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.
🐢