Thursday, December 8, 2016

The Circuit: Executor Rising (The Circuit #1) by Rhett C. Bruno - Review

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The remnants of humanity now consists of colonies called the Kepler Circuit. It's been centuries since Earth became an uninhabitable wasteland. One of the most important resources to humanity is only found in Earth's mantle which is provided by the colonies. A new religious group controls most the Circuit and their freighters are getting attacked making them suspect their enemies. Sage, a spy, has been tasked with discovering the truth by infiltrating the enemy camp and the more she learns the more she begins to question her leaders.

Intense, fast paced, and intriguing world-building, but I had trouble connecting to the characters. Aside from having difficulty connecting to the characters, I also wish that we got a little more background when it comes to the world-building than we ended up with. However, I still think that I will come back to the series for book two. If you are interested in dystopian stories with an almost space opera/ cyberpunk flavor, you may want to try this debut novel. Fair warning, though, due to it's use of sudden graphic violence, it isn't for the faint of heart.

I won this novel through Goodreads Giveaways and I read it from November 17 - 18, 2016 (Sci-Fi Month).  My review can also be found here.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Winter 2017 Comment Challenge January Sign-Up Post

This past summer I took part in the Comment Challenge, hosted by Alicia @ A Kernel of Nonsense and Lonna @ FLYLēF, and it was a great way to get know other bloggers in the community - Ellen and Sierra @ Quest ReviewsMari @ Story and Somnomancy, and Anne @ Head Full of Books.  Anyways, they're back with a new challenge for January - March and I'm happy to say that I'll be taking part again!   I plan on being just as ambitious this January by commenting 10+ times with my to be assigned partner - I can't wait to "meet" you!  You can also tweet along with the hashtag #Winter2017CC.  Like last time, there is a challenge wide giveaway for participants!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: New-To-Me Authors I Read For The First Time In 2016

Happy Tuesday and welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!  This weeks topic is New-To-Me Authors I Read For The First Time In 2016.  Here we go in alphabetical order by last name:

Anne Bishop - I listened to Written in Red and I absolutely loved it!  I definitely will be continuing this series - I could easily become obsessed, I think.

Rachel Caine - I read and absolutely loved both Ink and Bone and Paper and Fire!  I can't wait for the release of Ash and Quill on July 11, 2017.

Ernest Cline - I finally read Ready Player One this year - and it was so much fun!  I will have to try Armada soon.

Jasper Fforde - I listened to The Eyre Affair on audio not too long ago and it was a lot of fun - it makes me want to be in Spec Ops when I grow up.  I'll have to continue the Thursday Next series for sure.

Kody Kepplinger - I'm glad I finally got around to reading The Duff for YALSA's Backlist Bingo Reading Challenge.  I will have to try more of her work.

Derek Landy - Technically, I read his story from 12 Doctors, 12 Stories featuring the 10th Doctor and Martha in 2015, but I'm counting early this year I listened to Skulduggery Pleasant on audio and it was a lot of fun.  I've been told I have to continue the series so many times that I'll really have to soon.

Jenny Lawson - Based on the cover of Furiously Happy alone, I couldn't pass it up.  I'd heard a great deal of great thing about her style and sense of humor.  If you haven't tried her yet, I definitely recommend it.

Scott Lynch - Maybe you've heard me mention how much I liked The Lies of Locke Lamora?!  I need to continue this series, hopefully on audiobook as narrator Michael Page gives a wonderful performance.

Melina Marchetta - I finally read Finnikin of the Rock for YALSA's Backlist Bingo Reading Challenge and now I know what I was missing out on for so long.  Froi of the Exiles here I come.

Ruth Ware - Very pleased to have tried the claustrophobic mystery thriller The Woman in Cabin 10.  If you're a fan of The Girl on the Train, you may want to give it a shot.  I'll have to try her other release, In a Dark, Dark Wood.

So, what do you think of my list this week?  Have you tried any of these authors yet?  Do you have any recommendations for me?  What new-to-you authors have you tried this year?

Monday, December 5, 2016

Music Monday: Kaleo

Happy Monday everyone and welcome back to Music Monday! Let's share some songs we've been enjoying lately!  If you would like to play and I really hope you do, please see the rules and link up below.


Every Monday share one or two of songs you've been enjoying lately.  It doesn't have to be a specific genre, new, or one of your favorites - just something you'd like to share with others.  If possible, share a music or lyric video of the song and your thoughts on the song(s), artist(s), and/or music video(s).

If you would like to participate in Music Monday, please join the link up by sharing your post's url.

This week I'm featuring three songs by a new favorite band, Kaleo.  Within the last month, I've been hearing "Way Down We Go" all over the radio.  I love their sound so much that I've listened to quite a bit of their work via YouTube, and I think I'll have to get my hands on a copy of A/B before long.  Anyways, "Way Down We Go", "Save Yourself", and "No Good" are particularly fantastic.  

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Sunday Funday: Weekend Update, Disney's Moana, and Meeting Mindy McGinnis

I've had quite a week!  At work, things have been pretty crazy on both fronts coming off of Thanksgiving.  Nothing astoundingly crazy happened in the home improvement end of retail, aside from a huge sale that wrapped up with me assisting a confounding customer for nearly an hour and a half (twenty minutes of which was after the store closed).

In the library world, our library has received a 3D printer on loan for the third time which is always promising - and lots of fun to boot!  The highlight of my week at the library was easily Friday - my boss informed me that I had received a postcard.  I expected to see some kind of promotional thing, but it turned out to be from a satisfied patron - an Irish woman who's going to college in Sweden!  As it turns out, this patron had stumbled upon a photo of a house that burned down a few years ago and wanted to know more about it - she found our library because the photo happened to mention our village.  That house had a lot of interesting history, plus it featured stunning architecture.  I worked with her via the web and as a thank you she sent me this post card - based on the postmark it took a little less than a week to arrive.  Very cool!  Thank you so much - it really made my (our) day!

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In other news, I also got to see Disney's newest release, Moana, which along with Doctor Strange and Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them was one of my most anticipated movies of November!  I actually had Tuesday evening off which is the same day that the movie theater charges only $5 per ticket all day, so I really lucked out in that regard.  The movie focuses on Moana's quest to save her island and her people (as the daughter of the chief and a future leader) from ruin which also involves finding Maui, a demigod, and asking for his help.

For me, Moana is easily within the top five of favorite recent Disney films.  I love the fact that there is no love story - it's a brilliant adventure fantasy that explores Polynesian mythology with a great soundtrack.  The cast of characters is very engaging and I have to say that Moana and Maui play off of each other well.  Moana herself is a breath of fresh air - she's courageous, curious, and determined - and her role as future ruler doesn't hinge on finding romance.  She's far too busy saving her people, her island, and discovering herself in the process to be bothered by that kind of thing - and I loved that! Auliʻi Cravalho, the actress behind Moana, has a great voice and I truly hope this is the beginning of a long career for her.  While Moana gets some fantastic songs, I'd have to say that Maui's song, "You're Welcome", and the villain's song, "Shiny", stand out the most.  I particularly liked the David Bowie influence on "Shiny".

Overall, you have to see Disney's newest offering with Moana!  Of course, it's visually stunning, but better yet it's lots of fun and very empowering.  If you liked The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig, I'd bet you'd get a real kick out of this new musical, showcasing the talents of Lin-Manuel Miranda.  It's a must watch for all Disney fans, young and old.  And, now it's just a waiting game for the release of Beauty and the Beast!

The real high point of my week was yesterday, Saturday, December 3rd.  The day before I had learned that my local bookstore was hosting the YA author Mindy McGinnis for an afternoon signing.  I actually had the weekend off, so I definitely wanted to make it over.  I've been to a signing there in the past for a local author during a summer event and it was quite busy, so I'd be lucky if I was able to chat with the author for more than a minute or two.  I expected things to be the same way yesterday, especially since they had a pretty well known YA author.  However, I was the only visitor for approximately a half an hour and got to chat with her (along with the bookstore owner and the bookstore assistant) for the entire time.

As soon as I walked in, the bookstore owner came over and said to let her know if I needed help with anything, and that she wanted to let me know about the signing for her newest release.  She was floored when I had just finished it and I that I loved it (be on the look out for my review) - she took me over to Ms. McGinnis and introduced me.  I couldn't believe it!  And, I was even more surprised when Ms. McGinnis said I looked familiar.  I've interacted with her before on Twitter, but I thought there was no way that it could be related to that.  I could only guess that it was somehow library related.  Anyways, the entire situation was very cool (if maybe only a little awkward) and we all talked about several topics - how much we enjoyed The Female of the Species and just how intense it is, her other books and characters, the cover art (the same cover artist worked on all of her books), library service, stories from other events, and more.  At the end, she signed and personalized my copy and gave me some extra bookmarks to share with patrons at the library.  Thanks for being so welcoming and kind, Mindy!  Later, when I shared the photo above on Twitter, Mindy responded to me that I should have said I was this Lauren - that actually might have been the most surprising and exciting thing of all!

Friday, December 2, 2016

The Friday 56 (With Book Beginnings): The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis + 50/50 Friday

Welcome to The Friday 56, a weekly meme hosted by Freda's Voice.

These are the rules:
1. Grab a book, any book.
2. Turn to page 56, or 56% on your eReader.
3. Find any sentence (or a few, just don't spoil it) that grabs you.
4. Post it.
5. Add the URL to your post in the link on Freda's most recent Friday 56 post.

I'm also taking part in Book Beginnings, a weekly meme hosted by Rose City Reader.  The rules are pretty simple - you share the first sentence or so and your initial thoughts, impressions, or whatever else it inspires.  Don't forget to link up your post's url with Rose City Reader.

This week I'm spotlighting Mindy McGinnis, a fellow Ohioan's newest release, The Female of the Species.  She's quickly becoming a favorite author and I just picked up my copy last weekend.  Even more exciting - I very recently learned that she's going to be at my local bookstore this Saturday!  If I can help it, I will be too!  


This is how I kill someone.

I learn his habits, I know his schedule.  It is not difficult.  His life consists of quick stops to the dollar store for the bare minimum of things required to keep this ragged cycle going, his hat pulled down low over his eyes so as not to be recognized.

But he is.  It's a small town.


Anna told me I would understand about boys one day.

She said that everything would change and I would look at them differently, assess their bodies and their words, the way their eyes moved when they talked to me.  She'd said I'd not only want to answer them but that I'd learn how, knowing which words to use, how to give meaning to a pause.

Then a man took her.

This week I'm also taking part in a brand new linkup called 50/50 Friday, which is hosted by Carrie @ The Butterfly Reader and Laura @ Blue Eye Books.  Every week they'll have a new topic featuring two sides of the same coin - this week the topic is Character most/ least likely to go cliff-diving.

Most Likely:

Bella Swan in New Moon by Stephenie Meyer - Didn't have to think too hard here seeing as she actually goes cliff-diving in the novel in order to hallucinate Edward's presence.

Least Likely:

John Watson from Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle  - At least according to Mrs. Hudson at first - I just really wanted to use this gif, honestly.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Audiobook Tour: The Egg & I by Betty MacDonald - Review and Giveaway

Welcome to my stop on the audiobook tour of The Egg and I by Betty MacDonald, hosted by The Audiobookworm.  Continue reading to learn about the book, see my review, discover the author and the audiobook narrator, tour wide giveaways, and the tour schedule.  Here we go!

Author: Betty MacDonald

Narrator: Heather Henderson

Length: 9 hours

Publisher: Post Hypnotic Press⎮2015

Genre: Humor, Memoir

When Betty MacDonald married a marine and moved to a small chicken farm on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State, she was largely unprepared for the rigors of life in the wild. With no running water, no electricity, a house in need of constant repair, and days that ran from four in the morning to nine at night, the MacDonalds had barely a moment to put their feet up and relax. And then came the children. Yet through every trial and pitfall – through chaos and catastrophe – this indomitable family somehow, mercifully, never lost its sense of humor. A beloved literary treasure for more than half a century, Betty MacDonald’s The Egg and I is a heartwarming and uproarious account of adventure and survival on the American frontier.


Buy on AudibleAmazon


Betty Bard MacDonald (1907–1958), the best-selling author of The Egg and I and the classic Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle children’s books, burst onto the literary scene shortly after the end of World War II. Readers embraced her memoir of her years as a young bride operating a chicken ranch on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, andThe Egg and I sold its first million copies in less than a year. The public was drawn to MacDonald’s vivacity, her offbeat humor, and her irreverent take on life. In 1947, the book was made into a movie starring Fred MacMurray and Claudette Colbert, and spawned a series of films featuring MacDonald’s Ma and Pa Kettle characters. MacDonald followed up the success of The Egg and I with the creation of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, a magical woman who cures children of their bad habits, and with three additional memoirs: The Plague and I (chronicling her time in a tuberculosis sanitarium just outside Seattle), Anybody Can Do Anything (recounting her madcap attempts to find work during the Great Depression), and Onions in the Stew (about her life raising two teenage daughters on Vashon Island). Author Paula Becker was granted full access to Betty MacDonald’s archives, including materials never before seen by any researcher. Looking for Betty MacDonald, the first official biography of this endearing Northwest storyteller, reveals the story behind the memoirs and the difference between the real Betty MacDonald and her literary persona.


Heather Henderson is a voice actress and audiobook narrator with a 20-year career in literary and performing arts. Her narrations include the NYT bestseller (now also a feature film) Brain on Fire; and Sharon Creech’s The Boy on the Porch, which won her an Earphones award and was named one of the Best Children’s Audiobooks for 2013 by Audiofile Magazine. She earned her Doctor of Fine Arts degree at the Yale School of Drama, and is co-curator of, a pronunciation research site for the audiobook industry. In 2015, Heather was a finalist for a Voice Arts Award (Outstanding Narration, Audiobook Classics), for her narration of Betty MacDonald’s The Egg and I.  

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When I was first approached about taking part in this tour as I had had this audiobook on my tbr, I absolutely jumped at the chance to join in.  That's because I grew up watching the Ma and Pa Kettle movie series with my dad who is a huge fan of the characters.  I'm pretty sure I've seen all of the movies featuring them including The Egg and I, starring Fred MacMurray and Claudette Colbert as the MacDonalds and Marjorie Main and Percy Kilbride as the MacDonald's neighbors, Ma and Pa Kettle. which is the film that kick started the spin off series featuring the Kettle family.  I didn't realize that The Egg and I was actually based on the real life Betty MacDonald's memoirs until quite recently, so of course I needed to find out exactly how the source material stacked up to the classic movies that I've been watching since I was little.  

As it turns out, I really enjoyed this memoir, especially Heather Henderson's narration.  I found myself much more interested in Betty MacDonald as a character than I expected to be.  A good deal of that is due to her wry and witty sense of humor which really comes across well in audio form.  The parts dealing with the chicks are some of my favorite scenes.  Also, like the movies Ma and Pa Kettle completely steal the show - Ma in particular.  Ma is a brash, no-nonsense woman who does the best she can for her family in their situation.  She gets plenty of laugh out loud moments.  Pa is also pretty great, and although he's described differently than the actor portraying the character I couldn't help but imagine him and his manner of speaking while listening to the audio.  Finally, I just wanted to mention that the only reason I gave this story four stars is due to the representation of Native Americans which is incredibly insensitive and stereotypical.  Overall, though, I'm glad I took the chance on this humorous memoir on audiobook.  I will definitely need to read MacDonald's other memoirs.  

By the way, I thought I would share one of my favorite one of my favorite scenes from Ma and Pa Kettle (1949), the first movie of the spin off series featuring the characters.  Warning: If you're bad at math, this probably won't help matters!


Nov. 20From the TBR Pile (Spotlight)  
Nov. 21Printcess (Review & Giveaway)
Nov. 22Book Journey (Review, Interview & Giveaway)
Nov. 23The Pursuit of Bookishness (Audio Excerpt, Spotlight & Giveaway)
Nov. 24A Page To Turn (Audio Excerpt & Spotlight)
Nov. 25:
Nov. 26He Said Books Or Me (Review)
Nov. 27Field of Bookish Dreams (Audio Excerpt, Spotlight & Giveaway)
Nov. 28Que Sera Sara (Spotlight & Giveaway)
Nov. 29Terri Luvs Books (Review)
Nov. 30Never Anyone Else (Review & Giveaway)
Dec. 1Dab of Darkness (Review, Interview & Giveaway)
Dec. 2Jorie Loves A Story (Review)
Dec. 3Ali The Dragon Slayer (Review & Giveaway)
Dec. 4Never 2 Many 2 Read (Review & Giveaway)
Dec. 5Jorie Loves A Story (Interview)
Dec. 6Terri Luvs Books (Interview & Giveaway)
Dec. 7Chapter Break (Interview)
Dec. 8Celtic Lady's Reviews (Spotlight)
Dec. 9Bound 4 Escape (Review & Giveaway)
Dec. 10 Avid Book Collector (Review, Spotlight & Giveaway)

ABW Promos3