Sunday, 24 September 2017

13 Treasures by Michelle Harrison

I was captivated by this story.  Often, when fairies are portrayed, they are beautiful, fluttering around on their delicate wings, bringing flowers and spreading goodness. Not so with those that continue to torture Tanya merely because she has written about them in her journal.  As this treatment continues, Tanya's behaviour gets out of hand and her mother is worried and doesn't know what to do.  She settles on sending her to her maternal grandmother's for the summer.

Several weeks at the rural Elvesden Manor should refresh Tanya, but the thirteen your old is less than pleased to be stuck with a seemingly uncaring grandmother and only the ground keepser's son, Fabian, for company.  Turns out that the two will experience far more than they could ever have imagined.

The massive, almost crumbling manor with it's neighbouring spooky woods is the perfect setting for this haunted fairy tale.  If the house with all it's unused rooms doesn't creep out young readers, then the overgrown forest with it's numerous sinkholes most certainly will.  I could clearly picture each hole with it's protective railings, and know that I'd be horrified to come across one of them in the woods even during daytime

Tanya and Fabian make a good team.  They don't really want to be friends, but decide to make the best of a situation not to their choosing.  They act like real children by pushing the boundaries to see what they can get away with and by covering for each other when caught.

This is a wonderful debut novel by author Michelle Harrison.  She has created a cast of characters, both human and fairy, that demand to be heard from again.  Parents will enjoy reading along with their middle school children.  The story continues in 13 Curses.

Cover image courtesy Hachette Book Group.

#IndigoEmployee

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu

If I had to be a teenage girl all over again, I'd want to be a Moxie Girl.  Vivian didn't plan to be a Moxie Girl, nor did she think she had the power to change the establishment. but she knew there was something very wrong at her high school.  All the prestige, all the funding and all the attention was lavished on the male football team.  It's members could do no wrong, and when they did, it was ignored, swept under the carpet.

When Viv couldn't accept this attitude any longer, she created a zine with a feminist message and secretly distributed it around the school.  She started something that wasn't going away.

As the story progressed, I grew to like Viv more and more.  She had found her voice and had a message worth listening to.  I did wish that she had told her mom what was happening at school, but there is only so much that teens confide to their parents.  With the help of her best friend and several new friends, they presented a message that couldn't be ignored.

Words have power when they reach a receptive audience.  I'd like to see this book in the hands of all young women.  Classroom discussions on respect and equality regardless of sex, skin colour and race should be ongoing.  As a society we lose so much when any one group is suppressed.  Go Moxie Grrrls.  Yes, I loved this book and the message that it carries. 

 I received and advanced reader ecopy of this book from Indigo Books & Music Inc., in exchange for an honest review.

Cover image courtesy MacMillan Publishers.

#IndigoEmployee

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Sheroes: 15 Incredible Stories of the Coolest Women You’ve Never Heard Of

The attached article lists a number of books that sound intriguing. Click the title below to be taken to the article.

If you have always wondered about Carolyn Keene, the author of the Nancy Drew books, this is your chance to find out the truth.

Sheroes: 15 Incredible Stories of the Coolest Women You’ve Never Heard Of: Discover some incredible, inspiring biographies of women you may not know but should.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Needlewrork Tuesday - Value of a Test Block

 If you're at all like me, when you start a new project, you just want to jump right in and get stitching.  I don't want to spend the time knitting a tension square and piecing a test block to ensure that all is working properly.  Heaven forbid that I have selected the wrong shade of fabric or picked up too small of a pair of needles.

You might feel that this is a huge inconvenience to knit a useless little square.  Hands up, we all have that thought.  However, should you need to make a change to perhaps a different size needle or a different piece of fabric, isn't it better to find out at the start then after you have spent hundreds of hours or dollars on your project.

If I had been making an entire project with Mr. Fox, I would have been sad to find out well into the quilt top that the reddish fabric was the wrong choice.  What if I had cut twenty blocks with that fabric and then realized it was wrong.  What a waste.  Same goes with knitting.  What if you knit the entire body of the sweater only to realize that you should have used a larger needle and now the sweater will be too tight at the hips.

Mr. Fox number one will not go to waste, he'll still be made into a pillow cover. I am going to try adding some black buttons to his 'sweater' to see if that helps.  I much prefer Mr. Fox two with his brown spotted pelt.  He is going to look so cool sitting on the sofa.

Mr. Fox won't be alone for long, I have started on a companion.  At the cutting stage, I realized one fabric was too light and switched to the new fabric used in Mr. Fox two.  Liking how this new fella is looking.
As you know, I can't stick to just one project, also knitting.  This pair of grey and yellow fittens it looking great.  I am so in love with this combination.  I am at the decrease point.  Next week I'll post a photo of them being modelled and a link to the pattern as requested by one of my regular readers Sherrie.  She usually adds a linky to my post with an update on her latest quilt/embroidery project.  Thanks for the reminder Sherrie.

Anyone have photos of test blocks that failed and changed the direction of the project or perhaps you knit tension squares and have found an innovative way of using them.  Please share on your blog and link back, or send me the photo and I'll add it to this post.

Needlework Tuesday is a regular weekly post where I share the progress of my various needlework projects over the past week. I enjoy the encouragement that I receive from my readers and in return visit their blogs and cheer them on with theirs. You are welcome to grab the cute little mouse and create your own Needlework Tuesday post. Leave a comment with a link and I'll be sure to visit with you.

 Mister Linky is waiting below for a link to your current needlework post.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

What would you do if it were your last day on earth? I don't mean if you're Chris Hadfield or any other astronaut and were undertaking a space mission, I mean if you knew you were going to die in the next day.  Would you hide away and hope to avoid your fate, or would you live it up like there's no tomorrow.

When eighteen year old Mateo received the call from Death-Cast, he knew he was going to force himself outdoors to enjoy some of the many activities he'd been avoiding.  He's long figured if he stayed inside, he'd be safe, but it hadn't turned out that way.

Rufus received his call and gathered up his pals and headed to his foster home to arrange his funeral.  Circumstance caused him to flee out alone.  Not a situation anyone want to find themselves in, young, healthy and destined to die alone.

I was moved by both boys stories and wanted them to be the exception.  They should live, Mateo needed to start living.  My favourite line from the book comes from him, "I'm at the finish line, but I never ran the race." Not a good point to consider your life from, though it could make readers question what they have done in their lives so far.

Author Adam Silvera has re-worked society to accommodate 'decker', those who know they are to die that day.  He made it feel very real that such activities could occur and reflected both the positive and negative ways that people could respond.

This novel would make an excellent book club read and could be used in the classroom to spark  a variety of discussions.   This is a wonderful book that is sensitive in it's handling of the death of the two boys.  I look forward to reading more by this talented author.

Cover image courtesy HarperCollins Canada.

I received and advanced readers copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music Inc., in exchange for an honest review.

#IndigoEmployee

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Needlework Tuesday - We're our own toughest critics

Meet Mr. Fox. He is from a pattern by Lorna from Sew Fresh Quilts.   He's from the Forest Friends pattern.

Daughter and I spend some time last evening selecting fabrics for this block.  We thought we had it perfect.  Now that he's complete, I'm having second thoughts.  The fur fabric is great, but the reddish pelt seems more like a jacket.

He is going to be made into a pillow cover. Next I need to add a one inch border of the background fabric and then a two inch border of a leafy print.

Should I make a second block using a more plain fabric for his 'coat' or is this good.  He is going to be part of a fund raiser and I want to ensure that people will purchase raffle tickets for the pillow he'll be sporting.

This pattern was published with the fox as an 8 inch block.  I used EQ7 software to resize him to 12 inches.  It wasn't as easy as I imagined it would be.  Lorna uses the stitch and flip technique and EQ7 uses half square triangles with seam allowances.  Lorna's technique makes for much simpler cutting.  As I was working along, I cut the pieces just before sewing them as I needed to keep adjusting the sizes to suit Lorna's method.  I did make notes as I went, so it will be easier the next time.

Once I am happy with this little fellow, I am going to do the same with the deer head block from the same pattern.

Needlework Tuesday is a regular weekly post where I share the progress of my various needlework projects over the past week. I enjoy the encouragement that I receive from my readers and in return visit their blogs and cheer them on with theirs. You are welcome to grab the cute little mouse and create your own Needlework Tuesday post. Leave a comment with a link and I'll be sure to visit with you.

 Mister Linky is waiting below for a link to your current needlework post.

Monday, 4 September 2017

All's Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson

Imogene is excited to be starting school.  Until now she has been home schooled while her parents work at the Medieval Faire in Florida.  She is looking forward to making new friends and doing normal things that real kids do.

School doesn't turn out to be as easy as she had hoped.  Juggling balls, wielding a sword to fend off a villain and being squire to a knight are normal, daily life to Imogene, making friends at school doesn't come naturally to her.  When she breaks the knight's code, she finds herself with some serious decisions to make.

Excellent middle school story told in graphic novel form.  It deals with several issues that are pertinent to middle school students.  I particularly like that the adults don't tell Imogene how to solve her problems, but rather guide her along a path such that she can discover her own solutions.

Should appeal to  a wide range of readers.  Suitable for younger children who are reading at an advanced level.

Victoria Jamieson is author of the popular Roller Girl graphic novel.

 I received an advance reader copy of this book from Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review.

Cover image courtesy Penguin Random House Canada

#IndigoEmployee