Friday, September 23, 2016

Adult Coloring Book: Wuthering Heights: A Coloring Classic by Emily Bronte

Wuthering Heights: A Coloring Classic by Emily Bronte
Adult Coloring Book illustrated by Elisabetta Stoinich
Publisher: Doubleday Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 27, 2016
Purchase Links: Penguin Random House | Amazon
Bring to life the classic Victorian story of Wuthering Heights and the love affair of Catherine and Heathcliff in this gorgeously detailed coloring book. Intricate linework combines with iconic quotations and gothic scenes to create an evocative book that will inspire creativity and take you on a windswept journey across the Yorkshire moors.

My Thoughts:
With the recent popularity of adult coloring books, I have to say that The Coloring Classics by Random House are my favorite. I recently received a copy of Wuthering Heights, and oh my! What an amazing collection of pictures to dive into. Aside from this classic being my absolute favorite, it goes without saying that Elisabetta Stoinich did a beautiful job of bringing Emily Bronte’s story to life.

As in the novel, the illustrator did a wonderful job of using parallel elements to compare and contrast the people and scenes that ranged from whimsical and light to gothic and dark.

I really enjoyed adding color to the playful pages of young Heathcliff and Catherine. I used bright colors and defined outlines to bring out the element of how full of life these two characters were at a young age. The caption that reads, “They both promised fair to grow up as rude as savages… It was one of their chief amusements to run away to the moors in the morning and remain there all day,” and was depicted perfectly in this scene.

There was another page I wanted to point out, which I felt captured the unrefined darkness of Thrushgrove Grange. In this page, the intricate detail of the home was balanced with the ghostly darkness of this character’s feelings. Adding sharp colors to this page, I feel did the job of portraying Catherine’s haunted moments in the story.


Of all of the pages in this book, I must admit I spent the most time with Heathcliff and Catherine’s dream scene. Theirs is a passionate tale of doomed love, and Stoinich did a brilliant job of illustrating the connection between these two characters. This page alone, I invested around three hours to truly capture the perfection of the scene and their moment together. I loved the caption that reads, “Disturbed her? No! She has disturbed me, night and day through eighteen years – incessantly – remorselessly – till yesternight; and yesternight I was tranquil. I dreamt I was sleeping the last sleep by that sleeper, with my heart stopped and my cheek frozen against hers. ~Heathcliff” At first, I felt a bit overwhelmed on how to conquer these pages, but once I started added color, the pages just came to life on their own. This is one of my favorites by far.
One last page that I added very little color to was the final scene of this book. This page has no quotes, but the minimal illustration truly captures the stormy romance of Wuthering Heights. Beautifully done!

Thank you to Random House for offering me an opportunity to sample The Coloring Classics.
5 Snowflakes

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Review: Girls Like Me by Lola St. Vil

Girls Like Me by Lola St. Vil
Publication Date - October 4th, 2016
Publisher - HMH Books for Young Readers
Fifteen-year-old Shay Summers is trying to cope with the death of her father, being overweight, and threats from a girl bully in school. When she falls in love with Blake, a mysterious boy online, insecure Shay doesn't want to tell him who she is. But with the help of her two best friends, as well as an assist by Kermit and Miss Piggy, ultimately Shay and Blake’s love prevails. Girls Like Me is a fun and fresh poetic take on teen angst, social media and online anonymity, and high school romance.

My Thoughts:

Hmm, I am not quite sure what to think of this book. The synopsis caught my attention mostly due the mention of an overweight character, but also the inclusion of an online aspect (which kind of sounds a lot like Cinderella Story with Hilary Duff and Chad Michael Murray) sounded interesting to me. While there were things about this book that I liked, in general, it was bit of a disappointment if I am being completely honest.

It has been a year since fifteen-year-old Shay lost her father. Ever since then, she has been living with her stepmother who continually tries to change Shay, mainly focusing on the way she looks through diet. At school, Shay is continually bullied, especially by Kelly, the most popular girl in the bunch. She is called a pig, people "oik" at her when she is around as a result of which she has learned a way to avoid possible embarrassing situations, like P.E. class. With a help of her two best friends, Shay navigates the halls of her high school like she's on a battlefield.

When Shay logs into an online platform recommended by her friend, she starts to chat with a guy with a username inspired by Waiting for Godot. The chats with this Godot guy make her happy and allow her to really be herself without the weight and all, but as Godot starts to suggest that they meet, Shay panics. Can he really like her because she looks a bit different than other girls?

Throughout the book, Shay struggles with her self-image and the way she is. She is at the most tender age when it comes to body image and such, and though I could feel for her struggle, I continually kept hoping that she would gain confidence and embrace who she is. I know it is not so easy (especially as someone who has gone through the struggle of accepting my body), but I feel like as this book processed, the way it probably wanted to express that "you are okay as you are" started to slip a little bit.

What I appreciated about this novel was the author's attempts to use the verse format to express the story. I often feel like this format allows the author less room to really flesh out the characters, and while St. Vil didn't completely succeed in my books, nevertheless, the verse format was probably my favorite thing about this book. As a media student, I also found the utilization of social media into the plot quite interesting, but that, for some reason, fell kind of flat towards the end of the novel.

I think Girls Like Me has a lot of potential, but unfortunately, I was left a bit unimpressed. The high school dynamics felt a bit too generic and the relationship between Shay and this mysterious online guy seems just a bit too underdeveloped. I raise my hat for the attempt to use the verse format though, which in the end, kept me reading until the last page.
2 snowflakes

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Review: Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

Stalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper, #1)Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson
Release Date: September 20, 2016
Purchase: Amazon
Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord's daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father's wishes and society's expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle's laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.
 

My Thoughts:
This book was so FREAKING FUN!!  I don't think I've ever read a book like this before and I just want more from Kerri Maniscalco!!!

Stalking Jack the Ripper is based on the infamous murder Jack the Ripper as you can tell from the title.  What I found fascinating is how the author managed to keep so many of the details intact, but still created a completely unique story line.  Not only was it unique, but it was filled with gore, creepishly delicious murders, and so much fun!  Ms. Maniscalco didn't shy away from the less than pretty things that happened during that time and by picking Audrey Rose as her main heroine it gave her a reason for describing things in such detail.  I loved every single minute of it!

I think my favorite part was Audrey Rose.  Yes I won't lie she had a few TSTL moments, but I totally forgave her for them because the author did a great job explaining her background.  All Audrey Rose wanted to do was become a brilliant scientist.  She loved performing autopsies and looked at it like a puzzle.  Unfortunately for her in her time this was unacceptable for a lady and so she had to hide inside her uncles lab.  The author wove in a rich background that makes it clear Audrey Rose was hidden away and kept from learning about the ways of the world.  This made me forgive her when she ran into danger without a care in the world.

She wasn't always alone though and I loved Thomas for always being one step ahead of her!  He was the best character ever!  I loved his banter and he always laid everything on the table even if Audrey Rose sometimes skipped over his endearing words.  I think..no I know he is my favorite character of all time.  He treated her with respect and as an equal and she needed that more than anything.  I loved him to pieces.

My only complaint is that I felt the ending was a bit soft.  I know where the author was going and I understood the overall dilemma, but I wish the author wouldn't have taken the easy way out for her ending.  She didn't shy away from anything else in this story so I was a little saddened by this.  Honestly though it didn't take away from the brilliance of this story.  It was a strong story and I absolutely believe the ending, even though soft, added an extra layer to the overall plot.  I happened to guess who the villain was early on in the story, but with the ending the way it was I didn't see a few things coming and that made it fun.

Kerri Maniscalco is definitely on my favorite authors list and if this book is any indication she will be around for years and I will always be first in line to buy her books!  I still have goosebumps!!

5 snowflakes



Thursday, September 15, 2016

Adult Coloring Book: William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet A Coloring Classic

Romeo and Juliet: A Coloring Classicby Renia Metallinou, Bethan Fanine
Published July 5th 2016 by Doubleday Books for Young Readers
Paperback, 80 pages
Bring to life the classic tale of Romeo and Juliet in this wonderfully romantic coloring book. Beautifully detailed linework combines with iconic quotations to perfectly capture the passion and tragedy of literature's greatest pair of star-crossed lovers. Features a gorgeous foiled cover!

My Thoughts
Beautifully depicted coloring book that's kept me captivated for hours.

William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet A Coloring Classic is absolutely gorgeous. There is so much to enjoy in this book especially the carefully selected quotes that you can decorate with a careful hand.  I loved how they pulled passages from the story and added scenic brilliance to the moment!
"These violent delights have violent ends and their triumph dies, like fire and powder, which, as they kiss, consumes." ~Friar Laurence

"I fear, too early; for my mind misgives some consequence yet hanging in the stars…" ~Romeo


The illustrators, Metallinou and Fanine, did an amazing job at creating perfectly drawn scenes that make you feel like the story is coming to life as you add color to the pages. You can get lost in a page for hours with the intricate detail.
Overall, Renia Metallinou and Bethan Fanine did a fantastic job of illustrating this classic. This work of art will keep me busy for weeks. I can't wait to add color to the rest of these pages! Love it!

Thank you to Random House for offering me an opportunity to sample the first set of coloring books.
5 Snowflakes

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Blog Tour: Roald Dahl 100 Celebratory (Excerpt & Giveaway)


This year Penguin Young Readers and the Roald Dahl Literary Estate are celebrating 100 years since the birth of Roald Dahl —the world’s number one storyteller.

Roald's imagination has transported millions of readers into other worlds, whether on the hunt for a golden ticket, or meeting friendly giants. These stories have brought generations together, and continue to be a staple in our libraries, schools, and homes. As part of the celebration, Penguin Young Readers has released brand new covers for his books. I'm beyond excited and honored to be able to share with you the new cover for  Esio Trot and an excerpt.



Excerpt from Esio Trot p9-23

Mr Hoppy lived in a small flat high up in a tall concrete building. He lived alone. He had always been a lonely man and now that he was retired from work he was more lonely than ever.
            There were two loves in Mr Hoppy’s life. One was the flowers he grew on his balcony. They grew in pots and tubs and baskets, and in summer the little balcony became a riot of colour. Mr Hoppy’s second love was a secret he kept entirely to himself.
            The balcony immediately below Mr Hoppy’s jutted out a good bit further from the building than his own, so Mr Hoppy always had a fine view of what was going on down there. This balcony belonged to an attractive middle-aged lady called Mrs Silver. Mrs Silver was a widow who also lived alone. And although she didn’t know it, she was the object of Mr Hoppy’s secret love. He had loved her from his balcony for many years, but he was a very shy man and he had never been able to bring himself to give her even the smallest hint of his love.
            Every morning, Mr Hoppy and Mrs Silver exchanged polite conversation, the one looking down from above, the other looking up, but that was as far as it ever went. The distance between their balconies might not have been more than a few yards, but to Mr Hoppy it seemed like a million miles. He longed to invite Mrs Silver up for a cup of tea and a biscuit, but every time he was about to form the words on his lips, his courage failed him. As I said, he was a very very shy man.
            Oh, if only, he kept telling himself, if only he could do something tremendous like saving her life or rescuing her from a gang of armed thugs, if only he could perform some great feat that would make him a hero in her eyes. If only…
            The trouble with Mrs Silver was that she gave all her love to somebody else, and that somebody was a small tortoise named Alfie. Everyday, when Mr Hoppy looked over his balcony and saw Mrs Silver whispering endearments to Alfie and stroking his shell, he felt absurdly jealous. He wouldn’t even have minded becoming a tortoise himself if it meant Mrs. Silver stroking his shell each morning and whispering endearments to him.
            Alfie had been with Mrs Silver for years and he lived on her balcony summer and winter. Planks had been placed around the sides of the balcony so that Alfie could walk about without toppling over the edge, and in one corner there was a little house into which Alfie would crawl every night to keep warm.
            When the colder weather came along in November, Mrs Silver would fill Alfie’s house with dry hay, and the tortoise would crawl in there and bury himself deep under the hay and go to sleep for months on end without food or water. This is called hibernating.
            In early spring, when Alfie felt the warmer weather through his shell, he would wake up and crawl very slowly out of his house onto the balcony. And Mrs Silver would clap her hands with joy and cry out, “Welcome back, my darling one! Oh, how I have missed you!”
            It was at times like these that Mr Hoppy wished more than ever that he could change places with Alfie and become a tortoise.
            Now we come to a certain bright morning in May when something happened that changed and indeed electrified Mr Hoppy’s life. He was leaning over his balcony rail watching Mrs Silver serving Alfie his breakfast.
            “Here’s the heart of lettuce for you, my lovely,” she was saying. “And here’s a slice of fresh tomato and a piece of crispy celery.”
            “Good morning, Mrs Silver,” Mr Hoppy said. “Alfie’s looking well this morning.”
            “Isn’t he gorgeous!” Mrs Silver said, looking up at him and beaming at him.
            “Absolutely gorgeous,” Mr Hoppy said, not meaning it. And now, as he looked down at Mrs Silver’s smiling face gazing up into his own, he thought for the thousandth time how pretty she was, how sweet and gentle and full of kindness, and his heart ached with love.
            “I do so wish he would grow a little faster,” Mrs Silver was saying. “Every spring, when he wakes up from his winter sleep, I weigh him on the kitchen scales. And do you know that in all the eleven years I’ve had him he’s not gained more than three ounces! That’s almost nothing!”
            “What does he weigh now?” Mr Hoppy asked her.
            “Just about thirteen ounces,” Mrs Silver answered. “About as much as a grapefruit.”
            “Yes, well, tortoises are very slow growers,” Mr Hoppy said solemnly. “But they can live for a hundred years.”
            “I know that,” Mrs Silver said. “But I do so wish he would grow just a little bit bigger. He’s such a tiny wee fellow.”
            “He seems just fine as he is,” Mr Hoppy said.
            “No, he’s not just fine!” Mrs Silver cried. “Try to think how miserable it must make him feel to be so titchy! Everyone wants to grow up.”
            “You really would love him to grow bigger, wouldn’t you?” Mr Hoppy said, and even as he said it his mind suddenly went click and an amazing idea came rushing into his head.
            “Of course I would!” Mrs Silver cried. “I’d give anything to make it happen! Why, I’ve seen pictures of giant tortoises that are so huge people can ride on their backs! If Alfie were to see those he’d turn green with envy!”
            Mr Hoppy’s mind was spinning like a flywheel. Here, surely, was his big chance! Grab it, he told himself. Grab it quick!
            “Mrs Silver,” he said. “I do actually happen to know how to make tortoises grow faster, if that’s what you really want.”
            “You do?” she cried. “Oh, please tell me! Am I feeding him the wrong things?”
            “I worked in North Africa once,” Mr Hoppy said. “That’s where all these tortoises in England come from, and a bedouin tribesman told me the secret.”
            “Tell me!” cried Mrs Silver. “I beg you to tell me, Mr Hoppy! I’ll be your slave for life.”
            When he heard the words your slave for life, a little shiver of excitement swept through Mr Hoppy. “Wait there,” he said. “I’ll have to go in and write something down for you.”
            In a couple of minutes Mr Hoppy was back on the balcony with a sheet of paper in his hand. “I’m going to lower it to you on a bit of string,” he said, “or it might blow away. Here it comes.”
            Mrs Silver caught the paper and held it up in front of her. This is what she read:
ESIO TROT, ESIO TROT,
TEG REGGIB REGGIB!
EMOC NO, ESIO TROT,
WORG PU, FFUP PU, TOOHS PU!
GNIRPS PU, WOLB PU, LLEWS PU!
EGROG! ELZZUG! FFUTS! PLUG!
TUP NO TAF, ESIO TROT, TUP NO TAF!
TEG NO, TEG NO! ELBBOG DOOF!
copyright © Quentin Blake, reprinted with permission from Penguin Young Readers

Roald Dahl



Roald Dahl (1916–1990) was one of the world’s most imaginative, successful and beloved storytellers. He was born in Wales of Norwegian parents and spent much of his childhood in England. After establishing himself as a writer for adults with short story collections such as Kiss Kiss and Tales of the Unexpected, Roald Dahl began writing children's stories in 1960 while living with his family in both the U.S. and in England. His first stories were written as entertainment for his own children, to whom many of his books are dedicated.

Roald Dahl’s first children’s story, The Gremlins, was a story about little creatures that were responsible for the various mechanical failures on airplanes. The Gremlins came to the attention of both First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who loved to read the story to her grandchildren, and Walt Disney, with whom Roald Dahl had discussions about the production of a movie.

Roald Dahl was inspired by American culture and by many of the most quintessential American landmarks to write some of his most memorable passages, such as the thrilling final scenes in James and the Giant Peach - when the peach lands on the Empire State Building! Upon the publication of James and the Giant Peach, Roald Dahl began work on the story that would later be published as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and today, Roald Dahl’s stories are available in 58 languages and, by a conservative estimate, have sold more than 200 million copies.

Roald Dahl also enjoyed great success for the screenplays he wrote for both the James Bond film You Only Live Twice in 1967 and for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, released one year later, which went on to become a beloved family film.  Roald Dahl’s popularity continues to increase as his fantastic novels, including James and the Giant Peach, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Matilda, The BFG, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, delight an ever-growing legion of fans. 

Two charities have been founded in Roald Dahl’s memory: the first charity, Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity, created in 1991, focuses on making life better for seriously ill children through the funding of specialist nurses, innovative medical training, hospitals, and individual families across the UK.

The second charity, The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre – a unique cultural, literary and education hub – opened in June 2005 in Great Missenden where Roald Dahl lived and wrote many of his best-loved works. 10% of income from Roald Dahl books and adaptations are donated to the two Roald Dahl charities.

On September 13, 2006, the first national Roald Dahl Day was celebrated, on what would have been the author’s 90th birthday. The event proved such a success that Roald Dahl Day is now marked annually all over the world. September 13, 2016 is Roald Dahl 100, marking 100 years since the birth of the world’s number one storyteller. There will be celebrations for Roald Dahl 100 throughout 2016, delivering a year packed with gloriumptious treats and surprises for everyone.


*Excerpted from NPR’s November 14, 2013 interview with Lucy Dahl, “Roald Dahl Wanted His Magical Matilda To Keep Books Alive”

Lucy: “I remember waking up in the night and going to the bathroom and seeing the glow of the light in the little [writing] hut while it was still dark outside.

“His hut was a sacred place. ... We were all allowed to go in there, but we only disturbed him when we absolutely needed to because he used to say that his hut was his nest. You would walk in and the smells were so familiar — that very old paper from filing cabinets. And he sat in his mother's old armchair and then put his feet up on an old leather trunk, and then on top of that he would get into an old down sleeping bag that he would put his legs into to keep him warm.

“He then had a board that he made that he would rest on the arms of the armchair as a desk table and on top of that he had cut some billiard felt that was glued on top of it, and it was slightly carved out for where his tummy was. When he sat down ... the first thing he did was get a brush and brush the felt on his lap desk so it was all clean.

“He always had six pencils with an electric sharpener that he would sharpen at the beginning of each session. His work sessions were very strict — he worked from 10 until 12 every day and then again from 3 until 5 every day. And that was it. Even if there was nothing to write he would still, as he would say, ‘put his bottom on the chair.’"

For further information on the wonderful world of Roald Dahl please visit www.roalddahl.com
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ROALD DAHL 100 CELEBRATORY BLOG TOUR

September 5 Peace Loves Books - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Excerpt
September 5 - The Compulsive Reader - Danny, The Champion of the World Review 
September 5 - The Starry Eyed Revue - James and The Giant Peach Review
September 6 - Ex Libris Kate - The Witches Review
September 6 - Cracking The Cover - The Magic Finger Feature - Short Review and History 
September 6 - Lost In Lit - The Witches Feature - Revisiting The Witches as an adult 
September 7 - Cozy Reading Corner - Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator Excerpt 
September 7 - The Plot Bunny - The Magic Finger Review 
September 7 - Lilli's Reflections - The Twits Excerpt 
September 8 - The Irish Banana - Matilda Review 
September 8 - Ticket To Anywhere - Danny, The Champion of the World Excerpt
September 8 - Cuddlebuggery - Quentin Blake's Illustrations of Roald Dahl's Books Feature
September 8 - Beth Fish Reads - Going Solo Review 
September 9 -  Ravenous Reader - The BFG Excerpt 
September 9 - Paper Cuts - The Giraffe, the Pelly and Me Excerpt 
September 9 - The Lovely Books - The Witches Excerpt 
September 9 - A Glass of Wine - James and the Giant Peach Excerpt
September 10 - Novel Novice - George's Marvelous Medicine Excerpt 
September 10 - YA Bibliophile - Fantastic Mr. Fox Review
September 10 - Watercolor Moods - The Magic Finger Feature - Collage
September 11- Jessabella Reads - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Review 
September 11- Who R U Blog - Charlie and the Glass Elevator Feature - Trivia
September 12 - Belle of the Library - The Twits Review 
September 12 - Book Mania Life - George's Marvelous Medicine Review 
September 12 - The Book Swarm - Danny, The Champion of the World Excerpt 
September 12 - Book Belles - James and the Giant Peach Feature - Book to Movie
September 13- Roald's birthday! - Brittany's Book Rambles - Matilda Excerpt 
September 13 - Roald's birthday! - Mundie Kids - The BFG Review
September 13 - Roald's birthday! - Read Now Sleep Later - Boy Excerpt
September 13 - Roald's birthday - Consumed By Books - Matilda Excerpt 
September 13 - Roald's birthday - I Am A Reader - James and the Giant Peach Excerpt 
September 13 - The Novel Life Lessons that Roald Dahl has taught me feature
September 13 - The Book Rat - Esio Trot Excerpt
September 14 - Belle's Bash - The BFG Excerpt
September 14 - WinterHaven Books - Esio Trot Excerpt 
September 14 - A Book and A Latte - The Magic Finger Excerpt
September 14 - Hello Chelly - Matilda Feature - BookBags
September 14 - Loving Dem Books - Youtube Feature
September 15 - Writing My Own Fairy-Tale - George's Marvelous Medicine Review 
September 15 - The Book Bandit -The Giraffe, and the Pelly and Me Review
September 15 - Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile - Esio Trot Review
September 15 - Coffee, Books and Me - Top Ten Reasons You Should Read Roald Dahl's Books
September 16 - Undeniably Book Nerdy - Boy Review 
September 16 - Supernatural Snark - James and the Giant Peach Review 
September 16 - My Friend Amy - Going Solo Excerpt 
September 16 - The Quiet Concert - Danny, the Champion of the World Review 
September 17 - Book Briefs - Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator 
September 17 - Andi's ABCs - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Feature - ABCs
September 17 - Just Another Rabid Reader - The Magic Finger Review 
September 17 - Adventures of Cecelia Bedelia - Roald Dahl Feature - Food Feature
September 18 - Bumbles and Fairy-Tales - Matilda Feature - Reading With Dad
September 18 - Addicted 2 Novels - Esio Trot Review 
September 18 - Pure Imagination - Fantastic Mr. Fox Excerpt 
September 18 - Green Bean Teen Queen What Roald Dahl Means To Me Feature
September 19 - Bookiemoji - The Witches Excerpt 
September 19 - Shooting Stars Blog - Roald Dahl Feature - Etsy Products
September 19 -  Alexa Loves Books - Matilda Feature - Style Files
September 19 - Nightly Reading - Matilda Review