Wednesday, October 18, 2017

On My Wishlist: The Cruel Prince and Into the Drowning Deep


The Cruel Prince
by Holly Black
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Published: 1/2/18
Amazon Affiliate Link: The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air)
Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever. 
And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe. 
Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King. 
To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences. 
In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.
Um... Holly Black. I do like her worldbuilding!

Into the Drowning Deep 
by Mira Grant
512 p.
Publisher: Orbit
Published: 11/14/17
Amazon Affiliate Link: Into the Drowning Deep
Seven years ago, the Atargatis set off on a voyage to the Mariana Trench to film a “mockumentary” bringing to life ancient sea creatures of legend. It was lost at sea with all hands. Some have called it a hoax; others have called it a maritime tragedy.Now, a new crew has been assembled. But this time they’re not out to entertain. Some seek to validate their life’s work. Some seek the greatest hunt of all. Some seek the truth. But for the ambitious young scientist Victoria Stewart this is a voyage to uncover the fate of the sister she lost. 
Whatever the truth may be, it will only be found below the waves. 
But the secrets of the deep come with a price.
I have so many of this author's books on my want list, might as well add one more! :)

What are you wishing for this week?
πŸ“š 

Monday, October 16, 2017

A Kiss Before Doomsday by Laurence MacNaughton

Series: Dru Jasper #2
290 p.
Publisher: Pyr
Published: 7/11/17
Source: From publisher for review
When sorcerers disappear off the streets of Denver, the only person to notice a pattern is Dru, proprietor of The Crystal Connection and newly-minted sorceress. Monstrous creatures are attacking and dragging off anyone with magical powers. Signs point to forbidden necromancy in the hands of someone trying to fulfill the prophecy of the apocalypse scroll. 
With the dead rising from the grave, Dru fears someone is picking up where the Harbingers left off half a century ago. Now more than ever, Dru needs half-demon Greyson and his infernal car, Hellbringer. Though Greyson is missing and presumed dead, Dru believes he’s alive—and trapped at the center of this evil.
Dru will need her friends—and her enemies—trusting in Rane’s strength, Opal’s wisdom, and her own crystal magic to infiltrate the mountainous fortress of a powerful sorcerer intent on bringing about doomsday. 
Because the moment the prophecy is fulfilled, legions of undead will rise to consume the souls of everyone on Earth…
My thoughts:

I reviewed the first one where I didn't know what to expect and found myself having some fun with it. I knew I'd probably feel the same way with this book, but things got in the way so I didn't get to this story until now. I'm so glad I did read it.

It has the same fun as the last one and I think surpasses it. I knew what to expect and the characters really grew on me this time. They all matured a bit but not too much (which is a good thing). Plus, with the awful cliffie of the last book, this one gives you all the answers and only an open ending for the next book. No real cliffies in this one! YaY! My only complaint is that Hellbringer, the car with an attitude, really didn't get a part in this one. He was there, he saved their collective behinds but it wasn't quite the same as the first. I missed that and it was my favorite part of the first book. Still, he is there and will be in the next one. So, I'm good. :)

I give this fun short book 4 stars. I recommend this series now since you get the answers you didn't get from the first book. Plus with these being very short (but not short on action) you could easily read them back to back. I do suggest reading these in order. I think those who like a fun PNR will enjoy this series.
πŸ›£

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

On My Wishlist: The Hazel Wood and The Passion of Cleopatra

Oh this one looks interesting and the worldbuilding here sounds like something I would enjoy.


The Hazel Wood
by Melissa Albert
368 p.
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Published: 1/30/18
Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: Her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother's stories are set. Alice's only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.” 
Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother's tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.

Anne Rice's The Mummy was actually the first Rice book that I read (yep before her vampire books). LOVED it and was so sad that she never continued it even though she said she planned on it. Now her son is involved and I can't wait to see what happens next. I may have to do a reread it was so long ago. 

The Passion of Cleopatra
by Anne Rice and Christopher Rice
Series: Ramses the Damned #2
416 p.
Publisher: Anchor
Published: 11/21/17
Ramses the Great, former pharaoh of Egypt, is reawakened by the elixir of life in Edwardian England. Now immortal with his bride-to-be, he is swept up in a fierce and deadly battle of wills and psyches against the once-great Queen Cleopatra. Ramses has reawakened Cleopatra with the same perilous elixir whose unworldly force brings the dead back to life. But as these ancient rulers defy one another in their quest to understand the powers of the strange elixir, they are haunted by a mysterious presence even older and more powerful than they, a figure drawn forth from the mists of history who possesses spectacular magical potions and tonics eight millennia old. This is a figure who ruled over an ancient kingdom stretching from the once-fertile earth of the Sahara to the far corners of the world, a queen with a supreme knowledge of the deepest origins of the elixir of life. She may be the only one who can make known to Ramses and Cleopatra the key to their immortality—and the secrets of the miraculous, unknowable, endless expanse of the universe.
So what are you wishing for this week?
πŸ“š 

Monday, October 9, 2017

Art Book Post: Everyday Watercolor by Jenna Rainey


Genre: Art Instruction
224 p.
Publisher: Watson-Guptill
Published: 10/10/17
Source: NetGalley and publisher for review

A contemporary paint-every-day watercolor guide that explores foundational strokes and patterns and then builds new skills upon the foundations over the course of 30 days to create finished pieces.

This beautifully illustrated and inspiring guided watercolor-a-day book is perfect for beginning watercolor artists, artists who want to improve their watercolor skills, and visual creatives. From strokes to shapes, this book covers the basics and helps painters gain confidence in themselves along with inspiration to develop their own style over the course of 30 days. Featuring colorful contemporary art from Mon Voir design agency founder and Instagram trendsetter Jenna Rainey, this book's fresh perspective paints watercolor in a whole new light.

My thoughts:

This is probably one of the best beginning watercolor books that I have come across in a long time. I really like how it breaks down skills and puts it in easy to understand format. I would love to see an accompanying video since watercolor is a visual art. I think that it would also be helpful to grasp the concepts much easier. However, once you do the exercises one or more times it should become more clear in what skill the book is trying to impart. For those new to this art, I would suggest taking each project as it comes in the book. The skills build upon the other.

For more advanced artists, the earlier exercises might seem too simple, but it is also good to go back to the beginning and just practice. You should be able to fly through those first chapters or skip around in this case. The last projects were you put the pictures together would probably be more interesting here and I do like how her simple and bright washes keep the paintings clear and high value. Makes the art look very fresh and it seems to be a trend in the watercolor illustration market.

In conclusion, I give this art book 4 stars. I would recommend this book to someone wanting to try watercolor and some good practice for those that have been painting for a while.

🎨

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Art Post: Scary Potter by Dylan Pierpont

I HAD to share these pictures Dylan Pierpont made of alternative scary covers of Harry Potter. These are so good and I think these really reflect the books so well in a very scary way.

from Dylan's Deviant Art Page

from Dylan's Deviant Art Page

from Dylan's Deviant Art Page

Those of us who are fans do not need the title to know which books these pictures belong. Wouldn't you love to read a graphic Harry Potter novel by this artist?

I thought this is perfect for the season! Check his stuff out. There is more Harry Potter stuff in his links.

Artists Infomation
Portfolio: dylanpierpont.com/

🎨

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Something Strange is Going on Here...

You may have noticed that the blog is going under some cosmetic changes. I've wanted to change it for a long time now and make it more my own. I finally got a good stylus and so I don't feel like I'm drawing with my elbow. That is why I stuck to simple changes and things that were easily manipulated. Now I'm learning how to use Procreate (a great little program that only costs a few bucks at the iTunes store). I have a lot to learn, but I have had fun and decided to replace some things. I do hope you like!

Change in the blog header:
I think this will reflect better the direction it is going. I also could not put my pup somewhere in the header. The little monster would have made it but I started designing it before I had her. I also thought it would be too crowded but I may put the monster in a post header. Not sure yet.

Some of my post headers will have changed:
You've seen this one already and I have more coming. I may end up tweaking it here or there so I will share as I get to them. Some are already up on the meme page.

I also changed my button. The other picture is still active so it won't reflect the change until you use the one I've provided. Thank you for those that have used it.

<a href="http://melissawatercolor.blogspot.com/"> <img src="https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4487/37269621386_0978f2d11e_o.jpg"></a>

Oh and speaking of buttons. I only have a couple of people who haven't moved from photobucket and I think the rest are updated. I hope I haven't missed anyone. If I have, I apologize.

Yea, I already see things I want to change but I think I will leave it until I get more done or if it bothers me too much. Whichever comes first. LOL

Well, I do hope you like the direction the blog goes. I know not everyone will love what I will post but you never know when something may suddenly seem interesting. Here's hoping!

πŸ’

Monday, September 25, 2017

Arts and Crafts: Annette Bag with Accessories


First, I want to say thanks for those still sticking around while I change a few things. I really appreciate it. πŸ’

As you see I have a new header for the arts and crafts post and it may get tweaked... or not. LOL I'm still playing around with other things to change the look in the blog. Hope you like it.

Well, it has been quite a while since I've done one of these posts in what I created. I'm going to catch up one day. I have a few things I still need to photograph. I will share one I did for my mom back in May. Yea, it's been a while. 

This is the Annette Handbag (affiliate link) with a Necessary Clutch Wallet (affiliate link) a Zig Zag eyeglasses case (affiliate link), a Small Tissue holder (affiliate link, but this one is free), and a dog lip balm holder from Nana's Handmade Baby Embroidery Designs. I'll go more into the details below.


The Annette Handbag by Swoon Patterns*. The floral blue panel is made from a obi sash that I got from ebay (you can get some good bargains if you are patient). I think that was the 3rd one she chose that I didn't get outbid or go over my bargain price. I also used an alternative leather that is also eco friendly on the sides and handle of the bag. Cork from Sew Sweetness* has become a popular fabric and it was the first time I sewed on it. If you try it, use a slightly longer stitch and don't overstitch since the fabric perforates but also don't overworry it. Backstitching (which is not recommended in leather is no problem here. I also used a cotton batik for the pop of color on the inside which my mom picked out. It makes it a bit fun. I also added a bit of twill blue to cut down on the bulk in the cork in the handles and it also matched perfectly. the side pockets and side panels inside are also lined with the blue twill.

I changed a few things from the pattern. My mom isn't much of a handbag person and likes the shoulder strap length. This pattern comes with the mesurments for the handles at hand length and a way to connect a removable shoulder strap. I just added inches to the handle portion and it was an overall 28" each if I remember correctly. It was nice to sort of measure it before I made it since my mom knew she was getting this one. I also got the long john handle metal holders from Emmaline Bags. The overlay included in the Annette pattern is beautiful but would have covered the floral pattern too much. This was a happy medium. I also added a key lanyard I stitched into the lining so she could attach something that she may have to pull out of the purse easily (I usually put my keys or wallet at the end of it). The other thing I changed was the small flower at the end of the zipper. This was a zipper end that I machine embroidered from Stitch Soup and then glued on the end. 

I also added some chicago screws you can get in most craft or leather craft stores. The small detail of the handmade tag (Emmaline Bags) and the love you charm (buggalena embroidery) were the finishing touches to the bag. I was not done with her pressie, however. 

The Necessary Clutch Wallet* by Emmaline Patterns was the wallet I made to go with her bag. I had made one for her before and she loved it and wanted one to match. I had a small scrap of the silk obi left but I thought it was a bit plain. I but this butterfly out of a embroidery file and stitched it on the silk. As long as the silk is stabilized properly (I did with SF 101) and I used cutaway in my hoop. I changed the flap by squaring it out and using a magnetic snap. The inside mimics the bag and I secured the sides with smaller chicago screws. The outside of the wallet is cork.

Zig Zag Eyeglasses Pouch* by Moments Designs was the next project. This one actually opens up flat which I thought would be great if she wanted to stow it away when not in use. I embroidered another butterfly in the same file I used in the one on the wallet and in the same color. I also used the same file from Stitch Soup for the zipper end. Of course, I also added a zipper charm to top it off. The hardest part of this one is making sure the zipper is solidly on and doesn't slip. Also closing felt a bit tricky so I did use some basting glue to make sure it didn't move in the final stitching. However, if you want to try this one, don't worry about it and go for it. It actually was easier to do than I thought and it even surprised me in how quickly it came together. This is a fun one I will do again in the future.

Last but not least was the small additions I added to the overall pressie. The tissue bag was quickly whipped up with some batik material I had (from the bag and the blue is from another project). She had also asked for a balm holder (from Nana's Handmade Baby Embroidery Designs) like what I made myself so I had some better tan vinyl so I added that to the present. (The links for those products under the group photo).

*whew* I guess now you know where I disappeared! Not really since I did these in May but I can still claim it, right? 

Well, I think I now need to get busy on some holiday projects as a few personal ones. I also have to get busy in taking some pics.

Hope you enjoyed!
🎁

Bloggy note: Affiliate links are either identified directly or by a *. Not all links are affiliate links and I tried to identify all project pattern makers. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Blade of Darkness by Dianne Duvall

Series: Immortal Guardians #7
541 p.
Published: Sept. 19. 2017
Publisher: Author Published
Source: From author for review


Dana Pembroke has been able to glimpse the future of those she touches for as long as she can remember. But she never saw Aidan coming. When the tall, dark Celt with the charming grin yet world-weary eyes walks through her door, the future she sees for him is one full of violence, danger, deception... and passion. Because amidst the terrifying battles that unfold in her visions, she also sees herself in Aidan's arms and in his bed. Dana knows she should keep her distance, but the tender moments and laughter they share entice her even as she finds herself thrust into a world of vampires, immortals, and other preternatural beings.
Immortal Guardian Aidan O'Byrne has been hunting and slaying psychotic vampires for nearly three thousand years, so visions of bloody battles don't trouble him. The battles Dana foresees, however, show Aidan's brethren turning against him, so he can't help but feel alarmed. While he spends as much time as he can with Dana, struggling to decipher her dire predictions, Aidan finds himself utterly smitten. Hope rises that he has finally found a woman who can banish the darkness and loneliness that plague him. But when vampires begin targeting Dana and a powerful enemy spawns chaos, will fate grant them time to find happiness together?
My thoughts:

Oh another addition to this wonderful series. Seriously, if you haven't started this one yet you are missing out on some great action and romance. In this book we get Aiden's story. A hunky Celt who has recently joined the ranks of Seth's Immortals. We got to know a bit of him through the other stories and found his longing for a romantic companion very swoony.

Okay, now I have a problem reviewing this book. Not because I didn't like it, but because I did and I'm TRYING not to spoil anything from this book or from previous books. So what to do...

Aidan appears vulnerable in how he is trying to meet the right woman which is adorable. We see him woo Dana and her reactions to the world she gets thrust into. Oh and I should also say that Dana is a great addition to this series as well. Not a shrinking violet but someone who takes no guff and protects those that she loves. There are also quite a few humorous moments within this greeting as well.

The action does seem less harrowing than in the other books but there was still one instance where I was thrown which also led me to believe that not everyone may be safe in the end of the series. Granted they might be as well, but it shows that the author is willing to risk some of her characters and keep us on the edge of our seat.

I don't think that spoiled it too much... you have no idea how much I wanted to say!

I give this book 4 1/2 stars. It is a great series that I suggest starting from the beginning. Not only do the characters develop throughout the series but so does the mysterious story arc connecting all the books. You could get away with reading this one without the rest, but I have no doubt that you would feel as though you missed some good story telling and you would be right. Therefore, get the whole series! I highly recommend it.


Don't forget to check out the blog tour post on the blog. There is a good excerpt there! Just click HERE or on the pic below:
Check out the excerpt and the prizes!

🎁

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Blog Tour and Giveaway: Blade of Darkness by Dianne Duvall

From New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, Dianne Duvall, comes the next heart-pounding romance in the Immortal Guardians series - BLADE OF DARKNESS! Order your copy today!


28700596Blade of Darkness by Dianne Duvall
Immortal Guardians Book #7
Releasing September 19th, 2017

Return to the “utterly addictive” (RT Book Reviews) world of New York Times bestselling author Dianne Duvall’s Immortal Guardians.

Dana Pembroke has been able to glimpse the future of those she touches for as long as she can remember.  But she never saw Aidan coming.  When the tall, dark Celt with the charming grin yet world-weary eyes walks through her door, the future she sees for him is one full of violence, danger, deception… and passion.  Because amidst the terrifying battles that unfold in her visions, she also sees herself in Aidan’s arms and in his bed.  Dana knows she should keep her distance, but the tender moments and laughter they share entice her even as she finds herself thrust into a world of vampires, immortals, and other preternatural beings.

Immortal Guardian Aidan O’Byrne has been hunting and slaying psychotic vampires for nearly three thousand years, so visions of bloody battles don’t trouble him.  The battles Dana foresees, however, show Aidan’s brethren turning against him, so he can’t help but feel alarmed.  While he spends as much time as he can with Dana, struggling to decipher her dire predictions, Aidan finds himself utterly smitten. Hope rises that he has finally found a woman who can banish the darkness and loneliness that plague him. But when vampires begin targeting Dana and a powerful enemy spawns chaos, will fate grant them time to find happiness together?



Excerpt:

“It really doesn’t freak you out, even a little bit, knowing I can see things from your past, present, and future? Knowing that the more time we spend together, the more I’ll see and the more I’ll know about you that you may not want me to know? Because I will see stuff you don’t want me to, Aidan. I always do. And it always ruins things.”

Leaning forward, Aidan crossed his arms and braced them on the table. “It doesn’t freak me out at all, Dana, because I’m in the same boat.”

She frowned. “What?”

Aidan took one of those pauses that made her think he questioned the wisdom of speaking. “I’m in the same boat,” he repeated. “I haven’t dated in a long time because I was born with gifts similar to yours that tend to make others uncomfortable.”

Disappointment filled her. Seriously? He was mocking her?

“You look a bit like you want to hit me over the head with the breadbasket,” he stated, brow creasing, “so—to keep you from thinking whatever it is that’s making your eyes flash with fury—I’ll tell you that I’m telepathic and can prove it if you’ll give me permission to read your thoughts.”

Hell yes, she was furious. This was Jason all over again. That asshole had pretended he had psychic abilities like hers in a lame attempt to get into her pants. He hadn’t realized she actually was psychic and would see through his bullshit.

Dana leaned back in her chair and crossed her arms. “You’re telepathic?”

“Yes.”

“Prove it.”

“I can read your thoughts?”

“You tell me,” she countered, a blatant dare. Read my thoughts, my ass, she mentally grumbled. She had thought Aidan was different, but to mock her like this by pretending he had a special gift, too? What a disappointment.

“I am different,” he insisted. “And I’m not pretending. I do have a special gift. More than one, if you’re to know the truth of it.”

She frowned. Had he just read her thoughts?


“Yes,” he said.

She narrowed her eyes. Yes, what? Yes, he had read her thoughts? Or was he just guessing the path they would naturally take?

“Yes, I read your thoughts,” he said. “And yes, I could’ve guessed the path they would take, but I didn’t.”

She stilled. Okay. That was a little spot-on.

“And to prove it,” he continued, “I’ll tell you that, although I have not been listening to your thoughts on our date, I did give them a listen both times you gave me a reading and know that you’ve had two visions about me that you failed to mention.”

Her heart began to pound. How did he know that?

“In the first one,” he said, lowering his voice, “we were naked in bed and I was touching your—”

“Holy crap,” she whispered, dropping her arms and gaping at him.

His lips twitched. “I was going to say breast, but—”

“How do you know about that?” she blurted.

“The same way I know that in the second vision, you were cupping my face in your hands—as you did earlier—and I kissed you and pulled you up against me, sliding my hand down over your lovely bottom. I read your thoughts and saw it as clearly as you did.”

Speech eluding her, Dana stared at him so long that her eyes began to burn.

“Blink,” he instructed.

She did.

“I know it’s a bit of a shock,” he murmured, eyeing her with some concern.

“A bit of a shock,” she parroted numbly.

“I know it feels… intrusive. But I didn’t read your thoughts the whole time. Most of the time I can control what I hear and don’t hear and can block others’ thoughts fairly easily.” Younger telepathic immortals weren’t so lucky. “But when the visions struck you, I saw them as clearly as you did without even trying. I think because we’re both gifted.”

She hadn’t told anyone about those visions. There was no way he could’ve known about them without reading her mind. “Holy. Crap.”

His eyebrows rose.

“Are you reading my thoughts right now?” she asked.

“Yes. They’re a little chaotic. I’m sorry I’ve shaken you up so much. I just wanted you understand why I haven’t dated in so long and hoped you’d appreciate my honesty.”

Honesty! He had read her thoughts! He had apparently been reading them all this time, saying exactly what he knew she wanted him to say and—

His brows drew together. “Now wait a minute. That’s not true. I would never use what I saw in your thoughts to manipulate you. If that had been my intent, I never would’ve told you I’m telepathic.”

“Dude,” a voice interrupted, “you told her you’re telepathic?”

Aidan swung around and shot a glare at Sheldon.

Dana guessed Sheldon was in his early twenties. Tracy looked to be thirty or thereabouts. Both eyed her and Aidan with great interest as they gathered their laptops and gear and stopped by Dana and Aidan’s table on their way to the door.

“Sheldon,” Aidan growled, definitely a warning.

“You know he’s telepathic?” Dana asked his friend.

“Yeah,” Sheldon responded simply. The woman at his side nodded. Neither seemed to view it as anything extraordinary, as if she had just asked them if they knew Aidan could play the piano.

“It doesn’t bother you?” Dana pressed.

Sheldon gave a dismissive shrug. “Nah. Aidan’s a good guy. He almost never reads my mind.”

Aidan grimaced. “Because there’s too much porn and weird shite up there.”

Tracy laughed and gave Sheldon’s shoulder a shove. “Freak.”

Sheldon grinned. “You know it.” Then he caught Dana’s eye. “I’m surprised he told you. People don’t usually react well when they find out he’s different. I’d think you’d understand that since you’re different, too.”

He knew she was a psychic? “How did you—?”

“I heard a rumor that Aidan was smitten with a psychic.” He shrugged. “When I saw you two together, I assumed you were her.”

Aidan frowned. “Where’d you hear that?”

Sheldon hesitated. “Cliff let it slip while we were playing video games. You won’t hold it against him, will you? He didn’t mean to. He was just… more distracted than usual. And Tracy is the only person I’ve told.”

Aidan shook his head. “It’s fine.”

Tracy smiled. “We’d better go before Sheldon says anything else that will embarrass you.” Taking Sheldon’s arm, she urged him toward the door. “You two have a nice evening.”

“What’d I say that embarrassed him?” Sheldon asked, puzzled.

She whispered something to him.

Sheldon snorted. “Yeah, right. Like she didn’t already know he’s smitten. It’s so obvious.”

Tracy pushed him into the hallway and closed the door after them.

In the wake of their departure, Aidan swung back around and met Dana’s gaze with obvious reluctance. “Apparently there’s something else I failed to tell you that you should probably know.”

Seriously? Something else? “What’s that?” she asked, unsure she wanted to hear it.

He sighed. “I suck at dating.”

Dana laughed. 
πŸ“–
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Giveaway!
Tour-Wide Giveaway: 
(1) $50 Amazon Gift Card
(1)$25 Amazon Gift Card
(1) Immortal Guardians Prize pack

(for some reason the Rafflecopter form is being dodgy on Blogger so I thought the most secure way is to share the link:)



(click either one)

🎁

The Immortal Guardians Series:



About the Author

Dianne Duvall is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of the Immortal Guardians series and The Gifted Ones series. Reviewers have called Dianne's books "fast-paced and humorous" (Publishers Weekly), "utterly addictive" (RT Book Reviews), "extraordinary" (Long and Short Reviews), and"wonderfully imaginative" (The Romance Reviews). Her books have twice been nominated for RT Reviewers' Choice Awards and are routinely deemed Top Picks by RT Book Reviews, The Romance Reviews,and/or Night Owl Reviews.

Dianne loves all things creative. When she isn't writing, Dianne is active in the independent film industry and has even appeared on-screen, crawling out of a moonlit grave and wielding a machete like some of the vampires she creates in her books.

For the latest news on upcoming releases, contests, and more, please visit DianneDuvall.com. You can also find Dianne online . . .

Blog | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Pinterest | Goodreads | Google Plus

Friday, September 15, 2017

Art Book Review: Dare to Sketch by Felix Scheinberger


Genre: Art
160 p.
Published: Sept. 19, 2017
Publisher: Watson-Guptill
Source: NetGalley and Publisher for review

An inspirational, instructional, and visually stimulating guide to sketching and drawing. Dare to Sketch is filled with practical tips about which materials to use, a variety of subject matter ranging from easy to more challenging, and wisdom about overcoming creative blocks and fear of making mistakes.
A whimsical beginner's guide to sketching, covering all of the important basics: what kind of notebook to buy, what drawing materials to use, ideas for subject matter, and daily exercises. Includes inviting, inspirational, and idiosyncratic tips (don't start on the first page of your sketchbook!), Dare to Sketch is gorgeously illustrated with the author's unique and contemporary art style.
My thoughts:

 I'm always on the lookout for a sketching book to finally get me to sketch! Yea, I know... it is up to me and not a book but inspiration is always a good thing. While this one didn't quite get my butt in gear and start sketching as much as I should, it was a good primer book for those that want just some information on sketching in general.

I actually didn't agree with some of the suggestions here, I didn't quite disagree either. I do like his suggestions on materials, but I think to get someone to sketch you need to make it more accessible and more relaxed. The suggested paper and pens were ideal, but I think that a much more relaxed attitude toward it gets people to start more than anything else. Ironically it is a sentiment he seems to make when getting down to how to record what you see. His attitude there is that you don't need to produce photographic type of drawings (keep those for a camera) but to get more of the gesture and feel of the objects.

In the end I give this book 3 stars. It is good basic information for those starting to sketch and it does have some good inspirational sketches from the artist. I also like the last couple of pages that talked about master artists and what happened to their sketchbooks. I always love those kinds of tidbits.

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Friday, September 1, 2017

Craft Alert: Watch All Day Craft Classes Monday at Craftsy for FREE! (Affiliate Post)


I won't be around much blogging today (due to life and the need to deal with it. I will visit your blogs soon, promise!) and I didn't want to wait to post this so I had to give you a heads up on a great deal at Craftsy! Can I say FREE? πŸ‘€

They are teaming up with Cricut to give you free access to ALL their craft classes for one day only! So mark Sept 4th on your calendar! You do have to be a member but the membership is always free. Just click HERE (it's my affiliate link) to go to the page to either sign up or check out all the goodies! You can also click on the pic below (same affiliate link) to go to the same page. Have fun!!



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Monday, August 28, 2017

Canine Nutrigenomics by W. Jean Dodds, DVM

Genre: Nonfiction Dog Health
326 p.
Publisher: Dogwise Publishing
Published: 1/13/15
Source: Library

Vibrant health begins in the cells. Learn how to transform your dog's cellular health with the power of nutrigenomics in this ground-breaking new book. Nutrigenomics (a combination of the words nutrition and genome) is the study of how the foods we and our pets eat "speak" to our cells to regulate gene expression, which in turn plays a huge role in determining whether a person or animal will live a life of vibrant health, or one plagued by illness. 
Scientists now know that while we can't change the genes we are born with, we can change how those genes behave, which is exactly what authors W. Jean Dodds, DVM and Diana Laverdure-Dunetz, MS show us how to do in, Canine Nutrigenomics: The New Science of Feeding Your Dog for Optimum Health from Dogwise Publishing.
 My thoughts:

I have been interested in dog health and especially dog nutrition for a long time now. I have had several dogs throughout the years with special needs and so I was forced into reading on nutrition. If you have had to forage into this area you know it can get confusing fast. Very fast. It is worse than human nutrition. What is bad in one book and should be avoided at all costs is celebrated in another. My biggest suggestion for those looking to improve health is to carefully read about the person giving the information and also research their background.

I've been following this vet for a while now and I have read many of her articles but none of her books. This was the first one I have read by her and I was not disappointed. In earlier articles by her I read a bit of her information on thyroid problems in dogs. I've had two dogs with that problem and one of them is my large doberman. Though her articles I have adjusted when I give the medicine to him and what foods to avoid. It seems very consistent with other nutritional veterinarians.

This book focuses on Nutrigenomics. It is has gained more popularity and was once considered pseudoscience. Not all agree that there is enough evidence to suggest that nutrition can influence how genes react which is the basis of nutrigenomics. It is in a sense using food as medicine. It has been gaining popularity and more papers and studies have been done. It is an interesting idea in both humans and animals. Plus, in my own experience I have physically seen how nutrition has changed my animals health throughout the years.

Dr. Dodds also runs a canine blood bank and has a test for food sensitivities which she promotes in the book. I would love to do it for my pups but it is very expensive (but some insurances do cover it but a veterinarian has to order it). It could end up being a money saver, however, if you have not gotten to the bottom of certain gastrointestinal disorders or even coat problems (like hot spots and excessive itching). It is at least worth a look if you have a pet that has issues that have not been helped conventionally. There is information on her site about this test and the book really tells you how the information you gain from this test applies. If you don't do the testing you can still gain some insight and knowledge on what to feed your dog.

I give this book 4 stars with my long winded review. The book can seem quite technical to some so I would try her articles first to see if it is someone that makes sense to you. I also suggest to library book this one (where I got my ebook copy) to see if it is something you want to keep or just something to get a few tidbits from to enhance your dog's food. Dr Dodds is at lest worth a look when you are trying to help your pet's health through nutrition.

Dr. Dodds Blog (you can also access their other services and information through the link as well).

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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

What a month!

Ah, I've been silent again, but for good reason. 

I had a whole post on what my dogs put me through (they are all fine now but seriously dogs...), my health, and Charlottesville. While I was writing it out I realized I really didn't want to talk about all of that. Since Charlottesville I've been angry and tired and let me just say it... racism is bad. How do some people not get that? Even though I was not surprised that violence has happened but what did surprise me is that it has become personal in a way I didn't expect. I won't reveal the specifics but I will state that I have no problems standing with my convictions but it did make me angry. I only wanted to state that since I KNOW I'm not the only one going through it and I want anyone out there to know they are not alone. So many more people are speaking out against racism. Racism has always been there, it will be there after this section in history but we can do what we can to lessen it's impact for future generations. I have no problem believing it will happen because so many people are saying no. It is good to see and hold onto that. 

Now I'm switching gears (but know you just got a virtual hug from me)...

I just became a affiliate for Craftsy. 

Paper Crafts Supplies

I have used this site for quite a while. I often buy patterns or videos from this site when they are on sale. I can now let you know so if you are interested you can get in on the sales. Yep, I'm trying to do more crafting. I'm also previewing a lot of videos for them so hopefully I'll get to share those as well for you. I've been a bit behind where I want to be due to personal issues but hopefully will get to writing those things down.

I am also getting more involved in dog nutrition and training. I have to write some reviews on this and will hopefully have them soon.

It will be a bit before I'm back into full swing, but thanks for sticking around! I hope I end up having something here you will enjoy.

Hope your day gets better (even if it is great, I want it to get even better!) since I think we all deserve it right now.

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Monday, August 21, 2017

Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore

Standalone
384 p.
Publisher: Del Ray Books
Published: 8/22/17
Source: Publisher and NetGalley for review
A magically inspiring tale of a man who is reincarnated through many lifetimes so that he can be with his one true love: Death herself. 
What if you could live forever—but without your one true love? Reincarnation Blues is the story of a man who has been reincarnated nearly 10,000 times, in search of the secret to immortality so that he can be with his beloved, the incarnation of Death. Neil Gaiman meets Kurt Vonnegut in this darkly whimsical, hilariously profound, and wildly imaginative comedy of the secrets of life and love. Transporting us from ancient India to outer space to Renaissance Italy to the present day, is a journey through time, space, and the human heart.
My thoughts:

The blurb made me curious and I also wanted to see how the worldbuilding would play out in this story since so many cultures have a form of reincarnation within it's mythology narrative. While it was an interesting story, it did not really follow any specific religious views which I think was a good thing. However, it also touched so lightly on various cultural views it ended up not really having one of it's own and I'm not totally sure it was purposeful in doing that. Most people will not come to this story for that specific cultural view so this will be a minor niggle to most but I personally wanted it to go a bit deeper. Personal preference only but I also was glad it didn't so it didn't become preachy or religious at all.

I wasn't quite certain what the theme of the book was as he was continually pushed for "perfection" or enlightenment (which I think was interchangeable here) but it was never truly defined and he did find perfection within imperfection (say that 3 times fast). The romance was actually quite light in this book and was really the motivation for our hero to achieve perfection. The timeline flows back and forth through time with historical characters we know and futures we have yet to experience. It was an interesting journey and his lifetimes were interesting within itself. The ending is satisfying as is the epilogue but it does pose a philosophical question which I will not reveal since it would end up being a spoiler. You'll just have to see if you feel the same. *evil laugh*

I would have also liked to have followed "death" or Suzie more and I think that would have made the romance stronger. It was not strong within the story as most would expect but I did believe it and rooted for both of them to be together.

I give this book 3 stars. I did enjoy the fantasy of many lifetimes and even though I would have liked a stronger and more depth to the worldbuilding and romance I still found our hero Milo's journey to be interesting in how he learned and grew.

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Monday, July 31, 2017

The Queen of Swords by R. S. Belcher

Series: Golgotha #3
364 p.
Publisher: Tor Books
Published: 6/27/17
Source: From publisher for review
1870. Maude Stapleton, late of Golgotha, Nevada, is a respectable widow raising a daughter on her own. Few know that Maude belongs to an ancient order of assassins, the Daughters of Lilith, and is as well the great-great-great-great-granddaughter of Anne Bonney, the legendary female pirate.

Leaving Golgotha in search of her daughter Constance, who has been taken from her, Maude travels to Charleston, South Carolina, only to find herself caught in the middle of a secret war between the Daughters of Lilith and their ancestral enemies, the monstrous Sons of Typhon. To save Constance, whose prophetic gifts are sought by both cults, Maude must follow in the footsteps of Anne Bonney as she embarks on a perilous voyage that will ultimately lead her to a lost city of bones in the heart of Africa—and the Father of All Monsters.
My thoughts:

I haven't read the first two in the series and judging by the book I thought it was an offshoot series. It is not, but firmly a part of a series. I was not lost as I think Anne Bonney and her descendants take center stage in this one but not center in the other books. I enjoyed it as much as I thought I would but it made me crave more of Anne Bonney's story and I think I'll get some of it when I go back to read the other books in the series. Tor, if you are listening... I'd love to read those other books... *hint* πŸ˜‰

This story flits back and forth between timelines. The time is stamped on each chapter but even if you didn't pay attention to it, you would not be lost. In this instance Anne's story is more of a supportive role to tell Maude's story but she doesn't take the back seat. In fact, I think she may have stole the show... but it fits her character well.

The weakest parts were with the Sons of Typhon and with Typhon himself. He doesn't quite make my most feared villains but perhaps that is because I haven't read the other stories. He lacked depth but I'm not real sure that bothers me. He was a good backdrop and a reason for the tale we got and I really wanted more of Anne and the sisters of Lilith and that background story.

I give this book 4 stars. While I think you could dive into this one as I did and not be lost, be prepared to want more of Anne's story. I have a feeling you'll be wanting either her own book all to herself or at least the other books in this series. I want both. I recommend it to those that enjoy fantasy and pirates you would sail with around the world.