Monday, July 15, 2019

Pika pika!

I wasn't interested in Pokemon during it's original surge of popularity. Then, as it continued, I didn't really understand it. Recently, I gave in and watched the show and bought my first pack of cards. It's safe to say I'm completely hooked now, a level of interest that's started to be reflected in my craft projects. Like this little pompom Pikachu and pokeball I made over the weekend.


Friday, July 12, 2019

Blog Tour Book review - Changeling

Title: The Oddmire: Changeling
Author: William Ritter
Genre: fantasy
Similar books: The Unicorn Quest by Kamilla Benko
                      Beyond the Deepwoods by Paul Stewart

a great new series

Summary (provided by publisher): Magic is fading from the Wild Wood. To renew it, goblins must perform an ancient ritual involving the rarest of their kind—a newborn changeling. But when the night arrives to trade a human baby for a goblin one, something goes terribly wrong. After laying the changeling in a human infant’s crib, the goblin Kull is briefly distracted. By the time he turns back, the changeling has already perfectly mimicked the human child. Too perfectly: Kull cannot tell them apart, so he leaves both babies behind.
Tinn and Cole are raised as human twins, neither knowing what secrets may be buried deep inside one of them. When they are thirteen years old, a mysterious message arrives, calling the brothers to be heroes and protectors of magic. The boys must leave their sleepy town and risk their lives in the Wild Wood, journeying through the Deep Dark to reach the goblin horde and uncover who they truly are.

My opinion: To my mind, changelings are a vastly under-explored mythological creature so I'm thrilled to read any book that examines the life of a changeling. Especially when the resulting book is as charming as this one. Ritter shows us several perspectives and motivations: the changeling, the human raised alongside him, the mother that raised them, and the goblin that attempted the swap. We see a world that is in flux, magic perilously hanging on and a darkness that threatens everything. And each character has a motivation. Sometimes these motivations intertwine, sometimes they are at odds with one another. And perspectives that are at odds one chapter may align the next. That sounds messy and confusing but the flow is nearly seamless.The ideas are complex but accessible even for a young middle grade audience. I look forward to seeing the directions Ritter will take this series.

More information: Changleling releases July 16.
Advanced Reader Copy provided by NetGalley.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Graphic Novel Spotlight - Nightlights

 Nightlights by Lorena Alvarez

The plot of this book is a simple one: Sandy's art is influenced by a parasitic being, sewing self doubt so she comes to rely on its validation in order to continue creating. the arc is a simple one and the characters have little depth. That doesn't particularly matter. The enjoyment of this book is not about the plot. It's all about the art. Each illustration is incredibly detailed, with a great sense of motion and magic. It's complex and you can spend hours just admiring it.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Toddler dress

Ever since I started experimenting with refashioning t-shirts, I've wanted to make a toddler dress. Since my niece is a teenager, though, I've never had anyone to make a dress for. Luckily for me, my cousin's little girl just had her first birthday. The perfect excuse for me to make this little adjustable length dress with matching headband.


Friday, July 5, 2019

Book review - Wilder Girls

Title: Wilder Girls
Author: Rory Power
Genre: sci-fi
Similar books: Green Class by Jerome Hamon
                      Viral Nation by Shaunta Grimes Rating:
not as compelling as I'd hoped

Summary (provided by publisher): It's been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty's life out from under her.
It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don't dare wander outside the school's fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything.
But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there's more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true.

My opinion: I want to start by pointing out that some of the promotional material for this novel makes a comparison to Lord of the Flies, a comparison that didn't ring true to me. This novel is a world with the trappings of society already stripped away, but without descending into complete savagery as in Golding's novel. Power's characters have abandoned unnecessary etiquette. They don't revel in cruelty but rather acknowledge that a certain about of aggression is necessary for survival. Beyond the decent of society, this is a story of disease, climate change, and scientific experimentation. A capricious and sometimes cruel government. We get the contrast of the remaining rules of devolved society with the ongoing cruelty of structured society. It's a sometimes interesting exploration but wasn't as engaging as I'd hoped. The characters remain emotionally distant.
More information: Wilder Girls releases July 9.
Advanced Reader Copy provided by NetGalley.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Book review - Knighthood for Beginners

Title: Knighthood for Beginners
Author: Elys Dolan
Genre: Humor/fantasy
Similar books: Julius Zebra series by Gary Northfield
                      The Jolley Rogers series Rating: 
silly fun

Summary (provided by publisher): Meet Dave (a dragon who wants to become a knight) and his trusty steed (a German-speaking, worldly goat named Albrecht) in this illustrated, laugh-out-loud chapter book.
Dave is terrible at all the things dragons are supposed to be good at: hoarding gold, eating villages, telling riddles...and don’t even ask about his knitting skills. So when he becomes the first dragon ever to fail the Dragon Test, he finds a book called Knighthood for Beginners and decides he’s found his destiny! Before long, Dave is decked out in a new suit of armor and is off on a series of adventures with his trusty steed—a German-speaking, life coach, explorer, and goat named Albrecht. The ultimate goal? Dave the dragon being knighted by the King of Castletown.

My opinion: This novel has the perfect humor construction for young readers: characters are oblivious to facts that will be obvious to the reader. Knights who are fooled by a mustache on a dragon. A king who doesn't recognize that a goat is not a person. That kind of thing. It will likely have young readers in giggles, and might just elicit a chuckle or two from parents. Even better, very little of the humor resorts to the gross out factor. It's not especially complicated but remains fairly innocent and has an underlying message of acceptance.
Advanced Reader Copy provided by NetGalley

Friday, June 28, 2019

Book review - Impossible Music

Title: Impossible Music
Author: Sean Williams
Genre: realistic fiction
Similar books: Curveball by Jordan Sonnenblick
                      Brave Enough by Kati Gardner
interesting ideas

Summary (provided by publisher): Music is Simon’s life—which is why he is devastated when a stroke destroys his hearing. He resists attempts to help him adjust to his new state, refusing to be counseled, refusing to learn sign-language, refusing to have anything to do with Deaf culture. Refusing, that is, until he meets G, a tough-as-nails girl dealing with her own newly-experienced deafness.
In an emotionally engaging tale crackling with originality, Simon's quest to create an entirely new form of music forces him into a deeper understanding of his relationship to the hearing world, of himself, and of the girl he meets along the way.

My opinion: This is an idea we encounter occasionally in fiction: how we define ourselves when our central focus is taken from us. Usually these books focus on finding a new dream. Williams' book looks instead at approaching the dream from new angles. It asks us to consider the philosophical aspects of music and art. The plot itself is equal parts defining music and Simon coming to terms with his new reality. It's the difference between coping with and accepting his deafness. Or, as the text says, becoming deaf and accepting your life as a Deaf person. This is a character driven, literary novel. It suffers from some development issues, largely centering on G, but is still interesting to mull over.

More information: Impossible Music releases July 2.
Advanced Reader Copy provided by NetGalley.