Tuesday 30 October 2018

Tuesday Reviews Day - Books

To start the reviews this week, we have...

Finding Gobi by Dion Leonard

In 2016, UK ultra marathon runner Dion Leonard comes across a little stray dog while competing in a race across the Gobi Desert. Normally competitive and out to win, Dion ended up opening his heart to this little bundle of fur who seemed just as determined to run with him.  A true story of love and commitment as Dion fought various obstacles in an attempt to bring little Gobi home to the UK.

I loved this book! A great story and very deserving of the 5 star rating I gave it.


Next up - A Funeral for an Owl by Jane Davis 

After a school yard stabbing, two teachers — Jim Stevens and a reluctant Ayisha Emmanuel — risk their careers to help a troubled young student, Shamayal. This story jumps about a fair bit as Jim is reminded of his own past and why he feels compelled to help Shamayal. Owls are featured too.

I have to admit that this book felt very disjointed at the start. It flitted from one character to the next, not to mention regular trips back into Jim's past. It's quite involved with more than one storyline going on. However I persevered and did reach a point where I was able to better connect to the flow of the story and its characters.  From that point, I started to really enjoy the book even though I felt the ending could have been better.  I gave it 3 stars but did lean towards 4 stars.


That wraps it up the reviews for this week. Stay tuned for Scribble Picnic tomorrow.

Thursday 18 October 2018

Scribble Picnic - Bottle

Hi everyone!

This week, the prompt for Scribble Picnic is BOTTLE.

You would think that having two weeks to get this prompt done, I would have been on the ball but, oh no — true to form, I left it until the last minute even though it crossed my mind lots. Since seeing the prompt, I couldn't get the song 'Message in a Bottle' out of my head so that's what I went with.

I laid the basic structure in first with Prismacolor coloured pencils

And here is the end result although I may fiddle with it a little more with it yet. I used coloured ballpoint pens and black ink for emphasis.

To see the wonderful work of my fellow scribblers this week, click HERE.
To find out how to join us each fortnight, click HERE.

See you for the picnic in two weeks for the prompt - JOLT or DOUBLE.

I will leave you with the song — Message in a Bottle by The Police.

Tuesday 16 October 2018

Tuesday Reviews Day - Books

Hello fellow bookworms!

I'm now only one book away from reaching my Goodreads Reading Challenge of 60 books for 2018! I may extend it again...not sure.

First upThe Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson.

This classic was first published in 1959 and is believed to have kick-started the whole supernatural/horror genre. It tells the story of four strangers meeting at Hill House, including Dr. Montague — a doctor with a keen interest in the occult and wanting to prove that Hill House is haunted.  Eleanor, Theodora, and Luke are his test subjects, I guess you could say. 

I know a lot of people loved this book but I have to say it wasn't for me. I found it very boring and slow-paced. I couldn't wait to get to the end just so I could call it finished. I only rated it 2 stars.

I read this book before I even became aware of the new Netflix series by the same name. The series is good and spooky.  It did stray from the book though.


As a lover of British crime series on Netflix, I've found myself completely drawn into the same realm in Kindle books. I've just finished Katherine Pathak's 10th book — The Dark Isle — in her DCI Dani Bevan book series. I love that Amazon offers pretty good Kindle deals at up to $2 a book at various times so I can compile a whole series at very reasonable prices. I thoroughly enjoyed the DCI Dani Bevan series. I have rated the books at either 4 or 5 stars. I feel that Katherine Pathak's storytelling has improved with each new book and I have just started the 11th book in the series.

Other British crime series I've read have been as follows - 

The Detective Erika Foster series by Robert Bryndzasix books so far. I've enjoyed this series very much and look forward to his next one.

The DI Fenchurch series by Ed James. This book series took a little getting used to with a different writing style to the previous series I'd read. The characters took me time to warm up to but it did improve as I progressed through the series. Five books into the series so far.

The DI Lottie Parker series by Patricia Gibney. This is the book series that first introduced me to the world of Kindle crime fiction books.  Set in Ireland, interesting plots, and despite the lead character being addicted to prescription medication and alcohol, I really liked this series.

I have two more Crime Series in my Kindle library to start. One written by Joy Ellis, the other by Damien Boyd. I hope I enjoy them as much as the ones mentioned above.  If you are into crime fiction too, do you have a favourite author or series?

More reviews next Tuesday so stay tuned...

Monday 15 October 2018

Sunday musings....albeit a day late

It seems I'm always running late of late and I don't really have a good excuse except to say I've been feeling down with this chronic pain thing. That said, there are so many people worse off than me so I try not to complain.

It's been a rainy few days and the rain is forecast to continue into next week. Don't get me wrong — I love the rain! We sure do need it and the gardens are loving it! The grass is finally greening up again, whereas last week, the grass/lawn was a dry yellow-brown.

And look, we even have toadstools popping up.

I'm sure there is a fair bit of water building up in the creek that runs through the bushland at the end of the street too. All needed, of course.
That said, I must admit that any more than three days of constant heavy rain starts to feel all gloomy to me, especially indoors. It IS perfect weather for reading books, watching movies, and Netflix though! We watched the whole set of the Harry Potter movies again.  I've also been binge-watching the new Netflix series — The Haunting of Hill House. It IS good! As timing would have it, I recently finished the book before I even knew the series existed. I will be talking about the book in tomorrow's Reviews post so be sure to check that out. In case you're wondering — yes — the series has strayed from the book.

I've also been watching some online art classes since my last post. I absolutely loved Ian Sidaway's klass via Sketchbook Skool! I sketched him in ballpoint and fountain pen while I watched his Q&A video with Koosje Koene.  Click HERE if you're interested in checking out his blog.

I decided against participating in INKtober this year. I just wasn't in the right head space to put more pressure on myself. I have been getting a little sketching done here and there though.
This is a VW Beetle that I've been planning on sketching for a while now.  It's still a work in progress.

I do plan on adding colour, just not sure which colour yet.

This wet weather is making me crave soup. I made this delicious split pea and veggie soup the other week so may make up another pot. It lasts Brad and me three dinners. I LOVE soup with buttered bread or bread rolls!  Vegan butter, of course.

I'll leave you with a snap of my ever faithful companion — Cody doing what he does best — sleeping.

Don't forget to check out my Book Reviews tomorrow....

Thursday 4 October 2018

Scribble Picnic - Chicken

Hi everyone,

The past couple of weeks have been a little busy with helping my son move to a new place and cleaning up the old place which will be finalised on Friday.

I planned a finished piece but time just got away from me so it's another work-in-progress this week. I hope to add more images to this post as the day progresses.

The theme is CHICKEN.

I started this little guy with a soft pencil sketch

First pass with watercolours. This was as far as I've managed so far...hope to post more here later.


Okay...I'm back with a couple more images including a completed piece...see below.

...okay, I think I'm calling it finished. I wish I hadn't used coloured pencils as they left texture where I didn't want it. I feel like he's overworked now. We live and learn, right?

To see what my fellow picnickers have been up to for this week, click HERE.
To find out how to join us each fortnight, click HERE.

I hope to be back with an update soon....bye for now.

Tuesday 2 October 2018

Tuesday Reviews Day - Books

Hello fellow bookworms,

I was up to 54 out of 55 books for my Goodreads 2018 Reading challenge. I had already extended it quite a few times and decided to extend it yet again — this time to 60 books!  Normally, I'd be lucky if I managed 20 books a year. I am loving my Kindle SO much!

On to some of my recent Kindle reads.

First upEleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman.

Thirty year old Eleanor leads a very simple, regimented life. She does things a specific way — wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same food every day, speaks with her mother at the same time every week, buys and drinks two bottles of vodka every weekend, and so it goes. Eleanor is efficient at work and she is content with her simple life at home.  However Eleanor has repressed memories from a major incident that occurred when she was 10 years old. She built walls around herself but those walls are about to start crumbling when Eleanor suddenly finds herself assisting in a life-threatening emergency. Strangers are now coming into her life and Eleanor, lacking in social skills and having a different perspective to most, doesn't always react in a manner that would be deemed 'the norm'. Will she be able to handle the changes that are coming?

I loved this book! Eleanor is complicated and I couldn't help but feel for her. I could even identify with her in some areas. I like books that run a gamut of emotions — I smiled, I laughed out loud, I cried, I felt mortified in areas and I also felt concern and anger. It's probably a book I would read again at a later date just to take in even more the second time around.  I gave it 5 stars.


Next upSay Goodbye for Now by Catherine Ryan Hyde.

This story begins back in 1959 on an isolated ranch in Texas where Dr Lucy cares for abandoned animals. She sticks to herself and wants to be left alone.

On his way to go fishing one day, twelve year old Pete Soloman comes across a wounded wolf-dog hybrid. Pete has a huge heart and naturally reaches out to help the injured animal. He ends up heading towards Dr Lucy's ranch and on the way meets Justin Bell. Sadly in those times racism was rife and Pete is not allowed to have a black friend. Their forbidden friendship leads to violence. Due to a violent incident, Justin's Dad, Calvin, finds himself at Dr Lucy's ranch where friendships and bonds between the four of them become stronger. However the township has other ideas....

As you might imagine, this book was hard to read in areas due to racism, segregation, abuse, and hatred but it was also filled with love, strength and endurance. I gave this one 5 stars.

As a side-note — You may already be familiar with Catherine Ryan Hyde's work from one of her other books — Pay It Forward — which was made into a movie. Loved the movie, never read the book.


And lastlyStand by Me by S. D. Robertson.

Lisa and Elliot first meet after a bullying incident near her home. She is new to the neighbourhood and actually moved into the house where Elliot's best friend previously lived but had since moved away.  She and Elliot quickly become best friends.  Lisa is a confident young girl and she is not afraid to stand up to the bullies who enjoy making Elliot's life a misery. She is Elliot's biggest supporter.

Elliot ends up moving away to Australia but, twenty years later, he suddenly shows up at Lisa's door. She is now married with two troubled teenagers and life has been very stressful for her of late, both emotionally and financially. However, Lisa is over the moon to see her best friend again. Oddly enough, since Elliot's arrival, things in Lisa's life start to take a turn for the better although there are a few concerning incidents involving teenagers. Is there more to Elliot than meets the eye?

A lovely, uplifting story of true friendship. I liked this one a lot and enjoyed the sense of mystery around Elliot — good things happen when he is around and there's a reason for it.  I gave it 4 stars.


Stay tuned for more reviews next Tuesday...