Tuesday, February 28, 2017

It's March?! But I'm still in January

Well the month may say March tomorrow (or today for some of you) but in my world it's still January as I work on Garnet from the Birthstone Dragon SAL. 
Here she is at about halfway. I'm doing backstitch as I go because I dislike backstitch and don't want to dread doing it all at end of the fun stitching crosses part. ;) 


In other stitching news... 
I've decided to hold off on ordering the Canada Patriotic SAL from Jeanette Douglas. It's just a bit pricey and seeing new patterns for Nashville Market makes me itch to get more patterns than one set with that money. But I'm holding off on ordering anything as I finally got to order my new HAED materials! 
Which means... Next post I will be revealing my new 'focus' piece that is a HAED!! 
And most excitingly (is that a word?) is that this HAED is supported by the hubby to go up in the house! Yep that's right, I'll actually keep some of my own stitching. Very exciting! 
Looking forward to the mail later this week or early next when my supplies arrive so I can share the excitement! 

Mermaid Trouble

Title: Mermaid Trouble 
Author: Andy Mulberry
Genre: teen, paranormal
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Well the great news for this book is I'm dying to read more! That's a big compliment in my mind. 

The not so great news is I'm not dying to read the next one because of amazing plot... but I do really like our characters. 

The main gal, Lana, is written like and sounds like a real person with real life problems including money, shelter, school, etc. It's always nice to read about someone relatable and genuine. 

The actual Fae, fantasy part of this book is where it's  weak. If you're hoping that mermaids make a large splash you will be sorely disappointed. If you're hoping for some grand sweeping world building you also won't get it. But there is some potential here. I almost feel like Mermaid Trouble is the free short book publishers give to readers to suck them into a new series. If that is the future of this story I think it will drive many new readers to Andy Mulberry. 

Overall this is a short but sweet, fun read. Nothing mind blowing or show stopping but that's okay sometimes you just want to read about a gal whose got problems like yours plus some fairies to deal with. :) 

Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review. Don't believe me? Check out the other books I've had eARCs for that I gave bad or great reviews to. I always give my opinion whether good or bad.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Miranda and Caliban

Title: Miranda and Caliban
Author: Jacqueline Carey
Genre: Adult Fantasy, Retellings
Rating: 3 out of 5

Let me begin with this; I've never read the Tempest. I'm vaguely familiar with the storyline but not to any level of detail. So going into Carey's latest novel I didn't really know what to expect. Miranda and Caliban is a well written, quick paced book. It certainly kept my attention.

What it didn't do is really make me care about any of our characters, especially Miranda. I don't really know why but I just never understood Miranda. Maybe because if it was me I would have been much more defiant than Miranda is towards her father; or maybe because I feel like she is so naive and I can't imagine any one person knowing so little about their own feelings, thoughts and body. This likely makes me a snob, but I just couldn't imagine being her or relating to her in most instances.
Caliban however is a doll and the kind of character you just want to pick up and coddle for the rest of their life. He's both kind, naive, helpful, and loving without even realizing what most of those things are.

There was one thing that really dropped this book to three stars for me however, I cannot figure out the point of Ariel except for two moments in which I feel Ariel is not actually as critical as it seems. One is to report something happening, but let's face it the character that is alerted could certainly have stumbled upon the situation without Ariel leading him to it. The second is to carry out a 'task' that I think another character could have conjured on their own. Therefore it seemed like Ariel was only there to be an annoying, inconsiderate, mean figure that put doubt in everyone's minds. But let's face it eventually all of our characters are likely smart enough to have figured things out on their own. Maybe not as quickly, but I don't believe any one of them needed for Ariel to be present.

I'm going to think about reading Shakespeare's the Tempest now that I have read this as I'm curious to know what Carey took from the play and what she conjured on her own.

Overall this book is certainly worth reading if you like the Tempest or Carey's previous books. It's not near as good as :Kushiel's Dart| series, Banewreaker or others. That said it certainly lives up to the excellent quality of writing I except from Carey, even if the story didn't do it for me.

Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review. Don't believe me? Check out the other books I've had eARCs for that I gave great or bad reviews to. I always give my opinion whether good or bad. ;)

Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett

Title: The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett
Author: Chelsea Sedoti
Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

This book is one of the most genuine, honest teenage narrations I have ever read. There are no points during our time with Hawthorne (who we experience the story through) that I thought weren't characteristic of what a teenage would think or do. Kudos to Chelsea Sedoti for capturing that teenage brain and thought process so superbly.

I didn't really love this book to start with, it was okay, writing was good enough however to keep going. I'm so glad I did. This is a case where a YA book is truly written for YA audience. Most adults are going to roll their eyes at some of the absurdity of this book; like werewolves potentially being real...and yet not really real. But I think many of us that enjoy YA books need to remember that we are not the target audience; and shouldn't be.

There are so many great awkward moments in this books including the loss of virginity, coping with death and grief, coping with bullying and overall coping with not knowing who you are or what you want to do. These are all moments we've all experienced. Some of us more recently than others of course (lol); but for those who are living those moments everyday, right now as teens I believe this book may speak to them and for that reason alone it should be in the library of every high school in the world. These tough topics are not dealt with in an overly sentimental, flowery way; instead they are handled in a real life, uncomfortable, uncertain, despairing way. Just the way the real world is.

I'm not a big crier with anything really (you can psycho analyze that later), but I really don't like books where the point is to make you cry near the end. The great thing about The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett is that I didn't feel like I was supposed to cry. I felt many emotions for our characters but not once did I feel like things were so awful that I should cry for them. This way of writing the story and experiencing it was very honest to me. Some of you who are big criers will have your possible moment (or two) but for those like me that avoid the 'make you cry' books I can honestly say that while it feels like maybe this would be one of them it really isn't.

Overall I believe Sedoti has created a voice in the YA section that most teens will understand and relate to. That alone would be enough for a good review from me, but the fact that she has also instilled some learnings, understandings and reminders that are in the best interest for teens to adhere to is the icing on the cake.
Buy this book for a teen (especially a girl) that you know, they won't know it but maybe in ten years they will realize it made an impact and that it changed their life in small, important ways. That's what kind of book this is; one that unassumingly validates what you feel and then gently suggests a better way to view it or cope.

Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review. Don't believe me? Check out the other books I've had eARCs for that I gave great reviews to. I always give my opinion whether good or bad. ;)

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Cute, cute, cute design!

So the other day I was doing some upgrades and changes to my Etsy shop. When you click the main home page at anytime Etsy gives recommendations. Like the age old Amazon trick, they try to find you things like what you've searched for in the past to engage in impulse buying. I may have fallen for it...

But it's not a bad thing as I found this super cute little design that I am just in love with! It's from the Etsy shop 14Count. The Lord of the Rings theme (but not the silly pixel people everyone loves so much) really called to me; because of course I'm a geek. Therefore I couldn't help myself. LOL! Also super affordable. 

14Count has a couple other cute patterns I may get in the future. They are just PDF downloads and there is nothing 'fancy' about the layout of the pattern. But who cares, they are affordable, from an independant designer and like I said totally cute! So forgive me for enabling but this little gem was just dying to be shared! 

So I will be putting this one near the top of the to be stitched pile; which as always is out of control. :) 
As always there was no paid endorsement here, this is just something I came across and wanted to share. Happy Stitching!

The Girl Who Drank The Moon


Title: The Girl Who Drank The Moon

Author: Kelly Barnhill

Genre: Young Adult/Children's, Fantasy

Rating: 4.25 out of 5 

This lyrical beauty has a strong beginning and end. Sadly somewhere in the middle, for a reason I can't identify I lost a bit of interest (4.25 stars out of 5 for me). However that can't take away from the gorgeous writing that Kelly Barnhill has put together. The story is both cute, poignant and funny all at the same time. 

This reminded me of a combination of Terry Pratchett's Discworld and Alice in Wonderland. 

What I can really say about this book is just read it if it intrigues you at all. Don't be put off by its children's classification as there's so much more here than a pre-teen/YA book. I can absolutely appreciate why it has won so many awards and would buy it for so many people I know. 

My small blip with it in the middle may have just been timing, my attention wandering for other reasons or any number of things. I think in a few years I'd be very comfortable and happy to re-read this book and feel like I was revisiting a real gem of literature. 

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Birthstone Dragons - Border Start

I got my beautiful fabric on Friday for my Borthstone Dragons SAL and couldn't wait to get it going! 
I'm stitching it on 40ct Vintage Antique Ivory by Silkweaver. As always I just adore Silkweaver fabric. It's always so perfectly soft and of course a 40ct has nice, tight holes! 
I've decided to do the border with The Gentle Art 1110 Sable. I looked through a lot of different variegated threads I had on hand and in the end decided that I wanted something that wouldn't interfere with how colourful all the dragons are. So of course nothing is better than brown/black! 
Here it is so far: 

Teeny tiny stitches. I almost forgot how awesomely small 40ct over two is. I know it will turn out gorgeous so I'm sticking with it even after an hour of stitching and cursing tiny holes (lol). 

The dragons themselves are DMC.  I'm behind (SAL started in January) and it's unlikely I will catch up given how little time I can carve out to stitch while my shop is busy. But that's okay, because busy Etsy shop equals more money to buy stitching stuff!! 

I know a few of you might be remembering that I have a new HAED to start for the year. I do have it, but haven't had a chance to purchase the fabric and missing DMC I need. Hopefully by months end! 
I'm also planning to purchase Jeanette's Canada series for my birthday (in just over a week) so that's another new start. 
Goodness I have a lot of starts and not much progress! That will get better I'm sure. :) 
Thanks for stopping by and happy stitching!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Magdalen Girls

Title: The Magdalen Girls
Author: V. S. Alexander
Genre: Fiction, Historical, Literature
Rating: 5/5 stars!

This book is absolutely brilliant. Parts of it are based on true events or known situations which only makes the circumstances and treatment of the girls more tragic. Even without the tidbits of truth I believe Alexander would make anyone care about her characters.
I have always been intrigued by the way we, as humans in history and today, decide a person is unsuitable, mentally unstable or a harm to themselves or others. While there are many obvious cases in which intervention is needed ; I believe there are likely twice as many cases where prejudice, personal preference or other circumstances resulted in the incarceration of someone unjustly.
The problem with a lack of true scientific or compelling evidence (ie: video) is that suddenly the situation and what happened becomes subjective. The Magdalen Girls does an excellent job of showing how one person of power can ruin someone. I couldn't help but imagine, what if that someone was me? It's chilling.

This is an excellent book club choice. Lots of great content and moments that should spark conversation and possibly some good debates. For those who tend to shy away from religious books or women's literature let me assure you that this novel is really about injustice and how easy it is for things to get out of control. The means in which we are told the story are actually quite irrelevant at the end of the day. I didn't feel hindered at all by the religion (and I'm not Catholic or Christian so sometimes religion ruins things for me). This book is just written so well that I knew while reading it that this wasn't about priests, nuns or convents; instead it's about how unfair life can be. And a reminder that we all may be one misstep away from a very bad day that changes the course of our lives; because keep in mind this set-up is based on truth.

I highly recommend this book and am so grateful to have received an eARC copy. I liked it so much that it will be added to my list of eBooks that need to be on my print shelf.

Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review. Don't believe me? Check out the other books I've had eARCs for that I gave poor reviews to. I always give my opinion whether good, bad or neutral. ;)

Saturday, February 4, 2017


Title: Selected 
Author: Evelyn Lederman
Genre(s): Science Fiction, Teen 
Rating: 2/5 stars 

This is a frustrating book. The premise and social commentary opportunities should have made it amazing. And yet it wasn't. 
There are sooo many errors throughout this book it's painful. Between basic typos and punctuation issues to sections that jump around for no reason to statements or descriptions that immediately contradict each other; it's just annoying to read. (I checked the published text and it has the same typos and problems as my copy).The concept and idea is good. Some of the writing near the beginning is alright but it's like Evelyn Lederman only had moments of brilliance surrounded by poor writing the majority of the time. 

It feels like characters in Selected only have emotions of indifference or anger. Considering the children are ripped from their homes and taken away on an alien spaceship; everyone seems to be relatively okay with things. Yes there are moments of crying and attempted sadness but never once did I feel anything for these characters except major frustration that they weren't MORE upset. 

The romance is awkwardly handled and feels like we're in an 8-12 year old book. Chaste kisses, lame comments about how pretty someone is and a lack of desire really turned me off. When I was 14 years old I know if I liked any boy(s) I was much more obsessive about it and certainly didn't think about how I was too young or have thoughts about how it was inappropriate. Apparently the heroine Kara is a 14-year old prude.

If you want to read about kids being selected for possibly horrific futures just re-read Hunger Games. Trust me there is nothing here worth any amount of time (unless you want to edit or re-write Selected). 

Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review. Don't believe me? Check out the other books I've had eARCs for that I gave great reviews to. I always give my opinion whether good or bad. ;)