Monday, August 29, 2016

Magic Tree House Monday: Book 30 - Haunted Castle on Hallow's Eve

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 30, Merlin calls Jack and Annie back to help save Camelot once again. This Merlin Mission book in the series is another fantasy adventure that combines a few myths and legends into one quest for Jack and Annie. They must face the unknown and think outside the box to save Camelot.
My Review: This is the second book in the Merlin Missions part of the series, and this new portion of the series really does mark a change. These books no longer seem to be part of a 4 book set within the series but stand individually in the series. This book is also a lot more fantastical than previous books. I do like how it incorporates myths and other stories into the book but also takes a different look. The one thing I noticed is it says in the beginning that it had been a years since the last Tree House adventure but Jack and Annie don't seem to be maturing enough for the time gaps.
My Rating: So far the Merlin Missions don't seem to be transitioning much from the earlier first chapter book format. Jack and Annie are still young, the adventures are just more imaginative. I give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.

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

Christmas in Camelot by Mary Pope Osborne (Magic Tree House)
The Hike by Steven Manchester
I Dream of Dragons by Ashlyn Chase (After Dark)
Brave Figherfighters by Walt Disney Company (Early Reader)
Gruffalo's Child by Julia Donaldson (Bedtime Story)
Everywhere and Every Way by Jennifer Probst (Mini Review)
Savage by Kim Faulks (Mini Review - After Dark)
Angel of Fire by Tanya Anne Crosby (Mini Review)
Lion and the Doe by Kristen Strassel (Mini Review - After Dark)

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

Everywhere & Every Way = 3pts
Savage = 3pts
Rocking in My School Shoes = 1pt
Haunted Castle on Hallows Eve = 5pts
Summer of the Sea Serpent = 5pts
Cinderella GN = 3pts
There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Desk = 1pt
Orphan Trains = 3pts
Unexpected = 3pts
The Hike = 3pts
The Lion & the Doe = 3pts
Currently Reading:

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir - Audio - 7%

 Books to be Read Soon:

Tale of Elske by Cynthia Voigt


Total Points Earned
    228 points + 33 points - 90 points spent = 171 points

Total Points Earned this Year: 956
Total Points Spent this Year: 789

Pages Read/ Time Listened
184:37 Hours Listened (10:19 listened this week)
32,754 Pages Read (882 this week)

Books Added to Shelves

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo - 10 points spent
Rain, Reign by Ann M. Martin - 10 points spent
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman - 10 points spent
Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren - 10 points spent
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein - 10 points spent
Nim's Island by Wendy Orr - 10 points spent
Full Time Father by Susan Mallery - 10 points spent
Chicken Soup for the Soul: Christmas Magic - 10 points spent
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab - 10 points spent
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir - Audible Monthly Download

Interesting Tidbits on the Web:



Wow! What a week! Some how I managed to pull off one of my busiest weeks ever at work, getting the house ready and plans done for 2 parties, Bout of Books Readathon, company from out of town and fantasy football draft!! I have no idea how but everything came together better than I ever expected! I did reward myself with a little shopping spree, Audible was having an incredible sale, 20% off credits, plus then a huge sale where I picked up 9 audio books for $24!

Today my little Munchkin turns 4 and it is also his first day of Pre-K, my how the time flew! I am going to have a couple of posts later this week about his awesome birthday party, I think everyone had a great time!

No I am going to clean up from the parties today after work and then the rest of the week will be spent with my books and writing pen pals, I think I earned a little break!

Hope you have a great week!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Mini Reviews: Angel of Fire, Everywhere & Every Way, & more romances

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.
Wasn't as engrossing as her previous series and took some time to get into but once it got going it was really good. Three Paws
Quick read, a much more brutal and dark take on a shifter romance. Two Paws and a Stump Wag.
**** Warning: Very adult content***
Fell pretty flat, point less characters, missing backstory, poor build up. Two Paws
Is there such thing as fan fiction of a fan fiction? Basically shifter copy of 50 Shades & Twilight. One Paw and a Stump Wag.
**** Warning: Very adult content***

Friday, August 26, 2016

Bedtime Story: The Gruffalo's Child by Julia Donaldson

Read for: Children's Book Challenge & Munchkin LOVES Gruffalo & is having a Gruffalo Birthday Party tomorrow!
Synopsis: "The Gruffalo said that no gruffalo should ever set foot in the deep dark wood. But one wild and windy night, the Gruffalo's child ignores her father's warning and tiptoes out into the snow. After all, the Big Bad Mouse doesn't really exist - does he?"

My Review: Munckin LOVES The Gruffalo, in fact he has requested a Gruffalo birthday this year, and we have seen the Gruffalo's Child movie numerous times. So we finally were able to pick this book up and it is right up there with the first book. It is a great follow up book with the same lovely rhyming and rhythm to the story and the same great illustrations. It is being added to the favorites shelf as we are going to be reading it just as often as The Gruffalo.
My Rating: This is such a great follow up to the original story. Munchkin is over the  moon about both books but he seems to prefer the movie of Gruffalo's Child better.  We can't help but give this one a rating of Four Paws and a Stump Wag!!
Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Beginning Reader Review of Brave Firefighters by Walt Disney Company

Read for: Early Reader Challenge
Synopsis: "Planes: Fire & Rescue features a quirky crew of elite firefighting aircraft devoted to protecting historic Piston Peak National Park from raging wildfire. When world famous air racer Dusty learns that his engine is damaged and he may never race again, he must shift gears and is launched into the world of wildfire air attack. Dusty joins forces with veteran fire and rescue helicopter Blade Ranger and his courageous air attack team, including spirited super scooper Lil' Dipper, heavy-lift helicopter Windlifter, ex-military transport Cabbie, and a lively bunch of brave all-terrain vehicles known as the Smokejumpers. Together, the fearless team battles a massive wildfire, and Dusty learns what it takes to become a true hero. Boys and girls ages 4 to 6 will fly into reading with this Step 2 Step into Reading leveled reader based on the film!"

My Review: Munchkin enjoyed the Planes movie and also loves firefighters, we haven't seen the Fire & Rescue movie though. The story was a little choppy. It would have been good for it to be in the story how the planes drop water on the fires as that wasn't clear. This is a level two book so the sentences were more complex with more text on each page but the words were still simple for young readers to either sight read or sound out.
My Rating: This one was okay, it focused so much on Dusty that you didn't learn much about how they actual fight the fires. It will still capture those young readers and fans. We give it a rating of Three Paws.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

After Dark Review of I Dream of Dragons by Ashlyn Chase

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: I get to meet her at a conference soon!
Synopsis: "THE HEAT IS ON
When Rory Arish and his two fiery dragon siblings are run out of their ancestral Irish home, it seems their luck has run out-until they arrive in Boston and find a paranormal-friendly apartment building. Finally, Rory has a place to call home. There's only one problem: Rory's new lair has simultaneously been rented to an infuriating woman who is as stubborn as she is beautiful and will not leave 'her' apartment matter how steamed he may be...

Amber McNally is a down-on-her-luck flight attendant. She needs this apartment, and not even a fire-breathing dragon with his Irish charm and scorching good looks is going to scare her away. Holing up in their respective corners, a battle of wills ensues. Who will be the first to blink...or give in to their off-the-charts chemistry and decide to make this unorthodox living arrangement a little more permanent?"

My Review: I picked up this book because I am going to an author event in October that Ashlyn Chase will be at so I wanted to familiarize myself with her books. I am always a sucker for dragon shifter books and with Boston being so close I also love the familiar setting. This book is definitely setting up for a series (and may potentially have branched off another one of her books or series?), so there is a lot of information and even though it is set in current times with familiar locations there is still quite a bit of building with all the paranormal characters. There is also a lot of plot lines moving simultaneously and some times transitions aren't as smooth as I would like and you get jerked around a bit which takes you out of the story. I did really enjoy all the characters, they are all so unique with their own personalities. The back and forth between Amber and Rory (well really Rory and everyone) was very entertaining and comical. This was an enjoyable book with some very fun characters and I am looking forward to the next book.
My Rating: Even though this book is sent in current times with familiar settings there is still a lot of world building around the customs, characters and species that I think needs a little smoothing but it was still a very entertaining book to read and a series I look forward to read more. I give this one a rating of Three Paws.

Pen to Paper: Incoming Mail

Good morning everyone! Hope you have been having a good week! It has been a little hectic around here this week and while I am looking forward to an awesome weekend, I am kind of ready for it to be over.   Anyway, last week I shared with you a picture of some of my outgoing mail from earlier this month, so here is my incoming mail from the last 2 weeks.
The large envelope in the back is from a pen pal in Germany who just recently returned from her summer vacation, she always sends amazing details about her trips, it is fun to read about places I can only imagine traveling too.  The blue envelope is from a brand new pen pal in Brazil, this is her first letter to me and I am looking forward to getting to know her more! The brown envelope is from a pen pal here in the US that I haven't heard from in several months because of personal reasons, but I continued to send her postcards and letters, she was so thankful that just because she couldn't write for several months I didn't give up on her; I am so glad to hear from her again and that we will be able to continue the friendship we started nearly a year ago.  The adorable purple butterfly envelope is from a pen pal in the UK, she is one of my most loyal and fast responding pen pals, I love that we have such a short wait between letters from each other (usually less than 2 weeks even with mail travel time!). And the postcard on the top was a postcrossing post card from Germany, this was her second card since it seems her first was lost in the mail :( but I am glad she was kind enough to send me a new one without me even knowing!
I have some really amazing friends all over the world and I love finding these little bits of happiness in my mailbox!