Lake Saimaa // SHOP Magazine
Cover illustration for a special SHOP Magazine issue covering the Lake Saimaa festival and all of its amazingness (they have shops and bars and gigs beside and ON the lake … which you can swim in!). This cover was horrific to tackle, there’s a reason why I illustrate reflections in their simplest forms! Still, was nice to be challenged.
SINS & NEEDLES by Karina Halle (Book Review)
I love everything about this book.
I love Ellie. She’s tough and vulnerable. She’s beautiful and scarred. She’s willing to do anything to accomplish her goals but she has a big heart. And she’s a grifter. I can’t remember the last time I read a contemporary romance novel with a heroine like Ellie. Some of my favorite historical romances have similar characters (Crooked Hearts by Patricia Gaffney comes to mind), but that story wasn’t nearly as introspective and bleak as this Sins & Needles. Halle unflinchingly dives into Ellie’s complicated past, and it isn’t pretty. Ellie betrays her friends. She does selfish things to feel “normal”. She’s an opportunist. And while you bleed for Ellie for all the ways she’s been hurt, you also have to face the fact that she’s hurt people too. People who were just as wounded as she was and never deserved her cruelty. People like the hero.
I love twisted hate-love relationship between Ellie and Camden. Ellie did something horrible to Camden when they were teenagers, and when the story opens, she’s planning on doing something horrible to him again. Something unforgivable. Something she knows is wrong, but is willing to do anyways, because she’s lived to take revenge on the person who hurt her as a child for so long that she no longer sees any other path she could take. And at the moment she’s about to follow through with her plan…the unimaginable happens. And whatever you think it is, it isn’t that.
I don’t want to say anything more about this book because I don’t want to give anything away. It is an amazing thrill-ride that never lets up and never stops. Just buy it and devour it. And thank God that the next book is already out because if it wasn’t you’d scream and tear out your hair :) 5 out of 5 shooting scars.
Happy reading :)
To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my favorite books. My mom read it to me when I was very young, and it was one of the first “non fantasy” books / “adult” books I’d ever read. It’s kind of strange to think about now, but almost every book that was read to me back then left a huge impression. Part of this, I think, was because so many of these books were classics (like The Secret Garden and The Chronicles of Narnia), but I also think it was because reading was new and I loved drifting off into imaginary worlds. Anyways, during a time when almost every book and story I encountered shaped my inner life and understanding of the world, To Kill a Mockingbird stuck out. Even today, when I just think about the story, I get chills. I think this beautiful piece of embroidery captures what I loved about that story. It’s dark, somber, subtle, intricate, elegant, and you don’t quite realize the affect it’s had on you until you realize you’ve already changed. Thank you for sharing it with us.
the struggle TTvTT
CATS IN SPACE!
Silly pattern I did in Illustrator…
Yep, Grace and I (with the help of Katherine of course) are making The Summer I Said Yes into a paperback. I just ordered the proof :) Unfortunately, I made the mistake of sending it to Grace, and Amazon won’t let me order another proof. Yikes. She’s…well, let’s just say that she’s pretty far away right now. It’s not a distance I’d like to drive.
Still, she’s been sick, and I’m sure the proof is going to cheer her up! I’m going to have her mail it back to me once she’s looked it over for typos and issues with the formatting/cover, so it might still be a few weeks before it shows up in stores, but I’m excited!
I do wish Amazon would let you order more than one proof/send multiple proofs to more than one place in an order, but then again I could have done something wrong.
BULLY by Penelope Douglas (Book Review)
This is a book that has gotten a lot of attention recently. As in, even my mother knows about this book and she doesn’t even read romance novels. Though it was recommended to me by a few different people, I resisted buying it for a long time because I just honestly didn’t know if I wanted to read about a bully.
The bully in Penelope Douglas’ debut novel isn’t the Twilight type of bully who flares his nostrils and looks kinda scary when he encounters the heroine. He’s mean. Really mean. Since I read a lot of reviews before buying the book, I thought I knew what to expect, but damn, Jared was just such an asshole.
I’ve read a lot of books where the heroes are assholes. Some of my favorite books, in fact, feature bad boys. Jared isn’t physically abusive, but as her former childhood friend, he knows exactly what to say or do to get under Tate’s skin, and does everything he can to isolate her from her peers. Douglas does an amazing job of showcasing the fears and uncertainty teenage girls go through as they learn to be strong and go after what they want. And that’s exactly what makes the first part of the novel so difficult—seeing Tate’s youth and vulnerability.
After a trip to France, Tate comes back a new person ready to face her biggest fear: her bully. This is where the book really takes off. You begin the novel cheering for Tate, and it’s incredibly satisfying to see her grow, take charge, and stand up for herself. Let’s just say I really loved Tate. But as I read the novel, I feared that I would never love Jared.
Well, thankfully, Ms Douglas redeemed him. As Tate begins to gain her confidence, Jared slowly begins to lose his. As Tate gets stronger, Jared becomes more vulnerable. And when Jared realizes that he can’t break Tate anymore, he begins to break. This transformation isn’t easy. It’s messy. There’s a lot of back-and-forth, and Jared’s behavior gets crueler as he tries to break Tate’s strength so he doesn’t have to face his own weaknesses, but when he finally does, he becomes the hero Tate knew as a young girl.
I love these kinds of transformations, but they’re easy to mess up and it takes a very skilled author to pull them off. I’m so thrilled Penelope Douglas did. Bully is a dark, complicated and beautiful story that sticks with you long after you finish it. It deserves 5 out of 5 stars, and my recommendation :)