Review: The Comic Book Story of Video Games

Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Ten Speed Press (October 3, 2017)
Language: Englishvideo games

This book, full of interesting facts and great illustrations, is fantastically fun for all ages. I handed this over to the 7th and 8th grade students in my reading class, as well as showing it to the 3rd-5th grade and high school music students, and they (mostly) agreed that this book was ‘awesome!’ Although this was more about the technology behind the games and the nerdtastic amazingness of the art, the premise of teaching through graphic form instead of ‘normal’ text book type writing grasped the people in my life: students, teachers, and non-school personnel alike.

I give this book a 3.5 out of 5 stars. The visual elements were great but I feel like the writing could have flowed a little better and I would have loved more mention of the artistic side of things.

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Draw 50 Sea Creatures: Review

As most of you know by now, I have a delightfully sassy little girl. Last time I was looking through Blogging for Books’ list of available titles, she excitedly exclaimed that I HAD TO GET the book on drawing sea creatures FOR HER. Well, how can you say no to that? (Especially when there really weren’t any other books I wanted to look at)

4108AJg5ODL._SX389_BO1,204,203,200_When the book arrived at our home, she immediately wiggled out of nap time and into art time, and the two artists in my family (my mother and the tiny one) are absolutely enamored with this simple, easy to follow drawing book. They even convince me to give it a go and I made a halfway decent piece of kelp (NOT as easy as you would think!) We give this book 4 out of 5 sea dragons and recommend that you go check it out!

The Story Cure: A Quick Review

The Book Doctor, Dinty W. Moore, has created this book in order to help authors break through writer’s block, rearrange stumbling blocks into creative staircases, and basically just fix whatever ails ya…or your book. As a professor of writing, and an author himself, Moore as spent years coming up with ‘diagnoses’ and ‘prescriptions’ for all sorts of common (and not quite so common) author ailments, and lays them out with charming witticisms and blunt truths. This book is a great read for authors in all phases of their walks through words.

I give it 4.5 out 5 Stars and encourage anyone who writes or thinks they might want to give it a whirl to pick up a copy.

 

*I was sent this book by Blogging for Books in return for my honest review. All opinions cited in this review are my own.*

 

Healthy Food Makes Me Sick

So I may or may not have mentioned this to you before but…I’m on a diet. I have been on a diet for over a month (again). This time, I’m doing better with it. I’m doing better with it because I’m concentrating more on making healthier choices and eating smaller portions than I am on forcing myself to eat these ‘healthy choice’ recipes that make me sick. That’s right, a lot of healthy foods actually make me S-I-C-K. No, I am not lying. Yes, this is real life.

You see, things like tomatoes make my acid reflux go through the roof. I get terrible stomach aches, the acid makes my throat hurt, and I get headaches. Bell peppers do much the same thing, although since I dislike their texture and flavor I start feeling sick a lot more quickly. The same happens with celery, asparagus, most squash, all but one eggplant recipe, etc etc and so forth. On top of that, I am literally allergic to strawberries. Yes, strawberries. Yes, it does suck. (guess what my daughter’s favorite food is?? YUP! Strawberries…which mom has to cut up for her. It’s a process and a show for anyone watching me).

My friends laugh because I am a sober person with the palate of a stoner (except for pizza honestly). So finding dishes that are HEALTHY and FILLING and YUMMY without half (sometimes over half) of the readily available vegetables can be a trial. It’s really no wonder that I’m failing every few days. But I keep working. I keep finding new recipes. I keep pinning pins to pinterest. I will keep this diet going. Even if I do sneak some beef jerky and mustard every once in a while.

Some healthy foods make me sick…but that doesn’t mean I can’t be healthy anyway.

Review: Elemental Island

elemental island

Summary: Astie has always been different. Her 12th birthday is looming and she still has not decided on her thesis. All the Learners at the Hub picked theirs years ago. If it wasn’t for her cousin, Jakob, life would be unbearable on Elemental Island. On the verge of being diagnosed with Social Syndrome, she stumbles upon Danny who has landed in a forbidden flight machine….(continued here)

Age Level: Middle Grade (ages 8-13)

Genre: Adventure (with low level Sci-Fi feels)

Pages: 224 (hardcover)

Published: December 2015 by Jessica Kingsley Publishers

This book is a celebration of differences. In a world where everyone loves logic, order, and alone time, main character Astie is on the verge of turning 12 with no scientific thesis to obsess over and an enjoyment of spending time with people, and hugs, that is going to get her shunned as having what is known as Social Syndrome. Of course, Astie winds up saving the day. But I will leave it to you to discover just how she does it.

I enjoyed this book very much. It was a quick read, coming in at only a few hours in one of my days to read it, but the storyline has stuck with me. The world Ms. Hoopmann created is a logical, scientific narrative of what an island full of fully functioning autistic humans might be like. They are secluded. They are safe. They have no contact with an outside world, because there isn’t one (as far as they know). They like it that way, and if anyone starts being too social, or illogical, or touchy feely. Well they might have to be retrained. This flip-flop of what we normally see in books made me happy and excited to read on. I really liked the interactions between our main character and her family and friends. They were written true to how someone with non-neurotypical tendencies might speak and react, which I really appreciated.

This book earned 3.5 dragons from me. Go check it out.

 

Review: The Midnight Queen

midnight queen

Summary: In the hallowed halls of Oxford’s Merlin College, the most talented—and highest born—sons of the Kingdom of Britain are taught the intricacies of magickal theory. But what dazzles can also destroy, as Gray Marshall is about to discover…(more here)

Pages: 417

Published: 2014 Ace

 

I’m not going to lie to you here. I requested to review this book (from Blogging for Books) because of the cover. If you’ve been around awhile, you probably already know of my obsessions with owls. Well…that explains that right? It probably wouldn’t have mattered what the book was about, honestly. However, I have happy to report that it turned out to be a fabulous historical fiction/fantasy novel.

This book delights with a beautiful mixture of historical fiction and magical elements, adventuresome bits and slow romance, and some strong leads of both female and male variety. The scholarship and work of magic delights me to no end, and Ms. Hunter’s work here is no exception. Well done, delightful, and interesting.

This book gets a 4 out of 5 dragons. If you enjoy adventure, fantasy, and historical fiction all rolled into one very European bundle, I suggest you go grab your very own copy and give it a read.

Adulting: The Game Show

Does anyone else ever feel like adulting is like the weirdest game show ever?

I am currently searching for a teaching job. When you’ve been interviewing and discussing possible classrooms and assignments, some conversations start making you giggle (hopefully to yourself). One such comment that has come across a couple of times is “you are a finalist for the position.” While that feels amazing to hear…it has also made me start feeling like I made it to the last step in a game.

Any minute now the deep announcer voice will come over hidden speakers and say something like: CONGRATULATIONS ELIZABETH! If you win, your prize is to be placed in a room with 15 mid-elementary students that you must teach mathematics, social skills, how to not pick their noses in public, and what a comma is used for. Good Luck!

And you know what, I really want to win this particular game!

Waiting

*This Post is a Rambling Personal Chat*

 

I feel like I could write a book, or at least few essays, on waiting at this point.

The list of things I’m waiting on seems to get longer by the day. Whether it be with writing (hearing back from agents, trying to figure out how to get my self-published works out there more, etc), teaching (waiting for interviews, to hear back from interviews, just trying to get a job!), things on the more personal front, or even results from exercising, I feel like I spend the vast majority of my time waiting. The worst part is that all this waiting is making me more anxious, stressed, and depressed than I usually am.

Talking to friends and family about it isn’t really much of an option either at the moment. We’ve had a discussion or two and they’ve moved on to their own things. I see no reason to burden them with my ever growing list of anxiety inducing ‘wait for its.’ But that then leaves the burning question: How does one gracefully ‘wait for it?’

I know that God will put me on the path I am meant to be on. I know that I just have to have the faith and fortitude to keep going and working toward my goals. But I always find myself praying that my loved ones are ok, that they get through what they’ve been waiting for, and then I later realize that I’m still holding on to mine. It’s all very muddled and achy and my usual coping mechanisms or writing, reading, and Netflix or Hulu haven’t been helping lately. I’m tired of being tired. I’m sick of feeling sick. I’m so fed up with not caring about what goes on around me.

With all that having been said (whined *sigh*) the question is this: How do you deal with waiting? Do you have any special rituals, techniques, or other things that help you when you’re having to stress and wait? Would you mind sharing them with me?

I hope that you are all having a fabulous week! See you soon!

 

 

Motivation, Life Stuff, Trying to be Healthy

This post is something a bit different from usual…although I guess posting anything at all at this point is different from usual 😛 As many of you may know, I’ve been struggling to maintain motivation in a lot of things. I thought I was quit of smoking, didn’t have one for three years, and then started up again and have been struggling to quit a second time. I started exercising regularly and eating more healthy foods…then got depressed and stopped caring. I didn’t take my medicines for PCOS, I stopped exercising, I binged and snacked and stopped even the most basic of water drinking. I laid around on my butt and didn’t even find the energy to do my writing. (You may have noticed even FEWER posts from me) While I had a few spurts of creativity and spurts of reading and writing, I have been nowhere near regular with any of it.

That is changing this week, today, RIGHT NOW! I have exercised at least 25 minutes 3 out of the last 4 days (I was sick one day…no pushing too hard!). I didn’t want to. I wanted to sit, I wanted to binge watch a show or just play pointless games on my phone. Instead, I went out and exercised. I pushed past the anxiety of ‘what if I can’t’ and ‘what if there are PEOPLE’ and I went. I ignored my anxiety at telling my family I wanted to eat better and not go out as much, they actually really dug the idea! My best friend, who has started exercising for at least 25-30 minutes a day and eating smaller portions etc., has been an amazing support, pushing me to believe I can…and to go and do it!

Today I took my daughter to the library for the summer reading program hour they have on Monday’s. While I waited for their hour to be up, I wandered around and checked a few areas I don’t normally attempt with a 4 yr old. I didn’t mean to check out any books for myself today…I checked out 7. BUT, 3 of those were cookbooks. Mom is a vegetarian and I found 2 cookbooks for her and, more exciting for me, I found a cookbook by Lisa Lillien called “Hungry Girls 200 UNDER 200″…a book of 200 recipes that each have less that 200 calories per serving…and guys, I CANNOT WAIT to try a lot of these! They look and sound amazing.

I’m working out. I’m eating better. I’m drinking more water. I’ve gone almost 3 full days without a cigarette twice in the past week…I have none right now and intend for it to stay that way. I’ve been working on a new novel and getting ready for Camp NaNoWriMo in July. I’m reading a few good books and, man, I am fired up to be the healthiest, mentally and physically, that I can be! Hopefully, I can keep this up and make it a habit this time!

I would love to hear about your stories….are you working on something like this? Let me know how you stay motivated, how you keep your wits about you and emotions in check, and what your favorite part about the journey is.

Have a great day everyone!

When God Made You | Picture Book Review

When God Made You

by Matthew Paul Turner

Illustrated by David Catrow

A picture book of verse all about how God made,

and is proud of, the child reading it.

This  book is well written, beautifully illustrated, and just a bit too repetitive for my taste. It felt as though the author had a great idea and then pushed to hard, stretched too far, and made something that should have been beautiful and reassuring into something that felt forced and too long. Had the book been a few pages shorter, we (my daughter and I) probably would have given it 4.5 stars/dragons. As it stands, I give the book 4 dragons for the whimsical and adorable illustrations, and 2.5 dragons for the elongated storyline.

Overall, we are rating this book 3 dragons. It is very cute and an interesting read for young children, but ultimately too long and redundant for my taste.

*I received this from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own*