Got My Book

 

Yes, I'm "that person," the one who wears her headphones nearly everywhere. Whenever anyone apologizes to me for a delay, I just say,

"That's ok, I've 'Got My Book.'"

 

*****

Come join me on an Audiobook journey through the worlds of fantastical fiction, with other book related side trips.

I Become a Cybils Judge | Sunday Summary #21

The CYBILS Awards have added an Audiobook category this year, and I will be a Round 1 Panelist.

 

The Sunday Post, hosted by Kimba @Caffeinated Book Reviewer, is a chance to share News. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog.

Caution: Her site has sidebar ads that sometimes contain cover images which may be offensive to some.


The Good: The car is fixed, and it only cost me $40.

 

As stated above, the CYBILS Awards have added an Audiobook category (click here to see the other judges). For this first year, it will be limited to Middle Grade books; if it goes well, they may add YA next year. I confess that I am more than a bit intimidated by the prospect of all that listening. But I really want the Audiobook category to get off to a good start. It will be interesting, as I will probably be reading more non-SFF books than I have in quite awhile. Nominations for all categories open to the public on 10/1. Authors/Publishers can submit additional books after the nomination period ends.

Cybils 2016

The Bad: Once I got the notification that I had been selected as a judge, I began working on getting my ducks in a row. This cut into my blog time. / I didn't get the car fixed until Friday, so I had to deal with it most of the week. / It was Migraine week again (usually I enjoy being a woman, but sometimes I just want a break from hormones).

 

Still Seeking: Twitters to follow (if you post about SciFi & Fantasy, Audiobooks, or other interesting discussion stuff - let me know). Goodreads tips (I haven't gotten any)

On GMB: Last week

-read more-

A Prophecy Fulfilled: The Bronze Key | Review

The Bronze Key: The Magisterium, Book 3 - Holly Black, Cassandra Clare, Paul Boehmer, Listening Library

The camaraderie really clicks in this MG Contemporary Fantasy installment - just in time for things to really go sideways.

 

Students at the Magisterium are supposed to be safe. Under the watchful eyes of the mages, they are taught to use magic to bring order to a chaotic world. But now the chaos is fighting back. Call, Tamara, and Aaron should be worrying about things like pop quizzes and magic contests. Instead, after the shocking death of one of their classmates, they must track down a sinister killer...and risk their own lives in the process.

 

As Call, Tamara, and Aaron discover, magic can only be as good as the person who wields it. In evil hands it has the capacity to do immeasurable harm - unless it is stopped in time.

 

Buy Now | +Goodreads

Disclosure: GMB uses affiliate links, clicking and making a purchase may result in a small commission for me.


Source: I borrowed this book from the library and have added it to my Wishlist.

 

BOOK DETAILS:

The Bronze Key by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare, read by Paul Boehmer, published by Listening Library (2016) / Length: 8 hrs 30 min

 

SERIES INFO:

This is book #3 of the "Magisterium" series. There are expected to be five in total, with #4 & #5 (currently titled The SIlver Mask & The Enemy of Death) to be published in 2017 & 2018 respectively.

 

**This review contains spoilers for the previous book(s).**

 

SUMMARY:

This series is just getting stronger; and, although I continue to wish for more development of the side characters, Call is a current favorite protagonist.

 

This is a really fast read, with excellent pacing. And while I had correctly guessed who the spy was long ago, there was another secret revealed that completely surprised me.

 

As was revealed in various summaries, there are some deaths in this book; and while I was sad, the ending really left me excited for the next one.

-read more-

A Sequel that Surpasses its Predecessor: Atone | Review

Atone: A Fairytale: Fairytale Trilogy - Jessica Grey, Randi Larson, Tall House Books

A sweet & funny YA Contemporary Fantasy Retelling that's biggest drawback is that it's too short.

 

Becca Ward knows that magic is real... Two years ago, not only had she and her best friend Alex found a real life sleeping beauty in the middle of Los Angeles, they also discovered that they were powerful in their own right. They've managed to keep both their fae powers and their friend Lilia's identity as a medieval princess a secret and live a normal life. Now that normalcy is threatened by the return of their former advisor at the Gem and Mineral Museum, and Becca's least favorite person, Nicholas Hunt. And she's about to find out that more than one fairy tale is true.

 

Buy Now | +Goodreads

Whispersync Deal Alert*: Kindle + Audible = $4.98 (must purchase Kindle first, prices may change)

Disclosure: GMB uses affiliate links, clicking and making a purchase may result in a small commission for me.


Source: I purchased this audiobook myself from Audible (the only place it is currently available.)

 

BOOK DETAILS:

Atone by Jessica Grey, read by Randi Larson, published 2013 / Length: 6 hrs 43 min

 

SERIES INFO:

This is Book #2 of "The Fairytale Trilogy." While the series has not been officially abandoned, the 3rd book (Aspire) appears to have been indefinitely delayed.

 

**This review contains spoilers for the previous book.**

 

SUMMARY:

This is one of my favorite fairy tale retellings. I love how the relationship grows between them.  I wasn't a fan of the narration but it hasn't kept me from relistening. And I really don't like the cover.

 

Note: Audible has this in the 11-13 year old bracket, but Becca is 20 and Nicholas is several years older. I've categorized it as NA (although there isn't any sex, so it's appropriate for younger readers as well).

 

-read more-

Stealing, Sigma, Snow | New Audiobook Releases

New Releases

Each week there are dozens of scifi, fantasy, and other speculative fiction audiobooks released. I highlight the most talked about and/or interesting looking ones from that week. The first person to correctly identify which 3 books below I took the key words in the title from will get a virtual shout-out in next week's post & tweet. (I'm doing this to try and make it more fun for me to improve my titles.)

 

Disclosure: GMB uses affiliate links, clicking and making a purchase may result in a small commission for me.

Disclaimer: Unless otherwise noted, I have not read these books and thus can't give content warnings.


There were fewer books released this week, but still some very big ones.

Buzzed About

Kingdom on Fire, Book #1: A Shadow Bright and Burning

By: Jessica Cluess / Narrator: Fiona Hardingham / Pub: Listening Library / Length: 12:49

"I am Henrietta Howel. The first female sorcerer. The prophesied one. Or am I?

 

Henrietta Howel can burst into flames. When she is brought to London to train with Her Majesty's sorcerers, she meets her fellow sorcerer trainees, young men eager to test her powers and her heart. One will challenge her. One will fight for her. One will betray her. As Henrietta discovers the secrets hiding behind the glamour of sorcerer life, she begins to doubt that she's the true prophesied one. With battle looming, how much will she risk to save the city--and the one she loves?"


Snow Like Ashes, Book #3: Frost Like Night

By: Sara Raasch / Narrator: Various / Pub: HarperAudio / Length: 12:22

"Angra is alive, his Decay is spreading—and no one is safe.

 

Meira will do anything to save her world. With Angra trying to break through her mental defenses, she desperately needs to learn to control her own magic—so when the leader of a mysterious Order from Paisly offers to teach her, she jumps at the chance. But the true solution to stopping the Decay lies in a labyrinth deep beneath the Season Kingdoms. To defeat Angra, Meira will have to enter the labyrinth, destroy the very magic she’s learning to control—and make the biggest sacrifice of all."

Buy Now | +Goodreads

Haven't started this series yet? Check out Book #1


-read more-

An Aging Classic: Double Star | Review

Double Star - Robert A. Heinlein, Tom Weiner, Inc. Blackstone Audio

One of my favorite Heinlein adult SFs, it nevertheless shows signs of it's age.

 

 

One minute, down and out actor Lorenzo Smythe was — as usual — in a bar, drinking away his troubles as he watched his career go down the tubes. Then a space pilot bought him a drink, and the next thing Smythe knew, he was shanghaied to Mars.

 

 

 

+Goodreads

Disclosure: GMB uses affiliate links, clicking and making a purchase may result in a small commission for me.


Note: The Audible version I purchased (and am reviewing here) is no longer available from them.  It can still be borrowed via OverDrive or purchased as a physical copy. But the cover above is from (and links to) the current version.

 

BOOK DETAILS:

Double Star by Robert Heinlein, read by Lloyd James, published by Blackstone Audio (2000) / Length: 6 hrs 5 min (again, these are for the version I am reviewing)

 

SERIES INFO: This is a standalone.
 

SUMMARY:

I want to start by stating that this book was originally published in 1956. The representations of women are typically pathetic. And although it is generally understood that man has moved beyond racism (to xenophobia) there are only two persons of color mentioned (assuming that Patil is one). The government of the solar system is not in the hands of the Americans, but it does appear to be mostly run by white Westerners.

 

As someone who loves character though, this book is a treat. And this version of the audiobook makes it even more so. To go on a journey with someone and both see & hear them change from one kind of person to another is a joy.

-read more-

Dear Audiobook Producers: I Really Want These | Top Ten Tuesday

**Today's List: All About Audio freebie**

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, “was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!”


Disclosure: GMB uses affiliate links, clicking and making a purchase may result in a small commission for me.

 

Since pretty much all of my list posts are about audiobooks anyway, I decided to do something slightly different this time. I am doing a variation on the prompt, "10 books I want to listen to on audio." These are books I want to listen to on audio, but can't since they aren't available. I am cheating by including series & authors as well as individual books. Please note: some of the cover images aren't very good, since these are mostly older books. And many of them aren't even available as ebooks.

 

Alphabetical by Author

(Hover over covers to read the publisher's summary)

 

Buy | +GR

Buy | +GR

 

1) Phule’s Company & Phule's Paradise by Robert Asprin

 

Robert Asprin is probably best known for his Myth Adventures novels (which are available on Audible, you're welcome*), but they aren't my favorites of his.

 

These two books are so much fun. I think they would be great fun for a narrator also, since there are so many different types of characters. And despite the full on humor, there are still bits of heart as well.  Note: The remaining books in this series were a sad disappointment.

-read more-

I Have a Very Busy Week | Sunday Summary #20

This week I participated in a Read-a-thon and my first Bloggiesta. Plus I publish two extra posts, for a total of eight.

 

The Sunday Post, hosted by Kimba @Caffeinated Book Reviewer, is a chance to share News. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog.

Caution: Her site has sidebar ads that sometimes contain cover images which may be offensive to some.


The Good: My "Creating Community" efforts, along with the events I have been participating in, are having an effect. I have almost reached 500 followers across my various platforms. Although I am doing well at not obsessing over the numbers, 500 seems to be a magic number with many publishers; so, I'm excited.

 

This was a busy week; with the help of Bloggiesta, I now have an updated Review Policy that includes an online submission form. You can see what else I've been working on at my "A Work in Progress" post (linked below).

 

And finally, I got Futhermore from the library just last night! Thank you to those unknown readers ahead of me in line who read it quickly and returned it.

 

The Bad: I was busy this week and wasn't able to do much visiting. And, despite my successes, I'm still struggling to implement my Twitter plan for sharing other Blogger's stuff. Even with Lists, the increased number of people I'm following is a bit overwhelming. I am tweaking the plan right now. Plus my efforts to start a Boosters Club bombed (only one person used the tag)

 

And to top it all off, I'm having (possibly expensive) car troubles and still only working 20 hours per week, which would make paying for repairs stressful. I wish the Universe would drop the perfect job in my lap (you know - the one where I get paid big bucks, with great benefits, and am allowed to listen to audiobooks while I work), but I'm probably going to have to do a (dreaded) job hunt instead.

 

Still Seeking: SFF&F, Audiobook, & Discussion posting Twitterers to follow (see here) + Goodreads Tips

On GMB: Last week

-read more-

A Bit of a Rocky Start: Sandry's Book | Review

Sandry's Book: Circle of Magic, Book 1 - Tamora Pierce, Tamora Pierce, the Full Cast Family, Full Cast Audio

It take a while for this MG Fantasy to really get going, but this is first class worldbuilding.

 

 

 

Here begins the tale of Daja, Briar, Tris, and Sandry, four children brought to Winding Circle Temple for training in crafts and magic. They are outcasts in their homeland. But in this magical place, they are valued and respected for their special powers.

 

 

 

Buy Now | +Goodreads

Disclosure: GMB uses affiliate links, clicking and making a purchase may result in a small commission for me.


Source: I purchased this book myself from Audible. It is also available on mp3 CD (and you may be able to find other formats for sale used).

 

BOOK DETAILS:

Sandry's Book by Tamora Pierce, read & published by Full Cast Audio, published by (2003) / Length: 5 hrs 53 min

 

SERIES INFO:

The is #1 of 4 in the "Circle of Magic" series. All 4 are available on audio. (There is a follow-up series that also has 4 books, and several additional books as well. Only a some of them are available as audiobooks).

 

SUMMARY:

This is my favorite of the various Tamora Pierce series and worlds. I love the way it is about a disparate group of kids who are each alone and must learn how to be more.

 

I have tagged this with Diversity since the series includes characters from a very diverse group of nations, races & cultures, religions (fictional), and socio-economic backgrounds (from homeless to near royalty). And there is a nice mix; it isn't just black & white, there are many shades of brown in between. We also have characters of different body types & sizes, as well as one who needs glasses.

 

CHARACTERS:

Sandry: A child of the nobility. She has traveled widely and is accustomed to lots of different cultures and lifestyles.

 

Tris: A daughter of a prominent merchant house. She has firmly middle-class attitudes towards those both above and "below" her, as well as a distrust of Traders.

 

Daja: A Trader. They are a fiercely insular group that look on everyone else as "outsiders."

 

Briar: A former streetrat & member of a thieves gang. He too has been exposed to people from many cultures, but has rarely seen any good in humanity.

 

They have all been subjected to bullying in some form or another and yet, except for Sandry, they are each scornful of other who are different than themselves. She wants desperately for them to be a new family, but they don't want anything to do with it.

 

Each of the children also has an adult mentor/teacher who instructs them in the use of their magic. They are Lark, Nico, Frostpine & Rosethorn. All of them are interesting individuals who don't blend into the background, but are fully dimensional.

 

WORLDBUILDING:

This is a masterfully intricate world from the very beginning with different languages, vocabulary, values, and ways of looking at things. I am always impressed when different people in a book talk about the same thing in different ways based on their own background. (As opposed to those books where you aren't even sure who's talking half the time.)

 

We also have many different ways of being & using magic. And it is not just things like one having magic with metal and another with plants. There is also a difference between these types of innate magic and more academic magic as well.

 

PLOT:

The beginning was very choppy as she did several rounds of jumping from child to child until they all come together in one place. I found it distracting and was very confused as to the time line until I had read it a couple of times. I would have preferred if she just started with Sandry and we got the other origin stories as flashbacks once they met.

 

From what I have been able to figure out, this is the timeline: Sandry has been in Winding Circle for 10 weeks, Tris has been there 6-8, Daja 2, and Briar 3 days when everything begins to come together. Nico was delayed in getting to Daja by his encounter with Tris.

 

It is still a bit scattered once they are all together, since they each have to discover their magic and find their mentor. It really begins as they all go to the market together.

 

It ends well with a couple of sweet scenes and no cliffhanger.

 

HIGHLIGHTS / CAUTIONS:

  • Sandry goes all noble on the other girls, who are bullying Daja
  • Market Day - when our group truly begins to form
  • A gift for Sandry

 

CAUTIONSCaution: All of the children are essentially orphans and have experienced significant trauma (including for some, seeing the bodies of their families). Since this is a MG book, the consequences of that are acknowledged but not dwelt on extensively.

 

NARRATION:

This is a full cast production, with different people playing each of the main characters. They use actual children to read the main parts. (It is interesting to hear them grow up as the series progresses, and they did have to change some actors before the final one). Tamora herself acts as narrator, and does a wonderful job. At one point someone says "Magic Circle" instead of "Winding Circle," but that was the only error I noted.

 

I find the music to be distracting.

 

BOOK DETAILS:

Sandry's Book (Circle of Magic #1) by Tamora Pierce, read & published by Full Cast Audio, published by (2003) / Length: 5 hrs 53 min Buy Now | +Goodreads

Talk to Me (pretty please)

  • What is your favorite MG "magic school" book/series?
  • QUESTION 2 (discussion question)

--

  • If you are a first time visitor, how did you discover my blog?

Got My Book Signature


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The Poe Estate

The Poe Estate

[Review]

 

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12 Tips for Authors Requesting Reviews from Bloggers | My Musings

Today's Topic: How to keep Bloggers from auto deleting your Review Request.

The 2016 Discussion Challenge is hosted by Nicole @Feed Your Fiction Addiction and Shannon @It Starts At Midnight. “So often book bloggers mean to post more discussions on our blogs, but we just don’t quite get around to it. Well, we wanted to give everyone a little motivation to keep the discussions going, plus give us a place to link up our discussions so that more people will see our precious words of wisdom (or … you know … our GIF-filled rants).”


I have read at least half a dozen posts similar to this on other blogs, but I wrote and am publishing this post out of frustration. Despite the many bloggers before me who have tried to get this information out there, I continue to receive review requests that pretend to be personalized but are from people who obviously haven't bothered to check out my blog. I figure that there is obviously still a need for us to keep saying it.

 

Note: Just this week, I updated my own Review Policy, and implemented a mandatory online submission form for requests.

 

Dear Authors

 

You will notice that all but 2 of these tips start in exactly the same way. That is because any Blogger will tell you that the #1 tip is to Read The Policies! To make them a bit easier to digest, I have underlined the relevant verb that starts the unique portion of each tip and bolded the tip's subject.

 

  1. Read some of the blogger's reviews and consider whether a similar review is what you are looking for. (I recommend you check their index for books similar to your own, and also several you already have strong personal opinions about. Feel free to leave a comment or two.)

  2. Read the blog's policies and make sure that they are currently accepting review requests (and whether they accept self-published books, if relevant).

  3. Read the blog's policies and confirm that they review books in your genre.

  4. Read the blog's policies and find out if they review for your audience (Children, MG, YA, etc).

  5. Read the blog's policies and determine whether they dislike or are opposed to anything in your book.

  6. Read the blog's policies and verify that you are able to provide a (free) copy in at least one of their preferred formats.

  7. Read the blog's policies and decide if their review time frame is acceptable to you.

  8. Read the blog's policies and discover whether they cross-post and/or promote on the review / social media sites that are most important to you.

  9. Read the blog's policies and see if they are open to any additional promotional material you have to offer (such as interviews, swag, or giveaway copies).

  10. Read the blog's sidebar or About page and learn the blogger's name.

  11. Read the blog's policies and carefully follow the instructions for submitting your request (this includes both how to submit the request and what information to include).

  12. Read the blog's policies and note if they say that only accepted requests will receive an answer (do not contact them a second time).

Bonus Tip 1 - If the policies in any way indicate your book or this blog is not a good fit (genre, audience, content, format, etc): Do not ask the blogger to make an exception, just Move On to the next blog.

 

Bonus Tip 2 - If a blogger ignores your request, declines your request, or posts a review you don't agree with: Do not keep emailing, or start an argument, just Move On.

 

Yes, it is a lot more work to do it this way; but anything worth doing is worth doing right. And I can attest that you are just ticking us off (bloggers) when you send us one those "didn't read my policies" requests. Even if your book is a perfect match for my blog, I prefer to fill my limited number of review spots with people who care enough to follow the instructions.

Talk to Me (pretty please)

  • Bloggers: Did I leave anything out?
  • Where are the authors getting all this bad advice about just grabbing someone's email and mentioning a review they've "seen" (which they haven't even read) before offering their own book? [Yes, that's a (mostly) rhetorical question.]

--

  • If you are a first time visitor, how did you discover my blog?

Got My Book Signature


Get a Second Opinion:

"Generally speaking, bloggers get more queries/submissions than they can possibly read. To give you real numbers: 83% of bloggers who have been blogging more than 3 years receive more than 25 submissions/queries per month. Because they get so many, they need to pare down the numbers and people who don’t follow directions are easy to delete."
"I’m assuming writing your book was a lot of work. So many hours you sat and wrote, wrote certain things again, trying to improve it… don’t you want the book bloggers who review your book to be a good choice, tailored to your book? I’m thinking yes. So you have to read their blogs, otherwise you won’t know their likes and dislikes, their reviewing style, the sites they’re using to talk about your book….

 

Writing hi, please review my book, it’s great! I’ve attached it, thanks! may be quick, but it really dims your chances of having your book reviewed. Do you really want that?"

"I know none of you—beloved followers—are guilty of these mistakes, but I will say that making that shift from unpublished newbie to “pro” is harrowing and we all do some really stupid stuff. It’s part of why I write these posts because none of us has this information embedded in our DNA. We have to learn some time, so maybe this can save you or someone you know some embarrassment.

So five ways to make a blogger want to stab us in the face."


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Got Better in the End: The Treasure of Isian | Review

The Treasure of Isian - Serena Clarke, Carolyn Kashner, Red Mountain Shadows Publishing

A YA Fantasy that took a while to really capture my attention

 

Prince Garin is a brave, proud, adventure-seeking prince. Elani is his most trusted servant, and she would do anything for him - even die for him. Their quest to find the mystical Treasure of Isian is immediately interrupted, and they find themselves confronted by angry giants, soul-stealing elves, bewitched dragons, a vengeful water-witch, battling foes, and a mysterious kingdom.

 

Elani must face her greatest fears to save her prince and her kingdom. Garin must decide what the most important things are in his life. Will they be able to make a great sacrifice to save the kingdom? And will Elani find true love?

 

Buy Now | +Goodreads

Disclosure: GMB uses affiliate links, clicking and making a purchase may result in a small commission for me.


Source: I received this book free in return for an honest review. It is available exclusively from Audible

 

BOOK DETAILS:

The Treasure of Isian by Serena Clarke, read by Carolyn Kashner, published 2016 / Length: 5 hrs 43 min

 

SERIES INFO:

This is Book #1 of 3, so far, in the Isian series. The first two are currently available on audio.

 

SUMMARY:

I really wasn't liking this book that much. If I hadn't received it for review, I probably would have skipped ahead to check out the end. But having done that, I would most likely have gone back and finished it after all. I liked the second half (or maybe the final third) much better.

 

Nothing about this book is outstanding. I had issues with everything: the characters -  Garin seemed contemptible, Elani a pathetic doormat, and everyone else irrelevant / the worldbuilding - elves who are really more like vampires?? / the plot - her situation, the quest, and the final revelations (which weren't even a tiny bit surprising) / and the writing style - especially the dialogue, which was clunky and contemporary (not historical) sounding.

 

So why in the world did I give it a 3.5*? Because, in the end, "I liked it" which is my criteria for that rating. I liked the changes in their relationship and in the characters.

-read more-

Times, True, Tide | New Audiobook Releases

New Releases

Each week there are dozens of scifi, fantasy, and other speculative fiction audiobooks released. I highlight the most talked about and/or interesting looking ones from that week. The first person to correctly identify which 3 books below I took the key words in the title from will get a virtual shout-out in next week's post & tweet. (I'm doing this to try and make it more fun for me to improve my titles.)

 

Disclosure: GMB uses affiliate links, clicking and making a purchase may result in a small commission for me.

Disclaimer: Unless otherwise noted, I have not read these books and thus can't give content warnings.


I've Already Acquired

Heartstrikers, Book #3: No Good Dragon Goes Unpunished

By: Rachel Aaron / Narrator: Vikas Adam / Pub: Audible Studios / Length: 18:50

"When Julius overthrew his mother and took control of his clan, he thought he was doing right by everyone. But sharing power isn't part of any proper dragon's vocabulary, and with one seat still open on the new ruling council, all of Heartstriker is ready to do whatever it takes to get their claws on it, including killing the Nice Dragon who got them into this mess in the first place.

 

To keep his clan together and his skin intact, Julius is going to have to find a way to make his bloodthirsty siblings play fair. But there's more going on in Heartstriker Mountain than politics. Every family has its secrets, but the skeletons in Bethesda's closet are dragon sized, and with Algonquin's war looming over them all, breaking his clan wide open might just be the only hope Julius has of saving it."

Whispersync Deal Alert*: Kindle + Audible = $8.46.

Buy Now | +Goodreads

My Review of: Book #1

Buzzed About

The Adventurer’s Guide to Successful Escapes

By: Wade Albert White / Narrator: Linda Henning / Pub: Hachette Audio / Length: 7:21

 

"Anne has spent most of her 13 years dreaming of the day she and her best friend Penelope will finally leave Saint Lupin's Institute for Perpetually Wicked and Hideously Unattractive Children. When the big day arrives, a series of very curious happenings lead to Anne being charged with an epic quest. Anne, Penelope, and new questing partner Hiro have only days to travel to strange new locales, solve myriad riddles, and triumph over monstrous foes - or face the horrible consequences."


The Forgetting

By: Sharon Cameron / Narrator: Therese Plummer / Pub: Scholastic Audio / Length: 13:06

"Seventeen-year-old Nadia lives in Canaan, a quiet city in an idyllic world, hemmed in by high walls that are constructed of a material no one in her town recognizes. Every 12 years the people of Canaan undergo a collective Forgetting; in the days before, the town devolves into a chaos of bloody violence, and afterward the people are left without any trace of memory of themselves, their families, their lives.

 

Nadia has never forgotten, however. As the next Forgetting approaches, Nadia is determined to find out what causes it and whether there is any way to stop it. With the help of Gray, the glassblower's handsome son, she discovers that there is a devious plot afoot, one that keeps the people of Canaan permanently subdued. Will Nadia be able to solve the mystery before the people forget the truth? And before Gray forgets her?"


-read more-

Mary Sue & Her Magical Menagerie: Baehrly Breathing | Review

Baehrly Breathing: Goldie Locke and the Were Bears, Book 1 - Elizabeth A Reeves, Elizabeth A Reeves, L.E. Scott

A fluffy Cozy Contemporary Fantasy Mystery with some dark undertones.

 

It's difficult to be taken seriously when you are a member of the Magical community and saddled with the unfortunate name 'Goldie Locke'. It certainly doesn't help if you are also about five feet tall, blond, and most commonly described as 'cute.'. What was a girl to do?

 

Become one of the most dreaded Magical environmental lawyers of all time?

 

Goldie isn't there yet, but she's well on her way when a case drags her into uncharted territory-- working with Ordinary officials to figure out why 'unusual' remains are being discovered all around New England.

 

Buy Now | +Goodreads

Whispersync Deal Alert*: Kindle + Audible = $4.98 (must purchase Kindle first, prices may change)

Disclosure: GMB uses affiliate links, clicking and making a purchase may result in a small commission for me.


Source: I purchased this book myself from Audible.

 

BOOK DETAILS:

Baehrly Breathing by Elizabeth A Reeves, read by LE Scott, published 2013 / Length: 5 hrs 8 min / Available exclusively from Audible (& Amazon)

 

SERIES INFO:

This is Book #1 of 5.5 so far in the "Goldie Locke and the Were Bears" series. The first 3.5 books are available on audio.

 

SUMMARY:

Simple & fluffy, with a heroine who is more than a bit of a Mary Sue, this is nevertheless a fun book that I enjoyed and occasionally listen to again.

 

I won't be reading any further in this series, however, since I am not a fan of love triangles; plus I have read that the books get darker after this. But I don't regret reading this one.

 

Note: Shifter are a minor part of this first book (just in case that is what you are looking for.)

-read more-

Increase Readership & Engagement with a Wrap-up Post | Bloggiesta Mini Challenge

 

Note: This challenge has two levels Beginner or Upgrader, so even those who are already doing a wrap-up post should still be able to participate.


I was already planning to do this topic as one of "My Musings," which I was going to title "Can I Interest You in Doing a Weekly Wrap-up?" When the request for Challenge hosts was published, I jumped at the chance to increase the reach of the post. As a blog reader, wrap-ups are my favorite; as a blog writer my Sunday Summaries are my most popular & useful posts.

What & When: The Details

 

Content Options

 

Wrap-up Posts typically include some or all of the following sections:

  • An update of what has been happening to you "in real life."
  • A summary of posts on your blog
    • Links to posts published since your last wrap-up
    • A list of (possible) upcoming posts
    • Some also include a sample of items posted elsewhere (such as Instagram)
  • Your reading update
    • A list of books you have finished recently
    • Reading/challenge statistics
    • Any books you are currently reading
    • What you think you will be reading next
  • The haul: new review copies, purchases, items from the library, freebies, etc
  • Links to posts you have read and enjoyed on other sites recently
  • Book and/or blogger news & events
  • Miscellaneous items: Fitness, Movies & TV, Music, and other items of interest.

 

Scheduling Options

 

A wrap-up can be done weekly or bi-weekly. These type are usually posted on Saturday, Sunday, or Monday (as this is when most of the related memes, see below, are posted). For those with limited time, a single monthly wrap-up can be done instead.

 

The Memes (Link-ups)

 

In order to get the most out of doing a wrap-up post, you need to participate in at least one related meme. Here are the ones that I am aware of (if you know of another, let me know in the comments and I will add it). Hover over the image to read a description. Click to visit the host site.

 

 

Anyone willing to use their personal profile, can also join and participate in the Facebook Group: The Sunday Salon

Why: The Benefits

 

The main benefits of these types of posts are:

  • They can bring a lot of traffic to your blog.
  • They tend to get a lot of comments.
  • If you include links to your recent posts, then they can generate additional traffic & comments for those as well.
  • If you include links to posts you have been reading, it is an extra opportunity to support your favorite bloggers.

 

As a reader, I am much more likely to stay up-to-date with a blog that has a wrap up post. I have my RSS feed reader set up to filter them. Then I go through and try to comment on as many of them as possible each week while also visiting any of their additional posts that also sound interesting. Because I delete any posts I didn't get to from my reader at the end of each week (to avoid becoming overwhelmed), blogs whose posts I have to check individually are most likely to be missed.

How: Tips

 

Make it Easy

 

A wrap-up, even a weekly one, doesn't have to take a lot of time (once you have done the original planning & design). Here's how I do it.

  • Sunday morning, I create a draft post using an html template that I store as a .txt file (since BookLikes doesn't have a templates feature). The draft has all of the regular section headings and framing material.
  • I then build the post as I go along. Using a different template file, I can easily drop in code for books I've finished or acquired, or posts I want to share. I also add notes about things that have happened. (I keep the code for less frequently used sections, such as "From the Library" here as well.)
  • On Saturday night I clean up the update at the top of the post, drop in my "Reading: Up Next" books, and fill in the questions in the "Talk to Me" section before posting at 12:01 am.
  • On the appropriate days, I link up to the various memes.
  • Throughout the week I visit as many of the other blogger's posts as possible.

 

Make it Awesome

 

  • If you really want to encourage comments, it is important to include some sort of personal comments/updates. If all you have is books, then it's hard for people to comment if they don't share the same tastes.
  • Make sure that those comments as well all of the remaining sections are well organized and their contents clear.
  • Use images, and make sure that they aren't too large or too small (it's really hard to read a wrap up with pictures that fill my entire laptop screen)
  • Include links for all books. There is nothing more frustrating than seeing a really interesting cover, clicking on it & discovering that that only opens a bigger version. It would be OK if there were a text link somewhere below it, but sometimes there isn't. You can link to Goodreads and/or to you favorite vendor(s) - anywhere your readers can find out more about the book. (Just be sure to disclose any affiliate relationships.)

 

The Challenge

 

Beginner:

1) Create and publish a wrap-up post containing any 3 or more of the "Contents" items above.

2) Link up to 1 or more of the wrap-up Memes.

3) Leave a link to your post in the comments below (note: no HTML is allowed, sorry, you will need to simply paste in your URL.)

 

Upgrader:

1) Add 1 or more new sections to your current wrap-up, OR upgrade an existing section using the tips above, AND/OR begin to link up to a new-to-you meme from the list.

2) Leave a link to your post in the comments below (note: no HTML is allowed, sorry, you will need to simply paste in your URL.)

 

I myself just recently started participating in events (such as Bloggiesta), so I added information about my current & upcoming events to my Sunday Summary. I also tweaked some of the section names.

 

I am available (here or on Twitter) to anyone who would like some help.

 

Examples

  • Sunday Summary - my latest
  • Bookmark Lit Bulletin @ Bookmark Lit (obviously) - a monthly version, and the longest & most complete Wrap-up I've ever encountered. I love her mini statistical summaries at the top (and am considering doing something similar next year)
  • News & Notes / Sunday PostThe Bookwyrm's Hoard - she does a post on Saturday with news & links to posts elsewhere and another on Sunday that focuses on her own updates (I used last week's since she had a personal event this week that changed her posting schedule)
  • Sunday Post / August Recap @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction - she does both weekly & monthly versions (and is the host of the monthly wrap up meme). Her weekly post includes blogger birthdays & blogiversaries and lists of giveaways.
  • The Weekly Recap @ Nick & Nereyda's Infinite Book List - a well organized version done by two co-bloggers, note the color coded headers. (I used a slightly older one, since Nick has been on vacation the past few weeks.)

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This week's discussion will also be linked up with the following (hover for descriptions):

A Work in Progress: GMB v1.5 (Bloggiesta & More) | My Musings

**Today's Question: Will I Ever be able to Stop Tweaking My Blog?**

The 2016 Discussion Challenge is hosted by Nicole @Feed Your Fiction Addiction and Shannon @It Starts At Midnight. “So often book bloggers mean to post more discussions on our blogs, but we just don’t quite get around to it. Well, we wanted to give everyone a little motivation to keep the discussions going, plus give us a place to link up our discussions so that more people will see our precious words of wisdom (or … you know … our GIF-filled rants).”


Background

 

I started this blog in January, just to have an additional place to post reviews of audiobooks I had received for review. But I was having so much fun tweaking my design and reading other blogs that I ended up deciding that I wanted to get serious. At the beginning of May, I made major updates and posted "Introducing GMB 1.0." (Yes it was originally 2.0, but I downgraded it since I felt that I was previously in Beta mode)

 

Since then, I have continued to tweak things and make small improvements. In July I made the big (for me) decision to increase from 2 reviews a week to 3, which I did at the beginning of this month. Despite the extra work, I love this schedule since it lets me post 1 adult, 1 YA, and 1 MG review each week. Also this summer (when creating a posting calendar for the rest of the year), I discovered that my library of owned books is heavily weighted towards fantasy. This is interfering with my efforts to alternate SF & F equally. I am working to redress this. In addition, I have been making improvements (I hope) to My Musings & my Sunday Summary posts.

 

I had also collected a list of other things that I wanted to change, but hadn't gotten to yet. Which bring me (finally) to...

 

Fall Bloggiesta 2016

(Sep 15th-18th)

Note - I am hosting a mini-challenge: "Increase Readership & Engagement with a Wrap-up Post" (includes "upgrade" options for those who already do one)

 

Task List

  • COMPLETED Update: "My Review Policy" (on the "Got Policies" page) and implement a mandatory Review Request submission form (I have already drafted the changes & created the form) If you've got a minute, check it out and let me know what you think
  • COMPLETED Update: the "About/Contact" page to reflect the change / Also, add buttons for each of the Blogger Directories I am listed with.
  • COMPLETED Update: my Twitter bio & header photo (I have already drafted the bio and decided what text I want to add to the header). I will add the same photo to Facebook & G+ also. [For more info on why I am doing this, check out: Tackling Twitter] (I confess, I started early and did this before midnight Wed night.)
  • COMPLETED Update: my "Got Indexes" drop down menu to have separate entries for the various sections of my Review Index (by title, by author, by narrator, by rating, series)
  • Test my Commenting systems, type up instructions; add the instructions to my HTML (between the two available options) - I won't be finishing this one quite yet. I am still tweaking the layout & design.
  • COMPLETED Make some small changes to my Sidebar
  • COMPLETED Play around with Blogger, Tumblr, and Wordpress in order to choose a mirror back-up site for the blog. I am marking this one off, but it has largely been a failure: 1) my blog name has been taken on both Blogger (completely empty) and Wordpress (hasn't been updated since Feb 2015). 2) Tumblr just recently discontinued the "post via email" feature, so I won't be able to use it as an automatic backup.
  • COMPLETED Participate in at least one Twitter chat.
  • COMPLETED Find a small box to go under my desk as a paper recycling container (I keep meaning to do it).

 

Main Project = Posting Roll-through [IN PROGRESS - will continue to work my way through them all]

I am going to go through and edit every post I have done so far in order to:

  • Backup all drafts, and any posts that I missed (I haven't always been consistent and BookLikes hasn't inspired a lot of confidence lately)
  • Create a PostIndex.xls for my use (containing the permalinks etc)
  • Create an Index of the My Musings posts
  • Update my Tags, using the new list I have created (I will also be updating my Tag Index to reflect these changes)

 

This is obviously a very ambition list. I will try to finish anything that is left undone before I start Blog Ahead in October.

Talk to Me (pretty please)

  • Have you reached a point where you are satisfied with your blog the way it is?
  • If you have tried at least two of these sites (Blogger, Tumbler, or Wordpress.com), which would you recommend as a Backup site for my Blog?
  • If you have commented on my blog: Have you had any problems? If so, what happened (you can tweet it to me if nec)? / If you are able to comment as your blog in the Facebook section, how do you do it?

--

  • If you are a first time visitor, how did you discover my blog?

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I Have an Interesting Week | Sunday Summary #19

Thanks to the 3 day weekend here in the U.S., I was able to catch up a bit with my post writing goals. / I won my first audiobook Giveaway. / And I "achieve" another blogger milestone.

 

The Sunday Post, hosted by Kimba @Caffeinated Book Reviewer, is a chance to share News. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog.

Caution: Her site has sidebar ads that sometimes contain cover images which may be offensive to some.


The Good: 1) I read 1 more book than I planned. 2) I wrote 4 reviews for the blog, and 1 just for Amazon/Goodreads, as well as a couple of lists/Musings. 3) I won an audiobook (see below) from author Wendy Terrian. 4) One of my reviews was tweeted about by the publisher. 5) My haul of books I will probably never get around to reading was fairly small.

 

The Bad: 1) I am now receiving at least one annoying review request per day. They all follow the same pattern. They don't have the correct email subject line, as listed in my policies; they don't use my name; they mention a single book that I have reviewed (but don't comment on anything specific in the review); and they offer me a free copy of their ebook (when I only accept audiobooks). The one good aspect of this is that it is another thing that makes me feel like a real book blogger. [More about this next week.] 2) I didn't do very good at my Twitter goals for the week. 3) BookLikes had another extended outage.

Special Request: As shown below, on Tuesday I will be posting a Bloggiesta Challenge about Weekly/Monthly Wrap Up posts. Please comment below:

  • if you know of any additional memes, other than the Sunday Post and others that I already link to.
  • sharing which sections of people's wrap up posts are your favorite.
  • with any tips or peeves.

And Still Seeking: Twitterers to follow + Advice & Tips on using Booklikes/Goodreads (see the "Tackling Twitter" link in the next section for more information)

On GMB: Last Week

On GMB: Coming Up

-read more-

A Fast Paced Adventure: Into the Land of the Unicorns | Review

Into the Land of the Unicorns: The Unicorn Chronicles, Book 1 - Bruce Coville, Bruce Coville, Full Cast Audio

A fun little MG Fantasy with some very nice details.

 

On a snowy night, Cara and her grandmother are pursued into St. Christopher's church by an unknown man. Clutching her grandmother's mysterious amulet, and following the old woman's instructions, Cara escapes their pursuer and falls into Luster, the world of the unicorns. Attacked by a monstrous little creature called a "delver," Cara is rescued by a shambling, manlike beast known only as "the Dimblethum".

 

Soon Cara has also met a rebellious young unicorn named Lightfoot, and a ridiculous little creature called "the Squijum." With their help, Cara embarks on a journey across Luster to deliver a message from her grandmother to the queen of the unicorns. But to survive the trip, Cara must come face to face with her greatest hope, and her greatest fear.

 

Buy Now | +Goodreads

 

Disclosure: GMB uses affiliate links, clicking and making a purchase may result in a small commission for me.


Source: I purchased this book myself from Audible.

 

BOOK DETAILS:

Into the Land of the Unicorns by Bruce Coville, read and published by Full Cast Audio (2009) / Length: 3 hrs 37 min

 

SERIES INFO:

This is Book #1 of 4 in "The Unicorn Chronicles," all four are available on audio.

 

SUMMARY:

Many of the elements of this story are straight out of the fantasy playbook, but Bruce Coville's style of writing almost always manages to suck me in and keep my attention. This book is definitely more on the plot driven side, rather than my preferred character driven tales; yet the glimpses we get into what is going on with the characters is intriguing.

 

CHARACTERS:

Cara: In such a short book, we don't get a lot of character development for her but it was enough. She is loyal, brave & compassionate, but not unbelievably so. Note: She always wanted to live in a library, which is an excellent life goal.

 

We don't learn a lot about anybody besides her, but my favorite side character so far is Thomas (the Tinker and philsopher).

 

WORLDBUILDING:

The world seems to be a standard fantasy setting (forests & caves, unicorns, dwarves called Delvers, dragons, etc), but also includes a couple of unique creature people who aren't fully explained in this volume. There are good descriptions of the colors, sights, sounds, and smells of the world. The history of the unicorns & hunters is quite interesting.

 

PLOT:

The book starts right in with a couple of action scenes that do a good job of setting up the mystery & danger Cara will be dealing with. We then meet the main individuals who will be going on our quest. The book is very short, but doesn't feel under developed. It moves along at a good pace with a mix of action and talk. There is an ending to this quest, but the overall plots regarding Cara's family and the danger to the unicorns remains open.

 

HIGHLIGHTS / CAUTIONS:

  • The home & library of the Keeper of the Chronicles - Just like Cara, I want to live there.
  • Thomas' cart/wagon
  • Cara's interactions with the dragon

 

CAUTIONSCaution: Cara believes that her parents abandoned her and suffers a great deal of emotional trauma as a result.

 

NARRATION:

Full Cast Audio uses different actors for all the main roles, and casts actual children as the younger characters. I am particularly fond of Bruce Coville's voice, and he is very good at emoting. In this one, he serves as the narrator. I also especially liked the voice of the dragon. I did NOT like the voice of the Squijum though, and am very grateful that it didn't appear much. I am also not very fond of music in my audiobooks, although it wasn't as bad in this one as some others. I did have to bump it up to 1.5 speed (rather than my usual 1.25) since it was a bit slow.

 

BOOK DETAILS:

Into the Land of the Unicorns (Unicorn Chronicles #1) by Bruce Coville, read and published by Full Cast Audio (2009) / Length: 3 hrs 37 min Buy Now | +Goodreads

Talk to Me (pretty please)

  • What's your favorite unicorn book?
  • Do you like music in your audiobooks?

--

  • If you are a first time visitor, how did you discover my blog?

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This review will be linked up with the following (hover for descriptions):

Just Call Me Jeanene

I am a middle-aged female who lives in the U.S. Southwest.


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