Thursday, 12 December 2013

ARC - A Game of Thrones

You may notice it's some time since I posted a journal page for the Artful Readers Club over on Darcy's blog. Real life has got in the way a little bit, along with a mojo block halfway through this page, which meant that it's been sitting on my desk for months, mocking me.
But it's here now!
My next book was "A Game of Thrones" by George R. R. Martin.
The synopsis...
"Summers span decades. Winter can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun.
It will stretch from the south, where heat breeds plot, lusts and intrigues; to the vast and savage eastern lands; all the way to the frozen north, where an 800-foot wall of ice protects the kingdom from the dark forces that lie beyond. Kings and queens, knights and renegades, liars, lords and honest men… all will play the Game of Thrones.
Winter is coming…"
The review...
For anyone that hasn't heard of A Game of Thrones, this book is the first in the "A Song of Ice and Fire" series. This is classed as fantasy, which is a genre I don't really read, but after watching the TV show I decided that I'd give the books a go.
I really enjoyed this book, so much so that I'm now on book 4! The style of writing is very easy to read, my only problem is the amount of characters in the book (which only gets worse as you get further into the books). I do struggle at times to remember who a character is and how they are related to everyone else but perhaps that's just me... What I do like is that each chapter is told from the perspective of a different person, which breaks the books up nicely.
I'd certainly recommend this book (and the TV series!) to anyone wanting to get into the fantasy genre, or even if you don't, it's still a good read.
The artwork...
As mentioned, I struggled with this artwork. I had a vague idea in my head but just couldn't get it to work on paper.
I started with a red painted background which was already in my book. I added a weirwood tree with some bubble leaves. I then drew out the sigils for houses Stark and Lannister. I had also drawn out the sigil for house Baratheon but after a lot of moving all three around the page I decided to leave it off. I finished the page with a city in the background and the quote "Winter is coming". I'm still not entirely happy with it, but decided just to leave it be!
My next book is "Call the midwife" by Jennifer Worth. Seeing as I still haven't finished it (distracted by reading more Game of Thrones books!) it may be a while before I end up doing a page for it.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Artful Readers - July

Slowly catching up with my Artful Readers posts :)

In case you you don't what I'm talking about then check out Darcy's blog, but basically we have all chosen 12 books that have been sitting on our bookshelves patiently waiting to be read - we read them, review them and do some art inspired by them.

My book for July was "The Black Echo" by Michael Connelly.

The synopsis...

"LAPD detective Harry Bosch is a loner and a nighthawk. One Sunady he gets a call out on his pager. A body has been found in a drainage tunnel off Mulholland Drive, Hollywood. At first sight, it looks like a routine drugs overdose case, but the one new puncture wound amidst the scars of old tracks leaves Bosch unconvinced.
To make matters worse, Harry Bosch recognises the victim. Billy Meadows was a fellow 'tunnel rat' in Vietnam, running against the VC and the fear they all used to call the Black Echo. Bosch believes he let down Billy Meadows once before, so now he is determined to bring the killer to justice." 
The review...
I read this on the recommendation of my husband. I must admit it took me a while to get into this book but I think that was mainly due to having a newborn in the house so I was reading it in fits and starts. It's basically a crime story but there are some decent twists in it and Harry seems to be quite a complex character. It's not too taxing a read which is what I need at the minute! There are quite a few books in the Bosch series so I have the next couple waiting for me on my kindle, I guess that shows that I enjoyed it!
The art...
Again, like June's effort, this is pretty simple.

The black circle signifies the tunnels in Vietnam which are referred to throughout the book. Hollywood - the book is set in Hollywood :)
And a quote. Done!
August's book was "A Game of Thrones" by George R. R. Martin.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Artful Readers - June

Time for a catch-up! You read the title right, this is my ARC review and artwork for June! Check out Darcy's blog to see what this is all about.
I have a good excuse for being so far behind though...

This little lady (finally) arrived at the beginning of June :)

So, not a great deal of crafting going on around here, though lots of reading got done while I was waiting for her arrival so at least I was ahead with my books.

June's book was "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett.

The synopsis...

"Enter a vanished and unjusr world: Jackson, Mississippi, 1962. Where black maids raise white children, but aren't trusted not to steal the silver...
There's Aibileen, raising her seventeenth white child and nursing the hurt caused by her own son's tragic death; Minny, whose cooking is nearly as sassy as her tongue; and white Miss Skeeter, home from College, who wants to know why her beloved maid has disappeared.
Skeeter, Aibileen and Minny. No one would believe they'd be friends; fewer still would tolerate it. But as each woman finds the courage to cross boundaries, they come to depend and rely on one another. Each is in search of a truth. And together they have an extraordinary story to tell..."

The review...

I had already seen the film version of this book, but unusually for me I hadn't read the book first, so as I loved the film I made to sure to put it on my ARC list.
The book is very similar to the film, they adapted it quite faithfully. It may be my age, but I always struggle to believe there was such a divide between two groups of people due to their colour, and although this is essentially the theme of this book, it's written in such a way that you almost forget that and just want to hear about the lives of the characters...until something happens that reminds you of the division. I raced through this book (though I didn't have much else to do at the time!) and enjoyed every single page of it. It's a really easy read, but still thought provoking - if you haven't read it then I thoroughly recommend it.

The art...

As I've not had a lot of time to myself the artwork is pretty simple for this book.

I started off by covering the page in bits of map from an old AA map book then painted and stencilled over it with a mix of Fresco Finish paints. I added a picture of a Southern style house and added some JoFY stamped flowers. I kept them white as Miss Skeeter lives on a cotton plantation and I figured the flowers could (kind of) pass for cotton plants! A quote and some doodling finished off the page.

My book for July was "The Black Echo" by Michael Connolly. Hopefully I'll get that post up soon!

Friday, 31 May 2013

Artful Readers - May

If you saw my post for ARC April then you'll know that my book for April became my book for May :)

So, my book for Darcy's Artful Readers Club for May was "Bring Up the Bodies" by Hilary Mantel.

The synopsis...

"By 1535 Thomas Cromwell is Chief Minister to Henry VIII, his fortunes having risen with those of Anne Boleyn, the king's new wife. But Anne has failed to give the king an heir, and Cromwell watches as Henry falls for plain Jane Seymour. Cromwell must find a solution that will satisfy Henry, safeguard the nation and secure his own career. But neither minister or king will emerge unscathed from the bloody theatre of Anne's final days."

The review...

You can gather by the fact that this took me over a month to read that I didn't really enjoy it. I've read some "historical fiction" before but mainly Conn Iggulden which is a bit more...sensationalist? Anyway, I really struggled with the style of writing and the language used, which is obviously meant to reflect the period it is set in and although the story itself is interesting, the book never really drew me in. Not the book for me and I don't think I would read any more books by her.

The art...

I actually took some work in progress pics this month - feel free to skip ahead to the finished piece!

All of my pages are being done in an old hardback childrens book which I picked up in a charity shop. I don't feel too bad about covering up the pages as a lot of them have been scribbled on with crayon!

The page I worked on this month is the other side of my World War Z page and as you can see at the bottom some black had seeped through the page. The text is quite big in this book so I decided to cover it up with some smaller book print and some tissue paper, which I crumpled to add a bit of texture.

I then painted over it all with a mix of brown, red, yellow and gold paints.

I drew a Tudor Rose and coloured it with ProMarkers.

And then attempted to copy a portrait of Anne Boleyn.

I doodled a border around the page and added the Tudor Rose and Anne.The page was then completed with some gilding flakes so that the tudor rose didn't seem to be "floating" on the page quite so much and, of course, a quote from the book.

My book for next month is "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Circle Journal - April

Our Circle Journal theme for April was Hans Christian Andersen tales, chosen Now, I didn't really think ahead as to what I could do so when Darcy told us the theme I realised I had no clue as to which story to go with!

After lots of procrastination I went with The Nightingale - I found a few different versions, although they are all obviously fairly similar.

And here is my page, first of all showing the mechanical Nightingale...

The page then opens out to show the caged Nightingale (this is where some of the versions differ as he isn't always caged)...

The cage then lifts up to show the free Nightingale...

Hope you like it!

Monday, 27 May 2013

Circle Journal Pages

I've realised that I'm a bit behind on sharing my circle journal pages. I'm actually behind on doing them - the drawback with not posting a journal on I suppose!

February's theme was Jayne's and she chose Beatles lyrics. My page was for Jackie. Now, I'm not a massive Beatles fan so I had to resort to good old Google to check out their lyrics. I eventually settled on "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds". I used some Octopode Factory images as I felt they went with the lyrics and tried to use colours that are mentioned in the song...

March's theme was chosen by Lynn (I think!) and was "Technology". My page for this month was for Lea. Now, I must admit I really struggled with this one. I originally started off thinking of doing a steampunk style page but thought that everyone else may end up doing that - or not, as it turns out! As hubby works in electronics I asked him to get me some resistors and capacitors and then trawled the web for a quote that I felt I could work with. And this is what I came up with...

I'm currently working on April's page, the theme of which was chosen by me :)

Monday, 20 May 2013

Artful Readers Club - April

I have a confession to make... my book for April for Darcy's Artful Readers Club was meant to be "Bring Up the Bodies" by Hilary Mantel. I was still only halfway through by the end of April...ooops. But looking at my list again I realised I'd put "The Host" by Stephenie Meyer on it - which I read back in March before I went to see the film! So, The Host is now my April book and I will review Bring Up the Bodies for May (which I have finally finished). Hope that's clear!

I imagine most people have heard of Stephenie Meyer as the author of the Twilight saga but she has also written The Host, which I was aware of but had never got around to reading. I had no idea of the plot until the trailers started appearing for the film and was actually a little surprised to find it's along the lines of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

The synopsis...

"Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. The earth has been invaded by a species that takes over the minds of their human hosts while leaving their bodies intact, and most of humanity has succumbed. Wanderer, the invading 'soul' who has been given Melanie's body, knew about the challenges of living inside a human: the overwhelming emotions, the too-vivid memories. But there was one difficulty Wanderer didn't expect: the former tenant of her body refusing to relinquish possession of her mind. Melanie fills Wanderer's thoughts with visions of the man Melanie loves - Jared, a human who still lives in hiding. Unable to separate herself from her body's desires, Wanderer yearns for a man she's never met. As outside forces make Wanderer and Melanie unwilling allies, they set off to search for the man they both love."

The review...

This book, like Twilight, is aimed at "young adults", so is a nice easy read - I think it only took me a few days to finish it. The author deals with the conflicting thoughts of the two women very well and it's not difficult to follow who is "speaking" each time. You easily find yourself sympathising with the "alien" and understanding her point of view so the book was interesting in that respect. If you like books in this genre then I think you'd definitely enjoy this book. As for the film..."it was alright" was our response when the credits rolled - the book is much better!

The art...

I've been working on this on and off for a few weeks - I've attempted a face - she's ok, apart from one eye being bigger than the other! Her eyes are silver - the trait that indicates a human has been taken over. The silvery strands around her head are the "alien" - they enter through the back of the neck. And I put some planets around the page to indicate all the planets Wanderer has inhabited before coming to earth - I couldn't resist a bit of doodling though!

Monday, 22 April 2013

Artful Readers Club - March

My book for March's Artful Reader's Club run by the very talented Darcy was World War Z by Max Brooks.

I will admit that this went on my list because the film is due out soon and I like a good zombie film :) Also, if a film adaptation looks good I like to have read the book beforehand.

The synopsis...

"It began with rumours from China about another pandemic. Then the cases started to multiply and what had looked like the stirrings of a criminal underclass, even the beginnings of a revolution, soon revealed itself to be much, much worse. Faced with a future of mindless, man-eating horror, humanity was forced to accept the logic of world government and face events that tested our sanity and our sense of reality. Based on extensive interviews with survivors and key players in the 10-year fight-back against the horde, World War Z brings the very finest traditions of American journalism to bear on what is surely the most incredible story in the history of civilisation."

What did I think?

Well, I have to say that I really enjoyed it. This isn't your typical zombie fiction as a large portion of it deals with the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse rather than how it starts. It also covered some issues that I've not seen before with this genre, for example, zombies that end up in the sea but obviously don't die, so randomly appear on the beaches, and the people who are tasked with sorting out the money situation - how do you tell whether the money that people have is their own or stolen from looting?

I'd recommend this book for anyone who loves a good bit of zombie or post-apocalyptic fiction :)

I'll be interested to see what the film is like because it doesn't seem to be very similar to the book judging by the trailers - though I imagine it's a hard type of book to adapt to a film.

My art...


Despite enjoying the book, there wasn't any one part of it that inspired me art-wise, so I've gone with a general "aftermath" type journal page. The quote is from the book though...

My book for April is Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Artful Readers Club - February book

Yes, I know I should be posting March's book, I'm already behind :) Only with the artwork mind you, I'm right on track with the reading.

My book for February was 77 Shadow Street by Dean Koontz.

You can read the book description on Amazon here.

So...I really struggled wth this book to begin with. The book jumps about between each character - which is normally something I like in a book. However, each characters section was quite short which meant there were a lot of natural breaks in the story, which in turn meant that I didn't really read a large enough chunk at a time to really sink my teeth into it. But, about two thirds of the way through, the story suddenly grabbed me and I finished the book in a couple of days. I actually enjoyed the book in the end, especially once it became clear what was causing the "hauntings". If you're a fan of horror then I'd recommend this book but be warned that you may need to persevere to get into it.

My art...

I picked a few bits from the book that stuck in my head - the grass outside of the house that is filled with creatures and the fungus that grows in the rooms in the house. The house in the book is nothing like the one in my journal page but I've been looking for an excuse to use this die!

My book for March is World War Z by Max Brooks. Hopefully I'll get my artwork finished and linked up before the end of April...

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Circle Journal 2013

If you've read my blog before then you'll know that last year I took part in a circle journal with nine other ladies who have become firm friends. A few of us wanted to do another one so we started again after Christmas. The lovely Darcy - despite having not having the time to devote to a journal page each month - is keeping us organised and is giving us our theme each month. The themes were decided by us in advance and told to Darcy in secret :)

Due to a few postal scares last year we have decided not to post journals around the country so are just doing individual pages which can be handed over in person once we're at the end.

Our theme for January was "Julie Nutting Designs" - chosen by Becca, and I had to make a page for Jayne.

And here is my page...

As Jayne is a fan of Stampotique stamps I decided to go a bit more gothic with my lady - I think I succeeded!
I had great fun playing with the background - the strips of patterned paper is something that seems to appear quite a lot in Julie's designs and I'm really pleased with the effect so I'll definitely be trying that again.
February's theme is "Beatles Lyrics". I've chosen my song and have a fair idea of what I'm going to do :)

Monday, 28 January 2013

ARC January 1st Book Review

For the first month of the Artful Readers Club I chose (or rather Hubby randomly chose) "Wicked Appetite" by Janet Evanovich.

What is it about?
A woman called Lizzy who lives in Salem and has a talent for baking - particularly cupcakes.
She meets Wulf and Diesel, cousins who are both looking for the SALIGIA. These are stones of power, each of which represents one of the seven deadly sins.
Wulf wants them as when they are combined hell on earth is supposedly unleashed... Diesel is trying to stop him, and enlists Lizzy's help.

What did I think?
I've read, and enjoyed, a few of Janet Evanovich's books from the Stephanie Plum bounty hunter series and the seven deadly sins plot of this book appealed to me.
I liked the characters, Diesel sounds very lovely! ;) However, the plot was very linear - no major twists and turns and no suspense. But... it was a very easy read (finished in one day) and quite enjoyable in a "turn your brain off" type of way.
I guess it passed the test as I read the second book in the series "Wicked Business" straight after...

My artwork...
I decided in the end to do a journal page. I bought an old hardback children's book recently at a charity shop to alter and this was my first page in it.
The main image I was left with after reading this book was "cupcakes"! So... that's what I went with.
I tried to do the background in "witchy" colours as the book is set in Salem and I bordered the page with the names of the deadly sins in latin. The quote is a quote from the book and the image is from The Octopode Factory. I decided after taking the photo that I'll add "ARC January" on there somewhere to remind me in the future why I did the page. 

My book for February is "77 Shadow Street" by Dean Koontz. I reckon that'll be a dark journal page!

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Mandala Novice

I've been aware of Mandalas for a while but haven't really had a go at doing one myself. But... I saw this year long challenge here (via Darcy) which seemed like a nice way to start. The mandala has been drawn already so you just need to do a bit of colouring in - that, I can do!

Here is my image once I'd done my basic colouring...

But I then wanted to add a bit more to put my own touch on it so I added some doodles and went over some of the outlines so they stood out a bit more...

Really easy and I'm looking forward to the next one!

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Artful Readers

This year I'm endeavouring to join in with Darcy's Artful Readers Club - a year long challenge, you can read all the details here.
My twelve books for the year are on the shelf in my sidebar. My book for January is "Wicked Appetite" by Janet Evanovich. I've read quite a few of her novels from the Stephanie Plum series but then I randomly came across this new series.
I'll confess that I started the book a couple of days ago to give me a head start but it was such an easy read that I finished it today - oops! But that gives me a month to do my review and art...the first link up date is the 25th January.