Time For Tea: You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch

What’s In My Mug: Water Sprite Oolong by Tea Runners

Here it is: the final Time For Tea post of 2017. It is also, likely, the final Time For Tea in general. I’m currently working on a new blog plan for 2018, so there is a chance it’ll look quite different. What you can always count on, however, are a lot of book reviews. But I’ll go over the plan in another post later. Today, I want to talk about something else.

Christmas is coming. As it approaches, I am reminded of the past year and what it’s brought me, both good and bad, as well as why I love Christmas. Christmas is, without a doubt, my favourite holiday. I will admit I enjoy receiving gifts—frankly I think anyone who says they don’t is lying—but the gifts are not the primary reason I love Christmas. For me, it’s all to do with spending time with people I care about. For the past few years, one of my favourite moments of the entire Christmas season was always when we would let the gate down and allow Indy to rush to his stocking for a new toy. The little guy knew what Christmas was and started sniffing it out well in advance of the day. Unfortunately, that particular piece of joy won’t be around this year, but I have many videos of it as a reminder. Of course, we do have a new puppy in our midst, and I for one sincerely hope he will gain at least a fraction of the joy Indy had on Christmas morning. It won’t be this year, of course, but in the future.

This year though, I’ve done a lot of things differently. I finally purchased my first Christmas tree and have started decorating it with homemade ornaments. It looks a little sparse this year, but I have a feeling it will be full before I know it. I also feel like I hit the mark in an incredible way with gifts this Christmas—though I cannot share those with you, since I know some people in my family read my blog and I refuse to spoil things for them.

But what I have come to realize this year is that what I have always cited as my favourite Christmas movie, is flat out my favourite movie—I mean, I’ve seen it so many times I have lost count and have yet to tire of it. I am talking, of course, about the 1966 Christmas cartoon movie, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, with Boris Karloff. I have seen the 2000 version, and while it’s not bad, I still greatly prefer the original. I also know there is going to be another version coming out next year. I fully plan on watching it (in theatres if I can), but I also feel confident I will still prefer the cartoon from 1966. If nothing else, I grew up watching it multiple times every December on television, so the emotional attachment from the memories are likely the trump card.

This month has also been marked by a burst of creativity. I think it started with creating Christmas ornaments for my tree (I painted the Grinch, BB-8, the Star Trek logo, and the Golden Snitch), but then extended to painting a selection of three themed Christmas paintings. I believe I have mentioned this before, though I did not show them at the time, since I was still working on them. The good news? I recently finished the third painting and they are now hung on my wall in the entrance to my home. Want to see them?

I bet you saw that one coming, didn’t you? I am incredibly proud of these paintings. I know I will have to take them down once Christmas is over, but at least until then they will make me smile when I walk in and out of my home.

With this in mind, I would love to know: what is your favourite Christmas memory? What is your favourite Christmas film? I would love to hear your stories and thoughts below!

Advertisements

What Up, Everyone: How To Be A Bawse Review

“So if you’re drowning, keep your life jacket on and fight. But once you’re able to swim, don’t convince yourself you forgot how to. Take your life jacket off, front-crawl your way to the shore, walk off that beach, and set your GPS to the top of a hill, because you WILL conquer the climb.”

If you’ve spent any kind of time on YouTube, chances are you have heard of Superwoman in some capacity, even a fleeting mention. Her real name is Lilly Singh, and she is a Canadian who creates all sorts of videos, from vlogs to sketches and more. At some point along the way, she decided she wanted to write a book. How To Be A Bawse is that book.

Read more

Forever Family: Ginny Moon Review

“Did you find my Baby Doll?”

Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig is about a fourteen year old girl, Ginny, who has autism. The police took her away from her birth mother, Gloria, at age nine as it was an unsafe environment (to say the least). Now a family has adopted her and she has a Forever Mom and Forever Dad now. Only thing is? She forgot her Baby Doll at Gloria’s apartment and is willing to do anything to get it back.

There’s a lot to say about this book. I read it very quickly, which I know immediately is an indicator that I enjoyed the read. Books I do not enjoy tend to drag on by my standards, and the drag can really get to me in certain cases. Thus, I am quite pleased this read went quickly.

I think in part it was an easy book to read. There was no extraneous dialogue or description. It was all straight to the point. Perhaps this is due, in part, to Ginny being autistic? I do not have experience with autism, so I could be way off base, but I do get the impression rules and straight talk, no expressions, is a significant characteristic. This book reaffirms my belief, as I believe the author adopted a teenage girl with autism, so I would imagine he would keep the characterization true to form.

While I figured out the rhythm quite quickly, I do think the simple dialogue is treading a fine line. Too much simplicity and repetition can make some people lose interest. I would encourage anyone who falls prey to this a lot to keep plugging along with this book—there is a decent amount of payoff in the end, I think.

Moving forward now, the next thing I have to mention is I figured out the vast majority of the intrigue surrounding Ginny’s Baby Doll quite early on in the book. I’m not sure if this was intentional or not. If it was intentional, then good work. If not, however, it definitely detracts from the book as a whole. Since I am not sure, I think I can remain neutral on this topic, particularly since the book did still hold some interest in other respects.

I think the only other thing in this book that could be…not so great, is the event with the electronic baby. I would hope this is not an indicator of a deadlier type of tone, but that and certain related points do make me concerned about Ginny. It’s hard to accurately define everything though, which is why I am undecided and having issues dealing with it.

In the end, however, I think Ginny Moon was worth my time. It is a refreshing change from the type of books I regularly read. I also think it can teach people a lot regarding foster children as well as those who have autism (or fall on the spectrum in some fashion). I would recommend this to a lot of different types of people and readers, including both people who have kids and those who do not. I cannot speak to the accuracy of some aspects of the book (e.g. autism) but it did ring true in my opinion, and ran in line with other things I have seen. If I operate under that assumption, I would recommend it to gain some kind of insight into the minds of those who fall on the spectrum. But as I said, that comes with a caveat.

Regardless, give Ginny Moon a try! When you do, let me know what you think!

~~**~~

Title: Ginny Moon

Author: Benjamin Ludwig

Publisher: Park Row Books

Time For Tea: Paint A Picture

What’s In My Mug: White Pearls by Tea Runners

Did you know I enjoy painting?

The walls of my apartment are slowly filling up with an array of artwork, most of which I created myself, whether through a tutorial or otherwise. There’s a galaxy I painted last Christmas. There’s two Van Gogh inspired pieces. There are fiery feathers. There is a hobbit hole ready to take it’s place on my wall.

This time last year I was really just getting started with painting. It was a struggle for those first few months. I always scrutinized my pieces, to the point of tears in a few scenarios. I imagine this is what the extreme looks like when we consider how we are all our own worst critics. If I overanalyze my paintings, I still criticize more than I imagine others might say I should. Maybe. No one’s perfect.

For the past few days, though, I seem to have hit a painting bug. I finished the hobbit hole I’ve been working on for months—it’s ready to be varnished and hung on my walls. I have a renewed desire to hang the painting I was doing the night little Indy left us. I finished my first of three Christmas paintings, and started the base on my second.

I don’t know why I’ve been painting so much. I spent so much time doing different paintings and painting related projects over the last little bit—it’s all I wanted to do over the weekend. It’s interesting to me because while I enjoy painting, it never really took over like that. Frankly, if it continues I am either going to need to magically discover more wall space or start giving away paintings. I guess it helps I am doing three Christmas paintings, because I can easily take those down and rotate them with others on my wall.

I can’t wait to show them to you. The three share a theme, one quite close to my heart in more ways than one. I hope to tell you the story during my next Time For Tea post. I don’t see why I would miss it—somehow I expect I will finish the remaining two paintings by the end of this coming weekend.

It’s been…cathartic? I think that’s the right word. It’s a different feeling than reading books, I know this. Painting, for the time being, has morphed into something that will calm me and center me. It’s not the same a reading, since that can provide an escape, but it still works.

I don’t know if you enjoy painting, but I encourage you to find some sort of outlet like this, whatever form it takes. Creating something is a wonderful feeling. Just remember, it looks beautiful. No matter what.

Time After Time: Passenger Review

“It’s our choices that matter in the end. Not wishes, not words, not promises.”

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken is a young adult science fiction novel centered around the idea of time travel, families trying to control time, alternate worlds, and what is real versus what’s not. The main protagonist, Etta Spencer, is thrust into the world of time travel after one fateful night performing on her violin.

Being that I am a big fan of Doctor Who, you would think this sort of book would be right up my alley. Unfortunately, this is not the case. While the prose itself did not have glaring red flag errors, which is always good, once again I find myself in a position of feeling lackluster about a book. Whenever this happens, I feel as if it is a struggle to find something to say.

First off, I definitely feel like the plot moved a little too slow for my tastes. There was not nearly enough urgency in this book! It did feel like a uniform pace throughout, which can be good for many other books, but for this one I think we would have been better off with acceleration—especially nearing the end of the story (well, end for now, as there is a sequel).

I also feel as if the formatting and overall organization of the plot made things a little hard to follow to some degree. While the overarching story was chronological, they do time travel, which in this book means including the city, country, time and other details at the beginning of a new chapter. While these can help as markers for the story, I don’t know that they played too much of a role for me, and I think caused me issues throughout me trying to read the story.

I will give props to the author in terms of the diversity and such in the book (a love interest being African American, which is not common). That said, the other things I take issue with in Passenger is once again tied to the uniform pace. Uniformity seems to be across the board—I did not feel like the characters in the book had enough distinctive voices, something I believe is essential regardless of what you are reading.

As I think about it, I think the issue of the plot moving too slow has quite a bit to do with the description of clothing and other parts, including physical aspects of characters. I think this al plays into a stoic vibe, which not something I particularly enjoy.

So, once again I do not think I can 100% recommend giving Passenger a read. Do I think it is an interesting story? Yes. I think my major gripe is whether the interpretation of the words are strong enough to form good connections with characters and create the most compelling narrative possible. If you do choose to read it, I want to know about you think! Did you agree with some of the point’s I’ve made? Do you disagree and loved every second? I want to hear about that too!

~~**~~

Title: Passenger

Author: Alexandra Bracken

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion