Wednesday, August 31, 2016

On My Wishlist: Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs

Silence Fallen
by Patricia Briggs
Series: Mercy Thompson #10
352 p.
Publisher: Ace Books
Published: 3/7/17
In the #1 New York Times bestselling Mercy Thompson novels, the coyote shapeshifter has found her voice in the werewolf pack. But when Mercy's bond with the pack and her mate is broken, she'll learn what it truly means to be alone... 
Attacked and abducted in her home territory, Mercy finds herself in the clutches of the most powerful vampire in the world, taken as a weapon to use against alpha werewolf Adam and the ruler of the Tri-Cities vampires. In coyote form, Mercy escapes only to find herself without money, without clothing, and alone in the heart of Europe... 
Unable to contact Adam and the rest of the pack, Mercy has allies to find and enemies to fight, and she needs to figure out which is which. Ancient powers stir, and Mercy must be her agile best to avoid causing a war between vampires and werewolves, and between werewolves and werewolves. And in the heart of the ancient city of Prague, old ghosts rise..."
Um... I know I'm woefully behind in this series (I'm at #5) but every time I see a Dan Dos Santos cover I want the book. :) Love the look of this one even though it really concerns me. 

Any books on your wishlist telling you to hurry up and catch up? :)

Monday, August 29, 2016

Audiobook Review: Hunt the Moon by Karen Chance

Series: Cassandra Palmer #5
Narrator: Cynthia Holloway
14 hrs. 51 min.
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Published: June, 27, 11
Source: Library/Hoopla
Cassandra Palmer recently defeated a god, which you'd think would buy a girl a little time off. But it doesn't work that way when your job description is Pythia-the world's chief clairvoyant. Cassie is busier than ever, trying to learn about her power, preparing for her upcoming coronation, and figuring out her relationship with the enigmatic sexy master vampire, Mircea. 
But someone doesn't want Cassie to become Pythia, and is willing to go to any lengths to make sure the coronation ceremony never happens- including attacking her mother before Cassie is even born.
My thoughts:

This was a long audio, but since I've had Cynthia Holloway read the last book to me, I knew I would enjoy it. I like her character voices and how she creates a nuance and inflection in their voices.

In this book we learn quite a bit about Cassie's lineage and past. We also learn more about Pritkin and Mircea. We come to find out what past incidences colored the way they see things now. There is a chance for growth in all characters, but we see it the most in Cassie.

This book was also filled with action. Almost too much for me. I felt like I ran a marathon after this book. I wouldn't know how Cassie would have remained sane with one thing happening after another. However, our heroine is sometimes outmatched but she never gives up. It is her tenacity that sees her through... along with some heavy hitter paranormal friends.

I do think I enjoyed most of my running stay with Cassie, especially learning and having a much deeper understanding of the main characters. The ending, however, is not my favorite. While it wasn't the worst cliffie I've had, it was a cliffie nonetheless. :p No! After 14 hrs and you do that to me! It really is more of an introduction to an added arc (I suspect) than not answering lingering questions in this book, but I still hated it. And yes, cannot wait to get to the next book as well. Darn it. :)

I give this book 4 stars. It is a fast paced book that gives you no time to rest. Oh and those looking for some hot action, you will not be disappointed here. Yea, she had a little time to enjoy herself more than once. *waggles eyebrows* I recommend this series to those that love UF.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Craft Book Review: Origami Jewelry by Mayumi Jezewski

Genre: Craft/Jewelry
Translator: Marina Orry
64 p.
Published: 6/20/16
Publisher: Dover Books
Source: NetGalley and publisher for review

You can design your own jewelry with the help of this easy-to-follow guide. More than 35 lovely accessories include a bracelet of hearts, spring flower earrings, hairpins with butterfly ornaments, and other whimsical, wearable origami. 
Each of the models features clear, step-by-step instructions with full-color illustrations for folding the dainty charms. The directions also show how to embellish the jewelry with beads and other ornaments, and how to attach the items to chains and clips. The necessary materials are inexpensive and readily available at craft shops. Origami jewelry is as much fun to make as it is to wear, and you'll love creating handcrafted treasures that you can keep or share with your friends.

My thoughts:

I've seen origami paper jewelry on Etsy and I've wanted to try this for a long time. I saw this book and I thought that now might be the time to try it. It gave some good hints and tricks for making the jewelry (like where to pierce the paper and what to use). I did have some problems with the diagrams in making the origami.

I had yet to try to make a butterfly. I loved the earrings they made with the paper. I didn't have origami paper on hand so I knew there would be a difference with the outcome. Papers have weave and texture and that is why you should make things in the materials they suggest, but I decided to be a rebel (plus I didn't want to spend money on learning it... yea, I'm cheap) so I knew it wouldn't look exactly as shown. I did have some problems when it came to one step and I just couldn't see it with the simplistic diagrams they had. If you are a visual learner you might have problems here as well. Even though the diagrams are visual, they are flat and hard to understand what they meant by "pinch here". It just wasn't clear to my foggy brain. YouTube to the rescue! :)

I used this vid to "get it". This is the same butterfly as shown in the book. Only difference is that I can "get it" much better.

This is my result:
The first try is a bit backwards and looks like a funny looking man. That was me first trying to go from where I stopped in the book and began again with the video. I think I turned something around. The second try was successful! Yea, try the vid if you want to try to make one yourself. 

I give this book 3 stars. While it has valuable information on how to make the jewelry, it was hard for me to totally get each step. Not everyone will have that problem and I guess it is just how you visualize things. YouTube is handy to get you out of those problems and there is a ton of origami vids out there. I also know that on Etsy some of the jewelry like this has a protective coating on it. You are not shown that technique here so be aware that the paper jewelry you make won't be long lasting.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

On My Wishlist: The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

The Last Magician
by Lisa Maxwell
352 p.
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Published: 4/25/17
Stop the Magician.Steal the book.Save the future. 
In modern day New York, magic is all but extinct. The remaining few who have an affinity for magic—the Mageus—live in the shadows, hiding who they are. Any Mageus who enters Manhattan becomes trapped by the Brink, a dark energy barrier that confines them to the island. Crossing it means losing their power—and often their lives.

Tessa is a talented thief, and she's been raised to steal magical artifacts from the sinister Order that created the Brink. With her innate ability to manipulate time, Tessa can pilfer from the past, collecting these artifacts before the Order even realizes she’s there. And all of Tessa’s training has been for one final job: traveling back to 1901 to steal an ancient book containing the secrets of the Order—and the Brink—before the Magician can destroy it and doom the Mageus to a hopeless future. 
But Old New York is a dangerous world ruled by ruthless gangs and secret societies, a world where the very air crackles with magic. Nothing is as it seems, including the Magician himself. And for Tessa to save her future, she may have to betray everyone in the past.
Badass ORIN!!

I totally blame Jenny from Supernatural Snark for bringing it to my attention in her WOW post. :) Totally want this one now.

What is on your wishlist this week?

Monday, August 22, 2016

Blog Tour Review and Giveaway: Unraveled by Jennifer Estep

UNRAVELED (Elemental Assassin #15)
by Jennifer Estep
Publisher: Pocket Books
$7.99 | 400 pages
Published: August 30, 2016
ISBN: 978-1501142215
Purchase links AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-MillionGoogle PlayiTunesKobo
What could go wrong when you’re trying to unravel a decades-old conspiracy?  
 As the current queen of the Ashland underworld, you would think that I, Gin Blanco, would know all about some secret society controlling things from behind the scenes. I might be the Spider, the city’s most fearsome assassin, but all my Ice and Stone elemental magic hasn’t done me a lick of good in learning more about “the Circle”. Despite my continued investigations, the trail’s gone as cold as the coming winter.  
So when Finnegan Lane, my foster brother, gets word of a surprising inheritance, we figure why not skip town for someplace less dangerous for a few days? That place: Bullet Pointe, a fancy hotel resort complex plus Old West theme park that Finn now owns lock, stock, and barrel. At first, all the struttin’ cowboys and sassy saloon girls are just hokey fun. But add in some shady coincidences and Circle assassins lurking all around, and vacationing becomes wilder—and deadlier—than any of us expected.  
 Good thing this assassin brought plenty of knives to the gunfight… 

Oh yes! Another addition to my addiction to this series. If you don't know I'm a fan of this series, then you really need to come by the blog more. I'll even put out some of the Pork Pit's BBQ and a side of slaw for you. If you don't know what that is, then you need to get to start reading this series. It's as good as I imagine Gin's cooking. :)

Speaking of which... this is a series that has always managed to make me hungry. Even though some of the food in this episode is less than Gin approved, most of it is, and it will make you want to dive into some food goodness. Therefore, I don't recommend reading this book (or the series really) on an empty stomach. Make a snack, get cozy, prop up the book and have an adventure with the Spider's gang. 

This book closely follows the previous book. So you do want to read Bitter Bite (Elemental Assassin #14) and throw in Unwanted (Elemental Assassin #14.5) for good measure. All deal with Finn's mother and the mess she created, but this one goes forward and also deals with the mysteries of the dreaded Circle. We even get more information on Gin's childhood. I really enjoyed knowing more about our favorite assassin. Unfortunately, while we do get to see a bit more abut Gin's mother, she remains a mystery. This isn't too frustrating, but it does keep us wanting more. I think with this book, I became even more curious about her mother.

I give this book 4 1/2 stars. I don't want to say too much for fear of spoilage, but this is one good rootin' tootin' time (should I throw in a "Yee hah!" for good measure?). ;) This is a series I do recommend reading in order. Oh you could start at the beginning of this arc or on a story arc previous to this one, but I think these are best read one after another. You get the full feeling for the characters and the world that way. I highly recommend this series to UF fans in particular.

About Jennifer Estep:
Jennifer Estep is a New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author prowling the streets of her imagination in search of her next fantasy idea.
Jennifer writes the Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series for Pocket Books. Unwanted, e-novella #14.5 in the series, will be released on July 18. Unraveled, book #15, will be released on Aug. 30.
Jennifer also writes the Mythos Academy young adult urban fantasy series. She is also the author of the Black Blade young adult urban fantasy series and the Bigtime paranormal romance series.
For more information on Jennifer and her books, visit or follow Jennifer on FacebookGoodreads, and Twitter.
There’s a tour-wide giveaway you can share! Jennifer is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card, and the publisher has offered up 5 print copies of UNRAVELED AND one FULL SET of the Elemental Assassin series! Open to US and Canada residents only. Visit the tour stops to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For the rest of the tour stops, visit 
Let's Talk Promotions.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Of Sand and Storm by Amber Argyle

Series: Fairy Queens #5
Publisher: Smashwords/Indie
Published: 8/17/16
Source: Author for review
Book 5 in the Fairy Queens Series.

By law, any child born in Idara is free, even if that child is born in a slave brothel. But as Cinder grows into a beauty that surpasses even that of her mother and grandmother, she realizes that freedom is only a word. There are other words too, stronger words. Words like betrayal and prison and death. And there are words even stronger than those. Words like courage and family and love.

In the end, if Cinder is to escape the fate of her matriarchs, she'll have to fight for her freedom. Because true freedom is never free.
My thoughts:

I have enjoyed this whole series but always knew I was missing a book. This one is novella length so I know I was only missing a extra character story within this series. I was glad to finally get to read this one and it was about one of my favorite secondary character in Winter's Heir (the last in the series). She was someone who brought Elice out of her shell and also someone who you knew was strong. It was the seamstress, Cinder who had her own tale to tell.

I was not disappointed in this story. I really enjoyed seeing how Cinder took her situation and made the best out of it. Freeborn, but yet still nothing more than a slave, her captors/employers set forth a scheme to entrap her further. Her grandmother, aunt and mother were all considered slaves and either concubines or servants. All were determined that Cinder would not fall into the same lifestyle.

There is intrigue and romance and while Cinder does not do all of her saving, she does find her way and helps a rebellion and risks everything she holds dear to do what is right. She does become the cunning and hero of her own story, even though she does not do it alone. Plus we get to see the germination of an idea which leads us to the stories to come in the series.

I give this book 4 stars. I really loved how this one was put together but I would have loved it longer. Not that it needed it, but I really liked the character of Cinder and would have liked to have followed on her adventure longer. And while I did read it out of order, it did not take anything away from the story. In fact, I saw further into the arc since I read the books after. This is a good one to read in order, since it does build on the book previous and sets us up for the ones to come. I highly recommend the series to those that enjoy fantasy books with devious fae.
Banner from the author Amber Argyle

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Blogger Guest Post: Leave a Mark Auctions

Lauren whom you might know from Shooting Stars Mag has a great book to charity event going on right now. I thought that if you don't know about it, this is a good time for Lauren to let you know! It's going on now! 

Lauren, Take it away!

Hello everyone!

Thank you to Melissa for allowing me to share Leave a Mark Auctions on her website. What are these auctions you ask? Well, back in 2007/2008, I worked with another blogger in holding a set of auctions that helped benefit the charity First Book. Authors marked up or annotated one of their novels (writing notes in the margins throughout the book) and other famous names marked up one of their favorite books. These would then go up for auction on a designated blog and whoever bid the highest would donate to First Book. Once they got a confirmation email, they would send to one of us and we'd make sure they got their book (by either mailing it ourselves or having the author send it out).

Well, I thought it would be great to bring the auctions back but instead of doing them during a set time frame, I wanted the auctions to be more ongoing! They officially started in August 2016 and I'm hoping to have at least two auctions a month. All of the money raised in August and September goes to First Book, but Oct-Dec money goes to The Trevor Project. The idea is to change the charity every few months so that the auctions can benefit a variety of places! Of course, some charities might come back around in the future.

While I'm no longer working with another blogger, I am very much grateful for everyone that has spread the word about the auctions. I couldn't do this without help - from people marking up books, to people bidding, to bloggers spreading the word, and on and on. If you would like to learn more about the auctions and see what books are available to bid on now, please visit You bid in the comments, but if you have questions, feel free to reach out to me through email: lauren51990 AT aol DOT com. Each book's auction will last about one week, but some could be longer, so just pay attention to the end date/time and it will always be EST. The comments are set as such.

ALSO! I do recommend following the blog so you are aware of auctions as they go live, but also, because I will be having some fun giveaways to help raise more awareness and thank my followers as well as those who are bidding!

-Lauren Becker
Shooting Stars Mag

Monday, August 15, 2016

Eterna and Omega by Leanna Renee Hieber

Series: Eterna Files #2
336 p.
Publisher: Tor Books
Published: 8/9/16
Source: From publisher for review
Battle is joined as British and American paranormal investigators clash in an exciting gaslamp fantasy. 
Leanna Renee Hieber's gaslamp fantasy series continues and the action ramps up in Eterna and Omega.

In New York City, fearing the dangers of the Eterna Compound--supposedly the key to immortality--Clara Templeton buries information vital to its creation. The ghost of her clandestine lover is desperate to tell her she is wrong, but though she is a clairvoyant, she cannot hear him.
In London, Harold Spire plans to send his team of assassins, magicians, mediums, and other rogue talents to New York City, in an attempt to obtain Eterna for Her Royal Majesty, Queen Victoria. He stays behind to help Scotland Yard track down a network of body snatchers and occultists, but he'll miss his second-in-command, Rose Everhart, whose gentle exterior masks a steel spine.

Rose's skepticism about the supernatural has been shattered since she joined Spire's Omega Branch. Meeting Clara is like looking into a strange mirror: both women are orphans, each is concealing a paranormal ability, and each has a powerful and attractive guardian who has secrets of his own.
The hidden occult power that menaces both England and America continues to grow. Far from being dangerous, Eterna may hold the key to humanity's salvation.
My thoughts:

I liked the first book but did not love it. It was enough for me to want to read this one. So, when I got it in the mail, I immediately picked it up. Unfortunately it took me a while to get though it. Heavy on description, it slowed down the flow of the book considerably. It drew me out of the book instead of in it. It had some of the same problems as the first book for me, but I remember slipping to parts of the book. I really didn't get there until the end in this one.

I do love the worldbuilding in this series and also the characters. It feels as if the language, although appropriate, seems too flowery. I also love the idea behind the plot and the various organizations that surround our characters. There is a budding love story that you want but it bittersweet from the last book. I actually didn't know how I wanted that to go until the end. It makes sense and makes sense as to why it is taking so long. Their relationship really hasn't been explored in any depth and to have a romance now would be too premature. As for the paranormal aspects, I did enjoy how those things were explained and handled. It's like the bones of the story are solid, but the tendons holding things together are just too thick.

I give this book 3 stars. I have a feeling it will be like the last book that you will either love or hate it. I didn't love it but didn't hate it by any means. I think it is interesting and I would suggest you try the first book first (it should be read in order anyway) to see if it is the series for you. I would say that those that like fantasy, alternate history with paranormal aspects might give it a go.

Friday, August 12, 2016

The Mermaid's Secret by Katie Schickel

288 p.
Publisher: Forge Books
Published: 6/14/16
Source: From publisher for review
Life on land is suffocating for Jess Creary, who wastes her summers flipping burgers for tourists on a fishing boat off her quaint resort island home off the coast of Maine. After all, her older sister Kay died in a boating accident two years ago, her mother has disappeared, and her father isn't exactly dealing with things so well. Surfing and the handsome Captain Matthew are about the only bright spots in her life. 
Then, on her twenty-third birthday, Jess catches the perfect wave--a wave that transforms her into a mermaid. Under the sea, a startlingly beautiful, dark place, Jess is reborn into a confident, powerful predator with superhuman strength --finally she is someone to be reckoned with. Meanwhile, back on land, Jess's relationship with Captain Matthew heats up, and so does her search for justice for Kay. 
Jess has thirty days to choose between land and sea; legs and fins; her humanity and her freedom. Who could ignore the freedom of the sea? Yet, the ocean is a dark, wild, lonely place. Is this a gift or a curse? Will Jess choose family and love, forgiveness and truth, or will she be seduced by the wild call of the sparkling sea forever?
My thoughts:

Okay, I'm a mermaid fan. I admit it. So, when this book found it's way into my hands, I knew I was going to read it. Not all mermaid books have been a success for me, but it is still a mythological creature we have stayed in the shallows and not gone much into the deep end (see what I did there? I crack myself up sometimes...). Yea, I still want more books with this mythos and this one had a paranormal, chick lit, magical realism vibe to it.

This was mostly about a family who endured a tragedy and how they all dealt with the death of Jess's sister. Her father became overprotective, her mother took off, and Jess refused to reach for her future and become less of herself. This is more of Jess's journey and for a relatively short novel, it does a pretty good job of it.

There were times when Jess annoyed me. She was a bit on the whiney side and was too easily overcome by anger. It made sense but at the same time you still wanted her to wake up and stop hurting herself more than the person she accuses of her sister's death. It might have been easier to deal with if we had spent more time with her and knew the girl she was before the tragedy but honestly it was a minor niggle that wasn't that hard to swallow. She does grow in the end and there is also a romance brewing in the background that helps with her transformation. I think it was the acceptance of those around her that led to her biggest growth.

I give this book 4 stars. While it isn't the best mermaid story out there, those that like chick lit and magical realism might like this twist in the storyline. I wanted to know more about some of the secondary characters but in the end was satisfied with what I got in this book.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Cover Reveal: Rendezvous With Yesterday by Dianne Duvall

We are so excited to share with you not only the cover for Dianne Duvall's Rendezvous With Yesterday (The Gifted Ones, #2), but the synopsis, pre-order links, AND an amazing pre-order giveaway! 

The Gifted Ones Book 2
By Dianne Duvall
Coming October 17, 2016
Special Pre-Order Discounted Price—$4.99


Modern-day bounty hunter Bethany Bennett helps her brother track two fugitives to a forest outside of Houston, Texas. But what should have been a routine apprehension of two bail skippers spirals out of control and ends in violence. After Beth and her brother are both seriously injured, a mysterious figure suddenly looms over her. And, when the smoke clears, Beth finds herself not only in another place, but in another time.

As Lord Robert, Earl of Fosterly, attempts to identify and track down the nameless enemy who has been plaguing his lands and people with violence, the most peculiar woman stumbles into his path. Small, vulnerable, yet possessed of a bold, fiery spirit and wicked sense of humor, she persists in dubbing Robert and his men members of something called a medieval reenactment group . . . until she sees his castle and labels herself mad. It seems bounty hunter Bethany Bennett has come to him from the future, bringing with her laughter and chaos, swiftly winning the hearts of his people and inspiring within him a love he thought he would never experience again. But when Robert discovers a way for her to return to her time, will the love they share be enough to keep them together?

Now Available for Pre-Order! 

And don’t miss the book that started it all!
A Sorceress of His Own (The Gifted Ones, #1) 

About the Author:
Dianne Duvall is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of the Immortal Guardians paranormal romance series and The Gifted Ones series. Her books have twice been nominated for the RT Reviewers' Choice Award for Best Vampire Romance and are routinely deemed Top Picks by RT Book Reviews, The Romance Reviews, and/or Night Owl Reviews. Reviewers have called Dianne's books "utterly addictive" (RT Book Reviews), "fast-paced and humorous" (Publishers Weekly), "extraordinary" (Long and Short Reviews), and "wonderfully imaginative" (The Romance Reviews).

Dianne loves all things creative. When she isn't writing, Dianne is active in the independent film industry and has even appeared on-screen, crawling out of a moonlit grave and wielding a machete like some of the vampires she has created in her books.

For the latest news on upcoming releases, contests, and more, please visit You can also find Dianne online . . .

Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Tsū | YouTube | Pinterest | Goodreads | Google Plus

Rendezvous With Yesterday Pre-Order Giveaway!

To celebrate the upcoming release and to thank readers who pre-order Rendezvous With Yesterday, Dianne is launching a big Pre-Order Giveaway with multiple prizes, including Amazon Gift Cards, tote bags, signed books, coffee mugs, and more.  You can learn more on her website — — or fill out the form below to enter to win:

Monday, August 8, 2016

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

Series: The Nevernight Chronicle #1
448 p.
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Published: 8/9/16
Source: From NetGalley and publisher for review
In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family. 
Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined. 
Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.
Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?
My thoughts:

I was surprised with this book in terms of labeling it as YA. I can see why it is labeled YA since the characters were so young. However, it has sex and violence in the manner that most adult books carry. It would probably be fine for older teens but parents might want to read it first before handing it to a younger teen.

I also have to admit that for most of the book I would have rated it lower than I have. I think the reason was the footnotes. I both hated and loved them. I hated that I didn't always have the reference right in front of me to associate what it was talking about but I also loved the extra information which I usually crave. Not sure what could be done differently but, for me, it made the flow of the story a bit choppy and by the end when the footnotes were less, it flowed much easier.

The worldbuilding was very interesting and while a lot of questions were answered a few were left lingering but nothing that would constitute a cliffie. There was a twist that I think most will figure out and it is a twist that Mia has not figured out yet. That, I believe, will be forthcoming and it makes sense not to add it in this volume.

I'd say that a good portion of the beginning was a solid 3 1/2 stars for how it flowed, but I did like the ending so I'll push it to 4 stars. I actually consider this an adult book and not YA, but it does have a lot of YA elements to it, especially the way the characters interacted with each other on a relationship level (not the assassin level). I will be looking forward to the next book in this series.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Art Book Review: The Fantasy Artroom by Aaron Pocock

Genre: Art
160 p.
Publisher: Dover Publications
Published: 5/18/16
Source: NetGalley and publisher for review
Do you love to create imaginative artwork? Would you like to add depth and richness to your creations? Could you use fresh inspiration? Here is the book that will help you brush up on your skills and add new tricks and techniques to your repertoire. Sketching, line art, watercolors, mixed media, composition, rendering methods ― The Fantasy Artroom is your all-in-one traveling companion into the world of fantasy art.These step-by-step demonstrations offer easy-to-follow methods for drawing trees and landscapes; forming dwarves, witches, mermaids, centaurs, and other characters; and putting them all together into enchanting compositions. Introduce a new dimension to your drawing, line art, and watercolor images with this richly illustrated guide and its helpful exercises, tips, and suggestions.
My thoughts:

I enjoy fantasy books so, of course, I like fantasy artwork. I've read a few art books in this genre but I had not read this one. Dover often republishes older art books and some of them are classics. I had to find out what this author had to contribute.

My egalley was not quite in book format. A lot of the artwork became fragmented and some of the formatting in the wording was odd. I have no doubt that all of this is corrected in the published volume since Dover is well known to make sure older books are close to the format originally published. I only mentioned it here since it did not allow me to totally see the examples with the directions. I will try not to let it influence how I see the book overall.

I think there is a lot of sage advice to anyone in the art field in this book. I really liked how the advice on how to see things in nature in an artistic manner was presented and how it could be applied to fantasy. How to take things we know and both present it in how it is seen with fantastical elements applied and how to change it while still keeping with the feeling of realism. I think that is the key to fantasy artwork. Taking something that is just familiar enough and make it into something completely new and believable.

I also liked how he layered watercolor. Like his line work it is something that is taken slowly and builds upon itself. This book makes a good primer for anyone in any artistic field to have. Even fragmented as the book was for review, I could see it making my way onto my art shelf in physical form.

I give this book 4 stars. I recommend it to those that enjoy fantasy artwork. One of his influences is Arthur Rackham which is evident in the artwork presented. It has that same etherial draftsman appeal that Rackham perfected.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

On My Wishlist: Eleventh Grave in Moonlight by Darynda Jones

Eleventh Grave in Moonlight
by Darynda Jones
Series: Charley Davidson #11
352 p.
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Published: 1/24/17
A typical day in the life of Charley Davidson involves cheating husbands, missing people, errant wives, philandering business owners, and oh yeah...demons, hell hounds, evil gods, and dead people. Lots and lots of dead people. As a part time Private Investigator and full-time Grim Reaper, Charley has to balance the good, the bad, the undead, and those who want her dead. In this eleventh installment, Charley is learning to make peace with the fact that she is a goddess with all kinds of power and that her own daughter has been born to save the world from total destruction. But the forces of hell are determined to see Charley banished forever to the darkest corners of another dimension. With the son of Satan himself as her husband and world-rocking lover, maybe Charley can find a way to have her happily ever after after all.
Um... do I need to explain why I need this when I haven't gotten to 10 yet? :D

Also, can I haz that boot, and the other one as well? :D 

What is on your wishlist this week? Any cool footwear or shoe jewelry to go with it? 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Beauty and the Clockwork Beast by Nancy Campbell Allen

First in series
352 p.
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Published: 8/2/16
Source: NetGalley and publisher for review
Jane Eyre meets Beauty and the Beast.

When Lucy Pickett arrives at Blackwell Manor to tend to her ailing cousin, Kate, she finds more than she bargained for. A restless ghost roams the hallways, werewolves have been reported in the area, and vampires lurk across the Scottish border. Lord Miles himself is clearly hiding a secret. He is brash and inhospitable, and does not take kindly to visitors—even one as smart and attractive as Miss Pickett. He is unsettled by the mysterious deaths of his new wife, Clara, and his sister, Marie. Working together, Miles and Lucy attempt to restore peace to Blackwell Manor. But can Lucy solve the mystery of Miles? Can she love the man—beast and all?
My thoughts:

Hm... Jane Eyre meets Beauty and the Beast? Um... you know I was so going to get this book for review. And while this is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, it actually seemed more than that. At first I was reminded of Dracula and The Secret Garden. Later I became more aware of the influence of Jane Eyre and Beauty and the Beast. I actually would say it is more influenced by Jane Eyre, however. Yea, you can safely say this one felt like an homage to the classics with a bit of steampunk thrown in.

Too much? Actually it worked. I enjoyed sussing out what the influence was and at the same time I was enraptured by Lucy who was no shrinking violet. I even loved that when she was overtaken by fear, she didn't let it stop her. She even was Miles's equal... and dare I say may have surpassed him in fortitude. The mystery is also what moved the story along with Lucy who is the one determined to get to the bottom of things. It is through her and a particular ghost with the same attitude as Lucy that we learn everything that we need to figure out what had happened.

The steampunk in this book is light but does have all the necessary gadgets to get us through the book. I would have liked to know a bit more about a couple of the gadgets but that is really more about curiosity on my part and may have slowed down the pace too much for me to learn those things. So, I do not count that as a niggle in my reading.

I give this steampunk murder mystery thriller paranormal retelling *breath* 4 stars. It is fun, twisty and has some great characters to love. I really recommend it to those that enjoy fantasy and steampunk in particular. It reads as a standalone but I also understand that this is the first in a series and I cannot wait to read the next book.