Monday, December 23, 2013

Mixed Media Masterpieces with Jenny & Aaron by Jenny Heid and Aaron Nieradka

Mixed media is becoming a household phrase amongst art amateurs;  especially with the emergence of scrap booking and art journals. And I found that Heid and Nieradka's book, Mixed Media Masterpieces, didn't disappoint in regards to various techniques and supply listings in which to create these art pieces.

As you peruse each chapter, you'll soon find yourself delving into each of the twelve projects that this book contains; complete with photo aids and step-by-step, easily understandable instructions. From clay sculptures to heirloom vintage photo collages. Beautiful creations for the budding artist.

Thursday, December 19, 2013


Sylvie's parents are called out in the middle of the night by someone needing help.  They take Sylvie with them to the church, leaving her in the car.  They are brutally murdered.  Who called them and who killed them?  And why?  The information is hidden in the deep recesses of Sylvie's mind.  It will take over a year for her to piece together this puzzle.

Meanwhile she is forced to live with her tough older sister, Rose, in the old Tudor house where she was raised.  This house is full of secrets.  Did her parents really help "haunted souls"  as they claimed?  Why was her sister sent away to a special boarding school?  Is the basement haunted and why do they keep a doll locked in a cage?

As Sylvia mulls over the past year, she is forced to ask herself "Do I believe in the paranormal"?  "Do I believe in my parent's teachings?"  Coming to terms with what she believes, is a major step in figuring out the puzzle of her parents' murder and her sister's possible involvement.

This is a very atmospheric novel.  Tudor house, haunted basement, sister with secrets and there is always the doll locked in the cage!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

THE FOUR DOORS by Richard Paul Evans

   Richard Paul Evans has written a guide to joy, freedom, and a meaningful life.  The book was inspired by a talk he gave on the spur of the moment, and over the course of ten years, it had evolved into a message he has shared with successful business people, students, and even addicts and prisoners.
    His book includes stories his readers have told him, stories about great achievers who overcame hardships, and stories about his own struggle growing up in a large family with financial difficulties and a suicidal mother, and about Richard's diagnosis of Tourette's Syndrome later in life.
    Evans believes that we all want to know the meaning of our lives.  In The Four Doors, he shows how even the most quiet life can be full of purpose and joy, if we choose to take the first step over the threshold.
     Evans inspiring stories are woven through his identification and careful explanation of the four doors to a more fulfilling life:

                                                 1. Believe there's a reason you were born
                                                 2. Free yourself from limitation
                                                 3. Magnify your life
                                                 4. Develop a love-centered map

     Most people are hungry for inspiration; they love his novels because his characters are also searching for meaning and understanding.

Hello goodbye: a novel

by Emily Chenoweth

Forty-something Helen Hansen returns home from a brisk winter run, a nagging headache trailing her every move. Thinking she needs eye glasses, she makes a mental note to make an appointment for an exam and then … everything goes black. Several days later, Helen wakes in the hospital with her husband, Elliott, leaning over her bed. From the look on his face, she knows that the reason for her being here is not a simple one and from that point on, her life is forever changed.

Helen has an inoperable brain tumor. The doctors have told Elliott that the chemo is simply buying time but he can’t bear to tell Helen, an eternal optimist, that she won’t be healed.  So as a secret ‘last hurrah’ Elliott plans a week-long anniversary party at to a Northern New Hampshire resort where they vacation with their 19 year-old daughter, Abby and a lifetime of Helen and Elliott’s friends. In a single week Helen, Elliott and Abby struggle to come to terms with their individual and collective futures while they confront issues from their past.
Chenoweth expertly crafts a life story that is viewed through a window of a single week. It is a story that is both a beginning and also a gentle farewell. As we see Helen slowly slip away, we see Abby transform into a person of her own and a tribute to her mother’s legacy.  

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

I Hunt Killers

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

As the son of the country's most prolific and terrifying serial killer, Jasper Dent has a lot more to deal with than your average teenage boy. Since he was a young boy, his father has trained him to follow in his path and become the greatest serial killer ever, but this is not what Jasper has planned for himself.
After his father's eventual arrest, Jasper has been living with his crazy, senile grandmother and coming to terms with what his has experienced. He feels like he is destined to become a murderer and he is determined to make a better life for himself. 
Until one day when a new murderer comes to town and begins a murderous spree whose crimes are exactly like his father's in every way, even down to the initials of the victims. Jasper begins to hunt down this serial killer using the knowledge he gained being raised by the killer who the new murderer is imitating. Will he become to involved with the case? Will he put himself in harms way by messing with a brutal murderer? 

This is book one in the I Hunt Killers Trilogy. It is recommended for fans of young adult fiction and fans of murder mysteries.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Curiouser and Curiouser

Time travel has long been a popular device used in fantasy and even some romance tales. Stephen Kiernan's debut novel, The Curiosity, takes a bit different approach. The Goodreads description of this book begins, "Michael Crichton meets The Time Traveler's Wife..." That is a perfect nutshell description of this book! The story involves a scientific expedition to the Arctic to probe for organic life within large ice masses. The project is funded by a wealthy pseudo-scientist who sees himself as something of a modern day Dr. Frankenstein, aiming to "regenerate" life from death, usually using small creatures, such as shrimp. When the team makes a totally unexpected discovery in the ice--a frozen man--the story takes a crazy turn and is dubbed The Lazarus Project. A media firestorm ensues, and the world is watching as Jeremiah Rice, a man who fell in the ice and drowned in 1906, is regenerated into a modern world. Dr. Kate Philo, a supervising scientist on the team, begins to wonder about the ethical quagmire they've embarked upon and at the same time becomes personally involved with the gentle Jeremiah. This is a fascinating and wholly original premise for a story, and it will sweep you right into the flow and make you think about the nature and sometimes competing needs of life and science. Is Jeremiah a scientific subject that demands examination, or a living being who deserves privacy? Whatever you decide, he is definitely a curiosity.