Sunday, May 17, 2015

NQAC: Biweekly Update #10: Playing With Design, Sprucing up the Yard, and Seething at Gouache

I've been playing around with the blog design again: I can't decide if I should keep the dragon bookends and books or not on the header, but I recently learned how to use more/different fonts on PicMonkey (for free). It gets slightly addicting when you learn new design tricks and a million more options are available to you than you'd realized previously. Some might say I have too many options now.

Recent Acquisitions (or the Piling of the-Piles):

Thrift Shopping:

I got a sweet deal on these like-new mass market paperbacks... even though I have both of these in ebook version already. I just like paper sometimes- and if I don't like the book, I regift.

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (Already read and reviewed)

The Warded Man (Demon Cycle #1) by Peter V. Brett
I had this recommended to me by a fellow Goodreads user who reads all the epic fantasy I like, so the expectations are pretty high. I've heard the first half is better than the second half of the book, though.


My buy theme on Amazon seems to be books with Ghost in the title these past few weeks. Also, nonfiction.

The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo
This book was reviewed favorably by a fellow blogger, and it was also on sale for the very affordable price of $0.99. Set in Malaysia, it also qualifies for my Travel the World in Books challenge, as well as being an interesting mix of historical fiction and fantasy.

Ghost Boy by Martin Pistorius
I saw this reviewed by the Washington Post, and it was promptly added to my Want-To-Read pile. I am always fascinated by medical mysteries, being that I live one on a daily basis. When this became a monthly Kindle deal, I knew I had to buy it.

Agent Zigzag: A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love, and Betrayal by Ben Macintyre
I am a fan of (non-rapist) anti-heroes, and to read the story of a real life one is right up my alley. Mr. Chapman was a con man who later became a double agent during WWII.

Currently Reading:

The Crystal Shard (Icewind Dale #1) by R.A. Salvatore
So far it's an easy read, although the omnibus version I have must weigh more than my Dorkie.

The Shadow Revolution (Crown & Key #1) by Clay and Susan Griffith
Halfway through and loving it- hopefully it will end well.

The Lady and the Panda by Vicki  Constantine Croke
Because PANDAS. Also, Ruth Harkness is the Woman for pursuing her husband's dream. You get more than a taste of China circa 1930s with this book.

Finished These Books:

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Not at all what I expected it to be, and I really can't recall what I expected. This is kind of more an idea book than a plot/character-centric book, and I liked it more for that. It has a lot of more actual technical medical science fiction than I've read in quite some time (it's amazing this was published in 1932).

First of Spring (Gardinian World Novel #2) by Kelsey Jordan
Review is half written on this one, but I'd anticipated the release of this to be sooner.

In the Blogosphere:

Snowflakes and Spider Silk will be a hosting a Gentleman Bastards Readalong from June to August this summer. If you love it, or (like me) haven't read it, it would be a good time to join in.

Joy's Book Blog shows off a new cooking technique called Sous Vide, which I didn't even know existed.

Tanja reviews The Kate Daniels Series at Ja Ĩitam, a ti?, a review which I heartily agree with.

In My Life:

Other than blog design, I've been busy planting things outside, re-mulching the flower beds, and preparing my squash/tomato seedling army for life outside in the garden.

For Mother's Day, I bought my mother some pots/flowers, in addition to painting a rose with gouache paint (like watercolor, but thicker). The word online was that gouache was 'easy' to paint with. Not really the case for me- I'm so used to acrylic that it was a bit of a problem to paint with the not-so-smooth medium. However, I managed to paint the rose anyhow, it's just I won't be using gouache again unless I want to drive myself insane. I haven't gotten to the stem/leaves yet, as the background painting was so hellish I decided to just make it all the same color, but I'm fairly surprised at how well I did, considering.

Until Tuesday,


  1. That's such a great painting! I've never actually heard of gouache paint but it's kind of hard for me to believe that it's easier than painting with acrylic. I pain with acrylic a bit and it's pretty easy to use from my perspective.

    Brave New World is definitely more of an ideas book. I remember rating it a bit lower just because the characters were barely developed at all. Or maybe that was the point of the whole thing... I don't know why I even try to rate classics anymore!

    Laura @BlueEyeBooks

    1. I usually use acrylic too, but I picked up some gouache at Hobby Lobby a couple of years ago and wondered if it would work well for painting flowers (the rose was pretty easy, but the background made me want to cry). Thanks for the compliment! :)
      Brave New World should definitely get five stars for ideas, but as for an overall rating? It's a bit difficult, considering the book is satire, but also has great worldbuilding, with really not much plot or character depth. I still haven't decided my rating. It's especially difficult to rate classics when they have elements of racism, which this book kind of does.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Laura!
      ~Litha Nelle


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