Secret Places: Adventures in Ink and Imagination by NOT A BOOK

SecretPlacesRating: 4****

Published: 2015 by Flame Tree Publishing

I purchased this coloring book last year and so far I have enjoyed this. It’s a real patience tester, as most of the pages are with very tiny lines and each of the coloring page takes TIME to color. The paper looks like recycled soft beige, but don’t underestimate the quality of it! It holds the fiber pens, sharp pencils and nothing can be seen on the other side of the page. I am going to include the photos from the pages. I am nearly up to give all five stars if it wouldn’t be sometimes so difficult and time-consuming. I used all the pencils I have from various companies, including: Astra, Pentel, Maped, Milan, Erich Krause, Faber Castel, Crayola, Go Create -Tesco, Penmate.

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I have not seen many reviews on this one, although it has been sold out in the store I bought it from, there are more varieties  in the coloring series. I also purchased one for my German pen pal at the time. I am still in the process of coloring the pages as I am not rushing to finish them. But it’s great to take rounds from time to time from one color book to the next one.

What’s your last coloring book you have enjoyed?

 

The Angel Tree by Lucinda Riley

TheAngelTreeRating: 1*

Published:  2015 by Pan


Synopsis by Goodreads:

Thirty years have passed since Greta left Marchmont Hall, a grand and beautiful house nestled in the hills of rural Monmouthshire. But when she returns to the Hall for Christmas, at the invitation of her old friend David Marchmont, she has no recollection of her past association with it – the result of a tragic accident that has blanked out more than two decades of her life. Then, during a walk through the wintry landscape, she stumbles across a grave in the woods, and the weathered inscription on the headstone tells her that a little boy is buried here . . .
The poignant discovery strikes a chord in Greta’s mind and soon ignites a quest to rediscover her lost memories. With David’s help, she begins to piece together the fragments of not only her own story, but that of her daughter, Cheska, who was the tragic victim of circumstances beyond her control. And, most definitely, not the angel she appeared to be . . .


Don’t read! Or if you do and have read tell me why and did you enjoyed this??

This was such a HUGE disappointment, I agree, I chose the book because I fell in love with this adorable, beautiful cover and the writer is Lucinda Riley, so blind guess it will be interesting. However, it was my choice at the time because I LOVED the ‘7sisters’ series to explore the writer’s writing style and my conclusion is – I will stick to the series but that’s about it because her standalone’s has been more or less not my favorite read.

So this book is about history repeating again and again, mother, daughter, granddaughter goes through early age birth giving, each of them are facing different circumstances, but the sentences does not go into the depth to build up the good story line. I disliked the dragging plot, it was so boring. I could not connect to any characters. This is about memory loss for over 20 years and living a life as a ghost, listening what people have said, respond to that but having no real your answer to anything, avoiding crowded places and keeping life pretty solitude. This suddenly changes when she is about to spend the Christmas at one of her sincere friends house, her memory suddenly comes back and so does the sadness over the loss of her 3-year-old child, nobody has ever mentioned to her and so with the help of this friend she begins to discover her past.

The story is written in past and present form, flipping stories in present when action takes place…but I found the characters lame, stupid, stupid actions, and when bunch of people act similar going nowhere – what’s the point of dragging and reading all these pages? I did not gave up, as I don’t enjoy to have unfinished books.

Almost all reviews are 4-5 stars, how? HOW? Either because of the writer’s popularity or I did not catch the vibe of the book. I was so excited this month when I got the book via library order but I am so glad I don’t own the copy.

A Curious Beginning (Veronica Speedwell #1) by Deanna Raybourn

ACuriousBeginningRating: 5*****

Published: 2015 by Titan Books


Synopsis by Goodreads: 

London, 1887. As the city prepares to celebrate Queen Victoria’s golden jubilee, Veronica Speedwell is marking a milestone of her own. After burying her spinster aunt, the orphaned Veronica is free to resume her world travels in pursuit of scientific inquiry—and the occasional romantic dalliance. As familiar with hunting butterflies as she is fending off admirers, Veronica wields her butterfly net and a sharpened hatpin with equal aplomb, and with her last connection to England now gone, she intends to embark upon the journey of a lifetime.

But fate has other plans, as Veronica discovers when she thwarts her own abduction with the help of an enigmatic German baron with ties to her mysterious past. Promising to reveal in time what he knows of the plot against her, the baron offers her temporary sanctuary in the care of his friend Stoker—a reclusive natural historian as intriguing as he is bad-tempered. But before the baron can deliver on his tantalizing vow to reveal the secrets he has concealed for decades, he is found murdered. Suddenly Veronica and Stoker are forced to go on the run from an elusive assailant, wary partners in search of the villainous truth.


Absolutely loved this! A Curious Beginning shake all my rating system and the stars i have been given! This was unique, interesting cozy mystery detective. It involves plot turns you don’t expect, wonderful spiteful main characters, wicked tongues and smart mind. I had no knowledge how butterfly study is called, as well as more terms involved in the book, but they do not appear in a boring way, you know? The plot is set in last century and the character is out of her time, Veronica is ambitious, single and determined to stay one, according to her own set rules she is NOT dating any ENGLISHMAN, but prefers to have romance abroad and she seems to surprise many other characters in the book by her keen eye.

I had it for a while on my TBR list and I finally ordered it via Library network. Yet it is in the series, the #2 was published this year under the title A Perilous Undertaking which I already have ordered and I plan to read it on August, as it says it is already in transit, hopefully, by next week I will be reading it 🙂

The book synopsis pretty much tells about the plot, without spoilers, I would say – try to get your hands on the copy and let me know what do you think of it! This is a funny read and perfect for reading slums and “dunnowhattoread”.

 

Fantastyczne Konstrukcje by Steve McDonald

polandRating: 5*****

Published: 2016 by Egmont Polska

I bought this edition in Polish last year when I went for trip to Poland again to meet my long-term penpal. Original copy is found under “Fantastic Structures: A Coloring Book of Amazing Buildings Real and Imagined (Colouring Books) by Steve McDonald (Illustrator)”

This is another my favorite for color books as the paper quality is excellent both for fiber pens and watercolor pencils, regular color pens. The drawings represents the buildings around the world. I enjoyed that the lines were not too narrow and gave me enough space to actually color.

There are 58 pages which gives plenty of variety, I found the ones from Germany, Georgia, Czech Republic, Poland, Japan, Switzerland, India, Canada, Holland my favorites.

 

The Last Train Home by Megan Nugen Isbell

lastTrainRating: 4****

Published: October 20th 2013


Synopsis: (from Goodreads)

17-year-old Riley Regas has spent her entire life in Boston, so when she learns she’ll be picking up and moving to her mother’s childhood home of Carver, Kansas, she is less than thrilled. In fact, she is downright furious. Riley’s only visited Carver a handful of times. She barely knows her family that lives there and she has no desire to spend her senior year among the backward, simpleminded residents of Carver. 

Just when Riley thinks she might be happy in Carver, a single decision changes it all, leaving her to find out who she really is and who matters most in her life before she loses everything. 


I enjoyed this book a lot because it created this perfect atmosphere, although, with my grown up mind I disagreed to main character’s, Railey’s point of view, the story itself had this ability to swallow, me, a reader into the story, face the culmination and feel all the crappy emotions one can have.

So what this is about? You will be reading the life of last year in High School, what’s more, Riley starts her studies is a new school, in a small town where everyone spots she is the newbie there and a love triangle.

Riley is lucky to find on her first day other high school students who are very welcoming and will become her friends later on, she also faces her own comparisament to almost anything – her previous life in Boston and now in Kansas, how everything is small town behavior, how ridiculous seem to be the pass times, and how much she miss Boston and is angry to her mum for dragging her here with her. She knows she will be here for the only one year – next year she will be in College and off to Boston back again.

Last Train Home also sweeps you in a story where a girl easily makes friends, and easily starts a relationship with Alex and friendship with Jesse, who secretly has a crush on her, but she does not see it at all. So the year continues, her anger towards mum stays the same, until everything crushes after the Homecoming and she runs away.

The Last Train Home is the first book in the set of series, thankfully this book solves everything and there is no cliff endings which I hate so much. The book was interesting read in a rainy summer day, be it winter break or weekend, I think it is more focused for teens rather than adults, but I did enjoy the read. Riley also finds answers to questions that has bugged her for a while and without knowing the background she has jumped into conclusions. She eventually grows up facing real troubles of an adult and values decisions made. Here I am trying to avoid spoilers! 🙂

BTW, I spot the cover being used on another novel, by completely different author and publisher, it might be one of the places where one is copy pasting the cover for their work, it might be available online, but so, do check out which book you are seeing in the stores. The Last Train home was published on 2013, so I will believe it holds the original photo…

What are your latest YA, teen novels read?

Fabric Scrap projects

Hello Everyone on Sunday!

Today I choose to write an article about my fabric scraps. If you are a quilter or regular person who enjoys sewing you most likely have noticed the scraps importance…, or perhaps, only recently you have come across (online resources – Pinterest, Blog posts etc) ideas for the ‘possible’ projects to sew from your scraps stash…

I have to say, my scraps come and go. How about yours? How many scraps do you have? Do you keep them all on one box or devide by colors and shapes? I found it difficult to find a place to write the article. wp-image-869903843Recently I have made few small scrap projects – or so to say – get rid off, but use the scraps in efficient way for our household and some possible Christmas gifts (Oh, yes, I won’t lie, every year I start to prepare the gifts for xmas once the year is finito, so basically, starting with January. I absolutely love when not all of the gifts are Christmas topic.), and few birthdays, baby to be born…(not the ‘baby shower’ version before the baby birth, but the one after – when you are actually going to meet the newborn with couple of gifts – well, that’s another article.)

I keep all of my scraps in smaller box within all of my fabric box. I have only one medium size plastic box with fabrics and I love to dream of having more 😀  I love to keep them all in the order, matching colors, and recently I have chosen to sew all the small pieces together and make a bigger picture patchwork scrap piece – instantly practical when going to make the towel holder projects- as you can see in the photos below. It’s nice to sew the scraps together and skip the acuracy and enjoye how the colors match and what contrast they create. How about your scrap projects?

My very recent sewing project was to make another Tea Towel Rack Holder in the kitchen, and kitchen Hot Pot Holders.

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I also made a new Double Duvet Cover which gave me another variety of colored scraps… so there is basically, no end to scraps. I find it difficult to throw away little piece of fabrics, when I know how many great projects I can actually create from them – Baby Burp Clothes img_20160212_202008.jpg,

IMG-64a4caaaf38fc36b785a4ac5456cb3d-VBaby Floor Blanket,

 

variety of Baby Bibs,

Kitchen Oven Gloves

 

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Bedside Pockets for Books and Smart Devices ( we don’t have space for bedside tables, and these are absolutely great as small rooms),

 

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or basically a new bigger quilt project – a Double Bed cover.

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Do you have a next quilt in mind using scraps? I do, I want to make a Single bed quilted patchwork blanket.

 

Here are few links to blog tutorials I have been searching to show – something how I made some of my scraps projects, although I, did not follow the tutorial at the time myself. My own are Kitchen Hot Pot holders, Oven Glows, Baby Bibs variety,

Kitchen Towels: Sabrina Cavalleri

Bedside Pockets: Carolina

And for the Double Bed Cover I used the pattern on one side + my own square layout, color fabric choice. I actually did 9 different mosaic blocks with similar fabric to each other only having variety of background color, well, here is the 12 square block patch I used as my guide:

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Thanks for reading! 🙂

The Italian Girl by Lucinda Riley

22057035Rating: 2**

Published: 2014 by Pan Macmillan


Synopsis: ( by Goodreads)

Rosanna Menici is just a girl when she meets Roberto Rossini, the man who will change her life. In the years to come, their destinies are bound together by their extraordinary talents as opera singers and by their enduring but obsessive love for each other – a love that will ultimately affect the lives of all those closest to them. For, as Rosanna slowly discovers, their unison is haunted by irreversible events from the past . . .
Rosanna’s journey takes her from humble beginnings in the back streets of Naples to the glittering stages of the world’s most prestigious opera houses. 


***Spoilers alert!***

This is one of the books from my July Library Book Haul post. I love the cover, I did choose the book not because of the cover but the aim to read all of the books written by the writer.

Omg, what a drama! Yes, drama and still I read all the book, it’s a fast read, loads of dialogues…and side characters are important as the main ones. But the writer has better writing style with the series of Seven Sisters ( I am absolutely not happy that there will be TV series based on the books as I would hate if they ruin the Seven Sisters books…) this is very poor comparison to those, I am happy this is not the first book I read by her as if I would – I would not try to read any other. This book takes place in present time, no two-time scale plots – past and present.

I have mixed opinions about the book, although it was interesting it was pretty much predictable, and shows the reader the stigma what happens when you grow up and don’t get explanations of what happens to your family members. You may be 7 or 11, but when grownups only finds excuses and tells you – you are too young to understand it’s a direct way for worst scenarios later on, I mean, seriously, if one doesn’t explain the situation, cause, outcome and the solution – how can one learn or try to avoid something like that?

The plot has created not only the main focus on Roberto and Rosanna, but also to Rosanna’s siblings, parents and her best friend. It is a story about very traditional family who struggles by male dominant father – all family members are expected to work and live and connect their lives to the restaurant their father owns. The idea is not bad if we think about it but the attitude is, and pf course, it doesn’t work and children only dream to collect the money and get away…one way or another.

I had trouble with liking the main male character Roberto, the womanizer, who has too weak personality to be a man, let’s be honest. He fell in love with her unique voice, he wanted to marry her not because of her personality, but because of his ego-centrism and selfishness that Rosanna will be together with somebody else. Later on as well, the relationship is basically moving on but he is still the same, he doesn’t adapt to her needs and mind development, he doesn’t get responsible. All world must turn around him – they don’t travel back to Italy for years, she is giving up her dreams for him, she is giving up her family and he knows it(!) and still he has balls even to persuade her to travel with him, leaving a sick son at home alone. Roberto has no limits, let’s not even mention his cheating activities. But I loved the final turn of this obsessive relationship.

To summon up – it is a read when you are on the way to kill time, it is a read if you are ready for high drama and full of emotions, but I am glad I am not owning my own copy. Have you read it? Maybe you completely disagree, let me know! Thank you!