beauty · book · review

Book and Mask 5 : Tatting with Anne Orr & Snail Gold Mask

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Tatting is an interesting craft

If you haven’t heard of tatting before, it is an old craft that is enjoying a revival of sorts. Tatting is basically tying little knots and manipulating them into picots and flowers to form lace. The tatting yarn is more like crocheting yarn, finer the prettier, but a headache for beginners.

The book I got from Netgalley on a request, I was interested to see the patterns. I had hoped to read more about tatting and how to do it well. If you are a beginner, this is not a good book for you.The book contains a lot of vintage patterns for doilies, handkerchiefs and even a bonnet/ cap. It is really cool, but essentially useless unless you understand the terms and know how to tat well.

For me, I was lost, tatting is still a new skill for me. Yes, those shuttles are mine. I take pride in trying to learn new craft skill, no matter how bad I am overall. I can knit and crochet, but my tension gauge is always wrong. Bleh, when my mom taught me how to knit, she called me stupid because I couldn’t purl.

*sigh*

Tatting With Anne Orr

 
Gold and Snail Mask…luxury

Got this special mask as a souvenir/ Christmas present. It was from a guilty cousin of my husbands, he (the cousin) loves beauty products, and prides on being young looking. The mask is a symbol of luxury facial mask, because not only the mask has gold woven into the material, it was dripping in snail goo.

It’s not that bad, thicker than my normal snail sheet mask, and twice as much in volume. After applying for an hour or two, my skin had never felt that great. Smooth and invigorated, I could see myself buying more of these if I can afford the price tag. Happy that I get to try this at least once.

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Yes, flashy mask. Gold is said to make you younger, but I never know how or why. Is it an antioxidant like silver? Or it possess some free- radical locking, and can temporarily stop the damage. I haven’t read up any research on this, so at the moment I am enjoying the effects of a good facial sheet mask.

No wonder that guy is always so young looking.

book · review

Hush Little Baby : Book Review

Image from Netgalley

Hush Little Baby
Author: Joanna Barnard
Penguin Random House UK, Ebury Publishing
Genre:  Mystery & Thrillers
Publication Date: Aug 2017

Hush Little Baby can be a scary reality to some

The book is written from a triplicate point of view. There is Sally, the mum, Richard the dad and Martha his daughter. These three people were part of baby Oliver’s family at home, and when his hand was fractured, no one admits to it. Someone is lying of course, but who?

As in Western countries, well… developed countries with a good/ decent childcare system, family services get involved. A lot of times, parent’s get scared. Because not only they feel that they have done something wrong, they fear that their child will be taken away from them.

It is never easy raising a baby, harder when a stranger rips your darling out of your hands. While there is no question in the reader’s mind that baby Oliver has parents who love him, and a stepsister who is slightly indifferent to him; family services does not know that. Thus began a conflict between family and the ‘outsiders’.

Things get more complicated when skeletons in the closet shows up during investigations. The author tactfully reminds all parents that raising a child does not end when they reach double digits. Very often, when I am dealing with a terrible two, I get the statement: “wait till they are teens.”

(ノ ̄皿 ̄)ノ ⌒=== ┫ —– this is a table flipping emoji. This is me in my mind, except maybe the table is the jerk who says stupid things like that.

This is like my in- laws, they would tell me what I should be doing, and then turn around and ignored their own advice. Honestly, I have to tolerate their rudeness and dismissive behavior, because my mom will have my hide if I lash out. It is very un-Asian to be rude or scold your elders, no matter how much those jerks deserve it.

Verdict

You might have to guess who did break baby Oliver’s arm until the end, or have your suspicions confirmed.  Hush Little Baby has a low amount of intrigue, focusing on family and relationship issues instead. Not sure why this is Women’s fiction, when it is a family matter. Hush Little Baby will break your heart, and make you wonder who has done it. But it is not the only… Click To Tweet

The ending was a positive one, the author creates a balance that is acceptable. Hush Little Baby can be too close to reality than some of us might care to admit. This is a good read, but a little confronting at times, especially if you have children.

Hush Little Baby has terrible in- laws too

Dear readers:

If your future mother- in- law tells you that you are family and she loves you as much as she loves her kids, do not be so naive. Yes, she may be very loving and nice to you, and you will have pretty good relationship if you are lucky. But in the end, if the fire burns in a building, you might not be high on her priority list. This is reality.

But if she hates your guts, it’s ok. Don’t try to change her mind, keep boundaries and hate her guts from the outside. No matter how much you crave her friendship and love, she will never ever think that you are good enough for her child. Swallow your words, and be nice, especially if you love your partner. Trust me, if you squeeze your partner, the mother usually wins.

But nothing is worse than a person who tells you lies, with a knife behind her back. That knife will definitely cut your relationship with your partner if you are not careful. This is my first hand experience, where I realized after a fight with my husband, what she had done to us. After the incident, I tried not to pick up her phone calls, because I could then make her tell me things in front of my husband, and then ask for his opinion. Kind of like a witness thing, caught her out a few times too, but at least we no longer argue about he said she said. She had the gall to complain to my own mother that I am not a family orientated person, and too dependent; my mom casually replied that she raised me that way.. haha…

If I can record all my conversations with her, I truly would.

(whinge/ relationship advice over)

 

 

book · review

Diadem of Death Review

Image from Netgalley

Diadem of Death
Author: B. R. Myers
Series: The Nefertari Hughes Mystery Series #2
Genre: mystery, history, YA
Publisher: Blue Moon Publishers
Publish Date: 25 April 2017
ISBN: 9781988279503

Diadem of Death is like a cool tomb raider game

Except it is not Tomb Raider at all, Nefertari accompanies her father to the place that took her mother. Leaving behind her boyfriend Zach, their relationship up in the air due to her commitment and his. Fortunately, she has her friends with her in this trip. In continuance from the first book : Asp of Ascension, Terry and her dad travels to Egypt in search of Cleopatra’s tomb.

But what awaits them was more than a promise to complete her mother’s work. A mishap in the airport was a stroke of luck, particularly when the plane that they were supposed to be on sunk into the bottom of the ocean. Terry, her dad and friends Maude and Finn (or Fitz? I can’t remember his name).

Soon, their adventures lead to more curses being released and more question than answers. As the guardian of the Asp, Terry has an affinity to all things Cleopatra. The story twists and turns, and somehow makes you question who is her real ally, aside from the pair of sidekicks.

Verdict

The ending was quite romantic, for me. You can guess who the villain is, the chase is fun though. For a YA mystery, this is a good story. Diadem of Death carries more puzzle solving than mystery. I am glad that Terry did not venture into a triangular relationship, very mature. It has excitement, intrigue and a lot of running around.

Diadem of Death features a lot of dying, a few cool puzzles and a mystery that surrounds Cleopatra's… Click To Tweet

Since no one really found where Cleopatra and Mark Anthony was buried, so this was quite a good theory and a good place to end a chase. How do you wear a diadem? I am not sure, but here is one I found while perusing Amazon (yes affiliated). Ravenclaw’s Diadem, ain’t it pretty?

 

Diadem of Ravenclaw

book · interview

Interview & Giveaway : From Ant to Eagle Author Interview

From Ant to Eagle

Review here

Playing Ten Questions with Alex Lyttle.

Alex is the author of From Ant to Eagle, he is also a pediatrician and father of three children. How he manages to fit it all in twenty four hours I will never know, unless he stole Hermione’s time turner from Hogwarts …

If you do not want to read the review, just know that From Ant to Eagle is a tear- jerking book that focuses on sibling love.

1. What made you decide to write this book in the point of view of a sibling?

Having grown up with a younger brother that I tormented (yes, I’m the terrible older brother that invented the levels system), I wanted to write a story that showed the dynamic love-hate relationship of brothers. I also wanted to write from the perspective of a child whose sibling was diagnosed with cancer having seen firsthand how these children can be lost in the shuffle of treatment. I wanted to remind people that cancer (and other illnesses) affect everyone and that it is important to be mindful that no one is overlooked.

2. Did you run into problems while writing?

Of course! I run into problems with everything. I am a pediatrician who can’t get his 1-year-old to sleep through the night, and a husband who can’t remember his anniversary. There was no chance I was going to write a whole novel without any hitches. At first, my biggest problem was that I couldn’t write. Honestly, I am not a gifted writer by any means. But I worked at it and I got better – at least I think I did. I also had problems with the plot. I received feedback that it was “too sad” and should be changed. I rewrote it but ended up changing it back. If it is too sad for some readers, I apologize, but the truth is children suffer like Sammy and Cal every day. Opening people’s eyes to these struggles may help them empathize.

(PS, for all it’s worth, I don’t remember my anniversary either)

3. You said that From Ant to Eagle was a cathartic experience, did it help you?

Yes and no. I am happy I wrote the story so that others can read it and have insight into what some children are going through. Has it helped me feel less sad about my experiences working on the oncology wards? No. But in truth, I hope it never does.

4. How do you find time to write while working?

Caffeine and neglectful parenting. No, I’m joking. I don’t drink caffeine (not because I think it’s bad for me but because it does terrible things to my stomach) and I am a very hands-on parent. I find time to write because I love it. There’s no secret beyond that. If I have a free evening or a few hours between patients, I write. I rarely watch TV and when I do I feel anxious that I am not writing. That’s all there is to it.

5. Any hopes for another book?

Hopes for another book? Yes. Any time soon? Unlikely. I thought about writing a novel where a boy goes to a school called Horsewarts and learns magic, but it turns out that is similar to someone else’s book. And since I’m not allowed to plagiarize the entire Harry Potter series, I have decided to write a middle grade book about a girl who learns she is destined to save the entire planet. I’ve written the first draft but it likely won’t be publisher-ready for another year or two. I have also begun writing a novel that is similar to From Ant To Eagle (ie. medically related) but will likely take me even longer to finish.

6. Did you base the characters on a particular patient? Or did you draw from many?

Elements of the characters are based on real people but no one character is drawn directly from a single person. Characteristics were taken from friends, family members, myself and yes, patients, but there is no character that is directly taken from one person. Of all the characters, Oliver was most closely based on a single patient, however, even he has fictional elements.

7. Why that particular type of cancer? Was it because it was common?

I chose AML (Acute Myeloid Leukemia) because it is a common cancer yet not as favorable of a prognosis as ALL (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia). In truth, the disease was not very relevant. I just began writing and that was the diagnosis I chose. What was important to me was showing how the sibling was affected and the love between brothers. There are hundreds of diseases that Sammy could have been diagnosed with and the story would not have changed.

8. Was the ending entirely fictional, or was there some truth in it?

The story is completely fictional. While I had the unfortunate experience of seeing children who had lost a brother or sister, Sammy and Cal were not based on one particular patient and the story is therefore exactly that, a story. Though I can say for certain, this story and ones very similar have played out hundreds of times around the world and in that respect, it is the truth.

9. How long did it take you to complete the book?

Seven years and I wasn’t in Tibet (lame joke alert!). It took this long for a number of reasons: One, I was learning to write, two, I was still in my medical training and three, my children have very lengthy bedtimes. “One more book Daddy?” …. fine…

10. If this was a movie, any playlist or actors you want to appear in your adaptation?

That’s a tough question because I don’t watch a lot of TV. Jacob Tremblay would be a good fit for Cal since he’s the right age, Canadian and did a fantastic job with Room. At least he’d have the accent correct, eh? As for the others, I can’t think of anyone specific and besides, I’d like them to use unknown actors and give them the chance to create a name for themselves. I like rooting for the underdogs. Hence, being a Blue Jays fan.

Giveaway

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book · review

From Ant to Eagle : Book Review

From Ant to EagleAuthor: Alex Lyttle
Publisher: Central Avenue Publishing
Genre: Young adult, death and dying
ISBN-13: 978-1771681117

I received the ARC in exchange for a fair review. Special thanks to the author

From Ant To Eagle caught my eye with this

My name is Calvin Sinclair, I’m eleven years old and I have a confession… I killed my brother.

A million questions, only one way to find out. I admit that I was curious, but wouldn’t you be too? I was more than happy to say yes, because that mean answers. The cover looks cute too, it shows a childlike quality to it. The story might not be directly aimed at young adults, but I feel that some older kids might be able to relate.

Written as first person narrative, we see things through the eyes of Calvin Sinclair. Eleven years old, moved from city to a small town for ‘the air’. Calvin’s only friend was his six-year-old brother Sammy, who worships the older sibling. Their relationship was close, and that is where the title comes from. From Ant to Eagle is a series of ranks that Calvin made up, so he could get Sammy to do whatever he wants.

Eager to rank Eagle like his older brother, Sammy would obey orders. But when Calvin found a new friend: Aleta Alvarado, Sammy struggles to find footing in this new dynamic. It was not long after Calvin side lined his brother that things began to change.

The story is touching, even though the plot is straightforward. Seeing through the eyes of an eleven year old is not a complicated endeavor, but his pain and fears might make you cry. Calvin’s world changes with a word, and soon he realizes that he is not the only person who has to adjust to change.

From Ant to Eagle is a story about the pain of a brother, a reminder to treasure our loved ones always,… Click To Tweet

Verdict

Rarely I read books that touches a child’s pain. We often read about adults dealing with pain and loss, but not as often in point of view as kids. After reading the author’s profile, I appreciate this book even more. It would have been painful to witness all the struggles and still  have to experience loss. From Ant to Eagle is a book you should share with children, because it is a reminder not to do things that we regret. Actions and words cannot be undone, and the only thing left will be regret.