Monthly Archives: December 2018

A slice of life book with characters who come alive

The Songbird

By: Marcia Willett

Rating: 5 of 5

This is the second book I have read by Marcia Willett. As with the first, I found the story to be one that felt like real life. It was if I dropped into the middle of the lives of a group of people and could see into their pasts (through their thoughts) and their fears for the future.

The group is brought together in ways that are woven into one by the end of the story. There are moments of cheer and moments of deep sadness. There are times when you wish you could step in to help.


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A book of short stories featuring the sleuth adventures of Jaya Jones

The Cambodian Curse and Other Stories: A Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery Collection

By: Gigi Pandian

Rating: 5 of 5

I’m a fan of the Jaya Jones mystery series. It is like Indian Jones and Amelia Peabody rolled into one and set in a current day setting with a feisty sleuth.

Jaya is a professor who seems to like to venture outside of the classroom to solve mysteries (Jones and Peabody in one!) She always seems to be put into the heart of the action whether she wants it or not (but she usually is happy to be right in the midst of it.)

In this book, we are given nine short stories which feature Ms. Jones. She is given a series of “unsolvable” mysteries and guess what? Does she solve them? Well, you’ll have to read the book for yourself.

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A change of directions for Madison in a new mystery

Lover Come Hack (A Madison Night Mystery Book 6)

By: Diane Vallere

Rating: 4 of 5

I have read all of the books in this series and have enjoyed every one. This one is a good one but not one of my top favorites. I think the reason is because the long term story takes a sharp turn.

It’s not that I mind the turn it’s because of how abrupt it is. I can understand that the author may have been less inspired by potential storylines including certain characters and saw more from others. However, readers have come to know and care for these characters after five books and, perhaps, the change could have been accomplished with a little more care.


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Another fun entry in this catering mystery series

Murder With All The Trimmings (A Red Carpet Catering Mystery Book 6)

By: Shawn Reilly Simmons

Rating: 4 of 5

I’ve read the books in this series and enjoy this new one as a solid entry. It isn’t my favorite but it is a fun and fairly quick read.

Penelope Sutherland is once again the caterer on a project that her best friend/roommate, and rising star, Arlena, is involved in.


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25 Fantasy Fire and Water element designs – printed one side of page

Saga: Fire and Water

By: Chinthaka Herath

Rating: 5 of 5

This is the third coloring book I have by artist Chinthaka Herath. Once again, the focus is on the female form. This time, however, there is a glimpse of dragons which are the companions of the “dames” of fire and water.

The story of the book is the epic battle between these two elements… though water puts out fire and fire only turns water to steam. Steam evaporates and comes back down in the form of rain, i.e., water. Fire is out and doesn’t come back again until a new fire is started. So, I place my bets on the outcome (in reality), on water.

But this isn’t reality, this is fantasy. So the outcome is what is in the imagination of the artist.

The artist’s strong female forms are emerging even stronger in this book. The crusading spirit that I saw in the last book isn’t what I see here. As I mentioned, this fantasy revolves around the fantasy of two of the four elements and that is what I see when I look at this book.

The designs have a nice level of detail. Most have background of a sort included. While there are more intricate areas to color in this book, I still don’t consider the book to be a difficult one or one which will tax the eyes or force you to use tiny coloring medium.


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48 page coloring and drawing inspiration book by Alison Lester – printed both sides of the page

Alison Lester’s Wonderful World: Colour Your Favourite Drawings

By: Alison Lester

Rating: 5 of 5

This is a 48 page book which is by children’s book author and artist, Alison Lester. While the book blurb says that it is for 5 years old and older, the coloring is definitely for a much older child or an adult.

The author gives a background of how she started drawing and gives encouragement to artists who wish to draw as well. Then the book takes a right turn and becomes a coloring book rather than a book about drawing.

The designs start fairly simple and then become more and more detailed. It makes for an interesting journey to see how an artist might advance in their skills. As someone who colors, it also gives you an opportunity to progress with your skills as you go along.

At the end, the designs are quite detailed and intricate. They might be considered difficult to color. You can either skip those or do as the author suggests and not try for perfection. Just enjoy yourself as you color and don’t worry about the end result. The joy is in the journey, isn’t it?


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Darth Vader – need I say more? – printed one side of the page

Color Your Own Star Wars: Darth Vader

By: Various

Rating: 4.5 of 5

Here is a coloring book filled with images of the bad guy. Darth is at his evil best. He is creating mayhem all while dressed with a big whole helmet on his head.

The designs range from simple to intricate, with some having detailed backgrounds. If you like the Vader, you will probably like this book though keep in mind some things that may be considered drawbacks…

The designs are detailed and, in many cases, have intricate and very small areas to color. There is a heavy use of black as part of the designs. That has been true of the prior books in the Color Your Own series, so it was not a surprise for me in this book. I’ve learned to embrace the black as part of my overall design if I want to color in this series.

When there is so much black on the page, I’ve also learned to be really careful if I am using colored pencils. Lighter colors over the black show up. If I use markers, that problem doesn’t happen as the color seeps through instead of sitting on the surface. As I can no longer use most markers, I will have to be careful when coloring in this book. My guess is my husband will quickly assimilate this book into his collection!


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Fun to read mystery set in a bookstore with a coloring group as sleuths

The Coloring Crook (Pen & Ink)

By: Krista Davis

Rating: 5 of 5

I got this book as I enjoy both coloring books and mysteries. I expected the mystery to have a lot of coloring references which didn’t really happen. There were references to drawing and to the group which meets to color but coloring was not the focus of the mystery.

The main sleuth of the story, the manager of Color Me Read, is Florrie Fox who is also a coloring book illustrator and artist. She works through mysteries which her drawing abilities as well as weighing the evidence.

In this book, a friend of the group meets an untimely death after finding a rare item. The story takes off with lots of twists and turns.


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Nutcracker Ballet coloring book by Dover – printed both sides of the page

Nutcracker Ballet Coloring Book

By: Brenda Sneathen Mattox

Rating: 5 of 5

This is a lovely coloring book inspired by The Nutcracker Ballet. The images tell the story of the ballet, with words on each page to provide context to the images.

The coloring book is dated 2005. According to the copyright page, that was the first date this book was published. It’s hard to tell sometimes with Dover as they are inclined to publish things multiple times with slightly different titles or images.

The designs are lovely and elegant and should be a lot of fun to color. However, since the book is printed on both sides of the page, coloring medium is more limited if you wish to color the entire book.

The designs are open and have some detail and even intricate areas. Unlike most Creative Haven books by this publisher, there are no framing lines. However, the designs are finished with the page. There are no two-page spreads.


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31 Lovely and Detailed Fairy Tale Scenes – printed one side of the page

Enchanting Fairy Tale Scenes

By: Marty Noble

Rating: 5 of 5

This is a new coloring book by Marty Noble. Her more recent books have shown an increasing tendency towards smaller and much more intricate illustrations. It’s gotten to the point where most of the books I buy of hers are too difficult for me to color because of the tiny, tiny elements. I have given those books away in frustration because I love her style but can’t deal with the issues involved with trying to color itsy bitsy pieces.

This book is different. While it is still more detailed and has smaller areas to color than her earlier works, this is very do-able for me to color. The smaller areas are fewer and less intricate. The designs are still quite full of elements.

The designs are of 31 different fairy tales. Each tale has a page. I recognize many of the tales but not all of them. That will make it fun to investigate. For me, this book is definitely a keeper.

Depending on when and where it was printed, Creative Haven paper is either slightly rough or slightly smooth. My copy of this book has slightly smooth paper.


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