Category Archives: Mostly About Reading

Book Review: Painted Skies – by Carolyn Mallory

painted-skies

 

 

 

 

 

Book: Painted Skies  
Author: Carolyn Mallory
Illustrator: Amei Zhao
Publisher: Inhabit Media Inc                              
Date: June 23, 2015    
Genre: Picture book; K-2; 5-7 yrs                               
Pages: hardcover, 36 pages
Price: $16.95                
My rating: Simply & artfully told, exquisitely illustrated

Last year I had the privilege of meeting Carolyn Mallory at a children’s book fair; of course I bought her book.  Look at that title and beautiful cover!

Painted Skies tells the story of a young girl’s introduction to one of Nature’s most spectacular events, the Northern Lights. One night, as two friends are playing in the Arctic snow, the sky begins changing colour. When the colours swirl and move closer in ribbons across the sky, Leslie, who recently moved to the far North, starts getting nervous. Her new friend, Oolipika, reassures her and demonstrates what to do to keep them safe from the playful spirits. When Oolipika tells her the Inuit legend and that it’s about the Northern Lights, Leslie’s fear turns to awe.  

Painted Skies by Carolyn Mallory is a beautiful book with gorgeous illustrations by Amei Zhao. The story is told and illustrated in a way that is interesting and educational at the same time, making it ideal in both an elementary classroom and in a child’s collection.

At the back of the book is an explanation of the Northern Lights (aurora borealis), what causes them and when they occur. I’ve felt the awe of seeing the Northern Lights a few times where I live, and would love to see them up close – the way they are depicted in this story. 

You can find Painted Skies on my BUY THE BOOK page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Updates and my word for 2017

It’s been a busy start to 2017.  Besides the ‘normal’ – and extra concerns of – daily/weekly family things that go on, and trying to keep up with my writing, I’m attempting to figure out a level of activity that I can handle and in which I’ll make progress. It’s time to push past my comfort zone a little more — and not panic!

It’s also time to get back into writing book reviews here on my blog, however brief they may be. I’ve been reading a lot more books, as you can see if you scroll down on my bar to the right, and I want to share some of them with you. For almost all of them I write a short blurb on Goodreads and also on Amazon.  I also will be setting up a new page – books I read in 2017 – to keep a recorded count and maybe introduce you to books you haven’t read. Have you checked out my 2016 reading accomplishment? I read 219 books! Only 38 of them aren’t picture books, but 219 total! I’m happy about that. 

This month I’m working on Storystorm ideas and have twelve so far. A couple I have are more than just a phrase or title; they’re more-rounded story ideas – and I think they might be worth developing.

I’ve joined 12×12 in 2017 and feel very upbeat about it this year. I know I have to work harder to get anywhere with my drafts and manuscripts, so that is going to be where “pushing past my comfort zone” comes into play.

Now that the busyness of the holiday season is past, this week I will happily reconnect with my writing coach. Starting tomorrow I’ll also be meeting with my new writing/accountability partner once a week for brainstorming, sharing, and encouragement – apart from the local writers group that usually gets together each week.

Hopefully, I haven’t set myself up for failure as I aim for progression this year. That is my word for myself in 2017. PROGRESS. It can be used as either a verb or a noun. I heard it for myself as a noun, PROgress, but in order to make PROgress I have to proGRESS.   😉  For me it feels like a push and coaxing along.

What is YOUR personal word for 2017? What are your writing and reading goals?

Don’t forget to enter my January 18 draw HERE for a copy of The Man Who Was Thursday. (I plan to read my copy of it this week, by the way, as it was recommended to me by a friend more than once — which is likely why I bought it more than once!  lol   🙂  )

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂  

 

Book Review: As Far As I Remember – by Michael Bawtree

as-far-as-i-remember-coming-of-age-in-post-war-englandBook: As Far as I Remember: coming 
of age in post-war England

Author: Michael Bawtree

Publisher: Like No Other Press

Date: 2014 in England; 
2015 in Canada 
Genre: Memoir
Pages: 408

Price: $24.95 (CD)

My rating: very interesting, honest, and funny in all the 
right places

I was very pleased to meet the author, Michael Bawtree, at his book signing in April 2015. I hadn’t known about it until I entered the shop for a children’s book, but immediately bought a copy of As Far As I Remember and waited to speak with the author to have him personalize my copy.

I enjoyed this book, although it took me awhile to read all the way through due to my limited reading time when I purchased it. Mr. Bawtree wrote with revealing honesty about his childhood in England where he was born – his years in boarding schools, overcoming shyness, establishing himself as a successful student, a temporary rather nomadic life due to harsh economic times for his family, and many interesting events that occurred. Some incidents he tells about are downright hilarious, the funniest for me being an unfortunate situation that involved his proper English mother in a garden entanglement. There are many things he describes with just the right balance of humour.

This book is the first of two volumes about his fascinating life – the first covering his early years in England, the second volume will cover his life and career in Canada as an actor, playwright and director.

Although Michael Bawtree grew up in boarding schools, he had the opportunity to meet professors and dukes and many other important people, including world-famous C. S. Lewis and others who sometimes stayed at the inn his parents bought and operated. I hope you can read the back cover of his book shown here once you click on the image below to enlarge it.

as-far-as-i-remember-back-cover

His interest in literature, drama and music eventually led him to Canada where he embarked on a career in theatre and the arts all across the country, eventually bringing him to Nova Scotia where he now resides. As Far As I Remember, though, is everything leading up to then and is told in a natural and inviting way. It’s well worth the time to read this fascinating story. I’m looking forward to volume two.

 You can find As Far As I Remember: coming of age in post-war England on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

You can’t read all day.

You can’t read all day.  Huh?! And why not?  Well, besides doing all the things that HAVE to be done … why not?

Read it in full —

you can't read all day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ahhhhh!    I love it!  🙂  

YOU CAN’T READ ALL DAY. If you don’t start in the morning.

You can check out my progress for 2016 HERE. It’s not as much as I would like to read and if you could see my TBR (to be read) stash you’d agree I will probably never read enough. Although I have many paper books and more on my Kindle Fire (on which I can also listen to books on Audible.com) on the go, I just can’t seem to stop buying MORE BOOKS! I picked up a few more secondhand ones yesterday. Somebody STOP ME!  … On second thought, don’t even risk trying.   🙂

On the other side of things, I haven’t felt inspired to write for quite a while — until this morning; I wrote a little story for 12×12! It’s a very rough draft and needs a lot of work, but it’s a good beginning.

Enjoy a day of reading, as much as possible as often as possible.

How is YOUR reading coming along? Or are you writing more? 

Thanks for being a reader, and … Creative Musings! 🙂

Book Review: Rocket Man – by Jan L. Coates

Rocket ManBook: Rocket Man
Author: Jan L. Coates
Publisher: Red Deer Press
Date: May 2, 2014
Genre: Middle grade (age 9-11; gr 4-6)
Pages: 120, paperback
Price: $12.95
My rating: many youngsters will relate

Rocket Man is a story I’m sure both male and female MG readers will really enjoy. Jan Coates‘ books are always appealing, and this one covers more than one topic to which many readers will relate.

Her main character is an eighth grader named Bob who is awkward around girls, bullied by a couple of guys at school and on his basketball team, feels he has to live up to his older brother’s example as an athlete. All that, and his dad, who also was a basketball legend, is fighting cancer. Bob considers himself to be Mr. Invisible.

The reader gets to like Bob right away. He practices hard to try to move up to the Division 1 basketball team, but things just don’t seem to go his way until one of his bullies gets into trouble. Bob’s brother starts paying more attention to him, impressed by his earnest efforts, and comes up with a more positive nickname for him – Rocket Man. You have to read the book to find out the reasons behind that.

Bob also puts a lot of work into an idea for a major fundraiser because of his dad having cancer, and that has exciting results.

Jan Coates has created a story of hope. She has touched on family dynamics and the emotions of a young boy in the midst of the struggles going on in his life, in a way that makes the reader care.  If your pre-teen boy (or girl) is a reluctant reader, give him/her a copy of this book – even if he/she is not into basketball. Don’t let the cover fool you, it’s not really a book about basketball but the main character finds a way to make the sport work for him. Rocket Man is a good read.

You can find Rocket Man on my BUY THE BOOK page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Book Review: Great Falls – by Steve Watkins

Great FallsTitle: Great Falls
Author: Steve Watkins
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Date: April 12, 2016
Genre: young adult (ages 14 & up)
Pages: 256
Price: $17.99 US; $24 CD
My rating: a gripping, realistic story

I received this book from Library Thing in exchange for my honest review.

This seemed a story quite different from what I usually read, and the topic was of interest to me.  It says on the cover “One brother home from war. The other desperate to save him. A river that will change them forever. ” – and it had my attention immediately.  This book  was not a disappointment.

Shane is his older brother’s biggest fan, but Jeremy has done three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and is not the same as he used to be. He’s troubled, very troubled, and can’t even function around his wife and two very young children. He’s drinking too much and seems to be paranoid and nervous all the time. Jeremy has PTSD and needs help.

Jeremy manages to show up at Shane’s high school football game, but when Shane suffers a concussion resulting in his making a very bad play, Jeremy offers to take him away for a night to escape the humiliation. Shane agrees, hoping it will also be a turning point for Jeremy, that he can convince him to get the help he desperately needs. That’s where the adventure really begins, and things go from bad to worse, with Shane never giving up on his brother. 

Great Falls is a novel that is gripping, raw at times, and that takes the reader on a worthwhile journey. Even though there is some violence and strong language in it, one must remember this realistic story is about a war veteran who suffered horrific things that just won’t leave his mind. Once you start reading you may not want to set it aside until you finish the book. I didn’t, honestly!

You can find Great Falls on my BUY THE BOOK page. 

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Read, or sleep, or … read; what to do??

Here’s the scenario.

It’s late. I’m reading an amazing story, one of those hard-to-put-down books. I am so tired I can hardly keep my eyes open. I rest my eyes a moment, my book slips and my head jerks up. Really, I was just resting my eyes! I try to read more but then … yawn. Heaviness. I shake my head, find where I left off reading, try to continue. … Oh darn. What did I just read? Blink blink.  *sigh*  ohhh, I give up.  😦  I like this story and I don’t want to miss anything, so,  *yawn*   I give up. Time for sleep.

I crawl into bed, snuggle down and … 

BOING!! my brain jolts into overdrive! My eyes fly open, my mind will not shut down, yet I know I’m too weary to read. What to do?

Ever been there?

All that to show you this great quote:

quote by George R R MartinWhat’s your experience? 

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! 🙂