Boss Babes: A Happy Book and Giveaway

Boss Babes: A Coloring and Activity Book for Grown-ups, Michelle Volansky

Published September 20th 2016 by Workman Publishing Company
Paperback, 96 pages
Source: Copies received from Publisher

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A playful and play-filled ode to strong women, BOSS BABES is a coloring and activity book filled with fun facts and whimsical black-and-white line drawings celebrating female powerhouses from Beyonce to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Dolly Parton to Malala, Tina Fey to Serena Williams. On every page is a portrait to color or an activity to complete: Connect the dots to conjure J.K. Rowling’s patronus. Complete the Beyonce crossword (12-DOWN: Who run the world?). Decorate Flo-Jo’s nails, decode Cher’s most recent tweet, design a new jabot for RBG, color in Frida Kahlo’s flowers, and more!

My brain is too mentally and emotionally tired to read at night given the state of the world and my own life, so Boss Babes has brought some much needed levity to my house.  Here’s how I can best tell you this is a fun book – nearly every day I’ve been stealing my copy back from my 6 year-old who wants it only for herself.  How to make it clear that I need to design RBG’s jabot and not her?  

The activities are definitely adult, though they aren’t going to make you think too hard. I love the range of women Volansky included though obviously RBG is my favorite!  What other book can you think of that includes Cleopatra, Sally Ride and T. Swift?  Pick it up for yourself or I think this would be very fun in a Christmas stocking for your personal best boss babe.

So to spread the joy and the awesome women, here’s a Rafflecopter Giveaway for one copy! US only.  No giveaway accounts please and the entries close 11/22.

Who’s your best Boss Babe that you’d like to see included?

Thank you Workman Publishing for this super fun book and giveaway copy! 

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Review and Giveaway: Locally Laid

Locally Laid: How We Built a Plucky, Industry-changing Egg Farm – from Scratch, Lucie Amundsen

Published March 1st 2016 by Avery

Hardcover, 336 pages

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When Lucie Amundsen had a rare night out with her husband, she never imagined what he’d tell her over dinner—that his dream was to quit his office job (with benefits!) and start a commercial-scale pasture-raised egg farm. His entire agricultural experience consisted of raising five backyard hens, none of whom had yet laid a single egg.

To create this pastured poultry ranch, the couple scrambles to acquire nearly two thousand chickens—all named Lola. These hens, purchased commercially, arrive bereft of basic chicken-y instincts, such as the evening urge to roost. The newbie farmers also deal with their own shortcomings, making for a failed inspection and intense struggles to keep livestock alive (much less laying) during a brutal winter. But with a heavy dose of humor, they learn to negotiate the highly stressed no-man’s-land known as Middle Agriculture. Amundsen sees firsthand how these midsized farms, situated between small-scale operations and mammoth factory farms, are vital to rebuilding America’s local food system.

With an unexpected passion for this dubious enterprise, Amundsen shares a messy, wry, and entirely educational story of the unforeseen payoffs (and frequent pitfalls) of one couple’s ag adventure—and many, many hours spent wrangling chickens.

Let me say I am firmly a city girl.  We sold my car, we take the el, we walk to the grocery, and we walk to school.  I may have shrieked when I had to pick up a baby chick for my daughter at the petting zoo last year.  Maybe.  Why I thought I should read a book about a chicken farm I really don’t know – but let me tell you I am so glad that I did!  I enjoyed it so much that along with Avery I’m giving away a copy – so read all the way down!

Lucie tells a great story of how her husband convinced her to go from a small backyard flock of 5 egg laying chickens to owning thousands on a rented Minnesota farm.  She was not an easy sell (I don’t blame her).  I enjoyed reading about their small triumphs and was frustrated at the bureaucracies and stumbling blocks on the way to production.  Locally Laid is a labor of love for Lucie’s family and that shines through their story.  

Lucie talked not just about her own story but how the industry has changed over decades and how poultry is treated.  She pointed out that most of the egg laying birds in this country NEVER GO OUTSIDE.  In their whole lives – how scary is that?  So aside from an entertaining personal story, Lucie got me thinking about where my food comes from and why buying local food is important.  It’s scary to think about all the mileage behind some of the food we eat!  

I may not be a farmer, but I do live in the Midwest and I love it here. This was an eye opening read for me about small agriculture vs. middle vs the giant ag corporations out there.  I think as things like genetically modified crops become more common and water and land run out these are really important things to think about and talk about.   I even put my money where my mouth is and tried a dozen LoLa eggs this weekend – they were delicious!  I’m very curious to follow Locally Laid and see how they do – and I am seriously tempted to order a t-shirt.   In the meantime I’m going to think a lot harder when I shop and I’m going to be counting down until it’s CSA and Farmer’s Market season in Chicago!  

Do you want to read Lucie’s story?  I’m giving away one copy of Locally Laid and a fun LoLa button.  Here is a Rafflecopter link to the giveaway.  Must be US based and no spam giveaway accounts!

Don’t you want to get Locally Laid?

Library of Souls Tour and Giveaway!

Are you a peculiar reader?

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Ransom Riggs’ fantastic and photographically bizarre trilogy is coming to a close next month.   I adored Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and I reviewed the sequel Hollow City here.  I can’t wait to see how this series ends!

Quirk Books wants to send YOU to see Ransom Riggs on tour!   Basically what you need to do is:

  • Snap a selfie of your most peculiar costume and send Quirk Books a link.
  • Tag your photo with the #StayPeculiar hashtag.
  • Visit the Library of Souls page for all the info!

But before you go do that Quirk is giving me this super fun #StayPeculiar tote to give away too!

StayPeculiar Tote

Enter this Rafflecopter link  and good luck Peculiar readers!

GOODREADS  l  RANSOM RIGGS  l  AMAZON

Important stuff:  US ONLY, ENDS 08/17 @ 12am/c.  Winner has 48 hours to respond to my email or I will draw another.

Review and Giveaway: In a French Kitchen

In a French Kitchen: Tales and Tradition of Everyday Home Cooking in France, Susan Herrmann Loomis

Published June 16th 2015 by Gotham

Hardcover, 320 pages

Source: ARC received from publisher

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From Goodreads:

With In a French Kitchen, Loomis—an expat who long ago traded her American grocery store for a bustling French farmer’s market—demystifies in lively prose the seemingly effortless je ne sais quoi behind a simple French meal.

One by one, readers are invited to meet the busy people of Louviers and surrounding villages and towns of Loomis’s adopted home, from runway-chic Edith, who has zero passion for cooking—but a love of food that inspires her to whip up an array of mouthwatering dishes—to Nathalie, who becomes misty-eyed as she talks about her mother’s Breton cooking, then goes on to reproduce it. Through friends and neighbors like these, Loomis learns that delicious, even decadent meals don’t have to be complicated.

Are French cooks better organized when planning and shopping? Do they have a greater ability to improvise with whatever they have on hand when unexpected guests arrive? The answer to both is: Yes. But they also have an innate understanding of food and cooking, are instinctively knowledgeable about seasonal produce, and understand what combination of simple ingredients will bring out the best of their gardens or local markets.

This was a delicious read!  Susan Herrmann Loomis shares what she has learned living in France for years; and not just cooking French cuisine – but eating her fair share of it as well.  Loomis tells stories from her own kitchen and also those of her French friends.  Basically I want to move to France now so I can shop daily in my own village from my own produce market, cheesemonger and boulangerie.  Let’s be honestly, my life would be complete with my own cheesemonger.  I also clearly need my own French friends to teach me to cook the way that Loomis describes and invite me to dinner.

In a French Kitchen is full of stories about learning to cook with the kitchen you have (much smaller than an American kitchen) and the delightful sounding ingredients available.  How to stretch a meal for an unexpected dinner party – solved!  What to serve for dessert – last minute cake!  What to do with those leftovers- yummy!  How to find your best bread or best cheese – now I know.  This wasn’t a book to sit down and read cover to cover I’d say, but definitely one to turn to when you’re in the mood to cook or just read a chapter or two.

Each chapter is also filled with helpful tips about cookware and product selection – definitely something I can see myself going back over when I’m getting ready to cook.  The attention to detail was impressive – I lost count of the number of steps Loomis went through simply to prepare a salad.  Yet it really wasn’t too daunting for the untrained home cook.  I really plan to try a few of these recipes – such as:

Sweet Beet and Goat Cheese Towers

Roast Apple and Pear Chicken

Mushrooms and Chorizo

And I could go on!  I was going to pass my copy on but now I refuse.

Because I can’t let go of my copy of In a French Kitchen Gotham has kindly offered a copy for a giveaway.  Important question to answer here- if you had to give up one thing which would it be — Chocolate or Cheese?  

Giveaway to close 8/14 at midnight and I’ll pick a random number to win.

Merci!

Thank you so much Gotham for this advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

Books and Swoon Blog Tour and Giveaway!

Just for fun, we’re joining in with Fic Fare and the Swoony Boys Podcast for a Valentine-themed post and giveaway. 25 blogs are hosting giveaways and a scavenger hunt. We’ve got a special giveaway (details below) and you can also enter a big giveaway for a bracelet and an amazon giftcard – each participating blog has an assigned word or phrase (highlighted) somewhere in the post that you need to find to enter the grand giveaway (find a list of all the blogs to visit below).

Anyway, for our 14 Days of Fictional Swoon post, we are bringing you on a date. Or two.

If you could plan a double-date with any fictional characters, who would you bring? You just think about your answer for a minute, then you can scroll down for our’s!

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Amanda

I decided first that our double date would have to be a triple date so that Holly and I and our husbands could all be together.  Then because I decided I had two of the best couples I could think of and didn’t want to make up my mind it’s now a quadruple date.  Holly is inspiring me to be a rule breaker clearly.  It would be an amazingly hilarious date I want you to know.  My date includes my sister and the husbands, as well as Samir and Mili from Sonali Dev’s fantastic new book A Bollywood Affair and the delightful Bridget Jones and Mark Darcy from Bridget Jones’s Diary.  (I’m pretending Bridget Jones #3 has never happened and if you try to tell me otherwise I am not responsible for my response.)  Basically this dream date involves Samir cooking all the delicious sounding Indian food described in A Bollywood Affair in Mark Darcy’s posh London home.  It also involves drinking ALL of the wine with Bridget and hilarious and intelligent conversation with Mili  Don’t you wish you could be invited too?!

Holly

One time, Amanda came to visit me while I was in college and we went out for a nice dinner. It also happened to be Valentine’s day, so we were the literally the only two-some in the restaurant that was not out for a romantic evening together. Anyway, I am certain we had a good time, and considering that I am not a believer in celebrating romantic V-day’s, I decided that first and foremost, I would bring my sister on my fictional book character double-date.

[Note: I did try to think of a book that my husband and I have both read, to see if I could come up with a clever answer and invite him along, but I’m not fool enough to set up even a fictional rendez-vous with anyone from Game of Thrones.]

So then, I had to think about what fictional characters we could have a fun, platonic“date” with, and the answer was clear:

That’s right – we’re going out for second breakfast with hobbits Merry and Pippin. All romance will be repressed. In fact, there’s a good chance that these two would get stoned and blow us off, but that’s okay. Amanda and I will still have a good time.

In other words, I just completely broke all the rules about writing about Valentine’s Day swoony things. But, if you do want to read something more romantic, enter the giveaway below for a copy of A Bollywood Affair, which Amanda and I wrote about here and here.  US only -sorry!

Enter our Rafflecopter giveaway

Then check out the other blogs below

14 Days of Fictional Swooning Schedule

and enter the big giveaway!

Book Nerds Unite: A Sharing is Caring Giveaway!

Tis the season…and all that jazz. You know how it goes. The holiday start (earlier and earlier these days) and it is all about giving. Well now it is time for some getting. With the help of 19 other bloggers we bring to you, Book Nerds Unite, a Sharing is Caring giveaway.

giveaway

It’s pretty easy to enter. Just click on the Rafflecopter link below and start following some great bloggers. For your trouble we are offering a first place prize of $150.00 Amazon or Barnes and Nobles gift card and a 2nd place prize of $50.00 Amazon or Barnes and Nobles gift card. Really you are the big winner either way as you get to add some fabulous new blogs to your blog feeds. Good luck!

ENTER HERE

 *giveaway is US only. It runs from 11/24/14 to 12/11/14. Winners are selected at random. Please don’t mark a blog as followed if you haven’t in fact followed. All entries will be checked.

**Graphic by Rachel from Hello, Chelly

Happy Reading!

Amanda and Holly

All about Us and a Giveaway!

Welcome!  I’m so excited to be a part of Cuddlebuggery’s blog hop because they were the first book blog I started following!  I’m Amanda and I post here with my sister Holly.

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Gun in Act One was born in homage to our high school English literature teacher (RIP Brother Ruhl) who I can say taught me to really read well and taught us both to read Chekhov.  Important lesson-If there’s a gun on the wall in Act One, it’s going to go off by Act Five.

The decision to start a book blog was made over a glass of wine while I was visiting Holly’s house in Virginia.  This has been an awesome hobby to have together, despite the fact that we live way too many miles apart.  We continually find ourselves hilarious though our spouses sadly don’t always agree. (Holly interjection – psssh. Sad for them!)

I live in Chicago with my husband, 4 year-old daughter and insane labrabeast.  Holly lives in Virginia with her husband and much maligned dog, who they generally refer to just as doggie.  (Holly interjection – she is the meanest, laziest, prettiest dog you will ever see. Probably from a distance because she doesn’t want to be your friend.) We both like to cook, love to travel, and try to stay healthy by running, sometimes after the 4 year-old. We’re happy to sit down and chat about pretty much anything over a glass of wine.  We’re staunchly pro-women and despite the Gun in the Title we’re not really fans of those.  Despite what this might sound like we’re very different too!

I, Amanda, tend to post more reviews because I have lots of commuting time to read and I will generally try any book you put in front of me (with some exceptions).  Holly is, shall we say, more selective?  She can’t always be bothered to read what doesn’t sound wonderful, which is why I harass her to follow my book obsessions. Ex. 1. Lumatere , Ex 2. Feed.  Maybe I sometimes purchase books to send to her kindle to make her read them.  Maybe.  Holly posts more discussion posts because she’s basically the smartest person I know and she’s full of profound thoughts (and hilarious).

One of our new favorite things to do is read a book together for review.  The first book we read was Robert Galbraith, a/k/a J.K. Rowling’s The Cuckoo’s Calling.  This mystery is far from the Hogwarts scene you might expect from Rowling but we loved it and we especially loved Cormoran Strike, the hero of this new series.

We’re giving away a copy of The Cuckoo’s Calling so that you can fall for Strike too! US only please-sorry we have to keep the dogs in biscuits and the 4 year-old in books too and postage is expensive!  To enter, either follow us on WordPress (see the button on the top right) or on Bloglovin. Then, click the Rafflecopter link below to tell us how you follow Gun In Act One. You can get a second Rafflecopter entry by leaving us a comment below – tell us your favorite book or series, favorite ice cream, or favorite high school English teacher!  Enter again by following one of us or both on twitter!

Enter here

Are you on the blog hop too?  Leave us a link so we can get to know you!