The Cramm Awards and life updates

Hello everyone! Missed me? I have missed you all a lot. I have been MIA from WordPressland and mostly getting rid of my worries through art. Art is my therapy and my best way to channel all negativity into something positive and uplifting. I recently won 1 year of Skillshare premium, so I am really happy I will be able to keep learning for many months to come! Would you like me to share my creations here?.

My email has been overflowing with messages about the GDPR law and little by little I’m learning about what it is all about. So far sounds good, specially for new generations and because of the constant development in AI and big data. But my knowledge is very limited.

I recently got nominated by lovely Meghan @Meghan’s Whimsical Explorations & Reviews for the Cramm Awards! When i got notification of an award I thought “oh boy, I bet this will be a “Silent blogger award” or “where the heck are you?! award” hahahah!!! Now, lets have some fuuun!

Rules:

  • Include that tidbit about who created this awesome award: theCramm (a 14 y.o. girl founder and sole writer of theCramm. Her goal? Changing the world – one Cramm at a time – and creating activists out of the next generation by informing them about the world’s happenings.)
  • Mention the person who nominated you
  • Share three things that motivate you to blog
  • Share three people who inspire you to blog
  • Share one thing you hope to do that will improve the world
  • Answer your challenge question
  • Nominate 10+ bloggers and give them a fun challenge question

3 Things that motivates me to blog:

  1. Interacting with WordPressland dwellers! it’s amazing!: friendships, lost brothers and sisters, mentors, doppelgangers, yourself, you find them all when you start a blog.
  2. My love for books, crafts, anime and lack of people with whom I can share info about these (without driving them insane sometimes).
  3. Tags and Nominations! I feel like I’m playing “pass the ball” and it is always fuuuun (and I just read Irina’s post on tags, while procrastinating and taking a break from all the questions, ohh the sweet irony, lol)

3 People who inspire you to blog:

Only 3?!!! (can I switch to 11 people who inspire me and tag only 3 friends?)

Alright, I will start with Evilcyclist’s Blog because I really like how he reviews all kinds of books and poems. The content of his blog is so good and unique. Long or short posts, it doesn’t matter, it feels like there is just the right amount of information that needs to be told and always in the most articulated way. Yep, check for yourself.

When it comes to crafty blogging, I get my inspiration from kelleysdiy. I would love to be able to make so many wonderful posts like she does! but alas, I’m quite slow at the crafting-taking pics-editing-writing-posting business. I’m trying! You’ll see on my next review of a book called Addict! There will be some eye candy.

My third inspiration is

These 3 blogs sum up what I wished my blog was: a source of knowledge full of colors, emotions and everyday life. Btw, this question is the main reason I like tags and nominations. It is the way I can show my appreciation for my fellow bloggers in a non-creepy fully acceptable way.

Share one thing you hope to do that will improve the world:

Become what I wish the world was, It is all about teaching by example, walk the talk and all that. Simple as that.

Answer your challenge question,

 How do you come up with questions such as these? Do you try to make them difficult to answer? Do you base it off of what you’re currently reading/watching? (I kinda wanna know!)

Mmmm…. It is all random, really. Thoughts I might have at the very moment I’m answering the post , plus, something that lets me know more about the way my fellow bloggers think. Some day it might even be “answer what shall I make for dinner today?” 😛

Nominate 10+ bloggers and give them a fun challenge question

And back to Irina’s post…I don’t want to spam everyone, but on the other hand I know how awesome a nomination feels, like “heey, I’m thinking about you. Here, a flower a nomination for you.” so, I will spread the love but don’t feel obligated to anything, okay? remember that fun goes first!. I’ll nominate 3 + anyone who wants to share their ideas in the comment section:

Peri , Alicia (no, I’m not nominating myself! we have the same name ^.^) and Nesha

My challenge question for you: If you were granted the ability to be a genius in something (math, economy, chef, dancer, etc) at the expense of forgetting everything else that doesn’t belong to your area of expertise (say, you are the best dancer but you suck at math, burn the food, fail at giving speeches, etc)… what would your mastery be and why?

That’s all! Have a great weekend my friends!

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Hanging Kokedama by Coraleigh Parker

Okay, I waited long enough for stores to have all their summery selection but, to my surprise, none of them sell moss! Only thing I found moss-related was a chemical to get rid of it from your lawn. Who wants to get rid of moss?! I find it more beautiful than grass, I even make a happy dance every spring when moss starts growing in my pots. Oh, are you wondering why I need moss?, because I want to make my own kokedama! If you haven’t heard about it, I’ll give you some eye-candy, because pictures say more than words:

Image result for kokedama

Eventually the twine decomposes and all you are left with is a nice green ball of cuteness with enough roots to hold the soil together without any aids.

Image result for kokedama

Even if they are not hanging, they look so, so, sooo pretty. Looks like a round fairy garden.

Image result for kokedama

Okay enough, I need self-restrain because I really love how this style looks, it makes me think about fresh air, relaxing atmosphere and fantasy. They do look like something from a fairy tale or elven world, don’t you think? I haven’t given up on my quest for moss, I will order ready-made kokedama if I need to, but I rather make my own.


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Hanging Kokedama: Creating Potless Plants for the Home
by Coraleigh Parker

Keywords: reference, gardening, interior design, DIY, home and living, hobbies, Japanese culture, decoration, step-by-step
*Hardcover, 144 pages
Published March 15th 2018 by Jacqui Small

 


 

About the book, it is lovely, it has a lot of big pictures that made me dream about all the different plants I want to hang from my ceiling, next to the window or beside my reading spot. I used to have a very general idea of kokedama: “a ball of soil covered in something that keeps the soil together and twine all around it, used for ferns and those kind of plants” but oh I was wrong! so wrong. First of all, there is a methodology and a reason for each material used when making a kokedama. Second, *get ready for it*, you can even create kokedama trees and seasonal plants!.

“it’s one thing to wrap up the plant in moss, it’s another thing entirely to create a home for a plant friend which he will be happy to live in for years to come.”

If you are interest about this style and would like to make your own creations, Hanging Kokedama has everything to get you started: list of materials, explanations on different soil ingredients and their characteristics (so that you can choose what will work best for your plant), different kokedama styles, shortcuts and step by step instructions with lovely images.

Most of the book focuses on instructions for making and maintaining kokedama of popular plants, organized by categories such as tropicals, succulents and cacti, tress and shrubs, herbs, bulbs, corms and tubers, epiphytes and of course, ferns. Each “plant profile” comes with scientific and common name, light, water and food requirements, growing speed and conditions, if it is pet friendly, most common concerns and a soil recipe that best fits that plant. There’s a list at the end of the book with online suppliers from around the world (in case you have same problem as me and can’t find the materials from your local shop and don’t dare to ask the neighbor for their wild growing moss.)

*I requested an eArc from Jacqui Small LLP in exchange of a fair review  Thank you!

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Dracopedia Legends by William O’Connor

Do you like Dragons? I love them! (they come second after the unicorn). I specially like dragons intricate details and features. Long ago, I saw a video on YouTube from the program Imagine-Nation by NHK. They were interviewing Kore Yamazaki, the creator of The Ancient Magus’ Bride. There she mentioned that her favorite part was to draw dragons and how much she loves them. Right after she showed a specific book that was her favorite and source of inspiration and… of course I can’t remember the name of the book or the author. However, I have had this huuuge feeling that it is a book by William O’Connor. Sad thing is, I couln’t find that interview anywhere (the only link i had has been removed from YT) so I can’t show it to you or confirm if my hunch was correct.

Thing is, since then I have become interested in dragon drawings that would get me inspired and yeah, the fan in me wanted badly to know what book Yamazaki sensei was referring to. Guess I will never know. Without further ado, here is the latest book from the Dracopedia series. I just came to know the sad news that the author died earlier this year, may he rest in peace, his legacy will live on.


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Dracopedia Legends: An Artist’s Guide to Drawing Dragons of Folklore
by William O’Connor

Keywords: reference, drawing, dragons, fantasy, hobbies,concept design, illustration, digital painting, step-by-step, educational, myths and legends.
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published April 17th 2018 by Impact

 


 

This book is an art guide but also a storybook. It is packed with gorgeous illustrations and an overall great  design that makes it easy to get yourself immerse into this fantasy world. It is suitable for both, traditional and digital artists and it even includes some basic drawing tips (rocks, waves, scales and digital painting modes) that can make your work look more polished and professional.

As I mentioned, this is also a storybook, a compilation of stories involving dragons. First we have the story of Beowulf and the Dragon, followed by a “demonstration” section where we are guided through the process of creating the characters from the story. It gives information about the background of the story, research material, sketches, thumbnails,  drawing and paintings with commentary on every stage of the creation process. Sort of like looking over the shoulder of William O’Connor while he is painting.

“the epic of Beowulf […] is one of the oldest written English poems and has gone on to inspire famous English writers like J.R.R. Tokien, who clearly drew upon the Beowulf story when writing Smaug in The Hobbit”

In that same manner, we have more dragon tales from around the world and from different eras, followed by their “demonstration” section, each one holding a lot of practical knowledge about drawing, painting and conceptualizing. Even if your main focus is not about dragons, this book is a great source of knowledge about the process of creating concept designs.

*I requested an eArc from IMPACT Books in exchange of a fair review  Thank you!

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Drawing Birds by Raymond Sheppard

If you like drawing and birdwatching, this book can help you draw birds that look realistic and capture their natural behavior.


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Drawing Birds
by Raymond Sheppard

Keywords: reference, drawing, birds, realism, observation, anatomy, morphology.
*Paperback, 128 pages
Published February 15th 2018 by Dover Publications

 


 

Just look at those drawings on the cover. I want to draw like that but I refuse to just copy them from 3-step tutorials, they just don’t feel like my own. That is why I got quite excited when I saw this book. It didn’t disappoint. If you want to draw birds that are standing (or flying) right in front of you, this is the book. It has a lot of illustrations and sketches made by British illustrator Raymond Sheppard, that will guide you through the process of visually analyzing and sketching birds.

The book starts with general information about bird anatomy for artists, with special attention to feathers, wings, beaks and feet. Then the book is divided by different kinds of bird studies. In each one, the author talks about how he approaches drawing them, their most prominent anatomical characteristics and their gestures. Some of the groups represented are: ducks (water birds), starlings, raven, heron, kingfisher, birds of prey, flightless birds, domestic birds, among many others. Through these categories you can learn to draw birds in all kinds of situations and with a wide variety of characteristics, habits and environments. There is also help for setting a good background for your bird illustrations.

Fair to mention that this is not a step-by-step book or a drawing basics guide for the one-day hobbyist, you need to get out and practice, not just sit and follow the images from its pages. This book works best for those who want to draw birds from real life or museums and portrait their natural essence, regardless of the media used or level of basic skills.

Did I tell you I’m planning to go out (say whaaat?) and practice sketching nature, people and buildings? no?, well, now I’m telling you! 😀 I’ve been challenging myself a lot these past months.  I want to get out of my comfort zone and become the person I dream to be 🙂  and that is why I’m a bit behind with my reviews (ohhh the irony) but enough about me, be awesome and have a great day!

*I requested (right away!) an eArc from Dover Publications in exchange of a fair review  Thank you!

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FIRST LINE FRIDAYS

Hi! From now on I will be joining First Line Fridays because I’m a mess hahahah!!! so, I will use this meme to force myself to choose a single book for the weekend instead of moody-reading or trying to read everything at once (and finishing none). So here it is, my main read for the weekend:

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“I would have lived in peace. But my enemies brought me war.”

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Can you guess the book?

I have a surprise for the first one who guess it right!!

 

 

Lang’s Labyrinth (Forests of the Fae #3) by K. Kibbee

Lang’s Labyrinth is the third and final book of Forests of Fae. I loved this series soooo much since book 1, but at that time I didn’t have a blog to talk about it. If you are planning to start this series, you are so lucky! because now you don’t need to wait for the next book to be released,  and believe me, after finishing the first one I was like “Ahhhh! what, wait, ahhh I need the next book noooooow”.


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Lang’s Labyrinth 
(Forests of the Fae #3)
by K. Kibbee

Keywords: fantasy, adventure, YA, mystery, suspense, paranormal, dark faeries, magic, friendship
*Hardcover, 152 pages
Published February 28th 2018 by Pen and Sword History

 


 

Would you like some mystery, fantasy and eerie creatures served in a teen friendly story with 2 spoonfuls of adventure? yes? Well, take this series, freshly cooked. I will show you my mini review for the first book, so you can get an idea of the plot, and then I will move to the last book:

Forests of the Fae: Devlin’s Door

Forests of the fae is the first book of a story about a thirteen year old girl called Anne who, by a series of events, starts unraveling the mysteries of a ghost town in Washington. As she gets deeper and deeper involved with this supernatural world, fairies, magic and unsolved mysteries emerge. Oh, but don’t be fooled by the idea of whimsical pixies wearing pink tutu skirts, as Anne says: “Boy, did Disney have it wrong”…

I love how the story evolves from a typical “city girl is sent to small town to live with her relatives and obnoxious cousin”, to a thicker plot with a lot of mysterious characters,  twists and turns throughout the rest of the story. It keeps you hooked from the beginning. The storytelling is great as well, it speeds up and slows down matching the swiftness of events or the struggles in Anne’s journey and has a cinematic feel to it.

Lang’s Labyrinth

Now back to the third book, the story keeps revolving around the friendship between Anne and Grace, with new characters joining (or jeopardizing) their quest to unravel the disturbing truths behind the fae world…and Walt Disney! gasp!, okay no, he is just mentioned at some point but the conspiracy theory about him was so good!. As with the previous 2 books, I loved how the tension builds up and keeps you on your toes. I’m not sure if it is because I have an over-stimulated imagination for scary and paranormal stuff, the moments when nothing happens are the ones I dread the most because I anticipate all kinds of scary outcomes.

But I’m just a scaredy cat and this title is suitable for younger readers (mild eeriness and no violence or sensitive stuff) and perfect for me as well (I can’t handle adult levels of creepy/suspense stuff, haha!).  The story has a lot of nice surprise factors that will continue until the very end, I even shed a tiny tear or two at some point. This is the kind of book I would have loved to read with siblings before going to bed muahahah. Instead, I read it alone, at midnight (for an extra spooky twist), and it was great.

The fairies remind me of slender man >.< 

onyx

I made this after finishing the last book, Onyx is the best raven ever! you can meet him right from book one.

 

*I requested an eArc from Incorgnito Publishing Press in exchange of a fair review  Thank you!

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Bookbloggers, lets give Dani some love!

I’m sure many of you know Dani @touchmyspinebookreviews and if you have been following her posts, you know she is a warrior that have been steadily winning her life battles while spreading positivity and good vibes to anyone and everyone through her blog and comments. So, if you can spare a moment to read her post and help her cause, I would be grateful as well 🙂 Donating helps tons, but also does retweeting, reposting, support comments or just sending her your prayers/ good vibes. Thank you sweeties!

 

 

 

via Coming Clean About My Absence…My Family Has Been Struggling And Is In Need.. Hardest Post To Post

Heir of Ashes by Jina S. Bazzar

It has been a while since my last fiction review. I like to constantly switch from fiction to non-fiction to “freshen up” in between stories. Otherwise I keep thinking about the previous book and comparing them. Something like cleaning your palate with ginger in between sushi?, having totally different kinds of books allows me to look at them with a fresh mind and I end up enjoying my reading time way more.


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Heir of Ashes (Roxanne Fosch 01)
byJina S. Bazzar

Keywords: fiction, urban fantasy, romance, supernatural, paranormal, action, secrets, other worlds, witches, werewolves, magic, fey.
*ebook
Published April 15th 2018 by smashwords

 


 

Heir of Ashes is the story of Roxanne, a young woman who got abducted and locked at the age of 12 inside a research facility run by the Paranormal Scientists Society (PSS). After 9 years of torturous experiments, she escaped and tried to live a normal life, but the PSS is after her, sending preternaturals (supernatural beings like vampires, werewolves, etc) her way. She is also one of them, although she doesn’t know exactly what kind of preternatural, but the PSS deem her extremely valuable and dangerous, and will do whatever it takes to take her back to the lab. Caught in the middle of a dangerous chase, she will need to grow stronger and unfold one by one the secrets of her past.

Table 4! Your order of one protective Alpha is ready!

This was such an enjoyable read. If you like supernatural urban fantasy with a lot of fight and action scenes and a bit of romance, then this is your type of series. The pace was perfect, not a single boring moment (poor Roxanne had to eat and pee always in a hurry). The story is interesting enough to keep you hooked without bringing too much complexity to it. I must confess I was expecting more romantic development or some kind of unforeseen twist, but that aspect remained predictable and didn’t advance as much (but can’t blame them, they were too busy trying to save their necks). However, this is the first book of a series, so I’m eagerly waiting to see how things will change in the next book.

Frizzzzzzz

I am so happy that this book didn’t have a dramatic mood. It was easy to bond with the characters and understand their actions, I found myself cheering for Roxanne and getting excited over her victories. I enjoy female characters that take life stubbornly head on, that wont bend down in front of adversity and most definitely wont go screaming for someone to save her. Even more, humorous and sarcastic replies, like the ones Roxanne gave all the time, made me giggle.

Roxanne named a dangerous, creepy creature “Friz”, and suddenly it didn’t seem as scary anymore. I think I need a Roxanne in my life to make creepy stuff look as cute as Stitch…but seriously, a Stitch in the middle of a dark forest would be freaking scary.

Ketchup, anyone?

I didn’t have any issue with the fight scenes, but you are advised that there are some mildly gore moments. Very mild in my opinion, but depends how much you let your imagination run wild. Ironically, I think I was more bothered by some stereotypes. Even if Roxanne is tall (6 feet) her crush needed to be a couple of inches taller, why the guy always needs to be taller? and why is it always so important to mention it?. There are a couple more, but they concern more my personal taste and how once you notice sexist remarks, you just can’t unsee them… but they do go unnoticed by most people. Despite our guy having all the alpha male stereotype, he is not as forceful as usual depictions, which was really nice. I can’t wait to see how their relationship develops, I loved the “end”, even if it wasn’t emotionally satisfying because well, it is not THE end, but it leaves you nicely hooked and clueless about what will happen next. Just the right amount of hints to make you speculate and wish the next book was already available. I definitely recommend it, I finished it in two days, so yep, I had fun and I’m a little bit sad that it is over 😦

*I recieved an ebook from the author (Thank you!) without that affecting my review.

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About the author:

Jina was born and raised in Brazil, where she had a joyful and fulfilling childhood. Soon after she graduated from high school, she was diagnosed with a chronic disease that caused gradual vision loss. She became blind at the age of twenty-three. She has since lived in the United States and Brazil, though currently resides in the middle- east.

Like most authors, Jina had always been an avid reader, a fan of the fantastic, but was denied the joy of books when she became blind. Once she discovered screen readers, she picked up the habit of reading again, but discovered that reading was no longer enough, so she started writing her own book.

When she’s not writing in the Roxanne Fosch series or her blog, she’s writing articles for Conscious talk Magazine, where she works as a columnist.

Aside from the written word, Jina loves to spend time in the kitchen, cooking and baking for her three kids and anyone who happens by.

You can go check out her blog, you can find an excerpt of this book and decide if you want to give it a try. 😉

 

Old English Medical Remedies by Sinead Spearing

What a wonderful book this was! I enjoy my fiction but I also crave for well documented books filled with interesting facts, research and in depth analysis. This is one of those books that left me captivated by the subject and wanting to know more about it.


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Old English Medical Remedies: Mandrake, Wormwood and Raven’s Eye
by Sinead Spearing

Keywords: non-fiction, middle ages, medieval, medicine, history, folklore, reference, herbalism, holistic healing
*Hardcover, 152 pages
Published February 28th 2018 by Pen and Sword History

 


 

Old English Medical Remedies takes a new look at Bald’s Leechbook III and Lacnunga, two ancient compilations of  healing remedies from Britain’s Middle Ages. The aim of this book is to explore the content of these old texts, bringing new insights and interpretations that help us understand more about that time of humanity; their traditions, believes and of course, healing practices. I thoroughly enjoyed that the remedies are analyzed from different areas of expertise like psychology, history, biology, mythology, religion, philosophy, etc. Some remedies are meant to cure well known diseases while others deal with entities such as elves, evil spirits and nighwalkers. This book is not meant to be used for healing, but rather as an approachable guide to understanding medieval folklore and the remedies used at that time.

Sheep’s dung and screaming mandrake

At first glance, most (if not all) of the cures seem like outdated remedies drowned in mysticism and superstition, but when contemporary research is presented side by side, it is impossible to disregard these manuscripts as merely outdated information. Moreover, the historical and scientific background makes them easier to understand and brings you closer to this intriguing time period. For example, a remedy involving eating sheep’s dung sounds crazy and pointless, but when the author explains how it is specially rich in nitrogen and potassium and the healing properties these two have, it doesn’t sound as crazy anymore (still yucky though). The directions included that the healer should not to reveal the contents of the remedy to the patient… and I can totally understand why.

“The herbal elements of the cures are now being analysed by pharmaceutical experts following the delightful happenchance that afforded students at the University of Nottingham the realisation that a modest remedy for sore eyes actually cures the superbug MRSA.”

As you might have guessed, the original texts were written in Old English, so unless you know how to read it, you will need to rely on translations and interpretations. Unsurprisingly, the real meaning has sometimes become lost in translation (and transcriptions), but Spearing makes use of her vast knowledge (specially in psychology) and diverse analysis to question previous interpretations and submit her own alongside relevant context material. The remedies include the original Old English text, which I tried to read at the beginning because of the novelty, but ended up skipping for the rest of the book.  Maybe some day, when I learn some ninth century English, I would go through them again.

It was specially interesting to know about the important, yet forgotten, role of women in ancient healing, as well as the way mind and body were treated as a whole when curing an illness, a view that has recently gained renewed attention. Coincidentally, this is the same holistic approach as Dr. Bruce Kehr, the author of my previously reviewed book and founder of potomac psychiatry, has adopted. This seemingly outdated manuscript might be more relevant today than what we thought at first, but if the medical side of it doesn’t interest you, its Dark Ages historical appeal is undeniable.

*I requested an eArc from Pen & Sword, Thank you!

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