Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow

Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow

Available on Amazon
Kindle & Paperback

Things have been stressful and painful lately. My wrist and joints have been horrible, which has meant no stitching has been happening.

I’m always reading something, but I really needed something fun and different. I was standing there looking at our bookshelf and realized I hadn’t read this one yet.

This is a quirky weird book. [Read more…]

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

the girl on the train by paula hawkins available on Amazon (kindle, paperback, and hardcover)

by Paula Hawkins
available on Amazon
Kindle paperback, and hardcover

Why is everyone drunk or drinking all the time? I can’t tell if this part was intentional to draw out the recovering alcoholic character perspective, that she the character is noticing it so it is being made extremely obvious to you as the reader, over explained in some parts of the story even. I kept wondering to myself am I supposed to notice all this use of alcohol or is it just page filler…

Anyway. It took some getting used to the back and forth between the timelines and I had a hard time getting into the book because of it at first, but after the first few chapters and perspective switches I got into the flow of the story and it was easier to follow. My husband said the same when he was reading it. When you’re about one-third of the way through the book the threads start to tie together a little more and then you reach those “can’t put it down right now” parts. [Read more…]

The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King

It’s hard to choose a favorite book. I love to read and I love stories. But if I were forced to choose just one book to have and to hold forever and ever, I would choose this one.

In case you didn’t know; This is NOT a Horror Novel

When most people see Stephen King as the author of a book on the shelf they expect a good scare, a bit of blood and gore at the very least. This is not that book. Nor is this a book On Writing, which Mr. King is also very well known for. This a fairy tale with a twist that only Stephen King could provide.

It has everything that a good fairy tale should have. A vast kingdom, tales of dragons and beasts, peasants frustrated with their way of life who are ready to stand up for what they believe is right and true, princes who will take over their father’s throne some day, and of course a magician. It’s a story of growth, bravery, magic, and forgotten lore.

I’ve read almost everything Stephen King has published over the years, including those published under the pen name of Richard Bachman. This is my favorite of all of them – and truly one of my favorite books ever. I have a first edition hard cover copy (the green cover pictured here) and the pages are very well worn from reading it over and over again. [Read more…]

The Light of the Fireflies by Paul Pen

The Light of the Fireflies book by Paul PenI want to start by mentioning that The Light of the Fireflies as I’m reading it is a translation from another language. I do think the translation was done very well, the sentence structure and word order all makes sense and flows well for the most part. I’ve read some translations in the past that were just plain confusing and frustrating in their English versions, so bonus points for this.

Book summary from Amazon:

A haunting and hopeful tale of discovering light in even the darkest of places.

For his whole life, the boy has lived underground, in a basement with his parents, grandmother, sister, and brother. Before he was born, his family was disfigured by a fire. His sister wears a white mask to cover her burns.

He spends his hours with his cactus, reading his book on insects, or touching the one ray of sunlight that filters in through a crack in the ceiling. Ever since his sister had a baby, everyone’s been acting very strangely. The boy begins to wonder why they never say who the father is, about what happened before his own birth, about why they’re shut away.

A few days ago, some fireflies arrived in the basement. His grandma said, There’s no creature more amazing than one that can make its own light. That light makes the boy want to escape, to know the outside world. Problem is, all the doors are locked. And he doesn’t know how to get out…

One thing that sort of bothered me is that no one in this story has a name. Everyone is nameless. The boy. Father. Mother. Brother. Sister. Grandmother. Grandfather. The baby (sometimes referred to as nephew). At certain parts of the story it would have been much easier to follow if everyone just had a name.

Then to call further attention to the lack of names, at one point one of his siblings refers to the boy as “the boy” and one of the parents says, “He has a name you know.” Well, no, no we don’t know, because you didn’t tell us anyone’s name. It’s not a big deal, but it did sort of drive me crazy at several points throughout the book. I think it might be an attempt to dehumanize the people, or maybe the author just doesn’t like names, I can’t be sure. [Read more…]

Coloring Animal Mandalas on a Rainy Saturday

Working from home and meeting people online over the years has brought many interesting and amazing people into my life, and for that I am very grateful. When one of those people accomplishes a goal, I’m excited to be there to watch it happen and I’m ready to cheer them on.

Wendy Piersall is one of those people. Wendy is a talented artist and a fun blogger to follow. Her first coloring book came out in October, Coloring Animal Mandalas and of course I bought it right away.

The book was a beautiful success. She has two more books out now, a fourth one that you can preorder!

I enjoy coloring as a nice break from everything; it provides the same stress relief feeling that stitching provides me and it gives my brain a break because I don’t have to count or check a pattern. (Though, while we were coloring Ethan did suggest these mandalas would make cool cross stitch patterns, and I certainly agree with that… we’ll stick a pin in that idea for later.)

Coloring Animal Mandalas

A magical thing happened when I got out the colored pencils and sat down at the table on a rainy Saturday evening. Ethan shut off the television. Lucas hooked his iPod up to the soundbar speaker. Noah came out of him room. And we were all coloring together. Next thing we knew it was 2:30 in the morning ~ oops!

Coloring Animal Mandalas

They were actually still coloring when I went to bed! and making plans for what to color next, and thinking about how they could design their own coloring books, and talking about getting new markers and colored pencils on our next trip to Michael’s for sketch books and supplies. 🙂

Coloring Animal Mandalas

Crewel Yule – a Needlecraft Mystery

Part-time sleuth and full-time owner of the needlework shop Crewel World, Betsy Devonshire prepares for a chilling holiday season filled with mistletoe–and murder.

I love the Monica Ferris Needlecraft Mysteries line of books ~ combines two of my favorite things ever, great mystery novels and great needlework! what’s not to love?

This book – or any book in this series – makes a fantastic gift for the needle-crafter on your holiday shopping list (or of course yourself) The details the author goes to in order to capture the world of needlework are astounding, she picks up lingo, fiber specific detail, and more in each and every book.
[Read more…]

The Paper Magician

This is the first short story in a series of shorts. Despite being short, it actually took me a lot longer than usual to read. The pacing of the story was all over the place and I was having a hard time staying focused on it. It’s not that I didn’t like the story, it had great elements and interesting angles on magic, I just didn’t feel sucked into the world as much as I would have liked.

The whole hunting through a person’s heart while their heart isn’t inside their body thing went on for ages, it’s most of the book, and I just didn’t enjoy it I guess. Some parts of the book also seemed rushed, while others felt excruciatingly slow to me. Still the magical concepts and ideas were very interesting, and I liked that there were limitations on each person’s magic.

I’m not sure if I’ll read The Glass Magician (the second book in the series) or not. I might pick it up on Kindle Unlimited if I get bored one weekend, but I don’t feel the need to mark release dates for this series on my calendar right now. Actually, I’m sure curiosity will get to me eventually, because I often find the second book in a series like this can sometimes be better than the first.
[Read more…]

Alone (A Bone Secrets Novel) by Kendra Elliot

Last night I finished reading Alone (A Bone Secrets Novel) by Kendra Elliot.

This was a pretty smooth read and I enjoyed the story. It’s a combination of mystery, thriller, sort of drizzled with romance. There is one sex scene in the book, but it’s pretty mild. In other words, the book is 98% story, no smut.

I didn’t realize this was the fourth book in the series – but fortunately each book in the series focuses on a different character, so I can go back and read the other three novels at another time and they’re all standalone stories that link together in small ways.

I kind of like that concept, little stories in their own universe that go together but don’t necessarily need to be together. Reminds me a little bit of comic book crossover stories, but in novel form.
[Read more…]

5 Crochet Books that are Free on Kindle

It’s no secret that I love my Kindle. It is often an extension of my arm, I’m always reading something somewhere. One of the cool things about the Kindle marketplace is the variety of reading material that you can pick up for no cost. Even if you don’t have a Kindle, there are still some great freebies to be had and you can use the FREE Kindle Reading App to view and read the books on your favorite device or even on your desktop computer.

I spent some time poking around the craft and hobby section this morning and I found these five promising crochet books that are all currently free. I don’t know how long they’ll stay free, so grab ’em while you can 😉

Crochet Patterns For Beginners by Amy Wright

This is a beginner “learn how to” type book with directions for basic crochet stitches such as slip stitch, single crochet, half double crochet, double crochet and treble crochet.

Includes 10 beginner level patterns for dishcloths, granny squares, coasters, scrubbies, beanies and hats, and even a scarf.

Click Here to Get This Free Kindle Book

Update: It appears the free promotion for this book listed has expired, but the full price is pretty affordable at $2.99.
[Read more…]

Timebound (The Chronos Files Book 1) by Rysa Walker

(Available as part of Kindle Unlimited if you’re a subscriber, but also available in the usual other formats as well)

I love time travel stories and this one was fun with the layers and ripples. I’m looking forward to reading the next one in the series when it comes out in October.

Things get a little bit confusing if you try to read it when you’re half asleep, but I’d say that’s true of any time travel story. The story moves around quite a bit, from place to place and from time to time. It can be a lot to keep track of, but it’s worth the brain power required to do so, there’s some good stuff and some subtle little links between the timelines.

There are lots of little loops in this story, along with things to make you think about how life could be different if just one tiny thing changed in the scope of a lifetime.
[Read more…]

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