Friday, 17 November 2017

The Girl Who Saved Christmas by Matt Haig

This is a wonderfully told tale that will keep junior readers laughing and eagerly turning pages.  Author Matt Haig knows what middle school readers like in a book and he didn't stop dishing it out cover to cover. 

Amelia Wishart is ten when she writes Father Christmas a letter asking for one thing, to make her mother well.  He fully intends to do all he and his magic can until multiple disasters strike in Elfhelm on Christmas Eve.

The story takes place in two locations that couldn't be more different: Elfhelm, where it is clean and only ever gets as cold as you want it to be, and in 1841 London, where it is dirty, cold and unfriendly place  to orphans.

The characters in the story are quite fun.  Amelia and Father Christmas both have strong personalities with a firm determination to get things done.  Mr. Creeper is just as his name predicts, he is creepy and not a nice man at all.  The guest appearances of a ruling head of state and a famous author are perfect.  One passage was hilarious and it took me several minutes to sop laughing before I could continue reading.  I was amused.

This is not a book for an adult to read for their own entertainment.  They should read it aloud to and with their children in the weeks leading up to Christmas.  The humour is mostly directed towards children, as it should be in a children's book.  Yes, there is potty humour and kids find this wildly funny.  This is bound to become a favourite that families will find themselves re-reading year after year.  You do not need to have read Mr. Haig's earlier book, A Boy Called Christmas, to enjoy this one.

I received an ebook review copy from Harper Collins Canada in exchange for an honest review.

#IndigoEmployee

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Needlework Tuesday - Planning a new project.

 My son has asked me to knit another baby blanket for one of his friends who recently had a little boy.  And then he said it would be really cool if I could put a weight lifter on it.  As you can imagine, there are no patterns for such an afghan that I could find. 

Time to get planning.  First, tension.  Looks good.  I have a lot of skeins of Red Heart Heathers in colour 4444 Thyme.
Next, I found a line drawing of a weight lifter pose that I felt would translate well to knitting.  I checked several sites for knitting graph paper, as knit stitches are not square.  They didn't match my tension. A little more searching and I found a site where you enter in the number of stitches and rows from your tension square and it will create custom size graph paper.

Print your own custom knitting graph paper.

 Next step is to transfer the image onto the graph paper.  This will be a new technique for me, so it might take a few tries, but I am up to the challenge.  Hope to have more photos of this for you next week.  Until then, keep stitching.

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, 8 November 2017

Needlework Tuesday - Socks Done, Socks Done

Socks are done!!!
 Did I mention that at long last the socks are done?  Yep, they are.  They are colourful, they are bold and they feel great on my feet and I suspect my sister's feet will feel the same.  You can just see the spiral decrease on the toes.
 A little bit of striping happening at the side of the foot.
The bottom has another slip stitch pattern.  Took me a while to get the hang of that one.  Other than a few yarn ends, they're done.

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. anything you finished this week, doesn't have to be needlework.  A book, a bag of halloween candy. It doesn't matter, as long as you finished it.


Monday, 6 November 2017

Kat & Meg Conquer the World by Anna Priemaza

Moving provinces and starting at a new high school is almost more than Kat can handle.  Add on top of that her barely controlled anxiety issue and it's amazing that she even manages to get to school each morning. 

When the two term science project is announced, she has no idea who to team up with until Meg introduces herself.  Unknown to the studious Kat, Meg has a major issue, ADHD to deal with herself.  There is one thing that draws the two together, their love of  Lumber Legs.  He's a You Tube sensation who more often than not features epic fails of himself playing the very popular Legend of the Stone computer game.

I enjoyed the story of the girls getting to know each other even as there were trying so hard to hide their personal issues.  They were both trying to hide what they viewed at their own flaws, but they loved watching Legs share all of his.  The two came across as real teens.  Their discussions about everyday teen issues made it feel as though I was over hearing my daughter and friends.

This is the type of interaction that goes on in high schools across the country and has for generations.  The gaming aspect keeps it modern and relevant to today's teens.  This is a well told take that made me care about the outcomes for both Kat and Meg.

Cover image courtesy Harper Collins Canada

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

#IndigoEmployee

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Nevermoor #1: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

A delightful tale that's a little bit scary and a whole lot magical.

Morrigan Crow has just one wish, to live.  She knows that is not going to happen.  Like all other children born on Eventide, she is cursed and destined to die with the coming of the next age.

All this changes with the unexpected appearance of Jupiter North and his offer of escape to Morrigan.  From the moment she accepts his strange but welcome offer, her life changes in ways she could never have imagined.

I was totally enchanted by this story.  Morrigan is caught up in dreadful plight not of her own making.  She want to be like other kids, have friends and play, but no one will come near her, not even her own family.  She is ostracised with no where to turn for help.

Middle school readers will enjoy following along as Morrigan explores the new life that Jupiter has brought her to.  He has opened the door, but then left it up to her to walk through and embrace the opportunities.

Author Jessica Townsend has created a complex world and her vivid descriptions have brought it to life.  I could clearly picture Morrigan and her new friend Hawthorne exploring the Deucalion Hotel where she lives with Jupiter and their many unusual guests.  I  think the smoking room, it's not what you imagine, would be my favourite place to hide away.  I love this story and eagerly await the next book in the Nevermoor series.

For younger readers, I  also recommend the magical series Whatever After by Sarah Mlyowski.  

If you like the idea of a magical hotel, then you'll also enjoy The Supernormal Sleuthing Service: The Lost Legacy by Gwenda Bond & Christopher Rowe.

Cover image courtesy Hachette Book Group.

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

#IndigoEmployee


Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Needlework Tuesday - Staying Focused Equals Progress

 For the past week I worked really hard at keeping focused on these socks.  For the most part, I did really well.  A few breaks for sewing, but mostly I stuck with the knitting.  I am thrilled with how much I accomplished.

As a reminder, I am working the Windowpane Socks from the 2016 Craftsy free sock knitting class taught by Lucy Neatby.  I finished the first two pairs in the course in reasonable time, but have lagged far behind on this pair.
This pair is knit from the top down and I am doing both socks at the same time.  I have noticed that my tension is slightly tighter than when I was knitting the leg portion.  That's just fine as my sister has narrow feet.  I have about another inch and a half before I start the toe section.

You can see in this second photo, that there are three stitch patterns happening.  First, the window pane part on the top of the foot with the long loop.  Simple stripes at the side of the foot, and then a carried stitch on the bottom of the foot to tighten the length to match up with the shortening effect of that long loop on the top.  I did make a few errors on the bottom, but it's the bottom of the foot, it won't matter.

I am looking forward to gifting these to my sister at Christmas.  Then I am going to ask her for a new project.  She has a huge yarn stash and far more projects than she'll get to in a reasonable time; I might as well help her along.  It's rather fun to be challenged with a project that will take me out of my comfort zone .

Have you ever done that, let a friend pick your next project/class or received a kit as a gift?  Were you happy to complete it or did you struggle through out it's completion, or is it still sitting and waiting for your attention.

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, 30 October 2017

Otherworld by Jason Segel & Kirsten Miller

A riveting story that unfolds in both the real world and the virtual world of Otherworld.  Simon and Kat have been inseparable friends since they were eight years old.  They even team up for their first foray into Otherworld.

Soon afterwards, Kat is injured in a horrific accident and is diagnosed with locked-in syndrome.  She can't move, but her brain is fully functioning.  When the people at The Company, designers of Otherworld, offer to include her in a a test of some virtual reality gear that will allow her to continue living her life online, her family readily agrees.

Unfortunately, all is not as it seems.  There appears to be some other hidden agenda, not just good will at play.   It is left up to Simon to figure out what is happening before something even worse happens to Kat.

This is a fast pace story that kept me turning pages late into the night.  I couldn't wait to see what surprises would be ready to spring on Simon at each of his moves.  It was hard to tell which of the characters to love or hate and who to trust.  I never doubted Simon nor Kat for a moment.  Not every one was who they seemed to be or who I wanted them to be.

While I feel that this book will have a large appeal to gamers, it certainly is not limited to that audience.  Along with the action, there is also the story of Simon and Kat, and their dedication to each other.  Otherworld is set up as the start to a new and addictive series.

If you enjoyed Ready Player One  and Armada by Ernest Cline, you'll love Otherworld.

Cover image courtesy Penguin Random House Canada.

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

#IndigoEmployee