Friday, December 30, 2016

Happy New Year?

Ugh. So much loss. Not just in the entertainment group, but I noticed a lot of personal loss with people that were important to them. The election. Ugh again. Actually I sort of predicted who would win by a sort of joke. I was wondering if there was a reason for all this loss because Drumpf will win. WHY did I have to say that?

I have to also say one of the hardest entertainment losses was recent. Carrie Fisher was my big one. She was Princess Leia to most of us. That character was the first princess character I knew of to save herself. She was the first one I noticed to also save everyone else. She lost everyone important to her and yet she forged on and led a rebellion. That character was one of the main reasons I loved Star Wars. Plus, if you heard Carrie Fisher in her forthrightness and strength in what she advocated and revealed about her life, I'd have to now say she could be the only one to play that character right. She would be the only one to get that character. Her mom also had a bit of that so losing Debbie Reynolds was so sad too. Geeze 2016! I just needed to see more gumption coming from strong women like they were... especially in the 4 years to come.

Fave tweet:
Hellz yeah!

Now for some hopeful laughter....

 I think we all feel a bit like this skit from John Oliver's show Last Week Tonight. Be warned that this is NSFW because of language. πŸ˜†



~πŸŽ‰~

This one is VERY NSFW (probably more than the one above).. so be warned... πŸ˜‚



πŸŽ‰

Don't say I didn't warn you... 😜

2017 is already going to be a trying year for a lot of us. Instead of wishing you a happy new year I'm going to instead wish you lots of love in the year to come. Remember that this political climate isn't normal and you should fight, if not for yourself, then for your loved ones. Uplift each other and do not let people distract you from having your say (a tactic to watch for).

Now if you haven't done so, go and have some fun.

πŸŽ‰

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill

Series: Clash of Kingdoms #1
 400 p.
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Published:12/27/16
Source: Edelweiss and Publisher for review
Seventeen year-old Britta Flannery is at ease only in the woods with her dagger and bow. She spends her days tracking criminals alongside her father, the legendary bounty hunter for the King of Malam—that is, until her father is murdered. Now outcast and alone and having no rights to her father’s land or inheritance, she seeks refuge where she feels most safe: the Ever Woods. When Britta is caught poaching by the royal guard, instead of facing the noose she is offered a deal: her freedom in exchange for her father’s killer. 
However, it’s not so simple. 
The alleged killer is none other than Cohen McKay, her father’s former apprentice. The only friend she’s ever known. The boy she once loved who broke her heart. She must go on a dangerous quest in a world of warring kingdoms, mad kings, and dark magic to find the real killer. But Britta wields more power than she knows. And soon she will learn what has always made her different will make her a daunting and dangerous force.
My thoughts:

This book pretty much captured my attention from page one. I loved Britta Flannery, our heroine, from the start and she is no delicate flower. She has been taught from a young age to track, hunt, shoot, and defend herself but her father dies and her childhood crush and tracking equal is accused. Their adventure to find out who really killed her father and why is the crux of this book.

And while I would say this one is on par with other YA fantasy I have met this year (I've been enjoying this genre), it did have some familiar tropes, particularly with the romance. There is a constant back and forth... did s/he mean that? does s/he like me? kind of immature relationship problems. In Britta's case she also constantly misinterprets actions of loved ones in the past whom she supposedly had total trust.  I actually don't mind these tropes as much in YA than in adult (since theyARE young) but it does take away Britta's badassery a bit and she feels spoiled when she doesn't get her way or feels slighted. Really other than this, which I do expect somewhat in YA, I was captivated.

I have to say I wasn't thrilled with the end as it suggests another trope we know too well may rear it's ugly head, but it hasn't happened yet and it still may take me by surprise. Even that does not take away my enjoyment of Britta and her intelligence and independence that make fantasy so much fun. I highly recommend it to those that enjoy YA fantasy, magic, and a strong heroine. Cohen is also a good hero and rounds out the couple well. I give this one 4 stars.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

More Holiday Crafts/Gifts


Here are a few things I embroidered for the holidays:


I did a few of these. One I'm keeping πŸ˜‰ and another I'm giving to an artist friend of mine. I've also done those butterfly zip pockets (like I did on this post) for others.



These are for the hair and there is a barrette on the back. I used a fixative with my hot glue that I cannot find anymore but it works to keep it solid. 


This is a tooth goblin. I thought I'd show him with something in the pocket and without. there is a story that goes with him (the rolled up paper has the story on it) and he is an alternative for the tooth fairy. I'm giving this one to a little boy who is just about ready to start losing those teeth. Thought this one would be fun to give and can be passed onto his sisters when they are ready.

And lastly... a Grinch candy cane/pencil ornament holder. :)

πŸ’
Have a great holiday in however and whatever you celebrate! Just go have fun! :) I hope to see you all next week (That is what I'm shooting for!) Don't forget to enter for the Puppy Birthday prize! It's almost over!

πŸ’

Monday, December 19, 2016

Audiobook Challenge 2016: Year End Announcement!

2016 Audiobook Challenge


16/20 audiobooks


I was shooting for 20 so I didn't make it, but I did make just past 15. LOL

I chose: Socially Awkward (Don’t talk to me) 15-20
Maybe too many people talked to me? *snort*

My list can be seen at my 2016 Audiobook Goodreads Shelf.

This is one that has been fun and I am not sure what I will challenge myself with next year. 

Feel free to list your challenges in the comments.

🎧

Friday, December 16, 2016

Audiobook Review: Written in Red by Anne Bishop


Series: The Others #1
Narrator: Alexandra Harris
18 hrs. 32 min.
Unabridged
Published: March 5, 13
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Source: Library (Interlibrary loan)
As a "cassandra sangue," or blood prophet, Meg Corbyn can see the future when her skin is cut--a gift that feels more like a curse. Meg's Controller keeps her enslaved so he can have full access to her visions. But when she escapes, the only safe place Meg can hide is at the Lakeside Courtyard--a business district operated by the Others. 
Shape-shifter Simon Wolfgard is reluctant to hire the stranger who inquires about the Human Liaison job. First, he senses she's keeping a secret, and second, she doesn't smell like human prey. Yet a stronger instinct propels him to give Meg the job. And when he learns the truth about Meg and that she's wanted by the government, he'll have to decide if she's worth the fight between humans and the Others that will surely follow.
My thoughts:

Okay, I am probably one of the last people to have started this series. With so much raving I knew I had to try it. My audio peeps really insisted on audio and I'm glad I went that way. My library didn't have it in, so I got the CDs through the interlibrary loan and I'm not sorry one bit. Yea, the hype was correct, this one was good. 

I think for me the reason I enjoyed this one so much was the worldbuilding as well as Meg. She is innocent and shy but yet has a will to her that makes her someone you would want to know. She might be scared a lot, but yet it doesn't stop her from fighting for what she believes is right and for her own freedom. Of course Simon Wolfgard is a hoot and a half as well. A typical alpha growly male but also has a huge soft side he rarely lets others see. Having him trying to figure out those darn inedible (for various reasons) human females was fun. I cannot wait for more from these two. There is no romance, but a possibility of one. I'm glad there isn't one since Meg has yet to figure out who she is first. 

The plot is well written and had me trying to figure out what would happen in the end. There are multiple plot lines but it doesn't get tangled up unless it is supposed to tangle with purpose. While this was compelling, it was the relationships between the characters that really shined. 

I loved Alexandria Harris's narration and hope she does the whole series. She is now the voice of all the characters in my head and I wouldn't want it any other way. I wouldn't hesitate to pick up another book narrated by her.

I was flirting between giving this book 4 1/2 stars to 5. I think I'll go 5 stars because this was the perfect distraction I needed. It was also easy enough to slip into this world and not want to leave it. I highly recommend it to those that like the paranormal, fantasy and urban fantasy especially. However anyone who likes a different kind of character book would probably enjoy this one as well.

PS...
Don't forget to enter for the prize in the puppy b-day giveaway! Yes, you are going to get tired of me promoting it, but I do think we need to see people doing kind things! Heck, I need to see it. Click on the pic below to go to post for details. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Holiday Entertainment: Part 2

Part 2

Okay, good suggestions: Christmas Vacation is one I forgot which falls under my odd category. Also forgot to mention A Christmas Story and Elf which is a fairly recent one. I cannot yet see Krampus since it is horror and despite my oddity, I'm still a wimp. LOL

How about classics? 
Thanks to Rummanah for a reminder.
It's A Wonderful Life

My mom's fave version of A Christmas Carol:

Can't forget:
Miracle on 34th Street

And although this one is still fairly new, I consider it a classic.
Jack and Sally! 
The Nightmare Before Christmas!

Oh yea, so many classics.

Music?
How about:
Best song of the season... 
ROFL!

Classic Rock?
I haven't found any new ones that I really like. Maybe it is because I'm still not quite there in the spirit of things...
Anyway...





A bit more traditional...
Trans-Siberian Orchestra:


Manheim Steamroller:

πŸ’

And for those that don't celebrate, just mention what you like to listen or watch at this time of the year. Usually we have our own traditions. I have family who is Christian, who don't celebrate at all, and who are different religions. I know several religious holidays are observed at this time. Not excluding anyone, but just making a typical US list of what usually goes on during this time of the  year (many of my non-Christian family enjoys some of those classic holiday films and I have gotten suggestions from them as well). Again, please share if you want of your own traditions both religious and secular! I love to either be reminded of things I may have forgotten or learn something new!

πŸ’

I'm still trying to get into the spirit and you can help... Tell me what kindness you have done and enter for a fun prize. I know it isn't much, but something I thought would be fun to get. I think we all need to see a good dose of kindness right now.

Friday, December 9, 2016

My Cape is in the Wash: Animal Charities

If you ever looked at my tabs above, you'd notice that I have one labeled Animal Links. You can add your favorite charity to those links and visit a few that are up there. AND while the giveaway is about more than just animals, it was started as a way to acknowledge kindness toward animals. 

Here is the linky so you don't have to visit the page:


I thought I'd take a moment to highlight a few of these. Also, remember you don't have to donate money, but time or even used serviceable goods. Just be kind! :)

From their site: 
Morris Animal Foundation is a nonprofit organization that invests in science to advance animal health. The foundation is a global leader in funding scientific studies for cats, dogs, horses and wildlife. Since its founding in 1948, Morris Animal Foundation has invested more than $103 million toward 2,500+ studies that have led to significant breakthroughs in diagnostics, treatments and preventions to benefit animals worldwide. 
Morris Animal Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Tax ID: 84-6032307

This is one of the places that lets you easily donate as a memorial gift. I can personally tell you that getting a gift like this after a loss is comforting.

 Excerpt From their site:
We want to share with you our vision on how to address the urgent and growing need for a responsible, long term, and self sustaining Giant Breed Rescue in today’s society. 
Big Dogs Huge Paws was founded on the core philosophy is that every "BIG" dog deserves a chance. Our goal is to make sure that every dog receives only the best of care, food, and training. We will also ensure that they are properly evaluated (medically and behaviorally) and placed according to their special needs. Our medical officer and veterinarian team will provide first aid training to all foster volunteers and health seminars about the latest developments in animal medicine. We work actively with professional behaviorists who train each foster home how to handle introductions, properly evaluate dogs, work through specific behavioral issues, etc. Foster families undergo quarterly training sessions in order to maintain everyone's skills and abilities and ensure that the entire foster team is on the same page and has the tools they need for success. We will be working toward a special therapy dog training program as we identify dogs that would be good candidates and other potential partnerships. Eventually, our goal is to secure an actual facility where we can work with special behavioral or medical cases to give them the optimal chance of success! 
Big Dogs Huge Paws was officially incorporated as "Big Dogs Huge Paws, Inc" on June 11, 2008. Our EIN number is: 26-2780979
I've highlighted them previously because I think a lot of big dogs get left behind.

From their site:
National Mill Dog Rescue pledged to put an end to the cruelty of the commercial dog breeding industry, more commonly known as puppy milling. Through rescue and education, NMDR continues in its life-saving work while enlightening the public about the truth of pet store puppies. NMDR has taken a national approach to their rescue and adoption efforts and they have rescued and placed more than 10,000 mill dogs since their inception in 2007. These dogs are now living as cherished family members across the United States.
National Mill Dog Rescue is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Our EIN# is: 26-0574783.  

I've actually been following this group for a long time before they were on any of the major social media. I had a friend who helped them rescue dogs.

From their site:
Mission and Vision
HeART’s Speak’s Mission is to unite art and advocacy to increase the visibility of shelter animals. 
The Vision of HeARTs Speak is a global community that treats all animals and people with compassion and respect.
HeARTs Speak is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a public charity under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. EIN #27-2327189

This is an organization I'm going to try to become a part of in the near future.

Also...

Don't forget to give while you shop:

There are just a few great services out there. Please feel free to list an animal charity in the linky. 

Remember:
Giving to any of these charities (time, money, serviceable goods) gets you an entry into the giveaway. Also you can help a neighbor out and that counts too. Even the smallest kindness can make someone's day. A smile, a kind word can go a long way for someone... and yes, that is an entry too. πŸ˜‰

To enter for the giveaway you MUST go HERE to enter.


Have a great day!
😻

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Holiday Entertainment

Just trying to prove that I can now deal with the holidays. 😊

I admit I tend to lean toward the unusual during the holidays. I do like the feel good type, but my faves tend to be a bit odd in nature.

Some of my past fave holiday books:

Audiobook:
I'm Dreaming of an Undead Christmas
by Molly Harper
Series: Half-Moon Hollow #2.7
Narrator: Amanda Ronconi
It's Christmas in Half-Moon Hollow and newly turned vampire Iris Scanlon-Calix wants to make Gigi's first visit home from college as normal and special as possible. It's taken months for Iris to work up the nerve to spend time around her baby sister after her vampire transition, so she enlists help from Jane Jameson and Company to keep her blood-thirst under control and assure Gigi's safety. 
Gigi, on the other hand, has problems of her own, including the demise of her relationship with high school sweetheart, Ben, and a looming job interview with Ophelia Lambert, the scariest potential employer in the Hollow. And then there's the small matter of the handsome, frustrating vampire who keeps appearing in Gigi's peripheral vision, then disappearing before she can talk to him. 
Can the Scanlon sisters negotiate romantic problems, vampire politics, and Christmas cookie disasters and enjoy a relatively normal holiday?
This novella is fun to listen to and you don't have to really have read the series before diving into this one. Granted I was familiar with the world this one inhabits so I was not completely lost. This one is good for those that want a bit of "red" with their holiday treat as well as some laughs.

Kindle book:
A Karma Girl Christmas
by Jennifer Estep
Series: #3.5
Novella
It's Christmas time in Bigtime, New York, but society reporter Carmen Cole isn't in the mood to celebrate since her husband, Sam, has to go on a business trip and might not make it home for the holiday. But Carmen has plenty to keep her busy, since she moonlights as Karma Girl, a member of the Fearless Five superhero team.

On Christmas Eve, Carmen, as Karma Girl, is assigned to guard toys, clothes, food, and more that are intended for needy children and their families. But an ubervillain also has his eye on the toys and plans to steal and then sell them to the highest bidder. Carmen will have to use all her empathic powers just to stay alive, not to mention make sure Christmas is a happy one for all the kids who are counting on her. It's all in a night's work for a superhero ...
This is another novella that can be read as a standalone. I love this series and it holds easter eggs from the other series the author writes. This one is if you want a little superhero in your holiday bag.

Short Novel: 
Tim Cratchit's Christmas Carol
by Jim Piecuch
Standalone/Retelling
Tiny Tim is all grown up in this continuation of Charles Dickens’s beloved holiday classic A Christmas Carol, and this time, a certain ghost shows him the true meaning of Christmas cheer! 
In A Christmas Carol, evil Scrooge was shown the error of his ways by three helpful ghosts and vowed to become a better person. Bob Cratchit and his family benefited most from Scrooge’s change of tune—but what happened after the goose was given, and Scrooge resolved to turn over a new leaf? 
Tim Cratchit’s Christmas Carol shows us Tiny Tim as an adult. Having recovered from his childhood ailment, he began his career helping the poor but has since taken up practice as a doctor to London’s wealthy elite. Though Tim leads a very successful life, he comes home at night to an empty house. But this holiday season, he’s determined to fill his house with holiday cheer—and maybe even a wife. 
When a single, determined young mother lands on Tim’s doorstep with her ailing son, Tim is faced with a choice: stay ensconced in his comfortable life and secure doctor’s practice, or take a leap of faith and reignite the fire lit under him by his mentor, Scrooge, that fateful Christmas so many years ago.
This is another short book which is a sort of retelling of A Christmas Carol, one of my favorite holiday stories. In this one Tiny Tim is all grown up and on the verge of making a lifetime decision.

Speaking of Scrooge...

Movie:
Scrooged
In this modern take on Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," Frank Cross (Bill Murray) is a wildly successful television executive whose cold ambition and curmudgeonly nature has driven away the love of his life, Claire Phillips (Karen Allen). But after firing a staff member, Eliot Loudermilk (Bobcat Goldthwait), on Christmas Eve, Frank is visited by a series of ghosts who give him a chance to re-evaluate his actions and right the wrongs of his past.

Speaking of retellings of A Christmas Carol...
How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is a 1966 Christmas animated musical comedy television special directed by Chuck Jones.


Of course there are a ton of movies from that era that I still love but I HAD to mention the Grinch. Plus, Chuck Jones rocks and had sent me something in the mail a million years ago. 

AND speaking of unusual...

A Wish for Wings that Work

I don't know if anyone here has watched this one, but it is off the long gone Opus the Penguin. This one made me laugh. This is actually the full movie, so it is 23 min. long.
ALBATROSS! πŸ˜†



πŸŽ€

Also, don't forget to do something kind and enter for a prize (just click on the pic below to go to the post):

Remember even the smallest kindnesses counts. The smallest kindness can make someone's day. Even the Grinch found that out. πŸ˜‰ That is all that is needed to enter. I did make the rules a bit more clear (I hope. LOL). We all need to see kindness right now so share! Plus kindness tends to spread and that is also why you need to share. Just remember to share at the giveaway post.

As for the entertainment... any odd holiday suggestions for me? I may do music on another post.
πŸŽ„πŸŽ…

Monday, December 5, 2016

The Puppy Birthday Giveaway!

Well it's time!

First, let me say that I'm sorry this one wasn't going to be international. I just can't afford the shipping. However, if you are willing to pay the shipping, then that is another matter. Unfortunately then it wouldn't be a prize in the truest sense.

I will run this one like I have the others

The Rules:
Kindness. Just spread it around. 

You must have done something kind to a person or an animal in need (in the past it was only for animals and this year I've expanded it as explained HERE as to why (posts on this issue can be found on the featured area to the left). Lend a hand to someone who needs it. Support any cause that uplifts another/animal or fights for their rights (you can also add a link to the animal links in the page listings, it's for charity). Blog post about a issue or cause. Called on your representatives to actually represent! Adopt a pet. Just make someone turn that frown upside-down! Giving your spot in line to someone who seems rushed. Bought someone coffee. Made someone feel welcome. Compliment someone. Donate time. Donate used but serviceable goods. Seriously, ANYTHING kind.

Sometimes it is the smallest kindnesses we don't recognize in ourselves that can have a big impact. Think back when a small kindness was given to you and it made your whole day. Little things add up to big things. That is why you should also recognize the small things.

Just do SOMETHING that really shows that you care. You could have done this action at any time during this year of 2016. Gotta make the year positive somehow. 

πŸ’— Expand that heart! πŸ’—

You must put what you did in the comments in πŸ‘‰THIS post onlyπŸ‘ˆ (okay, you can comment on other posts what you did but it only counts here for the giveaway). 

You must then fill out the rafflecopter form (to keep it organized and simple).

It is US only because of shipping.

The giveaway starts Today and ends on Dec. 30th, 2016. 

πŸ’žAlso, if you could help promote it, I would be grateful. *gives soulful puppy eyes* I think we need to see as much kindness as possible. I'm not asking for follows, just kindness! Retweeting this link would help: https://twitter.com/BooksThings/status/805896984091656193πŸ’ž

The Prizes:

I tried to keep to the bookish theme since most of you are readers and kept a bit to the animal side since it is celebrating my pup's b-day. Both books are animal positive so no need to grab any tissues. I also wanted to throw a bit of fun into the mix to hopefully put a smile on your face. Guess which one I'm talking about with that one? LOL

I'm also throwing in a choice between the key FOBs listed below. A second place winner will also get their choice of key FOB.

I really hope you all like the prizes.

The Details:
A poop emoji bag! Dimensions are about 3.5" x 3.5"
4 Harry Potter felt bookmarks. One for each house.
Felt cable (earbud) holder. Earbuds not included.
CHOICE of either key FOB (second place also gets choice). 



The Love Dog 
By Elsa Watson
Fired from her job as a paralegal, Samantha Novak is in trouble. When Telltale, a Hollywood tabloid, asks her to write an expose on the reality television dating show, The Love Dog, Samantha is thrilled. She's always dreamed of being a writer, and the fat paycheck won't hurt. After being recently left at the altar, she's not too keen on love either. 
Hired as the canine star's handler, Samantha finds that digging up dirt on set is harder then she thought. Apollo, the show's star, is a sweet golden retriever who takes his job as the "love dog" very seriously. He only wants to help couples fall in love and make everyone on set happy. Mason Hall, the show's producer and leading man, is down to earth, charming, and... very attractive. 
If Samantha doesn't reveal to the world that the reality show isn't exactly "real," her new career will be over before it starts. But when she falls in love with Apollo and Mason, will she still have the heart to expose The Love Dog's dirty secrets?
Elsa Watson returns with another charming "tail"!

Doghouse
by L.A. Kornetsky
Even though she’s unlicensed as an investigator, the infamously nosy Ginny Mallard has begun to make a name for herself as an unofficial champion of the tongue-tied. When a mysterious stranger comes to her with landlord trouble, she convinces her bartender friend Teddy Tonica to help her once more. Soon, they realize they might have got themselves tied up in an underground dogfighting ring. With the help of Ginny’s pet shar-pei puppy and Tonica’s tabby cat, they have to figure out what’s going on before someone else gets hurt. Will twelve legs really be better than four?
The Rafflecopter Form

This may be the last one I do (the dog is fine so no worries) so don't wait until next year to enter. Also, I do think I may have a few giveaways in the near future of older books that I have and I need to make space. So if you are wanting more books, look for those. 

It has been fun "meeting" many of you. I hope this post ends up making you smile like it has for me in the past. It seems like something we all need right about now. 

The pup also thanks you for thinking of others at this time.
🐢

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Congress of Secrets by Stephanie Burgis

Standalone
340 p.
Publisher: Pyr
Published: 11/1/16
Source: From publisher for review
In 1814, the Congress of Vienna has just begun. Diplomats battle over a new map of Europe, actors vie for a chance at glory, and aristocrats and royals from across the continent come together to celebrate the downfall of Napoleon…among them Lady Caroline Wyndham, a wealthy English widow. But Caroline has a secret: she was born Karolina Vogl, daughter of a radical Viennese printer. When her father was arrested by the secret police, Caroline’s childhood was stolen from her by dark alchemy. 
Under a new name and nationality, she returns to Vienna determined to save her father even if she has to resort to the same alchemy that nearly broke her before. But she isn’t expecting to meet her father’s old apprentice, Michael SteinhΓΌller, now a charming con man in the middle of his riskiest scheme ever. 
The sinister forces that shattered Caroline’s childhood still rule Vienna behind a glittering faΓ§ade of balls and salons, Michael’s plan is fraught with danger, and both of their disguises are more fragile than they realize. What price will they pay to the darkness if either of them is to survive?
My thoughts:

I really enjoyed Stephanie Burgis's last historical novel, Masks and Shadows (review linked) so I was thrilled that this one came in the mail for review. This is based on some historical events (Congress of Vienna) and people ( for example Pergren, a villain in the book, was a real villain in life). The author even suggests books at the end of the story if you would like to further your education on the time or people of the book.

Of course not everything is based on truth and usually that is the part that I enjoy. I would have thought the alchemy would have drawn me in... well, it did, but what really captivated me was the mystery. Caroline was the mystery. Her past, present, and what she wanted all intermingled with the political intrigue of the time period.  How those puzzle pieces came together is what really what had me turning the pages of this book.

There are other POVs within the book which enhances the political mystery as well as brings to light other aspects that Caroline did not and could not have known or expected. One of them is the viewpoint of Michael who was an old trusted friend whom she felt abandoned her. You also get a viewpoints of Emperor Francis and Peter who is part of an actors group caught up in the intrigue. These viewpoints are well placed and so it wasn't confusing to the reader.

Without revealing what happens I have to say I really enjoyed the ending. I did not want to put it down and it was quite satisfying, especially with our main character, Caroline. This is a solid mystery with some paranormal happenings to enhance the threat. I give this book 4 stars.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Seriously Shifted by Tina Connolly

Series: Seriously Wicked #2
240 p.
Publisher: Tor Teen
Published: 11/1/16
Source: From publisher for review
A sparkling new adventure about teen witch Camellia and her mother, wicked witch Sarmine, introduced to readers in Seriously Wicked 
Teenage witch Cam isn’t crazy about the idea of learning magic. She’d rather be no witch than a bad one. But when a trio of her mother’s wicked witch friends decide to wreak havoc in her high school, Cam has no choice but to try to stop them. 
Now Cam’s learning invisibility spells, dodging exploding cars, and pondering the ethics of love potions. All while trying to keep her grades up and go on a first date with her crush. If the witches don’t get him first, that is.
Can’t a good witch ever catch a break?
My thoughts:

I had not read the first book in this series and I had a feeling I would be okay skipping it. I was so you should have no problems if you haven't read the first book (although I know it's gotten good reviews).  I did read her Ironskin series and enjoyed them so that was another reason I took a chance on this book, plus I was in the mood for something light.

The book as a whole is YA but it reads quite young. I would think that mature MG kids could read this one with no problems. While the themes weren't too mature, there was some alcohol in the book even though Cam was against underage drinking. I would probably suggest those that are on the fence about letting their kids read it try it first before deciding. If nothing else you will have read a entertaining book yourself.

Within the story Cam is determined to be a good witch despite being surrounded by "wicked" witches. She considers her mom a wicked witch (her mom concurs) but she is more like someone who wants her way and feels she knows what is best for everyone else. So... borderline evil. She finds that her mom's friends want to play a game in destroying her friend's lives but with an unexpected truce with her mom she figures out the most evil witch's end game and how to save everyone around her. She should be quite exhausted after trying to outthink everyone.

The secondary characters work and I really think they enhanced the story. I really liked her circle of friends and it was nice that she was able to let several of them in on her witchy secret. Sometimes the secret trope gets old quickly so that was a refreshing part of the story.

I give this book 3 1/2 stars. I enjoyed the friendship and the fun in dealing with a wicked witch while finding out what truly makes a good witch. I also enjoyed the end tidbits with the spells she had to figure out as well as her morality good witch list.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy US Thanksgiving

Thanks for visiting the blog, and for being great bookish friends!
For those celebrating have a great time and lots of good food. For the rest, happy Thursday! 

πŸ¦ƒ

Also please care and have a thought to those that are facing some scary times right now. I thought this video was beautiful which actually has a Thanksgiving theme to it.
You might have to sit through a commercial first. Sorry about that.

Filmmaker Frank Chi captures young Muslim Americans reading letters written by Japanese Americans during their time held in internment camps in the midst of World War II. (Frank Chi/ Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center)
πŸ’—

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Arts and Crafts Corner: Holiday Crafting


I've been complaining that the holidays come WAY too soon, but in crafting it can begin as early as July (Christmas in July... sound familiar?) to get everything done. I've been doing a few things and I thought I'd share.

 The first thing is actually for me. Had to try this out and see how it works. 

EOS holder:

This holds those EOS lip balms. I could not resist this one. Too funny! :)

I had mentioned that I used the glow in the dark embroidery on my wreath. I also did that to these unicorn skelanimals. I tried to get a pic of them. If you squint just right... you may be able to see it (you might have to click on the pic to make it bigger)...

I also made some key FOBs for the vet's office:
For the vets, vet techs and office workers. They get to decide who gets what... although some are more obvious than others. :)

And last for today is some key FOBs I made for a cousin and his boys. They love the ninja turtles and so I made all the colors. They get to chose who gets what color. :)

So, anyone crafting for the holidays already? I'm not done yet... *wipes sweat off of brow* ;) Will have more of these posts as I start to take pics. :) I'll try to do better pics.
πŸ’

Got a question as to what to do besides donations. Here are some actions:

1. Call Senator Lindsey Graham's office at (202) 224-5972, push 2 if you get the recording. Tell the staff member "I support Senator Graham's investigation into Russia's participation in the election of Donald Trump."

I have not been able to get a hold of someone yet. Both mailboxes have been full as of this writing.

2. Call the House Oversight Committee tell them you support the call for a bipartisan review of Trump's financials and conflicts of interest. (202) 225-5074.

Still haven't been able to get it through... yet.

3. Call Paul Ryan's office and take his survey about the Affordable Care Act. You'll hear a short pause (sometimes the dead air is more than a minute), then press 2 to opt into the survey. You'll a short speech about Ryan's stance, then press 1 to support the ACA. (202)-225-0600. You don't have to talk to anyone here, it is all a recording.

4. Find your representatives. Calling is best as I posted a link (HERE) who is a Republican staffer and tells you how you get heard. House Representatives: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/ and US Senate: http://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/

5. Sign the petition for Standing Rock at the ACLU's site: HERE. The DOJ's comment line is: (202) 353 1555 

The fact that the mailboxes are full. That is good. Keep trying!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Soapbox with a Marvel Review in the Mix: AKA My Cape is in the Wash

Heh... get it? πŸ˜„

Well, I'm still processing, still angry and still here. There have been some issues that have come about that I cannot be silent about. I apologize to those that find it triggering but I cannot stay silent anymore. The first part, if you missed it, about the election and why I'll have the puppy giveaway in Dec. is HERE.

Sore Loser?


With people being named for important powerful positions the fears of many people are now becoming real. This isn't about being a "sore loser" it is about REAL fear coming true. The #notmypresident protest is partially about not being able to support someone who ran on abhorrent ideals. They cannot say that the racist, misogynistic, and xenophobic rhetoric he spouted during the campaign is ok in any way at all. However there is real value in questioning (not demeaning) the protest and reminding people to not resort to violence. He is the president elect. We must now turn toward vigilance against demagoguery, racism, misogyny, and hate. Turn your energy toward that. Call your representatives.

Need more reasons people are afraid? Let's start with just a couple of the people that will be a part of his team. One member of the "transition team" under Pence that Trump has named. He is Kris Kobach. He penned one of the most racist legislation to go through AZ requiring that people looking a certain way to carry papers to prove that they are US citizens. Steve Bannon who has been named as the White House Chief Strategist is the other worry. He has been known to have had Trump's ear throughout the campaign. Both have been known to work with white supremacists (who have come out as happy for this appointment) and Bannon even has a website with white nationalist, anti-semitic, and misogynistic views called Breitbart. Even Paul Ryan (who actually seemed reasonable at times during the campaign but has recently refused to decry Bannon) has just decreed that Medicare will become privatized. And yes, there is still no solid plan to replace the ACA. No, I don't believe that parts of it will stay and I will not count on it. Those that he is moving into place want to eliminate it first and decide what to do about it later. I do still hope to be pleasantly surprised but don't believe it will happen. They won't allow it.

There are other reasons that are coming to light that have confirmed the fears of a lot of people. This is just a tiny bit of it. So, no, it is not the same thing as when Obama took office. He did not run on a campaign of exclusion (even if you felt that way, his campaign still didn't run with that rhetoric). He extended a hand, many people feel that Trump has already extended a fist. It is hard to give someone a chance when on the campaign trail people did give him several chances. They would try to correct him by telling him he really didn't mean "that", they tried to help him understand why what he said was painful. His response was to double down on his initial argument. As I said before in my last post, he has already hurt people.

There is also the social reasons to worry. This article also echoes some of my sentiments: It's Not Melodramatic to Fear for Our Safety.

And to those that compare one hate against another, know this: There is no contest to be won and anything done out of hate is just plainly wrong. That kind of comparison is used to distract from any real discussion. Any reasonable person would denounce any sort of violence. You already know that.

This is one of a million explanations, articles and social media statuses explaining why people feel this way. This should no longer be an unknown factor as to why people are reacting in this manner.

Also, I would like to address one thing that has been coming across from all sides of the equation. It is that the liberals were somehow silencing the radical conservatives. I want to make it clear, right now, that the predicament we are in is the fault of EVERY US CITIZEN even if the reasons for that fault are different. I also firmly believe that many didn't say who they were voting for because they knew that to side with the horrible things Trump was saying was wrong even if that wasn't why they voted for him. I think this tweet actually sums up how I feel about this issue:

And still, I do think they deserve a seat at the table. I want them at the table. They are valuable because they are human. They deserve their non-hate fears and issues to be heard. I have heard that people felt bullied into accepting change, so let that be your topic but change your tactics. We can't force anyone to sit at the table and you can't force anyone else to accept what we see is hateful. Let me also make this clear: I've not talked to one person who believed that everyone who voted for Trump was racist, sexist or against LGBTQ groups (and yes, I know that person exists but they aren't the majority). However...
That is how many of us are feeling at the moment.

AND if you still don't get it, here is another way of looking at it: The Cinemax Theory of Racism by John Scalzi

The Positives

Yes, I do want to always include these. Not so we ignore the negatives, but so we can increase the positives.

Heard of the #safetypin movement? There have been some legitimate criticisms of it. One opinion is HERE. While I agree with some points of the article, I do believe that there is value in it. Another thoughtful article is HERE which actually reflects more of my view of the safety pin. Don't wear one unless you actually plan on helping someone in some manner if they have experienced marginalization. It is supposed to be a pin of action. Action doesn't mean confronting a dangerous person (that may not be safe for anyone involved), but it can mean just sitting next to the person and coming forth with words of support. Bearing witness (filming) and be willing to become a witness in a police report. Make sure the victim is okay. Also, realize that this does not give you permission to become a bully yourself. Do not become the monster you are fighting. Also, don't expect someone marginalized to feel safe because you wear a pin. I see it as more of a signal that you do not support what is going on. Your actions or lack of action will define the rest of your statement.

✨Let me give you an example. My mother, who is a person of color, was getting some very angry stares and was even confronted in a angry way while going to the grocery store. We had arguments about her going alone while the election was running and after an angry confrontation she finally started taking my dad to the store with her. After the election we were all more nervous and she agreed to still take my dad with her. All 3 of us have been wearing the safety pin. My mom has seen a shift in attitude. She noticed that someone would see the pin and then they would be extra helpful. We were first worried it would have the opposite effect. I'm thankful that they made sure my mother felt welcome. So, it even works in "reverse". 

✨People are donating money to Planned Parenthood in Pence's name.

✨The ACLU is seeing record support and will be stronger for it when fighting for our rights.

✨Various leaders in different states are standing up to what he has proposed (like mass deportation and I think the list will get longer as it goes on- both in leaders and in issues). The governor in my state has already drawn a line in the sand about mass deportation. I suspect he will also reject registration of different groups as well (yes, there is historical precedence for similar legislation in my state and the rejection of it).

✨There is a way to get your representatives to hear you. Remember they represent YOU even if you voted for the "other person". Check out Emily Ellsworth Explains How to Get Congress to Listen if you haven't seen it yet. Yes, I have already called about the Bannon and Kobach appointments.

✨People are paying attention to some of the wrongs going on in reservations in the US. Standing Rock has gotten attention. The level this one is at is unprecedented.

✨Consider this: Shedding light on what was already present but hidden in the shadows is a GOOD thing. Sometimes things need to get worse before it can heal. It is the nature of a lot of things. You cannot heal what you do not acknowledge.

✨The Obama/Biden memes:

Heh... I needed these, I don't know about you. There are also a lot more out there. People keep makin' them! πŸ˜‚ Share 'em if you got 'em. *snort*

Getting back into the Groove:

So, back to some reviews...

I've not been reading although I do have some reviews of books I've read and reviewed but not posted. I just cannot find the ability to lose myself in reading. I needed more stimulation so I decided to binge watch Jessica Jones who just about everyone was praising.


Yea, this was fabulous. Just dark enough for my mood but doesn't drag you deeper. Jessica is the perfect anti-hero and the introduction to Luke Cage was perfect. David Tennant plays the perfect bad guy and it was also a series that will keep you on the edge of your seat. You won't get bored with this one. It had me from the first episode. Warning to some people who don't like it, it does have sex and violence in it.

Of course then I had to binge Luke Cage:

Okay, I was so happy to get some background on Luke. Plus the gratuitous shirtless parts he had to endure wasn't too bad. πŸ˜‰ My only problem with it was that despite the diverse cast it still had very stereotypical aspects to it. I also didn't quite feel the danger until about episode 8 although the mystery of Luke was preserved and kept you wanting to know more. He was pretty invincible until then and that aspect of danger was needed to bring his character out fully. I also didn't like it when he was a womanizer but when he started to trust he shined and you will swoon. I still want him together with Jessica (the other show totally ruined my idea of him with someone else) but I did like the other possible romantic relationships he might have. Darn it. LOL Also, same warning as Jessica Jones.

I'll be hitting Daredevil next even though it was a bit backwards. It's the fault of those that wanted me to see Jessica Jones before that one. Yea, that's it... their fault. LOL There will also be other Netflix episodes of Marvel characters and some are supposed to work together in other series. If you have been liking the superhero movies then do try these. They are addicting. 
πŸ’₯

PS. Please do SOMETHING. Call your representative. VOTE in the next election. It could even be more crucial to vote in 2 years than in 4. 

It's your superpower. 

Friday, November 11, 2016

Puppy Birthday Giveaway Preparation Post: The US election and how it leads to the giveaway

This was going to be a post about asking for help with my puppy giveaway. The US election has turned it upside-down so while I will still hold the giveaway but I will do something different. I've written this post several times and I hope I do make some sense. Also the election is why I've gone a bit MIA. Will try to come back but I may need more time to process. Also apologies to those that don't like to talk politics. I usually don't, but I did think it was necessary to give some things a voice. I also apologize for the length.

The US Presidential Election

Because people's emotions are so high, I've seen several calls for respectful disagreement. I agree with this. Unfortunately, I've also seen it used as a way to shut people up. Speaking to those that have used it that way and just want people to calm down and stop talking, you have to listen to the pain, the hurt and the fear before you can even start to change it. Yes, that is actually for both sides. It doesn't mean agreement but how else could we know what direction to take to get people to calm down? How else would we understand what road to take to change? Let me make this clear, this doesn't mean you have to tolerate hate. I do have one example where at least one person tries to start a real dialog in a real way. Take a moment to check out these videos if you like. It is Van Jones going into Gettysburg to talk to people with various affiliations but mainly Trump leanings. No one ends up agreeing but in a very small way some find a little common ground. It doesn't solve anything, but what becomes clear to me is that what is needed is mutual respect for the other and people need to hear the other's fear. Everyone is seems fearful. All are about 10 min and while there were no great epiphanies save one: we can still converse civilly.

The Messy Truth
All videos on his blog (go from the bottom to the top to get them in order) HERE

Please don't advocate for silence in this issue(s). I also think I and others should have the space to say why we are scared with this outcome as long as this is also done with respect. Remember respect does not equal agreement but does treat people as human. I believe we MUST acknowledge what harmful things have been happening both in the past and right after the election. To ignore it we go backwards and I refuse to do that. Hatred thrives in the dark where people refuse to acknowledge it exists. Also to those that have experienced more hatred of late, know that there are people who have your back. Who know this is wrong. For those that haven't experienced it, please pay attention. Do not be willfully ignorant at what is going on. Pay attention to everything. Listen. The fact that the whole presidential race was fought with Trump speaking with  misogynist and racist and hateful promises, speech, and horrible historical comparisons should also never be ignored. We need to acknowledge that his presidential race has already hurt people.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
Martin Luther King Jr.

I've never been scared with an outcome from a US election. This election was the exception. Several things scare me but what scares me the most (and for the sake of brevity I'll only mention 2) is something I just spoke about. The fact that hate groups now have a solid and open foothold for political legitimacy again. However there is an easy way to combat this. Vote. There is one fact that people don't recognize: Politicians do not pay attention to "the people" they pay attention to voters. This is how groups get power. This is why it is important to VOTE in EVERY election from here on out. You need to make your voice louder than these groups. This is how to fight this now. VOTE. The presidential election is not the only important election out there.

Another scare turned reality? The downfall of the ACA. Not to get into details but this program has literally saved my life and others and has helped thousands of people no matter how you feel about it.  Yes, I am quite aware of the problems within the ACA and so we need to FIX it not eliminate it. I'm hoping there will be something reasonable in it's place, but I'm not hopeful. I've seen what so far has been suggested in taking it's place (and I'm not talking about the "best plan" but ones that actually have merit and also why I call for fixing it not eliminating it) and it does not compare nor cover everyone currently helped by the ACA. I have never felt confident that I would be able to keep this program since it has been constantly under attack and I was always aware that this may happen at some point, but I just hoped it wouldn't be so soon. And to be honest, I'm not so sure if  I'm scared at this point but resigned.

The Positives

You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”
Maya Angelou
I hope you agree that these are positive things happening and please feel free to add more in the comments. The reason I felt I needed to list these is because if all you see is negative you are less likely to do something to change it. By seeing something positive, you know you aren't alone and you know that there is still good to be preserved. Perhaps know that there is something you can do no matter how small. This isn't a "here is some positives so shut it", but "here is some positives so go out and create some of your own". 
  • There has been people recognizing that there will be people who will feel forgotten once again, maligned and in physical danger. This is important to those who feel invisible in this country. It also hasn't happened on this scale before.
  • These people are reaching out to others and are encouraging everyone to do the same. I am not listing groups of people as others have since I would eventually miss important groups by mistake. You don't need a list, just go out and reach out. I'm trying to do that here.
  • Women have found their voice about sexual assault and are speaking up in record numbers. One conversation that caught my attention was on twitter about the FIRST time as a female you were groped. I think it is an important distinction that it doesn't say if or when but first. It shows how much prevalence there is in this type of sexual assault. Btw, I think I was around 9 or 10 years old. 
  • I don't believe that we will go back to these hate groups in having the power they once had. I think this is more of a wake up call for a lot of people. Hate will NOT win but it has awoken people to reality.
  • The anger of good people speaking out about why this is wrong, how it affects their self and others. Yes, anger can be a good thing.
  • Things like this actually can create opportunity and bring factions of people closer together in the face of hatred. I've seen it in every situation in recent history. I've already seen it with what I've already stated.
  • Those that have power are lending their voice to those that have less. 
  • More people are paying attention. Know that what is going on is nothing new. People have been dealing with this kind of hate all along and have survived. This kind of hate cannot continue as long as there is light and knowledge shined on what is going on.
  • There are people currently formulating plans on what to do to make the world around them better for as may people possible. Like I said, I think we were just handed a wake up call.
And this leads me to my determination to not let the negatives get the better of me and I decided to go ahead with...


Yea, I think I need to see good things. This isn't about "getting over it" but being proactive about change. In the past I usually I have people do something for animals. It could be money, time or  supplies, but it could have also been a simple form of kindness given to that animal or it's people. Check out what people did in years past (link). This year I think I'll extend it to everyone. This means any kindness extended to anyone on the planet (animal OR human). I think we all need to see some kindness. Reading what people have done always helps me when I'm getting a bit of the blues during this time. I think we all can use some kindness no matter who you voted for and don't forget those around the world. The prize will unfortunately be US only (postage... ugh) and will be something that I've made. Hope you will like it. It's not a huge prize (I wish it could be bigger) but I just wanted to do something fun that recognizes what things you can do for others. If you would like to help, let me know. There are so many good organizations out there that need some attention (check out the link list in the animal links tab under the header). 

Yes, what I'm doing here is very small. What I'm doing here may even be insignificant in the scheme of the whole.... however, it is what I can do at the moment, so I will. 

No matter what, please just do a kindness to another. We need it now.

The giveaway will officially start in Dec and I'll make a post with the details.

🐾