Friday, October 21, 2016

Beginning Reader Review: Mega Machines by Deborah Lock

Read for: Early Reader Challenge
Synopsis: "Mega Machines" takes readers to a busy, noisy construction site to watch the bulldozers, diggers and cement mixers in action, constructing a new school. In this Level 1 "DK Reader" children just beginning to read will be part of the action from preparing the site to adding the finishing touches and having a grand opening ceremony. "DK Readers" is a multi-level reading program guaranteed to capture children's interest while developing their reading skills and general knowledge. With nine new exciting titles to choose from this season, kid's ages 4-10 will find the perfect book at their appropriate reading level to help with school projects or independent reading."

My Review: This is a great level one book for Munchkin, it is a little advanced in the fact that the sentences were a little longer and some of the words might be difficult for those who aren't big equipment fans but it was perfect for us. I also liked that this was a non-fiction early reader, it has photographs of various equipment on a big job site and also great descriptions as to what they all do. If you have a big truck fan who might be a little reluctant to read, this might be a great way to draw their interest.
My Rating: Of course this one appeals to Munchkin, the lucky thing is that I grew up around heavy machinery and worked at a coal mine so when Munchkin asks questions beyond what is found in these books I can answer them.  But this book was great for him. We give it a rating of Four Paws.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

After Dark Review of Saddle Up by Marie Rose Dufour

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: RI Authors/ She was at the Fall in Love with New England Conference!
Synopsis: "Tasha Lane never realized how boring her life had become until one phone call in the middle of the night totally changed it. Can this forty-two year old accountant put aside a nine-year age gap and perpetual “foot in mouth” disorder to find love and happiness with an ex-rodeo star turned rancher?

Three years ago, Devin Grant traded the rodeo circuit for a cattle ranch. If someone told him, he would fall in love with a woman he’d never physically met, he’d think they were kicked too many times in the head by a bull. When her brother is thrown from his horse, it was finally time to meet the sexy woman of his dreams and convince her, he was worth taking a chance on.

Can he convince her before she goes back to her boring life? Will she be able to overcome their age difference and her own insecurities?"

My Review: I picked this one up before heading to a conference that Marie would be attending. I am always a sucker for cowboy/western romances and this was fun because it took a girl from the east coast, putting her in the west (the complete opposite of what I did). I like how Marie overcame the challenge of developing a connection between the characters in such a short book. Obviously the development of the storyline is still very accelerated and at times maybe a bit too quick moving, I am looking at you Devin, but it was still a great read (and certainly full of steamy scenes). I really hope there are more books with these characters, I really loved the relationship between Tasha and Dave.
My Rating: I rather enjoyed this book even though the relationship progressed rather quickly. I think the best part was the relationship between Tasha and Dave (and after talking to Marie at the conference, she assured me that we will get to see Dave again at some point!).  I give it a rating of Three Paws.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Review of Moon Chosen by P.C. Cast

Read for: Requested Review/ Netgalley
Synopsis: "#1 New York Times bestselling author, P.C. Cast, brings us a new epic fantasy set in a world where humans, their animal allies, and the earth itself has been drastically changed. A world filled with beauty and danger and cruelty…

Mari is an Earth Walker, heir to the unique healing powers of her Clan; but she has cast her duties aside, until she is chosen by a special animal ally, altering her destiny forever. When a deadly attack tears her world apart, Mari reveals the strength of her powers and the forbidden secret of her dual nature as she embarks on a mission to save her people. It is not until Nik, the son of the leader from a rival, dominating clan strays across her path, that Mari experiences something she has never felt before…

Now, darkness is coming, and with it, a force, more terrible and destructive than the world has ever seen, leaving Mari to cast the shadows from the earth. By forming a tumultuous alliance with Nik, she must make herself ready. Ready to save her people. Ready to save herself and Nik. Ready to embrace her true destiny…and obliterate the forces that threaten to destroy them all."

My Review: I have really enjoyed Cast's books in the past so when this start of a new series came out I was excited to try it out. I admit that I really struggled with this one, and had to really take some time between reading it and writing this review. I love fantasy and have been an avid reader for as long as I can remember but this book took world building to a whole new level, it is set in a time several centuries after a major natural disaster but the world is unrecognizable. We are introduced to 4 different cultures with very complex beliefs, lifestyles and rituals. The story follows a few individuals from each society throughout the book as their individual stories progress and weave into each other. Due to so much world and character building, the plot lines are fairly simplistic, though I do really appreciate the relation between current events and those of the book, with the clashing of societies of perceived lifestyles and abilities. As a person who is horribly terrified of spiders (wolf spiders in particular) I would have appreciated a little more warning about the frightening roll they play in the book. This is a very long book that is very slow paced, it didn't pick up steam until the last 150 pages (of over 600) so it certainly isn't for everyone. I don't know if I would continue the series because it may take so long for the next book to come out but at the same time I hate to toss all the time it took to figure out that complex world.
My Rating: Like I said above, I really struggled with how to review and rate this book, I do have an appreciation for vivid and beautiful world building but this was just too much at once. I give this one a rating of Two Paws.
I received Moon Chosen via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
You can find out more about P.C. Cast and her work on her Goodreads Page or Website.
Moon Chosen was just released yesterday, you can obtain your own copy in print or digital format from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Tea Time Tuesday: Favorite Summer Teas

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?)
I tried a lot of new tea over this summer and revisited some old favorites too. I have learned a few new things about making tea and about how my tastes have changed over the years.  I have to say I am definitely leaning towards the strong black teas, but I do still enjoy a light green or white tea from time to time.
My favorite teas I made this summer were . . .
Summer Sangria from The Necessiteas is a beautiful light tea with lots of fruit flavors. I had as both a hot tea and an iced tea, honestly I think the hot tea was a bit more flavorful but either way it was perfect for the summer. (I couldn't find this on their new website but I hope that it is brought back for next summer because I am almost out).

Tazo Iced Blushberry Black is all set up for making full pitchers of iced tea so there was no trying to figure out how much tea to use for steeping. It is a black tea but with a lot of fruit flavor, enough that you don't need sweetener at all.
So what is your favorite tea? Did you have a favorite iced tea for the hot summer?

Review of Child of the Dark Prophecy: Great Tree of Avalon by T.A. Barron

Read for: Mount TBR Print
Synopsis: "THE FATE OF AVALON...

Long ago, Merlin planted a magical seed that grew into the Great Tree of Avalon. And for centuries, Avalon flourished. But Now Avalon reels from brutal attacks, mysterious droughts, and strange evils. And then one night, all the stars in the sky suddenly go dark. Now the fate of Avalon rests with three young people: Tamwyn, a homeless wilderness guide; Elli, an escaped slave turned priestess; and Scree, an eagleman with a secret. One is the true heir of Merlin - the only person who can save Avalon - and one is fated to destroy it."

My Review: I found this book in a used bookstore, I had never heard of it or the series but wanted to give it a shot. You kind of have to throw everything you ever thought about Merlin and Avalon out the window, so it was a good thing it had been so long since I read any Arthurian legend books. This is definitely not a book for new fantasy readers, there is a lot to wrap your head around and quite a bit that you are left in the dark about (at least for now). With that said, there is quite a variety of characters and they are all very interesting. One thing I did notice is that the characters all act much younger than I picture them being, it almost seems as if this book was written for a YA audience but it is much more complex than most YA fantasy books. It was enjoyable but it was not an easy breeze through read. I do have the next book that I will read but we will have to see after that if I continue with the series.
My Rating: I really have mixed feelings about this book, it is a weird combination of complex world building but not complex characters or storyline which leave it in an odd place for reader audience. I give it a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Magic Tree House Monday: Book 36- Blizzard of the Blue Moon

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.
This book sends Jack and Annie on their final Merlin Mission to prove that they can use magic wisely. They are sent back to New York City during a blizzard of the 1930s. They must find a hidden unicorn and guide it back home before it is too late.
My Review: This was the last book in this four book mini set and the last test to see if Jack and Annie could use magic wisely. As with the rest of the set, they were sent to a time in actual history but had to complete their mission on their own with the help of some magical rhymes. This was a really interesting one with a lot of historical elements interwoven into a story. They did not use their research book as much in this story but they did rely on each other more. I have noticed that Jack seems to be maturing but Annie still seems like she is still acting impulsively and much younger than she should be at this point.
My Rating: This is another great book in this series. I enjoyed how seamlessly fantasy elements are intertwined with historical elements.  I give this one a rating of Four 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

Night of the New Magicians by Mary Pope Osborne (Magic Tree House)
Paper Hearts by Meg Wiviott
A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir (Audio)
The Teacher's Billionaire by Christina Tetreault (After Dark)
Apple Picking Day by Candice Ransom (Early Reader)
Fly! by Karl Newsom Edwards (Bedtime Story)
Monstress Vol.1: Awakening by Marjorie M. Liu & Sana Takeda (Graphic Novel)
 Books Finished Last Week:
Reviews will be posted at a later date

Saddle Up = 3pts
Men of Whiskey Creek: Dillon = 3pts
Knights of Stone: Mason = 3pts
Doctor's Secret Bride = 3pts
Frankenstein's Monster = 5pts
Monstress Vol. 1 = 3pts
Blizzard of the Blue Moon = 5pts
Moon Chosen = 3pts
Chicken Soup for the Soul Christmas = 3pts

Currently Reading:

 Books to be Read Soon:

Tale of Elske by Cynthia Voigt


Total Points Earned
    264 points + 31 points earned + 10 Pts (24 Hrs) + 10 Pts (Completed Goodreads Challenge) = 315 points

Total Points Earned this Year: 2105
Total Points Spent this Year: 884

Pages Read/ Time Listened
247:59 (10 days 7 hrs 59 mins) Hours Listened (9:05 listened this week)
38,967 Pages Read (1,793 this week)

Books Added to Shelves

Interesting Tidbits on the Web:



This last week was totally insanity! I cannot believe I got all that reading done!! It was super busy in the office, and I was really busy at home too but thank goodness for audio books and quick reads! It was a really short week for me last week, we had the holiday on Monday and then on Friday I left for a book filled weekend. A friend and I went to the Falling In Love with New England Romance event all weekend long! I am going to post all about it probably over the weekend but if you follow my instagram you probably got to see how much fun everyone was having.  

Anyway, it is back to reality today, it is going to be another very intense week at work and I have some catching up to do at home. If I can get on top of everything, I might be able to salvage a somewhat decent Dewey Readathon, but we will have to see.

I hope you all have a great week!