Saturday, February 18, 2017

Graphic Novel Review of Will & Whit by Laura Lee Gulledge

Read for: Graphic Novel
Synopsis: "Wilhelmina “Will” Huckstep is a creative soul struggling to come to terms with a family tragedy. She crafts whimsical lamps, in part to deal with her fear of the dark. As she wraps up another summer in her mountain town, she longs for unplugged adventures with her fellow creative friends, Autumn, Noel, and Reese. Little does she know that she will get her wish in the form of an arts carnival and a blackout, courtesy of a hurricane named Whitney, which forces Will to face her fear of darkness.
Laura Lee Gulledge’s signature visual metaphors will be on full display in this all-new graphic novel, a moving look at shedding light on the dark corners of life."
My Review: I picked this one up because I loved Pages by Paige and really wanted to read more by Gulledge. While I didn't connect with this one as much or was as inspired, it was still a really enjoyable graphic novel. It is a great coming of age story and one about conquering your fears. I really enjoyed each of the characters in the story and I loved the style of the illustrations.
My Rating: I really enjoyed this one, and it took a way different direction than I expected it to take, which was refreshing.  I do prefer Pages by Paige but this is still a really enjoyable GN.  I give it a rating of Three Paws.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Bedtime Story: Driving Force! by Nickelodeon

Read for: Children's Book Challenge & Munchkin loves Blaze
Synopsis: "Blaze and AJ race to the rescue when troublemaking Crush unleashes a runaway robot! Boys and girls ages 3 to 7 who like Nickelodeon's Blaze and the Monster Machines will thrill to this full-color storybook, which includes over 30 stickers."

My Review: Munchkin Loves Blaze and the Monster Machines and I am so happy that we are able to find books now. This book does follow a TV episode pretty much exactly but Munchkin was still thoroughly entertained. What I love about Blaze is that through the book it teaches not only lessons about right and wrong and friendship but also more advanced math and science. This one introduces force, while not explained in detail it does give the basic idea for kids, I do think that the show does a little better job of explaining it but the book still does a great job.
My Rating: While Munchkin absolutely loves this book, I think the show did a better job of introducing and explaining the concept of force.  It is still an entertaining book that starts the interest in both studies without overtly pushing the subjects.  We give it a rating of Four Paws!
Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Early Reader Review of Blaze Loves to Race by Mary Tillworth

Read for: Early Reader & Munchkin Loves Blaze
Synopsis: "Blaze, AJ, and all the four-wheeled friends from Nickelodeon s Blaze and the Monster Machines love to race! Boys and girls ages 4 to 6 will adore this Step 2 Step into Reading leveled reader it s a perfect gift for Valentine s Day!"

My Review: Another great Level 2 reader for those Blaze fans. It is a great book about friendship. All of the Monster Machines race but accidents happen but they work together to help each other out and they all finish winners. Munchkin of course loves this book and has requested it several times in the past few days.
My Rating: We really enjoyed this one and it is great for those who enjoy the TV show but may be reluctant to read, it will pull them in.  I give it a rating of Four Paws.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Pen to Paper: Currently Inked & Incowrimo Update

Hello everyone, have you missed the Pen to Paper posts lately? Sorry they have been missing, one week was because of a snow day (and if you have been following me for a while you know I only have access to a computer at the office) and the other week was due to being sick.  But I am back at it again.  I thought I would share my progress of the Incowrimo (International Correspondence Writing Month).  I am still behind on responding to my pen pals but I am nearly caught up.  The goal of this month is to send mail each day of the month (excluding non-mail days like holidays or Sundays).  So far I have written 5 letters, sent 6 greeting cards and 3 short note cards for a total of 14, which shockingly enough I am on target for sending mail each day!
Have you been participating in Incowrimo? How is your month going?
Another thing I wanted to start sharing with you is my currently inked fountain pens.  I have really enjoyed writing with fountain pens and all the beautiful inks, and now that I have discovered fountain pen friendly stationery I am using them so much more.  So here are my currently inked pens and the colors & brands of inks that I am writing with this month.

Have you tried fountain pens? If you have what is your favorite pen and/or ink?  I really love the Noodler's Polar Green right now, it is such a spring color. I think my favorite pen to write with is the Pilot Metropolitan. The Jinhao's while I love the look of them, they tend to be a little heavy for my hands. I also love the Lamy Safari but I am not a fan of the triangle grip, it just doesn't fit my hand well.
Anyway, I hope that you have found a bit of sunshine in your mailbox lately!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Review of Gilded Cage by Vic James

Read for: Netgalley/ Requested Review
Synopsis: "Not all are free. Not all are equal. Not all will be saved.

Our world belongs to the Equals — aristocrats with magical gifts — and all commoners must serve them for ten years. But behind the gates of England's grandest estate lies a power that could break the world.

A girl thirsts for love and knowledge.

Abi is a servant to England's most powerful family, but her spirit is free. So when she falls for one of the noble-born sons, Abi faces a terrible choice. Uncovering the family's secrets might win her liberty, but will her heart pay the price?

A boy dreams of revolution.

Abi's brother, Luke, is enslaved in a brutal factory town. Far from his family and cruelly oppressed, he makes friends whose ideals could cost him everything. Now Luke has discovered there may be a power even greater than magic: revolution.

And an aristocrat will remake the world with his dark gifts.

He is a shadow in the glittering world of the Equals, with mysterious powers no one else understands. But will he liberate—or destroy?"

My Review:  I must admit that I didn't know too much about this book before picking it up, I loved the cover and have really been enjoying fantasy books lately so thought I would give this one a try. I am so glad I did read it, I was very pleasantly surprised. While there is a lot of magic but it is oddly underused and kind of an after thought for the people with the power. There is a tiny bit of romantic attraction but it is well integrated into the story and does not take over like so many other YA fantasy books. The best part of this book by far is all the political maneuvering, there are so many players and political goals that there is a ton of intrigue, as this is the first book you don't get to find out what each person's end goal is or who will gain the upper hand. This is definitely a series I will be following as it progresses.
My Rating: I was really surprised with how much I enjoyed this book, it is a great start to a new series. I love all the political plots going on and can't wait to see what happens in future books.  I give this one a rating of Four Paws!
I received this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
To found out more about Vic James and her work you can visit her Goodreads Page or her Website.
Gilded Cage was just released yesterday and you can obtain your own copy in print or digital format from Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Crafty Times: Valentine Cards

Crafty Times is a new thing I am trying on the blog where I can share some of the art and crafts I have created (you can too of course). I really dabble in a wide variety of crafts and hope you can find something that sparks your interest or inspires you!
It has been a while since I posted a crafty times post, well it has actually been a while since I have crafted at all. I have mostly just been catching up in life and trying to get organized, but I did take  little time a couple of weeks ago to make a couple of Valentine cards. I am definitely a little rusty and need to work on finding the right adhesives for the right things but that will come them more I work with my card making.
This was the first one I made and the first time I have tried to glue sequins on, they are much harder to work with than I expected.

This one was inspired by a picture I saw, I loved the color combo of pale pink with wood grain. I feel like this needs a little bit of something more but again I need more practice.

This was one that came out pretty much exactly how I planned (though I wish I had popped up the sentiment some how). I also need more practice coloring with the copic markers, everyone makes it look so easy in the videos!
I have been really working on getting my supplies organized and hope to be able to sit down a little more often to create more cards.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Monday Reading List

Its Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Shelia at Book Journey. Share what books you have finished in the last week, are currently reading and what might be coming up next!

Reviews Posted Last Week:
Links will take you to my review

Miranda and Caliban by Jacqueline Carey
Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch
Icicles Like Kindling by Sara Raasch
Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch
Flames Like Vines by Sara Raasch
Frost Like Night by Sara Raasch
Pig and Pug by Laura Marchesani and Zenaides A. Medina (Early Reader)
Hedgehugs by Steve Wilson (Bedtime Story)
 Books Finished Last Week:
Reviews will be posted at a later date

Viking Warrior Rising
Quite Contrary Man
Frost Like Night
Guilded Cage
How My Dorky Dad Became a Hero
Will & Whit
Tony Baloney: Pen Pal
Let's Make Something
Bridge of Snow

Currently Reading:

Vienna Nocturne by Vivien Shotwell - Print - on page 122 of 304
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling - Print - on page 337 of 734
Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski - Audio - 32%

 Books to be Read Soon:


Pages Read/ Time Listened
36:26 Hours Listened (12:32 listened this week)
6,953 Pages Read (1,060 this week)

Books Added to Shelves This Month
Viking Warrior Rising by Asa Maria Bradley
Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski
Bubble Trouble by Mary Tillworth
Blaze Loves to Race by Mary Tillworth
Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly
Heartstone by Ella Katharine White
Beauty and the Beast by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve
Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

Books Read From My Shelves
Viking Warrior Rising
Frost Like Night
How My Dorky Dad Became a Hero
Bridge of Snow

Interesting Tidbits on the Web:



Gosh I have been reading a lot lately! I love it but I have been sorely lacking in my creativity, instead I have been working on getting my crafting supplies somewhat organized so it isn't always such a disaster. I have also cut myself off on getting anymore supplies until I use at least the most recent ones I have gotten.

We did have a couple of snow days at the end of last week, got blasted with a good blizzard on Thursday and then Friday was a big clean up day. I don't know if we will get another one today, we are expecting another storm but it could be a lot of snow or more rain, we will have to see (but I could totally use another day off).  This also explains why I haven't been able to get my pen pal letters out (I have a large stack of them to mail but need to get to the post office) and why I also missed last week's Pen to Paper post, I need to get better about scheduling posts again.

Anyway,  have you ever found yourself reading very similar books close together without meaning to? Lately I have found that several of the books I have read are along the line of star-crossed lovers. I don't know why that seems to happen to me a lot but it does (last year I ended up reading a lot of fairy tale re-tellings without meaning to and before that it was a lot of Robin Hood inspired books).