Saturday, December 2, 2017

Advent Reads Day 2: Klaus by Grant Morrison

Welcome to Advent Reads!
This is an event I have had on my blog for several years running now.  Each evening I feature a different holiday themed book. Think of it as your Book Advent Calendar! I post a variety of holiday books including romance, children's, middle-grade, mystery, paranormal, and I try to find some that are other holiday celebrations than Christmas too. I hope you will stop by each evening to see what new book I have for you!

Read for: Graphic Novel Challenge

Synopsis: "Comics legend Grant Morrison introduces us to an old friend, Santa Claus, as we've never seen him before.

He’s a myth. He’s a legend. He’s loved worldwide by children and adults alike . . . but does anyone truly know the origins of Santa Claus? Set in a dark fantastic past of myth and magic, Klaus tells the origin story of Santa Claus. It’s the tale of one man and his wolf against a totalitarian state and the ancient evil that sustains it.

Award-winning author Grant Morrison (All-Star Superman, The Multiversity) and artist Dan Mora (Hexed) revamp, reinvent, and re-imagine a classic superhero for the 21st century, drawing on Santa’s roots in Viking lore and Siberian shamanism, and taking in the creepier side of Christmas with characters like the sinister Krampus. Klaus finally answers the burning question: what does Santa Claus do on the other 364 days a year?"

My Review: As soon as I discovered this book I knew I wanted to read it for my Advent Reads event held every December on my blog. I am so glad I picked this one up (even though it was a little pricey). I love the classic folk tale feel to this story, as it integrated a few different myths and legends into this Santa origin story. It does a great job of integrating a darker side to the story and pulling on the classic trope of good versus evil. The artwork in this is so vivid and detailed, I really love the style and it lends to this story so well. I have a feeling this is going to become a must read every holiday season for me!

My Rating: I so enjoyed this graphic novel, the artwork and the story both worked to produce a unique holiday story.   I give it a rating of Four Paws!

Stress Free Holidays: Spreading the Spending

Welcome to my Stress Free Holidays series, I will be sharing some tips to reduce the amount of stress this time of year puts on all of us.  Some are ones I have used, some are ones I will be instituting this year, and some I will be using in the future.  If you have any great ways to reduce the amount of stress please feel free to share them with us!

Everyone knows that this month is one of the most expensive of the year (other than tax season and big vacations or weddings), and we are all trying to find ways to try to lessen the blow on our bank accounts.  I have heard of many methods, and tried several. There is of course saving money throughout the year either by stashing every $5 bill you have, or by setting up a temporary Christmas savings account at your bank (my bank doesn't offer this but check with yours), or compounding the money saved each week (week 1 = $1, week 2 = $2, etc).  

The one I keep coming back to is gift cards.  It might be a little late for you to try it this year but keep it in mind for next year.  What I do is starting about June or July, each time or so that I am at a store I pick up a gift card for anywhere from $10 to $50 depending on the funds available that week.  I pick gift cards from the stores I am most likely to shop at for Christmas like Target, Toys R Us, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, etc. You can pick them up in that store specifically when you are there or the drug stores have a huge selection of gift cards to choose from.  I then save those in a special place until about November, it is easier to save them because they are to specific stores so you aren't as likely to dig into the stash when you want extra spending money.  I then use them to do all my holiday shopping when the sales are best.  This spreads out the funds over a several month period. You tend to spend less because of how much are available on the gift cards (leave the credit card at home and only take the gift cards you have). And if you don't have time to shop or can't find the right gift they can also be given as a gift. 

So how do you lighten the blow to your wallet during the holiday season?

Friday, December 1, 2017

Advent Reads Day 1: The Snowman and the Snowdog by Raymond Briggs

Welcome to Advent Reads!
This is an event I have had on my blog for several years running now.  Each evening I feature a different holiday themed book. Think of it as your Book Advent Calendar! I post a variety of holiday books including romance, children's, middle-grade, mystery, paranormal, and I try to find some that are other holiday celebrations than Christmas too. I hope you will stop by each evening to see what new book I have for you!

Read for: Early Reader Challenge & We love this Christmas Movie

Synopsis: "A new Christmas classic based on Raymond Briggs’s holiday favorite The Snowman.

In this holiday picture book, a companion to Raymond Briggs’s The Snowman, a little boy builds a snow puppy next to his snowman—in hopes of getting a real puppy for Christmas. That night the Snowman comes to life and takes the boy and the Snowdog on an adventure to the world of Snow People. But the best is yet to come on Christmas morning, when a real, live puppy is waiting under the tree.

Based on the original classic by Raymond Briggs, which has sold over 8.5 million copies and is available in fifteen languages, the story and illustrations are by the creators of the animated special by the same name."

My Review: We love this movie and watch it every year for the holidays, so of course I had to pick it up for Munchkin when I found the book. This is a perfect level one early reader book with very simple sentences and easy words young readers will be familiar with. A great Christmas story to extend the love of the movie into story time, it has the same soothing tone and illustrations as the movie and is perfect for bedtime.

My Rating:  I love how this book expanded upon what happened in the movie but it still kept the same tone.  We love it and will be reading it often during this holiday season! We give it a rating of Four Paws and a Stump Wag!

Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Happy December!

Happy December everyone! Can you believe we are into the last month of the year already?!  If you have been around for a while you know that December is a big month here on Eastern Sunset Reads and if you are a new visitor I hope you will stick around for all of the fun! 

Today is the start of my Advent Reads event, each evening leading up to Christmas I will feature a new holiday story. I try to feature a variety of books from Children's and Early Readers, through fiction and romance, even graphic novels.  I hope that I can help you find the perfect book for a cozy night of reading under the tree! 

As part of my Advent Reads event in the past I have also shared with you something holiday related. Previously I have featured my favorite ornaments on the tree, favorite Christmas songs, my advent candle countdown, even fun holiday traditions.  This year I gave you guys the option of what you wanted and the choice was to feature some ways to have a less stressful/ holiday stress relief to get us all through this month.  So that is what I will be featuring this month.  I will try to post something nearly each day, but I can't guarantee that I will make it every single morning. I do have loads of ideas for you to use both this year and in the future years, some I use myself, some I will be instituting and some I hope to try in the future too.  So I hope you will be stopping by often this month to either pick up a stress reducing tip or a new holiday story to read.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

November 2017 Challenge Update & December TBR

Good Gordy! Where the heck did November go?! I feel like I didn't even get any reading done this month but of course that is not true but it certainly did fly by.  Only one month left of the year and only one month left to finish all my challenges, Yikes! Shall we check in?

Children's Book Challenge - COMPLETE
62. Puppy Dog Pals - Adventures in Puppy Sitting
63. I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas
64. Olaf's Frozen Adventure
65. Cars 3
*I do have a few more Holiday books but am happy I have completed the challenge but kept it to a reasonable number of books!

Early Reader Challenge - COMPLETE
48.  AT-AT Attack
50. See Santa Nap
51. Do You See What I See Christmas
52. Go, Go, Trucks
*Again I have completed the challenge of 50-55 books, I do have a few more to read for the Advent Reads event.

Graphic Novel Challenge - COMPLETE
I actually completed this challenge last month so didn't read any this month.

Audio Book Challenge - COMPLETE
29. Fire
30. A Christmas to Love You
* This was the month for Audiobooks! I still have a few more to listen to this month while wrapping and decorating!

Trilogy Challenge: - COMPLETE!
1.  Snow Like Ashes Trilogy: Book 1, Book .1, Book 2Book 2.5, Book 3 - COMPLETE
2. Winner's Curse Trilogy: Book .5, Book 1Book 2Book 3 - COMPLETE
3. Sons of the Revolution Trilogy: Book 1Book 2Book 3 - COMPLETE
4. Watersmeet Series: Book 1Book 2Book 3 - COMPLETE
5. A Court of Thorns & Roses Series: Book 1, Book 2Book 3 - COMPLETE
6. Ralph S. Mouse Trilogy: Book 1Book 2, Book 3 - COMPLETE
7. Grisha Trilogy: Book 1Book 2Book 3 - COMPLETE
8. Dark Jewels Trilogy: Book 1, Book 2, Book 3 - COMPLETE
9. Captive Prince Trilogy: Book 1Book 2Book 3Book 2.5Book 3.5Book 3.75 - COMPLETE
10. Pendragon's Banner Trilogy: Book 1, Book 2
11: Rhiannon's Ride Trilogy: Book 1
12. The Madman's Daughter Trilogy: Book 1Book 2Book 3 - COMPLETE
*I completed the challenge last month with 10 full trilogies but I am still slowly working on finishing the last 2 I want to read this year.

Requested Reviews:- COMPLETE!
27. The Speaker (direct from publisher)
*I set this challenge at 25-30 and I completed it last month. I do have a couple more I am reading this month.

Books Added to Shelves
4. Winners Kiss
5. Bubble Trouble
6. Blaze Loves to Race
7. Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book
8. Heartstone
9. Beauty and the Beast
10. Norse Mythology
11. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 
12. Beauty and the Beast: Belle's Library
13. Trapped 
14. Samurai Rising

15. Pancho Bandito and the Amarillo Armadillo
16. The Mating - DNF
17. Hold Your Breath
18. Fan the Flames
19. The Keeper
20. Love and Muddy Puddles
21. Irish Rising
22. The Sculptor
23. Huck: Book 1- All American

24. Dawn Study
25. The Princess Diarist 
Name of the Wind
27. Gone Camping
28. Saga Vol. 7 
29. Over the Garden Wall 
30. The Hundredth Queen 
31. A Court of Wings and Ruin 
32. On His Watch
33. In Safe Hands 
34. After the End
35. Seduced by the Billionaire 
36. The Simplicity of Cider

37. Wise Man's Fear 
38. Dragon Teeth
39. Flame in the Mist 
40. How to Tame a Willful Wife
41. New World: Rising
42. The Sandcastle Empire
43. And I Darken 
44. Finding Wonders 
45. World Mythology in Bite Sized Chunks
46. Eliza and Her Monster
47. Turning Pointe 
48. When Dimple Met Rishi
49. Truthwitch 
50. Windwitch 
51. Done Dirt Cheap *
52. Frogkisser
53. Lawn Boy 
54. Code Talker 
55. Princess Leia: Royal Rebel 

56. This Savage Song
57. American Street
58. Pax
59. The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender
60. The Beast's Garden
61. Under a Painted Sky
62. The Misfits
63. Totally Joe
64. Addie on the Inside
65. Also Known as Elvis
66. Viking Warrior Rebel
67. New Leash on Love
68. Puss Without Boots
69. Northern Exposure
70. Southern Comfort
71. Eastern Ambitions
72. Western Ties
73. Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue
74. Monstress Vol. 2 
75. Everyone is an Aliebn when ur are an Aliebn too 
76. The Invisible Library 
77. Saints Blood 
78. Neverwhere  - DNF
79. P.O. Box Love 
80. Britt Marie Was Here
81. Nomansland 
82. The Secret Horses of Briar Hill 

83. The Secret Loves of Geek Girls 
84. Vengeance Road 
85. This One Summer 
86. Keep Me Posted 

87. The Prince of Fools
88. The Nothing Girl
89. Luin the Sapphire
90. His Majesty's Dragon
91. Tortall and Other Lands
92. Wild Magic
93. Wolf Speaker
94. Emperor Mage
95. Realm of the Gods
96. The Winter King
97. The Christmas Blessing
98. The Christmas Hope
99. The Christmas Promise
100. The Christmas Secret
101. The Christmas Note
102. Wonder Woman: Warbringer
103. The John Wayne Code
104. The Hearts We Sold
105. She and Her Cat
106. Jane Unlimited
107. Before She Ignites
108. Eight Hundred Grapes
109. Shadowcaster
110. Flamecaster
111. The Last Magician
112. Timekeeper
113. Bone Witch
114. Stalking Jack the Ripper
114. Hunting Prince Dracula
115. Vassa in the Night
116. As You Wish
117. Invictus
118. Down and Across
119. Naondel
120. An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors
121. Language of Thorns
122. Every Little Thing
123. Daughter of Smoke and Bone
124. Klaus
125. Invention of Hugo Cabret
126. Lost Pony of Riverdale
127. Poppy's Diary
128. The Natural History of Dragons
129. Phantom Traces
130. Dear Margaret
131. The Staying Kind
132. Christmas Joy
133. Hearts Unloched
134. A Family for the Rugged Rancher
135. Passion's Palette
136. His Christmas Sweetheart
137. Never Dare a Dragon
138. Vampire King of New York
139. Crewel Work
140. Trouble Looming
141. A Shot at Love
142. Moment of Fate
143. The Promise
144. The Landscaper Series
145. Recipes from Raine's Roast
146. Caught up in Raine
147. Kilty Pleasures
148. Redeeming the Billionaire
149. The Billionaire's Best Friend
150. A Billionaire Playboy
151. Lost City Duplicate Unhaul
152. The World Beneath - Duplicate Unhaul
153. The House of Four Winds
154. Warriors
155. Books of the South
156. Chronicles of the Black Company
157. If You Find this Letter
158. Dinosaur Lords
159. Dinosaur Knights
160. Voyage of the Basilisk
161. In the Labyrinth of Drakes
162. The Speaker
163. Nevernight
164. Christmas at Thompson Hall
165. Live and Adventures of Santa
166. The Nutcracker
167. Traitor's Blade
168. A Merry Christmas
169. Christmas Carol
170. Ink and Bone
171. The Night Before Christmas
172. The Grace of Kings
173. The Wall of Storms
174. The Traitor's Blade
175. The Bear and the Nightingale
176. All You Need is Love 
177. To Know Her is to Love Her
178. Deal of a Lifetime
179. From a Certain Point of View
180. The Dinosaur Princess
181. Above the Timberline
182. Wishtree
183. I Want to Hold Your Hand 
*Obviously this is a challenge that will never be completed, and I did so well at the beginning.  I am going to be reading several more books from this list as many were for the Advent reads event, but I will be assessing these books and possibly unhauling several.  If I can end up with about 50% read I think I will be pretty happy. I am a little shocked at how many books I purchased this year, this is something I will have to curb a little next year, there is no need to purchase nearly 200 books a year (and I didn't even track the kids books)!

TBR Shelf Books
65. Angels at the Table
66. Fire
67. Pendragon's Banner
*I didn't set a real challenge number for this, it was more to see if I was actually reading books from my shelf or just buying new books (and also to make sure I read as many as I purchased). I am really happy with how many I have read this year, I don't foresee reading too many more but i think this is a good number.

Library Books:
*I have been using the library through Overdrive for about half the year, and while I have been using it to read books I already have in different formats I have been reading some books exclusively and wanted to list them here too.
A Child's Christmas in Wales
Christmas Sucks
Christmas Home
Christmas Letters
Her Dark Curiosity
A Cold Legacy
Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian
Captive Prince
Prince's Gambit
Kings Rising


I am super happy with the fact that I have completed all my challenges (except all the books I bought this year)! I do have a bunch more reading to do this month but most of it will be audio books and shorter Christmas books. I am getting really excited for the new year, I have been slowly building some great series to read in 2018.  But for now here is my TBR for the rest of the year.

Shadow of the King
The Bear and the Nightingale
Shining City
Heart of Stars
The Christmas Book
Christmas Hope Series Books 2-6
Mistletoe Kiss
Above the Timberline
Life and Adventures of Santa Claus
Christmas Joy
Inside the Fire
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender
Mischief and the Masters
I Want to Hold Your Hand - Currently Reading
Tethered Mage - Currently Reading

How are you doing with your challenges? Are you reading holiday books this month? What is your favorite holiday read?

Monday, November 27, 2017

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

Deal of a Lifetime by Fredrik Backman
I Spy Thanksgiving by Jean Marzollo (Early Reader)
The Speaker by Traci Chee
'Twas the Day After Thanksgiving by Mavis Smith (Bedtime Story)
Captive Prince by C.S. Pacat (After Dark/ Series Review)
Prince's Gambit by C.S. Pacat (After Dark/ Series Review)
Green But for a Season by C.S. Pacat (After Dark/ Series Review)
King's Rising by C.S. Pacat (After Dark/ Series Review)
The Summer Palace by C.S. Pacat (After Dark/ Series Review)
The Adventures of Charls, the Veretian Cloth Merchant by C.S. Pacat (After Dark/ Series Review)
Every Little Thing by Marie Force (Mini Review)
All You Need is Love by Marie Force (Mini Review)
To Know Her is to Love Her by Marie Force (Mini Review)
Fire by Kristin Cashore (Mini Review)

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

The Speaker
I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas

Currently Reading:

Scythe by Neal Shusterman - Print - on page 265 of 435
The Pendragon's Banner by Helen Hollick - Print - on page 286 of  473

 Books to be Read Soon:

Pages Read/ Time Listened
291:52 Hours (about 10+ Days) Listened (14:35 listened this week)
47,861 Pages Read (576 this week)

Books Added to Shelves Recently TBR
Beauty and the Beast by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve
Samurai Rising by Pamela Turner
Dawn Study by Maria V. Snyder
Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
Dragon Teeth by Michael Crichton
How to Tame a Willful Wife by Christy English
New World: Rising by Jennifer Wilson
The Sandcastle Empire by Kayla Olson
And I Darken by Kiersten White
World Mythology in Bite Sized Chunks by Mark Daniels
Eliza and Her Monster by Francesca Zappia
Windwitch by Susan Dennard
Frogkisser by Garth Nix
Code Talker by Joseph Bruchac
This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton
The Beast's Garden by Kate Forsyth
Addie on the Inside by James Howe
Also Known as Elvis by James Howe
Viking Warrior Rebel by Asa Maria Bradley
New Leash on Love by Debbie Burns
Puss Without Boots by Shari L. Tapscott
The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman
Saints Blood by Sebastien de Castell
P.O. Box Love by Paola Calvetti
Britt Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman
Nomansland by Lesley Hauge
The Secret Horses of Briar Hill by Megan Shepherd
The Secret Loves of Geek Girls by various authors
Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman
Keep Me Posted by Lisa Beazley
The Prince of Fools by Mark Lawrence
The Nothing Girl by Jodi Taylor
Luin the Sapphire by Rich Feitelberg
His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik
Tortall and Other Lands by Tamora Pierce
Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce
Wolf Speaker by Tamora Pierce
Emperor Mage by Tamora Pierce
Realm of the Gods by Tamora Pierce
The Winter King by CL Wilson
The Christmas Blessing by Donna VanLiere
The Christmas Hope by Donna VanLiere
The Christmas Promise by Donna VanLiere
The Christmas Secret by Donna VanLiere
The Christmas Note by Donna VanLiere
Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo
The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones
She and Her Cat by Makoto Shinkai
Jane Unlimited by Kristin Cashore
Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows
Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave
Shadowcaster by Cinda Williams Chima
Flamecaster by Cinda Williams Chima
The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell
Timekeeper by Tara Sim
Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco
Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco
Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter
As You Wish  by Chelsea Sedoti
Down and Across by Arvin Ahmadi
Naondel by Maria Turtschaninoff
The Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors by Curtis Craddock
Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo
Every Little Thing by Marie Force
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Klaus by Grant Morrison
Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
The Lost Pony of Riverdale by Amanda Wills
Poppy's Diary by Amanda Wills
Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan
Piper by Jay Asher & Jessica Freeburg
Phantom Traces by Claire Gem
Dear Margaret by Pamela Ackerson
The Staying Kind by Cerian Hebert
Christmas Joy by Nancy Naigle
Hearts Unloched by Claire Gem
A Family for the Rugged Rancher by Donna Alward
Passion's Palette by Peggy Jaeger
His Christmas Sweetheart by Cathy McDavid
Never Dare a Dragon by Ashlyn Chase
Vampire King of New York by Susan Hanniford Crowley
Crewel Work by Natalie Alder
Trouble Looming by Natalie Alder
A Shot at Love by Peggy Jaeger
Moment of Fate by Karen Stivali
The Promise by Jennifer Owen Davies
The Landscaper Series by Robin Stone
Recipes from Raine's Roast by LG O'Connor
Caught up in Raine by LG O'Connor
Kilty Pleasures by Nancy Fraser
Redeeming the Billionaire by Christina Tetreault
The Billionaire's Best Friend by Christina Tetreault
A Billionaire Playboy by Christina Tetreault
The House of Four Winds by Mercedes Lackey & James Mallory
Warriors by Various Authors
Books of the South by Glen Cook
Chronicles of the Black Company by Glen Cook
If You Find this Letter by Hannah Brencher
Dinosaur Lords by Victor Milan
Dinosaur Knights by Victor Milan
Voyage of the Basilisk by Marie Brennan
In the Labyrinth of Drakes by Marie Brennan
The Speaker by Traci Chee
Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine
Christmas at Thompson Hall by Anthony Trollope
The Nutcracker
Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum
A Merry Christmas and Other Stories by Louisa May Alcott
The Night Before Christmas
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu
The Wall of Storms by Ken Liu
The Traitor's Blade by Sebastian De Castell
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
All You Need is Love by Marie Force
To Know Her is to Love Her by Marie Force
Deal of a Lifetime by Fredrik Backman
From a Certain Point of View
The Dinosaur Princess by Victor Milan
Above the Timberline by Gregory Manchess
Wishtree by Katherine Applegate
I Want to Hold Your Hand by Marie Force


I hope those of you who had a long holiday weekend enjoyed it and were surrounded by loved ones! I did have to work on Friday (as did hubby) so Munchkin came to the office with me, he always has such a blast.  It was a busy weekend of the usual house cleaning and fall yard work.  I didn't get as much read as I had hoped, especially on the Tome Topple Challenge, I haven't even started any of the three books I picked! 

Can you believe that it is already almost December?! I don't know where the heck the second half of this year went! I am working hard on the Advent Reads event and as requested I will have some tips throughout the month on lightening the stress of the holiday season. 

I hope you all have a wonderful week and start to the final month of the year!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Mini Reviews: A Few Books from the Green Mountain/ Butler, Vermont Series by Marie Force

So with reading and reviewing so many books, I am running out of days in which to share them with you.  I am going to start posting Mini Reviews of books that I read through out the month but couldn't find the time to post on the last Sunday of each month.

Kind of funny but the books I have to share with you this week are all from the same series! It is kind of a big series and I came in a well into it and had to start back at the beginning, so I didn't want to wait to do a full series review of all (9 books so far I think).

Listed as book 1 of the Butler, Vermont series but is actually book 7 in the Green Mountain series.  I really love the characters, including side characters and the setting of this book so of course had to go back and start at the beginning.  Four Paws

This is where it all starts, I love the introduction to the small town life and people, the setting really comes out and you want to be there too.  Four Paws

(there was no english cover shown, this is a novella included with the first book)
I really like this book, with how quick everything develops in these romances it is nice to have a novella where it shows some insecurity in the relationship and some of the hardships involved.  Four Paws

This was a re-read for me again and I love it just as much as every other time I have read this book. It was a comfort to pick this one up after a particularly stressful few weeks. Four Paws & Stump Wag
Full Review (I didn't update my review but my thoughts are still pretty much the same)