Quote of the Week

Neil Gaiman Coraline

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52 Weeks of Literary Crafts: Gryffindor Scarf

Gryffindor Scarf

Finally! I’ve managed to complete my set of Hogwart’s scarves. The stubborn part of me is very pleased that I managed to do this, though I’m not going to pretend that this was a very complicated project.

I used the same approach and design as the Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, and Gryffindor scarves (I wanted them to all match, after all).

I think they all look quite nice together, don’t you?

Hogwarts ScarvesHogwarts Scarves

Are there any other scarf variants you’ve seen (for example I know the movies all had their own versions, year to year) that you really think I should try to make? Or is this more than enough for now?

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Painted Botanical Collage: Transforming Mixed-Media Papers into Cut Paper Blooms

Painted Botanical Collage

Publisher: Quarry Books
Author: Tracey English
Release: October 2nd
Received: NetGalley
Rating: 4 Kitties

I received a copy of Painted Botanical Collage through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Painted Botanical Collage is an incredibly detailed tutorial on using collages to create natural looking floral artworks. If I sound surprised there, it’s because I am. This book is relatively short, being less than fifty pages, but it covers so much in that short amount of time. It’s astonishing, really.

This instructional book covers everything from the materials and tools used all the way to how the artist (Tracey English) designed and created specific flowers. My favorite part, oddly enough, was in the middle of all this. English took the time to explain and show how she would create her own background papers – papers that she would then cut up and use in her collages. It is actually a brilliant idea, and one I would never have thought of on my own.

I love Tracey English’s bright and creative style for collages. Each piece had such personality and character to them all, while still absolutely looking like the flower or plant she intended on. I couldn’t think of a better instructor to have written this book.

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Review: Great Lakes Avengers: Same Old, Same Old

Great Lakes Avengers

Publisher: Marvel
Released: July 11th 2017
Received: Marvel Unlimited
Issues: Great Lakes Avengers 1-7
Rating: 4 Kitties

I read Great Lakes Avengers as single issues through Marvel Unlimited.

For sake of honestly I should tell you that I never read the original Great Lakes Avengers, and thus don’t know a whole bunch about the original crew and what they went through. Still, if I let that stop me, I’d never pick up any new series in any of the larger comic publishing worlds.

What made getting into this series a little difficult, ironically, wasn’t that I didn’t know the characters. It was knowing that the series had been canceled before I even started reading it. I know, I know – if you want a series to continue you need to buy it as the issues come out (I’ve been told that’s when they crunch their numbers and decide the fate of a series), but in my defense this series sort of slid under the radar for me.

After having read it though, I’m wishing that wasn’t the case. I don’t know if one more fan would have made the difference. Perhaps it was cancelled for a completely different, though unlikely, reason. Who knows. Still, this was a fun, quirky, and light series with lots of unique and humorous characters. I’m sad to see it go, especially after a mere seven issues.

Spoiler Warning

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Review: Worlds Seen in Passing

Worlds Seen in Passing

Publisher: Tor
Released: September 4th 2018
Received: NetGalley
Warnings: Animal death, graphic descriptions of death and decay
Rating: 4.5 Kitties

I received a copy of Worlds Seen in Passing through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

This has to be one of the most impressive collection of short stories I’ve read in a long time. This year marks the tenth year that Tor has been publishing fiction, and this was their way of celebrating their success. What a way to celebrate, right?

Worlds Seen in Passing contains a wild variety of themes and subjects, from science fiction and/or fantasy to horror. Every story is different and unique, yet the flow from one to the next was masterfully done. Not once did I find myself struggling to remember what happened in a specific short.

While reading Worlds Seen in Passing, I was strongly reminded of the fact that I should really read more collections like this. The greedy part of me hopes to see more compilations like this from Tor.

If you look at the table of contents you may find yourself overwhelmed by the number of short stories included here (forty in total, for those that are curious), and there are some major names included as well. Many will recognize Charlie Jane Anders, N. K. Jemisin, Leigh Bardugo, Yoon Ha Lee, Carrie Vaughn, Max Gladstone, just to name a few.

I’m sure everyone that has read the collection could point out the ones that stuck out the most to them, the ones they loved the most, or the ones they felt the most impact from. I’m also sure that based on how many short stories are in this compilation, none of us would give the same answer. Personally, my favorites would have to be: Six Months, Three Days by Charlie Jane Anders, Waiting on a Bright Moon by JY Yang, The Litany of Earth by Ruthanna  Emrys, Brimestone and Marmalade by Aaron Corwin, About Faries by Pat Murphy, and The Shape of My Name by Nino Cipri. While those ones were my favorite, I have to admit that some of the others had a very strong impact on me personally, for varying reasons. The Best We Can by Carrie Vaughn, Please Undo this Hurt by Seth Dickinson, the Language of Knives by Haralambi Markov, and Eros, Philia, Agape by Rachel Swirsky all seem to strike a chord with me. Also, please don’t underestimate how difficult it was to not let myself list every short story in the collection here – it was very tempting.

Before I review each of these individually, I will mention that while they were all fantastic and expertly written, they also tend to be on the heavier and more somber side of fiction. That isn’t the case for all, but I’ll confess that I found myself only being able to read one or two at a time before taking a breather. I still greatly enjoyed the experience – I just wanted to give new readers a heads up. Additionally there are several shorts that I would put a ‘warning’ label on, as with my typical reviews. I’ll try to put a warning in the brief reviews, but there being so many, I don’t want to promise that I didn’t miss anything.

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Quote of the Week

Michelle Sagara West

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52 Weeks of Literary Crafts: Hufflepuff Scarf

Hufflepuff Scarf

I can’t believe we’re already on to the sixth week of this challenge! I’ve been having a lot of fun working on these, and if I’m being completely honest with myself I think that it’s been helping with my stress level too. The only downside is that I’ve seen a slight decrease in how much I’m reading. One can only split the day into so many projects before you run out of hours…shame really.

This week I worked on my Hufflepuff scarf. Admittedly this may have been a little cheap of me, since it’s basically the same pattern I’ve shown before, only in different colors. I used the same loom, pattern, etc, for the Hufflepuff scarf as I did for my Ravenclaw and Slytherin scarves.

On the bright side, I’m only one shy of having the full set! So that’s pretty exciting.

Hufflepuff Scarf

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Kawaii Doodle Cuties: Sketching Super-Cute Stuff from around the World

Kawaii Doodle Cuties

Publisher: Race Point Publishing
Author: Pic Candle
Release: November 6th 2018
Received: NetGalley
Rating: 4 Kitties

I received a copy of Kawaii Doodle Cuties through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Kawaii Doodle Cuties has got to be one of the cutest art books I’ve read in quite some time. No wonder they found a way to include cute in the title! It was difficult for me to not be distracted by all the cute drawings while reading the instructions, but I’m not considering that a bad thing in this case.

This artbook covers everything I could possibly ask for on the subject. It starts with tips, tricks, and tools, as well as a quick guide on how to use the book. From there it goes through several major categories, showing how to draw different things from each. The categories include adorable food (see what I mean about the book being cute?), precious nature & natural wonders, enchanting architecture & monuments, lovable animals & birds, charming transportation, fetching fashion, and finally everyday cute. And yes, those really are the titles of each of the categories listed in the book. I didn’t make them up myself. So that should give you an idea of how adorable this instructional book is.

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Bookish Items Promotion: Literary Book Gifts

Literary Book Gifts has a ton of really cute totes and T-Shirts to browse through. I’m not going to lie – I may have spent about an hour just looking through everything (and trying to convince myself to buy ten tote bags…). I particularly like the fact that there are so many classics represented in this collection.

Pride and Prejudice Tote

The Pride & Prejudice bag is one of my favorites (and one that I can’t talk myself out of buying).

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Review: Damage Vol. 1: Out of Control

Damage Vol. 1: Out of Control

Publisher: DC Comics
Release: September 25th 2018
Received: NetGalley
Issues: Damage 1-6
Rating: 3.5 Stars

I received a copy of Damage Vol. 1 through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Damage is a new series by DC Comics, and if you look at the cover you can immediately get a good idea of what sort of character this guy is. Like we’ve seen in many a comic book series, Ethan Avery was a solider willing to do anything to help his country – including letting mad scientists experiment on him. Unfortunately for him, while the experiment was a success, he didn’t make out so well as many other characters in the same position.

Spoiler Warning

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