Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Shannon's Review - The Wicked + The Divine: Fandemonium: Vol. 2 by Kieron Gillen




Title: The Wicked + The Divine: Fandemonium - Vol. 2
Series: Vol. 2
Author: Kieron Gillen
Genre: Fiction, Graphic Novel, Fantasy
Publisher: Image Comics
Received: Purchased
Release Date: July 2015
Pages: 168
Rating:






Author Kieron Gillen Official Websites:



Website:
http://gillen.cream.org/

Blog:
https://kierongillen.tumblr.com/

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/kieron.gillen.5

Twitter:
https://twitter.com/kierongillen


Shannon’s Thoughts:
We continue to follow our main character Laura who is dealing with the death of acquaintance Lucifer “Luci”. She is still drawn to the world of Gods and Goddesses. Laura still cannot help wanting to be special like Gods who have reincarnated. We learn how the divine beings are found but there are still many mysteries that have not been revealed.

The art in this graphic novel is still spectacular. I liked how one of the Gods resembled the singer Prince just a little bit. I very much relate to Laura as she feels special but not quite reaching her greatest potential.

I do agree with many other readers that say the story is all over the place. I did have to reread pages every once and while. But with art so beautiful you almost do not mind.

I am still going to continue reading the series. I am really interested in what will happen next. There are so many questions unanswered.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Shannon's Reviews - The House Of The Spirits by Isabel Allende




Title: The House Of The Spirits
Series: None
Author: Isabel Allende
Genre: Fiction, Magical Realism, Classic, Fantasy, Family Saga
Publisher: Atria Books
Received: Purchased
First Release Date: 1982
Pages: 496
Rating:


Author Isabel Allende’s Official Websites:



Website:http://www.isabelallende.com/

Blog:
https://blog.isabelallende.com/

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

Twitter:https://twitter.com/isabelallende


Shannon’s Thoughts:
A family saga with a little magic realism. Following the life of Esteban Trueba and the lives of three woman in his life, his wife Clara, his daughter Blanca, and granddaughter Alba. Each character is woven with their own little eccentricities. Over three generations we see Esteban grow older and meaner while the women become strong and more compassionate. Esteban rises in political status and believes it is better to be feared than loved. Esteban’s family do not always share in his politics or with how he treats people in general.

I truly loved this book. I loved the characters, well except the Esteban and his grandson. There is a sort of melancholy throughout the book. This haunting sadness is part of what makes The House Of The Spirits a captivating read. That and the different character quirks and how they evolved over time.

I only wish there was more magical realism with some answers as to why the women in Clara’s family had the special powers they did. I especially wonder about Rosa and Alba with the mermaid's hair.

Even though I have finished reading I can tell this a book that will stick in my memory as long as possible. I feel I am still absorbing some of it. I am curious to read more of Isabel Allende books. I have always loved family sagas and fantasy/ magical realism. So to put them together it like a pb&j sandwich. Yum!

Monday, June 24, 2019

Mumbling Mondays - Stay Young Of Heart, But Old Of Mind


Stay Young Of Heart, But Old Of Mind





This week my body has been aching but I feel like I did a lot. I got more reading done then I have in a while. I have been writing...sort of. I played D & D with a group of good friends. But I can’t help but notice my body can’t seem to do what I want it. I want to clean but my knees hurt. I need to travel to a laundromat with a heavy bag of clothes but my back hurts. So that means I watch more tv and movies because I need to escape from my body aches. It’s frustrating...so I keep pushing through and do what I can. Is there anything stopping you from doing things you need to do or want to do?






Finished Reading this week


I loved loved this book. My wish is that I had only read it when I was younger. Why? You may ask. Well because when I was younger I fell into a book much easier. These days I read and sometimes my mind travels to other thoughts. This even happens when the book is well written and entertaining. I read this because of Life’s Library group.



Other Stuff I Did This Week

Binged Watch

I watched a lot this week. I will try to sum up



This was a very cute rom-com. It felt very much like a Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler movie. I laughed hard at the Keanu Reeves scenes.



Animal World (Netflix)

This was hubby’s pick. It’s foreign so there was reading involved. Surprisingly some English is spoken and mostly by actor Michael Douglas. Yeah, Michael Douglas is in this. It is about an underground game of Rock, Paper, Scissors...sort of. It was okay…



Aquaman (Borrowed From Library) 

I finally got to see Aquaman!! And you know what..it’s would have been better in the theatre. So many effects that would have been cooler on the big screen. It was good. Was it better than Wonder Woman good? Ummm….no. Wonder Woman is still the better DC movie. Next DC superhero movie I have to see Shazam.



The Dead Zone Season 3 (Amazon Prime)

Just finished up season 3. This is one of the only shows based on a Stephen King novel I think was done right. Probably why it went to 6 seasons. 



Ideal Home (HBO)

This was something I randomly caught on cable. I saw Paul Rudd and was like sure. It is funny. Not really a bad movie. But that tagline above…”These Dads SUCK.” That is terrible...funny yes but terrible. 



Oceans 8 (HBO)

I wasn’t sure whether I ever wanted to see this one...but it was entertaining. I don’t know if I buy that this heist would have ever worked. I felt like I said “bullshit” in my head a lot during it. 



My Creative Side

I haven’t done much art this week. I did get a lovely request from a customer who has ordered from me before. So I will be working on a box this week. 


Friday, June 21, 2019

Shannon's Review - Goodnight, Monster! by Chloe Sanders





Title: Goodnight Monster!
Series: None
Author: Chloe Sanders
Genre: Fiction, Children, Picture Book, Monsters
Publisher: Self-Published
Received: Purchased
Release Date: February 2017 
Pages: 44
Rating:



Author Chole Sanders Official Websites:



Website:
None

Blog:None

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

Twitter:
None


Shannon’s Thoughts:

A boy tries to convince his mother of a monster living under his bed. Boy and monster become friends and enjoy a bedtime routine.

Colorful art and sometimes charming prose is enough to make you not see the few flaws. I love the idea. Kinda looks inspired by Monsters Inc. and I don’t know anyone who dislikes that movie.

The book starts with a rhyming pattern that disappears a page or two in and then goes back to rhyming. That takes the reader out of the story. I was also a little confused of how much time was taking place. The monster and boy are in taking a bath, then they are in the bedroom and then they are taking a bath again. Does this story take place over a few days or just one day?

I really did enjoy the art and the parts of the story that rhymed and flowed well. Sometimes you don’t need to rhyme to write children books many do not rhyme. Although this story would have been better if it stuck with rhyming throughout.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Shannon's Review - The Accidental Empress by Allison Pataki




Title: The Accidental Empress
Series: Sisi #1
Author: Allison Pataki
Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Royals
Publisher: Howard Books
Received: Paperback Swap
Release Date: October 2015
Pages: 512
Rating:





Author Allison Pataki’s Official Websites:


Website:http://allisonpataki.com/

Blog:
None

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

Twitter:
https://twitter.com/AllisonPataki


Shannon’s Thoughts:

A romanticized telling of the life of Empress “Sisi” Elizabeth of Austria and Hungry in the late 1800s. At the young age of 15, Sisi is chosen to be the bride of Emperor Franz Joesph after he rejects the idea of her older sister being his bride. Sisi accepts the proposal and takes on an unappreciated role as Empress. We follow Sisi life through three pregnancies, a turbulent relationship with her mother-in-law, and a husband who brings his mother everywhere even on their honeymoon.

I did not know anything thing about the life of Empress Sisi or Emperor Franz Joseph but now I have a new favorite royal life to follow. This book made me want to look up the actual history of the Empress. That is the badge of good historical fiction when it makes you want to read more about the subject.

According to many who live an area that Franz and Sisi reigned this book is very fictional and overdramatic. Well, according to a woman in my book club who visited the area it is. The tour guide said that Sisi was a complete diva and was not as beloved by the people as we think she was. In my opinion, I don’t think that will deter me from reading about this royal family.

This book also has a sequel called Sisi On Her Own. The sequel follows the later life of Sisi starting with her fourth pregnancy and probably ending with her assassination. I am looking forward to returning to Sisi’s story when I have the chance and any other books I come across.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Shannon's Review - We Crossed A Bridge And It Trembled by Wendy Pearlman




Title: We Crossed A Bridge And It Trembled
Series: None
Author: Wendy Pearlman
Genre: Non-Fiction, History, War
Publisher: Custom House
Received: From Life’s Library Book Club
Release Date: June 2017
Pages: 352
Rating:



Author Wendy Pearlman’s Official Websites:




Website:
None

Blog:
None
Facebook:
None

Twitter:
https://twitter.com/Wendy_Pearlman



Shannon’s Thoughts:

Collected stories of people who have lived in Syria during the horrific civil war. It is a first-hand account of the real-life suffering of those that have survived.

Rating a book like this is hard because the accounts in this book are real and terrible. The stories are not to be taken lightly. Many people died and had they not have this book would not have to exist.

I feel like the formatting of the stories could have been better. I read this a bit ago and honestly, I do not remember much… but I think that is because of how I have trained my mind to get over the dark side of my illness. I try to let the negative go and move on. That does not mean I think what these people went through should not be ignored.

This is a book that I wish did not exist. I do remember it was a tough read and very real encounters.

Mumbling Mondays - Busy Week


Posting a little late. Here's yesterday's post. 

Busy Week


Do you ever have one of those weeks or weekends where you have plans every night? And there are 5 other things happening that night you would like to do as well? Of course the next week/weekend there is nothing to do and then you get bored out of your mind. 

Well, the busy part was this weekend. Friday we had a D&D game with my writer friends. One of them painted our characters as miniatures. It is so cool to see my character in 3D and such an unexpected gift.

Saturday my husband and I attended an art show that we had out paintings in. It was called Art All Night in Trenton, NJ and it was like going to a school art show but much more fun and so much to do, look at and listen to. 

Sunday we celebrated Father’s Day with my Father-in-Law had dinner and went to see Avengers Endgame. (1st time for him a 2nd time for us).

This week I hope to add more items into Confuzzled Designs Etsy shop and read some. What did you do this weekend? 



Finished Reading this week




I read this one for a book club I am in. It was an interesting story. The club thinks that the name really wasn’t fitting and I agree. It should have been The Tragedy of Willow Frost or The Sorrow of Willow Frost. Not a very happy tale but interesting. 



Other Stuff I Did This Week

Binged Watching




Great movie! It not only shows how good Freddie Mercury was but it also showed the awesomeness of Queen. 









This was a very intricate story, Sometimes too much so. There was a lot of little things that were easily missed because the scenes went by so fast. Keeps you guessing till the end.


My Creative Moments




As I said my husband and I entered artwork into Trenton Art All Night. At the top is me pointing at my painting “The Four Seasons” and below is my hubby, Thorins.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Five Fun Facts - Eric Carle


Five Fun Facts

About the Author 




Eric Carle

Author of over 70 children books, like The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Will You Be My Friend? and The Grouchy Ladybug.


(photo borrowed from Goodreads.com)




1. Had a dog named Took, named after a character in The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. Carle knows the author.

2. In 2009 he designed the Google logo as his famous book The Very Hungry Caterpillar by request. 

3. At various venues, The Very Hungry Caterpillar is performed as a play with puppets and black light. 

4. Carle and his wife created the Eric Carle Museum for children book illustrations. 

5. His book The Very Hungry Caterpillar just celebrated it’s the 50th year in publication and is probably the most known book by Carle. 




Thursday, June 13, 2019

Shannon's Review - The Bridge Ladies by Betsy Lerner





Title: The Bridge Ladies
Series: None
Author: Betsy Lerner
Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir, Biography, Autobiography
Publisher: Harper Wave
Received: Paperbackswap.com
Release Date: April 2016
Pages: 320
Rating:






Author Betsy Lerner’s Official Websites:



Website:
https://betsylerner.com/

Blog:
https://betsylerner.com/

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

Twitter:
https://twitter.com/betsylerner



Shannon’s Thoughts:

Author Betsy Lerner records her time learning to play bridge so she can connect with her mother and her friends. She learns things about the women in her life, and she tries to use this knowledge to understand her relationship with her mother.

I read this book for book club. It is not something I would normally pick. There was so much potential for revelations for the author as she learns some of her mother’s history. The hope for some poignant feelings about the ladies was the only reason I kept pushing through to the end.

Sadly there was no great confession or a new bond between mother and daughter. None that I could see or felt.

Since I was able to finish means the writing still flowed for me but as a story, there was nothing interesting here. I have no interest in the people that are written about and the game bridge sounds even harder than I thought.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Shannon's Review - The Antidote by Shelley Sackier




Title: The Antidote
Series: Not At The Moment
Author: Shelley Sackier
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy, Magic
Publisher: HarperTeen
Received: From Publisher For Review
Release Date: February 2019
Pages: 368
Rating:


Author Shelley Sackier’s Official Websites:




Website:
https://shelleysackier.com/


Blog:
https://shelleysackier.com/


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


Twitter:
https://twitter.com/ShelleySackier





Shannon’s Thoughts:
Author Shelly Sackier weaves a high fantasy world with magic, deception, and intriguing characters. Ophelia (“Fee”) is studying to be a healer in Fireli, a kingdom where plague rages, magic is forbidden, and certain bloodlines cannot mix. As a child, she had a magic ability to make plants grow. But her best friend and the crown prince, Xavi, has begged with her not to use her magic. Now Fee is betrothed to Xavi’s brother Rye, who was sent away to protect him from the plague. As the years' pass, Fee and Xavi remain in Fireli by continually taking the antidote, but Fee is convinced the plague is gone and does not always take hers. Her magic awakens as Xavi becomes ill to the point of death, and Fee is accused of poisoning her best friend. Imprisoned, she must convince Rye that she is innocent and her knowledge might save Xavi. But Xavi has been kidnapped by Princess Quinn, his fiancee, and taken to her kingdom with the mysterious healer Mistress Goodsong.

Intriguing characters keep the reader invested as Fee uncovers the secrets that oppressed her powers and kept her from knowing her true family. It is an enjoyable book that in my opinion could be the start of a series.

I feel the title isn’t fitting for the book though. I am curious to know if there were other choices. I thought the antidote that the characters take in the long run wasn’t the main focus and it just seemed off to me.

This was the author’s Shelley Sackier third book and would like to check out more titles by her. The Freemason’s Daughter looks promising. I think people who like Mercedes Lackey and Tamora Pierce will enjoy this book.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Shannon's Review - Loki's Wolves by K.L. Armstrong & M.A. Marr








Title: Loki’s Wolves
Series: The Blackwell Pages #1
Authors: K.L. Armstrong and M.A. Marr
Genre: Juvenile, Fiction, Adventure, Fantasy, Norse Mythology
Publisher: Little Brown Books For Young Readers
Received: Given For Review
Release Date: May 2013
Pages: 358
Rating:






Author K.L. Armstrong’s Official Websites:









Website:
http://www.kelleyarmstrong.com/


Blog:https://kelleyarmstrong.tumblr.com/


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


Twitter:
https://twitter.com/kelleyarmstrong


Author M.A. Marr’s Official Websites:








Website:
http://www.melissamarrbooks.com/


Blog:http://www.melissamarrbooks.com/writing---life-blog.html


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


Twitter:https://twitter.com/melissa_marr




Shannon’s Thoughts:


A retelling of Norse mythology for pre-teens, Loki’s Wolves is the first in a trilogy called The Blackwell Pages. Similar to the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan, we are introduced to a main character, Matt Thorsen, who is related to a God (or so his family history states). Then we meet Laurie and Fen, descents of Loki. Fen and Matt do not get along that well. Fen tries to do everything he can to protect and take care of his cousin Laurie. The world shows signs that the end of the world, or Ragnarok, is coming. As a descendant of Thor, Matt must lead a group of kid descendants to stop the destruction of their world.

I find nothing wrong with this being similar to another author's series. In fact, I think this will fill the readers' ache for more like it. I enjoy mythology retelling as much as I enjoy fairy tale retelling. The book has quick paced chapters, and I did not expect the ending. It made me eager to read the next book.

I like that all the kids have different abilities that relate to the Gods they are a descended from, but my mythology knowledge is not so great. I wish the authors had told us a little more about each kid’s divine ancestor and why they had that ability. I do realize some of the kids did not know they were actual demigods, so maybe the reader knows as much as they do.

As a whole it is a good read. It’s got action, adventure, magic and monsters. I plan on reading the rest of the series. I recommend this one for fans of the Percy Jackson and the Harry Potter series.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Mumbling Mondays - Just Keep Reading/Drawing/Writing






Mumbling Mondays - Just Keep Reading/Drawing/Writing






Yep just keep swimming … or um creating ...um yeah create. I keep reading. I keep drawing or painting. I keep writing… This last one is hard to keep doing. I have been writing book reviews here so long and just because I love reading and books. I have come across a few opportunities where companies were looking for book reviewers. I thought wow I could get paid for something I like to do. Well I have sent my resume and writing examples of my reviews and ...nothing. No reply. So I can’t help but wonder how bad is my writing. So bad no reply is necessary. That is one reason it is hard to keep writing the reviews. That and is anyone really reading. I know I get once and awhile readers and I am grateful for those of you who come. I feel a need to know what my place is..what am I meant to be or do? So I keep swimming. Say hi if you are swimming by. 





Finished Reading this week






This is #2 of this graphic novel series about Gods returned to earth every 90 years. They reveal themselves to the world as they only have 2 years to live. What there goal is unknown so far so it reminds me a little like American Gods by Neil Gaiman.






Other Stuff I Did This Week





Binged Watch








Godzilla:King of The Monsters in Theatres Now. 

This week I watched more things that my husband was into. Chernobyl was good and heartbreaking. So many people suffered unnecessarily. All because of money and stupid people. 

Godzilla was full of stupidity too. People doing dumb things. I noticed many shows and movies are finding villains who believe like Thanos in Avengers. They believe we must destroy half of the population of the world to bring a new and better world. 





My Creative Side



I have been working on our Xmas cards for this year. I have done a theme for the last 6 years.





Santa and Mrs. Claus 2013



(missing image)

Dickenson 2014






Star Wars 2015






Harry Potter 2016 






Marvel 2017





Peanuts 2018





??? ?????? 2019 



This year is a secret ;) It is my favorite one so far. I hope it stays that way once I finish coloring it in. 




Friday, June 7, 2019

Five Fun Facts - Dr. Seuss


Five Fun Facts


About Author 

Dr. Seuss

Author of over 60 children books, like Green Eggs And Ham, How The Grinch Stole Christmas and Oh The Places You Will Go!.





(photo borrowed from Goodreads.com)




1. Everyone pronounces Dr. Seuss wrong. Most of us say “Su ss” when it should be pronounced as if rhyming with the word voice...so it is really said as Dr. “Soice”




2. Never had children but was known to say “You have them I’ll entertain them.” 




3. As a young boy scout each boy of his troop was to receive a medal from President Teddy Roosevelt, in person or so he thought. Unfortunately, he was left on stage with nothing to be given him because of a misunderstanding. 




4. Became an author accidentally after being asked to illustrate books. 



5. His inspiration for The Grinch was himself. 




Info collected from Wikipedia, Saturday Evening Post, and Biography.com