MLK Day 2017

Monday, January 16, 2017

Photo Credit




Happy MLK Day Friends!

There is alot that can be said about today, but I think that this quote sums up alot of what I am thinking about. There are going to be hard times and hard days, but we need to keep moving forward. I am hoping for your sake there are less hard times and more good times.

I am very thankful for the limited hard times in my life right now. I have alot to be thankful for and you're all part of that.

Thanks for being part of my book world!

:)

-Valerie

Guest Post with Brian Rutenberg

Sunday, January 15, 2017



Hi Everyone!

I am excited to be here today with you with a guest post from Brian Rutenberg. He has a new book out and I had a chance to find out about the book a little more. Please help me by giving him a warm welcome!
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This is what I do and how I do it                                               
By Brian Rutenberg

I’m not a writer. I’m a painter who wrote a book. That premise was front and center during the two years spent writing CLEAR SEEING PLACE.

For the past five years, I have been self-producing a YouTube video series called Brian Rutenberg Studio Visits to give working artists of all levels a glimpse into my painting life. Each episode features me sitting in a chair looking directly into the camera and expressing whatever is on my mind, as if we were having cold beers and talking shop. Artists have always benefitted from intimate gatherings to exchange ideas, debate, and be around one another during tough times; such gatherings reminded them that they were not alone. The art world has become a highly competitive and commercialized place, but that human need for communion remains; witness the prominence of social media platforms like Facebook and Pinterest in the daily lives of artists. Never has it been easier to disseminate images to global audiences in seconds; however, as our awareness expands, there remains a hunger for the wondrous strange of the local. My videos are created in this spirit. The message is simple: This is what I do and how I do it.

The response has been overwhelming. I receive emails every single day from artists around the world sharing their victories and struggles. It became clear that, with fifty five episodes and counting, I had enough original content to compose a book. There is already a full color monograph on my work, published by Radius in 2008, which sold out two printings. However, I didn’t want to follow that template again; painters are terrible collaborators, but we are really good at baking stuff. Because my videos are 100 percent self-made (I write the content, do the lighting, camera work, editing, and promotion), I can say whatever the hell I want. My book had to be the same. I wrote CLEAR SEEING PLACE over the course of two years on my iPad in New York Subways, in Central Park, and in dark corners at Starbucks all over Manhattan. The content is organized in six clear sections, each of which explores a primary part of my painting life: Living, Wandering, Towering, Seeing, Working, and Showing. I kept the margins wide and the font larger than industry standards because I wanted it to be a working book, not a book about work; it is designed to be in studios. With a rough draft, I formed my own publishing house (Permanent Green) and hired the best editor possible. Then I discovered Girl Friday Productions, who took over and shaped the book into a fully realized product: polished, proofread, typeset, and exactly what I envisioned. CLEAR SEEING PLACE was released on October 21, 2016, spent weeks as an Amazon Number One Bestseller in two categories, and continues to get rave reviews.

I’m still not a writer. But I am one grateful painter.




Bio: Widely considered to be one of the finest American painters of his generation, Brian Rutenberg has spent forty years honing a distinctive method of compressing the rich color and form of his native coastal South Carolina into complex landscape paintings that imbue material reality with a deep sense of place. He is a Fulbright Scholar, a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow, a Basil Alkazzi USA Award recipient, an Irish Museum of Modern Art residency programme participant, and he has had over two hundred exhibitions throughout North America and in Europe. Rutenberg's paintings are in private collections all over the world and are included in such museum collections as the Butler Institute of American Art, Yale University Art Gallery, the Bronx Museum of Arts, Provincetown Art Association and Museum, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, Peabody Essex Museum of Art, Greenville County Museum of Art, and many others. His popular YouTube series "Brian Rutenberg Studio Visits" is viewed daily by people all over the world. He lives and works in New York with his wife Kathryn, and their two children. 


Additional Information on Amazon

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Thanks for stopping by the blog today! 

Reading Recap

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Hi Everyone!

Just stopping by today with a couple of mini reviews of books that I have reading for the book challenges that started in 2017.

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
This book was recommended to me by my mother in law. I found the book an interesting read, especially considering that we will be going China this year! (For vacation) I found out alot about a culture that I did not know much about and I found this to be interesting way to learn about it, by following the lives of those in it.

The Walls Around Us
Sometimes it is hard to admit what happened in situations. This book speaks to that dynamic and the story of how it impacts multiple people's lives. The themes of justice, friendship, and loyalities all play out in this interesting read.

To All the Boys I've Loved Before
This book was very cute. This was the story of Lara Jean. Her personal letters to the boys that she has loved get released to them and it creates some interesting dynamics in her world. A young at heart book, I enjoyed this read and I am looking forward to the next one.

The Way I Used To Be
I decided to buddy read this book with my friend @brittany_reads. What a powerful book. I was warned that you might need Kleenex for this one and that was no joke. This book is about theevents that happen follow a sexual assault at different points in the main characters life. This book was not easy to read, but powerful.

The Art of Being Normal
I have to be honest, I thought that this book was going to be about a student who identifies as gay. Turns out, it is actually about a student who identifies as transgender. This book is David and his desire to become female. This book was another powerful read and I hope that it will be a piece that those in that same place can relate to and know that they are not alone.

Happy Reading!

Book Review: Warren the 13th and the All Seeing Eye

Friday, January 13, 2017




Author:


 Summary from Goodreads: 
Warren the 13th is the lone bellhop, valet, waiter, groundskeeper, and errand boy of his family’s ancient hotel. It’s a strange, shadowy mansion full of crooked corridors and mysterious riddles—and it just might be home to a magical object known as the All-Seeing Eye. Can Warren decipher the clues and find the treasure before his sinister Aunt Annaconda (and a slew of greedy hotel guests) beats him to it?

This middle-grade adventure features gorgeous two-color illustrations on every page and a lavish two-column Victorian design that will pull young readers into a spooky and delightful mystery.


 

Personal Review:
Happy Friday the 13th! If you are looking for a quick, delightful read to get you in the right mood for this superstitious day, then this may be the book for you. In this book, we meet Warren, the groundskeeper of a mansion. The book allows us to follow along with Warren as he goes on adventure to solve the clues.

I enjoyed the plot of this book. It was interesting and engaging. However, what I enjoyed most about this book was the illustrations. I had this book in e-format, but I can only imagine what they look like in print.

The story was entertaining and I am glad that I had a chance to pick this one up. If you are looking for a quirky story, check this one out. Plus the second one in series is out in March, so you won't have to wait much longer! :)

Check out that cover here:



 Disclaimer: I was awarded this book as part of the Quirk Books #Quirksgiving Contest. Though I did not pay for the book, the opinions are strictly my own.

Happy Reading!

Book Review: Junie B. Jones, First Grader

Thursday, January 12, 2017


 Summary:
Junie B. Jones The Musical is a hit! Listen to the full cast album and the audiobook of Junie B. Jones, First Grader (at last!).

Being in first grade means having to get used to a whole new classroom. And a whole new teacher. And a whole new bunch of strange children. But here’s the worst thing of all: When Junie B. tries to read words on the chalkboard…she can’t! Is it possible that Junie B. needs glasses?

Author Information

Personal Review:
I picked this book for review for a couple of reasons. The first was because I adored Beverly Cleary as as child and I am reminded of those books every time I see a Junie B. Jones book. Also because I thought it would be a fun way to take in the information (since it was an audiobook), and because I thought that this might something I could enjoy with nieces in the future.

The story was one that kept my attention and I found the narrator to be easy to listen to. I feel like it would keep the attention of young people. I really liked the songs. They were catchy and fun addition the story.

I found the book to be entertaining and I would pick up another Junie B Jones book. I am not sure if my nieces have had a chance to read any of these books, but I am looking forward to sharing with them. Thank you for the opportunity to review this book.


Disclaimer: I was awarded this book as part of the Blogging for Books program. Though I did not pay for the book, the opinions are strictly my own.

Happy Reading!

Book Review: Gizelle's Bucket List

Wednesday, January 11, 2017



Author: Lauren Fern Watt
 
Summary:

The playful, epic adventure of a 160-pound English Mastiff and the twentysomething girl who grew up alongside her—Marley & Me for a whole new generation.

Lauren Watt took her 160-pound English Mastiff to college—so of course after graduation, Gizelle followed Lauren to her first, tiny apartment in New York. Because Gizelle wasn’t just a dog; she was a roommate, sister, confidante, dining companion, and everything in between.

Together, Gizelle and Lauren went through boyfriends, first jobs, a mother’s struggle with addiction, and the ups and downs of becoming an adult in the big city. But when Gizelle got sick and Lauren realized her best friend might not be such a constant after all, she designed an epic bucket list to make the absolute most of the time they had left.

Bursting with charm, this unique, coming-of-age story of a girl making her way through life is a testament to the special way pets inspire us to live better, love better, and appreciate the simple pleasures. Gizelle’s Bucket List is the humorous, poignant lesson our pets teach us: to embrace adventure, love unconditionally, and grow into the people we want to be.

Personal Review:
This book is every animal lovers heart in a written format. This book made me laugh, it made me cry, and most of all it made me so grateful for my 'fur children.' I am very much of the mindset that animals are part of our lives for reasons and this book reconfirmed that for me.

In this book we get to join Lauren and Gizelle (her Mastiff) recount Gizelle's life and a bucket list adventure. The book is a beautiful tribute to her dear friend and it made me cry. I love that connection they shared and the lessons she learned from Gizelle. What a story.

As mentioned by the summary, this has a very Marley and Me feel to it. I enjoyed the story very much and I am very grateful for the opportunity to read this book.

Disclaimer: I was awarded this book from the publisher. Though I did not pay for the book, the opinions are strictly my own.


Happy Reading!

Top Ten Tuesday: 2016 Releases I Meant To Read But Didn't Get To (But TOTALLY plan to)

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Hi Everyone!

Just stopping by with another Top Ten Tuesday!  This week's topic is Top Ten Tuesday is about books that I Meant To Read But Didn't Get To (But TOTALLY plan to). Unfortunately and fortunately for me, this means that alot of the books I have to read, I am still really excited to read them- I just did not get a chance to start

That is okay though because I am going to catch up on them in 2016. *Positive thoughts. :)

 Here is my list:











What is on your list? Any of these that I should read first?


Happy Reading! 
 
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