Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Draw-A-Saurus, by James Silvani Book Review

This book was provided by its author and/or publishers in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of this publication. 

Author: James Silvani
Publisher: Watson-Guptil
Release Date: September 9, 2014
Format: Paperback, 160 pages
Series: N/A
Genre: Non-Fiction; Arts & Crafts
Avg. Rating: ★★★★✩

AmazonBook Depository
This in-depth yet accessible dinosaur drawing guide combines humor, creativity, and the latest dino research to show artists young and old how to breathe life into drawings of their prehistoric favorites.  

Prehistoric Pencil Power!

Even though they lived some 65 million years ago, dinosaurs and other prehistoric reptiles continue to rule today. From movies to comics and cartoons, these ancient, giant beasts are everywhere you turn. Of course, who wants to just read about or watch these dinos when you can learn how to use pencils, pens, markers, and more to draw your very own? 

Cartoonist James Silvani combines easy-to-follow art exercises with the latest, greatest dino-facts to help you create fun and cool dinosaur doodles all by yourself. With lessons on old favorites like T-rex and stegosaurus, as well as lesser-known (but still awesome) creatures like the massive argentinosaurus, Draw-a-Saurus has everything the dinosaur fan could ever ask for (outside of their very own pet dino!).

Back in the day, I used to be somewhat of an artist. I loved to draw. I drew all the time.. took as many art classes and courses as I could. Then, I became an adult. Work and responsibilities made me put my art on the back-burner. Aside from random, boring doodles, I don't think that I've drawn in the better part of a decade. Then, I found out I was pregnant. Pregnancy sucked but, when I had time to myself, I always daydreamed about showing my son all of the things that I love. 

My son isn't too old (he'll be two next month), but he's already very artsy and loves doing fun activities with his mom throughout the day. One of the things that we love to do together is draw - well, doodle. But having a child so willing to learn has inspired me to push myself and make time for those creative outlets and education that I loved so much when I was younger. Draw-A-Saurus: Everything You Need To Know To Draw Your Favorite Dinosaurs was actually on my radar and on my wishlist for some time. Having the opportunity to review it was just a fun little surprise that I'm grateful for. 

No matter if you're a child or adult, beginner or expert, everyone can have fun reading and following the instructions of this book. Before you get into drawing, you can read the first chapter, titled "Getting Started" which gives you details of items you need and tips to help you with your dinosaurs. The chapters that follow are categorized into dinosaur suborders like Theropods, Sauropods, Armoured, etc etc; and this is followed with chapters that covers topics like fine tuning your drawings and environments these dinosaurs lived in. 

Being a huge fan (mainly because I have no choice) of the popular PBS show, Dinosaur Train, I knew that the first dinosaur I wanted to try to draw for my son was the Tyrannosaurus. Conveniently, it was one of the first dinosaurs covered - obviously, since T-Rex is the king and all. Sitting down with the book (and supplies), I found it amazingly easy to follow along with the step-by-step instructions that you're given. Every dinosaur pretty much starts out as a stick figure - yes, a stick figure y'all! Saying this book simplifies for even the most novice of drawers would be an understatement - this book breaks down every single detail for you and turns it into a fun activity that actually ends in realistic (and detailed!) drawings that you will be proud of, no matter what your age. As if that wasn't enough, this book is FULL of scientific facts on almost every page. Being a tomboy growing up and having been obsessed with dinosaurs for many years, I thought I knew all there was to know about dinosaurs but it seems my knowledge didn't even scratch the surface of what this book has.

Obviously, this book was an absolute home run for me. Though my son may not be old enough to actually be able to follow along, I'm confident that he'll be able to pick this book up in just a few short years and be able to draw some of our favorite dinosaurs just following the easy instruction in this book. Until then, I will happily draw all the dinosaurs he wants me to - with confidence. And I'm sure I'll be able to impress him with my newly-found vast dino-knowledge. Mommy bonus! 

I'd recommend this book for anyone and everyone. If you have a passion for dinosaurs, drawing and/or even a curiosity for science, I believe you'll enjoy this book. On my usual five-star scale, this book will definitely be receiving 5 STARS

**Source: Publisher, via Blogging For Books

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Hello, World!

Hey, guys! How's it been?

I have to make a thousand apologies for being so inactive for the past year and so many odd months. I'm so ashamed to say that it's been that long but life got REALLY hectic for me and, unfortunately, this blog had to suffer because of it. 

So, what's been going on? Well keeping up with a toddler, for one! My little Riley will be TWO in just a couple months and it's making me so sad. I miss my tiny little Peanut but it's so exciting to be able to experience every little milestone with him. But he's not the only thing that's kept me busy. My husband has decided to become a volunteer firefighter, which re-ignited his passion of wanting to one day become a full-time firefighter. Aside from working, he's been taking as many classes as possible to make that dream come true -- which means I see very little of my husband. He gets off of work, comes home to eat and change, then he's out the door again. Even if he has a night off, it's rare we get to see much of each other since he's on-call as a volunteer and he goes on as many calls as he possibly can. I am so very proud of him... HOWEVER, having my husband away so much really puts the burden of all household and child-related activities on me. And THAT is truly why this blog has suffered. 

I have been extremely overwhelmed with all of it thrown on me kind of all at once. But I have found a method to all of the madness. And now that I've [hopefully] got it all mostly under control, I can get back to something for me -- this blog!

Although I've been away, my love for reading has never waned.. and I'm almost certain that it's slowly (but surely) growing on my son as well. I still read a lot of YA but I have been reading a lot of other books in many other genres also. I predict this will more than likely influence the types of posts and reviews that show up on this blog. Hope you all don't mind!

Overall, I'm truly excited to be able to get back to this blog and my love of reading. I apologize for being away for so long and I do feel horrible.. but I can't exactly say that I regret it since it's given me the quality time I needed away from the computer and with my family. 

Expect reviews to start popping up soon!

Until then.. here's my most recent favorite picture of my little guy! :)

Friday, February 8, 2013

Blog Tour: 2013 Your New Astrology Horoscopes (& Giveaway!)

Once again, Suzanne White brings us her ingenious “New Astrology” Predictions for the next 12 months. This exciting new book is offers lengthy, detailed, month-by-month horoscopes for every sign (Western and Chinese). 

We each have two signs – AN ANIMAL YEAR SIGN AND A WESTERN SUN SIGN. Suzanne White’s brilliant NEW ASTROLOGY™ is the fusion of both. With this amazing book, a Leo born in an Ox year will know what will happen to her all throughout 2013 as well as what will be going on in the life of her Scorpio born Goat sweetheart and for her kids, her boss, her family, her friends and her enemies. Suzanne White is the world renowned high priestess of Chinese and Western astrologies. She is always fun to read. And… she is uncannily accurate. This dazzling book offers readers over 100,000 words of crucial information about and forecasts for each and every astrological sign both Chinese and Western. Find out what’s in store for you and yours in the sultry, highly charged and charming WATER SNAKE YEAR 2013. 

Purchase your copy:

About the Author: Suzanne White is an American author. She lives in France. She has been a college professor, a fashion model, a journalist, an interpreter, a novelist, a fireworks salesperson, director of a Parisian Couture boutique, an elevator operator, a shoe salesperson, a single mother and a simultaneous translator. In between she has written books. Lots of books. About Astrology. The New Astrology – a blend of Asian Animal Signs and Sun Signs. Suzanne’s readers have dubbed her “The High Priestess” of Chinese and Western Astrologies. 2013 NEW ASTROLOGY HOROSCOPES BOOK – CHINESE AND WESTERN PREDICTIONS FOR THE SNAKE YEAR 2013 IS # 1 ON AMAZON’S ASTROLOGY BOOK BEST SELLER LIST. 

Visit the Author:

Pump Up Your Book and Suzanne White are teaming up to give you a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card plus a paperback and e-copy of her book, 2013 Your New Astrology Horoscopes!

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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Midwinterblood, by Marcus Sedgwick

Author: Marcus Sedgwick
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Release Date: February 5, 2013
Format: Hardcover; 272 pages
Series: N/A
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Horror, Paranormal
Avg. Rating:

Goodreads | Book Depository
Seven stories of passion and love separated by centuries but mysteriously intertwined—this is a tale of horror and beauty, tenderness and sacrifice.

An archaeologist who unearths a mysterious artifact, an airman who finds himself far from home, a painter, a ghost, a vampire, and a Viking: the seven stories in this compelling novel all take place on the remote Scandinavian island of Blessed where a curiously powerful plant that resembles a dragon grows. What binds these stories together? What secrets lurk beneath the surface of this idyllic countryside? And what might be powerful enough to break the cycle of midwinterblood? From award-winning author Marcus Sedgwick comes a book about passion and preservation and ultimately an exploration of the bounds of love.

Midwinterblood is one of those books that you have to let stew in your head for a little while before actually judging - or, in my case, reviewing. As the description says, there are seven stories in this book. All of these stories revolve around two main characters - the same main characters - and what happens to them in each time period. The stories go from the future to the past in order to tell a more clearer account of the events that unfold during each life. 

Now, it sounds a little confusing.. but it's not all so bad. A perk to this book is that the same characters are used in each story, although who they are and who they are to one another changes from story to story. The overall feel and theme to Midwinterblood is a little tragic, as all stories are centered around the idea of love requiring some type of sacrifice. There is also a plot that intertwines each story to one another that really ties everything together, although the stories could actually be read separately.

This book has a great gothic feel to it and the island itself is ten shades of creepy. The writing was nothing short of fabulous and it definitely kept me reading from the beginning to the very end in one sitting. Books that are compiled of multiple short(er) stories are usually harder to grasp since they're like novellas - where you don't get as invested in the characters and you don't get as much background information as you think you need to really get into the stories. Since these stories are tied together, there was more that was fleshed out.

If I had to say anything "bad" about this book, I would say that there was still a little sparseness to the information you receive in the writing. I don't think it will deter anyone from the story, it just leaves the reader a little curious on a few points throughout the book.

Overall, I absolutely loved this book. I think it's a wonderful read that deserves more recognition than it may receive, considering I haven't seen much about it on the internet. 

Source: Purchase

Marcus Sedgwick (b 1968) was born in Kent, England. Marcus is a British author and illustrator as well as a musician. He used to play for two bands namely playing the drums for Garrett and as the guitarist in an ABBA tribute group. He has published novels such as Floodland (winner of the Branford Boase Award in 2001) and The Dark Horse (shortlisted for The Guardian Children's Book Award 2002).

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Blog Tour: Blood Fugue & Witch's Nocturne (& GIVEAWAYS!)


This post is part of the blog tour for Books One and Two in E.J. Wesley's Moonsongs series. For more information on the blog tour, click here or click the button at the bottom of these reviews.

Goodreads | Amazon
Jenny Schmidt is a young woman with old heartaches. A small town Texas girl with big city attitude, she just doesn’t fit in. Not that she has ever tried.

Life has pummeled her heart into one big, lonely callus. She has no siblings, both parents were dead by sixteen, and her last grandparent—and caretaker—was in the ground before she turned twenty-one. She’s the last living member of her immediate family. Or so she thinks…

Suddenly, instead of burying it with the dead, Jenny is forced to confront the past. Armed only with an ancient family journal, her rifle, and an Apache tomahawk, she must save her grandfather’s life and embrace her dangerous heritage. Or be devoured by it.

I'm not too overly fond of novellas because you never get a lot of info, usually leaving you with too many questions that may not be ever answered. But after reading the first two books in the Moonsongs series, I'm happy to say that's not the case.

In this first book, we're introduced to some important characters and we get a good little piece of action as well. When you think 47 pages for a novella, you don't think you'll get too much. Only.. you do. While you don't necessarily go very in-depth with all the information, this book is still chock full of action and you get a decent look at the characters in a very short amount of time. 

The writing is amazing - even in just a few short pages, you can see that right off the bat. It really engages you in the story and keeps you reading along until the end. Jenny, the protagonist, is written amazingly well. She's a tough chick, very passionate and also surprisingly very funny. I loved her attitude and the way that she presented herself. 

Like the main character, this story is full of passion. The pace and story itself, though short, will keep you on the edge of your seat until the end - leaving you ready for more. This story is definitely worth your time to check out. 

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Smashwords
After receiving an ancient tribal journal from her grandfather, Jenny is sent on a mission of discovery in an attempt to unravel clues to her family's monster hunting past. The journey becomes more than academic when she is asked to confront a coven of dangerous witches who plan to cast an insidious spell on the plains of West Texas.

Witch's Nocturne is the second of the Moonsongs Books, a series of paranormal-horror-action novelettes by author E.J. Wesley. These stories contain language and content better suited for mature readers.

This is the second installment of the Moonsongs series and, like its predecessor, it's nothing short of amazing. 

We pick up where we left off in the first book. Once again, Jenny is as spunky as ever - although she has turned the anger down a notch or two. She's more in control than before and things seem to be going smoothly.. until we're introduced to a new antagonist that definitely turns the story up a notch.

As always, Wesley wastes no time delving into the action and has us snared for the duration of the story. This installment was longer than the first, we learn more about our characters as well as having a great new plot. 

I got Book Two with One, so I didn't have to wait like most others. However, now I DO have to wait for Book Three and I have to admit that it's driving me nuts! These stories are nothing short of amazing, and Moonsongs is definitely a series that I would recommend to everyone.

Both of these stories definitely get ★ from me! 

Author of the Moonsongs books, a series of New Adult supernatural action-suspense novelettes. E.J. reads horror, YA, thrillers, MG--basically, anything with words. He is currently in love with the television shows Battlestar Galactica, Downton Abbey, Sherlock, and Fringe. E.J. writes, reads, and watches from Texas, where he maintains a very neighborly attitude. 


There are TWO giveaways that I am excited to share with you guys! 

The first one is here, just for my readers! There will be TWO winners that will win BOTH books in the Moonsongs series. All you have to do is make sure that you follow Missy's Reads & Reviews, then leave a comment with your contact information. The winner will be chosen this Sunday, February 10th. Since these are ebooks, this giveaway is open WORLDWIDE.

The second giveaway is for the whole blog tour. The prizes are as follows:

  • 1 Prize Package #1: Signed copy of Soul Screamers Vol. 1 by Rachel Vincent, Signed copy of Capital Hell by Alicia M. Long, signed copy of The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, and Texas (Little Known Facts about Well Known Places (Package open to US addresses only) by Victor Dorff

  • 2 winners of a $15 GC to amazon or B&N

  • 1 winner of $20 towards The Book Depository (INT ONLY!)
 Simply follow the rules on the Rafflecopter below. 

Good luck!! 

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5/26/2013: If you're here and you're reading this.. thanks for sticking around! I know I've been gone for a while but I am definitely coming back. This blog will be going through some crazy transitions (layout and such) for the next few days, but I should be back up and ready to review VERY soon. Thanks so much for your patience and support!! xoxo, Missy
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