Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from Our Thoughts Precisely!

I hope everyone has a wonderful day.

Monday, December 22, 2014

2014: End of the Year Wrap Up & Favorite Reads

     2014 is nearly over.  Seriously, Christmas is practically around the corner so I figured it was time to do a wrap up for the year. This is probably one of the last posts on Our Thoughts Precisely before the new year.

     I have to say that 2014 was a much better year that 2013.  I didn't read as much, but most of the books I read were pretty good.  I think where the blog activity sort of dropped off for a while was during the move.  And with all the books in boxes and lack of internet connection for a while, I got no reading or blogging done. But after the move was over and everything was unpacked, things picked up again. The blog also got a new look this year, and I have to say that I'm relatively happy with it. I might add a few things here and there, but mostly it'll probably stay the same.

     What I learned this year...

     Balancing life with blogging/reading is more important than the number of books I read, and its perfectly fine that way.  Although--despite the lack of quantity--I read a bunch of good books, which makes me happy. Last year I, as a reader, still tried to finish every book.  But this past year I did something a little different.  I gave books the first 100 or so pages to grab my interest.  And if I really wasn't feeling it then I DNF'd it. That method saved a lot of time, and I got to read the books that I truly enjoyed.

     Some things from 2014...

     Through October and November I did a series of post called Falling into Fall.  It was just a fun way to share some of the things I wanted to do during fall. All links can be found on the Features Page.  I also got involved in a couple of weekly memes: The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice & Musing Mondays hosted by Miz B at Should Be Reading.

     Favorite reads of 2014...

     So, since its almost the end of the year I figured that I would share some of my favorite books that I read in 2014!  Some of the books on the list were released some time ago so the year they came out doesn't matter much to me.  It's in no particular order, and placement has nothing to do with how much I enjoyed the book.

*I will be taking a break from blogging to enjoy my holiday. Any posts that show up after this one were already scheduled (There's only 2 of them). Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Friday 56 (16)

     The Friday 56 is a weekly meme hosted by Freda's Voice where every Friday you pick a book and turn to page 56 or 56%, and select a sentence or a few, as long as it's not a spoiler. For the full rules, visit the the page HERE

Monstrously Funny Cartoons"What personality types make for the funniest vampires? (The answers may surprise you.)"--Monstrously Funny Cartoons by Christopher Hart

What's on your page 56 this week?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Review: Monstrously Funny Cartoons by Christopher Hart

Monstrously Funny CartoonsTitle:Monstrously Funny Cartoons 
Author: Christopher Hart
Source/Format: Blogging for Books, Paperback Review Copy
Age range: anyone
Publisher/Publication Date: Watson-Guptill, October 14, 2014

Goodreads     Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Book Depository 

Book Summary from Goodreads...

Learn to draw the silliest and scariest monsters, zombies, vampires, witches, mummies, and other creepy cartoon favorites. Cartooning master Christopher Hart teaches aspiring artists all the drawing tips and tricks they need to create laugh-out-loud renditions of their favorite monsters and scary creatures. Full Summary Here

     Monstrously Funny Cartoons by Christopher Hart is a great step-by-step guide on how to draw classic monsters in cartoon style. There are easy-to-follow steps on faces, eyes, and walking postures to ensure the best possible results.

“Compared with many of the monsters you’ve drawn so far—such as vampires with their capes—the monsters in this chapter are subject to greater interpretation” (p.107).

     This book has a wide range of…I guess you could call them tutorials, that go over everything from zombies to vampires—and even creatures “born of dreams and nightmares.” There was also a variety of examples and steps for aliens, mummies, and legendary monsters like ghosts, Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, and the Abominable Snowman.

“Don’t render a scene, suggest one. Draw a limited number of elements that are designed to create associations in the eye of the observer” (p.133).

     There was also a chapter on drawing backgrounds with suggestions and tips. So, if you’re interested in creating cartoons, and need an easy guide to start with I recommend Monstrously Funny Cartoons. As for me, I will be keeping this one on hand right alongside all of my other art books.

I received this book from Blogging For Books for this review, thank you! 

Monday, December 15, 2014

2014 Holiday Gift Ideas for Readers

    Every time I look around, more time has passed.  Christmas is coming up soon, so today I thought I would share a few things that could make a nice gift for anyone (It doesn't have to be a reader). I'm going to start with books first and then a few others things.  I don't have many recommendations, but here they are anyway:

     Barnes & Noble collectible classic books. I recently got Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Other Stories. I do have to say that I love that edition of it, but for someone who likes classics, it could make a good gift.

     Double Vision Trilogy by F.T, Bradley The great thing about this middle grade trilogy is that it's already finished, and it provides lots of laughs as you follow Linc's adventures with Pandora.

     The League of Princes Trilogy by Christopher Healy This is another trilogy that completed this year. I love this series precisely because of its different take on the classic fairy tales that we already know.  

     A Wrinkle in Time Quintet by Madeleine L'Engle It's another great classic series. And I love the fact that it comes in a boxed set.

     Mythos Academy Series by Jennifer Estep Overall, I liked how this series handled the mythology, and managed to intertwine it with the plot.

     Alright then, moving on. For those who like cute coffee mugs I thought of the Cute Cat Mug from Tickled Teal. (There are also some Harry Potter themed ones.)

     Maggie Stiefvater art prints & more on Society 6. I really do like her style of art.

    An assortment of available tote bags through Society 6. There are too many pretty prints available to just list one.

      That's all for today, happy reading!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Review: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Other StoriesTitle:Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Other Stories
Author: Lweis Carroll
Source/Format: Purchased, Barnes & Noble Hardcover Edition
Age Range: Anyone
Publisher/Publication Date: Barnes & Noble, November 1, 2010 (First Published June 1, 1962)
Goodreads     Barnes & Noble

    So, on Halloween I went out and bought Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Other Stories in a gorgeous hardcover edition from Barnes & Noble.  This review will only cover the first story.

     I've seen the movies, even the more recent one, but this is the first time I've read the original book.  Considering how much I love Alice in Wonderland, I should have gotten around to reading it sooner.  Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is as the title suggests: Alice’s adventures with the variety of characters that live there. The story had a series of miscellaneous events that just sort of happened at random. Regardless of this fact, I loved it. Actually, I think I liked the novel better than the movies.
     Alice was a child that came across as a bit of a know-it-all, and seemed to always want to be right. She was almost as random as the storyline, but overall her faults didn't take away from my enjoyment of the book. I felt like I got a better understanding of the characters by reading the original novel. But my favorite character will always be the Cheshire Cat. The whimsical setting of wonderland paired nicely with the writing that flowed well and had the right amount of descriptions and dialogue. So yes, I loved this book, and that’s all I really have to say on it. I definitely recommend reading the original.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Musing Mondays (15)

     Musing Mondays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading, that asks you to muse about something book related each week.

My Musings for the Week...

    I thought I would answer 3 questions for Musing Mondays this week.  Well here goes:

     Long books or short books? 

     I will admit that I like longer books and don't mind an abundance of detail either.  I like when the world within the book is thoroughly explained.  I prefer long epic tales and usually look to read them first.  However, despite my love of lengthy novels, I occasionally enjoy a shorter one.  So, I guess you can say that I enjoy all kinds of books--long or short depending on how much time I have to read.

     Standalone or series?
     Both.  I like long series because it gives me time to get invested in the characters and the overall story.  But at the same time I also like standalones where the story is nicely wrapped up into one book. 

     Do book covers matter when deciding on what book to buy?
     Covers are just covers in my opinion.  I care more about the story rather than anything else.  So I try not to buy books based off the cover alone.

     Well that's it for today.  Basically, books are books. It doesn't matter if they're long or short, series or standalones, as long as the stories are great.  I try not to judge just by the cover, because it could look pretty, but the story might not be so great.  Question: Standalone or series? Long books, short books, or both? Do nice book cover's play a part in if you buy a book or not?

Friday, December 5, 2014

The Friday 56 (15)

     The Friday 56 is a weekly meme hosted by Freda's Voice where every Friday you pick a book and turn to page 56 or 56%, and select a sentence or a few, as long as it's not a spoiler. For the full rules, visit the the page HERE

Words for Pictures: The Art and Business of Writing Comics and Graphic Novels"Then one night I thought about Jim Rockford and The Avengers--the UK ones I mean--for whatever reason, and I found my book. So I had to repitch. I got it, luckily, but everyone thoughts I was nuts. Anyway."--Words for Pictures by Brian Michael Bendis

What's on your page 56 this week?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Review: Words for Pictures by Brian Michael Bendis

Words for Pictures: The Art and Business of Writing Comics and Graphic NovelsTitle:Words for Pictures: The Art and Business of Writing Comics and Graphic Novels 
Author: Brian Michael Bendis, Foreword by Joe Quesada
Source/Format: Blogging for Books, Review Copy
Age Range: anyone
Publisher/Publishing Date: Watson-Guptill, July 22, 2014

Goodreads     Amazon     Barnes & Noble

Book Summary from Goodreads...

One of the most popular writers in modern comics, Brian Michael Bendis reveals the tools and techniques he and other top creators use to create some of the most popular comic book and graphic novel stories of all time.Words for Pictures shows readers the creative methods of a writer at the very top of his field. Full Summary Here

     Words for Pictures (The Art and Business of Writing Comics and Graphic Novels) by Brian Michael Bendis, is a great guide for tips on how to structure stories for comics. It also offers an insight into the business aspect of the comic industry, and offers easy guidelines to remember.

“He learned how to fail. This is the key to success” (p.xi).

     In the beginning, this book goes over type A and B artists to give an example. But it makes a strong point, and it was all within a few paragraphs. There’s always room for improvement, and I like how the information was presented. It states some very true points on criticism and how some could take it more personal than others.

“If you’re not falling, you’re not really trying hard enough. This book is about falling, and it’s about failing. Any book that offers to provide you with a road map to success in any given field ultimately is about failure" (p.xii).

     There’s a lot to learn in this book, and I like how Bendis handled the explanation on the topics. I especially like the examples given on pitch documents, story outlines, the pros and cons of using a full script, and “a marvel style situation.” The script examples were also nice.

“I don’t want you to write like me. I want you to write like you” (p.8).

     There was never a truer statement—and it applies to all forms of writing. The book stresses the idea of developing your own individual styles, but also offers handy explanations on what different people do when working in groups. So, in the end I enjoyed reading Words for Pictures, and I will definitely keep this book on hand as a reference.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for review, thank you!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Musing Mondays (14)

     Musing Mondays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading, that asks you to muse about something book related each week. 

My Musings for the Week:

     Wow, it's Monday already. And where the heck did November go?  I don't know, it just seems like the month passed by too quickly.  It's already December which means that the year is almost over. Seriously, where did the time go?  
     Well, I hope that everyone had a great Thanksgiving! I did a little shopping over the weekend, and I thought I would share some of my purchases.  I actually bought a few DVDs, which is one thing I normally don't do.  I picked up The Lego Movie, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Sherlock, and Pacific Rim. There was a really good sale on them, so I just had to get them.  And lastly, I picked up a few books from the Book Outlet: The Keep by Veronica Wolff & The Bone Season.  I'm really excited to read both.  So that's basically it, as I said I did "a little shopping" as in, not a lot.  Question: Did you take advantage of any of the sales going on over the weekend?
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