SPECIAL SHARK WEEK SPOTLIGHT: Sharktopia

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I love art and I love wildlife conservation. Combine the two and you have such an utterly amazing win-win situation on your hands. ๐Ÿ™‚ I recently discovered the site sharktopia.org through theirย Instagram account and I am absolutely over the moon about it! โค

Sharktopia is run by the friendly and talented Caiti Rose, a self-described “coffee-loving, shark-obsessed, happy vegan artist with the goal of altering the misconceptions surrounding sharks and other Ocean life”.

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Stickers!
She uses her creative and amazing art to help spread awareness about a variety of topics regarding sharks and other ocean life. Her work ranges from absolutely adorable and lighthearted to impactful and eyeopening, and all of it is for the benefit and love of sharks.

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The line work and coloring and cuteness, I just absolutely adore it. โค

I’ve already purchased and received my own shark goodies and can honestly say that they were absolutely worth the money. ๐Ÿ™‚ I love what I ordered. โค I also printed some of the free coloring pages available on the site for my participants at work to color and learn more about different types of sharks as they do so. The coloring pages are awesome and so informative!

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Be sure to check out the Sharktopia website and enjoy some great artwork featuring our favorite finned friends and Caiti Rose’s great mission to raise awareness about their struggle. There’s the free downloadable coloring pages I mentioned, a great shop, and more to be discovered there, so dive on in! ๐Ÿ™‚

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A Smattering of Mini-Reviews

How in the heck is the first month of the new year already almost over?? Where is the time thief that is responsible for this madness? I demand answers! Seriously, though, every year that goes by makes me feel like time just keeps slipping by quicker and quicker.

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I noticed that I’ve been slacking a bit in posting reviews for some of the stuff I’ve been reading and watching lately. Time’s really been getting away from me with everything that’s been going on, but I still want to shine a little spotlight on some of the stuff I’ve been enjoying in the past few weeks, so I bring you this post of mini-reviews! ๐Ÿ˜€ It’ll be like a little sampling rather than a full course of reviews, but I think it’ll certainly get the job done. ๐Ÿ˜‰

The Plucker, by Gerald Brom:

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This illustrated novel was a real treat. I’ve been a fan of Brom’s work for quite some time. Growing up, my mom had multiple books featuring his artwork and I was hooked from a young age. I loved the dark and twisted aesthetic he had going on. One of the things I like about Brom’s novels, is that he carries over his wonderful artwork and includes tons of illustrations, sketches, and paintings to accompany the story he is telling.

When a young boy’s father unwittingly brings him a gift containing an evil spirit known as the Plucker, it quickly makes itself at home and decides to claim the boy’s life for its own. It begins its reign of terror by going after the boy’s toys, the very things the child has poured so much of himself and his love into. Thus, the toys in this book have a life force all their own, one the Plucker is keen on taking to build up the needed strength to claim the soul of the boy and take over his body. What the Plucker has no way of realizing, is that aside from his toys, the boy also has one badass little old lady for a nanny. One who knows some things about magic herself. It’s a good story with fantastic artwork. I gave it 4/5 stars.

Stranger Things 2, on Netflix:

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Remember when I mentioned how busy I’ve been and how fast time has been flying by? That’s the only explanation I have for why it took me sooooo long to finallyย  finish watching the second season of Stranger Things. I (and countless others) love this show and the awesome 80’s dose of nostalgia it’s been rocking. Season 2 was awesome. We met some new characters, got to see older characters continue to grow, and learn some more about “the Upside Down”. The horror element of the show continues to grow in a really satisfying slow-burn sort of way, but it never feels dull and boring because you love the characters so damn much. This was a solid second season to a great show, and I may have even liked it more than I liked the first season, which is really saying something. I would give it 5/5 stars. Can’t wait for season 3!

Phantasmagoria and Other Poems, by Lewis Carroll:

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One of my reading goals for this year is to read more poetry books since it isn’t really something I’ve read a whole lot of. Since I have always been a fan of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, I definitely wanted to check out this book of poems from Carroll. I’ll admit, I wasn’t as smitten with this as I thought I was going to be. I liked the titular poem Phantasmagoria the best of the lot, finding that it had the most character to it. It tells the tale of a little ghost who has mistakenly come to haunt the wrong house. Carroll has a certain easy-to-read quirky charm to his poems, but this book wasn’t my favorite of his works. 3/5 stars for this one.

Milk and Honey, by Rupi Kaur:

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Another book of poems! ๐Ÿ™‚ This was a quick and moving read. I admire Rupi Kaur’s ability to pour her soul out onto the pages of this book. Divided into different categories, the poems contained cover topics like love and loss, surviving after trauma, and the power and unity of femininity. I think many of us will be able to find something they can identify with or relate to somewhere in Milk and Honey. 4/5 stars.

The Bear and the Nightingale, by Katherine Arden:

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I can’t believe I somehow never got around to reviewing this one. I read The Bear and the Nightingale with my book club ladies in December, and it made for the perfect winter read. It was both enchanting and addicting. Much like how the main character Vasilisa is enthralled with the fairy tales she is told growing up, you will become enthralled by the one she winds up living. Russian folklore and mythology enrich the story, and the backdrop of winter is capable of being both cruel and kind, with moments that are cozy and heartwarming, and others that are harsh and bitter. 4/5 stars.

 

Review- The Art of Alice: Madness Returns

It’s no secret if you’ve been following my blog that I have a passion for art and books. Because of this, I’ve always enjoyed books featuring art collections that range from rough concept sketches to beautifully detailed prints. My mom shares this interest and so we’ve collected many art books throughout the years. I figured I’d make a new category in my blog specifically for art appreciation where I can do artist spotlights and review some of the amazing art books in our collections. ๐Ÿ™‚

To kick things off we’ll start with one of mine, a hardcover video game concept art book for American McGee’s Alice: Madness Returns.

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Just look at this creepy, gorgeous cover!

This book takes us down the rabbit hole and through the looking glass so that we can get a good peek at the creative process behind American McGee’s haunting version of Wonderland. With an introduction by McGee himself, we really get to see the long and creative journey that went into making this game. Different chapters cover subjects like pre-production, creating the final look for Alice and her costumes, the separate world building that went into London and Wonderland, cinematics and more!

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Whether you’ve played the game or not, this book is enjoyable for fans of all things Alice (assuming they don’t mind a good measure of horror thrown in the mix), as well as just art lovers in general. The images presented in the book are gorgeous and it’s definitely one of my favorite art books I’ve ever purchased. I’d highly recommend it! If you’re not already acquainted with this game, check out this old trailer for it. As I’m sure you can tell from the concept art seen above, it’s quite the surreal, nightmarish version of Wonderland.

Do you enjoy art books as well? What sorts do you prefer or collect? I’d love to hear about it! ๐Ÿ™‚