Thursday, April 30, 2015

Review: Ink (Paper Gods #1), by Amanda Sun

Title: Ink (Paper Gods #1)
Author: Amanda Sun
Format: ebook
Source: NetGalley

From Goodreads: "On the heels of a family tragedy, the last thing Katie Greene wants to do is move halfway across the world. Stuck with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan, Katie feels lost. Alone. She doesn’t know the language, she can barely hold a pair of chopsticks, and she can’t seem to get the hang of taking her shoes off whenever she enters a building.

Then there’s gorgeous but aloof Tomohiro, star of the school’s kendo team. How did he really get the scar on his arm? Katie isn’t prepared for the answer. But when she sees the things he draws start moving, there’s no denying the truth: Tomo has a connection to the ancient gods of Japan, and being near Katie is causing his abilities to spiral out of control. If the wrong people notice, they'll both be targets.

Katie never wanted to move to Japan—now she may not make it out of the country alive."

My Opinion:  I received a copy of this book free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. 

I was so intrigued by this title when it came up on NetGalley because it just seemed so different from other books in its genre, paranormal young adult books that also include mythology, something new to shake up the lovers of this genre. And shake me up it did! To begin with, it was set in Japan and dealt with Japanese mythology, something I admit I know little about, which just made me want to read it more so I could learn about it. I had no idea there were such things as kendo or Kami (the Japanese Gods), but I enjoyed learning about all of this, and much more about Japan in general. The descriptions of the sights, smells and tastes of Japanese life were amazingly well done, and when ink started dripping off of drawings and out of notebooks, I got chills!

The main female character, Katie, was very likable. She lost her mother and was sent to live with an aunt she doesn't even know very well in Japan. Instead of crawling into a shell and just trying to get through each day until she can go back to the US and live with her grandparents, Katie takes the opportunity to immerse herself in the Japanese culture. She soaks up as much as she can, and even begins to thrive, especially after she meets the "gorgeous but aloof Tomohiro, star of the school's kendo team." She finds that she has a weird connection with Tomo, but unfortunately Tomo also has a connection to the ancient gods of Japan, and being around Katie is making him lose control of his abilities, which I will not describe here because it is a long and very interesting story that you must read the book to learn.

I really enjoyed this book and can't wait to read the next book in the series, Rain. I would enthusiastically recommend this book to my friends, and to all lovers of paranormal young adult books that have a bent towards mythology, because unless you read YA books that deal with Japanese mythology on a regular basis, this book will definitely appeal to you. 

I happily give it 5 stars.

Review: Holiday Hats for Babies: Caps, Berets and Beanies to Knit for Every Occasion, by Debby Ware

Title: Holiday Hats for Babies: Caps, Berets and Beanies to Knit for Every Occasion
Author: Debby Ware
Format: ebook
Source: NetGalley

From Goodreads: "These sweet and sassy baby hats will bring a smile to your face! 25 adorable patterns for every celebration of the year: Birthday Cupcake Cap, Halloween Hat, Holly Holiday Hat, Baby Chick Cap, Crystal Party Hat, Firecracker Topper, Leaf Peeper Cap, and more."

My Opinion: I received a copy of this book free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion, and that opinion is that I loved this book! I very rarely review books about knitting, but when I saw this book offered, I just had to take a look inside, and I'm so glad I did! This is not just your regular, every day book on knitting baby hats, with the standard patterns repeated over and over, or with a few variations thrown in to shake things up. Each hat is uniquely different from anything I've seen before, more like something an artist would draw rather than something a knitter would knit. I guarantee you that no other baby in your Mommy and Me group will be wearing anything close to what your little prince or princess will have perched on top of their little head!

Although there were some patterns in the book that I would not personally choose to make, each one was festive and fun, with clear, easy-to-read and follow instructions. Each pattern tells you what weight yarn you will need and then lets you know what yarn was used to make the sample in the picture, which I find very helpful. It's not really that big of a deal, but sometimes I just don't want to take a chance on substituting a yarn and not getting the desired result. It's just nice to have both options. The book also shows multiple views of each hat, both on and off of the very adorable babies who are modeling them. Sizing is done by head circumference rather than age, which just makes more sense to me. Some of them are one size fits all, and some have a small and large option, but again, the head circumference is added for each one. 

My personal favorites include the Holly Holiday Hat with giant holly leaves and bright red berries on it, the Glitter and Glow Beanie which they say is a snap to make, and you get to tie the top of it up with a giant fancy ribbon, adding your own personal touch to it, and the Halloween Hat, a little pumpkin hat on which the eyes and hat are added using the Duplicate Stitch, giving you the freedom to create any expression you want. 

In summary, I found this book a delight to read, with simple instructions, and hats that are so unique you will not find anything like them in any book other than this one.  I would happily recommend it to my friends and anybody who is looking to knit something a little bit different for their unique little one.

I give this book 5 stars.