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FatherCraneMadeMeDoIt

FatherCraneMadeMeDoIt

Upcoming Interview!

Exciting news!

 

Last week I had the honor of answering some fun bookish questions through Sammi Cox's Afternoon Tea at Sammi Loves Books. You can read the full interview starting this Friday! I had a blast answering the questions regarding my recent projects, inspiration, and, most importantly, the details of my dream afternoon tea with fictional characters.

 

Source: http://sammicox.wordpress.com/2019/02/08/afternoon-tea-at-sammi-loves-books-author-interviews/?fbclid=IwAR0OEb2UgZG94ITJ1pdHSHm9qZSeihEKfP71AGj0hbaPXYTTf1GtNkcLzJ0
Shattered Warrior - Sharon Shinn, Molly Knox Ostertag

For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

I just devoured this graphic novel. I absolutely loved it. I started reading it yesterday morning and finished it before a went to bed last night. I just didn't want to stop reading. 

First of all, the story itself was fantastic. Really cool concept. I loved the creation of the various groups (Derichet, Valenchi, Chromatti, all those other humans) and the ways they started merging and interacting. I was hooked on the plot from the beginning. 

Also, the characters were fascinating. It was especially interesting to see the various personalities of the Derichet, although they all were pretty much creepers. Lucy was my favorite character. So adorable yet also scary fierce. 

The reason I picked this book up from the library in the first place was because I recently read Molly Knox Ostertag's The Witch Boy and am now slightly obsessed with her work. Before this, I read Strong Female Protagonist, which I thought was good, but I absolutely loved Ostertag's artwork in this book. Great detail and intriguing pictures. 

I'll admit the whole falling in love plot line was a little cheesy for me, but there was enough other stuff going on that I still really enjoyed the book. Simply fantastic read.

Strong Female Protagonist Book One - Molly Ostertag, Brennan Lee Mulligan
For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

Honestly, I sought this book out because the artwork was done byMolly Ostertag and I am currently slightly obsessed with her work.

Overall, I thought the book was good. There were times when it was a bit confusing, but I liked the concept. 

The artwork in the beginning was a bit overwhelming for me. It starts out with a lot of words in the pictures (signs, song lyrics, store names, logos, billboards, headlines). It was just a bit too much for me. I liked the puns and such, but it was exhausting reading all of those words that didn't actually further the story. This mostly gets phased out after the first two chapters, which made the rest of the book more enjoyable for me. Other than that the artwork was great. 

I did really like Alison's character and how much she matures throughout the book. It was interesting seeing her relationships to various people and how those relationships changed as well. I especially liked the Cleaver plot line. 

Overall, I enjoyed reading this book and will probably read the next book at some point. 
Hilda and the Bird Parade - Luke Pearson

For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

I love this series so much. Hilda is just adorable. 

As with the previous books, this one has a great story and great artwork. I really enjoy Hilda's character and the strange adventures she has. Everything about this series is fantastic. 

Can't wait to read the next book (especially since I haven't seen the corresponding Netflix episode yet so it will be a complete surprise).

Ada Twist, Scientist - Andrea Beaty, David Roberts

For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

An adorable picture book about a young scientist who never stops asking questions. 

Obviously I loved the focus on a girl interested in a STEM field, but I also kind of liked that she's a bit of a trouble maker. At first seeing her writing on the walls irked me and I can only imagine how exhausting it is for her parents to hear nonstop questions, but when I thought about it some more, I think it allows for a really good teaching moment about girls not focusing on being well-behaved all the time. She wasn't naughty on purpose. She's just naturally curious and doesn't let herself miss out on learning opportunities because it might inconvenience someone else. I think that is a really big takeaway and an important lesson. 

Fun illustrations. It was really cool to see Rosie from Rosie Revere, Engineer show up. So far I am loving The Questioneers books (only read Rosie Revere and the Raucous Riveters: The Questioneers Book #1so far) so it was fun to read about Ada in the original picture book.

This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare - Gabourey Sidibe
For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

This book was such a joy to read. Even while reading stories that weren't necessary happy or funny, Sidibe's words feel so raw and real while still showing her strong, brave, confident self, you can't help but instantly be hooked. 

In this book, Sidibe looks back on events in her life that helped form her as a person and get her to where she is today, not in a way that wants the reader to pity her, but in a way that appears truly therapeutic, to her and to the reader. The book reads like a bunch of stories she just wants to get off of her chest as well as a shout out to all of the people who have dealt with similar issues. Whether it's eating disorders, depression, Internet hate, hair issues, or a multitude of other topics, there is so much the reader can really relate to. I loved the focus on confidence and not letting other people's hurtful words get to you. It's a message we can't hear enough. 

I just loved reading this book. It was instantly engaging and I felt so connected to the writing. 

There are so many emotions evoked in the stories. Most of the time, I was laughing and smiling because Sidibe is freaking hilarious. But I also felt sad, inspired, empowered, angry. It really pulls you in and makes you feel like you're talking to your best friend. Those are the best kind of memoirs. 

Well-written, entertaining, and enlightening, this is an amazing book. I am so glad I read it.
The Umbrella Academy, Vol. 1: Apocalypse Suite - Gerard Way, Gabriel Bá
For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

With the Netflix adaptation of the series coming out today, I spent the last week reading this, because as much as I can I like to read the book-form of things before they get turned into movies/shows.

Overall, I liked it. The concept was really intriguing. At times, the story is a little hard to follow. There were moments I had to re-read the previous page to figure out what was happening or make sure my confused understanding of what was happening was actually what was happening. But for the most part, I really enjoyed reading it and getting taken along the strange and fantastical journey.

My favorite character was Rumor. I wish she was featured more in this one, but hope to learn more about her in the following books. I love the Free Comic Book Day comic, because so much of it focuses on Rumor. 

Artwork was good as well. Very gory so if that is not your cup of tea, probably skip this one. It was a bit gory for my taste, but not so much so that I didn't want to continue reading. I still want to read the next book to know more about the strange universe Way has created. 

I also enjoyed the bonus features at the back which include development sketches of the characters, a two page teaser, and the Free Comic Book Day story, which I absolutely loved. 

So excited to watch the Netflix adaptation and see how it holds us as well as continue reading the series.
Return - Aaron Becker, Aaron Becker
For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

A beautiful ending to the Journey Trilogy. I originally read these out of order, having found Quest (Journey Trilogy, #2) first. Then I went back, got all the books, and actually read them in order. While they are each a wonderful story by themselves, I love the continuous story they tell when read in order.

Another beautiful book. In this one, the girl's dad joins in on the adventure. I love that this is a whole new journey. There are similarities to the first two books, but I really enjoy the creative problem-solving in the series. 

These books are such a successful silent series. The pictures are so wonderful, engaging, and enchanting that words aren't even necessary. Such a magical series. I am so glad I read it.
Journey - Aaron Becker

For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

This is such a beautiful book.A few weeks ago at the library, I stumbled across Aaron Becker's Quest (Journey Trilogy, #2). I checked it out without realizing it was part of a series. But I absolutely loved it. A fun silent adventure story with gorgeous artwork. I decided to find the other two books in the series so I could get the whole story.

This book tells of how the girl and boy first met, which is a nice story and just as entertaining and amazing as the second book. I can't get over how stunning the artwork is in this series.

I have read a few silent picture books and the real hurdle is being able to tell an entertaining story without any dialogue or narration. This series does that perfectly. You can see how the characters are feeling and the unique story leads the read on an epic adventure filled with creativity, bravery, and determination.

Such a wonderful series. I am so excited to read the third book.

The Little Free Library Book - Margret Aldrich
For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

Such a fascinating and beautiful book. 

Wonder about the origin story of all of those Little Free Libraries you see everywhere? Want to be part of the movement and install your own? This book has you covered. Complete with gorgeous pictures of various LFLs around the world, this is a fantastic book for everything Little Free Library. 

This book includes how LFL got started as well as many heartwarming stories about stewards from around the world. There are also sections with tips on how to make your own library, how to get the community involved, how to make the library a success, and how to do more with your library. 

At the end of the book in the appendix are construction plans, installation instructions, and lots of tips on the actual physical library construction. Great resource for people who want to build their own library. 

And throughout it all are wonderful pictures of various LFLs, from simple to extravagant, from traditional to creative. It was so fun to look at the pictures and all of the creative ways people made their libraries their own. 

Excellent read.
Cooking with the Grinch (Dr. Seuss) - Tish Rabe, Tom Brannon
For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. 

With the newest Grinch movie out and working with two little Grinch fans, when I see a Grinch book at the library, I snatch it up. I will say I have been rather disappointed with the most recent onslaught of Grinch books based on the new movie. I haven't seen the movie yet, but the books were rather dull. I grabbed this from the library, figuring it would be okay and the kids at work would enjoy looking at the pictures.

Then I finally read it. It is actually very good. For starters, I really admire Grinch books that actually rhyme. As soon as I open one to find that doesn't rhyme, my heart goes out of reading it just a little bit. What's the point of a Grinch book that doesn't rhyme? That's just my personal preference. I'm a bit biased toward the original. Continuing on. 

The story itself is also very cute. It's not just a rehash of how the Grinch tried stealing Christmas. This is a story that occurs after all that and it is amazing in its simplicity. 

Also, the pictures are adorable. They are just Grinchy enough for me. They have the same style as the original Grinch, but are still new and different.

This is a Step 1 book for preschool to kindergarten readers. It uses rhyme, big text, simple words, and picture clues to help young readers.

Excellent story with great pictures. I really loved this one. It definitely made my shrunken heart grow at least one size today.
100 Cupboards - N.D. Wilson
For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

I absolutely loved this book. It has been sitting on my shelf for a while now, because I have been caught up reading library books days before they are due. I finally got around to reading it and I loved every page. The story sucked me in right away. I honestly woke up early every day so I would have time to read a few chapters before going to work.

I knew nothing about the series going into it, but was quickly hooked on the premise. Very interesting story. I loved the idea of all of the cupboards. Really intriguing. I also enjoyed the characters. The children's dialogue was hilarious and pretty much anything Frank said was entertaining. 

This book is just the right amount of creepy. It's not gory or startling, but it definitely gives you that uneasy feeling. Not overly scary, just creepy enough to make you hesitate before opening the closet door in the dark. 

I am already on the hunt for the next two books and the sequel. Such an amazing series.
Quest - Aaron Becker
For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

Such a gorgeous book. When you write a wordless book, your illustrations really have to tell the story and capture the readers' imagination. It is a difficult feat, but this is a perfect example of a success. The artwork in this book is amazing and I love the adventurous tale woven through the illustrations. Perfect example of a wonderful wordless book.

I have not read the first book in the series, Journey (Journey Trilogy #1). I saw this at the library and thought it looked interesting. I think you can definitely read this one without having read the first one. You can still understand the story. But I am sure it is a better experience to read them in order. I have already requested the first and third book in the series from the library. Can't wait to read them.

Beautiful book with a fantastic story. I looked through this with one of the little girls I work with and she loved it, especially each time the children escaped their pursuers. Fantastic picture book.

Evil Lurks Review

For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

As a contributor to this collection, I feel it would be unfair of me to give it a star rating, but I wanted to share some of my thoughts on the work.

With the broad theme of supernatural stories, this anthology has a wide variety of horrors. Creepy cats, sneaky zombies, aliens hiding in plain sight, werewolves in the woods. There is something for everyone. 

With so many different author included in the anthology, there is a good mix of styles as well. Some stories are short, some are long. Some are gruesome, some are creepily humorous. 

Three of my stories are featured in this anthology: "A Break In", "The Spark of Creation", and "My Paranormal Romance". I also enjoyed Dave J. Suscheck's "The Statue" and Samie Sands' "Onryo". 

 

Diesel Sweeties Volume 2: Bacon Is a Vegetable, Coffee Is a Vitamin Tp - R Stevens
For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

I found this in the Little Free Library by my house and was intrigued by the title. I had never heard of Diesel Sweeties before.

This book was okay. Mostly it was just too repetitive for me. Yes, we get it... bacon... coffee... more bacon... more coffee. I am not obsessed with bacon (pescatarian here) or coffee (I drink a normal amount of it), so perhaps the humor was just not for me. 

Artwork was okay. Nothing too exciting, although the range of emotions portrayed was pretty impressive considering the pixelated style. Jokes were pretty dull . Probably better for those who actually know the characters in the Diesel Sweeties webcomic. I had no idea who anyone was or how they were related so it was all pretty meh. 

Mostly just a book about how great coffee is and how no one can be a vegetarian because of bacon. Nothing very original or humorous in it in my opinion. Okay book for a quick read. Finished it in a day.
Hilda and the Midnight Giant - Luke Pearson
For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

Okay, okay, I'm guilty of watching the corresponding Netflix episode before reading this book, but in my defense, it's a difficult show to stop watching. Anyway, I knew what was going to happen, but I still loved every moment of reading this book. The Midnight Giant is one of my favorite storylines so I was very excited to read this one. It was just as amazing and splendid as I hoped it would be.

Wonderful artwork, fun storyline, great engaging characters. This is such a magnificent series. I really enjoyed the illustration of the Giants of Old in the back of the book as well. Such phenomenal detail. Really great series that pulls the reader in. I just love escaping to Hilda's world. 

Can't wait to read Hilda and the Bird Parade. I think that is the last episode I watched before deciding to read the books first, so after that everything will be a nice surprise.