Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Shannon's Review - Etty Steele Vampire Hunter by Grayson Grave




Title: Etty Steel Vampire Hunter
Series: #1 Etty Steel Series
Author: Grayson Grave
Genre: Fiction, Juvenile, Fantasy, Paranormal, Vampires, Witches,
Publisher: Independently Published
Received: For Free For Review
Release Date: July 2018
Pages: 180
Rating:


Author Grayson Grave’s Official Websites:



Website:
https://graysongrave.com/

Blog:
https://graysongrave.com

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/graysongrave/

Twitter:
https://twitter.com/graysongrave/

Instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/graysongrave/


Shannon’s Thoughts:
Preteen Etty Steel is being trained by her mother to be a vampire hunter. Even though her hunter skills have not shown themselves yet, her mother wants to be prepared and trains her hard. She is not allowed to tell anyone she is a hunter, even her best friend. Although things change when she finds out witches exist and her friend is one. A new kid starts school with them and Etty is sure he is a vampire. Etty soon discovers that the training and history lessons she has learned about vampires are not as black and white as her mother claims them to be.

I enjoyed this very much. Etty’s story is likable especially for those into Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Even though Etty is much younger as she learns to train than Buffy. The story is fun, exciting, and has a sort of comfort I find in watching or reading BTVS. I also feel like there is so much more to learn in this world. We learned a little back story to vampires but I am also interested in the back story to magic and witches.

There is nothing I can think of constructively to make the story better but I do think there is something that would because it was really good but not awesomely great. I just can not think of what.

The second book in this series is out and I am eager to read it. Etty Steel is my new favorite vampire hunter.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Shannon's Review - Between Worlds by Skip Brittenham





Title: Between Worlds
Series: ???
Author: Skip Brittenham
Genre: Fiction, Juvenile, Fantasy, Magic
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons for Young Readers
Received: Purchased
Release Date: August 2016
Pages: 256
Rating:


Author Skip Brittenham’s Official Websites:



Website:
http://experienceanomaly.com/

Blog:
None

Facebook:
None

Twitter:
None

Instagram: 
None


Shannon’s Thoughts:

Two teens, a boy, Marshall, and a girl, Mayberry, decide to take a hike in their local woods to find a legendary tree. Even though the forest is known to be like the Bermuda Triangle for hikers the two find the tree that town folks call The Wishing Tree. They soon find out the tree’s power is much more than a myth. They without thinking wish to travel to another land and learn magic. There wish comes true and they get more than they bargained for. A story filled with adventure, magic and a tie-in to an augmented reality app that enables you to see various characters in 3D.

I picked this book up at a used book section. What attracted me was the augmented reality aspect. I had never experienced it within a book. It was interesting. The story got darker than I expected for a kids book. It did keep me wanted to know what was going to happen to Marshall and Mayberry. They ended up spending much more time in the world than most characters would in a story such as this.

While the augmented reality was a neat hook sometimes the app did not work for me. It was fun to see the creatures in 3D but the journal entries were long and definitely took you out of the story. In fact, the journals seemed to belong in another book.

Between Worlds was an okay story with a fun gimmick. I might read another like it or I may not. It was an experience.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Shannon's Review - 20 Degrees From Normal by Anissa Ferris and Antonio Ferris




Title: 20 Degrees From Normal
Series: None
Author: Anissa Ferris and Antonio Ferris
Genre: Fiction, Poetry, Children, Picture Book,
Publisher: Lulu Publishing Services
Received: Free for an honest review
Release Date: October 2016
Pages: 38
Rating:



Authors Anissa and Antonio Ferris’ Official Websites:



Websites:
Anissa: none found
Antonio: none found

Blogs:
Anissa: none found
Antonio: none found

Facebooks:Anissa: https://www.facebook.com/anissa.ferris
Antonio: https://www.facebook.com/AntoniorFerris

Twitters:
Anissa: none found
Antonio: none found





Shannon’s Thoughts:
Some cute and thoughtful poems from a brother and sister writing team. A poetry book for all ages, with poems that are fun, fantastical, and just a joy to read.

The wondrous art of Fanny Liem and the rhyming work of Ferris siblings has a nice rhythm. They work together perfectly. The poems are funny, relatable and have an almost nursery rhyming feel.

I usually cringe through a kids poem book that relies on rhyming. Many authors force words that sometimes don’t make the rhyming flow as nicely. I was pleasantly surprised to find this book does not do that and the sing-song nature of the poems are really wonderful.
I hope these young authors do more writing. I enjoyed the book and chuckled once or twice.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Shannon's Review - Wytches by Scott Snyder




Title: Wytches
Series: Wytches Vol. 1
Author: Scott Snyder
Genre: Fiction, Graphic Novel, Fantasy, Horror, Magic, Witches
Publisher: Image Comics
Received: Bought
Release Date: June 2015
Pages: 192
Rating:


Author Scott Snyder’s Official Websites:



Website:
None

Blog:
None

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/ComicWriterScottSnyder/

Twitter:
https://twitter.com/Ssnyder1835


Shannon’s Thoughts:
The Rook family moved into a new town hoping for a new start. Especially for their teenage daughter Sailor, who had a horrific and scary incident with another girl from school. Sailor and her father are close and enjoy each other sense of humor. Her Dad uses the humor to distract Sailor from her anxieties. Sailor has more than just anxiety, she feels like something is after her. Sailor feels like the thing that took the girl from school is after her. Unfortunately, she is not wrong. Evil wytches from the woods are after Sailor because she has been pledged to them. Which means they get to eat her.

This is one of the darkest takes on witches I have seen in a while. I liked the connection that Sailor had with her father. It was depicted and developed nicely. The witches are creepy as was the character that helped the father.

The art of the wytches is scary but it is also not defined that well. I realized that is to make them even creepier and that you know they are in the dark even though you can not directly see them. I just found that a little annoying. I like to see a story done on how the wytches got there or have they always been there.

There were characters I wished had made it out in the end but even real life does not give you choices to pick those who live. Not sure where the story goes after this but I can not wait to find out.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Shannon's Reviews - Arnold And Louis Reach For The Stars by Harvey Storm




Title: Arnold And Louis Reach For The Stars
Series: Arnold And Louis #2
Author: Harvey Storm
Genre: Fiction, Children, Picture Book, Animals
Publisher: Independently Published
Received: Bought
Release Date: August 2018
Pages: 40
Rating:


Author Harvel Storm’s Official Websites:




Image Borrowed From Goodreads

Website:
None active

Blog:
None

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/HarveyStormBooks/

Twitter:
https://twitter.com/HarveyStormBoo






Shannon’s Thoughts:

A meteor falls through space and falls asleep. As he wakes up he realizes he is too close to the earth and crashes down. Arnold the moose and Louis the goose watch the meteor fall from afar. They meet Mick the meteor and find that Mick wants to go home. Arnold and Louis try to help him back to space but the task is not easy.

The art is spectacular and continues the story forward even when there is not much described. The humor is really tied into the art. The way that Arnold and Louis try to help Mick is something that seems like silly kid logic in a good way.

On the downside even though the art moves the wordless moments it also takes you out of the story. I think it would be a hard story to read to a group of children unless the book was enlarged because the art is very detailed and may be hard to see for a classroom.

I like the idea of a moose and goose being friends. Seems like they should be. I have nephews that I think will like this series. I would recommend it for boys and girls that are toddlers and up.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Shannon's Review - Songs Of Willow Frost by Jamie Ford




Title: Songs Of Willow Frost
Series: None
Author: Jamie Ford
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary, Asian Fiction
Publisher: Ballentine Books
Received: Paperback swap
Release Date: September 2013
Pages: 352
Rating:


Author Jamie Ford’s Official Websites:


Website:
http://www.jamieford.com/

Blog:
http://www.jamieford.com/

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/JamieFordAuthor/

Twitter:
https://twitter.com/jamieford


Shannon’s Thoughts:

An orphan Asian boy named William tries to find his real mother while living in an orphanage. Thinking his mother died he sees a woman resembling her in a movie. His mother who goes by Willow Frost has begun a new life without William, and because of Willow’s past may be living arrangements are best how they are.

I read this for a local book club and even though it was not something I would normally pick I enjoyed it. I liked reading about William and also reading about his mother’s side of the story. In some ways, it reminded me of an early V.C. Andrews story. There is so much sadness and unresolved tragic pasts.

My book club thought that the title did not really fit the story and I do agree. It should have been The Tragedy of Willow Frost or something more melodically.

The mother’s past was unfortunate and had me fully absorbed in the story. I felt so bad for both characters. They had both lost so much and deserved more good times then they had had. I think those who like Asian fiction, and those interested in the time period of the 1920s thru the 1930’s will be enthralled.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Mumbling Mondays - Board Gaming On The Rise


Board Gaming On The Rise


There are three really cool areas that have popped up in our area. All of them have to do with board gaming. I am not really talking about Monopoly, or Shoots And Ladders. (Although they count) I mean stores and groups that play Settlers Of Catan, Magic The Gathering, Dungeon & Dragons and so many more games. 

Area 1) The Eastern Pennsylvania Gaming Society - A group of gamers at all levels. They meet in the community room in Oxford Valley Mall. They hold meetings on the 1st and 3rd Saturday of every month. They usually game from 9 am to 9 pm. The first visit is free afterward there is a monthly fee. You can bring your own games or see what others bring and jump into a game.

Area 2) Lookin’ For Games Store and Lounge - This store has a nice space. There is a fee to play games you get to try all sorts of boards games before purchasing them. You can even hold with large groups. They also help promote many games that are on Kickstarter. 

Area 3) Nerdom Lounge - This place just opened in Philly. Similar set up as Lookin’ For Games but they also have spaces to watch movies and or go on the internet. 

Are gaming shops or groups popping up in your area?



Finished Reading this week



Between Worlds by Skip Brittingham 

I am not quite done with this book but I should be able to finish it this week. It is very interesting. To enjoy this book there is an app to download. You can view things you can’t see in the book but only on the app. 





Other Stuff I Did This Week

Binge Watching



The Dead Zone: Season 5 - Amazon Prime

Another season down. I hate that most tv series have been having fewer and fewer episodes. There were only 10 episodes in the 5th season. Where the first had 20 some. I still like the show but the formula is getting tiring. 




Happy Death Day 2U

I watched the first Happy Death Day and surprisingly enjoyed it. I knew from the trailers I was going to really enjoy this as well. I did not expect the story to go multi-verse. 




Spiderman Far From Home - In Theatres

I love all the Marvel movies this one was no different. I missed out on seeing Dark Phoenix though. Tom Holland as Spiderman has been pretty good. And those two credit scenes at the end!! OMG!





Just my imagination

Since my most recent request was a pet I decided to do another animal hidden treasure box. 







I have not finished it yet and I have started another box that is going to be fan art of a very popular tv series right now. Pictures later

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Shannon's Review - The Sense Of An Ending by Julian Barnes




Title: The Sense Of An Ending
Series: None
Author: Julian Barnes
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary, Literature
Publisher: Vintage
Received: Paperback Swap
Release Date: August 2011
Pages: 163
Rating:


Author Julian Barnes Official Websites:


Website:
http://www.julianbarnes.com/

Blog:
None

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/Julian-Barnes-307118768275/

Twitter:
None


Shannon’s Thoughts:
The Sense Of An Ending follows the parts of the life of Tony Webster. As a teenager, he and his two friends are avid readers and compare there lives to that of books. A new kid comes to school and the group of three become 4. They all go to college. Tony starts to date a woman named Veronica, who later dumps him and starts dating one of his friends. Then Tony who is now divorced, a father and a grandfather contemplates on the way his memory works as he recalls what happened with his life including he time with Veronica and his old friend.

There are many questions and thoughts on examining how a person remembers things. It is a very introspective book, which is usually not a good read for me. I wanted to hate the book but I did not. I did not love it either but I have a loose understanding, especially because I have such problems with my own memory.

I really disliked that we did not get to understand why the mother gave Tony the money and the reason Veronica kept telling Tony he did not get it and would never get it. I wanted to scream “JUST TELL HIM WHAT HE DOESN’T GET!” every time she said it.

I did expect that a book titled The Sense Of An Ending was not going to end in a satisfying way. It was also a short read and maybe not for everyone. I think the older you are when you read this the more you may relate.







Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Shannon's Review - My T-Rex Gets A Bath by Chloe Sanders




Title: My T-Rex Gets A Bath
Series: None
Author: Chloe Sanders
Genre: Fiction, Children's, Picture Book, Fantasy, Dinosaurs
Publisher: Igor Kustov
Received: Purchased
Release Date: March 2018
Pages: 26
Rating:


Author Chloe Sanders Official Websites:


Website:None

Blog:
None

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/Chloe-Sanders-229472464104512/

Twitter:None


Shannon’s Thoughts:
A little boy and his dinosaur get ready for bed. The T-Rex has other plans that make a mess of things. The little boy then shows his friend what fun getting ready for bed can be.

My T-Rex Gets A Bath is very similar to another Chloe Sanders book Goodnight, Monster!. I found this one more enjoyable because the prose did not throw me out of the story try to always find the right rhyming scheme.

Because the story is very similar to Sanders other story affected my rating of the book. Sometimes it seemed like the same book but different drawings.

I think the artwork is cute and it is a book little dinosaur lovers with enjoy.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Shannon's Review - Unicorns Know That Rainbows Will Show by J.H. Baringer




Title: Unicorns Know That Rainbows Will Show
Series: #1 in series
Author: J.H. Baringer
Genre: Fiction, Children, Picture Book, Fantasy, Unicorns, Magic
Publisher: Self Published??
Received: From author for an honest review
Release Date: November 2018
Pages: 50
Rating:




Author J.H. Baringer’s Official Websites:


Website:

https://www.jhbaringer.com/

Blog:https://www.jhbaringer.com/blog

Facebook:None

Twitter:https://twitter.com/baringer_h



Shannon’s Thoughts:
This brightly illustrated picture book follows the story of a young unicorn named Iram. One day he lets his curiosity lead his way to another land and gets lost. Unable to find his way home, he runs into a wooded area with shiny fairies gathering fruit. The friendly fairies offer him help.

The art done by the artist, Suzana Vulovic, captures the whimsy rhythmic prose of author, J.H. Baringer. It is a cute story with a comforting feel.

A few errors bring my rating down. The word hart was used twice meaning heart in your chest. When the word hart means a deer. Some of the rhyming schemes were off in paragraphs and felt as it was making weird story choices. Now, most of these could be an error in translating from another language to English, which I think might have been the case.

Even with its errors, the story is cute and the art is fitting. I am curious about Iram further adventures.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Mumbling Monday - Money On The Brain


Money On The Brain


It is stressful when you are having money problems. I keep trying to wrack my brain on how to get my art and painting out there and make money somehow. I have tried sending my writing places but my writing is not good enough. But hell you know that if you are reading this blog. I am no grammar genius. I write how I talk and do reread and edit my writing but I miss stuff all the time. I trying to learn to budget especially with grocery shopping. We do Hello Fresh every week for 3 days but I am thinking it is time to end that. It is a great subscription box and it has helped us eat a little better and healthier. If anyone has any links to cheap healthy all day meal planners please share. 


Finished Reading this week


The Sense Of An Ending by Julian Barnes

An interesting 160-page novel. About a man and his relationships throughout his life. There were definitely areas where I could relate to the main character and not in good ways. I read this for a book club I was in but probably will not continue. 




Other Stuff I Did This Week


Binge Watching


The Dead Zone: Season 4 (Amazon Prime)

I finished the 4th season. My favorite episode from the season was episode 5: Heroes & Demons. About an autistic boy who uses the art of Lord Of The Rings to communicate.







Life In Pieces (CBS)

I am kinda sad this show has ended. It had a good 4 seasons but I wished for longer. If you have never watched it was a comedic show about 4 families intertwined. I loved the comedy and quirky characters. 




Overlord

This was hubby’s pick. It is basically a sci-fi movie taking place during WWII in France. It was kinda boring the first half of the movie and I did not get really into it until the actor who plays Fitz on Agents Of Shield turned….ill. It also had Wyatt Russell who is Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell’s son.





Overboard (Amazon Prime)

This is a remake of a 1980’s movie with the gender roles swapped. The original, of course, is so much better. This version was not horrible but was missing a lot of the chemistry that was in the original. There was also much more reading involved then I expected as some of the characters speak Spanish. 



Spiderman Into The Spider-Verse (Netflix)

This movie was good but it was so hyped up I wanted to be more than it was. Probably would have been best to see in the theatre.



The Spy Who Dumped Me (Amazon Prime and Hulu)

This was an okay movie. The spy parody movies are overdone to me. Some ha ha moments but a lot of bullshit moments as well.




Just my imagination

A frequent customer bought two boxes this week. The one with the owl on top (picture below) And one personalize for someone (also below) The custom one features the persons’ cat named Pretty Girl. She also collects American eagle figures and perfume bottles. That is why Pretty Girl is nuzzling the eagle inside the box. I painted colorful perfume bottles around the sides of the box.


Friday, June 28, 2019

Five Fun Facts - Dan Brown


Five Fun Facts

About the Author 

Dan Brown

Author of The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons and Origin.


(photo borrowed from Goodreads.com)


1. He was once a pop singer-songwriter with his own record company.

2. A song he wrote and performed made it into The Da Vinci Code movie soundtrack. It’s called Phiano.

3. An agent suggested he write a book after seeing an article he wrote in a college newspaper. 

4. The Bourne Identity series by Robert Ludlum inspired his Robert Langdon series

5. Has a cat named Zeus, who watches him as he writes. 



Thursday, June 27, 2019

Shannons' Reviews - Pixie And The Green Book Mystery by Coraline Grace




Title: Pixie And The Green Book Mystery
Series: Pixie Mystery #1
Author: Coraline Grace
Genre: Fiction, Juvenile, Fantasy, Chapterbook
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
Received: From Author For Honest Review
Release Date: March 2019
Pages: 103
Rating:


Author Coraline Grace’s Official Websites:



Website:
http://www.libraryromp.com/p/home.html

Blog:
http://www.libraryromp.com/search

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/LibraryRomp/

Twitter:
https://twitter.com/LibraryRomp


Shannon’s Thoughts:
Marigold, aka Pixie, is a young elementary student with a love for books. After a bad day in school Pixie’s Mom takes her to the library where she discovers a book she has never come across. This surprises her because she has read almost everything there. This book is very special and it glows green. As she opens it she is introduced to some familiar characters but their stories seem jumbled and confused. Pixie must help the characters back into their own stories before they become blank pages.

Kids who are familiar with the classics like Alice In Wonderland, Cinderella, and Snow White will recognize some of the characters. Even if they have only watched some of the Disney movie versions they will realize that something is different about these stories. What I like is that author Coraline Grace has basically just let the story flow and not let the original stories confine what is happening. It is a story that kids can learn imagination can go anywhere and even change what been done before.

Reading this book as an adult with a little OCD was sometimes difficult though. Pixie starts to read about Cindy, Alice, and The White Rabbit together in a book arguing. Then Cindy tells some of her life stories. My adult brain cannot help but say “That’s not what happened”. But this is a book for children, not adults.

Pixie and The Green Book Mystery is a cute and creative book where imagination runs wild and free. It takes the bones of other stories and connects them in a way that children will remember years later.