Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Night Voyage

This is a review for The Night Voyage by Daria Song.
I gave this book ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 5 stars, I loved it.

Daria Song is an internationally known artist and author.  She has had art exhibited at numerous galleries and museums in Korea, Singapore, Turkey, and Hong Kong.  She grew up in both San Fransisco and Korea.  Her art style shows a blending of both Western and Eastern culture and style.

The Night Voyage is the third adult coloring book in Daria Song's series "The Time Coloring Books" The other coloring books in the series are The Time Garden and The Time Chamber

Each of Song's coloring books has a short set up story.  The story of The Night Voyage is that tomorrow is the young girl's birthday.  She woke up to find mountains of presents from her parents along with a note saying they would miss her birthday because of a business trip.  The girl is lonely and wants to give her presents to other children and hopefully make some new friends.  After the set up story the pictures take the thread of the story and lead the reader along through magical worlds.

Every page in The Night Voyage is simply gorgeous.  Every picture is beautiful.  Even the repeating pattern pages are gorgeous and somehow fit into the story.  This particular book has a motif of stars, paper cranes and hot air balloons that appear on each page.

I really enjoyed this coloring book.  Both the story it tells and the beauty of the art.  I am sure it will provide me with many hours of pleasant coloring!  I highly recommend it.  Now if you will excuse me, I need to go start sharpening my colored pencils!

I received this book free from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Marked in Ink

This is a review of Marked in Ink by Megan Massacre.
I gave this book ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ 3 stars, I liked it.

Megan Massacre is a tattoo artist on NY Ink & America's Worst Tattoos.  If, like me, you are unfamiliar with those shows, NY Ink is a competition show to find the best tattoo artist and America's Worst Tattoos is a show where good artists cover up bad tattoos.  Megan Massacre has a very popular style of tattoos and has used her style to create this coloring book in hopes that both tattoo artists and tattoo fans will enjoy it.

Marked in Ink is full of delightful coloring pages done in various tattoo styles. There are all kinds of designs from sugar skulls, to animals, to geometric designs.  The designs have more lines than a tattoo generally would, this is to give you more to color when you are using this book.  There are some really cool pages in here.  There is a filigree bat that is pretty awesome, a heart made of waves, and some really detailed dream catchers that I just love!

There are a few things that bother me about this book though.  There are only two pages with text on the design.  One of them is a knife stabbing a heart with the text "Shot through the heart" which makes no sense with a knife in the image.  The other one is a ship being destroyed by a kraken with the words "lost my way" on it.  Again, the text doesn't fit with the image very well.  You can really tell that Megan Massacre really likes sugar skulls and day of the dead designs as there are more of those than anything else.

Some of the designs here are really amazing, others are less so.  As a coloring book they look like great fun to color, as tattoos there are very few I would want to have on my skin permanently.  That is definitely a benefit to having this coloring book!  All the fun of cool tattoos with none of the permanence of a tattoo.  Overall it was a decent coloring book.  It doesn't wow me but it isn't bad either.  If you like sugar skulls and day of the dead designs you will probably like this one a lot!

I received this book free from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Cook Korean!

This is a review of Cook Korean! by Robin Ha.
I gave this book ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 5 stars, I loved it.

Cook Korean! is a comic book with recipes.  It says it right on the cover and that is exactly what it is.  Ha drew beautiful comics throughout the entire book.  There are comics that show you how to prepare and cook amazing Korean food, there are comics explaining the historic and cultural significance of the food and other items draw in this book.  It is beautifully drawn and easy to follow.

This cook book is broken down into chapters for kimchi, vegetable side dishes, meat, seafood, soup, porridges, noodles, snacks, drinks & Korean fusion food.  You can start at the beginning or jump around to the recipes that interest you most. 

The introduction chapter gives you a quick rundown of the most common staples in a Korean pantry, the Korean table, the way to cook rice and a breakdown of Korea by region and most common foods.  It is very informative and accompanied by great visuals. 

Each recipe is chapter starts with a quick information page that explains what the foods in the chapter are, when they are eaten, how they are prepared and how to do it in America.  Each recipe has the English name of the food and the Korean name.  Each recipe has a clearly marked ingredient list as well as stating how long the prep takes, how the long the cooking takes and how many people the recipe will serve.  Each step of the instructions is accompanied by an illustration to show how to do something or what it should look like.

I have always been a little intimidated by Korean food.  It looks like it is complicated or takes a long time to prepare.  This cook book breaks down that illusion and shows you how simple it is.  Some things do take a long time to prepare but it appears that a lot of the prep time is actually marinading time where you don't have to do a lot.  I am really excited to give these recipes a try!  First though, I have to make a trip to the Asian grocery store for some Korean food essentials!

I received this book free from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, August 1, 2016

The Gods Lie

This is a review of The Gods Lie by Kaori Ozaki.
I gave this book ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ 4 stars, I liked it a lot.

 Natsuru Nanao is a 6th grader who lives alone with his mom and just moved to a new town.  His dad passed away when he was little and it is just the two of them.  Natsuru is a good soccer player but he doesn't like his new coach.  He skips his summer soccer camp without telling his mom and spends time with one of his classmates instead.

Her life is very different from his.  She is very responsible.  She does all of the housework and shopping for her household and takes care of her younger brother.  Natsuru enjoys staying with them and fits into their family really well.  There is a terrible secret in her house that could destroy everything, plus his mom doesn't know where he is and the soccer coach called her to ask about refunding the camp fee.  Everything is about to come crashing down on them and reality has an ugly face.

I really enjoyed this book.  The characters are multifaceted and endearing.  The art is wonderful and really moves the story along.  I highly recommend it.  It is really bittersweet and moving.  You should definitely check it out!

Pop Manga Coloring Book

This is a review of Pop Manga Coloring Book by Camilla d'Errico.
I gave this book ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 5 stars, I loved it.

Camilla d'Errico is a widely acclaimed illustrator who has worked with Dark Horse, Sanrio, Disney, Hasbro & Neil Gaiman.  She has been nominated for several awards.  Her most well known works are her "Rainbow Children" oil paintings with huge eyes and melting rainbows. 

Pop Manga Coloring Book is an adult coloring book unlike any other I have seen.  It is full of gorgeous art that blends cute, creepy, surreal and beautiful all together.  Some pages you have adorable children with creepy monsters, others you have cuddly animals with sad, unsmiling kids.  Each page in this book is amazing.  There are so many little details in each illustration that you could sit and look at each one for ages before remembering that you are trying to color the page.  Many of the pages are done in a sketchy, pencil feeling style.  I love it!  It adds to the surreal feeling of the art and reminds me that this is an unfinished project waiting for me to add the final touches.  The pencil sketch feel adds a soft, home made quality that other coloring books lack, it doesn't feel mechanical or mass produced at all.

Camilla d'Errico has cute little mascots that accompany her work.  The mascot for this book is Ayako.  Ayako pops up periodically to tell you about a piece of art or to remind you that you can color outside the lines.  Pull of the slip cover and look both the cover of the book and the underside of the slip cover.

I love this coloring book.  It has an amazing blend of feelings in it.  It isn't just candy sweet art or super creepy.  It blends them together in a a unique way that comes out gorgeous.  I honestly can't wait to drag out my colored pencils and start coloring!  The only downside I see is choosing which page to color first!

I got this book free from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

I Draw on Cats

This is a review of I Draw on Cats by A. R. Coffelt
I gave this book ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ 2 stars, I disliked it.

I Draw on Cats is a collection of connect the dots puzzles laid over top of silly cat photos.  It is designed to demystify cats and show us what they are really thinking and doing.  The cat photos are pretty cute and the connect the dots add a layer of humor to the photos.  We have silly cats from "The Karate Cat" to "Vampire Cat" hanging out in a tree to "Captain Cat" the super hero.

This book is a bit of a mixed bag.  There are cute photos.  There are humorous connect the dots.  I feel like it is going to appeal to small children the most.  The draw back with that is the weird accordion style pages.  The book doesn't have traditional pages, it has one giant double sided, accordion folded page.  The pages fold ok one direction but it gets complicated the other way.  Each fold is perforated so you could tear them apart but then you have a bunch of loose pages floating around or disappearing under the couch.

To sum up, it is a cute book with cute pictures but it is difficult to use and may prove frustrating.  My son lost interest in it pretty quickly when faced with the frustrating layout of the pages.

I received this book free from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Long May She Wave

This is a review of Long May She Wave by Kit Hinrichs.
I gave this book ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ 3 stars, I liked it.

Kit Hinrichs is considered one of the world's most influential graphic designers and is partner in the global design firm Pentagram. His personal collection of Stars and Stripes artifacts has been exhibited at the American Institute of Graphic Arts in New York and the San Jose Museum of Art.

Long May She Wave is a curated collection of postcards featuring Stars and Stripes artifacts and art from American history.  The cards include photos of antique quilts, WWI soldiers, carvings in whale teeth, patriotic playing cards from WWII and other wonderful historic items.  Some of the cards feature newer art and artifacts as well such as, a hand stitched flag made out of dollar bills in 1997, a flag made of 2500 colored pencils, and a collage of paper flags, fans and ribbons.

These cards are a brief glimpse into history.  It is interesting to see the various ways that the American flag has been used throughout history.  From car dealerships in the Navajo nation, to cigarette wrappers in prisons, to honoring the Allies at the end of WWII and protesting the Vietnam War.

This collection could have been better.  There is very little information about each card.  Some have a single line "Wood and Paper 'Red Star Line' promotional fan circa 1900" to tell you about the card.  When I saw that the author is "considered one of the world's most influential graphic designers" I really expected some gorgeous cards.  I have to admit to being disappointed, many of the cards feature a single item on a plain white background.

With slightly more thought put into the cards by the graphic designer and a bit more information about each card this could have been a truly stunning collection of postcards.  As it is right now it is still a pretty good collection of cards. 

I received this book from blogging for books in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, April 30, 2016


This is a review for Wonderland- A Coloring Book Inspired by Alice's Adventures by Amily Shen.
I gave this book ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ 4 stars, I liked it a lot.

About the Author: Amily Shen is a renowned Taiwanese artist. She has worked as shoe designer and is now a full-time illustrator and art instructor. She has published three bestselling drawing books.

Wonderland is a whimsical adult coloring book inspired by Alice in Wonderland.  The coloring pages are beautiful.  A lot of attention to detail was put into this book.  The pages are a lovely mix of whimsy and symmetry. 

This book is inspired by Alice in Wonderland so a lot of the pages and pictures will feel familiar.  The framework of the book shows injects some of the artist's personality into it.  The first page is a coffee shop and out the window of the coffee shop you see a familiar rabbit slipping through the trees to lead you into Wonderland. 

The story running throughout the pages feels a little childish at times.  There are little activities that you would normally see in a kids book; things like addressing an invitation to a friend, decorating some blank butterflies and searching for hidden items. 

The illustrations in here will not immediately bring to mind either the original illustrations from the Lewis Carroll novel or the Disney adaptations but they are unmistakably from Wonderland.  I quite enjoyed looking through this book and I am definitely going to enjoy coloring each page.  I suggest picking this up if you are looking for a coloring book that feels familiar and yet unfamiliar at the same time.  If you do pick it up be sure to check under the removable cover for a surprise!

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Franklin Barbecue- A Meat-Smoking Manifesto

This is a review of Frankling Barbecue- A Meat Smoking Manifesto by Aaron Frankling & Jordan Mackay.
I gave this book ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ 4 stars, I liked it a lot.

Aaron Franklin and his wife Stacy started out in the barbecue business in a small trailer on the side of the highway in Austin Texas in 2009.  Franklin Barbecue took off from there.  Today Franklin Barbecue is one of the most popular bbq places in the country and Aaron Franklin has won every bbq award that exists.

Jordan Mackay is the wine and spirits editor of 7×7 magazine and the author of Passion for Pinot. He is a regular contributor to the New York Times and has written for Food & Wine, Gourmet, Decanter, and Wine and Spirits.

Franklin Barbecue is not a recipe book.  If you want recipes this book is not really going to do much for you.  If you are looking for information on how to properly smoke your own meat and make it mouth-wateringly delicious, this book will help you. 

This book will give you an in depth and detailed look into bbq.  Franklin Barbecue covers every aspect of making your own amazing bbq; from building or modifying a smoker, to choosing the best wood and meats and seasoning them correctly.

I started off reading this book with mild curiosity but by the end I wanted to run out and build my own smoker.  I love good smoky bbq.  It is the one thing I miss from my days living in the south and it is the one thing that is hard to find in Colorado.  This book makes me want to try my hand at making my own southern style bbq.

I received this book free from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Merman in my Tub vol 2

This is a review for Merman in my Tub volume 2 by Itokichi.
I gave this book ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 5 stars, I loved it.

This is the second volume in a series.  You can find my review of the first volume right here.  Given the nature of this series there is little in the way of spoilers though you may find some if you choose to read this review before the first volume.

Tatsumi is a serious, studious boy who lives alone in his grandfather's old house.  One day while walking along the river he finds a man in distress and rushes in to save him, he takes the man home to help him and soon discovers that he didn't save a man at all but a merman!  Soon Tatsumi has a permanent house guest and a steady stream of strange sea creatures passing through his bath tub.

The antics continue in the second volume.  Wakasa's friends continue reappearing and a new one joins the cast in this volume.  Each of them have their own personality that is partly defined by the type of sea creature they are.  Each new character adds a fun new element to the series.  It is interesting to see how they interact and how their fishy nature shows itself.

With Wakasa around the simple things that happen throughout the year are all new and exciting.  He loves Valentines Day, White day has to be extravagant and over the top.  Watching the Olympics isn't enough, he has to try all of the sports even the ones that seem impossible for a merman! 

I still highly recommend this series.  It is a wonderful, light, fun read.  It will have you laughing with every new chapter.  Go check it out if you are in need of a silly series to lift your spirits or if you want something fun to make you laugh!