider (Early Reader)
Jesper Jinx and the Mouse Mayhem by Marko Kitti
My Friend is Sad by Mo Willems (Bedtime Story)
The Little Duck by Judy Dunn (Early Reader)
R2-D2 to the Rescue by Ace Landers
Giggle, Giggle, Quack by Doreen Cronin (Bedtime Story)
A Day in the Life of a Firefighter by Linda Hayward (Early Reader)
Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
Fire Engine No. 9 by Mike Austin (Bedtime Story)
The Colorful Story of Comics by Patricia Lakin (Early Reader)
Donald Duck: Vicious Cycles by Romano Scarpa, Giorgio Cavazzano & Daniel Branca  (Graphic Novel)
Supertruck by Stephen Savage (Bedtime Story)
Otis's Busy Day by Loren Long (Early Reader)
The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary (Series Review)
Runaway Ralph by Beverly Cleary (Series Review)
Ralph S. Mouse by Beverly Cleary (Series Review)
Ten Rules of Being a Superhero by Deb Pilutti (Bedtime Story)

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

Jesper Jinx & The Mouse Mayhem
Runaway Ralph
Ralph S. Mouse
Team of Heroes
R2 D2 to the Rescue
Hold Your Breath
Donald Duck: Vicious Cycles
Colorful Story of Comics

Currently Reading:
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling  - Print - on page 248 of 652
Loki's Wolves by K.L. Armstrong - Print- on page 46 of 358
A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman - Audio - 23%
Book of Bera by Suzie Wilde - Kindle - on page 126 of 321
The Reader by Traci Chee - on page 286 of 442
Fan the Flames by Katie Ruggle - Kindle - 15%

 Books to be Read Soon:


Pages Read/ Time Listened
103:01 Hours Listened (none listened this week)
22,615 Pages Read (1,694 this week)

Books Added to Shelves This Month
Beauty and the Beast by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by JK Rowling
Samurai Rising by Pamela Turner
The Mating by BJ Cunningham & Misty Clark
Hold Your Breath by Katie Ruggle
Fan the Flames by Katie Ruggle
Keeper by Ellen Jensen Abbott
Love and Muddy Puddles by Cecily Paterson
Dawn Study by Maria V. Snyder
Irish Rising by Marie Rose Dufour
The Sculptor by Scott McCloud
Huck: Book 1- All American by Mark Millar
The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher
Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
Gone Camping by Tamara Will Wissinger
Saga Vol. 7 by Brian K. Vaughan
Over the Garden Wall by Jim Campbell, et. al.
The Hundredth Queen by Emily R. King
A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

Books Read From My Shelves
Runaway Ralph
Ralph S. Mouse
R2 D2 To the Rescue

Interesting Tidbits on the Web:



GAH! What a week! I feel like I ran around like a complete nut all week long and got nothing done but looking at all my lists, clearly that running accomplished something.  I hope you enjoyed my Children's Book Week! I really came across some really fantastic books for kids of all ages and I hope you found one or two you would like as well.  I am really looking forward to getting back to my regular posting schedule this week.  I will be participating in Bout of Books readathon this week, the post will go up later today. 

In regular life, today marks a huge day in my house. As some of you who have been following me for some time know, my hubby and I work complete opposite schedules. I work a regular 9-5 and he has been working 3-11:30 pm.  Well after a lot of thought and discussion, and many attempts, Hubby made a huge move and sacrifice to change his schedule.  He isn't quite on my schedule but he his much closer, now working early mornings 2am -10:30am in a new job. While this still isn't ideal, it will make a huge difference for me and Munchkin to be able to see him every day! I cannot tell you how much of a relief this will be for me.  It will take some time to adjust to this new schedule and new routines will have to be established but I know this will all be worth it in the long run.

So that about wraps up my usual chaos! How have you been? I hope you have a great week ahead of you!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Children's Book Week: Bedtime Story: Ten Rules of Being a Superhero by Deb Pilutti

Synopsis: "In order to be a real superhero, you have to follow some important rules:

Rule #1: A superhero must ALWAYS respond to a call for help.

Rule #2: Saving the day is messy. But everyone understands.

In this handy guide, Captain Magma and his trusty sidekick, Lava Boy, take young readers on an adventure to learn all ten rules of being a good superhero."

My Review: This is a silly book for young super heroes in training. There is a lot of imagination in this book and the rules of being a super hero will help guide those super adventures. I figured this would be fun book to read with Munchkin's love of Superman but he didn't get as into it as I expected. We did have some giggles but he hasn't really asked to read it again.
My Rating: This is a cute book for little super heroes, but it just wasn't quite the book for Munchkin, we give it a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag.
Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Children's Book Week: Series Review of Ralph S. Mouse Series by Beverly Cleary

I have been trying to figure out a way to share all these books I read with you but still include other non-review posts on the blog.  One method I have come up with was to share the reviews for an entire series (or pair) of books in one post.  I will do my absolute best to keep spoilers out of these posts in case you plan to read the books, but there is a slight chance that even the synopsis of a book can give away the result of the previous book. So if you don't want to know anything at all about the later books in a series that might giveaway something in the first book STOP READING NOW!
Synopsis: ""Pb-pb-b-b-b. Pb-pb-b-b-b." With these magic vocables, Ralph the mouse revs up a dream come true--his very own motorcycle. Living in a knothole in a hotel room, young Ralph has seen plenty of families come and go, some more generous with their crumbs than others. But when young Keith and his parents check in to the hotel, Ralph gets his first chance to check out. He has always fantasized about venturing beyond the second floor, maybe even outside. Curiosity overcomes caution, and Ralph must have a go at Keith's toy motorcycle. Soon, the headstrong mouse finds himself in a pickle, when all he wanted was to ride a motorcycle. Lucky for him, the boy understands how it is. When he discovers Ralph in his thwarted attempt to abscond with the toy bike, Keith generously encourages the rodent to ride. He even teaches him the simple trick of starting the motorcycle: "You have to make a noise... pb-pb-b-b-b." The subsequent situations Ralph motors into require quick thinking and grownup-sized courage."

My Review: This is such a classic book, I remember reading it as a child and now Munchkin is going to get to read it too. Even though it has been around for a while it still has the same relevance, it doesn't seem dated at all like so many other books. It seems to have been written to appeal more towards young male readers but it can definitely be enjoyed by all. I love the creativity in this book, how making the motorcycle noise makes it run. This book is filled with fun, adventure, a little danger, and of course friendship and family. This is such a fun book that will continue to stand the test of time and entertain us.
My Rating: This was such a favorite when I was a kid and I am happy that after re-reading it, that this will probably be a book that Munchkin will love as well. Even as an adult this is a fun book that will entertain everyone in the family.  I give it a rating of Four Paws.
Synopsis: "Ralph, the adventurous mouse, sets out for a children's summer camp on his motorcycle after being teased and chided by his family."

My Review: Even though Ralph is a mouse, I think the young readers will really be able to relate to him. I think everyone about the age of the target audience has thought about running away like Ralph did and hopefully before they actually do it they will learn from Ralph's adventures. Ralph finds out that the world really is as scary and danger filled as his mom always nagged him about. Lucky for him that he finds another lonely, motorcycle loving being to connect with and help him get back home. This is another fun adventure, though a little darker than the previous book with a few more dangers involved.
My Rating: This is a great book that really pinpoints subjects that will apply to the target group.  I really enjoyed this one and can't help but give it a rating of Four Paws!
Synopsis: "In this third and final Mouse novel from Newbery Medal-winning author Beverly Cleary, Ralph heads to school to see what humans do all day . . . and to discover what the S in Ralph S. Mouse stands for!

With his rowdy cousins constantly wearing out his motorcycle and the Mountain View Inn manager threatening to take care of the mouse infestation once and for all, Ralph decides it's time to get away for a while. He convinces his human friend Ryan to take him along to school, where Ralph instantly becomes the center of attention. But when Ryan's class decides to see how smart Ralph is by making him run a maze, the usually confident mouse starts to fret. What if he's not as clever as he thought?"

My Review: This is another great book that has stood the test of time and will continue to do so. I really love how these books are just as relevant today as they were when I was a kid. While this wasn't my favorite book in the trilogy, then and now, it is still a book that the target audience will really be able to relate with. In the previous book Ralph ran away, something older children and middle grade kids may have contemplated. In this book Ralph goes to school with a little boy to hopefully remove a distraction from the other mice and protect a friend who might loose his job, but it is more so a story about finding friends and how to treat friends. It also presents a great argument against judging others. All in all a very fun book and a great book to wrap up a trilogy.
My Rating: This book wasn't as action packed or dangerous as the other two books, so for me it wasn't quite as enjoyable even though it was still a very good book with a great message for the middle grade age range.  I give this one a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.
Full Series Review: It is always a risk when you go back and read a book that you enjoyed as a child, especially as times have changed so much and continue to change so quickly, a book or series can easily become outdated and no longer relevant.  Thankfully, this series can become a favorite for the next generation as well. Even though Ralph is a mouse, he faces many of the same issues kids face while growing up, he has disagreements with his mom, wants to strike out on his own and has trouble being kind to family and friends. By then end Ralph learns a lot and hopefully young readers will as well.  I look forward to when Munchkin can enjoy this series too.  I give the series as a whole a rating of Four Paws!

Children's Book Week: Otis's Busy Day by Loren Long

Synopsis: "Otis is a very busy tractor. He loves working on the farm and playing with his friends. But at the end of a long day, Otis is happy to go home and rest! This is the perfect complement to the Otis picture books and a great book with which to learn to read! Join Otis and his farmyard friends for all kinds of fun in this new leveled reader.

Otis jumps.
Otis zips.
Look, a friend!"

My Review: This book came in a set that I picked up for Munchkin. We have enjoyed Otis books in the past and this book was no different. This is a great book for Level One Readers (kids who are just starting to read with help). The book does have a nice storyline that will keep the reader interested. It also has simple sentences (see the excerpt above), easy words and some sight words. And of course it has the Otis illustration style and his friends on the farm. 
My Rating: This is a great beginning reader book, and one that I think kids will enjoy.  It is on the easier level (could almost be a pre-level one).  We give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.