Book Review -Clay Play! JEWELRY by Terry Taylor.

4 out of 5 stars.

I would like to thank Dover Publications for allowing me a free ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an open and honest review.

This book was reviewed with the help of my 8 year old crafty daughter and the score comes from both of us. We loved this book!

Clear, concise instructions with pictures to guide you along the way, an introduction that talked the reader through all they would need to continue – this book had it all!

Then there are the different themes of foods, animals, bugs, and more. Just the right assortment to get any beginner clay player interested.

My daughter’s feedback is she loved how you could follow how to make something from the ‘ball chart’ and step by step pictures and then, if you got stuck, there were the written instructions to help you understand it better.

We both agree it was very easy to follow, while being fun and full of great ideas. And yes, yes we will both be saving our pocket money to go buy some clay and get jewellery making now!

Would I recommend this book to others?

Yes I would. I would even give this book as a gift to children and families into crafty afternoon fun. The perfect gift and the perfect book to keep creative minds and hands busy! The great thing is the projects are small and so won’t take up too much time and so your children shouldn’t get bored in doing one or two of them at a time. Pace yourselves though!

Would I buy this book for myself?

Yes I would. It’s on my Amazon wish list! Daughter and I really loved it, enjoyed having a go at a few and all in all can see it as a great addition to our craft library.

In summary: Lots of fantastic, creative and easy to do clay play jewellery projects. They are all short/ quick to do and so children don’t get bored, nor are they too fiddly for certain ages too. The younger the child, the more help they might need. But for my 8 year old – a perfect book to help her keep herself amused for an afternoon or two. Highly recommend!

Until next time,


Book Review – Lazy Crafternoon by Stella Fields.

Lazy Crafternoon.jpg

4 out of 5 stars.

I would like to thank Capstone for providing me with a free ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an open and honest review.

This book was reviewed with the help of my 11 year old daughter. We both loved it.

Where to start with the praise? The pictures are colourful, inviting and really show off the craft ideas well. The instructions are clear, easy to read and follow and look great. And my 11 year old loves the washi tape used in most of it!

The variety of craft ideas were great too. Some basic, some a little harder and all of them unique and – as said by 11 year old – funky. We could both see ourselves spending a lot of time prettying up our house, stationery and other items with some of the great crafty ideas shown.

One minor constructive criticism is there appears to be a printing error in the ‘What you’ll need’ for the “Rainbow Fruit in glitter Cups”. It appears to be the same list for the “Sweet Snack” popcorn boxes. But as this was an ARC I was reading, I am going to assume that was fixed up before the final edit and publication.

Other than that, loved this book, enjoyed reading it with my daughter and we now both want to buy our own copy so we can get making!

Would I recommend this book to others?

Yes I would. It was fun, full of unique, gorgeous and mostly easy to make ideas. Seriously something all crafty families should have in their bookshelves for those lazy days. I can see it as a real ‘I’m bored’ busters!

Would I buy this book for myself?

Yes I would. Loved it, have added it to my Amazon wish list and hope to own a copy one day soon. My daughter and I both really enjoyed the book and were greatly inspired by the craft ideas shown. So many little projects we now want to try!

In summary: A great crafty book for family, friends and fun. We loved the pictures, easy to follow instructions and great craft ideas. Definitely recommend.

Until next time,


Book Review – The Story of Mu by James Cordova and illustrated by Mark Morse.

3 out of 5 stars.

I would like to thank Wisdom Publications for allowing me a free ARC of this book in exchange for an open and honest review.

This really wasn’t just one book, it was two. One for a parent and child to share and enjoy together and learn about Zen… and then a second book for the parent alone to learn and be educated through the teachings, meaning and pictures shown in the child’s section of the book. Meaning you got an incredible amount of art, teachings and entertainment all in the one book.

I will admit here and now I am not as fully into Zen as I feel the audience of this book would be, but I enjoyed it all the same. The words and imagery were thought provoking for child and parent alike and it really did help open up a new path of learning for those interested to follow it up and learn more.

The art work was amazing and worked well with the teachings. And the teachings were well paced for adult and child alike too. It really was just one of those feel good books that not only entertained but had you thinking. And had me wanting to seek and learn more about finding this balance of life, mind and spirit.

Would I recommend this book to others?

I think I would. I really do feel it is a great book to use to introduce children to the concepts and teaching of Zen.


Would I buy this book for myself?

Maybe. But, again, I am not as fully into Zen as the audience this book is really for. I am a Pagan and my path and beliefs are on a slightly different path… and so while I found inspiration and knowledge within this book’s pages, I can’t see myself racing out and adding it to my library. Though, I do know which book to go buy if my children do start to show more of an interest in Zen.

In summary: Colourful, beautiful, uplifting and educating all in one. Quite a good mix of child and parent interaction as well as information for both generations to help them be introduced to the teachings of Zen.

Until next time,


Book Review -The Night Parade by Kathryn Tanquary.

The Night Parade

2 out of 5 stars.

I would like to thank Sourcebooks Jabberwocky for providing me with a free ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an open and honest review.

Unfortunately this book was not for me. It held a lot of promise from the blurb and cover… but I found it a rather slow paced and long winded tale that took a long time to actually get on with the story.

To give it to the book some positives – as it deserves them – I did love the setting, story concept and plot. It was well written and painted a vivid picture for the reader. It was just a slow read for me.

I do wonder if the fault lay with this particular reader? As much as I enjoy YA work… perhaps this was a little too young for me and that is where the main fault lies? Then again, I can’t see my almost eleven year old enjoying the book either as the paces was very slow and I feel she would grow bored of it and not finish. I could be wrong, but to me the slow pace really killed it for me.

From the amount of positive reviews others have given this book, I really do feel I just didn’t gel with it as much as I hoped and do hope others get more out of it if they choose to read it.

Would I recommend this book to others?

Possibly. Because of the unique setting and theme I know a lot of young girls my eldest daughter’s age who might like to give it a read as they enjoy a lot of the old Japanese tales. But I would worry they would give up half-way through as it takes so long to get anywhere… so not too sure.

Would I buy this book for myself?

Sadly no. It held a lot more promise than what it actually delivered. I commend the author and publisher for producing such a unique tale… I just wish it wasn’t so sluggish in its pace.

In summary: A well written, if not slow paced story. Possibly better suited for a younger mind as the setting, plot and descriptions deserve a big thumbs up. This book was just not for me.

Until next time,

Janis. XXOO

Book Review – Surf’s Up by Kwame Alexander.

Surfs up

4 out of 5 stars.

I would like to thank North South Books Inc. for an arc of this book in exchange for an open and honest review.

Two of my kids (the ten year old and the six year old) helped me review ‘Surf’s Up’ and so the majority of comments and score are based on their feedback.

Firstly, we all loved this book. My kids are just a bit weird about giving a top score as they feel it will stop the author from writing (I don’t know why). And I’m pretty sure that’s the only reason this book didn’t get the full 5 out of 5 stars, as they really did enjoy it.

From the ten year olds point of view (and I will add picture books aren’t usually her scene – she has the reading age of a sixteen year old) she loved it. She loved the bright colours, the fun names and the fact that a book was seen as important as a fun day down at the beach. Loved the surf talk ‘bro, dude, cowabunga’ and so on. She also enjoyed the little extras like the whale on the wave at the end.

It has also made my eldest interested in reading ‘Moby Dick’. I have advised it does not contain frogs (that I can remember) and may still be a little too heavy for her tastes. But if she wants to have a go – why not!

My six year old (who I had in mind when requesting the book) also enjoyed it. His quote was: “It is good and very funny, put that down in the review”. And so I have. He liked the frogs, the scooter ride, how one wanted an adventure on the beach and one was having an adventure in the book. He also loved the pictures, the colours and the surfer dude language.

All in all a big hit with my family.

Would I recommend this book to others? Yes I would. People with young children (and no so young children) will find this a great family read to enjoy together.

Would I buy this book for myself? I wouldn’t buy it for me personally, but I can see myself buying it for my son or as a present for a child of a similar age. It’s a fun little read for parents and kids a like.

In summary: Loved this book. Although it fits the ‘short sharp and shiny’ word content that makes up a good children’s book, it also has some great pictures, vibrant colours and fun words for the whole family to wrap their tongues around. I can see ‘bro’ and ‘dude’ becoming common phrases here now. A perfect read to not only encourage your children that reading is fun (and an adventure in itself) but a great book for here in Australia with summer just around the corner and everyone champing at the bit to get to the beach.

Until next time,

Janis. XXOO