Hauls

Book Haul | March 2019

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I will be the first to admit, I come into way to many books since my last haul, Book Haul | January & February 2019, which was two months combined. I am not sure what happened, but I think I am prone to stress buying. Anyway, this book haul with be a few books I picked up at the end of February and all of the books I have picked up up until this point in March. I did order another book for #OWLsReadathon2019 since I had none that met the requirements, so it wont be in the picture, but it will be mentioned.
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-The Books-

  • The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi, I picked this up at my local independant bookstore because I was in the area. I try to help them out as much as I can.
  • Catapult by Emily Fridlund, this is the second book I picked up at the indie bookstore
  • The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon, this was a preorder I put in months and months ago. I think I preordered it as soon as you could honestly. I loved her Bone Season series and her writing style so I wanted to see how her adult fantasy was.
  • Where’d You go Bernadette by Maria Semple, I picked this up to help with my reading goals, you can find my most recent update here: Reading & Blog Goals | 2019 First Quarter Check In, this book covers Antartica if many lists on goodreads are to be trusted. lol.
  • The Butchering Art by Lindsay Fitzharris, this book about very early medicine and how they pretty much just butchered people in the earlier days has been on my radar for some time and with the BN sale earlier in the month I picked it up for 50% off.
  • Elevation by Stephen King – This was a very nice library find that I picked up for $1.00. I was very happy about this because this is a very tiny books, yes a tiny book by Stephen King, but I did not want to pay full price for it.
  • Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid – This was my BOTM pick for March, you can find all my reasons for picking here: Book of the Month| March 2019.
  • Unliving Academy by Angelina Allsop, I was went this book by the authors team. I read the description and I think it is really intriguing.
  • The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkein, I have previously read this and owned this, but my old edition needed to be replaced before I can reread it.
  • The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides, this book is a combination of my friend Amy, from Tomes With Tea  raving about it and it being on my radar for some time.
  • Skin Deep by Liz Nugent – Liz Nugent is one of auto buy authors, whom I just love. I will be buying a second copy of this when it comes out in the US so I can support her as much as I can.
  • The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls, this I was able to get for free from a coworker and I have seen it for quite some time and it seems really interesting.
  • Fierce Fairytales by Nikita Gill, so I was in need for a book meet a requirement for Care of Magical Creatures-Land animal on the cover in this year I reached out to Amy, from Tomes With Tea,
  • Becoming by Michelle Obama, I have been wanting to read this, but the price was a bit too high for me. I was able to find it on sale and I jumped on the deal.

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So in total I added 14 books to my collection this month. Oops! 

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Are any of these on your TBR?

What book have you acquired or borrowed this month?

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Goals

Reading & Blog Goals | 2019 First Quarter Check In

Reading Goals NEW

I cannot believe a quarter of the year is nearly already over, but you know that means it is time to check into my yearly goals to see my progress and see if I need to adjust myself to reach my goals. If you want to see the entire post explaining my 2019 goals, you can read that post here: Reading Goals | 2019 Edition. Anyway, I thought I would do a brief list of the goals and then I would do a but of commenting on them. I also want to share my updated yearly goals spread in my bullet journal. I am a very visual person so having that in my bullet journal really helps.

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-My Goals-

  1. Read all of the short listed books for the 2018 Man Booker Prize
  2. Read a book set in each of the 7 continents
  3. Read 50 books
  4. Read 30,000 pages
  5. Read at least one book per month from the library
  6. Read 12 non-fiction books
  7. Read a book recommended by someone I look up to
  8. Read my classic of 2019, War and Peace
  9. Take part in 2019 Beat the Backlist
    • My backlisted books are here.

Divider 2-My Updates-

1. At this time I have only read 1 of the 6 books from this shortlist.

Washington BlackWashington Black by Esi Edugyan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is such an adventure, it starts with a young boy, age 11. Sadly, he is a slave on a sugar plantation in Barbados run by two brothers. The author wrote a beautiful book that shows the ugly that is slavery. It talks about awful psychological games played by owners and the bad treatment many had to endure unfairly. I also like how the author showed abolitionists and aspects of the underground railroad. The dangers of faced by those who escaped and freed those who did not belong to them. I also really enjoyed the science, art, and almost steampunk elements. I am honestly not doing this book justice, but I will say it was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2018 and it is well deserved. I also have to agree with the quote on the front of my book calling it a masterpiece.

View all my reviews

2. At this time I have read 2 books for this goal. I have read for North America and Europe. I have picked up three more books for this challenge. Those being Africa, Antartica, and Asia. If you have any recommendations for South America, please share!

3. At this time I have read 19 books, I am 9 books ahead of schedule!

4. At this point in time I have read 9498 pages, so I am nearly a third of the way to my goal. So theory I should be finishing this before the year is out and I am on track.

5. So far I gave stuck to that, at minimum I have read a book a month from the library.

6. Looking at the 19 books I have read this year, a total of 6 books have been non-fiction. So, I am already 50% done with this goal.

7. At this time I have read 0 books for this goal, I did buy Milkman by Anna Burns, but with recent reviews I am a little afraid to pick it up. I have very similar taste in books to one of my friends and she did not enjoy it, I think she told me she DNFed it or struggled to read it.

8. At this time I have read 2 sections of the 17 I set up for the year. I am a bit behind because I focused on reading Monte Cristo with Jenna and put War and Peace on the back burner. I plan on picking it back up in April.

9. As of writing this I am going very well with my backlist. I have 20 books on my backlist, which I am very ecstatic about!

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-Bullet Journal Spread-

Overall, for only being a quarter into the year, I think I am doing very well for myself. I know with the OWLs Readathon coming up I will be getting though many more books as well. Plus, I do a lot of reading in the warmer months of the year and I have plenty of time.

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How are your goals progressing so far? What goals did you get for yourself in 2019?

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Reviews

REVIEW | If, Then by Kate Hope Day

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* I received this book from publisher via netgalley for free in exchange for an honest review.*  

If, Then Description: 

The residents of a sleepy mountain town are rocked by troubling visions of an alternate reality in this dazzling debut that combines the family-driven suspense of Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere with the inventive storytelling of The Immortalists.

In the quiet haven of Clearing, Oregon, four neighbors find their lives upended when they begin to see themselves in parallel realities. Ginny, a devoted surgeon whose work often takes precedence over her family, has a baffling vision of a beautiful co-worker in Ginny’s own bed and begins to doubt the solidity of her marriage. Ginny’s husband, Mark, a wildlife scientist, sees a vision that suggests impending devastation and grows increasingly paranoid, threatening the safety of his wife and son. Samara, a young woman desperately mourning the recent death of her mother and questioning why her father seems to be coping with such ease, witnesses an apparition of her mother healthy and vibrant and wonders about the secrets her parents may have kept from her. Cass, a brilliant scholar struggling with the demands of new motherhood, catches a glimpse of herself pregnant again, just as she’s on the brink of returning to the project that could define her career.

At first the visions are relatively benign, but they grow increasingly disturbing—and, in some cases, frightening. When a natural disaster threatens Clearing, it becomes obvious that the visions were not what they first seemed and that the town will never be the same.

Startling, deeply imagined, and compulsively readable, Kate Hope Day’s debut novel is about the choices we make that shape our lives and determine our destinies—the moments that alter us so profoundly that it feels as if we’ve entered another reality.

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What I Liked

This was a very fast paced read that had you flying through the lives if the four propionate characters. I have been reading a lot of big novels such as The Count of Monte Cristo, so reading such a fast paced book, that didn’t feel rushed was wonderful and just what I needed.

I also enjoyed how this was a science fiction novel that wasn’t too out there. It just blurred the lines between alternate realities and did so in a really interesting way. As I was reading this I was almost getting NOS4A2 vibes in this respect. It was just a little science fiction that really lit up the story. It takes a skilled writer to just take something small and build a story like this surrounding it.

The writing in this novel was done really well. It takes talent in my eyes to be able to create a story that shifts so much between characters, time, and in some cases reality as the characters know it. If I had tried to do such a thing there would be plot holes left and right. Additionally, her writing style is very enjoyable to a point I will be looking into her future books, I hope she writes more.


What I Didn’t Like

Personally for me I did not get fully attached to any of the characters. This does not mean they were poorly written or anything like that. I just think because there were four main characters and the story flew by so quickly I didn’t really get a chance to connect with them. The characters themselves were interesting, especially since they seemed to be “battling” and experiencing such different things in their lives.


Overall Thoughts

This is a very intriguing and interesting book. The premise of this book reminded me of a combination of books I already enjoyed, while it was all her own. The book flew by, but I can also see how that can be a disservice to this story. Overall, it was a good read in my eyes, I was entertained and I wanted to know what would happen next so I kept turning the pages.  If you want a fast paced read that is a little out of the ordinary and has you thinking about alternate realities/dimensions I suggest this book to you.

4stars

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Author Links

Kate Hope Day

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Book Information

Publication Date: March 12th 2019

Publisher: Random House

List Price: $26.00

ISBN: 9780525511229

Pages: 272 pages

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Hauls

Book of the Month | February 2019

Unboxing

Well, the start of the month is one of my favorite times. If you have Amazon Prime you get to pick a free book through First Reads and I can pick my Book of the Month. I have been a member of book of the month well over a year at this point and I have found some unexpected favorites.

The main thing I love about this subscription is, I get to pick from 5 books or I can skip if nothing sounds interesting. I love having the books curated for me, but also having the power to choose where my money goes. Anyway, I am getting off topic. I wanted to share the book I picked this month.

Also, I am very aware that my previous post Decluttering | Switching to Ebooks, I said I would not be buying physical books. But, I am making Book of the Month the exceptions.

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-My Choice-

Early Riser byJasper FForde

-Description-

Every Winter, the human population hibernates.

During those bitterly cold four months, the nation is a snow-draped landscape of desolate loneliness, devoid of human activity.

Well, not quite.

Your name is Charlie Worthing and it’s your first season with the Winter Consuls, the committed but mildly unhinged group of misfits who are responsible for ensuring the hibernatory safe passage of the sleeping masses.

You are investigating an outbreak of viral dreams which you dismiss as nonsense; nothing more than a quirky artefact borne of the sleeping mind.

When the dreams start to kill people, it’s unsettling.

When you get the dreams too, it’s weird.

When they start to come true, you begin to doubt your sanity.

But teasing truth from the Winter is never easy: You have to avoid the Villains and their penchant for murder, kidnapping, and stamp collecting, ensure you aren’t eaten by Nightwalkers, whose thirst for human flesh can only be satisfied by comfort food, and sidestep the increasingly less-than-mythical WinterVolk.

But so long as you remember to wrap up warmly, you’ll be fine.

Also, I love that they add a unique touch to all their books. There is not way I will ever forget when I picked up this book.” (Source: goodreads)

-Why I picked this book-

The main reason I picked this book is because I have never read anything like this. It kinda felt like that recent movie with Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence when they wake up in the middle of space. How eerie and creepy would it be to be awake while the world slept? How would you protect, care for, and function? I also wanted to read science-fiction because it has been a while and I found this to be one that really peaked my interest. Personally, I have a hard time finding science fiction that really excites me. Any recommendations, please share! I just feel like I have not found the right type because I love watching tv shows and movies in the genre.

-Bonus-

I really do love that BOTM puts the month and year the book was from on the books. That way I know how long it has sat on my shelve instead of just thinking it was a month or so ago. For me this is the ultimate memory keeper, but also kick in the butt to read it.

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What did you think of my pick? What is your favorite Science Fiction read?

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Revisiting

Revisiting | Book Buddy Picks My Books Vol. 2

revisiting

So it has been some time since I mentioned by ______ Picks My Books series I did in 2018. I honestly got so caught up in my own books and just kept putting the books off for one reason or another. But, I am happy to say that I can finally do a bit of an update. If you want to read the rest of the series,  I will link that below for you.

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Haul | Book Buddy Picks My Books Vol. 3

Haul | Book Buddy Picks My Books Vol. 2

Revisiting| _____ Picks My Books

Haul | Book Buddy Picks My Books

Haul | Bookseller Picks My Books

Haul | Boyfriend Picks My Books

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The Books

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Huge

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

I ended up liking this book so much more than I thought I would. I normally rarely read about celebrities or actors I like in real life, so I always thought, “Why would I care about one that didn’t even exist?”. Well, I have to say that this book proved that point wrong. Within the first chapter I was already hooked. They methods used by the author to tell Evelyn Hugo’s story were wonderful and made it feel so tangible. Not only did the author tell an addicting story of this woman, but she told a story of so much more than that. That is the part of the story I did not expect and loved. The author did some great things with this book and I highly recommend. Review first published here: Weeks in Review | November 4th-November 10th.

5stars

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things

So, I need to admit something here. I ended up DNFing this book. I read about 50 pages of it and while I enjoyed it very much while reading it. Once I put it down I just did not want to pick it up again. I cannot pin point the reason why, but I just didn’t feel the need to. Like I said, I enjoyed what I read, so I am even more confused. The writing was good, the story was interesting. I just think it was a case of the right book at the right time. I think I may try it again in the future, we shall see. I would suggest that you try it for yourself, I am a huge mood reader and in this case I think I was simply not in the mood.

DividerOverall, I am so happy with Jenna’s choices. I absolutely loved The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, I was in shock at how much I liked it because I usually don’t enjoy books like this at all. While I DNF’ed the other book, I still think it is a good book, I just think I read it at the wrong time and I may give it another shot later on when I am more in the mood for something like that.

Anyway, thank-you for reading and thank-you so much Jenna for picking books to add to my TBR!

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Tags

Liebster Award | Vol. 4

TagTimel12:17Thank you so much for the tag Meeghan, you should all check her out! Her blog is wonderful! This is my 4th time doing this award, but I have to say I really enjoy that each time the questions are different and it keeps things interesting. If you want to see my previous ones I will list them for you to check out.

Rules

  • Answer the 11 questions you’ve been asked
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers
  • Ask your nominees 11 questions
  • Let them know you’ve nominated them

Questions

  1. What are you currently reading, and are you enjoying it?
    • I am currently reading 4 books; War and Peace, The Count of Monte Cristo, The Clockmaker’s Daughter, and the Familiars. I am enjoying them all, I am actually very surprised by how much I am liking The Count of Monte Cristo.
  2. Who is your all-time favourite character?
    • Jo from Little Women, she is smart, kind, brave, and not afraid to be herself.
  3. What are your thoughts on love triangles?
    • If done right they are alright, but the majority of them are annoying and seem forced.
  4. What is your fave book to re-read?
    • I really enjoy rereading the Little Women series and the Harry Potter series.
  5. What was the last book you DNF’ed?
    • I think it was Emergency Contact, I really did not like the main character and I could not make it past 18 pages.
  6. What is your fave fictional animal?
    • Mogget the “cat” from Sabriel.
  7. How many books are on your TBR?
    • My currently at 44 books.
  8. Which book has been on your shelf the longest (read or unread)?
    • The book I have had on my tbr the longest is From Here to Eternity. It has been on my tbr for a year.
  9. What is your fave book to movie adaptation?
    • The Harry Potter series.
  10. Which character would you swap lives with?
    • None, we only see a small part of a characters life. I enjoy my life and would like it keep it.
  11. What do you do when you’re in a reading slump?
    • I read a small book, a graphic novel, or reread a favorite.

My Questions

  1. What book/s can you not live without?
  2. Your first favorite book?
  3. Goodreads challenge/reading goal for this year?
  4. Favorite series?
  5. Do you read Fanfiction?
  6. Where is your favorite place to read?
  7. Are you a fast or slow reader?
  8. Do you use bookmarks?
  9. What book do you recommend the most to others?
  10. Where do you buy your books?
  11. What book do you dislike that everyone seems to love?

I Nominate

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Reviews

REVIEW | The Familiars by Stacey Halls

BookReview12:17

* I received this book from publisher via netgalley for free in exchange for an honest review.*

The FamiliarsDescription

Young Fleetwood Shuttleworth, a noblewoman, is with child again. None of her previous pregnancies have borne fruit, and her husband, Richard, is anxious for an heir. Then Fleetwood discovers a hidden doctor’s letter that carries a dire prediction: she will not survive another birth. By chance she meets a midwife named Alice Grey, who promises to help her deliver a healthy baby. But Alice soon stands accused of witchcraft.

Is there more to Alice than meets the eye? Fleetwood must risk everything to prove her innocence. As the two women’s lives become intertwined, the Witch Trials of 1612 loom. Time is running out; both their lives are at stake. Only they know the truth. Only they can save each other.

Rich and compelling, set against the frenzy of the real Pendle Hill Witch Trials, this novel explores the rights of 17th-century women and raises the question: Was witch-hunting really women-hunting? Fleetwood Shuttleworth, Alice Grey and the other characters are actual historical figures. King James I was obsessed with asserting power over the lawless countryside (even woodland creatures, or “familiars,” were suspected of dark magic) by capturing “witches”—in reality mostly poor and illiterate women.

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What I Liked

I would like to start off by saying, this is going to be one of these reviews where I just want to gush about a book and ramble. I am going to do my absolute best and actually write a review that makes sense.

The main thing I like about this historical fiction novel is the fact it doesn’t just take place in the past. I have read so many historical novels that just take place during a time period, but this novel really encapsulates the events, social order, societal expectations. The author embedded characters and people who were alive during the time period and even though this is a work of fiction you can tell that she did a lot of research and in knowledgeable about this period.

One part that I really like is how accurate she was when showing how women were treated during this period in time. I have read a few reviews that said that the main character is meek, but I have to respectfully disagree with this. During this period in time, if you were not meek and subservient as a women, SADLY, your life could be in serious danger depending on who your husband was. I found that even though that this character was controlled to an extent, she was also free and really pushed the barriers. A lot of women would have been deathly afraid or just did not think of doing a lot of the stuff Fleetwood has done. This historical fiction novel, like I said earlier, is pretty darn accurate historical fiction. Do I think this was good? No, but regrettably it is a great representation.

I also liked how class prejudices were lightly touched on, especially with the witch themes throughout this book. I felt that this book not only was accurate, but it also tried to show how wrong these social norms were.

Apart from the historical aspects of this novel, I really enjoyed the writing. I sat down in 3 sittings and I flew through this. It was fast paced, but did not jump in a way that made you think you missed something. I also enjoyed that it did not feel like the writing was modern, it was a nice touch and really added to the atmosphere of the book. I also felt genuine anger at some parts of the book and I felt myself tearing up at others. I really was rooting for Fleetwood and Alice.

What I Didn’t Like

The only fault I could even think about is not knowing more of what happened to a particular a character.

Overall Thoughts

If you could not tell, I really enjoyed this novel. I loved how period accurate it was and how the author used real names from the year that this is taking place. I also enjoy how she embodied the time period, but also exposed the issues that and pointed out how unfair the system was towards particular people. It is safe to say that I am preordering this novel.

Thank-you for listening to my gushing rambles!

5stars

Tweet showing how much I wanted to read this in less time:

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Author Links

Stacey Halls

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Book Information

Publication Date: February 19th 2019

Publisher: Mira Books

List Price: $26.99

ISBN: 9780778369189

Pages: 352 pages

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Lists & Recommendations · Revisiting · Uncategorized

Revisiting | Un-listened to Audiobooks

revisiting

So back in August I made a post listing all of the audiobooks I owned and have yet to get to for one reason or another. If you want to check it out, you can find it here: Lists | Un-listened to Audiobooks. Well, since it has been a few months I wanted to update you on my progress. I will openly admit I have acquired more since August, it has been nearly 5 months, but I have also listened to quite a bit more since then as well. I am hoping it will kind of even out, fingers crossed!

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Stats

Un-listened 8/2018: 16

Un-listened 1/2019: 13

Books listened to from previous post: 13

New books added and not listened to: 10

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Updated List of Un-listened to Audiobooks

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Reviews

REVIEW | Kawaii Doodle Cuties: Sketching Super-Cute Stuff from Around the World by Pic Candle / Zainab Khan

BookReview12:17

* I received this book from publisher via netgalley for free in exchange for an honest review.*

Kawaii Doodle Cuties: Sketching Super-Cute Stuff from Around the WorldDescription

Prepare for the cutest world tour ever with Kawaii Doodle Cuties! YouTube celebrity artist Pic Candle will show you how to draw kawaii characters from every stop on the map!

The Japanese word kawaii translates to “cute,” and this how-to book is chock-full of super-adorable images from your favorite spots around the globe. From animals and nature to fashion and food, you will learn to draw cute artwork from countries all over the world!

Learn how to draw a cute Eiffel Tower and kawaii macarons from Paris. Master how to draw natural beauty like Holland’s stunning tulips and monuments like the Taj Mahal in India. Or sketch fashion fun with a cute K-pop skirt from South Korea or a kimono from Japan. The simple, step-by-step illustrations and instructions make drawing these characters perfect for beginner artists or anyone who wants to add a heaping spoonful of cute to their art.

Thanks to this adorable crash course in doodling all things kawaii, you’ll soon be enhancing your notebooks, stationery, artwork, and everything with unbelievably adorable illustrations!

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What I Liked

Right off the bat, I really liked the overall look of this book. It is cute, just like the title says. The authors style is really defined in this book, when it comes both to color pallet and technique. I also like how simple a majority of these are. While you do need to be able to draw ovals, circles, triangles, and other shapes to follow the instructions, with practice you will be able to follow most of these with ease.

I also loved how this book had adorable doodles from many, many countries. Including, USA, Mexico, Australia, Spain, Cuba and many more. They ranged from buildings to foods, a very wide array to represent each country in there.  I will admit I was a bit partial towards the foods, what can I say?  I love food and they were just too kawaii. They truly lived up to the title.

What I Didn’t Like

Some of the step by step recreations kinda take weird jumps. One example is the crepe. You go from adding. a few simple lines to then in the next stop add in all of the cream and. strawberries without giving a starting point. While the author does say to fill it with your own favorite toppings, it would be nice to practice drawing the ones in the book with more guidance to get better with perspective and layering. I do appreciate the author trying to give the reader more control, while learning there need to be more guidance,  then once mastered move on.

Overall Thoughts

Overall I think this is a really fun drawing book. I think it gives great practice when it comes to learning to draw basic shapes and developing better hand control while drawing. While some of the tutorials take up jumps in the steps as stated before, you can figure it out with some time. As with anything new you are learning with practice, you improve. If you are looking to learn to draw or just want to play around, I think this is an adorable option for you.

4stars

Some of my doodles from the book!

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Author Links

Twitter: @PicCandle
Youtube: piccandle

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Book Information

Publication Date: November 6th 2018

Publisher: Race Point Publishing

List Price: $21.99

ISBN: 9781631065682

Pages: 144 pages

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Hauls

Book Haul |Boxing Day 2018

BookHaul12:17

So, this will post likely be the last huge haul you will see for some time. I tend to stay away from the website bookoutlet, but boxing day always pulls me in. It is not that the website is bad or anything like that. I just tend to buy more books than I need or ones that are not really on my radar and then months pass and I end up unhauling them. I try not to do that so my wallet is a bit happier. But, every year on boxing day, day after Christmas, I put in an order of books that have piled up in my cart that I have had my eye on for some time. Without more of a delay, here are the books I picked up on Boxing day! Divider

DividerThe Books

The Good People by Hannah Kent

Based on true events in nineteenth century Ireland, Hannah Kent’s startling new novel tells the story of three women, drawn together to rescue a child from a superstitious community.
Nora, bereft after the death of her husband, finds herself alone and caring for her grandson Micheal, who can neither speak nor walk. A handmaid, Mary, arrives to help Nora just as rumors begin to spread that Micheal is a changeling child who is bringing bad luck to the valley. Determined to banish evil, Nora and Mary enlist the help of Nance, an elderly wanderer who understands the magic of the old ways.

Set in a lost world bound by its own laws, THE GOOD PEOPLE is Hannah Kent’s startling new novel about absolute belief and devoted love. Terrifying, thrilling and moving in equal measure, this follow-up to Burial Rites shows an author at the height of her powers. -goodreads

The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner

It’s 2003 and Romy Hall is at the start of two consecutive life sentences at Stanville Women’s Correctional Facility, deep in California’s Central Valley. Outside is the world from which she has been severed: the San Francisco of her youth and her young son, Jackson. Inside is a new reality: thousands of women hustling for the bare essentials needed to survive; the bluffing and pageantry and casual acts of violence by guards and prisoners alike; and the deadpan absurdities of institutional living, which Kushner evokes with great humor and precision. -goodreads

Death in the Air by Kate Winkler Dawson

London was still recovering from the devastation of World War II when another disaster hit: for five long days in December 1952, a killer smog held the city firmly in its grip and refused to let go. Day became night, mass transit ground to a halt, criminals roamed the streets, and some 12,000 people died from the poisonous air. But in the chaotic aftermath, another killer was stalking the streets, using the fog as a cloak for his crimes.

All across London, women were going missing–poor women, forgotten women. Their disappearances caused little alarm, but each of them had one thing in common: they had the misfortune of meeting a quiet, unassuming man, John Reginald Christie, who invited them back to his decrepit Notting Hill flat during that dark winter. They never left.

The eventual arrest of the “Beast of Rillington Place” caused a media frenzy: were there more bodies buried in the walls, under the floorboards, in the back garden of this house of horrors? Was it the fog that had caused Christie to suddenly snap? And what role had he played in the notorious double murder that had happened in that same apartment building not three years before–a murder for which another, possibly innocent, man was sent to the gallows?

The Great Smog of 1952 remains the deadliest air pollution disaster in world history, and John Reginald Christie is still one of the most unfathomable serial killers of modern times. Journalist Kate Winkler Dawson braids these strands together into a taut, compulsively readable true crime thriller about a man who changed the fate of the death penalty in the UK, and an environmental catastrophe with implications that still echo today. -goodreads

Born on a Blue Day by Daniel Tammet

A journey into one of the most fascinating minds alive today—guided by the owner himself.

Bestselling author Daniel Tammet (Thinking in Numbers) is virtually unique among people who have severe autistic disorders in that he is capable of living a fully independent life and able to explain what is happening inside his head.

He sees numbers as shapes, colors, and textures, and he can perform extraordinary calculations in his head. He can learn to speak new languages fluently, from scratch, in a week. In 2004, he memorized and recited more than 22,000 digits of pi, setting a record. He has savant syndrome, an extremely rare condition that gives him the most unimaginable mental powers, much like those portrayed by Dustin Hoffman in the film Rain Man.

Fascinating and inspiring, Born on a Blue Day explores what it’s like to be special and gives us an insight into what makes us all human—our minds.  -goodreads

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

A skilled painter must stand up to the ancient power of the faerie courts—even as she falls in love with a faerie prince—in this gorgeous debut novel.

Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes—a weakness that could cost him his life.

Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love—and that love violates the fair folks’ ruthless laws. Now both of their lives are forfeit, unless Isobel can use her skill as an artist to fight the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.– goodreads

An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard

There is a dark secret that is hiding at the heart of New York City and diminishing the city’s magicians’ power in this fantasy thriller by acclaimed author Kat Howard.

In New York City, magic controls everything. But the power of magic is fading. No one knows what is happening, except for Sydney—a new, rare magician with incredible power that has been unmatched in decades, and she may be the only person who is able to stop the darkness that is weakening the magic. But Sydney doesn’t want to help the system, she wants to destroy it.

Sydney comes from the House of Shadows, which controls the magic with the help of sacrifices from magicians. -goodreads 

The Alienist by Caleb Carr

The year is 1896. The city is New York. Newspaper reporter John Schuyler Moore is summoned by his friend Dr. Laszlo Kreizler—a psychologist, or “alienist”—to view the horribly mutilated body of an adolescent boy abandoned on the unfinished Williamsburg Bridge. From there the two embark on a revolutionary effort in criminology: creating a psychological profile of the perpetrator based on the details of his crimes. Their dangerous quest takes them into the tortured past and twisted mind of a murderer who will kill again before their hunt is over.

Fast-paced and riveting, infused with historical detail, The Alienist conjures up Gilded Age New York, with its tenements and mansions, corrupt cops and flamboyant gangsters, shining opera houses and seamy gin mills. It is an age in which questioning society’s belief that all killers are born, not made, could have unexpected and fatal consequences. -goodreads

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